Developed in the late 1990s by Dave Winer, RSS (Rich Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication) uses a lightweight XML (Extensible Markup Language) format for distributing news headlines and other content on the Web. RSS works by turning an XML code into a series of links and information that the user and browse whenever they like, so instead of the user browsing the Internet for the information they need, the information is sent directly to the user. Most RSS feeds are updated regularly, so you can guarantee the information you get will always be up to date.

It’s mainly used for news stories, but can also contain other information (audio information is also known as podcasting, music and video clips via Yahoo!). Because the technology is still quite new not many websites use RSS, but it is becoming increasingly popular.

To use the service, you need to have an RSS reader. The latest version of Internet Explorer has this already built in, but you can also use websites like To subscribe to the RSS feed, you can:

  • Click on the RSS icon, that looks like these: RSS Icon RSS Icon
  • Go to the website that you use for the RSS reader and copy the XML feed URL into the ‘subscribe’ section (websites will have instruction on how to do this)

How RSS Could Be Monetised
With live music becoming more popular as a way of experiencing music (think The Killers selling out in an hour, that kind of thing) I was thinking of a way that RSS could be used for ticket agencies. With a small subscription each month, the user would get an RSS feed (possibly tailored to bands/genres they like) telling them what bands will be touring soon. As an incentive, they could get the opportunity to buy tickets before anyone else, get discounts on merchandise and get the latest news on their chosen bands/genres.

Trying Out RSS 
Having not used RSS before, I decided to give it a try and was surprised to find how easy it was to use. I used RSS readers in Internet Explorer and in and found that each one was quite simple, from subscribing to reading the RSS feeds.  In Internet Explorer, all it took was one click of the RSS icon to set up the feed, and in Bloglines it set out clear instructions on how to set the feeds up. I used it in a variety of ways, from looking at music online issues, to checking on the latest UK news.  I also used it for entertainment and social reasons, from seeing what the top downloads are in iTunes, finding out what music videos are popular on Yahoo! to checking in on my friend’s blog on Facebook.

It was a good demonstration of its many different uses, and it allowed me to think about I could possibly use it in my assignment.


March 7, 2007 at 12:15 pm Leave a comment

Unsigned band reach UK top 20 with online sales alone

Click here for the original article 

An unsigned anti-war protest band are set to break the  UK Top 20 this weekend through download sales alone.  The track War (What Is It Good For?) was recorded last weekend at the anti-war march in London, and people were encouraged to buy the single to highlight the opposition of the war in Iraq.  The track is only available online with all proceeds going to the Stop The War Coalition, and it’s entry into the charts this week will see Ugly Rumours being the only unsigned band ever to get into the UK Top 20.

 This entry into the chart has created a stir in the music industry and labels and artists are looking for a way to exploit the situation, by using sites like MySpace and YouTube to set up a fanbase and market music online. It also gives hope to new and unsigned bands, who before lived in the knowledge that to get anywhere in the Top 40 they had to feature on the Radio One playlist.

This story clearly shows that the change in rules in regards to the music charts and online sales are having a beneficial effect on artists and the music industry as a whole. It not only gives artists another way to distribute their music, but gives them the opportunity to get popular in a shorter space of time. I also allows bands and genres that wouldn’t normally get airplay the coverage that it deserves.


Ugly Rumours
BBC Article – ‘Old’ music’s digital comeback

March 1, 2007 at 8:59 pm 4 comments

YouTube Set To Filter Content

Click here  for the original article

Google will start to filter content from YouTube in a bid to beat video piracy.  It will use Audible Magic technology, which works by comparing the audio ‘fingerprint’ of a video to a large database of copyrighted material.    YouTube had agreed to start filtering videos in September, but was delayed in implementing such a system because Google were trying to negotiate deals with major studios.

This move will help the video-sharing site in its battle against complaints surrounding copyright issues, but feels that it will lose its popularity to sites like and other video-hosting portals.  Because these sites are still underground and have little restrictions (YouTube has a 10-minute clip limit, whereas other sites have none at all), they’re going to be more popular.

This announcement follows social networking site MySpace’s decision to take steps to  prevent video piracy using the same Audible Magic technology.  The story also relates to MySpace and the problems that it has with music piracy.  In October 2006 it joined forces with Gracenote to block unauthorised postings of copyrighted music to its site.

I think this is a good move by both Google and YouTube to prevent video piracy, but when the system is actually implemented remains to be seen.  It seems like an effective way of fighting copyright issues, and I wonder how long it will be before similar systems are put in place on sites like


February 28, 2007 at 12:32 am 2 comments

Web 2.0

I decided to look into Web 2.0, as I had no idea to what it was and wanted to find out more.  I found defining Web 2.0 a difficult process as it was quite hard to understand the full concept, but the following is a basic definition to what the term is about.

Web 2.0 is a phrase invented by Tim O’Reilly and can be seen as the evolution of the Internet.  Instead of looking at it as a collection of websites, Web 2.0 is the idea of the Internet being a platform of services and applications for its user, allowing it to be more interactive and much more personal. 

The characteristics of a Web 2.0 site include:

  • Website users adding and controlling information

  • Users improving the website with continued use

  • User-friendliness

  • The use of simple technology, including RSS, CSS and simple URLs

An example of this is personal websites.  People would create such sites, either using their own knowledge of web design or pre-created layouts, to give an idea of who they are and express their own thoughts and opinions.  Now, people use blogging as an on-line journal, where social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook are frequently used to express a sense of identity.  The idea of harnessing collective intelligence can also be displayed on these social networking sites, where you have the opportunity to link to sites and articles on the Internet that are of interest to you.  Video sharing sites like YouTube also provide this service, giving you the option to share videos by either posting URLs or embedding them on personal web spaces.


February 23, 2007 at 12:52 am 4 comments