Feeds

Universal tests Napster-style music service

Subscription-based streaming audio service could win the day

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Boost IT visibility and business value

'Big five' recording company Universal Music Group has begun secret trials of an unlimited access, subscription-based digital music distribution service.

Universal itself won't discuss the trial, but its parent company, Seagram, and the drinks giant's prospective merger partner, Vivendi, have mentioned it during talks with analysts and shareholders, Reuters reports.

The trial apparently provides unlimited access to some 20,000 tracks via a streamed media connection over the Internet. Subscribers, of whom, Reuters reckons there are 5000 - seems a lot to us - can't download and keep the songs they choose to listen to.

Subscription-based services have been touted as an workable alternative to the pay-per-download digital music distribution systems the major labels have been focusing their efforts upon. The arrival of Napster, with its 'all you can eat' approach to downloads, is believed by many observers to have pretty much whacked the original model on the head - punters are now so used to unlimited access, they will no longer put up with a 'single fee, single download' model.

That's certainly one possible motivation behind Universal's trial. The other is the development of Net-based audio-on-demand services of the kind Japanese giant Sony is looking to when it rolls out broadband digital entertainment services next year.

Just as the video market has split between those who want to buy tapes - and now DVDs - to keep and those who simply want to rent movies occasionally, the audio market has traditionally been a sell-through only business. The ability to stream audio provides a way of building a music rental operation without the usual piracy concerns. There are plenty of folk out there who might want to hear, say, the new Radiohead album, but don't want to buy the CD outright in case they find it a mite too depressing. ®

Related Stories

Universal to launch digital music trial
Universal to bring digital music service to UK

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Nadella: Apps must run on ALL WINDOWS – PCs, slabs and mobes
Phone egg, meet desktop chicken - your mother
White? Male? You work in tech? Let us guess ... Twitter? We KNEW it!
Grim diversity numbers dumped alongside Facebook earnings
Microsoft: We're making ONE TRUE WINDOWS to rule us all
Enterprise, Windows still power firm's shaky money-maker
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.