Ian Roger's Aspen Music Talk

So I am going to blog about something that happened a month ago. In the world of tech blogging, that’s like talking about ancient history. This won’t get on Techmeme because all the linking to Ian’s talk happened a month ago. But honestly I didn’t get around to reading Ian’s talk until the flight out to SF earlier this week.

I have never met Ian Rogers. That must change. He’s made the same mistakes I’ve made. He loves music as much as I do. He sees the path forward pretty much the same way that I do. And he enjoys skiing the cat on the backside of Aspen as much as I do.


Almost two years ago, I wrote a post called Abundance in which I argued that scarcity is not possible in digital media and abundance is the dimension you must play on if you want to succeed. In that post, I talked about how my friend Steve Greenberg was trying to break a band called The Jonas Brothers using embedded videos on MySpace. That tricked worked out pretty well and the Jonas Brothers are now a huge act for Disney.

Ian makes that same point in his Aspen talk.


Winners leverage scale. That’s right. There’s only one way I’ve ever seen to win big on the web and it’s to leverage scale. I honestly can’t think of a big Internet company built on the concept of scarcity. If you can, please leave it in the comments and I’ll try to get my head around a scarcity model.

Ian also talks about Umair’s snowball vs. blockbuster meme. This is really important. Elf Yourself may have been the web blockbuster of 2007. 31mm unique visitors in December alone. But would you rather be Elf Yourself or Addicting Games? You choose.


But possibly the most important point Ian made in his talk was about the lack of native audio (and video) support in the web. As Ian says:

While there’s an image tag in HTML, there isn’t an audio or a video tag

Flash makes this a but less of a problem. But Flash isn’t a standard. It’s a proprietary standard owned by Adobe. Just yesterday I heard of a major radio company that is standardizing on silverlight for its web music player. What are they thinking? We need audio and video to play anywhere and everywhere on the web no matter what device and operating system you are using. And it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen anytime soon.

So this past week Yahoo!, where Ian runs the music business (at least I think he does), introduced a browser based music player. As most of you know, I use the delicious playtagger to play mp3s on this blog. That uses flash and I think most everyone has flash and is able to use it. And since Yahoo! bought delicious, they own that tool too.

I’ll add the new Yahoo! music player code to this blog, replacing the delicious playtagger. Let me know what you think. I really love the simplicity and elegance of the delicious playtagger so if the new Yahoo! player isn’t univerally loved, I may well go back to the playtagger.

Google may be the Internet company with the most mojo, but they’ve never done anything interesting with music. Yahoo!, on the other hand, seems to be up to some really interesting stuff and Ian’s Aspen talk has me rooting for them.

#My Music#VC & Technology