Saturday, January 26, 2008

MIDEM 2008: Sony BMG want music to be free... sort of

More from MIDEM, and again we're picking up on PaidContent's excellent coverage, as Sony BMG's digital music president Thomas Hesse announces that the company would be happier with the all-you-can-eat digital model:

“This idea of bundling music or access ... enjoying music on a fairly large scale with either a device or with access, be it a cell phone contract or a cable contract ... to me, that’s the next frontier. We feel quite optimistic about it.”

”Access to music so that music becomes something you can access in a very free way with very little encumburences.”

Of course, the advantage for Sony is no customer would ever own anything - if you want to listen to the tracks tomorrow that you listened to today, you'd have to pay all over again. And again, and again, and again.

Meanwhile, there'd be much lower risk in the industry - people on subscriptions would always need to pay you more money to gain access to a library; there'd be less pressure to add to that library.

More optimistically, Hesse also revealed that he believes next year will see digital and physical sales reach the 50/50 point; a more rapid shift to digital sales than we've seen predicted elsewhere.

[Part of MIDEM 2008]


Anonymous said...

The problem seems to be that the they are trying to create a market that they want, rather than taking into account what the public want.

Their concept may be fantastic in a world where everyone has 24/7 access to the online world, but in the real world, it's incredibly flawed.

I also find it cheapens the value of music on a non-financial level when you can have it 'on tap' 24/7, if you see what I mean.

Anonymous said...

good point. And another issue with subscription services (as if there weren't enough already) is that they give you no clue as to what people actually like. You may download a lot of different artists but the company has no way of knowing which you then deleted because they were toss. In a pay per download world people are a little more selective.

Olive said...

Another issue with subscription models, as with all DRM hobbled services is- what happens when the company folds, or decides that it's no longer profitable to operate?

Anonymous said...

@olive - look no further than the demise of Virgin Digital last year. "You no longer have access to your downloaded music. Goodbye." And even before that they had suddenly doubled the price of the monthly sub so existing users suddenly had to pony up the extra if they wanted to keep listening. You are entirely at the mercy of the whims of the company concerned.

Maybe as a Microsoft Playsforsure (i.e. non iPod friendly) "partner" Virgin noticed that Microsoft had already shafted them by bringing out the doesn'tPlayforsure Zune, and thought they'd get out while the getting was good.

Olive said...

Ah! Virgin! That was the example I was searching my ever more porous memory for. Those of you who have been reamed by PlayForSure might want to seek out FairUse4WM, a tool that strips DRM from your music files.

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