Music downloads

By October 25, 2006New Media, Web2.0

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The music industry just isn’t getting it.  From paidcontent last week – Music Industry Goes P2P Lawsuit Crazy: 8,000 announced todayUniversal Music Sues Grouper and Bolt.com; $15k per infringement and Universal’s Long Tail Generated 250,000 Downloads in Seven Months.

Get with the programme people!

Getting track costs on legitimate sites down to low levels – say 10p per track – and keeping the DRM to an absolute minimum.  IMHO that is the only way the record industry can preserve any value in the music download market.  This is what eMusic is doing.

As I’ve said before content prices are heading towards zero and the value is going more and more to experiences not products.  Even Microsoft are talking about this in terms of their software. 

People will pay:

  • For stuff  that delivers a fun experience – like gigs
  • For things that bestow identity – like merchandise and ringtones
  • For services like long tail filters that reduce their search costs – I’m not sure how big this market is, but services like Last.fm are generating huge numbers of users

THEY WON’T PAY (much) WHEN THE ALTERNATIVE IS FREE

Record companies doing a King Cnut and believing they can turn the tide are not doing themselves any favours.  Suing your customers is not usually a recipe for long term success either.  That said, they do appear to be having some success – the first paidcontent link above says successful suits against large uploaders usually result in fine of around $3,000, which I suspect means they will persist with this strategy for a while.

Spiral Frog recognises this and is an attempt by the record labels to hedge their bets and offer an ad supported download service.  It has been widely panned in the blogosphere but a lot of the criticism seems to stem from the fact that it is supported by the labels.  It will be interesting to see how it goes.