Wednesday November 10, 2010

Nokia Ovi Music Shorties – shortchanging composers?

Posted by Karthik

I noticed a news item about Nokia Ovi Music’s new ‘invention’ – 90 second version of songs! It is called ‘Shorties‘!

When iTunes is considering increasing the preview duration from 30 seconds to 90 seconds, here we have Nokia Ovi selling edited, 90 second versions of longer songs! When I tweeted about it, many responses felt that it could be for ring tones. I’m not sure if this is packaged as ring tones – there’s no mention of the word ‘ring tone’ or ‘caller tune’ anywhere in the website or in any news about this announcement. And of course, if a neighbor’s ring tone lasts for 90 seconds, I’m sure there would be pandemonium in Indian cities with people grabbing that annoying ‘singing’ phone and throwing it away!

Jokes apart, a few questions.

1. The news items cites a ‘key trend’ about people downloading/ preferring to downloading shorter duration songs. Where did this trend come up from? Which kind of shorter duration songs did people download? Aren’t most Indian songs – film or non-film, almost 4 minutes+?

2. Can a self-respecting music composer opt out of ‘Shorties’? After all, if someone other than him edits his creatively composed song, wouldn’t he feel shortchanged? Is that why it is called ‘Shorties’?

3. Assuming it is the music labels/record companies that own the rights to these songs’ marketing/selling, do their rights include editing and mauling a song into a shorter duration? I’d love to know this one, in particular!

4. Finally, have you ever wished to listen to a 90 second song? In other words, would you pay money (however less) to buy a 90 second song that the rest of the world is listening for 4-5 minutes?

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