Tag Archives: Bittorrent

Big Data and the Myth of Online Anonymity

Most people assume that because the door to their room is closed there is some degree of privacy.  But we are learning that is not the case, especially when you reach out through the internet and do things.

Making this shockingly clear is a recent publication by Movoto analyzing public BitTorrent records and indexing them to geolocated IP addresses and other public data.  The result is an interesting index that shows what people are doing on a state by state level.   While the data shown is more about novelty than utility, it does give some insight into what is out there.  BitTorrent theft is prolific and there is hard evidence to back up the conduct.  Expect analytics like this to show up in congressional hearings soon as Congress is lobbied to take further action.

Click the image from the site to view the page and peruse some of what is publicly known about BitTorrent activity.

torrent-downloads-per10k

 

 

Promoting a New Model For Music ?

Ted Gioia, who often writes of technology and arts, recently published and article in The Daily Beast advocating lessons the music industry can take from television. His key steps are: 1. Target adults, not kids; 2. Embrace complexity; 3. Improve the technology;  4. Resist tired formulas; and 5. Invest in talent and quality.  However, they key element advocated is the notion that the music industry needs to step back from free distribution and go to a subscription model, such as used by HBO or Netflix.    The article is worth reading: Five Lessons the Faltering Music Industry Could Learn From TV

While it may be an excellent thing to essentially say, “problems with the music industry can be solved if they make better music and sell it,” I think this misses a few elements of the big picture.  One:  Music has traditionally been “subscription.”  One hundred years ago music was sold as live entertainment, where people paid to see an opera or concert.  Then with the development of recorded medium it became subscribed to through the purchase of phonographs, then cassettes, and then CDs.  Broadcast mediums, such as radio have always been secondary in music and with some odd laws, the actual performers are often not paid royalties for FM broadcast. (This is somewhat tied to the reason Radio stations cannot post a schedule for songs to be played in advance.  Believe me, many radio stations know what songs will be played hours in advance, but they are limited to statements such as, “coming up in the next hour we will have…”) Radio was a free/advertising supported medium which promoted sales of product, such as CDs and was always a secondary source of music revenue.   Contrast television which was originally a free broadcast medium and the singular source for content for a long time was a free/advertising supported network broadcasts. Subscription television content and wide spread direct to consumer sales of video is relatively recent.

While it might be said that music should learn from television, what has happened is television has learned from music.   So where did music go wrong?  Simple:  Technology- namely bandwidth and file size.  A few years ago technology did not readily allow end users to freely copy video, while music could easily be compressed down with MP3 compression and an entire 50 minute album could be converted to a digital file that was compact and easy to transmit.   Where a 30 minute video was still too large to manage for many systems, recorded sound was easy.  However that has now changed as the average North American household now was the bandwidth for bi-lateral live streaming of video and computers can readily manage video compression.  As a result we are now seeing instances where programs such as Game of Thrones are being watched by more people who download it for free through BitTorrent than subscribe to the content provider.

Music might need to learn something from television, but television needs to pay attention to what happened to the music industry. How we monetize content, wether video or audio is changing.