The Internet's treasure trove of television shows, pirated movies and explicit adult material is about to become iPod-friendly.
Guba, a subscription search engine, plans to begin converting video files from the Internet's thousands of newsgroups so they can be played on the video iPod that Apple Computer ( AAPL) recently unveiled.
"Guba.com has built a strong and profitable business over the last seven years by providing our subscribers with the best in rich media search," said Thomas McInerney, the company's chief executive, in a news release. He said it indexes 300,000 files a day and converts them to standard formats that can be viewed by streaming or downloaded as a file. "We can kid ourselves, but in the end it's probably porn that people want," McInerney told Wired News.
However, published reports about Guba's plans prompted it to stop doing business on Thursday. "Due to the overwhelming response to features in recent press, Guba is unable to process transactions at this time. Please rest assured that we are doing everything in our power to solve these issues as quickly as possible," said a notice on its Web site.
McInerney said Guba will remove content if the copyright owner makes a request. He also said the search service blocks MP3 music files, "because there has been so much litigation about music." By constrast, television programs like Comedy Central's "Daily Show" and ABC's "Desperate Housewives" are offered "because the TV guys seem to understand the Internet," he noted.
MySpace.com to launch a music label
One of the most popular online Web sites for artists and musicians is going offline to grow. MySpace.com, acquired by News Corp. ( NWS) earlier this year, will release a CD on its own label featuring major, indie-label and unsigned artists. MySpace.com is a social networking site, with a music section that includes Web pages for more than 500,000 artists and bands.
CEO Chris DeWolfe said MySpace.com has become more than a Web site. "It's become a lifestyle brand," he told the Hollywood Reporter. "Radio has become less and less important. MySpace, by getting so huge, can truly move the needle in terms of musical tastes." DeWolfe said the new label will sign and market artists, and Interscope Records, part of Universal Music Group ( V) , will handle manufacturing the CDs.
Online music sales disappoint
While the market for Apple's iPod has been growing steadily, sales of digital music tracks have shown virtually no growth. Nielsen SoundScan, owned by Holland's VNU ( VNUVF) , reported that while weekly download sales in May totaled 6.6 million songs, triple that of a year ago, that's where they have stayed, Bloomberg News reported. "Digital optimism seems to be crashing down on itself," said Simon Baker, a media analyst with SG Securities in London. "Downloads in the U.S. have alarmingly plateaued," he told the news service. "This has devastating implications." And as CD sales have been falling, music industry executives now worry that digital sales will not make up the difference, never mind helping to grow the market.
The life of a teenager: blogging, downloading
A survey of American teenagers found that nearly 20% have their own personal Web pages, a third have used Web logs, and half of the respondents say they've downloaded music. The research, conducted in November 2004 and released Thursday by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, also said that 87% of 12 to 17 year olds use the Internet. Most are "comfortable" sharing content online such as artwork, photos, stories or videos. "For American teens, blogs are about self expression, building relationships and carving out a presence online," said Amanda Lenhart, co-author of the Pew study.