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Saturday, September 02, 2006

Saturday links: MySpace song sales ... High-def DVD doldrums ... Netflix previews ... Hollywood economics

- According to the LA Times, MySpace plans to launch a feature called MyStore later this year, which will allow artists to sell songs to users, and users to sell songs to one another. This could be a powerful way for artists to earn money directly from their fans, and for fans to perhaps earn some referral fees by `curating' interesting collections of music, perhaps around a particular theme. I wouldn't be surprised if MySpace eventually offered films/videos this way, too.

- Big surprise: high-definition DVD sales are underwhelming so far, says Reuters.

- Netflix has just launched a personalized previews service, which you can find here. It's fun (though most of the previews I was served seemed distant from my tastes).

- Great analytical piece in the Wall Street Journal today by Merissa Marr, headlined, `In Hollywood, the Picture Blurs for Studio Profits.' She writes:

    The industry finds itself caught between two eras and powerful forces. Sales of DVDs -- the growth engine that propelled the film industry to strong profitability in recent years -- began to slow last year and that market is now considered fully mature. Yet there is nothing on the immediate horizon to replace that gold mine. Even the arrival of new high-definition DVDs is expected to have modest impact on the industry.

    The most tantalizing prospect, distribution of movies over the Internet via downloading services, remains distant as a meaningful revenue source. Meanwhile, the studios are scrambling to avoid the problems the music industry faced when a mass of free online content threatened to blow apart its business.