Zune price: $249.99

Microsoft is ready to launch Zune, its competitor to iPod, in November. The price has been set. This competitor to iTunes will be in place for the holiday gift buying season and the biggest and most anticipated challenge to Apple will be under way. But Zune doesn't seem to have enough different features to make a serious dent in iPod's domiance of the mobile music device market. If being able to share songs for three days wirelessly with others is important then this device rules. If. There is even some speculation that once a&hellip

YouTube Buyers: Mark Cuban Calling All “Morons”

Mark Cuban, the Internet billionaire and wacky Dallas Mavericks owner says anyone who would want to buy YouTube is a "moron". A moron Cuban is not. No one has better timing as he proved when he unloaded Broadcast.com right before the Internet bubble burst. Now Cuban warns that anyone who buys YouTube will be "sued into oblivion". And that the only reason it hasn't happened so far is that there is no real money to go after. Cuban makes an interesting point. YouTube&hellip

Context-Linked TV Ads: No More Bathroom Breaks

The Wall Street Journal has a great piece (9/9/06) on a new trend in Japan where TV ads are becoming part of the show (subscribe to the online Journal, it's got one of the best media sections). A big agency and large TV network have teamed up for this latest way to trick viewers into postponing the potty, relieving them from the TiVo and other tools of avoidance viewers have developed. The ads and mixed with content. And according to the article (WSJ doesn't allow links). You can't not pay attention because valuable parts of the plot are revealed while products are being featured. As reporter Amy Chozick writes it, "...In one scene,&hellip

Zune price: $249.99

Microsoft is ready to launch Zune, its competitor to iPod, in November. The price has been set. This competitor to iTunes will be in place for the holiday gift buying season and the biggest and most anticipated challenge to Apple will be under way. But Zune doesn't seem to have enough different features to make a serious dent in iPod's domiance of the mobile music device market. If being able to share songs for three days wirelessly with others is important then this device rules. If. There is even some speculation that once a&hellip

Media Gets It Wrong on Howard Stern

Ad Age wrote a piece September 24 titled "Howard Stern's Ad Rates On Sirius Slump to Low of $5,000". Their point -- apparently -- that Stern's live-read spots sell to advertisers for between $5,000-10,000. The gist of the article is that Stern can't get the reported $30,000 he used to get when he worked for CBS/Infinity on terrestrial radio. To add some needed perspective: Stern is Sirius Satellite Radio. It's paying him $500 million plus stock incentives for selling Sirius to the public. So far it has worked. Sirius is closing the subscriber gap with rival XM.&hellip

YouTube Overpriced At $1.5 Billion

The New York Post is reporting the price tag for YouTube is around $1.5 billion. Several media giants including News Corp, the owner of MySpace are reported to be interested, but not at that inflated number. YouTube is arguably the hottest toy of Gen Y right now. Even with the short life span of Internet start up companies these days the growth of YouTube seems assured through the 2008 presidential elections. Catching politicians looking stupid in an on-demand format should keep the interest growing until the polls close. Beyond&hellip

Goodbye Facebook!

The sell off is coming with news that Yahoo is in serious discussions to purchase Facebook for an estimated $1 billion. The Wall Street Journal reports that Viacom and Microsoft were also interested in this student social network. You can't blame founder Mark Zuckerberg for taking the money, but you have to wonder if this doesn't spell the end to the Facebook fickle college students love. Some of my USC students say when Facebook takes on the qualities of MySpace, they're over it. News Corp purchased MySpace for $650 million and is in the process of monetizing it "big business" style. Facebook could become a corporate wanna be for&hellip

Free Satellite Radio Subscriptions For Everyone in College

My friend Lee Abrams barely leaves campus and I am spending his money. XM's Chief Creative Officer was the featured guest at USC Thornton School's debut of its "Hot Topics" program today. Abrams was warmly received as he explained the mission of XM's version of satellite radio. What was somewhat surprising was the curiosity on the part of students. It's almost as if they had either not considered satellite radio as an option for them or let price discourage them from getting it. Cost was a factor -- the fact that it costs anything at all. Still, from the wide ranging discussion that ensued Gen Y could be an eventual market for&hellip

Warner Catches the YouTube Virus

Warner Records was not acting like a record label when it inked a shrewd deal with the wildly popular YouTube today. Warner was looking more like a viral marketer. Unlike Universal which is getting ready to sue YouTube unless it cracks down on copyright infringement, Warner is making love. YouTube comes up with a royalty-tracking system that will detect when YouTube videos are using copyrighted material. Warner can then review the videos and decide whether to let them play or reject them. Warner overcomes its copyright problem. Gets to monetize its videos through advertising. Even YouTube gets to make money that it sorely needs.&hellip

Fidelity Not Hurting Ipod

The lack of CD quality sound has not hurt Apple in its five years of dominating the mobile music device market. Of course there are a minority of audiophiles who complain, but not enough have resisted the many incarnations of the ubiquitous iPod. When Apple's iTV gets up and running -- probably in the first months of 2007 -- Apple will be defying high definition, digital quality and all the things the industry thinks consumers hold sacred. Apple is wagering that convenience will trump fidelity. And they are probably right. Making a consumers music, movies and video portable and giving them a chance to play it seamlessly on a large&hellip

What If Apple Got Into The Record Business

It would make love not war with its customers like Apple does in everything else. And it would need a name other than Apple Records (in deference to the former Beatles' label). That aside, Steven Jobs would either not join the RIAA or the RIAA would wish he had never joined. Music would be more democratic. The community of music lovers Apple would court probably would decide which songs became "Tasmanian Go-rillas" (to borrow a phrase the FMQB music tipsheet publisher Kal Rudman used to use to describe a hit record). Hits would be determined by a different hierarchy -- perhaps like YouTube video clips are. Apple would be less&hellip

Another Big Radio Mistake: The Big Stay Bigger And Sell The Smaller

It seems pressure from Wall Street is making some of the big radio companies think about selling more radio properties. CBS Radio is in the process of selling off its smaller, less essential markets and stands to raise a lot of cash and no doubt please their real bosses -- Wall Street investors.

