My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Radio Stations and their Playlists - Dungeons and Dragons

Monday, September 27, 2010

Radio Stations and their Playlists - Dungeons and Dragons

Nothing is lost that’s wrought with tears;
The music that you make below
Is now the music of the spheres

John Davidson, A Ballad of Heaven

Since the introduction of the Directives banning the broadcast of audio music or videos with editing (beeping or bleeping) by the Broadcast Commission in 2009, a few of the DJ on the Radio Stations have found themselves on the wrong side of the law.

Often they are being sanctioned for the first offence and then being fired for the second offence as was the case with ZJ Nikki Z and more recently ZJ Liquid from Zip 103 FM.

The Broadcast Commission Directives now has more teeth, and after a year, the review have not only praised its success, but no doubt many members of John Public  who watched the televised panel discussion appearing on the Broadcasters respective Television stations chaired by Ian Boyne article “'Music and Lyrics' assesses impact of 'daggering' ban”, published Sunday 21st February 2010, The Jamaica Gleaner, ( probably were asking themselves the obvious: What took the Broadcast Commission so long to act?

Now it has been a year since the ban on music and videos with sexually explicit and violent lyrics and Dancehall Artiste who initially saw the ban as heavy handed state control, now realize that the music had really gotten out of hand, as seemingly they are being attacked from all angles, as between being banned abroad as stated in the article “Locked out - Jamaican acts finding it more and more difficult to get into some countries , published Sunday, December 27, 2009, by Howard Campbell, The Sunday Gleaner,

Not to mention numerous ignored warnings from media personalities as stated in the article “Clean up your act! Music personalities urge corporate Jamaica, Media to help clean up Dancehall content”, published Sunday, December 27, 2009, Roxroy McLean, Gleaner Writer, The Sunday Gleaner.

Their  criminal affiliations and records being used against them often to deny them visas or involve them in entrapment as in the case of Mark Myrie, otherwise knows by his nom de guerre as Buju Banton, was held by Federal Agents on charges of dealing in and attempting to smuggle cocaine as stated in the article “Not an Easy road - Buju Banton held for cocaine possession in the United States”, published Sunday, December 13, 2009, Livern Barrett, Gleaner Writer, The Sunday Gleaner.

There are now requirements by the French (can I now say the rest of Europe?) as annunciated by Senator Olivia Grange, Minister of Youth Sports and Entertainment for a more professional artiste as stated in the article “Grange passes on bad MIDEM report - little interest in Jamaican Music”, published Sunday 21st February 2010, Mel Cooke, The Sunday Gleaner).

It would appear that the Reggae and Dancehall Artiste will have to return back to their original models involving making money from CD sales.

But how can they when the level of piracy is very high, with CD and DVD being linked to the criminal underworld despite stricter enforcement and vigilance of the purchase of copyright material under the purview of the Property Rights Act and the unauthorized copying of copyright material, be it audio or video under the purview of the Copyright Act.?

First one must examine the music business as it exists today, eliminating other external sources of revenue, such as businesses owned by artiste as these are only side effects of music and not related directly to music. It is based, simply put on CD sales, (singles or albums), touring (local and abroad) and corporate sponsorship.

The bulk of Dancehall Artiste earnings are based mainly on touring, which is a departure from the previous model based on CD sales that existed before Digital Music and Video Piracy became so prevalent. The Telecoms Providers networks, mainly wired broadband services such as LIME ADSL and FLOW Triple Play services are the main internet connections being used by music pirates to obtain their music and videos illegally from various download sites.  

Since blocking downloading on the Telecoms Providers is unlikely as there is no financial incentives for Telecom Providers to do so as people gravitate to their networks by virtue of the Telecoms Providers Unlimited and Uncensored Usage Policy, not to mention possible legal issues under the Telecommunications Act of 2000.

Also the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and commonly perceive “rights” by John Public as it relates to Network Neutrality and the Right to Broadband Internet Access that is uncensored, as is the view held by people in a recent BBC survey as stated in the article “BBC survey: Net access is basic right”, published March 8, 2010 8:04 AM PST by Andrew Nusca, CNET News – Digital Media.

