Apple’s Settlement in E-Book Case Will Likely Pay Consumers

Apple has ended its civil class-action lawsuit over the price of e-books with a settlement that is worth an estimated $100-$300 million. Last year, a federal judge ruled that Apple broke antitrust laws by driving up the prices of e-books in cooperation with five major U.S. publishers. If Apple’s appeal of last year’s case is unsuccessful, the tech giant may be paying out millions to e-book customers. The terms of the settlement also cancel a damages trial set for July. Continue reading Apple’s Settlement in E-Book Case Will Likely Pay Consumers

New Trend: Social Media Stars Featured in Festivals and Tours

A capacity 12,500 tickets were sold for DigiFest NYC, a festival where more than 70 social media stars took to three stages this past weekend. The event is part of a booming corner of entertainment that features performers and personalities who are generating fans via social networks such as YouTube, Instagram and Vine. Los Angeles startup DigiTour Media produced the festival, and is one of several companies putting social media celebrities on stage for paying audiences. Continue reading New Trend: Social Media Stars Featured in Festivals and Tours

ASCAP and BMI Push For More Flexibility in Music Licensing

The Justice Department announced this week that it will review the regulatory agreements created in 1941 that govern ASCAP and BMI. It is likely that, as a result, a lobbying fight will surge between technology giants like Pandora and Google against music companies and songwriter groups. If changes to the regulatory agreements are not made, major music publishers, including Sony/ATV and Universal, may withdraw from ASCAP and BMI.  Continue reading ASCAP and BMI Push For More Flexibility in Music Licensing

Judge Rules in Royalty Lawsuit Between Pandora and ASCAP

In somewhat anticlimactic fashion, the lengthy, dramatic battle regarding what digital music service Pandora should pay ASCAP ended Friday when U.S. District Judge Denise Cote ruled that Pandora should continue to pay the performing rights organization what it has been paying through 2015. Pandora had argued that it should pay less than the current 1.85 percent of revenue, while ASCAP had argued for an escalating rate structure that would require Pandora to pay 2.5 percent of revenue for 2013 and 3 percent in 2015. Continue reading Judge Rules in Royalty Lawsuit Between Pandora and ASCAP

Pandora Lawsuit Could Impact Music Industry’s Royalty Model

For the past 73 years, the Justice Department has governed licensing organizations ASCAP and BMI to ensure songwriters receive fair royalty rates when their songs are played. Now Pandora is taking on ASCAP in a trial over royalty payments that is being carefully followed by the publishing industry. Music publishers including Sony/ATV and Universal are calling for an overhaul of the system, while tech firms are claiming that publishers are attempting to skirt federal rules designed to protect them.

Continue reading Pandora Lawsuit Could Impact Music Industry’s Royalty Model

Will Books Follow Music and Video with Subscription Model?

The concept of “literary Netflixes” has been gaining momentum in the past few months. Oyster, a book subscription service that launched four months ago, recently raised $14 million to expand. Many members of the publishing industry are cautious about adopting a subscription model for e-books because they believe it could cannibalize sales and devalue books. However, Oyster notes that despite the apprehension, it has been signing publishers and already has a library of more than 100,000 titles. Continue reading Will Books Follow Music and Video with Subscription Model?

ComiXology: Sales of Digital Comics Pages Soar to 6 Billion

ComiXology, a digital comics platform that launched in 2009, sold 4 billion pages of comics through its iPad app last year, earning it the title of most profitable non-game app for the iPod for the third year in a row. That figure shows a drastic increase in sales since the launch of ComiXology, which has sold more than 6 billion pages of comics total. CEO David Steinberger says the considerable growth is due not only to long-time comics lovers moving over to digital versions, but new, first-time comics fans. Continue reading ComiXology: Sales of Digital Comics Pages Soar to 6 Billion

Google Envisions a Web Beyond Cookie-Based Data Tracking

Google is in the early stages of developing its own alternative to cookies, which have a few limitations when it comes to tracking users. The company is working on universal IDs, which will track users from device to device. Whereas cookies can be erased and sometimes lead to ineffective ad targeting, universal IDs would provide more accurate user data. But it could also create a Google-owned monopoly of data. However, Google isn’t the only company working on cookie alternatives.  Continue reading Google Envisions a Web Beyond Cookie-Based Data Tracking

BitTorrent Targets Music Scene with P2P Publishing Platform

BitTorrent is teaming with DIY service provider Topspin Media, Web video production company The Collective, emerging music magazine The FADER, and digital distribution specialist Cinedigm to launch its publishing platform, BitTorrent Bundles. The company is hoping that its P2P-based direct publishing platform will appeal to musical artists and other creatives and has convinced performers including Madonna to distribute free content through its software. Continue reading BitTorrent Targets Music Scene with P2P Publishing Platform

Advertising for Good: Google AdSense Helps Fuel the Web

Yesterday marked the 10th anniversary of Google AdSense. Following the company’s successful launch of AdWords, Google expanded its search-based ad program with a self-service option designed to maximize revenue potential for websites while improving the user experience with more relevant ads. Providing advertisers with the ability to reach across pages dynamically has led to a service that over time has helped steer the economics of the Web. Continue reading Advertising for Good: Google AdSense Helps Fuel the Web

QR Codes Proliferating: Are You Ready to Become a Human Hyperlink?

  • Quick Response (QR) codes are beginning to resonate with a variety of users. Retailers, publishers, art institutions, musicians, government organizations and charities are all using QR codes to direct customers to a variety of online opportunities (contests, information, party invites and more).
  • The QR codes are square, checkered symbols that can be scanned with smartphones by downloading free scanner apps.
  • Starbucks used QR codes for a scavenger hunt, the Red Cross used them to direct people to a relief donation page, ABC included codes in magazine ads for the new series “Pan Am” and now every 2013 vehicle in dealer showrooms will be required by the Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency to have QR-coded fuel economy labels.
  • A company called Skanz now sells silicone braceletes with QR codes so anyone can scan your wrist and access a Web page with your contact information, social media links, and more. You can create different “Skanzsites” for professional and personal use and if you don’t want to wear a bracelet, you can instead buy iPhone4 cases with codes on them or QR decals.

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