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« Google Not Planning to Extend Book Search to Magazines | Main | Rights Reversion and Out-of-Print »

October 19, 2007


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Joe, there's also the suspicion that Universal will cripple Total Music with DRM. That and the costs you point out mean that I don't see much hope for TM.
By the way, this post was very garbled inside my Google Reader.


Joe, what would you recommend Universal do with Total Music? They've got to do something, obviously, with the way CD sales are nosediving. Do you think it's possible for the Big Three conceive a delivery model that would be a win-win and provide an accepted medium for the forseeable future? A couple of suggestions I'd like to hear your opinion on: 1) Carrier/Device royalties - extending the $5 per player model a bit further, to include ISPs and last-mile internet companies (not my original idea, read it somewhere), giving them value-added competitive leverage; 2) Painless, invisible DRM, where the user can utilize his catalog for personal use, bringing the pirating levels back to a tolerable level like they were ten years ago.

Joe Wikert

I'm glad you asked! How about a model that's more in line with the "razor and blades" one but doesn't try to hide the secondary expense? Don't build the price of the songs into the device. That's a terrible idea unless the labels are really willing to accept an 18-month payout; as an artist I'd be irate with this, btw. Keep the player price as aggressively low as possible so that it doesn't start to compete with the pricier iPod.

Next, offer a simple monthly subscription fee, an all-you-can-eat model. Keep that price down to the $5/month level they're talking about, but *separate* it from the player! That way, if I decide to opt in I know what I'm getting into and the artists will get their share as long as I'm enjoying their work. It also presents a much better model for hand-me-downs and eBay reselling where the new owner can opt out or start their own $5/month subscription. Oh, and leave DRM out of this! The whole system needs to be 100% DRM-free.

Models similar to this already exist today...I know that, but none of them have the muscle of a major label behind them. As I mentioned in the original post, I'd *love* to see a new model develop that competes with iTunes. That would be good for everyone, except Apple, I suppose...

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