Google to Give Away MP3 in China

Feb 6th

The semi-legal and illegal spread of copyright information keeps driving value toward the aggregators. Google, which already has a music search service and owns YouTube, is looking to give away licensend music to win marketshare in China.

From the WSJ

Vivendi SA's Universal Music and about 100 other foreign and domestic record labels have been working with Top100.cn, a Beijing-based Web site that currently sells licensed music downloads for 1 yuan (about 14 cents) each, and Google. Together, Top100.cn and Google would provide free MP3 downloads with value added services, people familiar with the plans say. The new search options, for example, promise to give users free access to a database of information about their favorite artists -- from concert listings to links to special ring tones.

If Google licenses lyrics and allows user feedback on songs, they prettymuch aggregated the entire value stream in that marketplace, at least outside of experiencing live music. Fierce competition for attention will drive virtually all publishing models in that direction. What do you offer that is live or that aggregators can't take from you?

Published: February 6, 2008

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Comments

February 6, 2008 - 11:36am

It seems as if aggregation is unavoidable if one is offering content (or a product, or a service) in a complex marketplace with a wide variety of available choices.

Aggregation is really all about finding out what a content seeker (or buyer) is looking for, and then informing the content seeker of the choices available in that marketplace. You are looking for information? Type what you are looking for into Google and it will give you a list of possible information sources. You like Moldy Peaches? music-map dot com will give a list of bands you might also like. You are looking for peanut butter? The spreads aisle in your local SM will give you a wide variety of choices.

The more varied the choices in the marketplace, the more a content seeker needs help in navigating these choices, and the more value an aggregator is able to add (eg digital music marketplace).

Conversely, in a simple marketplace with few choices, a content seeker will find it easy to navigate and collect information on all available options without the aid of an aggretor, and therefore would go directly to the producer rather than via an aggregator.

So for example, if there were only 3 bands in the whole world, and each had only released 3 albums, there would only be 9 albums to know about and no use for an aggregator.

If the goal is to avoid aggregation, then one could offer something that is "uncategorizable". If it doesn't really fit with anything else, there would be no use in aggregating it with the choices in any existing marketplace.

Of course another question is whether aggregation is something to be avoided?

February 6, 2008 - 4:00pm

I think to have sustainable profits you need to have something that exists as being of value outside of the recommendation engines because many of them can change on a dime.

Great comment Michaell :)

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