Feeds

Liquid Audio tunes into Net IPO frenzy

But does it have much of a future?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

High performance access to file storage

Digital music delivery company Liquid Audio is to go public -- a brave move, many would have thought, in the face of increased competition from some very big players indeed. Liquid Audio gave little away about the upcoming IPO -- it simply specified a June/July timeframe for the issue, and promised pricing and quantity details at the end of this month, courtesy of a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. Liquid Audio was formed back in 1996, and quickly emerged as a company going places in the commercial online music distribution business. The trouble is, MP3 (MPEG 1 Audio Layer 3) soon afterward became the de facto standard for music downloads, and Liquid Audio has been battling to make its mark ever since. Still, that has allowed the company to push itself as the acceptable face of online music distribution, doing its damn best to beat the hordes of Internet music pirates the recording industry fears are lurking out there. And LA's Liquid Music System provides pretty much everything the indsutry might want from a digital distribution system: rights management, anti-piracy measures and control over dsitribution. What has hindered that has been the recording industry's near total lack of understanding about how the Internet and the online music business works. That lead to a kind of 'ignore it and it will go away' attitude, which worked just fine until MP3 came along and forced the business to take note. Now the industry is pondering on the opportunities for business the Net offers -- primarily pulling sales away from the retail channel and building links directly between buyer and label -- everyone and their dog is developing systems for it to use. Microsoft is pushing hard with Windows Media Technologies, IBM has its Sony-supported Electronic Music Management System, RealNetworks is promoting RealJukebox and Universal is working on its own system in conjunction with InterTrust, a system that will also provide it to fellow music industry giant BMG. That leaves Liquid Audio facing some very stiff competition indeed. Still, if the online music market is going to be as big as numerous pundits are predicting, there may well be plenty of room in the pond for a relatively small fish like Liquid Audio. If estimates of the online music business are broadly correct -- Market Tracking International, for example, reckons it will be worth $550 million next year (total music sales will reach $44 billion) -- and the major dominate online as much as they dominate sales on CD and other media, you're looking at a market of just $82.5 million for Liquid Audio to bite into. That's a lot of revenue. Much will depend not on technology but on artists. The majors are already planning to build online rights into their contracts, if they're not doing it already, and that's going to limit the opportunities for the likes of Liquid Audio. Given the company has yet to make a profit -- it lost $8.5 million on revenues of $2.8 million in 1998, $6.2 million on revenues of £256,000 in 1997 -- and unless it gets some big name signings, either artists or labels, that's situation isn't going to improve much. ® See also Recent Register online music stories

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
It may be ILLEGAL to run Heartbleed health checks – IT lawyer
Do the right thing, earn up to 10 years in clink
France bans managers from contacting workers outside business hours
«Email? Mais non ... il est plus tard que six heures du soir!»
Adrian Mole author Sue Townsend dies at 68
RIP Blighty's best-selling author of the 1980s
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.