The price of success for Apple

If Apple can pay the record labels more than the law requires and still make a profit, why should the law continue to allow other web-radio services to pay less?

FCC signs off on AT&T’s massive 4G spectrum buy

By taking in a huge WCS spectrum haul from NextWave, Comcast and others, AT&T has nearly all the components in place to create a nationwide 4G band for its own exclusive use. Now AT&T just has to build it.

FCC approves AT&T’s nationwide 4G band plan

The compromise plan turns a worthless hunk of airwaves into prime cellular real estate, while protecting neighboring satellite radio from interference. AT&T now just needs to consolidate the remaining 2.3 GHz licenses out there so it can build its new LTE network.

How AT&T can create a fat nationwide 4G pipe to match Verizon’s

AT&T’s current 4G spectrum holdings are all over the place, but if it can execute its grand plan for the Wireless Communications Services airwaves it will have a consistent nationwide 20 MHz band designated solely for LTE. It just has to pull it off.

Today in Social

It’s great to see life in digital music. Spotify, Pandora, and now MOG and Rdio, and, perhaps next week, Facebook hosting them all. Bobbie Johnson wonders if free will ever replace retail music – the old “rent versus own” debate with advertising on top. Historically, business models were hard-wired to music experiences: users paid to own music, and ad-supported radio was promotion. Artists, labels and publishers got very little money from terrestrial radio. But satellite radio and digital services broke those models. MOG tells me that ads are merely a way to subsidize free services it hopes to convert to premium subscriptions. It has been selling ads for a network of music blogs for some time (the blogs contribute to the music-related content that comes with the service). To-date, on-demand music subscription services have never surpassed a couple million users in the U.S. Free trials are a great thing – I’ve done research that shows trial users convert to paid six times higher than average. And now users will have more choices, and more chances to try them out.

XM/Sirius: The Wedding March Goes On

It was starting to look like the merger that time forgot. For months, there had been chatter about a possible corporate coupling between XM Satellite Radio (XMSR) and Sirius Satellite Radio (SIRI). The discussion reached a fevered pitch in February, when it became clear that both companies were in favor of a deal — not technically a merger, per se, but the acquisition of XM by Sirius for some $5 billion: Would it be a monopoly? Would it force FM radio to be more tolerable? Would the FCC tolerate it? Read More about XM/Sirius: The Wedding March Goes On