Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Of Course, In An "Unlocked" Digital Music World, Apple's Current Lock On That World May Loosen ...

Earlier today, I reported that at least one major record label may "unlock" its digital music files and sell MP3s across the board "within months." And, most pundits believe that all majors inevitably would follow suit in the relatively short term.

If this were to happen, Apple and its iPod would face a world that they previously have never known -- i.e., a world in which music tracks and albums purchased online (including at iTunes) would be "playable" outside the Apple eco-system (non iPod hardware devices, such as the Zune or the Zen by Creative Labs).

This development by the majors, when it occurs, most certainly will loosen Apple's current un-yielding grip on and dominance over the digital music world (both from a business perspective and perhaps ultimately from the consumer's perspective).

Interesting times ...

At Least One Major Record Label Said to Be Moving to Unrestricted Digtial Music Files "Within Months"

Reports from MIDEM (the annual global trade show for the music industry held in Cannes, France) are that at least one of the four major record labels may make a wholesale move to unrestricted digital music files (i.e., MP3 files with no DRM) "within months." Most industry pundits believe that this brave new world of unrestricted music files -- a world that the major record labels previously thought was unimaginable and have fought aggressively to thwart -- is now inevitable. Many expect this seismic strategic shift to take place in the next 1-2 years across all of the majors.

While digital music sales continue to grow at an impressive pace, overall global music sales in the physical CD format continue to slide. More and more industry experts believe that unrestricted music files will give music fans around the world more reason to get both themselves and their friends excited about purchasing music online and sharing that excitement and spreading it virally, so that artists and the major record labels can monetize it increasingly online and in other ways. And, the major labels, rather than spend their dollars in what many see as a losing battle to combat online piracy, could then use those dollars to market and generate buzz both online and offline.