August 30, 2005

The Evolving Music Market [6:55 am]

A couple of stories:

  • From the Boston Globe, a look at the latest Starbucks exclusive release from Bob Dylan: The times they are a-changin’ [pdf]

    For local record stores, this kind of exclusive arrangement — the Dylan deal is for 18 months — is more than annoying. Witness the repeated complaints from, among others, Newbury Comics boss Mike Dreese. Why do Dylan and Alanis Morissette want to sell out to Starbucks? But record industry wonks, desperately fighting for survival, can smell the sumatra.

    ”What they’re doing is moving aggressively into music retailing and utilizing their remarkable power and leveraging their unique relationship with their customers to sell music,” says Jason Flom, president of Lava Records, who struck a deal with Starbucks to sell discs from a new band, Antigone Rising. More than 60,000 CDs were sold at Starbucks the first six weeks. ”I’m delighted. There’s a limited amount of space in the stores and tens of millions of people who go through there every week. You’d be hard pressed to say you’re not thrilled they’ve chosen music.”

    And choose, they do. Not only are the barristas stocking the shelves. Through the Starbucks stereo, they’re able to play you music that’s not for sale.

  • The BBC’s expected foray: BBC targets music downloads in Internet strategy [pdf]

    The BBC wants to be a major player in the digital media world and is considering partnerships with private businesses to sell music downloads, Director-General Mark Thompson said on Saturday.

    [...] “Everything we know about the online world suggests that it’s the big brands — the eBays (Nasdaq:EBAY - news), the Amazons (Nasdaq:AMZN - news), the Microsofts (Nasdaq:MSFT - news) — that punch through, and the BBC is one of the big brands,” Thompson said in a speech at the Edinburgh Television Festival.

    [...] The prospect of the BBC using its massive heft is likely to upset UK media and Internet companies, which have often complained that the corporation — funded by a mandatory tax on UK television households totaling nearly 3 billion pounds — has encroached on activities in the private sector.

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