EMI To Launch Online Music Service
October 9, 2008 at 5:08 AM (PT)
EMI GROUP is planning to launch an online music service later this year, wading into an increasingly crowded field of competitors and reviving a direct-to-consumer strategy that has historically been a loser for the major labels, reports THE WALL STREET JOURNAL. EMI's primary goal is to gather data about customer behavior, rather than to earn money from selling music, a person familiar with the matter said.
The biggest music companies have a mixed track record with digital-music services they own. The online services PRESSPLAY and MUSICNET, both launched by the major record labels, never got traction with consumers. The launch of APPLE's iTunes store in 2003 sidelined them.
EMI is also a partner in the recently relaunched MYSPACE MUSIC, a joint venture with UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP, SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT, WARNER MUSIC GROUP and NEWS CORP., the parent of MYSPACE and publisher of the WALL STREET JOURNAL.
Like the new MYSPACE MUSIC, EMI's music service is likely to combine streaming and paid downloads.
EMI executives led by digital-business head DOUGLAS MERRILL, who joined the company from GOOGLE INC., are likely to experiment with various configurations of offerings to see how users respond.