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Record Labels Change Minds About Sharing MP3s 243

Posted by kdawson
from the seven-years-late dept.
Mass Defect writes "While the RIAA continues to sue people for p2p file sharing, the record labels have made an about-face and given their blessing to users sharing MP3s via the social networking site imeem.com. In May this year the site was being sued by Warner for allowing users to upload photos, videos, and music to share. However to everyone's amazement, instead of being flattened, imeem.com managed to convince the label that this free promotion was a good thing. In July imeem.com signed a deal with the label. Since then the site has added Sony, BMG, EMI, and now the biggest fish of them all, Universal. Imeem now has the royal flush of record labels supporting its media-sharing service, each getting a cut of the advertising revenues generated by their catalog. Finally someone has figured out a way to do 'YouTube for MP3s' without getting sued out of existence."
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Record Labels Change Minds About Sharing MP3s

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  • About time (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Yukse (563876)
    About time! When will they get the point that music sharing will ultimately lead to more exposure for their artists, and thus, more revenue?
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Martian_Kyo (1161137)
      Yes but RIAA was never opposed to music sharing because of the revenue...but because of the principle and morality.
      • by sm62704 (957197)
        No, because they can't shut indies out of P2P like thay can radio. They have no principles or morals.

        Give them a way to keep indie music off of Morpheus and they'll embrace it.
  • Does this mean that the universe is going to end?
  • here's the answer (Score:2, Insightful)

    by rasputin465 (1032646)
    Imeem now has the royal flush of record labels supporting its media-sharing service, each getting a cut of the advertising revenues generated by their catalog

    gee... i wonder why they agreed to drop legal action against imeem.
    • Re:here's the answer (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Technician (215283) on Wednesday December 12, 2007 @09:27AM (#21669869)
      gee... i wonder why they agreed to drop legal action against imeem.

      What I wondered is how much it costs an advertiser per page view. A bunch of kids that never buy anything could prove to be expensive to an advertiser. Remember the free Net Zero? I expect the content providers to squeeze the middle pretty hard. They overcharge for any use of their product. This will be no exception. Advertisers payments will go directly to the record companies and the website will go broke. Nobody providing RIAA content is making a lot of money and negotiations often bread down. Look at the fees they were trying to charge webcasters and the higher fees they were trying to push on iTunes. This outfit is next in line for the squeeze. They will be squeezed to the point they have to raise advertising rates to the point the advertisers demand more in your face exposure for the money or they go bye bye.
      • by MightyYar (622222)
        Kids are THE target demographic. Most of their income is disposable, and they are quite heavily influenced by media (including ads). Just because they no longer buy as much music does not mean that they don't buy "anything".
    • by aadvancedGIR (959466) on Wednesday December 12, 2007 @10:06AM (#21670121)
      So, do they realy get $7500 in ad revenues per downloaded song?
      • by DrWho520 (655973)
        This is not Funny (well, funny, but more worthwhile than that.) This is extremely Insightful and is precedent for how much the RIAA-types should be making off of file sharing. As alluded to by the parent, most probably not even close to $7500.
        • In France, we have something that looks similar: deezer (sorry, they filter out foreigners), that has a deal with the SACEM (some kind musical author's guild) and most majors (individuals can also propose their own mp3 files). From the web page, you can look for music by text queries or tree navigation, build playlist (if you take the free registration) and listen to anything you want at medium to OK quality. The whole thing works out of redistributed ad revenue but the ads are simple non-intrusive text box
  • Is this going to stop the RIAA lawsuits at all? This reads like an advertisement for the social site more than that the record companies have done an about face in policy.

    Besides, what's to stop them from having the RIAA from going after these downloads? I hope that's in the contracts that give them a cut of the advertising.
    • The RIAA lawsuits can and will continue, because they are over sharing that didn't give a cut of the revenue to labels.
    • Re:Making available (Score:5, Informative)

      by Technician (215283) on Wednesday December 12, 2007 @09:43AM (#21669967)
      Is this going to stop the RIAA lawsuits at all? This reads like an advertisement for the social site more than that the record companies have done an about face in policy.


      Nothing changes in the P2P lawsuits. The RIAA has been solid on a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy being as good as the original copy is a bad bad thing. Making a copyable file and posting it is bad bad bad and we will sue...

      This website is not P2P. It is a post and broadcast.. There is no download and pass along a copy.. well not without some google searching on how to D/L a copy in violation of the DMCA. The songs are protected by streaming flash and maybe an identifying watermark.

