The Latest! Going Postal, Blackberry, Sony Music, Ticketmaster, New Zealand, FB…

Because small labels don’t have enough issues, here’s another one: rising postal rates in the US.  Sounds like a manageable problem, though the latest round is robust: according to NPR, what once cost $13.17 to ship from the DC to London now costs $18.60.  Which of course drastically changes the proposition on a $12 piece of vinyl.  “I’ve never seen one this drastic,” Dischord‘s Brian Lowit said.

Blackberry used to command 50 percent of the smartphone market.  Now, they’re marginalized with 2 percent.  That makes a comeback seem statistically unlikely, though Alicia Keys is now part of the comeback effort.  As ‘Global Creative Director,’ Keys will help blend some cool into the development process, including a possible lean towards female buyers.

So, what’s a ‘Sony Music Unlimited,’ anyway?  So far, this Spotify competitor seems to be wallowing in obscurity, with subscriber tallies unknown (and likely very low).  But there’s progress: just yesterday, the company bumped its sound fidelity to 320kbps across desktop apps, the PS3, and Android smartphones and tablets.  More peripherals are coming soon.

Not sure if this solves Ticketmaster‘s impending day of doom at the hands of dozens of disruptive ticketing upstarts, but it may make buying tickets a little easier in 2013.  That’s because Ticketmaster is trying to graduate past traditionally-clunky CAPTCHA systems with a cleaner system designed by Solve Media.  So, instead of deciphering scratchy Sanskrit (with a line through it), users will be presented with legible questions that would be difficult for a bot to entertain (that is, yet).  Ticketmaster execs claim that buyers are moving more quickly through the transaction process.

New Zealand‘s Copyright Tribunal is now handing out its first round of three-strikes fines.  The first bill is $616 (about $515 in US currency), with Rihanna’s “Man Down” among the uploaded evidence.

Over on Wall Street, shares of Facebook (FB) are actually doing better than you might imagine.  Earlier this week, the stock pushed past $31, up substantially from a horrid low of $17.55.  But don’t expect a surge anytime soon: right now, the stock is dipping below the $30-mark, thanks partly to a substantial drop in recent-quarter net income.

Written while listening to Alex Clare. 

2 Responses

  1. Casey

    They passed the law in New Zealand in 2011 and it took until 2013 to fine their first person?

    • Visitor

      The anti-piracy initiatives that are introduced all over the world these days take time and consideration to set up.

      We’re talking big machinery here, and we should be pleased to know that authorities work hard to get it right from the start, instead of presenting half baked solutions.

      It is also good to know that the ISP’s copyright infringement team as well as the right holder took their time to warn the pirate three times over more than 6 months before the trial began.

      And the fines are reasonable:

      $120 per downloaded or uploaded song, plus fees.

      That amount won’t ruin anybody, and it’s very close to the size that the majority of the population think is fair.

      So, all in all, a very good start for New Zealand’s Copyright Tribunal!