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March 26 2013

Wo sind die Gewinne der Musikindustrie hin?

Über die Musikindustrie und ihre Milchmädchenrechnung speziell mit Blick auf das Filesharing habe ich vor längerer Zeit schon mal ausführlich gebloggt.

Wenn ich jetzt bei Heise lese, dass Apple mit iTunes rund 2 Milliarden Dollar Gewinn erzielt, passt das ins Bild. Die Musikindustrie hätte diese Gewinne ohne weiteres selbst machen können, wenn sie Ende der neunziger Jahre aus der Schmoll- und Prozesshansel-Ecke raus gekommen wäre und sich auf ein im Wandel befindliches Musikgeschäft konzentriert hätte. Gleichzeitig belegen diese Zahlen aber auch eindrucksvoll, dass nicht das Filesharing bzw. das sog. Raukopieren das größte Problem der Musikindustrie ist, sondern vielmehr der Umstand, dass man die Herausforderungen des Internets nicht rechtzeitig angenommen und auch jetzt noch nicht vollständig begriffen hat, dass es kein Zurück zu alten Geschäftsmodellen gibt, egal wieviele Filesharer man noch abmahnt.

Reposted bykrekk krekk

January 11 2013

Amazons Autorip: Bekommen wir demnächst auch Bücher geschenkt?

Amazons US-Kunden, die dort nach 1997 Musik-CDs gekauft haben, bekommen die Musik nun als MP3-Datei im Cloud-Player des Unternehmens bereitgestellt.


March 29 2012

Commerce Weekly: Google Wallet vs Isis is coming soon

Here's what caught my eye in commerce news this week.

Who's got the winning wallet?

Several recent articles have speculated about the coming competition between Google Wallet and the forthcoming mobile wallet from Isis, which is set to debut in tests in Austin and Salt Lake City this summer. Tech bloggers love a contest, and even though there's only one major player in this race so far, observers are handicapping the players before they even take the field. ran a column comparing the merits of the two platforms in several categories. (Where was the massive infographic that we've all grown used to for this sort of thing?) Google took the prize in time-to-market (already out there, a little) and branding, while the nod went to Isis for building a solid ecosystem, with its support from three major U.S. wireless carriers and the top credit card networks and handset builders. Isis should also get the award for most imaginative and compelling demo video, based on the clip of Cyber Illusionist Marco Tempest at SXSW a few weeks ago (demo begins 15 seconds in, after the ad):

Of course, both of these plays depend on NFC wireless capability in phones, and while that's destined to ramp up soon, GigaOm reported that in 2011, NFC in the U.S. lagged far behind other regions. Of the 30 million NFC-capable handsets sold worldwide last year, about five million went to North America, 10 million went to Europe, and more than that went to Asia. Some mobile wallets, of course, don't rely on NFC: PayPal, for example, is getting ready to launch an updated version of its wallet that operates closer to the direct billing model, where you enter your mobile number on the retailer's keypad and then confirm when a text is sent to your mobile. PayPal's system is a bit less elegant than wireless tap and pay, but as we wrote a few weeks ago, it's ready now and available on any phone that supports texting.

We couldn't help notice that all this handicapping of the two most visible mobile wallets overlooked the potential of a third player that has yet to enter the arena. Only a few weeks ago, mobile payment geeks were abuzz about newly published patents from Apple that described a method for payment with credit cards that sends the receipt to the user's iTunes account. And since there are more than 200 million of those iTunes accounts (and 350 million iOS devices out there), that represents a significant installed user base that may be receptive to Apple's familiar interface applied to a mobile wallet. Those who think Apple is coming late to the party should be reminded that Apple has never had to be the first to a market to end up dominating it.

X.commerce harnesses the technologies of eBay, PayPal and Magento to create the first end-to-end multi-channel commerce technology platform. Our vision is to enable merchants of every size, service providers and developers to thrive in a marketplace where in-store, online, mobile and social selling are all mission critical to business success. Learn more at

In-app purchases continue to dominate

In-app purchase screenshotHere's more evidence that in-app purchases are driving most of the revenues in mobile apps. According to Inside Mobile Apps, Distimo, which specializes in tracking app store activity, reports that a majority of the top-grossing apps on iPad, iPhone and Android monetize with in-app purchases. The researcher found that, of the top 200 grossing apps in the iPad App Store, the iPhone App store, and the Google Play store in February, 74% of the iPad apps and 80% of the iPhone apps featured in-app purchases. The numbers are even more remarkable when taken with the additional insight that only 10% of all iPad apps and 6% of iPhone apps even offer in-app purchases. So, there appears to be an awful lot of iOS apps that aren't yet interested in playing in the winning game.