      The site is now a web broadcaster. The site pays royalties out of the advertising revenue. There is no P2P. Copies stolen (copyright violated) may be identified for later lawsuits by watermarking or other identifiers provided at the site to prevent theft (copyright violations). This is probably why there is no listening beyond a 30 second clip without an account. With an account the info may be embeded in the clips so if they show up on Kazaa later, they know who to sue for the violation. How much personal information do you have to give to get an account? If it requires a CC number, you are pretty much a sitting duck if you D/L and post on Kazaa.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Novus (182265)

        There is no download and pass along a copy.. well not without some google searching on how to D/L a copy in violation of the DMCA. The songs are protected by streaming flash and maybe an identifying watermark.

        First of all, it is unclear whether streaming audio is a form of copy protection in the legal sense; Streamripper [sourceforge.net], for example, seems to have survived an earlier DMCA takedown attempt. Depending on your browser's cache implementation, you may have a copy of the FLV file on your hard disk already. In an

        • Can someone give a short version of how digital watermarking works?

          If I create user account A, and also create user account B (perhaps with incorrect information), and download the song on each of them, wouldn't a binary diff reveal whatever watermarking was in effect? I mean, short of transcoding on the fly (for each song for each per user), it doesn't really seem feasible. What am I missing?
      • by sm62704 (957197)
        There is no download and pass along a copy.. well not without some google searching on how to D/L a copy in violation of the DMCA.

        You can only violate the DMCA if you live in the USSA.

        -mcgrew [slashdot.org]
  • sudden outbreak of common sense?
  • wow (Score:5, Informative)

    by mincognito (839071) on Wednesday December 12, 2007 @09:23AM (#21669833)
    Wow. How amazing that the record companies agreed to this. Low quality streaming with loads of ads and a "download" button that sends you to the iTunes store or amazon. The annoying registration box that pops up after listening to 30 seconds of a song (you must register to hear the rest) is a nice touch.
    • Re:wow (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Aladrin (926209) on Wednesday December 12, 2007 @09:44AM (#21669973)
      You call it 'low quality', but it sounds as good as radio to me. I'm not real picky about the bitrate of music I stream... In fact, low bitrate is better, since the whole office uses this crappy little connection.

      'Loads of ads' is apparently 2 per page. I've learned to tune them out, so I don't care.

      The 'download' button is a good alternate (read: not a flash ad) revenue source and I probably -will- use it to buy from Amazon the songs I want to keep.

      Registration is free, and what -doesn't- require you to subscribe to get the full benefit these days?

      It even lets you create and listen to playlists, so you don't have to play a single song at a time. It's perfect for seasonal music and all those good-for-3-months songs that are oh-so-popular these days.

      Personally, I like it and it didn't cost me anything. Plus, the fact that they got some record companies to agree to -anything- is great. Maybe they'll keep continuing to gain some sense.
      • by mcrbids (148650)
        Personally, I like it and it didn't cost me anything. Plus, the fact that they got some record companies to agree to -anything- is great. Maybe they'll keep continuing to gain some sense.

        You might consider Deezer.com [deezer.com] as well. No ads, instant download, decent selection. I like it!
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Freaky Spook (811861)


      I've been registered for a few days since I heard about it.

      I have to say, I really like it. Once signed up I can listen to every song in full, and fair enough the site is littered with ad's, but I am getting legal music streaming for free.

      I just load a playlist, minimize the window and let it play, its not really that invasive, I haven't had to sell a kidney, or hand my sould over to the devil.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Yetihehe (971185)

        its not really that invasive, I haven't had to sell a kidney, or hand my sould over to the devil.
        The first time is for free...
    • by elrous0 (869638) *
      The record labels don't mind you sharing your music, just as long as the "sharing" is so annoying and hassle-ridden that no one will bother. It's like a dictator saying "My people are free to speak their minds and criticize me, just as long as they do it between 2am. and 3 am. at this spot deep in the forest with cotton balls in their mouths."
    • by sm62704 (957197)
      Low quality streaming with loads of ads and a "download" button that sends you to the iTunes store or amazon. The annoying registration box that pops up after listening to 30 seconds of a song (you must register to hear the rest)

      New at Amazon.Com: "How to win friends and influence people" by Gene Simmons and Lars Ulrich!

      -mcgrew [slashdot.org]
    • by RLiegh (247921)
      >Wow. How amazing that the record companies agreed to this. Low quality streaming with loads of ads and a "download" button that sends you to the iTunes store or amazon.

      Yes, it sucks if you want to download the songs, I'll give you that. But ads? Man up and install flashblock and adblockplus already.
  • Yawn... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by moosesocks (264553) on Wednesday December 12, 2007 @09:26AM (#21669865) Homepage
    Imeem's missing the point. One of the biggest positive points of P2P is that the record companies, radio conglomerates, have absolutely no say over the selection and presentation of content.

    What we're seeing here is the Record Companies trying to appeal to our better judgement, while making one last effort to maintain an iron grip over their content. And it's just not going to work.

