Music giants Sony Music and Universal Music Tuesday said they had joined forces to launch a
subscription-based digital music service, which experts say could be the next big trend in distributing music on the Web.
LOS ANGELES, 4 May 2000 - Making a similar announcement Tuesday was music downloading
company MP3.com Inc., which said it had launched a classical
music subscription service.
These announcements followed a key victory last week for the
record industry in its anti-piracy campaign when a federal judge
ruled MP3.com violated copyright law with the creation of a
database that lets users store music and then access it via any
computer connected to the Internet.
``Listening to music via subscription is the way of the
future for the music business,'' said Chris Montgomery, director
of channel program at MP3.com. ``We have created a working
''Channel'' model and now we invite labels and content owners
alike to join us in developing a mutually equitable system.''
Music and video
Sony, the music arm of Sony Corp. and Universal, owned by
Seagram Co. Ltd., said they will license music and video content,
potentially including streaming and downloading features, to
Internet consumers using various platforms like computers,
wireless personal devices, and set-top boxes. It is expected to
launch within the year.
``People have been predicting this sort of format,
subscription streaming, would help grow the business,'' said
Bruce Haring, author of ``Beyond the Charts, MP3 and the Digital
MP3.com's Classical Music Channel's monthly fee of $9.99
includes unlimited streaming access to more than 3,400 tracks and
over 300 free downloads from the collection.
``The music industry is constantly evolving to find new ways
to reach our customer, the music fan,'' said Al Smith, Senior
Vice President at Sony Music Entertainment. ``We're focusing on
multiple platforms and wanted to get together with another music
company at this early stage.''
``We're moving fast on this, but many of these new platforms
are still in development. We'll roll out our service as these new
devices become available,'' said Heather Myers, general manager
at Universal Music's Global e division.
Tuesday's announcements also come as Palm Inc. announced that
all of its hand-held devices would be able to access the Web by
the end of the year.