Music so nice… you may pay twice
NEW YORK - In a move that undoubtedly will confound people who want to play by the rules, music consumers will be paying twice if they want to listen to their music on their stereo and on their computer. And yes, EMI is involved.
Today, Universal became the first label to sell copy-protected CDs with the release of its soundtrack "Fast & Furious." This CD will keep people from listening to their music on a computer or other digital device.
Essentially, consumers will be required to pay once for a physical CD and once for the digital music file. Fear of piracy cutting into retail sales is the major record labels' justification for restricting how people can listen to the music they buy. The goal is to keep people from turning individual songs into the MP3 format.
The recording industry has cited file-trading services such as Napster and an increase in CD-Rs as the primary reasons for declining album sales.
Ironically, the RIAA announced just yesterday that a survey they conducted found that 79 percent of consumers still want to receive an album as a holiday gift. That number climbed to 87 percent among people between the ages of 10 and 27, the age group most often associated with digital piracy.
For those consumers who want to listen to their music online, there is only one service being offered right now. MusicNet – a joint venture between major labels EMI, BMG, Warner Music and Internet media company RealNetworks – retails for $10 per month but limits consumers to 100 downloads and 100 streams. The downloads can't be transferred to portable music devices or burned to CDs, and if the subscription lapses, the files will no longer play.
Pressplay, an alternative service offered by the Universal Music Group and Sony Music, is expected out before the end of the year.
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