Archive for November, 2009

The Deal

Posted in Uncategorized on November 6, 2009 by David

Let me be succinct- or at least, a little more so than usual- because we’ve got a few things on our plate.

Everybody is entitled to their opinion. Whether it be favorable, unfavorable, mild or strident. And people can be innocently wrong in their opinions. They can make mistakes about information. It happens. Take the article about Baidu not linking to us, not creating traffic for us. An IDG story in PC world & other IT publications. The journalist in question and his admirable editor, allowed themselves to be exposed to the full facts and re-issued the story. I thank them. For their professionalism.

We get lots of criticism, as can rightfully be expected for a business that takes so long to establish. (I personally, no doubt deservedly, get more than a small share of it.) It should never be discouraged.

But when people knowingly publish bald-faced lies, the same tolerance should not be extended. And when the sole intent is to do corporate and/or personal damage, dishonesty reaches an even more despicable level, if that’s possible.

The recent claims that our Baidu deal is not the “real deal”- that it is a purchase of referrals etc., an SME deal, is a complete & utter lie. And one that was concocted by somebody, from beginning to end. There was no source. How do I know that? I know because the fabricated assertions have no resemblance whatsoever to the deal. They are lies- nothing more and nothing less.

And they come after repeated predictions that we would never get such a deal. We would not. We could not. So when we did (and got a ton of positive press), the easiest thing is to invent a lie or a series thereof. To diminish any positive impact the deal might have for the Company. To effectively render it a non-deal. Consistent with the original prediction. As quickly as possible. It’s a charming world!

We would never, btw, claim the Baidu deal is something that it is not. It is NOT referring traffic from the Baidu main music search page of mp3.baidu.com. It does NOT represent a settlement between the industry & Baidu. But it WILL generate very substantial traffic for us. And we are NOT paying for that privilege. And it IS an important first step towards legal music.

Often, we or perhaps I, deserve criticism. We try to take it on the chin. If it’s deserved, we don’t want to suggest otherwise. Today we were supposed to Launch in Australia. We didn’t. In my book, that is worthy of criticism. A lot of it, actually, because we’ve had delayed launches before. Yes, there have been overwhelming reasons but so what? People have a right to expect us to be reliable. So I apologize. There is no excuse. We should have been on time. We are not. I can only say that in the coming days, we will be out there. In all of our glory. One can only guess what those that wish us badly will say then.

This of course hasn’t been easy road. Perhaps we were far too ambitious. We aimed very high. To have the only global free & legal download licenses in the world. It took us 7 years of obsessive work but we succeeded- where no others have. Perhaps we aimed too high with a Baidu deal. But we also eventually succeeded- where to date no others have. And perhaps we are absurdly cocky in thinking that we can create a far superior music service supported by a uniquely viable ad-model. With partners around the world. But we do & I firmly believe we will.

It has taken 18+ hour days under extreme pressure, 7 days a week. Over years. And my highly talented colleagues have similarly dedicated themselves. We are committed to delivering something truly valuable for shareholders- which is not as selfless as it sounds because of course it includes ourselves. It has taken every ounce of energy & concentration to be able to survive and advance. Challenging, mostly grueling days & nights. But we don’t ever feel sorry for ourselves. We have no right to. We are doing this by choice. And often, enjoying ourselves. But occasionally, we do feeling a searing sense of injustice when lies are concocted to hurt us or impede our progress.

But we will prevail. And none of this matters in the end. What matters is us delivering. That is our sole focus. We have put unparalleled, powerful building blocks in place. Now we are about to activate a unique business incorporating those hard won elements. It has been too long for our shareholders. And us. As to those that will celebrate any hardship we encounter and diminish our achievements, good luck to you. To quote a wise man I once knew: I wish them double what they wish us. Since, they are well motivated, they should have nothing to worry about. I’ve just blessed them.