The King’s Clothes: He’s Naked, and So is the Artist!

In an article I read in the New York Times this morning, Streaming Shakes Up Music Industry’s Model for Royalties: As Music Streaming Grows, Royalties Slow to a Trickle, it’s not hard to see what needs to be done to help the starving artist into extinction, and the phat artist get a bit leaner.  Lawsuits?  No! Artists are biting into this hook line and sinker.  I think the really shocking bit that no one ever really wants to say because of the huge artists  which take in a lot more than other artists, is for similar reasons we don’t show the salaries of our fellow employees.  However, in some cases consumers do seem to gasp and rally around the starving employee’s or artists, in this case, when there is such a stark contrast in the earnings, such as in a developing nation, consumers seem to rally the troops.  Also, the Hollywood Industry seems to be OK with releasing the extravagant earnings of some of the top making actors and actresses.  If the Music Industry Association were to try to rally the troops to make an API (Application Interface) a requirement, and allow third parties to pull amounts of net royalties dynamically, or whenever those amounts are committed, as well as based upon each artist opting in or out, i.e. if artist, opts-out, they must be doing well might be the assumption, that transparency may shame the consumer into going in another direction with their music purchasing style.  If I can go to a Blog, and view a dashboard that shows the net royalties of any artist, and has a N/A for which artists have opted out, and you can see those tallies slowly rise, or static based on the committed time to book the royalties, music lovers may empathize with the artist.

A second, and parallel approach, is to just peel back Spotify, and look at the functionality, see what the consumer is getting beyond the streaming model, and offer it up similarity using a more artist,  consumer, distributor amenable cost model.  Don’t tell me it is all just the streaming aspect that attracts the customer, because it is certainly not.  Looking at the application, and how people interact with it I spot a few features off the back that are alluring.

EMC’s Documentum Competition for Google Docs in the SaaS space?

I was just curious if we would see the positioning of EMC’s Documentum as Software as a Service to compete with the likes of Google Docs, or will we see them continue to position for the Enterprise level private cloud model?  It would be great to hear your thoughts.  The Document Management Suite was an amazing full featured workflow document system, why not bring that to the forefront of the consumer market as a public cloud SaaS targeting small to mid sized markets, as well as the individual.  There are several profitable models where they would achieve significant margins, including accounting for the price to enter the market.

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Update:

When I first started commenting on Digital Assent Management solutions, I did not include the vast amounts of existing solutions by vendors in this space.  Below are lists of the DAM software vendors which are already in place today:

Digital Asset Management VendorsDigital Asset Management Vendors Directory

I’ve had hands on experience with several DAM products, including Documentum and SharePoint.  I have no idea why I did not include SharePoint for DAM evaluation.

 

Reaping the Dividends of not produced Advertisements, Television, and Movie Scripts

In an article from the New York Times, Dickens, Austen and Twain, Through a Digital Lens, they discussed may forms of Big Data analysis, including the popular studies from Google’s Book scanning project, which according to the article scanned 20 million books, and the site is used 50 times a minute.  Other studies sited in the article stated movie quotes from the Internet Movie Database, IMDb, as well as looking at advertising slogans raised questions regarding the search algorithms and the people who create them.

Quantitative tools in the humanities and the social sciences, as in other fields, are most powerful when they are controlled by an intelligent human. Experts with deep knowledge of a subject are needed to ask the right questions and to recognize the shortcomings of statistical models.

“You’ll always need both,” says Mr. Jockers, the literary quant. “But we’re at a moment now when there is much greater acceptance of these methods than in the past. There will come a time when this kind of analysis is just part of the tool kit in the humanities, as in every other discipline.”