Thus other means must be pursued, combining the usage of an alternative Distribution Platform, going after revenue streams related to music that were not being pursued and the usage of IT (Information Technology) based solutions to protect the copyright of the Reggae and Dancehall Artiste.

All of the above can be achieved with assistance from the Broadcasters (Radio and Television) and the Telecom Providers, as LIME and Digicel have demonstrated with their LIME Blingback Tunes and Digicel InTunes respectively that allow users to use their favorite music to replace their ring back tones, and the various Reggae and Dancehall Artiste whose content is hosted by these Telecoms Providers receiving royalties for the use of their content, not to mention WAPDigicel and its downloadable ring tone content and wallpapers.

The Telecom Providers Networks, both wired and wireless internet providers, can provide hosting for music content on their Servers, the revenue from which is shared based on contractual deals with the Reggae and Dancehall Artiste e.g. LIME.

LIME can host music for Reggae and Dancehall Artiste who are in compliance with Broadcast Commission Directives, once they sign legally binding behavioral contracts with clauses as it relates to their music, videos and their demeanor both in private and in public that sanction these Reggae and Dancehall Artiste in cases where they breach their contractual obligations, sanctions involving the removal of their musical content from LIME’s Server Archives and Right of Refusal to distribute their music via LIME platform.

Once the Reggae and Dancehall Artiste and LIME come to an agreement as to the Terms of their Contract as it relates to music and video distribution on their platform, LIME would distribute the Reggae and Dancehall Artiste music and videos’ via the creation of Unlimited Music and Video Download Plans for LIME customers with the modem (mobile, fixed line mobile, landline or wired /wireless modems) IMEI and SIM Cards (mobile, fixed line mobile, landline or wired /wireless modems) IMSI used to authenticate the customer and thus allow access to the website.

Thus, customers who do not have a LIME modem or have a LIME modem but who are not on the Unlimited Music and Video Download Plan would not be able to see the website and thus unable to access the website, as even if they had the IP address, as it would appear blocked on their browser, making it a great secure platform to be used by Reggae and Dancehall Artiste to sell their music, as only persons with LIME modems who request the Music Download package would have access to this service, hence making retail of music cheaper and online.

The files downloaded would be in the WMA (Windows Media Audio) and WMV (Windows Media Video) secured format, with features enabled to prevent digital piracy. In addition, the website would classify users into two (2) groups: Music Downloader and Retailers Downloader.

Music Downloader would be individuals who have an Unlimited Music and Video Download Plans but can only download a fixed amount of music and videos per month.

Retailers Downloader are merchants who are on a contract with LIME with a Unlimited Music and Video Download Plans and thus are allowed to download music for resale to customers in the WMA or WMV format and be allowed to burn music to CD for resale only in the protected WMA or WMV format.

Their computers being monitored to allow LIME to remotely audit their computers to see if they have breached this contract by having music or videos in any other unprotected format or attempting to resell music in any other format than WMA or WMV format, with playback support from Microsoft and it Zune HD player.

Thus making music videos a source of revenue for Reggae and Dancehall Artiste. Please note this is a suggested model, as just as easily it could be Digicel, who already have a Datacenter as stated in the article “Digicel diversifies - S500m data center opens November”, published Friday August 28, 2009 by Mark Titus, Business Reporter, The Jamaica Gleaner

Or even Triple Play Provider FLOW as stated in the article “FLOW launches data storage, other services”, published Friday July 23, 2010 by Sabrina Gordon, The Jamaica Gleaner.

As an additional plus, LIME stores can also ink an exclusive deal with Microsoft to sell the Zune HD Music player in conjunction with Watt’s New after convincing the Jamaican Music Industry to distribute their music only via this platform, thus doing away with the traditional distribution of music via CD (Compact Discs) and making Digital Video and Music Piracy very difficult, if not impossible

As all Reggae and Dancehall music can only be downloaded via the LIME 3G Modem on a Unlimited Music and Video Download Plan and played back only on a Zune HD player with software platform support from Microsoft.

