another murky step into the digital realm for the music industry

OK, so follow Napster’s model, HMV and Virgin are starting to offer a subscription download service – basically you pay £14.99 and you get access to all the tunes you want. As long as you keep paying, the tunes stay active. If you stop, the tunes are disabled.

This SO doesn’t work for me at all. I don’t like the idea that you have a licence to play something, rather than buying it. I don’t even like the fact that iTunes MP3s are disabled for sharing. There need to be incentives for listeners to buy music, that we all know, and I’m not sure that crippling the digital formats is going to make people feel positively disposed towards them.

For one thing, it just gives software monkeys something else to target their energies into – beating the encryption. The easiest way is clearly going to be to re-record the audio off the track into another format. This can be done very easily if you have an external soundcard, and the software to do it internally is already readily available. If some little hacker-chimp comes up with a one click version of this, it’ll mess up the entire market in crippled files. Is it already out there? I’m guessing yes, and I just haven’t heard about it yet…

And how does it work for the artists? Someone downloads two hundred albums in a month, to add to their archive. how is their £14.99 divided? Is a set fee paid for each track? per album, a percentage of that person’s subs? All seems to be a really crap way of trying to put a stranglehold on downloads that isn’t going to work.

So what incentives work? A feeling of closeness with the artist? Cool packaging? Web-access that can be only got at through the enhanced CD? or just making downloads cheap and easy. And with that, I point you to the downloads page in my online store – three of the albums there are no longer available anywhere else.

Soundtrack – Andy Thornton, ‘The Healing Darkness’.

© 2008 Steve Lawson and developed by Pretentia. | login