20050406

Radio killed the video stars

More meshed potatoes ahead ? MusicFM are selling about 20,000 live streams from their website everyday thanks to 4FO's Potatosystem.

The format is neither "Red Apple" nor "Yukon Gold" but MP3 whose inventors, Fraunhofer IDMT (Fraunhofer-Institute for Digital Media Technology), initiated 4FO (4FriendsOnly.com Internet Technologies AG) back in 2000 with the help of the local university (Technische Universit├Ąt Ilmenau). The payment system (Paybest) and DRM system (Game Feature Platform or GFP, also implemented on the Softgames portal) are home made solutions too. The business model gives the bulk of the money to the artist and co-founder Tim Renner, a former Universal Music top exec, makes sure no music major is needed. Most songs are performed by German alternative bands, only a few big names accepting this up-to-now-not-so-secure system. Yet it seems to be catching, thanks to a smart viral marketing tool : buyers can become reselling platforms and get a 20% discount on the song. Besides, MusicFM knotted a partnership with T-Online's Musicload portal.

Presented at CeBIT 2005 on a Nokia 6630, PotatoSystem Mobile Music Messenger enables "mobile music chat" and users to pre-listen the songs of other PotatoSystem users while sending SMS. Talking about viral marketing... But such synergies between radio and mobile wouldn't be a first : years ago France Telecom Mobiles (now Orange France) and a few partners launched a system where you could order from your mobile the song you were hearing on the radio as it was broadcasted. You heard a familiar tune but couldn't remember the artist or the title ? No sweat : you just needed to give the station's name and could purchase the CD instantly. At that time, people envisioned the handset as the ultimate remote control. At that time, people were focusing on the GSM - W-CDMA path and DAB or DVB were as good as DOA. At that time, Virgin Radio was preparing for radio over UMTS on the Isle of Man.
Whatever the techno, narrowcast fanatics should remember open minded people will always enjoy some kind of broadcasting. Even automatic shuffles on an iPod owner's collection of songs won't replace the editorial line of a good DJ.




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