Thursday, 20 May 2010

Univrsal: Fail!

I have posted before about my frustration with the music industry and how it doesn't seem to get digital music distribution. A couple of months ago I named and shamed Warner Music and their decision to pull out of streaming music. (See Warner Music goes backwards!)

Today, I saw an article in the Grauniad which suggests Universal Music Group is also trying to make its music hard to access. (See Behind the music: Universal throws down the gauntlet to download stores for details.) Bizarre!

It is not clear how restricting legal download/streaming services access to you artists' work is in anyone's interest. Except of course that by making a commodity scarce, you might be able to demand a premium price for it.

I found two aspects of the report in the Graudiarn particularly interesting. First, Paul McCartney says it's EMIs fault that the Beatles are unavailable for download from iTunes. I always assumed that it was some legal wrangle over who owned the digital distribution rights but maybe it's just about money. Secondly, the insight into Universal's business model was illuminating. Essentially it seems to involve extorting ludicrously high fees from potential online providers so that what ever happens to the online retailer, Universal always gets paid!

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