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"Consumer interest in file-sharing sites is skyrocketing."
——Jarvis Mak, NetRatings
PLUG.IN, TURN ON, TUNE OUT
News Out Of Tech Convention Suggests A Gosh-Darn Terrific Future
It’s Plug.In—Get your plugs in.

That’s the message coming out of Internet research firm Jupiter Media Metrix’s Plug.In convention, which kicked off today in New York. That, and everything will be perfect in the future—especially the digital music world.

Right. Jupiter says that in the year 2006, 30% of online music sales will come from digital downloads and music subscriptions. In the future—when all travel will be done via monorail and jet pack, and all of your nutritional needs will be taken care of with the wondrous Protein Pill—all will be great, Jupiter claims, noting that online music spending will grow to $6.2 billion five years from now.

The firm followed up with the prediction that, while single paid downloads will account for $25 million in 2001 versus $3 million for subscriptions by 2006 downloads will be worth $700 million, subscriptions $1.2 billion. Just like your stock portfolio.

While hitsdailydouble.com does not advocate the use of crack cocaine, smoking it will make Jupiter’s numbers look more plausible.

Meanwhile, Jupiter Media Metrix competitor Nielsen//NetRatings, kings of the double slash mark, are keeping busy by reporting that Napster is still the most popular file-sharing site, despite not having any music or any swapping servers in operation. What that means is, Napster users have gone elsewhere. At number two is KaZaA, with an increase in traffic of 142% in the past two months. Those in the 12-17 age group represent a third of that traffic to KaZaA, while they are just 12.6% of web users. Said Jarvis Mak, senior Internet analyst at NetRatings: "Consumer interest in file-sharing sites is skyrocketing. And it’s not even the year 2006."

Yep, if you measure consumer interest by what’s free and underground, there’s a lot of money to be made in the… um… where’s that pipe?

But subscription services are coming fast and furious anyway. Liquid Audio announced its new sub initiative as well as its spiffy new Liquid Player Six (see story, 7/23), and MusicMatch ("Hey, we settled with the RIAA") is demonstrating its Radio MX service at Plug.In today.

MusicMatch, which says it has 18,000 subscribers for the CD-quality streaming service, calls Radio MX the first "near music-on-demand service with customizable radio and professionally programmed stations." Does that mean it’s near music or near on-demand?

Says MusicMatch CEO Dennis Mudd: "MusicMatch Radio MX has surpassed our expectations for membership in just a short time." Hmmmm, $49.95 a year multiplied by 18,000 users = $899,100. Wonder what expectations were?

Others with announcements include CenterSpan, purchaser of Scour’s ass and assets, which unveiled its C-Star P2P platform. The company is combining P2P with its own sub-service and offering to provide branded third-party retail templates and end-to-end distribution services including "content preparation, DRM license acquistion and clearing, content tracking and reporting, billing, blah blah blah."

Then there’s Rights| System, InterTrust’s multi-device DRM platform for secure content and management. InterTrust says that new platform is a lightweight, flexible, multi-platform environment that easily integrates with existing systems. Apparently, space-age polymers are what make it lightweight and flexible.

BMG Entertainement, meanwhile, picked Context Media’s platform for managing and syndicating digital content.

"The challenge of managing and promoting thousands of distinct media assets across the entire BMG worldwide empire is a formidable job, requiring a robust content infrastucture that’s distributed and [here comes that word again] flexible," said Context Media President/CEO Dan Harple. "And as soon as BMG’s check clears, we can buy more ramen."

Sure, security is a big issue and there’s no reason to take it lightly. But what’s the point of locking up what nobody’s buying?

In news about a technology that people actually want, more than 20 million DVD players have been sold in the past four years. The growth of the format is twice as fast as CD players. And they’re not even that flexible or lightweight.

Now if you’ll excuse us, we have to scribble a business plan on a napkin and wave it at some VC guys.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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