Warner Confirms It Has Download Plans
March 31, 2008 at 5:16 AM (PT)
Consumers, who now pay for HBO, may one day be charged for a digital music service on their monthly Internet bill. THE HOUSTON CHRONICLE writes that after resisting subscription services out of fear they would cannibalize compact disc sales, music companies are considering the idea in an attempt to reverse plummeting sales and unabated illegal downloading of music from the Internet.
This week, SONY BMG CEO ROLF SCHMIDT-HOLTZ told a GERMAN newspaper (NET NEWS 3/25) that SONY was in discussions with other music labels and partners to offer an online music subscription service.
WARNER MUSIC GROUP confirmed this week that the music label envisioned a $5-a-month subscription service that would enable to download, copy and share music without restrictions. The subscription revenue would be divided among the labels.
WARNER's interest in the service was first reported by PORTFOLIO.COM. Two other label executives said their companies were contemplating a similar move. RHAPSODY already offers music subscriptions online and through a variety of devices. APPLE is talking to music companies about offering some of its iPODS pre-loaded with music and adding a subscription service to its online music store, iTUNES, according to industry executives.
In JANUARY, UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP launched a subscription service with NOKIA called TOTAL MUSIC BY UNIVERSAL (NET NEWS 1/7). NOKIA is in discussions with some of the other music companies, according to one industry executive.
"All the labels agree to the idea of subscription, and we're all talking about the structure of how much music over how much time," one music executive said. "It's not meant to be a panacea but to help support this area of retail."