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.music update: I’m calling it for Costa

Kevin Murphy, April 10, 2019, 14:35:52 (UTC), Domain Registries

Amazon has pulled out of the fight for the .music gTLD, and I’m ready to call the race.

In full knowledge that this could be my “Dewey Defeats Truman” moment, it seems to me the balance of evidence right now is strongly pointing to a win for DotMusic over sole remaining rival bidder MMX.

The contention set originally had eight applicants, but six — Google, Donuts, Radix, Far Further, Domain Venture Partners and last night Amazon — have withdrawn over the last week or so.

This is a sure sign that the battle is over, and that the rights to .music have been auctioned off.

The two remaining applicants yet to withdraw are DotMusic Ltd, the Cyprus-based company founded and managed by music enthusiast and entrepreneur Constantinos Roussos, and Entertainment Names Inc, a joint venture managed by MMX (aka Minds + Machines).

One of them will withdraw its application soon, and my money’s on MMX.

Neither company will talk to me about the result.

But, as I observed Monday, DotMusic has recently substantially revamped its web site, and appears to be accepting “pre-registrations” for .music domains. These are not the actions of a loser.

MMX, on the other hand, has never shared Roussos’ public enthusiasm for .music and has never been particularly enthusiastic about winning private gTLD auctions, usually preferring instead to enjoy the proceeds of losing.

There are only two wildcard factors at play here that may soon make me look foolish.

First, the joint venture partner for Entertainment Names is an unknown quantity. Its two directors, listed in its .music application, are a pair of Hollywood entertainment lawyers with no previous strong connection to the ICANN ecosystem. I’ve no idea what their agenda is.

Second, MMX did not mention .music once in the “Post Period Highlights” of its recently filed 2018 financial results statement. It did mention the resolution of the .gay and .cpa contention sets, but not .music.

That filing came out April 3, at least a few days after the contention set had been won, but I’m assuming that the tight timing and/or non-disclosure agreements are probably to blame for the lack of a mention for .music.

So, on balance, I’m calling it for Roussos.

With a bit of luck we’ll have confirmation and maybe a bit of detail about potential launch dates before the week is out.

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Comments (7)

  1. Tripeee says:

    I think it goes to MMX. DotMusic has been in this for so long and has been his thing for so long , he wants to hold on to the end.

    maybe reason why MMX did not mention on call is NDA in auction agreement that not allowed to discuss until all applicants have withdrawn and it is official

  2. Michael says:

    DotMusic is on hold. That means MMX won it because everyone else withdrew.

    I just do not see how Roussos can pull it off without really deep-pocketed backers. I would like Roussos to win it but it appears that again this is yet another lost battle for him. Gotta feel for him if true.

    .music is one of the most valuable new gTLDs and one with the most potential because every musician needs a website and there are millions of musicians out there. This clearly means .music would require a lot of money in an auction. If Google, Amazon, Radix and Donuts are out, .music must have gone for top dollar. It must have been quite a big payout for Roussos for him to stop fighting ICANN over .music. Could Roussos have raised funds in the last few weeks since losing the appeal with ICANN? Sounds like an impossible feat. MMX appears to be the most likely victor because DotMusic is on hold. Holding on till the end.

    • Kevin Murphy says:

      I think you’re reading too much into the “on hold” status. It doesn’t really mean anything at this point.

  3. What says:

    You feel bad for him? He is the worst of them all. Look at how he treated people that stood by him and even made his application and support possible. Nobody in the music industry likes him.

    And to your guess Kevin whaaaaatttt hahahahhaa – he clearly swapped into registrar mode. Hope he fails! He is #out

  4. Rubens Kuhl says:

    I think it’s about what looks more likely, not about who deserves or any other subjective criteria.

  5. Rubens Kuhl says:

    It’s indeed Costa that prevailed. MMX also withdrew.

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