The number was lower on Android apps (56%). Inside Mobile Apps' Kathleen De Vere suggested that may be because Android has a shorter history with in-app purchases (only since last May) and, related, fewer Android apps offer in-app purchases.

The findings support other reports that have also suggested the superiority of the foot-in-the-door model, including one by Flurry Analytics last summer that found freemium emerging as the dominant model for generating revenue from mobile apps.

Tip us off

News tips and suggestions are always welcome, so please send them along.

If you're interested in learning more about the commerce space, check out DevZone on, a collaboration between O'Reilly and X.commerce.


February 15 2012

Was darf man mit Dateien aus Online-Shops machen?

Wer Inhalte als digitalen Download kauft, muss drei Dinge beachten: Das Urheberrecht, die Nutzungsbedingungen der Anbieter und den immer noch verbreiteten Kopierschutz.


January 26 2012

Commerce Weekly: Target doesn't want to be the showroom for online retailers

Here are a few things going on in the world of online commerce this week.

Target wants to fight "scan and scram"

TargetRemember all that talk before the holidays about the blissful union between brick-and-mortar retailers and mobile users? Retailers seemed to have accepted that many of their customers shop with smartphones in hand — and retailers even appeared to be embracing it. A Deloitte consultant who follows these things, Kasey Lobaugh, told Internet Retailer that retailers:

... need to invest in providing customer connectivity in the store, including in-store Wi-Fi, ... building functionality that best serves the customer at the 'point of need' and thinking about the capabilities that align with the customer's location and context, as the customer may be in the store with a smartphone in hand or in a variety of other locations and scenarios.

Indeed, Macy's, Sears, and Nordstrom boasted about their in-store free Wi-Fi. Personally, I realized this meant I no longer had to chase after the Home Depot staff whose "Ask Me" shirts always seem to be disappearing just around the far end of the aisle. I could now ask my iPhone.

But a report in The Wall Street Journal this week about Target fighting back against "showrooming" has everyone wondering if all that goodwill is gone with the swept-up tinsel and empty See's Candies boxes. The Journal reported that Target wrote a letter to suppliers asking for their help avoiding the fate of becoming physical showrooms for online retailers. They're asking vendors to make unique products that can be sold only at Target, so there's no option to find them cheaper online. "What we aren't willing to do," the Journal quoted the letter as saying, "is let online-only retailers use our brick-and-mortar stores as a showroom for their products and undercut our prices without making investments, as we do, to proudly display your brands."

The letter certainly points out the missing logic in the equation: upbeat stories about free Wi-Fi in stores all seemed to suggest that those smartphone-enabled shoppers would be checking in at the retailers' own online site for reviews and availability. Who would have guessed that these ungrateful shoppers would stoop so low as to compare prices at other sites? Is all harmony lost? Will our favorite stores try to block our signals or ask their suppliers to come up with unique brick-and-mortar-only SKUs to confuse Red Laser?

There are still some voices calling for reconciliation. Will Reese on offers seven ways retailers can combat "scan and scram", including beefing up a store's own mobile presence and being clear to customers about the value the store provides. No one could accuse Target of failing to invest in its online and mobile stores, but I suppose one could make the argument that a little more investment in the customer service aspect of Target's staff could help turn the tide. After all, as Reese describes in his story, Apple Stores aren't afraid of customers with smartphones, possibly because they know the people working those stores — and in particular, their expertise — are one of the company's biggest retail assets.

X.commerce harnesses the technologies of eBay, PayPal and Magento to create the first end-to-end multi-channel commerce technology platform. Our vision is to enable merchants of every size, service providers and developers to thrive in a marketplace where in-store, online, mobile and social selling are all mission critical to business success. Learn more at

iTunes also had a monster year

The huge numbers in Apple's latest earnings report caught all the attention, but if you dig in, you'll also find some pretty impressive stats for iTunes. Apple's online content store sold about $6 billion worth of music, movies, TV shows, and apps in 2011, up 55% from $4.2 billion in 2010. Billboard reported that iTunes moved nearly $1.7 billion of content in the holiday quarter of 2011. It's interesting to compare that with Amazon's $43 billion in sales last year and then realize that Apple didn't need to ship any physical products to hit its iTunes number.