    You see.... last year was arguably one of the best years on record for independent artists and labels for this very reason. The amount of *great* content being released by small labels was staggering to say the least, and I'd be pretty certain that more than a few of these artists got their "big break" via P2P.

    Meanwhile, the talent on the major labels was.... crap... to say the least, and it has nothing to do with the inevitable backlash that occurs between generations. Most of the "Top-40" artists are untalented, formulaic, and absolute rubbish.

    The crackdown on P2P, and the agreement with Imeem is at least in part trying to mask the fact that the RIAA's members have completely lost the ability to identify and sign new talent. On the other hand, the indie labels have gotten quite good at it.

    The days of rock stars with million dollar salaries are over. The labels need to accept the fact that music is going to become increasingly diverse over the next several years, and that their old strategy of promoting a very small number number of superstar artists just isn't going to work any more.
    • by jez9999 (618189)
      The days of rock stars with million dollar salaries are over.

      Tell that to Led Zeppelin.
    • by sm62704 (957197)
      Meanwhile, the talent on the major labels was.... crap... to say the least, and it has nothing to do with the inevitable backlash that occurs between generations.

      I'm a geezer, but when I go into a bar downtown to listien to some live music from cover bands, do I see people my age? No, the geezers are all down at the bar down the street shooting pool. The audience at the live shows is nothing but people in their twenties.

      Are the bands covering Britney Spears, Finger Eleven, Jay-Z, T-Payn, Shop Boys, Tori Amo
    • Imeem is missing the point, but not because it doesn't understand the money to be made in representing the indie bands and singers who don't get recognized by the RIAA companies. In fact, their terms of service state that you have to have legal permissions to upload ANY content. In other words, unless you're an artist or the recording company, you can't upload music (legally, according to them) to their site. So yes, their site is crap compared to the ability of a true social network with the viral ability
    • by illectro (697914)
      Actually you haven't even tried the site, because if you look there's tonnes of stuff from all corners of the music industry, just because the PR people announced 4 major labels doesn't mean they don't already have deals with a load of indies.

      Ultimately it's like youtube - somebody has to upload it, and a lot of people have been uploading it, so try the site before you criticise it.
    • >The days of rock stars with million dollar salaries are over. The labels need to accept the fact that music is going to become increasingly diverse over the next several years, and that their old strategy of promoting a very small number number of superstar artists just isn't going to work any more.

      I disagree.
      You're positing a world full of people who listen to music that they like. While a lot of us do that, there are also a very large number of people who listen to music that their friends like, and
    • The days of zero musical talent lip-syncing eye candy teenagers with million dollar salaries are over.

      There, fixed that for you.

  • by Novus (182265) on Wednesday December 12, 2007 @09:30AM (#21669891) Homepage
    I checked this out earlier when CNN pointed it out. While imeem doesn't make it easy for you to download music, they are streaming standard Flash video with MP3 soundtracks, which makes it easily downloadable e.g. using DownloadHelper [mozilla.org]. The MP3 files can then be extracted using e.g. MPlayer [mplayerhq.hu] ("mplayer -dumpaudio -dumpfile foo.mp3 foo.flv").

    End result: free, often decent quality (128 kbps), legal MP3s of music from major labels (where fair use applies; the usual disclaimer about not being a lawyer also applies).
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by m94mni (541438)
      Hmm....

      Are we seeing the start of "128kbps are just previews, 256kpbs is what you are prepared to pay for"?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Colourspace (563895)
        No, I mean, that would be far too anal for the slashdot crowd wouldn't it? I write and produce music, albeit at an amateur level.. That said, having done so for 20 years now, if a decent 128 MP3 vs OGG or whatever is seriously ruining your enjoyment of the music then I would say you have other issues.
    • by sm62704 (957197)
      You can get top 40 MP3s in higher quality simply by plugging your radio's headphone jack into your sound card, sampling [kuro5hin.org] a top-40 station for a couple of hours, then spending ten minutes making MP3s. Less trouble, better quality than this OR eDonkey.

      Not CD quality, but as good as an MP3 you can make from a CD and far better than iMeem or eDonkey.

      -mcgrew
      • by Novus (182265)

        You can get top 40 MP3s in higher quality simply by plugging your radio's headphone jack into your sound card, sampling a top-40 station for a couple of hours, then spending ten minutes making MP3s. Less trouble, better quality than this OR eDonkey.

        You're assuming (incorrectly) that:

        • I actually care about current top 40 stuff.
        • I don't want to search for specific tunes instead of listening to a radio station's choices.
        • I have a radio that outputs a high-quality signal on a headphone jack.
        • Cutting up a record
    • by Jugalator (259273)
      A user making a convenient Firefox extension out of that procedure in 3... 2... 1...
    • That's not fair use, that's just leeching, ffs.
    • Actually, my last reply to this was fairly glib and slightly trollish. So I'll try again...

