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August 10, 2005

Downloadable music business: Rent, lease or sell?

NYT on IHT: A good review of the current pricing models in the online music stores, and a need to go beyond that. "One thing, though, is already clear: the business of downloading music is still in its fumbling, bumbling infancy. It may take the music stores several more years of hammering away at their problems - software complexity, steep pricing and holes in their song catalogs - before the recording industry can think of the Web without wincing."

Posted by Rafat Ali in General | Permalink


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Tracked on Mar 10, 2006 5:14:29 AM


The whole "personal ownership" of downloadable music is an interesting one (I know "own" is the wrong word - but to me it's owning as in "residing on my local storage"). I think there are two factors to take into account here. The first is "how easy is it to download the music in the first place", the second is "how long do I want to keep my downloads for"..

Until I changed my internet connection from diallup to broadband about 2 years ago, I was very careful to hoard downloaded material - all of it, simply because it had taken such a great deal of time and expense to get it in the first place. I was very proud of my many hundreds of megabytes of legally downloaded music. I bought more and bigger hard drives as my collection grew. Looking back, I'd see this as a "sell" model, as strictly speaking I "bought" it to keep permanently.

With broadband though I'm now tending to see music as a resource that resides on a distant server, and if I lose it and need it again I can just re-download it. This is content that's being leased to me: i've paid up front and I might want to keep it, but not forever. To my own surprise. there some favourite tracks that I can get really too much of and then they'll be deleted. However, with the advent of now being able to carry music around on my cellphone and play it too, I believe I'm back into a "sell" situation. Data costs on 2/2.5G are high in Europe and whenever possible I'll download on a PC and transfer to the handset using Bluetooth. If and when I buy a 3G handset then I'll probably be back once again to the lease model.

You'll probably have spotted a pattern here :-) I believe that the degree of ease and apparent cost of downloading music are significant factors in how the "ownership" of the music is viewed. If it ever becomes economical enough to use broadband on my cellphone I'll have no hesitation in downloading music "as required". Whatever happens, the record companies will still get paid though !

Posted by: peterg22 | Aug 10, 2005 6:49:32 AM

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