EMI: Shawn Fanning, Dean Martin, 30 Seconds To Mars…

June 29, 2007

EMI Music, the No. 3 music company, was once one of the record company’s more reluctant to digital change. Home to the illustrious works of the Beatles, Rolling Stones and, er, Coldplay, EMI took a somewhat considered approach to the rapid changes and deal-making that was going on at other labels.

But on Friday it announced a deal with Shawn Fanning’s Snocap to sell digital music Shawn Fanning (Reuters FIle Photo)directly from some of its artists Websites, blogs and yes, social networking pages such as MySpace and Bebo. Fanning, of course is best known for starting the original file-sharing service Napster which later got shuttered by the courts after legal action by record labels.

The deal between EMI and Snocap will let fans buy music in the MP3 format, which doesn’t feature restrictive copy protection software, better known as DRM (Digital Rights Management). It will also be at a higher quality sound encoded at 320 kilobits per second, more than twice the audio quality of standard files.

EMI found digital religion earlier this year and has led the other majors on a push to sell music without restrictions having previously announced deals with Apple’s iTunes Music Store and Amazon.com’s upcoming digital music service later this year.

By the way, this deal with Snocap will include artists you’ve heard of like Dean Martin and Korn, and some you might not have like actor Jared Leto’s 30 Seconds To Mars, The Almost and Yellowcard. Also included are artists from classic jazz label Blue Note Records.

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Please give to Mr Adegoke.

“Universal Music Group, the world’s largest music company, has declined to sign a long-term deal with Apple Inc.’s iTunes music store, leaving open the possibility for exclusive deals with other services, an industry source said on Sunday,; Yinka Adegoke reports for Reuters.

Adegoke reports, “Universal will continue to sell music and videos of artists including 50 Cent, Mariah Carey and Black Eyed Peas via iTunes on a month-to-month basis, rather than be locked in to a two-year agreement Apple had proposed, the source said.”

“In effect, Apple will now have similar terms to those that Universal already has with the majority of its retail partners,” Adegoke reports. “Some music executives have privately expressed frustration that Apple’s dominant position may have hampered growth of the fledgling digital music market by keeping users locked within the Apple system.”

MacDailyNews Take: No iPod is required to buy and play music from iTunes Music Store. iTunes Music Store use is not required to play music on iPod. Therefore: no “lock-in.” “Lock-in” is nothing more than a fantasy for the weak-minded and/or for those who’ve been soundly-whipped in either the device and/or online content markets.

Adegoke continues, “Universal, which produces one in three albums sold in the United States, has been leading the push by music companies to demand that new technology and media partners who want to license music share in the proceeds of the new products as well. Last year Universal signed a deal with Microsoft Corp. to take a small share of sales of its digital media player, the Zune.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Okay, so it took Microsoft nearly a year to stuff the channel with 1 million Zunes, so if Universal gets $1 per Zune, they made a whopping $1 million? No wonder they want a slice of Apple’s iPods and iPhones. Microsoft’s Zune is a desperate joke. It’s the WNBA of the digital media device world.*

Mediocresoft would have signed anything – without Universal, the Zune would have been even more of a flop (if that’s even possible).

Does Sony pay Universal a royalty for every TV they sell? No. Does GE pay Universal a royalty for every AM/FM radio they sell? No. But, Apple is supposed to pay royalties to Universal on every iPod and iPhone sold regardless of whether any Universal content is ever even played on Apple’s devices? Why, because Apple is insanely successful? Is that why they should pay royalties where no one else does? Nonsense.

Universal is thinking like a dinosaur because they are one. They are also nuts. Universal et al. are crazy dinosaurs who, if they can’t get their act together very soon, face certain extinction.

*Boring mediocrity that real people couldn’t care less about propped up by vastly larger organizations with agendas unrelated to the product itself. Ginned-up “interest” cannot sustain failure for long.

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