Saturday, June 16, 2012

The return of dotmusic, sort of

Remember dotmusic? The one-time online home of Music Week from the days back when the internet was in black and white and closed down at 10.30? Sold on to BT, and then to Yahoo, where all the effort and marketing cash ended up in the service being folded into the now-defunct-on-its-own-right Yahoo Launch? You remember, right?

Lets hope Yahoo kept the paperwork, though, as there's no fewer than four (five, depending on how you count it) companies called dotmusic something or other bidding for the rights to be registraron the soon-to-be-launched .music top-level domain.

.music is part of a massive push to try and create new domain names, partly to stop the crush of demand for the dwindling supply of .com names. (It's doomed to failure, of course - large numbers of .music and other new web addresses will be registered, at great expenses, but research will discover that people trying to guess names will still always plump for .com, and so that's where the real demand will be. You know how you smile indulgently at companies that still use .tv as their main website? It's like that.)

Hypebot has a helpful list of contenders:

DotMusic Inc.
Dot Music / CCGR E-Commerce LTD - founded by Constantine Roussos, who began lobbying to establish the .music top level domain in 2005 and has the edge with the support of TuneCore, LyricFind, CD Baby, ReverbNation, The Orchard, INgrooves Fontana and others in the industry.
dotMusic Limited
Victor Cross
Charleston Rd Registry / Google
.music LLC / FarFurther - supported by the RIAA, The National Music Publishers Association, A2IM, Impala and The Recording Academy.
Entertainment Names Inc
I know, it's like suddenly in the middle of 2012 there's something a bit like an ITV franchise round.

The real point of interest here is that the Roussos bid and the FarFurther biddraws support roughly split between internet-native businesses (Roussos) and old-school music endeavours (FarFurther). I think a useful rule of thumb is any initiative being supported by the RIAA is liable to work against the general interests of musicians and audience, and in favour of the multinational companies which used to be the music industry. On that basis alone, lets hope one of the others wins. The RIAA already believes it controls music; let's not let it control .music, too.