Feeds

Murdoch's music dot.com pockets $77m

Has Beyond Oblivion a hope?

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

"Beyond paid downloads, beyond subscriptions, beyond piracy, and Beyond Oblivion is Music Liberation." In true 1999-era dot.com style, that's how Adam Kidron's music startup signs off its corporate communications.

The venture does not lack ambition - it has amassed the largest financial war chest ever gathered by a digital music service. This week Beyond Oblivion announced another $77m in funding - from long-time backer News Corporation, and, bizarrely this one, the Wellcome Trust.

So what exactly will it do? It's not unlike Zune or Nokia's ill-fated Comes With Music. Punters will get a license to acquire and share music (with other BO members) for the lifetime of a device. The company reckons this will be $50 or $70 per device, and hopes the fee will be "embedded in the cost of the device", in Kidron's words. He says most of the money will be returned to large record companies in the form of advances - between 70 and 90 per cent.

It will also be available as a standalone app. Nokia never made Comes With Music available as a separate SKU - or available on the majority of devices - which is one reason attributed to its lack of success in Western markets. A spokesman told us you'll be able to subscribe and "retrofit" it to your home PC and portable music player of choice.

So, yes, the dreaded DRM is involved. But DRM isn't necessarily the kiss of death it might be, as the success of Spotify has shown.

Spotify boasted its one millionth subscriber this week, which is not bad for a walled-garden, locked-down music service. Music is trapped in an encrypted cache, which is only readable by proprietary APIs available only to Spotify. But Spotify keeps its DRM so discreet you don't notice it. And strangely there have been no boycott campaigns, Facebook groups rallying users against it, or have-a-go hero hackers boasting about "cracking it" or "freeing the music".

Then again, the DRM on Comes With Music added hugely to the administrative challenges for the user and the retailer. And being a Nokia invention, it wouldn't play on iPhones or iPods - that was the whole point.

For the curious, here's a demo (starting six minutes in).

Adam Kidron Speaking at DMFE2011 from Beyond Oblivion on Vimeo.

Beyond Oblivion will unveil a public beta in three weeks, and hopes to launch in Asia first, and Europe before the end of the year. It's talking to the independent sector and publishers, we gather. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Apple CEO Tim Cook: TV is TERRIBLE and stuck in the 1970s
The iKing thinks telly is far too fiddly and ugly – basically, iTunes
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Show us your Five-Eyes SECRETS says Privacy International
Refusal to disclose GCHQ canteen menus and prices triggers Euro Human Rights Court action
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.