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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Times They Have Already Changed

Today the New York Times tears down its pay wall, meaning that you no longer have to pay for access to its most prized content, such as name columnists like Thomas Friedman and Maureen Dowd. They reckon that the subscription take-up was good but it makes more sense to be able to allow more people access to their site and sell advertising on the basis of the traffic. It seems that Rupert Murdoch is looking at doing the same thing with the Wall Street Journal and if he does then the Financial Times may not be far behind, which would mean that the idea that you can get consumers to pay for online access to highly prized sections of newspapers or magazines will finally be a dead duck.

Elsewhere, Spiral Frog has finally launched. Remember they talked about this as the salvation of the record business a couple of years ago? The idea is that you get the music for free but in return you have to watch a load of advertising. I'm not going to let the fact that I haven't used it stop me predicting that it won't work. For why?
  1. It's only on PCs. (Want to know why nobody's talking about the BBC's IPlayer?)
  2. You can't put the music on an iPod.
  3. You can't burn it on to a CD.
  4. If you don't return to the site and watch more advertising within 30 days, your music is locked up.
  5. You can't access it outside the USA and Canada.
  6. Any innovation which meets with the approval of the major labels is doomed by definition.
  7. I'm not even going to mention the name.
Meet me back here in six months and tell me I was wrong.