In the article, it surfaces as a ‘tread lightly’ warning; however, it sounds like an inevitable, troubling, and tantalizing forbidden fruit.  Part of me would recommend scanning in all types of scripts, from Television Shows, Advertisements, and Movie Scripts, produced and also not aired.  There could even be a profitable model to this, and at the same time, make the person asking the questions think real hard on the question before asking, because every answer has a price.  If you put in all of the above scripts into an indexable data warehouse, associate a cost assigned per production company to charge back to the user and provide the fee to the production company if a) the abbreviated content shows up in a search as a line item and b) if the full content is selected by the user to be displayed with the indexable content selected and shown in it’s context.  Two separate pricing models are used for each type, so each action comes with a price.  On the positive side, there are creative talents that went into the creation of the script, and the production company that was able to acquire the script if produced or not, will still reap dividends from the creative artist that produced the script. There are already sites that contain script libraries, so a transformation would be required to utilize the scattered site libraries for analytical processing. Each feed would be allowed to have charge back for the library access, and a fee margin per hit.

E-Commerce Platform Maturity: Reviews, and MP3 Cloud Players

I have read a few complaints on line regarding book reviews, specifically, it seems most  E-Commerce platforms have given the user carte blanche on entering the rating products, i.e. they have the ability to rate any product, without proof the’ve read / used the product.  This approach does encourage the user to have a user friendly experience to add ratings, as users are mostly discouraged to populate any surveys, i.e. time is money, and people just rather do something else, unless they are very motivated.  Some of those motivation reasons: they are passionate about a book, for example, with great distain, or passionate about the material, typically passionate readers.  Historically, in the early days of E-Commerce platforms, ease of entry of ratings, and encouragement was the mantra to make sure users are able to guide fellow users.  We now have matured E-Commerce platforms that don’t necessarily need, en-mass ratings, i.e. sales tool to show potential buyers that people buy from their site.  An issue has arisen especially with amateur writers that have spawned up everywhere, or even with mature publishers, and social media, just like we see in negative political campaigns, mud slinging, so justified, some not, or at least may be interpretative, it gives less credibility to the politician, or book, in this case, and not necessarily for the correct reasons.

It sounds like mature E-Commerce platforms should probably start taking the high road, and give confidence and credibility to the reviews, and not just by relying on standard deviation, and outliers on the bell curve being negated.  This is also amplified with products that have fewer reviewers, i.e. budding authors trying to get their break.

One suggestion, for a book, for example, an author may provide a list of 100 questions or so regarding parts of the content of the book, and before being allowed to rate the book, the reviewer must answer three random multiple choice questions correctly.  Of course, they may have at least two or three sets of questions to press on with the review.  The author, especially the startup authors, would probably be encouraged to write the questions, and attempt to deflect invalid mud slinging, i.e. person never read the book.

The other topic I wanted to touch upon was Amazon’s MP3 Cloud Player.  I have come to rely on Amazon’s player, and my kids use it on their iPod, iPads, computers, etc.  Two small issues I have at least on the Mac Safari browser, I think it also is lacking on my Windows computer, a) I cannot sort any of the columns within any of the filters.  I am unable to select Artist, for example, in a playlist, and resort by the artist name, as one example.  I may be doing something wrong, but it seems like a basic feature.  b) my own personal ratings, like we see on iTunes do not appear as a column that I can sort upon, as well as other meta data available, seems skimpy, both to enter, as well as to sort upon.  As this product seems to have matured to the point to justify it’s existence seems only logical these two features must be on their road map.  I won’t rip the Cloud Player apart, because all fairness, Apple iTunes had a leap on these folks.  It would be cool to actually see lyrics automatically imported with purchased songs.  I haven’t checked iTunes in awhile.  At some point, Apple made a free form text field where you could copy in the lyrics, but you would need to paste in the lyrics yourself.  Yes, there are third party apps that display it, and they actually follow along on the lyrics, which is super cool, but nothing in the cloud player itself.  Oh, well, my two bits for the day.  Note:  this takes into account the premium player only offers additional storage, as implied by their sales and marketing, not features

Client Relationship Management Systems Integrating Twitter

A few months ago, I had an issue with my Internet Service Provider, griped about it on Twitter and before you know it, the organization has a Twitter search,  and was walking me through a problem.   It was amazing to have that type of personal care and quick response. So thinking about it, why not just add the additional feature to Customer Relationship Management (CRM).

