Tag Archive: downloads


coldplayThe takeover at EMI has done something great for all music fans. It has confirmed what was always true but never fully realised – record labels don’t own the music. True, artists have willingly handed over their rights for 50 pieces of silver but the tide has turned and artists are finally cottoned onto the fact that they make the music and they actually own it also. Some like The Rolling Stones have bought and sold those rights so often that they might sometimes forget. Others like The Beatles have had those rights sold from under them but the wealthy ex-EMI and current EMI artists are showing that the evolution of music ownership is well underway.

Radiohead delivered all the albums they had to and now enjoy the luxury of licensing their music to who and how they want. And it’s not only EMI artists, Prince has done much the same thing also – shame about his choice of newspaper. Easy with millions in the bank for sure but set yourself up right and what’s to stop anyone doing that. Now Coldplay are setting another precedent. If you have a ticket from their tour then you can download a nine-track live album for free from their website. Smart move, drives traffic to their site (like they need it), gives something back, repaying loyalty to those that bought a ticket.

Does this mean the end of music labels? Of course not, it only signifies that they’re going to have face up to the real world and the fact that they’re brilliant at marketing and that is the only guaranteed role they may play in the future.

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Digital hits 20%

Digital downloads now account for 20% of all music sold, or $3.7 billion, according to IFPI figures for 2008. However, that is only 5% of music moving around online with the IFPI claiming that roughly 40 billion files were downloaded and were not paid for. That’s the downside but the upside is that digital downloads grew by 25% year on year. 

What will be interesting is how the removal of DRM in 2009 (Nokia’s Comes With Music, iTunes dropping DRM, eMusic staying healthy and emerging services such as 7Digital etc) will impact or enhance the growth of digital downloads. The most important step remains the ease of use for the customer from the point of purchase to the point of consumption – that’s still being driven by technology or industry designs/desires.

Why are 95% (allegedly) of music files being downloaded illegally because it’s easy. Legal downloading has to match that or get as close as is possible.

EMI fiddling about

Not really a customer launch nor a testbed but kinda a bit of both and not taking on Amazon or iTunes. EMI’s latest digital initive has uncertainty written all over it. Some content will be free to download while others will have to be paid for. News on DRM or MP3 formatting has yet to be revealed.

Bye bye Napster

For $121 million, Best Buy in the US has snapped up Napster, which is considerably less than the money spent on it to cover legal cases, running costs and so on. While talking a good fight Napster has been sinking fast and even opening up to the iPod market has not turned things around yet. Napster follows Wippit as the digital music casualties start to mount, though Wippit just shut up shop after failing to find a buyer.

Subscription is a long sell and no player has yet made that story short and snappy enough to convince consumers in really big numbers. Yahoo has bailed, Wippit gone and there are almost no music subscription successes to be found. Downloads – not a problem.

What’s required is for a company already offering subscriptions for other digital services to tie music into it, really market it and make it easy and open – no DRM, match iTunes pricing (or better it) and ideally integrate social tools such as Last.FM/Pandora etc.

Easy.

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