Doug Morris, the head honcho of Universal Music Group and his various digital and legal minions are once again winning friends and influencing people with the policy of pay for play. The latest recipients of their ire is Facebook application creator iLike. No more can users playback 30 seconds of their favourite UMG artist, no, no, no. iLike sublicensed samples from Muze but Muze’s deal with UMG has ended and so far iLike has had no joy in setting up a direct deal. So, no much how much you like your UMG artists (what do you mean you didn’t know who UMG is or what artists are on what label – they’re the centre of the known universe you know) you cannot and shall not play even 30 seconds of a track.

All UMG artists can only playback 30 seconds on their own MySpace sites and so the digital realm for UMG artists is getting smaller by the day. Still as Warner Music’s share rice plunges to under $6 ($3bn is you fancy picking up a major record label) perhaps short-term gain avoids the longer term pain for UMG? I mean with Apple’s share price hovering near $200 per share, you wouldn’t want Steve Jobs buying your label from under your nose, would you.

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