Digital Music Roundup: NY ‘iTunes Tax’?; RIP Mixwit; Free MP3s To Soldiers

1 Comment

NY governor proposes tax on digital downloads : If Gov. David A. Paterson’s budget passes, cash-strapped New York could impose a 4 percent tax on digital downloads of all kinds — books, ringtones, games, VOD movies, and of course, music tracks — to help balance its budget in 2009. The NYT’s City Room said the tax would kick in next June and bump up the cost of a 99-cent iTunes download to about $1.04. State officials say the so-called “iTunes Tax” could add as much as $15 million in revenue the first year it’s enforced, and about $20 million a year thereafter. States like New Jersey have already broadened the scope of their taxes to digital downloads, and in April, New York passed a similar measure (dubbed “the Amazon Tax”) aimed at forcing online retailers to collect taxes for goods “sold” in the state. Amazon is currently challenging the law, and there has already been some pushback about the new proposal. Apple’s official policy is that it will charge tax on tracks in states where applicable.

Mixwit bites the dust : Online MP3 sharing and mixing service Mixwit is shutting down, blaming legal uncertainties. Like Muxtape before it, Mixwit let users create and share their playlists (it pulled many of the songs from music search engine Seeqpod), though it wanted to expand to include photos and videos. Users could also customize the appearance of their playlists, and the startup was working on deals with various labels to secure licensed tracks. But Mixwit’s founder Michael Christoff told TechCrunch that the costs (including potential legal action from the RIAA) outweighed the benefits: “I

1 Comment

David Porter

Hi Tameka,

We'll be introducing Amazon links on the site sometime in the next month or 2, although there's no special deal involved; we're just implementing the standard Amazon Associate program.

Also, with regard to legality, I'll copy here the comment I made in response to a question on Fred Wilson's blog last week (http://www.avc.com/a_vc/2008/12/8tracks.html):

8tracks operates under the US compulsory license for webcasting, which requires that access by a listener conform with a set of rules established under the DMCA, the spirit of which is to ensure that playback is analogous to radio, promoting rather than substituting for music sale. So, for instance, a listener can't search and stream a particular track on demand, or re-wind to listen repeatedly to the same track. In addition, the playlist can't be displayed in advance; track information must be displayed when the track comes up, in order. There's also a set of rules around how frequently tracks from the same artist or album can be played in a specified period.

These are the same rules that other internet radio services (Pandora, Last.fm) follow.

Happy to explain our approach in more detail. (I worked for Live365 from 2000-06, which was the originator of user-programmed streaming under the compulsory license.)

Comments are closed.