Virgin Does Music Deal With Universal; Everyone Involved Forgets The Past
from the let's-look-back-a-bit dept
There’s lots of news coming out today about how UK broadband ISP Virgin has signed a deal with Universal Music to allow unlimited access to Universal Music’s catalog (downloads and streams) for a set price. Various execs and politicians are talking it up like it’s the greatest thing ever. It’s as if they think that people can’t remember back just a few months.
That’s because it was just a few months ago that Virgin was set to launch a similar offering that included all of the major record labels, but then a few of them got greedy and said they’d only agree to it if Virgin also employed Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) techniques to track the file sharing and cracked down on any sharing of MP3s. Virgin resisted — after all, just a few months before that, it had insisted that it would never cut subscribers off the internet for file sharing. So… wouldn’t you know it… a part of this plan is to cut file sharers off the internet.
So, let’s take a look at this “wonderful” and “amazing” new agreement. You get a vastly limited catalog (only Universal Music — and who the hell knows what label their favorite bands are on these days?). It’s not clear how the usage is tracked, but given the earlier reports, we have to wonder if it involves DPI spying on your usage… and Virgin is committed to cracking down on file sharing and even “temporarily” cutting off access to the internet (Virgin claims its okay, because the cutoff is only “temporary”). Perhaps there are some folks out there who will sign up for such a service, but it’s difficult to see who. They aren’t offering any benefits or additional value.