eMusic warns BPI, ISP deal to affect digital music

The recent music industry deal with ISP’s could put power over music retail into the hands of the networks, undermining the good work done by the likes of iTunes, Napster and eMusic, eMusic CEO David Pakman warns.

As part of the deal between labels and ISPs to combat file-sharing in the UK, the music industry has made a commitment to license catalogue to ISPs in order that the latter are enabled to launch their own download services for customers.

And with the debate on net neutrality still actively ongoing, Pakman is concerned ISPs may eventually throttle bandwidth in order to favour their own services over those that pioneered legitimate download sales.

“Our concern is that in order to obtain the co-operation of the ISPs, there seems to be a quid pro quo,” Pakman told the Financial Times. “This is qualitatively different from licensing another half a dozen digital music businesses.”

ISPs rejected the accusation they could favour traffic to their own sites. “We have no plans to inhibit in any way the traffic of other legitimate music or content services, irrespective of whether we eventually offer our own,” said BT.

eMusic has consulted lobby groups such as Impala and the European Digital Media Association to consider whether to raise its concerns with competition authorities, Pakman revealed.

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