Friday, August 18, 2006


We don't imagine that Steve Jobs is losing much sleep over the news that Microsoft's Zune will come with EMI music videos preloaded, as nobody seems entirely sure if that means that the Zune software will have them in, or the player, or the download store. Or, indeed, what EMI videos will be preloaded. Or, in fact, anything even approaching details.

Added to which, it's not going to happen until Zune appears, which with Microsoft's track record could be a long way off.

Still, EMI are excited:

"Apple has been an important partner in building the digital music market but any well-funded serious entrant has got to be good news for the artists and industry," Jeff Kempler, executive vice president of EMI unit Virgin Records America, told Reuters.

- not, you'll note, good news for the consumer.

Interestingly, if EMI videos are going to be given away with Zune, does this mean the RIAA's oft-repeated concern that people might get used to free music and come to decide all music should be free at point of delivery is no longer a concern?

Of more interest is YouTune's pledge to offer every pop video ever made, for free, supported by advertising.

Every one? Even Circus Circus Circus' Butcher Bitches?

That's quite a task.

And a hugely unlikely one - will the RIAA really be satisfied with the few pence in advert fees they'd be earning instead of the artificially high price per download on offer from the established music stores? It seems unlikely - especially when they were threatening recently to start charging MTV and the like fees for showing videos.

It's true that such a service from YouTube could, finally, be that hitherto mythical beast, the iPod killer. But it would also kill of Zune and all the other paid-for music services: and while executives might be happy to see Apple's dominance broken, they're not going to want to take down the entire market to make that happen.

Still, manufacturers of audiograbbing software must be hoping it all comes good for them.