Now analysts are reportedly suggesting to the largest radio company, Clear Channel, that it might want to think about selling off some of its smaller markets. You know, clean up the balance sheet. Mind you, these are the same Wall Street types who helped finance radio consolidation. Once created, many of the resulting companies found&hellip

Zune-y Tunes

The new Microsoft/Toshiba competitor to Apple's iPod and iTunes -- Zune -- is betting a lot on this simple concept: users will be able to wirelessly send other Zune owners any song. The recipients can listen to the song for up to three plays within three days. Then, the recipients must buy the song if they want to hear it again. Microsoft and the record labels see this concept as wireless "street teams" and it looks good on paper. It's tough enough to have to compete with iPod in design, functionality and now in concept. The question is -- will it fly with mobile music device users given that they will be able to share their music&hellip

Get The Feeling FaceBook and MySpace Don’t Get It?

Facebook is still eating humble pie after a privacy meltdown of epic proportions last week -- one that saw and uprising of angry users. The apology. The humility. Yet all Facebook did was give members a little more control, but their changes are potentially still out there as unpopular as they are. Now, Facebook has "MySpace envy". Wants to expand the community. Of course, it's not going to make the mistake of letting all those new regional members mixed in with its college community -- at least not yet.

And MySpace feels like it is becoming more of a portal than a social network. The next generation can be very forgiving&hellip

Apple’s iTV Strategy

Steven Jobs couldn't keep the secret in advance of his San Francisco debut of a revamped line of iPods and more importantly -- it's gonzo entry into the movie delivery business. Apple's new iPods freshened the line, but the most significant thing was not just the fact that Apple is selling movies today but that early in 2007 it will debut a device that its hopes will shuffle the TV viewing market -- iTV. You have to read between the lines to see the rewards and risks Apple is taking.

iTV is expected to sell for $299 and it is designed to allow consumers to buy movies from the iTunes store for seamless viewing on television&hellip

How Facebook Saved Face

An online mutiny this past week brought Facebook to its knees and gave a scary first look at how tenuous the world of cyberspace can be. Take notes, MySpace. Your parent company News Corp. paid over $600 million for the chance to be the social network and it can all go away at the click of a mouse.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg apologized in a letter posted to members by saying "We really messed this one up." How?

On Tuesday, September 5, Facebook implemented RSS feeds. As one student of mine said, "we like to spy on people but this is too much". The RSS feeds alerted friends to changes in members' profiles -- a&hellip

XM’s Lee Abrams to Speak at USC

My friend Lee Abrams has agreed to come to Los Angeles and talk about satellite radio, the future of mobile music media and take questions from students, professors, graduates and the media.

Abrams kicks off a USC Thornton School of Music series of new events known as "Thornton Hot Topics" in which cutting edge issues relating to music media can be discussed. Nothing is off limits. Lee is a very creative guy -- a thinker who has distinguished himself in the terrestrial radio field for many years.

When Abrams decided to leave terrestrial radio for satellite radio -- before most of us knew what satellite radio was going to&hellip

Why Katie Couric Matters … Sort of.

The next generation seems particularly indifferent to the rise of Katie Couric to anchor of CBS Evening News.

It's nothing personal, I'm convinced. It's just that they don't watch network TV newscasts. They don't TiVo them, either which is why CBS hired a 49-year old reporter to read news to a largely older audience.

I was recently interviewed for an article in the Baltimore Sun on the importance of music to the new CBS newscast. Music and sound effects, special effects and all the visual and audio techniques producers can develop seem to matter too much to television. It wasn't lost on any pundits that the composer&hellip

Sirius WiFi Satellite Radio — an Idea Whose Time Has Not Yet Come

It's nice to see that Sirius Satellite Radio is getting into the Internet delivery business with the sale of a new live portable receiver known as The Stiletto. Great name. Great device. Unfortunate timing. The hefty $349.99 price comes with the promise of listening by satellite or WiFi -- at home, in the car (kits sold separately -- ouch!) and the disappointment that you'll have to wait a long time before universal WiFi is available. The new device is intriguing. The SL 100 allows for 6 Hour Recording Blocks. Software updates can be done via WiFi connection allowing Mac and PC users to easily update without using a&hellip

Why MySpace’s Music Store Deserves Watching

The single-most visited Internet web address -- MySpace, the NewsCorp online venture, is going after Apple's iTunes. Many have tried and failed as iTunes commands a 70% share of the digital music market. The big four major record labels are no doubt rooting for this attempt to break Apple's stranglehold over them.

SpiralFrog announced their new plan to launch a free music
download service supported by advertising by the end of the year. Many see SpiralFrog's approach as "same-old, same-old" (see comments to separate post). But the MySpace challenge -- by no means a slam dunk -- is more intriguing.

On the surface&hellip