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July 12, 2007

Warner Catalog Goes Free Via imeem

Warner Music Group has struck a deal with imeem Inc. to stream its catalog free to end users in return for a cut of the site's advertising revenue.  Warner sued imeem for copyright violation and entered into a deal as part of a settlement of that suit.  The Wall Street Journal article on the deal suggests that labels are looking to these deals as ways of generating income as digital sales of music are not compensating for the loss of market for CDs.  The labels blame piracy as the main cause of this loss though some of it has to fall back on them for using sales techniques that commoditize music, and perhaps a lack of understanding as to what the public wants in popular music.

That's where another Journal article examines how music labels and radio stations gauge what's popular.  They apparently are looking at data on what tracks are illegally downloaded for marketing and play list decisions.  The article calls this "ironic," which it is.  If the Internet does one thing, it disrupts the distribution model for music by placing it in the hands of consumers as much as the labels.  That the labels are looking at these alternative networks to pick up trends suggests that they can't always shape consumer tastes as in the analog days.  Perhaps there will be life for the music industry beyond the lawsuit.  As they said on Futurama, "you gotta do what you gotta do."

July 12, 2007 | Permalink


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