News Technology

Warner Music to license music videos on YouTube

It seems Warner Music is going to license music videos on YouTube. TechCrunch reports:

YouTube and Warner Music Group Corp. will announce a deal Monday that will put thousands of Warner music videos on the video sharing site and allow user created videos to legally use Warner owned music.

YouTube is reported to have created technology that will automatically detect when copyrighted music is used in videos, give Warner the right to accept or reject those videos and will calculate the royalty fees Warner is owed.

Financial details haven’t been disclosed yet, but may include a cut of advertising revenue in exchange for licensing rights. It’s also unclear who will pay the royalty fees; that payment may come out of the advertising revenue or it may be demanded of the individual users who have put Warner music in their videos.

Could it be that start of a trend where TV shows and even movies are licensed out as well? Will a large media company reap the benefits of the massive YouTube user base? Or will they get cold feet when all sorts of unauthorised mash ups appear? It will be interesting to see how this works out.

> TechCrunch with the story
> MSNBC with their take

News Technology

iTunes to start movie downloads later this month

TechCrunch reports that iTunes will have a movie download service up and running later this month:

Rumors have been swirling for weeks (see here and here) that Apple will soon be selling full length movie downloads on the iTunes service. This morning, Business Week is stating, based on unnamed sources, that the service will launch by mid-September.

And adding color to the story: WalMart is pissed off.

Apple is pushing for, and apparently getting, $14 wholesale movie prices on new releases. They plan to retail new releases for $14.99 and older movies for $9.99. Normal wholesale DVD prices are $17. Walmart pays that normal wholesale rate, and now anticipates losing a significant share of their 40% market share in the $17 billion annual DVD market. Given that it will be trivial for iTunes users to simply burn a DVD of these movie downloads, Walmart has good reason to be worried. Netflix should be nervous, too.

Look for the initial announcement to only include movies from Walt Disney (Apple’s Steve Jobs is Disney’s largest shareholder), and possibly Fox and Lions Gate.

It will be interesting to see how this takes off. On the one hand movies are different from music and I can’t see it duplicating the success Apple has had with music downloads, at least in the short term. But as devices get better and more people get used to downloading films, it seems like the natural thing for Apple to do.

The quality of the first videos may not be great and Apple will almost certainly be getting the biggest slice of the revenues but if movie studios want to combat piracy and flagging DVD sales embracing legal download services is a must.

It obviously won’t replace Netflix or the established DVD retail market but there are clearly people who do want to download films in the same way they do music. The Business Week story that TechCrunch quotes shows the problems different retailers and studios have with issues like pricing, but it is important that the trend is now starting.

> The original story at Techcrunch
> Business Week on the looming battle between Apple and Wal-Mart over movie downloads
> Wikipedia entry for the iTunes Music Store
> Engadget on the Lionsgate CEO who confirmed they will be offering movie downloads


Firefox 1.5 released

The latest version of Firefox came out yesterday and if you still use IE then it’s certainly worth a look.

The main reasons for upgrading to 1.5 are:

  • The the ability to move tabs across the screen
  • An improved pop-up blocker
  • A new search engine list
  • Quicker navigation (especially the back and forward buttons)
  • RSS discovery (a little orange box appears in your address bar and by clicking on it adds the RSS  feed to your bookmarks)
  • OS X support for all you Mac users.
  • Automated updates

I’ve only just installed today but I’ve been using Firefox as my default browser for a while now. The extensions are useful and the live bookmarks are great. Some of the older plugins aren’t fully compatible with 1.5 yet but the ever useful Lifehacker has pointed out there is a way around this.

> Official site for Firefox
> Wikipedia on Mozilla Firefox
> The Better Browser with reasons to switch to Firefox
> CNET on the new release