Sony BMG, Universal Music, Warner Music, EMI and Merlin (the body which represents Europe’s independent labels all own shares in Spotify, shares the company offered the labels for an aggregate €8.8 million – presumably as part of the negotiation to secure permission to stream their music online.
Together, the labels own 18 per cent of Spotify. Sony BMG took the lion’s share, now owning 5.8 per cent of the service.
Given the extent of repeated rumours in the run-up to Christmas, it’s no great surprise that fresh reports this morning claim Apple could announce a fully DRM-free iTunes Store as soon as today.
The report claims Apple has also given agreement to flexible pricing on music, so labels will be able to charge slightly more for in vogue hits, though the cost of older tracks will fall to 79-cents in the US.
EMI Music has hitched-up with competing major label the Warner Music Group to expand their existing partnership for music marketing and distribution in India, the Middle East and begun joint ops in Turkey.
The multi-year license agreement sees EMI Music continue to serve as the local physical distributor of Warner’s repertoire in India and the Middle East, which the label has been handling since 2005.
We caught up with UK online music service 7digital’s chief executive Ben Drury this week. A seasoned digital music industry professional, he shared his insights on Apple’s music market challenges as competition proliferates, social networking in music, lossless music downloads and much more.
Distorted Loop:Why does music matter? Ben Drury: Although music is not defined in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow_hierarchy_of_needs), I believe it must figure pretty highly on most people’s lists. In all cultures, with the possible exception of some extremist religious societies, music forms an integral part of self-expression, social cohesion, worship etc
You’ve been waiting for DRM-free music from all the major labels through iTunes, right? We reported on a “blink-and-you-miss-it” moment when tracks from majors blipped briefly in Apple’s iTunes Plus line-up? Just WTF is going down?
Negotiations may be narrowing toward closure – though at this point nothing is certain – will the labels join in or not? It’s late-night stone-faced deal make/break hardball, we reckon…
Out on the perimeter, reports are now coming in which explain just why the majors haven’t crossed the ‘T’s and dotted the ‘i’s just yet – and, it seems, each label is hard-faced on closing the deal on different points….
Microsoft has introduced its new upgraded Xbox Experience for Xbox Live. New features in this release include streaming of TV shows and films through Netflix (in the US, so far), the ability to install games to the HDD, an avatar system, and the “Community Games platform”.
We know Apple already offers music DRM-free through iTunes Plus from EMI, and are convinced reports Sony BMG is already preparing its music for introduction through the service, now it seems the two remaining majors Warner and Universal, are in “discussions” to offer their music DRM-free through Apple’s service as well.
That’s over a year since EMI signed-up, and in the meantime the majors have left the majority of legitimate music consumers, who overwhelmingly use iTunes, consigned to purchasing a flawed, DRM-laden product.