Deutsche Grammophon has opened an online digital music shop and although most people think about invading Poland when they listen to Wagner, the classical music label is showing all those punks and hippies from Apple and Microsoft how to do a proper online music store:
- First, their store is international. You can buy from anywhere in the planet with no stupid geographic limits.
- Second, they are not only publishing their current massive catalog, but reviving out-of-print recording as exclusive downloads. A hundred of them are available now and a thousand will be in the next weeks after launch.
- And finally, the music is all DRM-free (YES!) so it can play in the iPod, Zune or preferred MP3-compatible player.
Coalition for Artists and StakeHolders creates slick industry-free music service
Coalition for Artists and Stake Holders (CASH) have just launched CashMusic, a site for music lovers to download and pay musicians for the work they like. Musician Kristen Hersh (Throwing Muses, 50FOOTWAVE) is behindthe service which seems to still be in a pre-beta, but looks very promising from it's minimalist, subtle interface. As well as letting you name your price, and download DRM-free tracks, artists on the network can share the source files for their songs freely under a creative commons license so that other artists can remix their work.
30 Trends in Digital Music: 1-5
The world of digital music is an exciting place, whether you're a record label, a band or a music fan. 2007 has seen huge amounts of activity, including DRM-free downloads, social network widgets, the rise of mobile music, Radiohead's choose-your-own-price album, recommendation services, personal online radio, video karaoke sites, and the first trials of free music funded by advertising.
I've tried to round up these disparate trends in the traditional blog stylee (i.e. a Top 30 list), providing links back to the stories that Tech Digest and other blogs have covered, and chunks of analysis on What It All Means.
Amazon, Pepsi Ponder Billion Download Giveaway
Amazon may be joining forces with Pepsi in a massive, MP3-based download giveaway, according to preliminary information surfacing Thursday. Billboard pointed to a deal that involves a total of one billion downloads, and a splashy unveiling at Super Bowl XLII in February. The move would help to catapult the Amazon MP3 offering, which launched in late September.
If the deal closes, majors will face significant pressure to shed digital protection policies. Sony BMG and Warner Music Group - as well as the experimenting Universal Music Group - would have to commit to MP3-based distribution to participate in the giveaways. EMI Music is already there, though another sticking point may surround per-track payouts to labels, and revenue specifics surrounding featured artists. Previously, Pepsi triggered two separate download giveaway campaigns with Apple and the iTunes Store.
Slow March To DRM Free Music Becomes A Sprint
The slow march towards universal DRM free music appears about to become a sprint to the finish line. Recent developments pushing Sony BMG, WMG and other holdouts to reconsider their protectionist positions include:
- Initial sales and kudos from the media and consumers for Amazon's all mp3 store
- Rumors that we've been hearing for weeks of a billion (yes that's a b) track giveaway involving Pepsi and the Amazon mp3 store to be unveiled during the Super Bowl
- Rumors that WalMart.com is demanding that all labels deliver tracks as DRM free mp3's or risk being booted off the site
- Solid digital sales increases at EMI since going DRM free
- Signs that the Universal "experiment" is now a permanent policy shift
- An increasing number of hold-out labels including most recently Hollywood experimenting with DRM free sales
- Rumors that Sony BMG is readying an mp3 experiment and that WMG is finally allowing the possibility to be be openly discussed
- A more rapid than expected decline in physical CD sales
- Increased popularity of The Zune and other players beyond the iPod
A Tipping Point For MP3s
News of the Pepsi promotion, which is expected to be announced Feb. 3 during the Super Bowl, coincides with an ultimatum from Wal-Mart asking major labels to supply walmart.com with their music in MP3, sources say. Labels, meanwhile, say they have been watching the success of an MP3 test UMG began in August; the major continues to allow the sale of 85% of its current catalog as MP3s. Sources say UMG is on the verge of permanently embracing that digital format. But a source close to the testing insists the decision is still up in the air while the company awaits conclusive results from the trial, which are due in mid-January.
Turnaround expert hired to lead Handleman
Handleman Co., a music distributor based in Troy, said this morning that its chief executive officer and chairman is being replaced with a turnaround expert. Albert A. Koch will take over as president and chief executive as Stephen Strome retires. Strome expects to continue as a consultant to the company to assist in accelerating the turnaround plan.
Glenn Frey: Eagles Album Saved Band
60 Minutes" page for its piece on The Eagles via Colfer
So the Eagles decided to press their own records, and signed an exclusive distribution deal with the nation's largest music retailer, Wal-Mart. The chain agreed to buy three million copies directly from the band, sell the double set album for the bargain-basement price of $11.88, and spend tens of millions of dollars to promote it.