As an example, the CRM system should troll through tweets looking for hashtags which may include company name, any additional issue related content, and then generate a unique ticket ID, which may be a separate queue from the regular CRM.  The tweet gets placed as a line item in the comments section appended with date, time and status.  A person then reviews the queue to try to identity the actual customer,  like following the user and tweeting back, who are you and how can I help suggesting to DM them your customer ID.  The companies’ account would be verified, so no trust issues.

If it is a valid customer,  they qualify the interaction, e.g. new service,  tech support,  move the Twitter ticket out of the queue and route a new CRM ticket to the appropriate department, where, they may continue the conversation by phone, or a company authorized chat program.

Sounds cool.

Get the party started: Accessory diffracts a laser to the rhythm of smartphone music

I searched and search, and could not find a simple laser pointer that connects to an Android or iPhone port, has diffractive elements which spread the beam(s), and bounce to the music.  It seems fairly straight forward, it’s like the iTunes Visualizer but a projected, diffracted laser that connects to your Android or iPhone.  A laser enthusiast and an iPhone or Android developer could probably create one fairly easily with a basic laser pointer, and several Diffractive Optical Elements.  I haven’t looked at the Apple iOS programming API in a while, so not sure what they expose to access the music that is currently playing, but if the API is available, then have at it.  Great addition to any party!

2013 CES Highlight: I now have one less use for my wife, thanks i-Massager

I was just reviewing some of the photos from the 2013 Computer Electronics Show, and showed her this i-Massager image.  I told her you’d probably have one less use for me if you had this device.  She looked at the device, and said, oh, that looks, nice.  Then she asked if it could be used with an iTouch or iPhone, then gave a nod, and smiled.  She was kidding, right?

iMassager
iMassager

All Fun and Games with Your Waterproof Smartphone Case

At the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show, there were many case vendors, and some were touting decent depths and times for waterproof smartphone cases.  I think a fun activity for the kids, and adults this summer may be to toss the phone into the pool, and an application can chime sonar, just like those items you toss in the water, and the kids race to see who gets them first.  Of course, different submersibles are worth varying points, typically the blue ones, which match the pool liner will be worth more points.  I wonder what the Jaws theme sounds like under water?  How about at night, might be fun to toss the phone into the water and see a light show.  Maybe throw on a laser splitter to the mini USB port, and you can have a funky laser light show under water.  Sigh. I don’t get invited to those parties anymore.

Ride the Near Field Communications Wave

At the 2013 Computer Electronics Show, there were only a few vendors touting Near Field Communications (NFC) technology integrated into their products, that I could see, and I did try to get to as many booths as possible.  Last week I mentioned people in Korea use NFC business cards to exchange and play music on their devices.  After that post, I did see a company’s tweet saying they were going to get into the distribution of NFC cards to store music, movies, and more, as the advertisement stated.  The benefits of this technology over Bluetooth simply low / near null power signature, inexpensive relative to the Bluetooth technology, and the potential shortcoming is it has a very short range.  Smartphones equipped with NFC can be paired with NFC tags or stickers which can be programmed by NFC apps to automate tasks.   NFC always involves an initiator and a target; the initiator actively generates an RF field that can power a passive target. This enables NFC targets to take very simple form factors such as tags, stickers, key fobs, or cards that do not require batteries. NFC peer-to-peer communication is possible, provided both devices are powered. NFC tags contain data and are typically read-only, but may be rewriteable.  I also had a conversation with someone that implied the storage on the NFC tags may be limited, so an easy workaround would be to store unique keys, such as a reverse domain name, and other pointers to data in a structured storage data web cloud, which is hosted by any number of verticals.

In this post I wanted to highlight a few potential uses.  Unfortunately, this is the second time I am writing the blog post because the first one didn’t get saved.  Annoying!

Automobile Servicing

Instead of the sticker a car dealer, or your mechanic, may put in the top left hand corner of your window to remind you to change your oil at N miles or Z months, an NFC sticker can be encrypted with your car’s VIN number, the complete required and suggested maintenance for the vehicle, as well as when and by who these services were completed.  The NFC Sticker may be placed in the console where you might place your smartphone.

