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27/08/2009 - par Mark Tungate

Welcome back. So what's been happening in media land while you were on the beach? Perhaps you've already become addicted to Spotify.com, the new online music library that's attracting positive buzz. The business model seems to be unbeatable: agree to accept ads and get your music for free, or pay a small subscription.

Also interesting, but far more controversial, is Spinvox.com, based in the UK and the US. The idea is simple: using a combination of technology and human operators, Spinvox turns all your voice messages into e-mails or SMS. The result: you never have to check your messagerie again. The service lets you reply to converted voice messages by email or text.

But there's a problem. A scandal broke when a BBC investigator claimed that Spinvox was outsourcing messages to call centres in South Africa and the Philippines. In other words, strangers had access to your private voicemail messages. This also broke UK data protection rules. Oops.

So far, Spinvox seems to have survived the tale, saying that only parts of messages are sent to conversion experts. The content is sent anonymously and the end user's private lives are protected. An acquaintance of mine swears by the service, saying that he never has time to check his voicemail and that Spinvox has greatly improved his efficiency. Personally, thanks to Facebook, Twitter and regular mail, I think there's already too much text in my life. A human voice is a source of comfort.

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