As you may have heard, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is expanding the list of used domain name extensions from the current 22 old favorites to a whole host of words that will follow a period that itself will follow any given number of letters and/or numbers. This is exciting stuff people: we could change the name of this very site to tinymixtapes.boners if we wanted to in the very near future.
But since this is a story about music, and how this domain name extension expansion is going to impact the industry, let’s talk about two of the most sought-after extensions up for grabs: .music and .tickets. Since the application process began, ICANN has received eight applications for .music and five for the .tickets extension. The reason for the low numbers, considering how much influence the rights holders for these extensions could wield, is the whopping application fee of $185,000. TMT won’t be getting that name change after all…
So who’s in the running? Not surprisingly, it’s a heady mix of trade groups and megasites. Google and Amazon want the .music designation so they can make their sites the hubs for artists and labels, tapping in easily to their existing retail structures. An applicant called Far Further represents a host of industry trade groups and is favored to win the rights to the extension. It’s presumed they’ll do the bidding of groups like the RIAA and use the designation to police the internet, doling it out only to sites that are ‘reputable’ and not involved in any form of piracy (even when said piracy is what makes an artist famous, marketable, and rich in the first place).
In December or January, ICANN will be done going through all of the applications. If there’s more than one candidate who has successfully met a set of unspecified criteria, the group that is deemed the most community-based application will win. Barring that, ICANN will hold an auction and probably buy a yacht with the ridiculous amounts of money it will haul in exchange for a word preceded by a period.
• ICANN: http://www.icann.org