January 19, 2009

The Tiger Changing Its Stripes? [3:34 pm]

Or getting so thin that you can’t see them anymore? Music Industry Imitates Digital Pirates to Turn a Profit (pdf)

Online and mobile services offering listeners unlimited “free” access to millions of songs are set to proliferate in the coming months, according to music industry executives.

Unlike illegal file-sharing services, which the music industry says are responsible for billions of dollars in lost sales, these new offerings are perfectly legal. The services are not really free, but payment is included in the cost of, say, a new cellphone or a broadband Internet access contract, so the cost to the consumer is disguised. And, unlike pirate sites, these services provide revenue to the music companies.

“Two thousand nine should be the year when the music industry stopped worrying and learned to love the bomb,” said Feargal Sharkey, a former punk rocker who now heads UK Music, a trade group for the British music industry.

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