Choruss Changes Its Tune; Splitting With Warner, But Many Questions Remain

from the but-now-what? dept

I had been meaning to write up this interview with Jim Griffin, of the infamous Choruss, from Knowledge@Wharton, because it caught my eye that he opened the interview by saying: “Warner owns Choruss; it incubated Choruss. Choruss is now becoming an independent company with Warner still involved.” That caught my attention because others within the industry had been telling me that the big record labels haven’t been impressed by Choruss at all and very few expected it to go anywhere — in part because of the Warner connection. But it wasn’t really clear what that meant. Now, Jon Newton, over at P2Pnet highlights that Griffin is claiming that Choruss’ whole strategy is changing. First, he claimed that Choruss was being “re-established” as “an independent entity, neither owned nor operated by any music rights holder.” And, from there, suggested the whole thing is different:


Choruss will no longer pursue limited campus experiments; We believe we’ve learned what we need to know to deploy Choruss. We learned this in negotiations with schools, meetings with teams of students working on Choruss, bargaining with record companies and publishers, meeting with their many associations, arranging for music clearances and much more.

Working with Warner was very helpful. We received priceless advice and legal counsel. We learned that students want to pay for music, but they want that service to traverse network borders, not stop at those borders. We know students want to share and bring live and commercially unreleased music to the public, and we want to help them. We also know that working together on music projects raises competitions concerns, whether real or perceived.

Now, this is all somewhat odd. After all, last summer, Griffin told the press that tens of thousands of students had already signed up for the program — which confused us, because we couldn’t find any of them. A few months ago, we went looking again and still couldn’t find them, even as we were told (again) that starting in early 2010, universities would be using Choruss. And now we’re being told that the whole university thing is gone? Did it ever actually exist?

On top of that, of course, Griffin promised to answer questions from the Techdirt community last May, and despite multiple promises to come through, we’ve still received no answers. I guess now that the story’s changed, some of those questions don’t apply any more. But the whole Choruss thing is looking more and more like a lot of smoke and mirrors — just as originally predicted. Lots of talk, but if you try to pin Griffin down on details, you get the runaround. Every time we tried to pin down what it was specifically, Griffin would send angry, insulting emails to me, insisting I shouldn’t talk about it until the experiments were done. So, now these experiments, which don’t appear to have ever happened, are done — does that mean we can talk about it? Or will we still be told to stay quiet?

Well, either way, I’m going to talk about it… because I’m still confused. “We learned that students want to pay for music?” Really? That’s not at all what I’ve seen. Students are willing to pay for lots of things with scarce value, but I’ve seen little indication that they want to pay for something that’s abundant. Some will, but very few want to.


Choruss’ mission is clear: Make it faster, easier and simpler to pay for music. We focus on flat-fee, unlimited download and access models, both for group purchase and for individuals.

This was an idea that may have made sense a decade ago, but I’m not sure it will any more. However, if Choruss can actually make this work, more power to Jim and his team. I just think that boat has sailed. Focusing on getting people to buy music is sort of missing the big opportunity, which is working on having music make other stuff more valuable, and selling that other stuff.

But, of course, the much bigger question is how will Choruss accomplish any of this. Later on he talks about a price point below $5/month, which certainly is good — if possible. But we’ve seen subscription services and the industry’s demands have always made the price much higher. Will the industry really sign on to an all-you-can-eat music service with no DRM and no limitations for less than $5/month? I’m skeptical.

All in all, this still sounds like a pipedream. There are no details. No official partners. No customers. Just a plan to offer music for cheap. We’ve heard that before, and none of the record labels were willing to sign on. Why will it change this time?

Filed Under: ,
Companies: choruss, warner music group

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Choruss Changes Its Tune; Splitting With Warner, But Many Questions Remain”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
7 Comments
iamthekysays:

I predict a large $5/month pay window for an entity that will aggregate music legitimately available for free elsewhere on the net. And in my estimation will now just navigate to that link for you within some type of choruss player (a la “last.fm + kantaris”) as they appear to be staying the route of avoidance rather than innovation.

greg.fentonsays:

Subscription service will fail

Hey, at $5/month for unlimited music I’d gladly sign up…for a year or so.

But see, the problem with a subscription service is like eating at an all-you-can-eat restaurant. Lots of food, all of it marginally good enough that I’ll come back sometime again.

