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Downloaded music sales to hit £300m in UK by 2005

Analyst firm shares its vision

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Sales from downloadable music will hit £300 million in the UK by 2005.

This will be driven by music repackagers - businesses which will bring together content from multiple labels and artists - according to research organisation Forrester.

These repackagers will deal with the individual items of that make up the modern music biz product - songs, lyrics, artwork, and video - and make it easier for online music retailers to offer bundles of video, audio and text in whatever combination a consumer wants to buy them. They will also sort out security issues.

Forrester believes all this will lead to very close customer/repackager relationships which in turn will allow different prices to apply to different buyers at different times. "Downloadable delivery will also encourages time-sensitive promotions, and payment of a flat monthly rate for unlimited access to selected music which will appeal to users with broad tastes and a high rate of consumption," said Rebecca Ulph, a Forrester analyst.

If this vision works out it should mean that Metallica, the Corrs, and all the other anti-Napster bands can stop worrying about losing money and get on with creating product/content or even music. The record companies will concentrate on artist development and promotion, and repackagers will emerge as hubs for downloadable content

Ulph added: "Customised content bundles comprising song lyrics, album artwork and selected tracks will create a more attractive buy than a track alone, especially if users can create the bundles themselves. Taking music from existing labels, unsigned bands and established artists, repackagers will make relevant content bundles available to diverse, non-traditional retail outlets making downloadable music a far more attractive proposition for content owners, retailers and consumers alike." ®

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