Napster’s 10 today! Labels aren’t popping champagne

It’s Napster’s 10th birthday today. How time flies when you’re disintermediating an industry.

In that short time, the music industry has changed somewhat — somewhat on its head. It all started with Napster’s launch on June 1st, 1999 by college student Shawn Fanning (right, in 2001). The file-sharing service changed the way generations of fans would perceive the value of music i.e., pretty much equal to zero.

In the wake of the original Napster’s demise by way of label lawsuits, there have been scores of digital music start-ups, both illegal and legal, that have tried to replicate original Napster’s popularity. Some have surpassed it in sheer customer volume as broadband penetration has grown to mainstream proportions, but few can claim to have genuinely become a by-word for how an entire business sector potentially could be eradicated.

The sector in this case is the traditional recorded music business. Other businesses like TV, movies, books, cable and of course newspapers, are trying to figure out what the labels did wrong when Napster came knocking in 1999. Should they have tried to work with Napster rather than shut it down?

The music industry is now getting more flexible as we pointed out in our earlier blog today, and here’s hoping it’s not all too late. After Napster was sued out of existence, its brand was bought and relaunched by current CEO Chris Gorog (left, 2006) and his team. US electronics retailer Best Buy bought Napster last October for $54 million net of cash. Last month Napster started offering an all-you-can-stream plus five download songs for $5 a month, which Gorog really believes is as close to the original and popular Napster as he’s going to get legally.

from DealZone:

Guns n’ Roses rocks Best Buy, gently

After scoring one of the biggest exclusive deals in music retailing in a long while-- or at least since Wal Mart snagged the exclusive for the new AC/DC opus "Black Ice" earlier this year-- Best Buy began selling the long awaited new recording by Guns n' Roses, "Chinese Democracy," on Sunday.

But stepping down the escalator at the chain's Chelsea story in New York City on Sunday, when a more than 17 year wait for original Guns n Roses material ended, it would have been easy to walk by the modest display box with the Chinese Democracy CDs and vinyl LP's. There were few other signs of CDs being available, and the store was not blasting it on the P.A. system as a record store would have back in the old days.

It was a far cry from the scenes in 1991, when fans waited in long lines outside record stores in cities around the world for the band's "Use Your Illusion" two-CD set.

MySpace Music seeking CEO and funding?

chrisdewolfe1.jpgThe long-expected launch of MySpace Music is happening in drips and drabs. On Sunday MySpace and major music label partners in the joint venture said MySpace Music will launch with four big name advertisers: McDonald’s, State Farm, Toyota and Sony Pictures.

But MySpace still did not confirm when it would launch — though that’s widely expected this week.

In the meantime, several blogs, led by TechCrunch, report that the partners are seeking third party funding of up to $100 million for MySpace Music, valuing the company at around $2 billion. Reuters has not been able to confirm this through our sources yet.