Amazon MP3 Service Going Global; Epic iTunes Battle on the Horizon

Amazon's digital music catalogue is all set to go global, and although a launch date has not yet been settled, it shall hit sometime this year. Given Amazon MP3 offers DRM-free tracks, which are generally cheaper than iTunes limited, equivalent offerings, we cannot help but think an epic battle between the big As is… » 1/27/08 7:15am 1/27/08 7:15am

Qtrax Promises Legal P2P Music Sharing Service, the Impossible

We have long thought the acronym P2P was the very antonym of the word legal, but Qtrax, a new P2P music sharing service, has plans to rewrite the geek dictionary. Here's the skinny: The service is free, completely. Qtrax offers an unlimited service. It is supported by the four major labels, as well as smaller, niche… » 1/26/08 10:30am 1/26/08 10:30am

Will Digital Watermarking Rise From DRM's Ashes?

Okay, so DRM is dead dead dead. Hurray, right? Well, Wired says it's simply being swapped out for digital watermarking, which will lay out breads crumbs for the labels to follow as songs make their way across P2P networks, and the bundle of evidence will allow them to place pressure on ISPs to engage in large-scale… » 1/14/08 5:30pm 1/14/08 5:30pm

Imeem Inks Deals With Big Four for Free Music, Its Soul [Updated]

The media-sharing/social networking site Imeem has inked a deal with Universal Music, making it the first site of its kind to forge unholy bonds with all of the Big Four. Update: The WSJ's issued a correction of the original source article. Under the deal, Universal gets a "payment each time a user listens to a given… » 12/10/07 10:15am 12/10/07 10:15am

Comic Mocking Universal Music CEO Sadly Not Far From Reality

This webcomic's almost more like a webtragedy. Why? Its depiction of Wired's conversation with the confused CEO of the world's largest record label, Universal, isn't all that exaggerated. I mean, sometimes it seems like they're still searching for this whole "internet" thing. [Hijinks Ensue via Boing Boing] » 11/29/07 8:00pm 11/29/07 8:00pm

Warner Music Profits and the Sky Are Down, Digital Sales and Pigs Are Up

As much we like to joke about the new music economy stripping rappers of their fourth Bentley and downgrading their 60-inch plasmas to 42-inchers, Warner Music actually did take a hard beating this past quarter, losing almost $7 million in profit versus last year's—more than half, for a take of $5 million. While… » 11/29/07 2:15pm 11/29/07 2:15pm

Universal Music CEO is Like Your Cranky, Out-of-Touch Grandpa Who…

If you picture music industry CEOs as cranky old white men who are completely out of touch with technology and mad at the world for changing around them, you're pretty damn spot-on. Wired has an upcoming profile on Universal Music CEO Doug Morris, and the guy seems as fit to run a newly tech-based company as a dog is… » 11/27/07 9:55am 11/27/07 9:55am

Warner Music CEO Fesses Up to Music Industry's Mistakes, Slams Mobile…

Talking to suits at the GSMA Mobile Congress this week, Warner Music CEO Edgar Bronfman Jr. admitted the music industry is at least partly to blame for the woes it's been mired in for years now as well as the fact that they've been "at war" with their customers: » 11/14/07 6:00pm 11/14/07 6:00pm

But then he goes on to pat Warner themselves on the…

Misleading EMI Ad Touted New Radiohead Album, Directed Clickers to Own…

EMI's efforts to ride Radiohead's wave of rainbow-y vibes didn't stop with their cute but obscenely priced USB drive loaded up with Radiohead's back catalog. If you Googled "Radiohead" last week, the top ad promised to bring you to a boxset of their new album "Rainbow" (like a bad Chinese knockoff) only to push your… » 11/13/07 7:20pm 11/13/07 7:20pm

Sony Ericsson Upgrading PlayNow to Real Live Music Store With 5 Million…

In addition to the trio of new handsets they intro'd today, Sony Ericsson also announced plans for an upgraded PlayNow music service. Launching this spring, it could feature up to 5 million tracks in "MP3 and Windows Media digital rights management, or DRM-enabled formats" from all of the Big Four, though no track… » 11/07/07 3:45am 11/07/07 3:45am

Radiohead Selling In Rainbows on CD Via One of the Big Four in January

After basking in adulation from music lovers and RIAA haters for being enlightened poster children of the new way of doing business in the music industry, Radiohead has pulled an about-face that feels like a betrayal and a dirty cop-out: They're releasing In Rainbows on CD in January through one of the Big Four (all… » 10/11/07 6:20pm 10/11/07 6:20pm

Why Universal Shut Out iTunes on DRM-Free Music

Click to viewUniversal Music's decision to deliver DRM-free tracks to pretty much everybody but iTunes in its "test"—Amazon, Google, RealNetworks, Wal-Mart and other smaller stores—continues its wary, passive-aggressive stance toward Apple. Officially, a Universal rep told us in an email that it's "a scientifically… » 8/10/07 1:30pm 8/10/07 1:30pm

Gracenote Exec: Music Industry ThisClose to Giving In on DRM

Ty Roberts, CTO of Gracenote—the company that runs CDDB, among other endeavors—said at a conference on DRM this week that record labels are "about to cave in the next six months" when it comes to DRM and downloads, giving credence to Jobs' claim that half of iTunes tracks will be available DRM-free by the end of the… » 4/26/07 8:00pm 4/26/07 8:00pm

Apple Set to Steamroll the Big Four at the iTunes Bargaining Table

According to Reuters, it's Apple that's going to be pressuring the Big Four for concessions as contract renewals take place over the next month, not the other way around. While they might be begging for an iTunes subscription service, Apple will be shoving them in EMI's footsteps, toward selling more music without DRM. » 4/21/07 4:45pm 4/21/07 4:45pm

Big Four Asking Apple for Subscription Service

Click to viewThe Big Four's contracts with Apple are either up for negotiation or are coming due, and MarketWatch is reporting that next week, the biggest label, Universal, is expected to push for a subscription service—as well as renew the push for "variable pricing," i.e., higher prices for more popular tracks after… » 4/12/07 10:30pm 4/12/07 10:30pm

"Free" Videos from Universal's Suretone Label: Highly Polished Spam

This week, an imprint of Universal, one of the "Big Four," is going to start dropping DRM-free videos with acts like Weezer onto unnamed "file-sharing networks." A stunning new turn in direction in the fallout from Jobs' "Thoughts"? Shnope: You only get half of the video before it directs you to the label's web site… » 2/19/07 8:30am 2/19/07 8:30am