Recording Industry Innovating Like It's 1999

from the deja-vu dept

Two developments this week suggest that the recording industry is finally taking baby steps in the direction of a genuinely competitive online music market, but the progress continues to be painfully slow. First, Apple is cutting prices on DRM-free music in an apparent bid to stay competitive with Amazon's launch of a DRM-free music store last month. This is a particularly interesting development because just last year, the talk was about whether Apple would increase prices on iTunes songs. But now it's looking like further price cuts are more likely to be in the cards. Even Amazon's 89 cent price point is still a lot more expensive than eMusic, which charges around 33 cents per song. Meanwhile, Napster has unveiled a new web-based version of its music store that appears to allow people to listen to their music in their web browsers, including non-Windows PCs. The new Napster will also make it easier for you to embed your favorite music YouTube-style on other websites. Those are great new features, but it appears that the service will still require people to use Microsoft's comically-named (and increasingly irrelevant) PlaysForSure platform if they want to listen to their music on a mobile device, which is quite a handicap in an iPod-dominated market.

It's becoming increasingly clear that the recording industry shot itself in the foot when it sued into bankruptcy in 2000. Many of the "new" features sites like Amazon and Napster are touting today—web-based access, DRM-free files—are just warmed-over versions of the functionality consumers could get from almost a decade ago. Imagine how much more vibrant the online music market would be today if the labels had treated sites like as a potential revenue source rather than a competitive threat.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    teknosapien, Oct 17th, 2007 @ 5:19pm


    Wonder how long it will take for to start the litigious trail for infringement of their IP

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Overcast, Oct 17th, 2007 @ 5:29pm

    Yeah, good call - maybe should sue them all for intellectual property theft. After all - it wasn't Amazon or the Recording Industry's idea.

    What's fair is fair, right?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Petréa Mitchell, Oct 17th, 2007 @ 7:31pm


    Aaaargh! eMusic is only 33 cents per track if you download the absolute maximum every month.

    Sorry to get all hyperventilated about that, but I'm really sick of people quoting it like it's a flat fee. The one thing that stood between me and DRM-free electronic music for a long time was not having time to listen to 75 tracks per month...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Dayton, Oct 17th, 2007 @ 8:26pm was an awesome site too back in the day. The music industry is on a downward spiral.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Renich Bon Ciric, Oct 17th, 2007 @ 10:26pm

    And what about the others?

    Hey, there are more sites like this that have been around for quite some time. For example: And many others! DRM-Free music is, has and will be around.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    PaulT, Oct 18th, 2007 @ 4:26am

    Re: eMusic

    " not having time to listen to 75 tracks per month..."

    Erm, then why not subscribe to the basic 30 tracks/month package?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Joe Schmoe, Oct 18th, 2007 @ 7:39am

    Apple can drop their iTunes prices to 3 cents a track and I still won't care / want / bother until they sell them as plain 'ol mp3's...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    gary, Oct 18th, 2007 @ 9:15pm

    New music business model:

    the traditional industry needs to wake up and embark on new music models which are fair to artists/labels/consumers.
    I think is pretty damn close. Free 260kbps mp3's from their new albums, and other tracks only 50c each.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Music Shop, Mar 18th, 2009 @ 8:03am

    Do we have any stats about music piracy? It could show to the industry that they need to do more than just sue some people. They really need help

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Hide this ad »
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Hide this ad »
Techdirt Insider Chat
Hide this ad »
Recent Stories
Hide this ad »


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.