Labels See New Online Music Options
January 7, 2008 at 5:41 AM (PT)
When you're not inclined to give your product away for free, make your customers believe they're getting something for nothing. That's the thinking behind some of the offerings music fans may see this year as the recording industry scrambles to offset losses from plunging CD sales and find new sources of revenue when many consumers simply download music for free.
Among the business models music fans are likely to see more of: music subscriptions bundled with the price of Internet access, and services like NOKIA CORP.'s upcoming "Comes With Music," which would give users of select mobile phones a year's worth of unlimited access to music for no extra charge.
Music companies also are expected to license songs for more ad-supported websites like IMEEM, which lets visitors watch videos or listen to full-length tracks posted by other music fans for free. Major recording labels, long-criticized for being too slow in adapting to changes brought by the Internet over the last decade, are under pressure to explore new ways to get music fans to pay for music, leading to more choices for consumers.
"It seems clear there's an accelerated pace of change that comes hand in glove with accelerated decline in traditional business," said BIGCHAMPAGNE CEO ERIC GARLAND.
Then there's UNIVERSAL MUSIC's "Total Music," which is expected to extend what UNIVERSAL is doing with NOKIA's "Comes With Music" to everything from personal computers to digital music players, with the cost of the music built into the price.
Music fans are also likely to see more albums released in multiple versions, such as pricier deluxe or limited-editions, and more albums pre-loaded onto small, portable storage devices such as thumb drives attached to rubber bracelets.