Report: Say Goodbye To TotalMusic
February 9, 2009 at 4:59 AM (PT)
TOTALMUSIC, the digital music distribution initiative created by SONY BMG and UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP, appears to be on life support -- or dead, reports TECHCRUNCH in THE WASHINGTON POST. In the last few months the company has seen the two music executives who spearheaded the initiative jump ship, followed by a round of layoffs that included senior personnel. Now, RUCKUS, a music streaming company acquired by TOTALMUSIC last year, has abruptly shut down.
The history of TOTALMUSIC is dramatic, filled with failed deals, major strategy changes, and an antitrust lawsuit. Since forming, the company has proposed two new revenue models for music: the first was to offer end-users a large library of music for "free," by building the cost of the music service into their music devices. That plan didn’t exactly work out -- in early 2008 the Department of Justice launched an anti-trust probe which derailed the idea.
Then, last summer, the company came back from the dead. The second new model was meant to serve as a departure from the way music has traditionally been licensed on the web. TOTALMUSIC was supposed to offer free streaming to sites in return for user data and all associated advertising revenue. In particular, the initiative was built from the start with FACEBOOK in mind, offering the social network a chance to implement a music service for free while all of its competitors were paying hefty fees. But FACEBOOK didn’t bite. The exact reason why is hazy.
THE POST also reports that the company’s remaining employees are shopping around its technology to outside buyers.