As the company’s court battles with major music label EMI Group, file-sharing service MP3tunes was forced to file for bankruptcy in a United States court earlier this week, Reuters reports. Mp3tunes, which bills itself as “a Music Service Provider (MSP) and the home of MP3tunes Locker: the only secure, online music space to feature unlimited listening,” is one of a number of online services targeted by major labels and the MPAA for allegedly facilitating the illegal distribution of copyrighted materials; Megaupload was shuttered earlier this year after authorities raided the home of company founder Kim Dotcom, who was arrested and now awaits trial. A federal judge ruled in 2011 that MP3tunes and its CEO, Michael Robertson, did not violate the Digital Millenium Copyright Act when they allowed users to download music from the service, except as pertaining to music files that were identified as having been pirated. The judge also said that Robertson was personally liable for a number of pirated songs downloaded from other file-sharing services and hosted by MP3tunes. The case is still pending. More →
During the AsiaD conference in Hong Kong on Wednesday, Google’s Android boss Andy Rubin said his company’s upcoming music store “will have a little twist.” Rubin confirmed Google “won’t just be selling 99 cent tracks,” which suggests it might take a subscription-based approach, or even offer ad-based free listening as Spotify does. Google Music beta already allows users to store up to 20,000 in the cloud. Reportedly, Google is only close to sealing a deal with EMI snd has not yet signed each of the other major record labels. Rubin explained that Google’s image as a search engine may have contributed to a stall in the deals. “Google is in the very very early phases of adding consumer products to our portfolio,” Rubin said during AsiaD. “The media industry didn’t see us as that. They saw us a search company.” Reports surfaced on Tuesday that suggested Google will launch its music store this quarter, but a separate story from The New York Times has said it could launch in the coming weeks. More →
Apple has completed a cloud-music streaming deal with record label EMI, according to a report filed by CNET. Citing multiple industry sources, the publication notes that Apple, Sony Music Entertainment and the Universal Music Group are working on agreements as well; a previous report claims that Warner Music Group and Apple already signed a cloud service agreement sometime last month. “Apple will finish behind Google and Amazon in the race to the cloud, but Apple now has the freedom to offer a range of features that rivals are prevented from rolling out because of the licensing restrictions,” continues the article. Rumors state that Apple will use a technology acquired from Lala called “scan and match.” Instead of uploading a subscribers music library to Apple’s cloud-music service, the company would scan a music collection and provide access to the master track it has a license to. Apple and the music labels in question declined to comment on the report when contacted by CNET. More →
According to a report filed by The Wall Street Journal, peer-to-peer networking site LimeWire and several major record labels may be working on an out-of-court settlement in a copyright infringement case from 2006. “Lawyers for several major record labels have held at least three settlement conferences with representatives of a file-sharing service that they sued for copyright infringement, according to a federal court docket entry, indicating that the two sides may reach an agreement on a financial penalty instead of waiting for a jury award,” reads the report. LimeWire was found guilty of allowing users to upload and share unlicensed, copyrighted materials over its network. Arista Records, Warner Music Group, Universal Music Group, and EMI Group are all named plaintiffs — LimeWire and its founder, Mark Gorton, are named as defendants. Representatives from the two camps did not respond to the WSJ’s request for comment. More →
Flying straight in the face of recent claims from various Apple blogs, The Financial Times is reporting that Apple is aiming for a September launch of its internet tablet. The Cupertino-based company has also apparently found itself some rather unusual partners for its rumored device — EMI, Sony Music, Warner Music and Universal Music Group. The partnership, supposedly codenamed Cocktail, is an effort to combat slumping music sales by creating albums that include such things as liner notes and video clips. One thing that isn’t new however, is the claim Apple is preparing for a Christmas-time blitz against both the Amazon and Barnes & Noble’s e-book stores and readers. As for the possibility of a cellular radio, FT is reporting that it’s slim to none which really makes us wonder what’s up with all of those Verizon/Apple tablet rumors. Separate device? Complete BS? With September just over a month away, information should start flowing pretty soon if the FT rumor has any credence.
Taking a step in the right direction, sorta, MySpace is going to be offering loads of free music starting September 25. Technically, it isn’t really going to be free since it will likely be plastered with ads from the likes of McDonald’s, Sony, Toyota and so on. Still, it’s a pretty cool idea: You get to select all the tracks you want to slap onto your playlist and listen to them all for free with maybe a banner or two here and there to remind you who’s responsible for the luxury. There are already several programs and sites that allow you to do this but none so far that have garnered the approval of the big music companies. Looks like Sony BMG, Universal Music, Warner Music, and EMI (owner of The Beatles catalog and the cause for delay in their appearance on iTunes) are on board and totally supporting this venture. This is really good news for music lovers and for the music industry in general since it’s cool to be able to listen to the tracks you want to without jumping over hurdles or sneaking behind back doors. The only catch is you can listen to the music online only and aren’t able to download them onto your MP3 players. However if you hear it and like it, there will be direct links to Amazon.com’s music store. With Android having an Amazon music store app and now this feature on MySpace, iTunes is going to have a little competition.
Music lovers in the UK, Nokia now has a new phone for you. The Nokia 5310 XpressMusic ‘Comes With Music’ edition will be the first handset to feature Nokia’s new “Comes with Music” service. Makes sense, right? The subscription model music service allows phone owners one year of free access to Nokia’s music catalog which includes artists from Sony BMG, EMI, Warner Music, and Universal Music Group. Users can download tracks to one phone and one computer and are able keep the downloaded tracks after their free subscription expires. A “relatively high” download limit has been hinted at and PlaysForSure DRM is expected to hinder your overall music experience. After the trial year has ended, you can purchase new music by renewing your subscription (for a fee of course) or by purchasing on a track by track basis. If you buy a new Comes with Music phone, you can transfer your purchased music to your new phone. One little problem with that scenario is how do you coordinate a 12 month subscription service with an 18 month contract? Hmm. Hopefully that question and more will be answered on October 2 when more information about the Comes With Music service will be released at a Nokia event to be held in London.
Enough of the music service, now back to the phone. Only the music service appears to differentiate the new 5310 Comes With Music edition from the original Nokia 5310 XpressMusic phone. The phone will be sold through Carphone Warehouse who will start taking pre-orders today. Carphone Warehouse has an exclusive UK deal until the end of the year so don’t look for the phone outside of the UK anytime soon.