Thursday, May 31, 2007

I knew from a late-night software update that DRM-free iTunes downloads were on their way in the morning, but I was still knocked for a loop by news that CBS bought for $280 million. Just Sunday, I renewed my paid subscription to for a month, for $3. I felt pretty good, knowing that my $3 could help keep them from going under. Well, fuck you, I kid. I'm glad they're on sure financial footing now. I do worry that things will change, now, but that could always be for the best. I've read suggestions that CBS will stream their radio offerings through, which is fine with me, as long as it doesn't affect their customized radio options.

There is some debate over whether CBS bought for the community, or just for their technology. I doubt they paid $280 million for the technology. Their recommendation technology doesn't seem that sophisticated; their advantage, like Netflix's, is in the sheer volume of data to which they have access. If you know every song someone has listened to, it's not too hard to figure out something to recommend. Maybe CBS wants the respected brand name of to attach to a new video-based recommendation service, but I don't think the technology behind the service was a major motivator of this purchase.

One major concern I had about this merger was how the recent hike in internet radio fees in the U.S. would affect, when it was owned by American CBS. I was under the impression that was not affected by this recent scandal because it was a British company. Turns out this was half-true, as, under British law, was forced to negotiate directly with record labels, and has deals with several majors, with more deals expected to close soon. So with these deals in place, the internet radio royalties that threaten to destroy other internet radio providers shouldn't be an issue for

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