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Qobuz Enters the Equivalent of Chapter 11 Protection


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Thanks for sharing. For those who speak French (or have google translate), here's the original article:

 

http://m.lesechos.fr/tech-medias/qobuz-place-en-procedure-de-sauvegarde-0203728864010.htm

 

So apparently they have 4 months to find a solution. From what I read in the article, the problems seem to have more to do with their streaming service than with the download business, and the associated costs with international expansion.

 

I just hope they survive, without them the download landscape ex US would be significantly poorer.

 

And I really wonder how in days where you can raise tons of money even for potato salad (not joking), I hope they find a financial backer.

 

Maybe the right thing to do would be to separate the streaming from the download business.

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And now another thought enters my mind: what happens to rights to the download, if the licensing party, in this case Qobuz, disappears as a company? Would be an interesting question for a lawyer, given the complex situation of downloads in general (no right to resell etc.)

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what happens to rights to the download, if the licensing party, in this case Qobuz, disappears as a company?

 

What do you mean exactly? The right of the buyer of download to use it? No problem here, you bought the files, you can use them like a CD, i.e. you can do anything that copyright laws allow you to (play them, and in most countries make a limited number of copies for personal use). You bought the music, you didn't license it from Qobuz.

Claude

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You bought the music, you didn't license it.

 

That's the part I'm not so sure about. If I really bought the music why cannot I resell it?

 

And have you ever read ITunes usage conditions? There is for example a limitation of the number of times you are allowed to burn a certain playlist:

 

http://www.apple.com/legal/internet-services/itunes/us/terms.html

 

And Apple specifically reserves the right to modify the usage rules any time.

 

There was even one famous case when Amazon deleted ebooks from a kindle:

 

http://www.theguardian.com/money/2012/oct/22/amazon-wipes-customers-kindle-deletes-account

 

Obviously, at least Qobuz content is not DRM protected to my knowledge (although it may be watermarked, see the separate thread here), but this just illustrates the point that I'm not sure I really own a download and haven't only acquired usage rights.

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I don't use iTunes and don't know that much about it, but with it's DRM-protected files, iTunes probably tried to technically impose limits to copying for personal use that legally exist in most countries. In Germany, a court ruling decided that making 7 copies for use withing a close circle of family and friends was permitted by the private copying exception.

 

In their downloading terms and conditions, Qobuz only reminds the customer that the files are protected by copyright (article 4), and in the customer obligations (article 10), there is nothing that goes beyond what is foreseen by copyright law.

 

Conditions Générales d'Utilisation et de Vente de Qobuz

 

Re-selling downloads is a very tricky issue, because unlike with CDs or DVDs, the buyer could easily re-sell an unlimited number of copies without anyone noticing. Without DRM, the possibilities for abuse are huge. If there was an Ebay store for downloads, it would be impossible to check if the offers were legit or not. That's why most legal experts think it's not possible to allow downloads to be re-sold.

Claude

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I don't use iTunes and don't know that much about it, but with it's DRM-protected files, iTunes probably tried to technically impose limits to copying for personal use that legally exist in most countries. In Germany, a court ruling decided that making 7 copies for use withing a close circle of family and friends was permitted by the private copying exception.

 

In their downloading terms and conditions, Qobuz only reminds the customer that the files are protected by copyright (article 4), and in the customer obligations (article 10), there is nothing that goes beyond what is foreseen by copyright law.

 

Conditions Générales d'Utilisation et de Vente de Qobuz

 

Re-selling downloads is a very tricky issue, because unlike with CDs or DVDs, the buyer could easily re-sell an unlimited number of copies without anyone noticing. Without DRM, the possibilities for abuse are huge. If there was an Ebay store for downloads, it would be impossible to check if the offers were legit or not. That's why most legal experts think it's not possible to allow downloads to be re-sold.

Indeed, if seems that Qobuz is less limited than ITunes, not surprisingly.

 

But I'm still now sure whether I really own the track or just have the right to use it freely, and I'm not sure f the law is fully up to date on this.

 

Who inherits your iTunes library? - MarketWatch

 

But this is more a theoretical concern anyhow, the files sit safely on my hard disk with several backups, so whatever happens to Qobuz won't impact them.

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DRM makes the difference indeed.

 

I had subscribed to Stereophile Digital for years, which is very cheap on Zinio.com, but the downloads are not PDF files but in their proprietary format. In order to open the downloaded magazine files, a connection to the Zinio server is required. Once you end the subscription, you can no longer open the old magazines on your hard drive. It's a way of pushing the customer to renew his subscription continously, even if he becomes less interested in the magazine but likes to read the old issues.

Claude

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There hasn't been DRM on iTunes downloads since about 2009.

 

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I sense an online shopping spree coming on before year's end.

 

Here, too :/

 

I have the 50% off until 31 August deal, so suspect I'll be shopping this weekend, in any case.

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Maybe the right thing to do would be to separate the streaming from the download business.

 

Or not do it at all. If the streaming business were to become the dominant modality for music distribution, under the present revenue sharing model, it will end the small independent label business as we know it.

 

The current model is based on pay for play. The more plays, the more instances where the artist/producer/label/engineering team (not in that order) receive compensation. Great for pop music/fashionable tunes, death for infrequently played, niche expensive to produce music.

