The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011


Universal Music GroupWhen recently blogging about what might possibly be the best ever pricing model for selling MP3s I mentioned how EMI were the only major record label to allow MP3s of their artists' music to be sold without copy protection. Now however they are being joined by Universal. Well, sort of. Let me explain.

Over the weekend Universal records said they would start selling MP3s free from the shackles of Digital Rights Management. A welcome move, but as always the devil is in the detail. For example:

  • Their move is an experiment and not a full commitment to go down the route of DRM-free MP3s. They will evaluate how things are at the end of January before deciding if they will stick with this strategy.
  • They will not sell songs on iTunes that are free of copy-protection.
  • Tracks will not be sold indivdiually but by the album. Which defies logic as consumers shift more and more towards cherry picking the tracks they want to buy. Not to mention acts such as Ash who are moving towards releasing singles only.

The sort of good news is that they will sell these tracks for 99 US cents, 30 cents less than EMI are selling non-copy protected MP3s. Still twice the price they should be sold at, if you ask me. But some competition is better than none at this early stage in the whole digital music game.

What about the other 2 major labels who are still selling their MP3s with copy protection? I'd say give them just 6 months and they will be on board. And then competition will hopefully drive prices down. And maybe to even zero cents one day...

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Nuggets from our archive

2001 - Early career profile of Damien Rice, written by Sinead Ward. This insightful profile was written before Damien broke internationally with the release of his debut album 'O'. This profile continues to attract hundreds of visits every month, it being linked to from Damien Rice's Wikipedia page.