Got news?

News tips and suggestions are always welcome, so please send them along.

If you're interested in learning more about the commerce space, check out DevZone on, a collaboration between O'Reilly and X.commerce.


October 06 2011

Steve Jobs, Apple co-founder, dies at 56

The mastermind behind an empire that has revolutionised personal computing, telephony and music, dies in California

Steve Jobs, billionaire co-founder of Apple and the mastermind behind an empire of products that revolutionised computing, telephony and the music industry, has died in California at the age of 56.

Jobs stepped down in August as chief executive of the company he helped set up in 1976, citing illness. He had been battling an unusual form of pancreatic cancer, and had received a liver transplant in 2009.

Jobs wrote in his letter of resignation: "I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple's CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come."

Apple released a statement paying tribute: "Steve's brilliance, passion and energy were the source of countless innovations that enrich and improve all of our lives … The world is immeasurably better because of Steve."

Bill Gates, the former chief executive of Microsoft, said in a statement that he was "truly saddened to learn of Steve Jobs's death". He added: "The world rarely sees someone who has had the profound impact Steve has had, the effects of which will be felt for many generations to come.

"For those of us lucky enough to get to work with him, it's been an insanely great honour. I will miss Steve immensely."

He is survived by his wife, Laurene, and four children. In a statement his family said Jobs "died peacefully today surrounded by his family … We know many of you will mourn with us, and we ask that you respect our privacy during our time of grief".

Jobs was one of the pioneers of Silicon Valley and helped establish the region's claim as the global centre of technology. He founded Apple with his childhood friend Steve Wozniak, and the two marketed what was considered the world's first personal computer, the Apple II.

He was ousted in a bitter boardroom battle in 1985, a move that he later claimed was the best thing that could have happened to him. Jobs went on to buy Pixar, the company behind some of the biggest animated hits in cinema history including Toy Story, Cars and Finding Nemo.

He returned to Apple 11 years later when it was being written off by rivals. What followed was one of the most remarkable comebacks in business history.

Apple was briefly the most valuable company in the world earlier this year, knocking oil giant Exxon Mobil off the top spot. The company produces $65.2bn a year in revenue compared with $7.1bn in its business year ending September 1997.

Starting with his brightly coloured iMacs, Jobs went on to launch hit after hit transformed personal computing.

Then came the success of the iPod, which revolutionised the music industry, leading to a collapse in CD sales and making Jobs one of the most powerful voices in an industry he loved.

His firm was named in homage to the Beatles' record label, Apple. But the borrowing was permitted on the basis that the computing firm would stay out of music. After the success of the iPod the two Apples became engaged in a lengthy legal battle which finally ended last year when the Beatles allowed iTunes to start selling their back catalogue.

Jobs's remarkable capacity to spot what people wanted next came without the aid of market research or focus groups.

"For something this complicated, it's really hard to design products by focus groups," he once said. "A lot of times, people don't know what they want until you show it to them."

Jobs initially hid his illness but his startling weight loss started to unnerve his investors. He took a six-month medical leave of absence in 2009, during which he received a liver transplant, and another medical leave of absence in mid-January before stepping down as chief executive in August.

Jobs leaves an estimated $8.3bn, but he often dismissed others' interest in his wealth. "Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn't matter to me … Going to bed at night saying we've done something wonderful … that's what matters to me." © 2011 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

April 20 2011

An iTunes model for data

iTunes and a spreadsheetAs we move toward a data economy, can we take the digital content model and apply it to data acquisition and sales? That's a suggestion that Gil Elbaz (@gilelbaz), CEO and co-founder of the data platform Factual made in passing at his recent talk at Web 2.0 Expo.

Elbaz spoke about some of the hurdles that startups face with big data — not just the question of storage, but the question of access. But as he addressed the emerging data economy, Elbaz said we will likely see novel access methods and new marketplaces for data. Startups will be able to build value-added services on top of big data, rather than having to worry about gathering and storing the data themselves. "An iTunes for data," is how he described it.

