Startups & Funding

Far Further Vs DotMusic In Battle For .music Domain

New-gtldThough the recent announcement of official contenders for control of the .music domain included representatives of Amazon and Google, the two strongest competitors appear to be Far Further and DotMusic. Each company has lined up an impressive array of supporters. Far Further is supported by a wide range of music industry associations while DotMusic is backed by an even broader coalition of government and regional organizations, music industry associations and businesses supporting indie music.

The organizaton in charge of domains is the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).  ICANN  is a US-based nonprofit that is still in the midst of transitioning to an international approach to domain administration.

ICANN's New Generic Top-Level Domains process began last year and opened up the possibility for organizations with a lot of money and technical support to apply for almost any domain suffic they wished. Recently all the applicants and proposed domains were listed including those for .music.

The two highest profile applicants for .music, Google and Amazon, are going for as many domains as possible earning them "land grab" headlines. Though either company could clearly handle the technical requirements, the fact that they are both US-based, huge commercial entities making broad moves suggests that they may be bested by organizations with an international reach focused more specifically on music. The two applicants fitting that profile are Far Further and DotMusic.

Far Further is described as being:

"Founded in 2008, Far Further has an executive staff filled with industry veterans, including Loren Balman, John Styll, John Frankenheimer and Ralph Simon…Far Further is working with a host of music industry associations such as the RIAA, the National Music Publishers Association, the American Association of Independent Music (A2IM), Independent Music Companies Association (Impala) and the Recording Academy."

In contrast DotMusic "has won the backing of government bodies around the world, the International Association of Music Information Centres and companies such as distributors the Orchard and INgrooves Fontana." DotMusic is rooted in the efforts of Constantine Roussos who began promoting the idea of a .music domain in 2001 with a business plan for the USC Entrepreneur Program.

Each organization boasts an impressive array of supporters. Far Further's support is international and top heavy with rights organizations and music industry associations. DotMusic's support is also international with more government-related arts organizations and indie-oriented music businesses.

Far Further's website is clean and focused on the task of winning the domain. They describe their plans as making .music:

"available to all artists, musicians, songwriters and others within the music community at any level. All that is needed is a membership in any one of over a thousand organizations worldwide and a commitment not to infringe on the intellectual property rights of others."

DotMusic's website goes much deeper into details but that's partly because it's a website focused on the long-term campaign to create a .music domain. That makes certain sections a bit confusing and leads to a bit of overreach in terms of their sense of historical ownership of the .music domain concept.

One would have to know quite a bit about ICANN's internal politics and have copies of the applications, especially the proposals for domain administration, to call the outcome of this contest. Both Far Further and DotMusic appear to be strong contenders. If we base the winner on website design and copy, Far Further would appear to be stronger in terms of presentation and clarity. But if you've spent any time checking out the documents of international organizations, the dense text of DotMusic with its complex discussion of the music community may seem familiar.

This should be an interesting process with lots more news ahead.  You have until August 12th to submit comments for the evaluation panel.

Note: Both sites get a demerit for talking world community but featuring a white guy with a guitar as their primary image.

Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (@fluxresearch) blogs about business at Flux Research: Business Changes and about dance at All World Dance: News. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.

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  1. Nice read. Been observing the .music domain effort for a while now. Seems a lot of the stuff that Far Further mentions in their application was “borrowed” from DotMusic over the last few years and very similar. Seems like a copy and paste job with some editing. Question is why is Far Further emulating DotMusic in nearly all areas, even choosing to have a white guy with a guitar? Copyright infringement? Need to do more research on these two groups. Seems DotMusic is more transparent than Far Further though. How come we just found out about Far Further even though they were formed in 2008 and claim they are serving the music community? If their goal is to show they are a community why didn’t they get more publicly involved in the process earlier on? Impressive support from both groups. Will be fun to watch this evolve.

  2. .music domains will be a fail. The only people that want them would be domainers to buy and squat on.
    Worthless like .US names and the other bull$hit that isn’t .com .net or .org.

  3. As we pointed out when this first was published only DotMusic and Far Further applied for this domain to be a community domain the rest of the applicants have applied for this for private use. This is an important distinction and folks need to consider this when talking about who should end up as the register of .music

  4. Very good point. It seems the Fur Further application is rather concerning too. Their application says only members of the RIAA and the old school “status quo” trade groups that supported them can register a .music. How is that not a problem or discussed here? If you are an unsigned band or a musician not in allegiance with those trade groups in Far Further’s application why would you even agree to this? I can not get a .music even though I am a musician unless I join one of these Far Further trade groups. How is that considered a community domain? Far Further is not representing me and most musicians out there. Am I missing anything here? Seems the other option is better and more inclusive of us unless my facts are wrong. Also not sure about Google or Amazon. Just crazy that they want to own and control everything web-related. How is this even allowed? How is this domain even evaluated?

  5. So many questions. Hopefully they aren’t all meant for me!
    “How is that not a problem or discussed here?”
    Only so many hours in the day and so many words in a blog posts. I put a lot more time into this post than may seem evident. Just had to stop at a certain point.
    But I thought I made it clear enough how the differences broke down and I’m not going to talk about the RIAA when I don’t have anything new to say. At the end of the day, readers will have to call that one for themselves based on their own values and beliefs.
    PS – I bet I’m the only writer that will point out the white/male/guitar bullshit in their graphics. How can everybody else not?
    Because we all have different priorities, different contexts, different resources.

  6. Thanks Clyde for the research. I dug some more information on Far Further vs DotMusic applications. The Far Further’s application is quite restrictive and it is just forty associations not thousands despite their quote. I see many inconsistencies. Their application says it will only allow registration for only members from those associations they have as supporters ie the forty they listed. Troubling to me, especially if you are not American since these are densely American-focused associations. The other DotMusic group seems to be more global and inclusive of music people in the community, including the trade groups, digital, and government and seem to be more transparent and public in their efforts over the last few years. Now the big question is who wins and how do they win? The more inclusive one or the more restrictive one? It is confusing. Seems to me it is diversified community vs. status quo industry-only community run by the USA. Am I wrong? In terms of the graphics you are right. I just wonder why one group decided to copy the other in terms of the graphics and the idea. Something just seems odd. So glad you called them out on it! Now on another note why is Google trying to own everything and should they be allowed? Nice informative post. So many questions!!!!

  7. John, I’m going to pick things up with a new post since Typepad will turn this into an ever skinnier chunk of text.
    Where did you find the actual applications?
    I either didn’t look hard enough or just missed it.
    On the graphic with the guy and guitar, actually I don’t think anyone’s copying anyone. I think the default of the white guy with guitar is actually pretty widespread but doesn’t make a good image for an inclusive program.
    A group of people from different backgrounds making music together might be more appropriate symbolically.

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