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

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.


Entry filed under: Distribution.

Unsigned band reach UK top 20 with online sales alone

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