Where does my $5 go? How do I get any input to which music gets developed? My money goes into a big pot, and someone controls which ingredients go into those dishes and how they get mixed together and how fast they are served and how hot, etc…

As it is, I am not satisfied with my cable subscription. The channels I have repeat shows too frequently, I often find myself flipping around not actually liking any one thing that is on.

This is another case where “too much of a good thing” leads to a worse overall experience. Access to “all music” is great at first, but as you have your fill you realize that you never quite got the flavors and foods you really wanted. You leave (overly)full, but not necessarily healthy.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...
Loading...
Older Stuff
13:40 It's Great That Winnie The Pooh Is In The Public Domain; But He Should Have Been Free In 1982 (Or Earlier) (35)
12:06 Norton 360 Now Comes With Crypto Mining Capabilities And Sketchy Removal Process (28)
10:45 Chinese Government Dragnet Now Folding In American Social Media Platforms To Silence Dissent (14)
10:40 Daily Deal: The 2022 Ultimate Cybersecurity Analyst Preparation Bundle (0)
09:29 A Fight Between Facebook And The British Medical Journal Highlights The Difficulty Of Moderating 'Medical Misinformation' (9)
06:29 Court Ruling Paves The Way For Better, More Reliable Wi-Fi (4)
20:12 Eighth Circuit (Again) Says There's Nothing Wrong With Detaining Innocent Minors At Gunpoint (15)
15:48 China's Regulatory War On Its Gaming Industry Racks Up 14k Casualties (10)
13:31 Chinese Government Fines Local Car Dealerships For Surveilling While Not Being The Government (5)
12:08 Eric Clapton Pretends To Regret The Decision To Sue Random German Woman Who Listed A Bootleg Of One Of His CDs On Ebay (29)
10:44 ICE Is So Toxic That The DHS's Investigative Wing Is Asking To Be Completely Separated From It (29)
10:39 Daily Deal: The 2022 Complete Raspberry Pi And Arduino Developer Bundle (0)
09:31 Google Blocked An Article About Police From The Intercept... Because The Title Included A Phrase That Was Also A Movie Title (24)
06:22 Wireless Carriers Balk At FAA Demand For 5G Deployment Delays Amid Shaky Safety Concerns (16)
19:53 Tenth Circuit Denies Qualified Immunity To Social Worker Who Fabricated A Mother's Confession Of Child Abuse (35)
15:39 Sci-Hub's Creator Thinks Academic Publishers, Not Her Site, Are The Real Threat To Science, And Says: 'Any Law Against Knowledge Is Fundamentally Unjust' (34)
13:32 Federal Court Tells Proud Boys Defendants That Raiding The Capitol Building Isn't Covered By The First Amendment (25)
12:14 US Courts Realizing They Have A Judge Alan Albright Sized Problem In Waco (17)
10:44 Boston Police Department Used Forfeiture Funds To Hide Purchase Of Surveillance Tech From City Reps (16)
10:39 Daily Deal: The Ultimate Microsoft Excel Training Bundle (0)
09:20 NY Senator Proposes Ridiculously Unconstitutional Social Media Law That Is The Mirror Opposite Of Equally Unconstitutional Laws In Florida & Texas (25)
06:12 Telecom Monopolies Are Exploiting Crappy U.S. Broadband Maps To Block Community Broadband Grant Requests (7)
12:00 Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of 2021 At Techdirt (17)
10:00 Gaming Like It's 1926: Join The Fourth Annual Public Domain Game Jam (6)
09:00 New Year's Message: The Arc Of The Moral Universe Is A Twisty Path (33)
19:39 DHS, ICE Begin Body Camera Pilot Program With Surprisingly Good Policies In Place (7)
15:29 Remembering Techdirt Contributors Sherwin And Elliot (1)
13:32 DC Metro PD's Powerful Review Panel Keeps Giving Bad Cops Their Jobs Back (6)
12:11 Missouri Governor Still Expects Journalists To Be Prosecuted For Showing How His Admin Leaked Teacher Social Security Numbers (39)
10:48 Oversight Board Overturning Instagram Takedown Of Ayahuasca Post Demonstrates The Impossibility Of Content Moderation (10)
More arrow
This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it