As you are probably aware, Rhythmbox has been dropped as default for Ubuntu 11.04. Instead Banshee will be the default media player in Ubuntu 11.04. Many of the technical difficulties of including Banshee as default has been resolved. In fact, it has already landed as default in the second Alpha which was released last week.
Now a different sort of problem is brewing – one that has to do with money. You see, Banshee has an integrated music store powered by Amazon. Whenever someone buys music using the Amazon MP3 Store integrated in Banshee, the Banshee project gets some revenue from Amazon. However, the Banshee team does not keep any of the revenue. All the revenue from the Amazon MP3 Store is donated to the GNOME Foundation.
Canonical has a problem with this because it conflicts with their Ubuntu One Music Store. Powered by 7Digital, the Ubuntu One Music Store was introduced in Ubuntu 10.04 and it has been the default music store in Rhythmbox since then. Unlike the music store in Banshee, Canonical takes the revenue that comes the Ubuntu One Music Store.
The Ubuntu One Music Store is a project in which Canonical has put in a lot of hard work. They obviously do not want the new music player that ships with Ubuntu 11.04 to use some other music store. So, they have asked the Banshee developers to either give 75% of the revenue from the Amazon MP3 Store to Canonical or activate the Ubuntu One Music Store by default instead of the Amazon store.
Instead of paying Canonical the 75%, the Banshee team has decided to have the Ubuntu One Music Store activated by default. The Amazon MP3 Store will still be available – but users have to enable it manually – and the revenue from it will will still go to the GNOME Foundation.
As maintainers of the Banshee project, we have opted unanimously to decline Canonical’s revenue sharing proposal, so that our users who choose the Amazon store will continue supporting GNOME to the fullest extent. The GNOME Foundation’s Board of Directors supports this decision.
Do you think what Canonical did was right? And did Banshee did the right thing by choosing to enable the Ubuntu One Music Store by default?