EMI enters the world of MP3

EMI feels compelled to move with the times

World's largest music publisher, EMI, and peoplesound.com, Europe's largest free music download Internet site, have announced Tuesday a partnership to offer music publishing contracts to the most promising song-writers debuting on peoplesound.com across Europe.

Peoplesound has set up an online music publishing division in conjunction with EMI Music Publishing which will identify the hottest original acts on its site. EMI intends to acquire and exploit the copyright to these songs, and will then administer songwriters' royalties on a global basis.

Paul Lisburg, creative manager for EMI Music Publishing argued that "EMI is having to make sure that we are well placed as the revolution unfolds; we're not endorsing MP3, but accepting that it will play a big part in the future". He admitted: "EMI are uncomfortable with the idea that people can download music for free from the Internet."

Lisburg was adamant that sites such as Napster should be subscription-based, with each subscription contributing to the artist's royalties.

Ernesto Schmitt, president of peoplesound.com, had a slightly different take on the situation. "For EMI to make a public statement like this about MP3, [it is] endorsing it as a legitimate form of business [it is] willing to support," he said. He argued that the music industry will be keen to offer free music downloads once it realises that it is a good way of promoting new talent.

EMI is currently proposing to link up with America Online and Time Warner in a merger that some argue would monopolise the online and offline music business.

Will we really be creating a monopoly with the AOL/Time Warner merger, or will it simply be a monster company? Tony Westbrook contends that big and possibly aggressive though it will be, it is simply not a monopoly. Go to AnchorDesk UK for the news comment.

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