Larger Royalties for Older Artists – The music industry is watching a current lawsuit asking how much a song on a digital music service such as iTunes be worth to the performer. Rapper Eminem is at the center of the suite but thousands of older performers who have not done a new album in decades may benefit. Eminem sued his label, Universal Music Group, over whether songs sold online should be considered a license or a sale. The courts have previously ruled that with contracts that are so old they don’t mention digital sales, the digital music must be treated as a license. That makes a big difference financially – because as an example, Eminem’s contract says he only gets 12% for a sale, but 50% for a license. This wouldn’t affect younger artists much because since the beginning of the this century record companies have included digital sales among an artist’s royalties. But many older artists’ contracts predate digital music and have not been negotiated. They stand to profit significantly. However, Universal claims the ruling has no bearing on any other recording agreement.
Improved 3D Telecast Technology – Next3D and Turner Broadcasting System have expanded their collaborative alliance to include efforts to deploy 3D technology for real-time production and delivery of ljive events to the emerging home 3D audience. An executive VP at Turner referred to Next3D’s compression technology as addressing some of the major challenges to delivering 3D content. Current 3DTV broadcasting squeeze the 3D image into a single 2D frame, whereas Next3D’s technology enables 3D video encoding and delivery in full definition 1080p. It reduces the amount of data by up to 75% to deliver a high-definition 3D image, and also reduces the bandwidth needed for home delivery, without sacrifice to image quality. The images are enhanced and retain details critical to pristine 3D HD. Next3D’s proprietary video compression technology delivers a clear 3D experience over cable, satellite or broadband Internet.
New Universal Vinyl Distribution – Universal Music Group Distribution – the sales, marketing and distribution arm of Universal Music, the world’s largest music company – has announced launching Groovetown Vinyl, a new online storefront specializing in high-quality audio products of discerning music fans. Visitors can purchase lossless audio FLAC files bundled with audiophile vinyl releases at a discounted price. A Universal spokesman said “Music fans have fallen in love all over again with the vinyl experience, from the packaging to the distinctive sound, to the collectability, and the FLAC file provides the ease of digital listening without any of the sacrifice normally accompanying digitally-compressed audio files. [These products] will satisfy …the audiophile, the technologist, and the true music aficionado.” For a limited time visitors receive a 15% discount on purchases and free shipping for orders over $50. There is also a sweepstakes running from now to April 19th to win one copy of every LP available on the site.
Home Electronics Offset Home Efficiency Gains – A new survey from the U.S. Energy Information Administration confirms that our electronic gadgets are now using more and more energy in our homes. The survey of 12,000 U.S. households showed improvements in efficiency from better appliances and weatherizing over the past several years, but a marked increase in the electricity load from electronics. In 1978 about ⅔ of a home’s energy went to space heating and 17% to electronics. With the proliferation of TVs, DVRs, PCs, music systems, and cell phones, electronics in 2005 represented 31% of total energy use, with only 41% going to space heating. Overall there has been a 31% reduction in energy use per household since 1978, due to purchase of EnergyStar appliances, improved insulation, etc., but the electricity load has offset these gains. Few homes in 1978 had a personal computer, but now 76% have at least one and 35% more than one. Larger and more numerous TVs also affect the electronics load. And nearly ⅓ of households have at least four small electronic devices plugged in and continually charging at home. A number of products to reduce the plug load in homes are being developed, and home automation can schedule turning off major electronics and appliances when not used, instead of manually turning them off.