      All the time all I hear on Slashdot is how all people want is to try before they buy and want to use their own fair use rights to shift from PC to iPod to car stereo etc. Which is fine, dandy, not a court in the land would convict you for the latter and there's enough services for the former that provide 30 second song previews etc (e.g. iTunes).

      Now, Imeem comes out with something which allows people to listen to any
  • Frankly, I really don't care what is allowed today and what is illegal the next day or vice versa. The record industry is confused, I know. But it's not my fucking problem. If they can't speak with one voice and come out every day with a new law/copyright/drm/ or whatever, I just don't care anymore. I share my stuff now without regret. They have proven to be clueless and it's not my job to follow every press release to have a semiidea of what is legal or illegal today. Now sue me for rebuying my LPs in the
  • by InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) on Wednesday December 12, 2007 @10:16AM (#21670207)
    This isn't an outbreak of anything but more crap. Who would use this service? It's like going to a news site where all they do is provide a brief, degraded version of an actual news story...
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by mincognito (839071)

      Who would use this service? It's like going to a news site where all they do is provide a brief, degraded version of an actual news story..

      I'm not sure about imeem, but what if -- get this -- you had a site with degraded news stories *about* degraded services? The news stories could be degraded in just such a way that made the degraded services appear *non-degraded* and really cool. Then, you provide a forum for people to bitch about the service and about how it shouldn't have been covered in first place

      • "The news stories could be degraded in just such a way that made the degraded services appear *non-degraded* and really cool."

        Brilliant idea! It's like taking a song and adding enough noise to it that people are forced to believe the noise is part of the music.

        I think Cher [wikipedia.org] tried this already...
    • It's like going to a news site where all they do is provide a brief, degraded version of an actual news story...
      And yet you created a Slashdot account. Me thinks that thou doth protest too much.
    • by illectro (697914)
      I dunno all the tracks are full length to me, are you actually signed into the site?
    • Who would use this service? It's like going to a news site where all they do is provide a brief, degraded version of an actual news story...

      In that case, it sounds like it's tailor-made for people who watch Fox News...

      • "THIS IS A FOX NEWS ALERT. President Bush has just announced that... Lacy Peterson... has been targeted as a top terrorist threat... Iran Nuclear Holocaust... DEATH DIE DIE!!!"
  • by Reverend528 (585549) * on Wednesday December 12, 2007 @10:19AM (#21670239) Homepage

    To view music and video on imeem, you'll need at least Macromedia Flash Player 9 and JavaScript enabled in your browser.
    What the hell does that even mean? Can I opt to not install flash player and just listen to the music?
  • that it won't be very long before they start adding in a clip at the start, middle and end of each song saying something along the lines of "You're listening to this song on Imeem.com"
  • Did we switch to one while I was asleep?
    I guess this means Duke Nukem Forever will be coming out next month.
  • "these 30 sec peview are dumb u cant even steal songs from here how is ti possible to download. plus these are intended to have em in our page we can never put dem in our ipods and such ya know. get rid of da 30 sec limit quick or da 50 cent guy below u will be right about losing alot of members"

    "Oh no! Oh no! Please don't leave our website because we aren't making it easy for you to do stuff that will piss off our partners!"

    I realize this is offtopic, but holy HELL, our society is doomed.

    Yeah, I know, get off my lawn, et cetera.

  • Isn't this the same thing as last.fm? Or Pandora? I have always wondered how last.fm hasn't been sued into oblivion; from what i've seen they have music from big-name labels.

    Anybody know what the deal with that is?
    • by illectro (697914)
      Last FM doesn't let you pick the exact tunes you want to listen to, you start out with some preferences and then it goes on its way serving you tunes guided by your preferences - imeem is completely on demand, you can play whatever you want, when you want, as many times as you want. Also, last.fm doesn't have any user supplied contents so you're not going to find things like nigerian kuduru (a cross between techno and booty bass)
  • Well gee, since the ONLY thing I have done with CDs for years is to rip them to MP3 then stick them in a box, I guess this means that there's no point in me buying CDs at all anymore. If it's going to be illegal no matter what I do, I might as well just download it for free.
  • So, I went to imeem.com and clicked the link labeled "Classical" fully expecting to, you know, find some, well, classical music. Seemed a reasonable expectation to me.

    Here's what I got:

    http://www.imeem.com/music/ranked/classical [imeem.com]

    I guess the kids have gone and changed the definition of classical music. Back to iTunes for me. Clicking on classical in iTunes brings up a page of Beethoven and stuff. Pretty old fashioned, I suppose. I guess I'm just an old fogey.
  • How is it different from Last.fm [last.fm]?

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