 

The optical media/download modality supports (barely) less than "popular" music, for it requires an up-front payout in order to play. The number of plays are irrelevant, and the label (artist/producer/team) are financed for further production. Dominance of a pay for play distorts that compensation flow, and all those wonderful people will move on to flipping hamburgers.

 

Be careful what you cheer for.

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Or not do it at all. If the streaming business were to become the dominant modality for music distribution, under the present revenue sharing model, it will end the small independent label business as we know it.

 

The current model is based on pay for play. The more plays, the more instances where the artist/producer/label/engineering team (not in that order) receive compensation. Great for pop music/fashionable tunes, death for infrequently played, niche expensive to produce music.

 

The optical media/download modality supports (barely) less than "popular" music, for it requires an up-front payout in order to play. The number of plays are irrelevant, and the label (artist/producer/team) are financed for further production. Dominance of a pay for play distorts that compensation flow, and all those wonderful people will move on to flipping hamburgers.

 

Be careful what you cheer for.

 

You have a point. Please note though that I'm personally not a big fan of streaming and don't subscribe to any service.

 

I still expect streaming to become the mainstream, however, but for the mainstream audience. There is really no point in purchasing a Lady Gaga or Britney Spears album, the likelihood that you'll listen to that again 5 years from now is just to low. This is not music that is meant to last (hopefully not offending anybody here).

 

I'm only buying albums I know (or at least expect) to be listening to many times and this for many years to come. Quite often, this is indeed music coming from smaller labels. But this really is a different business model.

 

So maybe the future will be streaming for the "masses" which in the end is in a way a replacement of the good old radio, just with more tailored music for each individual taste. But probably this audience is not the one that is looking for 16/44 streaming. So Qobuz has a dilemma there, as there competitive advantage doesn't matter to a big part of the audience.

 

At the same time, I hope there will always be a market for quality music, ideally we recorded. And I also hope that this audience will be willing to pay the traditional model, I.e by album, as they really appreciate the effort of the artist and the label.

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So maybe the future will be streaming for the "masses" which in the end is in a way a replacement of the good old radio, just with more tailored music for each individual taste. But probably this audience is not the one that is looking for 16/44 streaming. So Qobuz has a dilemma there, as there competitive advantage doesn't matter to a big part of the audience.

 

 

Yes to both of these thoughts (streaming = radio, and the greatest part of the streaming/radio audience is not necessarily looking for best quality audio at a higher price).

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I think Musicophile is correct in equating streaming with radio, which in fact increased demand for "hard copy" personally owned music copies. But that may be a 20th Century model. Today's consumers seem to want everything immediate and disposable.

 

My fear is that music streaming will become so dominant, even if only for popular music to the masses, as to change the present consumer/label relationship expectation in how music is distributed. If that occurs, the underlining support infrastructure and distribution channels could drop below critical mass, and disappear. No putting that Humpty Dumpty back together again on a scale we now enjoy.

 

I think the biggest challenge is for the independent labels to collectively figure out how to compensate themselves in this changing distribution environment. That has already started as a result of the classical labels annual meeting last May in Vienna, where as a result, some classical and specialty music labels pulled their content from Qobuz and Spotify, determining they were supporting their own demise. The labels were only receiving a few pennies per play, yet supporting the streamers with content.

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That has already started as a result of the classical labels annual meeting last May in Vienna, where as a result, some classical and specialty music labels pulled their content from Qobuz and Spotify, determining they were supporting their own demise. The labels were only receiving a few pennies per play, yet supporting the streamers with content.

That makes sense. In the end, 95% of the typical streaming customers won't listen to classical music beyond Carmina Burana, the latest Pavarotti compilation, or whatever classical track has recently been abused in a TV commercial. I don't expect them to look for Herreweghe's third recording of Bach's b-minor mass. So you'd have one offer for one audience, and another one for a more selective audience, with a different payment model.

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Some of the earliest digital downloads that I have (had) came from a company (whose name I now cannot remember) that went bankrupt. To my great surprise and anger, I discovered that the ability to play those files required some form of verification that died when the company did and as a result those files were no longer playable (even though I had paid the same amount for them as if I had bought the SACD).

 

Just how sure are we that the files we download, whether from Quboz or HD Tracks or others can forever be used by us, no matter what happens to our seller?

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Just how sure are we that the files we download, whether from Quboz or HD Tracks or others can forever be used by us, no matter what happens to our seller?

 

As long as you keep a backup, absolutely sure. FLAC has no DRM and can be converted to any format you want.

 

If you are really that paranoid about it, you can convert all of your files to WAV and keep them on a server with no internet connection.

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As long as you keep a backup, absolutely sure. FLAC has no DRM and can be converted to any format you want.

 

If you are really that paranoid about it, you can convert all of your files to WAV and keep them on a server with no internet connection.

I agree.

 

With DRM-free files like the ones you get from Qobuz I wasn't worried about being able to use them in practice, more about the theoretical legal implications.

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No one here gets out alive.........except for Apple when they decide the time is right. Seems like a very broad statement I know.....but think on it for a moment with how much hires content they currently own. The only 'limitation' is the cost of ISP providers which is a hurdle Apple is working on with InfiniTime soon to come.

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