This model is also legal, as currently there are no laws that specifically request that the Music Industry distribute their music in a format that everyone can access, and as such are free to develop their own distribution models on any device or platform that can guarantee them the ability to maintain their revenue models.

Despite the fact that this model will not prevent current pirated works from being circulated, it will deter the piracy of newly recorded or released works, be it video or audio, once this model is combined with a much stricter vigilance of purchase of copyright material under the purview of the Property Rights Act and the unauthorized copying of copyright material, be it audio or video under the purview of the Copyright Act.

On the Digital Video Piracy front, a means of protecting video content may be as simple as rendering the Digital videos in 3-D. Samsung and Panasonic, Japanese electronics giants who are totally unrelated to the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, may be able to bring the 3-D experience into your home.

This following their revelation that not only have they developed 3-D flat screen television sets, but they are to debut them this week as stated by the article “Samsung, Panasonic start selling 3-D TV's this week”, published Tue March 9 2010, 11:04 am ET, By PETER SVENSSON, AP Technology Write, AP, Yahoo! News.

They must have been seeing the trend for 3-D viewing growing in their home country Japan, especially with the phenomenal successes of Director James Cameron blockbuster 2009 film Avatar and previous films of its ilk from 2008 up until now.

It seems that they have decided to invest in the technology, and by thus doing so may have created a means by which DVD’s and Blu-Ray‘s can be protected from would be pirates.

This is because these 3-D movies can only be viewed using special glasses, making it pointless to copy and distribute, as the viewing experience will be blurry and painful on the eyes, not to mention a splitting headache with all those out-of-place colors onscreen.

But even if persons who illegally copied these 3-D HDTV rendered Blu-Ray discs and got a set of those glasses in use circa 1950’s until now, they would be unable to view the feature length film content, as the 3-D technology used in the Television sets requires special glasses to be purchased specific to the television sets to be worn that are specific to each type of movie.

Possibly having to be programmed to recognize legitimate codes transmitted by the television set that must match with those in the glasses, enabling viewing, somewhat reminiscent of the movie Mission Impossible in which the character Ethan Hawke, played by Tom Cruise, put on a pair of glasses which had a mini camera built.

This is the same idea, except that instead of a camera, it has a transmitter to communicate to the television set, which would explains the articles reference to the batteries in the glasses needing to be recharged frequently for them to work.

In other words, if they do not have these special glasses, they will be unable to watch the 3-D content and it will appear very blurry without them, making it pointless to copy these DVD or Blu-Rays. Possibly LIME’s rollout of LIME TV (possibly using Google TV hardware?) as stated in the article “LIME TV on the Horizon”, published Sunday, September 19, 2010 by ALICIA ROACHE Sunday Finance reporter, The Jamaica Observer.

Mobile TV as stated in the article TV on your mobile phone this Christmas”, published Friday, August 27, 2010, The Jamaica Observer, (hopefully with 4” AMOLED Android smart phones?) will include a swap of old Television sets for discount on 3-D HDTV sets as a means of protecting their broadcasted content.

Throw in the opening up of “White” Space Frequencies as stated in the article “FCC to open up vacant TV airwaves for broadband”, published Monday September 13, 12:35 am ET By JOELLE TESSLER, AP Technology Writer, Yahoo! News and now officially confirmed in the article “FCC officially frees TV white space spectrum”, published Thursday September 23 2010, CNET News.

Couple this with IP address blocking and shutdown of illegal download websites, Digital Music and Video Piracy, long the bone of contention that the RIAA (Recording Industry Artiste Association) and the MPAA (Motion Picture Artiste Association) have against the Telecom Providers and ISP (Internet Service Providers), could potentially be eliminated from the United States of American and Jamaica.

Thus paying the way for increased revenues for content providers – and more Internet Sales Taxes for the respective Governments of the United States of American and Jamaica and all other countries seeking to go DSO and thus utilize these till now underutilized “White” Space Frequencies.

