Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Can Anyone Buy Me a Song Here in Zurich? Spotify, Rhapsody & Pandora Can't!

Okay -- so I am sitting here in my hotel room in Zurich, Switzerland -- nearing the end of my long-overdue European tour (and long-over due reunion with my wife and kids in San Diego). I have lots of work to do (and blog posts to write). I have great free broadband (well, it is at least bundled in my hotel bill as part of my room charge).

It is the perfect time for me to stream music, right? I love to work with music. So, here I am -- ready to push play on my current favorite band, Muse, but ...

... I can't use any of my pay online music services! Not Rhapsody ("We're sorry, but ..."). Not Pandora ("We are deeply, deeply sorry ...") (wow, at least they are passionately "sorry"!).

Not to worry, I am in Europe -- so I can finally try out the much-heralded (and overly-hyped) Euro-based Spotify, right?

WRONG again! Spotify -- like Rhapsody and Pandora -- simply doesn't have the requisite music licenses for Switzerland (or for a number of other Euro territories for that matter).

Now, in truth, I "get" this -- because (shh, don't tell anyone) I started my career as an entertainment and music attorney and understand the rights issues. But, that doesn't mean it is right. Music industry -- you need to "get" it. Licensing MUST change -- the process must change. The music services -- Rhapsody, Pandora, Spotify -- all want to have the right licenses -- but, it is a herculean task to get them.

Come on people -- this is 2010 (10 years after Napster started to decimate the industry)! While I ultimately used a legal alternative to my non-functional pay services -- i.e., my purchased iTunes tracks (yes, I have Muse thankfully) -- that is not the case with many (dare I say, most?) others. If they are frustrated, they simply will find what they want -- and, if that means not paying for it, then so be it! And, they will justify their theft by the fact that it simply is still frequently too hard to have a compelling and intuitive sanctioned music experience. It will be even worse than that for some -- some will be angry at the music industry for "making them do it" (in their minds). Theft begets more theft ... and so on ... and the vicious cycle continues ...

Time for a comprehensive music licensing solution. I know it sounds easy. And, it should be. But, again, being a recovered music/licensing attorney, I know it is incredibly complex. And, I certainly don't have the "Easy" button on this one ...

Vid.vu -- Sorenson's New Video Workflow Shortener -- NOT Just Another URL Shortening Service

Today, we officially announce Vid.vu -- our new video-centric URL shortening feature that is part of our upcoming Squeeze Server service that launches soon, very soon. Vid.vu is not just another URL shortening service -- there are many of those.

Vid.vu is intended to be different:

(1) it is video-focused (we can't think of any others out there, hence the name which is pronounced "Vid View") -- and video's demands are different;

(2) it is a seamless feature of the upcoming Squeeze Server service (rather than another shortening destination service in and of itself);

(3) it is intended to address the specific needs and workflow of the enterprise and video professional (in other words, it falls squarely within our mission here at Sorenson Media) -- I like to call it a video workflow shortener rather than simply a URL shortener (read why by clicking this link for the press release);

(4) these Vid.vu shortened URLS can be customized (that means enterprise/business customers and developers can brand their video URLs;

(5) these Vid.vu shortened URLs are SEO optimized and trackable from a metrics perspective (again, fundamental benefits for the enterprise/business and developer ); and

(6) these Vid.vu URLs are, of course, shortened and, hence, more logistically practical for distribution across the board, including for social media campaigns.

That's what we think -- but, ultimately, it's about what you think. Let me know personally whether you find it to be a useful and compelling feature. Write a comment to my post or send a note to my attention at bizdev@sorensonmedia.com (I will definitely get back to you -- and appreciate your feedback).

And, stay tuned for our official Squeeze Server launch in the next several days -- we have been in private beta for several weeks and can't wait to hit the "live" button.