So what would it mean to apply the iTunes model to data sales and distribution? I asked Elbaz to expand on his thoughts.

What problems does an iTunes model for data solve?

Gil Elbaz: One key framework that will catalyze data sharing, licensing and consumption will be an open data marketplace. It is a place where data can be programmatically searched, licensed, accessed, and integrated directly into a consumer application. One might call it the "eBay of data" or the "iTunes of data." iTunes might be the better metaphor because it's not just the content that is valuable, but also the convenience of the distribution channel and the ability to pay for only what you will consume.

How would an iTunes model for data address licensing and ownership?

Gil Elbaz: In the case of iTunes, in a single click I purchase a track, download it, establish licensing rights on my iPhone and up to four other authorized devices, and it's immediately integrated into my daily life. Similarly, the deepest value will come for a marketplace that, with a single click, allows a developer to license data and have it automatically integrated into their particular application development stack. That might mean having the data instantly accessible via API, automatically replicated to a MySQL server on EC2, synchronized at, or copied to Google App Engine.

An iTunes for data could be priced from a single record/entity to a complete dataset. And it could be licensed for single use, caching allowed for 24 hours, or perpetual rights for a specific application.

What needs to happen for us to move away from "buying the whole album" to buying the data equivalent of a single?

Gil Elbaz: The marketplace will eventually facilitate competitive bidding, which will bring the price down for developers. iTunes is based on a fairly simple set-pricing model. But, in a world of multiple data vendors with commodity data, only truly unique data will command a premium price. And, of course, we'll need great search technology to find the right data or data API based on the developer's codified requirements: specified data schema, data quality bar, licensing needs, and the bid price.

Another dimension that is relevant to Factual's current model: data as a currency. Some of our most interesting partnerships are based on an open exchange of information. Partners access our data and also contribute back streams of edits and other bulk data into our ecosystem. We highly value the contributions our partners make. "Currency" is a medium of exchange and a basis for accessing other scarce resources. In a world where not everyone is yet actively looking to license data, unique data is increasingly an important medium of exchange.

This interview was edited and condensed.

Photos: iTunes interface courtesy Apple, Inc; Software Development LifeCycle Templates By Phase Spreadsheet by Ivan Walsh, on Flickr


November 05 2010

Windows Phone apps are more expensive than iPhone apps

The Windows Marketplace for Mobile now has about 1,400 apps spread across 16 categories. In this short post I'll provide some basic statistics* and compare it with the grandaddy of app stores - the U.S. iTunes store.

First let's look at the distribution of apps across categories. Like the iPhone and Android platforms, Windows Phone 6.x / 7 are rich in game apps. Given that there are far fewer Windows Phone apps, it may take some time before we see the variety of categories found in iTunes. There are large iPhone categories (medical**, education, sports ... ) that aren't part of the taxonomy for Windows Marketplace for Mobile.


More than 90% of the 280,000+ iTunes apps aren't free, compared to 78% of apps available on Windows Marketplace for Mobile. Below are the share of free/paid apps across the different categories.


At least for now, Windows Phone 6.x / 7 apps are pricier than iPhone apps. The mean price of a paid iPhone app is $3.43, compared to $6.16 for paid apps available on Windows Marketplace for Mobile. Welcome news for the many developers gearing up to produce apps for Windows Phone 7!


(*) Data for this post: U.S. iTunes store through 10/31/2010, limited to iPhone apps; Windows Marketplace for Mobile through 11/3/2010.

(**) The Medical category was added several months after the launch of the iTunes app store.

June 30 2010

Popular iPhone games stay highly-ranked only for a few weeks

With 40,000+ Games to choose from, the list of Top 100 free and paid games are frequently scanned by iPhone gamers. In this short post, I'll share some basic statistics on popular games sold through the U.S. iTunes app store1.

How much time does a popular game app spend ranked in the Top 100? In the chart below I calculated how many different days an app appears2 on a Top 100 list. On average (i.e., using the median), a popular Paid game appears on the Top 100 chart on 15 different calendar days3:


A related metric is the proportion of days4 a popular app is on the Top 100 charts: for every 100 days its available in iTunes, a typical popular Paid game is on the Top 100 list on 5 different days.


