Sky launching 'green button' on-demand ads

In an attempt to charge their advertisers more for their content without pissing off viewers too much, Sky is launching a ‘green button’ service for advertising. Much like the red button service that lets people find out more information about a program, the green button will enable ‘extended advertising content’.

Advertisers will be able to encourage users to press the green button during a trail, and it’ll take them to a location where they’ll be able to find out more, or watch an extended version of the advert. It could even feature entirely new footage.

Warner Brothers will be trialling the new technology for the upcoming release of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, and a campaign for T-Mobile will also be live from launch.

But why would anyone ever use it? Except in a few cases, like the Superbowl, most people regard adverts as a necessary evil to get the content they want. Unless companies used this service very imaginatively, then I can’t see viewers really getting too excited about this one.

(via Brandrepublic)

Warner offering to swap your HD-DVDs for Blu-rays

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Aware that the Blu-ray market still hasn’t really taken off, Warner Bros are getting a little desperate, and they’re waving an olive branch of peace at people who bought HD-DVDs. They’re going to let people mail the original box art for any HD-DVDs that they bought and swap them for the same title on Blu-ray.

It’s not quite free, they’re charging $4.95 per disc for the service, plus $6.95 shipping, but it’s still much cheaper than buying all the new discs yourself. It might even be worth scanning the local bargain bins for the old HD-DVDs to send off, then flog the replacements you get sent. You won’t be able to make a mint, though. It’s limited to 25 swaps per household.

(via Den of Geek and @stuart_coles)

Play.com joins 7digital in the DRM-free corner

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Play.com has just become the second digital music retailer to join the DRM-free parade. The site, which previously sold CDs, DVDs and games, has added MP3s from Sony Music, Warner, and Universal. They join DRM-free tracks from EMI and a bunch of indie labels that were already on the site…

NOISE GATE: Record Labels vs. Guitar Hero – who owes who?

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Over the last month or so, there’s been an almighty argument between music labels and makers of rhythm games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band over who owes who. Major labels claim that the games wouldn’t exist without the music, but the games developers point out that the music in the games gets a massive promotional benefit. Who’s right? Click over the jump for my opinion…

MySpace Music finally announced, with Universal, Sony BMG and Warner all signed up

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I was going to write this afternoon about the rumours regarding MySpace Music coming through the wires getting hotter and faster, but before I had a chance, they only went and issued a formal press release about it!

As expected, they’ve entered a partnership with Universal Music Group, Sony BMG and Warner Music Group, which will offer music services on MySpace, a site that’s been known as a music community ever since all the sensible people fled to Facebook in 2007. Enhancing the MySpace Music platform already in place, they’ll offer DRM-free digital downloads, ad-supported audio and video streaming, a mobile store plus plenty of other knick knacks…

Gnarls Barkley and the Raconteurs have an 'original idea' and release their new albums online

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Right, this is it. As of this article, I am officially bored of all these shitty little bands releasing their music online, either in the stylee of Radiohead, Trent Reznor, or the Charlatans.

Gnarls Barkley and the Raconteurs are the latest bands to start milking the digital music cash cow for its sweet sweet milk, never mind that the internet’s users are bored already and have gone back to using BitTorrent.

Let’s blame Warner Music – both bands are signed to the label, who’ve just announced plans to release their new albums on iTunes several weeks before the CD pressing. At least the Raconteurs are also giving the music industry a second two finger salute, by disregarding the usual freeloading music press laws, and not issuing review copies either….

Warner to launch "coffee book" style Blu-ray discs

BluraylogoNow that the high definition disc format war is all but over, it seems studios can start rolling out their own gimmicks and features.

Warner has decided that it will release ten Blu-ray coffee-book style titles this year, including “Bonnie and Clyde”, “Dirty Harry”, “Woodstock”, “Harry Potter”, “Bladerunner”, “Gone With the Wind” and “North by Northwest”…

Opinion: Free music file sharing was never going to hit the right notes with record firms

Jon_smal.gifJonathan Weinberg writes… You don’t get anything in life for free. So the saying goes.

And so, I’m not surprised that a website which promised us the world’s first legal file-sharing service has had to backtrack on the plans after the record companies said they were not yet supporting it.

Qtrax made a big song and dance about their launch over in Cannes with stars including James Blunt there. They secured quite a bit of coverage in all the national newspapers too in Britain.

But maybe it would have made sense to secure the record firms first, after all, as the gatekeepers of the industry, they are pretty important don’t you think? It’s like saying you’ve got a No1 song, without actually having the lyrics written or the musical score penned…

Last.fm launches free on-demand music platform in UK

last_fm_logo.pngLast.fm has today announced that it is the first website to offer free, global, on-demand access to the largest licensed catalogue of music from Universal Music Group, Sony/BMG, Warner and EMI, plus CD Baby, IODA, the Orchard, Naxos and more than 150,000 independent labels and artists.

The service is ad supported, which means that they can implement the second part of their master plan: paying unsigned artists each time one of their tracks is played on the Last.fm service.