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.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 11:34am

    It would be most amusing if he had spent his time drunk on some secluded island somewhere that does not have internet access.

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

  2. identicon
    Rob, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 11:39am

    Virgin certainly got on board the fail boat for this one.

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

  3. icon
    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jun 15th, 2009 @ 11:52am


    How is this better than torrents? I've got to check to see which *label* the band I want to listen to is on?

    Have labels been a consideration for fans since the sixties? Come to think, I'm not sure any of the bands I listen to are on a label...

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

  4. icon
    bwp (profile), Jun 15th, 2009 @ 12:33pm

    I wonder if part of the agreement is for Virgin to start using DPI on its subscribers that don't sign up for the service as well as the the ones that do.

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

  5. identicon
    Alameda, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 12:51pm

    I would gladly pay $25 a month for a reasonable amount of DRM-free MP3 downloads from all of the major music labels. Why is this so difficult?

    Right now, the music labels' profit from me as a consumer is almost zero. I'll buy the occasional .99 cent song from Amazon's MP3 store or from Itunes, but the rest of the time, I make a point to buy used CDs. The profit is zero for the record labels and the musicians when a consumer buys a used music CD.

    If the music companies would open their eyes and take their fingers out of their ears for ten seconds, they would realize the potential profit margins that would be obtained by joining an all-you-can-eat for a flat price music download service. There would be some revenue generated, even if it was 1/10th of a penny per song.

    Multiply that by millions of customers, and you are talking about a stream of revenue that doesn't exist right now because of all the bootleg music downloaders and the consumers who are currently buying used CDs as a form of protest against the greedy bastards at the RIAA.

    It has to be DRM-free, however, and you need to offer music that people actually want to download. I was intrigued by the E-music concept, until I searched their catalog and realized that none of the mainstream artists I like are available. I didn't even bother signing up for the free trial.

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

  6. identicon
    zellamayzao, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 12:57pm



    Easy there killer. Your math and logic is to well um logical for their (labels) liking. It must be difficult to follow and convoluted for any of us laymens to understand how a plan like that would work.

    I would sign up for something like that at 25$ month in a minute for all you can eat good quality DRM-free mp3's.

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

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 2:34pm

    And when no one signs up for this, the labels can claim to the press "See, we offer a good business model, but people do not want to spend money on music and download it for a flat fee. Therefore they must be stealing it!!"

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

  8. icon
    BigFN-J (profile), Jun 15th, 2009 @ 3:13pm


    The cost is simply to high. I personally pay $30 a month for access to Usenet, two or three $10 lifetime nzb subscription sites, and I have access to every form of digital content on the planet.

    To think that $25 a MONTH for about 15% of a music catalog is ludicrous, and if its DRM free what is to actually stop someone from queuing up the entire catalog, download it, and stop subscribing? Worse even, is that as an adult, i cant remember the last time i listened to a new band or cared if i had access to some garbage i may have heard on the radio throughout all the commercials.

    I am having a hard time organizing my thoughts but the cost just seems excessive given the alternatives out there, and their supposed DPI still cant crack my SSL connections to my news provider.

    I would pay... honestly $5 a month for unlimited music... oh wait, i do pay about $2 a month to DI.FM for unlimited streaming radio stations w/ no commercials or DJ's. AND they happen to carry styles of music I cannot get over the air in my country. The united states does not have a psy-trance radio station, or deep-house over the air. Where might i find that music in a corporate catalog?

    25 dollars is silly.... can i stream it while im at work? will it sync up to my ipod? can i connect it from a friends house who has a rival ISP... they fail to make this a service WORTH paying that much money for, and to then continue down a patch of bullshit disconnects w/out proof is just plain stupid.

    I dont understand how these corporations are so inept that they cant see what is right in front of them..... an audience with disposable income actively looking for the next best thing... give it to us.

    Charge me $100 a month (like the cable i canceled) and let me watch your shows from my computer, let me stream them to my phone, let me download them for my own archives.... i don't want commercials... why would I? everything i download doesn't have them. I want access to every song ever recorded, i want to stream it to my car, to my laptop, to my phone... i want to be able to logon to my Media Portal and show people my favorite shows, i want them to listen to bands i have flagged and songs that they will like.

    I want it to be AWESOME, i want it to be fluid, i want it to be what I WANT...

    to achieve this goal now, i spend a tremendous amount of time and MONEY making this happen.