The Congress of the United States of America has already gone after Colleges and Universities by threatening to withhold Title IV Federal Aid under the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) of 2008 and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) as stated in the article “Federal rules on campus file shring kick in today”, published July 1, 2010 7:14 AM PDT by Greg Sandoval CNET News - Media Maverick, which came into effect on Thursday July 1st 2010 AD

But a day prior, on Wednesday June 30th 2010 AD, (for it is a day that will long be remembered by College and University Students in the United States of America), a crackdown had been initiated against file sharers as stated in the article “Feds sieze cash, Web sites of aledged film pirates”, published June 30, 2010 3:11 PM PDT by Greg Sandoval CNET News - Media Maverick.

Looks like the Americans have come up with such a thing – legislation allowing for the shutting down of websites found to be involved in the illegal distribution of content, especially as the Europeans are cracking on such websites as stated in the article “10 arrested in European raids on Internet piracy”, published Wednesday September 8, 1:53 pm ET By RAF CASERT, Associated Press Writer, Yahoo! News.

But it is the Radio Broadcasters here in Jamaica who can be of greatest assistance, wherein which they can allow the music fans who listen to their programs to choose from the music currently available in their library the music which they wish to listen.

This would of course be done via a Facebook page with an app for polling and voting purposes that would allow users to vote on which songs they wish to be played on the various programs on any particular Radio Station the following day or week e.g. Zip 103 FM.

This would not only create a stronger following than currently exists, but would create the sense of the Radio Station being customizable, and hence a stronger following from their fans.

But most importantly, it could translate to higher salaries for the DJ’s on the Radio Stations, as not only would this voting process automatically generate a play list of songs that the audience wants to listen to based on the type of song played by each music program on the Radio Station.

It would also mean higher advertising revenues as well as the chance to beat the current king of music radio which is FAME FM by simply taking advantage of a form of advertising that has proven results, that being Behavioral Targeted Advertising, as stated in the article “Study: Like it or not, behavioral ad targeting works”, published March 24, 2010 9:01 AM PDT by Caroline McCarthy, CNET News – The Social.

The increased revenues can also aid in the payment of the various song based royalties to the Various Reggae and Dancehall Artiste as it relates to Reggae and Dancehall Artiste work on these play lists, and the user generate play lists based on the voting app on Facebook could be augmented with other songs which the DJ also likes to play.

Hence allowing control on the part of the DJ while still allowing listeners to feel that they are in control of the Radio Station and the content that they hear on the various programs which play different types of music, in effect making the Radio Station into a gigantic Apple iPod based on direct user feedback.

This could be the basis for Behavioral Targeted Advertising based on tastes and preferences of users who vote for a particular set of songs for a particular program.

Even the advertising can be tailored to the audience, as Facebook can allow the Radio Stations can allow access to user generated preferences, thus allowing the Radio Stations to even tailor its advertising based on the preference of the members on Facebook who voted and technically would have been the audience during that particular program’s broadcast.

Thus, thanks to a combination of crackdown on illegal downloading worldwide, 3-D HDTV Technology and the coming of White Space Frequencies utilization in Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) to allow Remote Access by Blu-Ray players and Set Top boxes to check the authenticity of any Blu-Ray disc or content on a customer’s playback device.

Reggae and Dancehall Artiste may soon begin to reap the benefits of their hard hours of labouring in the studio once again.

As it cannot be the case where Reggae and Dancehall Artiste spent so much of their financial capital to produce a body of works for promotional purposes ONLY and intend to depend on touring to make up the bulk of their financial earnings, especially as they are under pressure from Europe and the United States of America to clean up their act.

The Reggae and Dancehall Artiste must not only clean up their music as it relates to sexually explicit and violent music but also must forge partnerships with the relevant music and business associations e.g. PSOJ (Private Sector Organization of Jamaica) and become more organized like a formal business.

In essence, pay over taxes to the Government of Jamaica and comply fully with the Broadcast Commissions Directives as well as their contractual obligations with the Telecoms Providers and their various Corporate Sponsors.

Thus garnering additional taxable revenue from sponsorship deals which have normally gone to Radio and Television Personalities, heralding a return to profitability and their traditional models based on Music and Video Sales and a reduced reliance on Touring, the Reggae and Dancehall Artiste Achilles Heel. 

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