Rdio snubs 'second rate' Indies

Kazaa founders now in bed with majors


Exclusive So much for the rebels socking it to The Man. The would-be "Spotify-killer" music service unveiled yesterday by former Kazaa founders Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis is happy to be owned by major labels. But Rdio won't extend the same offer to the Indie sector, The Register has learned.

As with Spotify, the majors (Universal, Sony, Warners and EMI) were offered equity in the music startup. But Rdio has refused independent representative Merlin the same courtesy of an equity stake - even though the label negotiates on behalf of a significant share of the market, effectively declaring that it considers indie music 'second rate'.

Individual indie labels can still negotiate licenses with Rdio, but Merlin was created as a "fifth major" to negotiate collectively on their behalf.

Labels take equity in music startups when they're leery about their ability to make money. Which is most of the time. The tech company typically gets preferential royalties from the deal. But it's a mixed blessing for the startup, and some have overpaid and seen most of their equity swallowed up by fees to majors. And managers and individual artists aren't happy about the transparency - since there isn't really any.

But by excluding independents from such deals, the four majors risk accusations that they're acting as a cartel, and closer regulatory scrutiny. The Big Four snubbed eMusic for years because the service insisted upon selling DRM-free downloads. Three of the four still do.

Zennstrom and Friis aren't short of a bob or two. They personally pocketed $510m after selling Skype to eBay, but were then able to buy back a stake in the company last year, after eBay finally decided to get shot.

Merlin hadn't responded to our request for comment in time for publication; if they do we'll let you know. ®

Bootnote

Yesterday we described Kazaa as a poor clone of the Gnutella code released in 2000 by Justin Frankel of Winamp fame. There was one good thing to come out of Kazaa, though. Anthony Rose joined Project Cartel as CTO earlier this year.


Other stories you might like

  • Despite 'key' partnership with AWS, Meta taps up Microsoft Azure for AI work
    Someone got Zuck'd

    Meta’s AI business unit set up shop in Microsoft Azure this week and announced a strategic partnership it says will advance PyTorch development on the public cloud.

    The deal [PDF] will see Mark Zuckerberg’s umbrella company deploy machine-learning workloads on thousands of Nvidia GPUs running in Azure. While a win for Microsoft, the partnership calls in to question just how strong Meta’s commitment to Amazon Web Services (AWS) really is.

    Back in those long-gone days of December, Meta named AWS as its “key long-term strategic cloud provider." As part of that, Meta promised that if it bought any companies that used AWS, it would continue to support their use of Amazon's cloud, rather than force them off into its own private datacenters. The pact also included a vow to expand Meta’s consumption of Amazon’s cloud-based compute, storage, database, and security services.

    Continue reading
  • Atos pushes out HPC cloud services based on Nimbix tech
    Moore's Law got you down? Throw everything at the problem! Quantum, AI, cloud...

    IT services biz Atos has introduced a suite of cloud-based high-performance computing (HPC) services, based around technology gained from its purchase of cloud provider Nimbix last year.

    The Nimbix Supercomputing Suite is described by Atos as a set of flexible and secure HPC solutions available as a service. It includes access to HPC, AI, and quantum computing resources, according to the services company.

    In addition to the existing Nimbix HPC products, the updated portfolio includes a new federated supercomputing-as-a-service platform and a dedicated bare-metal service based on Atos BullSequana supercomputer hardware.

    Continue reading
  • In record year for vulnerabilities, Microsoft actually had fewer
    Occasional gaping hole and overprivileged users still blight the Beast of Redmond

    Despite a record number of publicly disclosed security flaws in 2021, Microsoft managed to improve its stats, according to research from BeyondTrust.

    Figures from the National Vulnerability Database (NVD) of the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) show last year broke all records for security vulnerabilities. By December, according to pentester Redscan, 18,439 were recorded. That's an average of more than 50 flaws a day.

    However just 1,212 vulnerabilities were reported in Microsoft products last year, said BeyondTrust, a 5 percent drop on the previous year. In addition, critical vulnerabilities in the software (those with a CVSS score of 9 or more) plunged 47 percent, with the drop in Windows Server specifically down 50 percent. There was bad news for Internet Explorer and Edge vulnerabilities, though: they were up 280 percent on the prior year, with 349 flaws spotted in 2021.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022