February 26, 2003
Eventually Someone Will Succeed at the Online Music Filesharing Biz

Roxio, purchaser of the Napster assets last Fall, is resurrecting Napster (their site says "under construction"). From Europemedia: "Roxio plans to profit where above-board music download services like the music industry's antiseptic PressPlay and MusicNet websites failed by ensuring it has agreements with all the record labels and access to the bulk of their catalogues before launch."

Shawn Fanning will consult, and they will offer per-track songs as well as subscriptions but not before they close deals with the likes of Universal Music Group, Sony Music, Warner Music Group, Bertelsmann AG and EMI. "The record labels know we want to do this the correct way and the legal way," said a Roxio spokeswoman. "And it will be top-tier content, not unheard-of bands you see now with most of the subscription services," she added.

How disappointing. One of the great things about online content is the ability to market, at very little cost, new bands. Napster might do better using this opportunity to expose new talent to the public than what currently exists.

AOL is also starting a music sharing service, trying various pricing models such as streaming/downloading for $8.95/mo (with no copying? has anyone seen AOL's security track record?), or, in typical AOL form, they will charge $17.95 per month for the right to burn 10 songs onto a CD. Reminds me of their dialup service. They don't call it almost on line for nothing. Hopefully users will see that for 10 songs (with no store, no packaging, no pre-burned cd), they should pay a more reasonable price.

Posted by Mary Hodder at February 26, 2003 06:29 AM

It appears that Jack wants to have his cake and eat it too. He makes continual analogies between digital media physical objects (glasses, stationary). When I buy stationary, I can do whatever I want with it. I can write on it or "re-engineer" it into a paper airplane. It's the same with his glass example. I have complete control over an Ikea glass, I own it, but when I buy one of Jack's DVDs at blockbuster, the director and copyright holder still own it and can sell it over and over again. So, contradictingly by his analogy, Jack Valenti wants to sell "the same glass" to everyone and yet have no one own it.

Posted by: Nick Gonzalez on March 13, 2003 01:19 AM
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