Food Storage, Food Savings

On your refrigerator, you may place an NFC Sticker, that is overlaid on a magnet.  Every time food is removed or placed in a refrigerator or pantry, you can swipe the food NFC tagged with the cooperation of the food manufacturer.  An average usage model can be derived and encoded on the tag, as well as a proximity timer.  If the food item, such as milk, is not returned to refregerator within a given period of time, a notification on your smartphone, and/or a depreciation counter can be reprogrammed on the NFC tag to indicate approximate usage.  Once the item needs to be restocked, or placed back, a notification may appear on your smartphone, and/or added to your shopping list.

Books, Music, and Movie Samplings from a Store

If you’re in a store, and pass by a book, music CD or movie DVD, an NFC tag may contain a URL to download a PDF sample of the book, a music track from the CD, only available in stores through use of the NFC tag, or bonus material from a movie that only can be accessed through the NFC tag in stores to drive traffic into a store.  I specified a URL to link to the content because the current specification seems to limit the amount of storage on the NFC tag, however, specs can change, and I might be a bit conservative on the amount of storage necessary, but with a ‘secure cloud’, the storage shouldn’t be a factor. Any information on the NFC tag can simply be pointers to unique keys to data in tables within the cloud, such as a VIN number, or other generated unique keys.

Accessory Matching

Imagine your in a store by yourself, and trying on an article of clothing, if the dress, pants or skirt contains an NFC tag, you can touch it with your smartphone, which links you to either advisors or AI,  perhaps sponsored by a fashion magazine, that may provide you with with ideas to match that article of clothing, such as complementary accessories.  This could be accomplished through a video camera, front facing camera, perhaps ads float across the bottom of the screen, and/or it could be a subscription service.

 Meeting People / Dating

If you find yourself in a crowed bar, or party, and want to exchange information with someone you just met,  you have an NFC tag or sticker placed on the back of your hand, or on your purse, when bumped, will automatically exchange a brief bio, picture, likes, interests, and an email address.  If your smartphone is GPS compatible, the data is loaded onto your smartphone with the captured NFC tag data in addition to the location, so you never ask, so where did I meet this guy again?

Supply Chain Management and Shortages

Every person in the supply chain from manufacturer to retailers may have an NFC tag embedded within their employee identification tag, and as each individual handles the product or package, they swipe their card to the other NFC tag, and their employee unique identifier, along with date time and location (optional) may be rewrite the tag to append the new information.  This may prevent product shortages, as well as help further optimize the supply chain.

 

CES Highlights: Artist? Buy My Card. NFC Business Card Storage for Music, Movies

Here is an Entertainment Industry Game Changer from Art, Books, Music, and Movies

At the show, I was talking to someone about a concept car coming out of Korea, and I happen to hear about this interesting Near Field Communications (NFC) Music Card that not only can store a song, or album of music, but if you use it to touch your Samsung S3 phone, for example, you will be able to transfer and play the music.  The concept car was about music, and happen to have an NFC on the dashboard.  The person demonstrated the business card which contained a music note, and the demonstrator told me they were popular in Korea, wild.  So from there, it should be practical to potentially store movies, and I couldn’t afford to get a Blu-ray player anyway, oh well.  I still am bummed.

Here are a few scenarios:

  • I am an artist, and I want to give you a demo of my art, music, or movies, so I had the art gallery dealer, music or movie distributor my card.
  • If these cards are so inexpensive, I don’t need the overhead (headcount, warehouse, production of the expensive medium such as a DVD or Blue-ray disk).  Presto, I just use a customized printer, cost effective, I am sure, to print out my own cards that are filled with my art, music or movies.  More jobs out the window, so where is Steve Jobs when you need him?  At least he was a job creator for retail, and an entire society driven to produce a product, the world got together and did something, wow, who would have thought people would work toward a common goal.
Entertainment NFC Card
Entertainment NFC Card

This is a close up of the card, that can fit in my credit card holder.

Yeah, that’s it for me from the show.  I could go into a whole host of other technology applications, but, I just won’t. All the best from Las Vegas at the CES International show.  Just like Lenka, “Enjoy” The Show…