How long does it take to secure a spot on a Top 100 list? Judging by the median age5 at chart debut, Top 100 game apps tend to crash the charts within a few days of their appearance in iTunes.


(1) Data for this post includes all U.S. iTunes (game) apps from 7/27/2008 to 5/30/2010. Most game apps work on iphones and ipads.

(2) For each app that has ever appeared in either the Top 100 Paid/Free Games lists, I counted the number of different (and possibly non-consecutive) days that app is on the list.

(3) However, the MEDIAN number of days between an app's Top 100 chart debut and final appearance, is 20 days for paid apps and 13 days for free apps.

(4) (# of different days app is in the Top 100) / (# of different days app is in iTunes)

(5) Days between (first appearance in iTunes) and (first appearance on Top 100 list).

December 22 2009

Four short links: 22 December 2009

  1. Trading Shares in Milliseconds (Technology Review) -- With the rise of automation, the bulk of U.S. stock trading has moved from the once-crowded floor of Manhattan's New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) to silent server farms run by exchanges and broker-dealers across the country: the proportion of all trades that the NYSE handles has shrunk from 80 percent in 2005 to 40 percent today. Trading is now essentially a virtual art, and its practitioners put such a premium on speed that NASDAQ has considered issuing equal 100-foot lengths of cable to the brokers who send orders to its exchange servers. (via Hacker News)
  2. Stream iTunes Over SSH -- short script that lets you tunnel itunes from one machine to another over ssh (by default iTunes only shares on the local network).
  3. Doodle -- simple way to schedule a common meeting time. (via joshua on Delicious)
  4. Crowdsourcing -- Simon Willison's thoughtful "lessons learned" from his crowdsourcing projects at the Guardian. Crowdsourcing is not as simple as "give them a wiki and they will fill it" (this is related to the failed "everyone in the world wants to work on my broken payroll system" theory of open source), and Simon explains some of the subtleties. The reviewing experience the first time round was actually quite lonely. We deliberately avoided showing people how others had marked each page because we didn’t want to bias the results. Unfortunately this meant the site felt like a bit of a ghost town, even when hundreds of other people were actively reviewing things at the same time. For the new version, we tried to provide a much better feeling of activity around the site. We added “top reviewer” tables to every assignment, MP and political party as well as a “most active reviewers in the past 48 hours” table on the homepage (this feature was added to the first project several days too late). User profile pages got a lot more attention, with more of a feel that users were collecting their favourite pages in to tag buckets within their profile.

November 05 2009

Three Paradoxes of the Internet Age - Part Two

Individual perception of increased choice can occur while the overall choice pool is getting smaller

This gem from Whimsley makes the point - with extensive statistical modeling supporting the argument - that our algorithm-obsessed, long tail merchants are actually depleting the overall choice pool despite the fact that as individuals we may be experiencing a sense of more choice through recommendations engines...

Online merchants such as Amazon, iTunes and Netflix may stock more items than your local book, CD, or video store, but they are no friend to "niche culture". Internet sharing mechanisms such as YouTube and Google PageRank, which distil the clicks of millions of people into recommendations, may also be promoting an online monoculture. Even word of mouth recommendations such as blogging links may exert a homogenizing pressure and lead to an online culture that is less democratic and less equitable, than offline culture.

In short, the long tail has gangrene at its extremity - the niche. More disarming is the conclusion that it isn't just the output of our recommendation algorithms that is leading to what the author calls "monopoly populism"and the end of niche culture:
"The recommender "system" could be anything that tends to build on its own popularity, including word of mouth...Our online experiences are heavily correlated, and we end up with monopoly populism...A "niche", remember, is a protected and hidden recess or cranny, not just another row in a big database. Ecological niches need protection from the surrounding harsh environment if they are to thrive. Simply putting lots of music into a single online iTunes store is no recipe for a broad, niche-friendly culture.

The network effects that so characterize Internet services are a positive feedback loop where the winners take all (or most). The issue isn't what they bring to the table, it is what they are leaving behind.

here is a link to yesterday's post: More access to information doesn’t bring people together, often it isolates us.

Tomorrow: The myth of personal empowerment takes root amidst a massive loss of personal control.

Reposted byjagas jagas
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