    $30/month to giganews
    $30/year for nzb index sites
    $0/ to ORB to allow me to stream my downloaded media & share pictures
    $4000/year on RAID upgrades and hard drives, right now I have 9 terabytes of storage in a RAID6 for my ORB

    I have to manually look for my shows, manually find the music i like, manually track down good HD rips of movies & documentaries i like, and then I have to go through and categorize all of it......

    I would pay money for this....screw sharing and torrents I want an interface that allows me to not HAVE to download files. let me stream in HD, let me stream my music... give me categories and a search feature, let me bookmark TV shows and episodes... let me add seasons to my list of "shit i like".... hell give me links to buy the DVD's of shows, and albums of bands or DJ's that I'm into... because i would.....

    i remember thinking yesterday when i walked out of the movie "UP" (yes i went to the movies) and was like... how AWESOME would it be if i could buy this movie right now.... oh wait......

    the whole thing is silly, and this is definitely NOT what people are waiting for to purge them of their sharing habits.... people are looking for a SOLUTION, not a band-aid that costs more than the surgery.

    Im fed up with these half-assed attempts to monetize garbage... we want ALL of it, and we are WILLING TO PAY for it.... nobody out there is willing to agree on a solution and SELL it to the masses.

    Charge me $25... but i better get every track in existence, or you are NOT making it worth my time to pay you. I have an better way to obtain what i want, and guess what... its EASIER.

    Torrents are NOT free, piracy is NOT free, we have to store this junk somewhere, and hard drives cost real money, blank media costs money, powerful computers cost money, high-speed internet costs money... and were willing to pay it to NOT have to pay you.


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

  9. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 3:34pm


    Luckily, many Brits have some choice as to their broadband provider. Bye bye, Virgin.

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

  10. identicon
    Andrew Calcutt, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 4:21pm

    Well said BigFN-J. I would be willing to pay (and am now to someone else) if they would just give me what I want.

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

  11. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 5:03pm

    Re: orly?

    $30/month to giganews
    $30/year for nzb index sites
    $0/ to ORB to allow me to stream my downloaded media & share pictures
    $4000/year on RAID upgrades and hard drives, right now I have 9 terabytes of storage in a RAID6 for my ORB"

    You truly need to get a life.

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

  12. identicon
    Old Time Record Guy, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 4:11am

    Re: orly?

    It is people like you that are the challenge. Eventually, you will run into a problem with your ISP. Either with copyright infringement or bandwidth pig. You want everything free. What do you do to make money and live in our society? Whatever it is, I want it for free and not pay for it and then see how it feels.

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

  13. icon
    Sammie Houston (profile), Jun 16th, 2009 @ 4:50am

    Watunes, The New Music Industry!

    WaTunes is a social media distribution service that enables artists, groups, and record labels to sell music, music videos, and audiobooks through leading online entertainment retailers, including iTunes,ShockHound, and eMusic. Artists and labels can sell unlimited music and earn 100% of their profits – ALL FOR FREE!

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

  14. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 6:35am

    Re: Re: orly?

    spoken like a true anonymous coward. I love every bit of my life, and it is quite wonderful. I just have a hobby that you obviously do not understand or appreciate. Next time try a little constructive criticism instead of throwing out terms that really have no place here. You are where the term internet troll comes from...

    You truly need to get a life.

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

  15. identicon
    Rick, Jun 17th, 2009 @ 10:04pm

    "who the hell knows what label their favorite bands are on these days?"

    Uh, people interested in music? Off the top of my head, I follow Kranky, Warp, Drag City, Rough Trade, 4AD, Skam, White Whale, Matador, Ninja Tune, Takoma, Static Caravan, Peacefrog, Leaf, etc etc. Doesn't sound like you should be writing about music if you don't know any record labels.

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

  16. identicon
    D, Jul 4th, 2009 @ 6:33am

    Re: Old Time Record Guy

    You have totally missed the point that orly is trying to make (which I agree with) which is:
    It takes a lot of time and effort to download all these songs/movies at the moment and more if you want to use them on different devices.

    If what he was asking for was available as a seamless service then I think people would start to think of "free" music in the same way that people now think of home car maintenance, which is "much cheaper" than taking your car to a garage. Wouldn't you rather the car just "got fixed" and you paid a bit more than spending ages doing the work yourself? I know that I would.

    This is also a similar argument to the "Linux is as free as your time" that MS and Apple give. MS and Apple are still going strong because people ARE willing to pay for convenience and simplicity of service (Linux may still get there).


    gotta' feed trolls too...

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

  17. identicon
    mikey, Dec 10th, 2010 @ 11:31pm can be used for scanner and access point

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

  18. identicon
    natini, Dec 10th, 2010 @ 11:50pm can be used for scanner and access point

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

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