August 31, 2005

HMV and Virgin Launch Rival Download Services in UK

BrandRepublic: Finally, some good homegrown competition in the UK digital music market, though not sure if this will have any major effect: UK's biggest record stores, HMV and Virgin, are launch their own download services in the next few days.
HMV Digital goes live on Monday September 5; however, rival Virgin is attempting to steal a march on HMV by launching its Virgin Digital service on Friday.
Virgin: includes a digital music store, music club subscription service, streaming radio and management tools for MP3 is working with MusicNet.
HMV: HMV Digital has cost £10m to develop and is the result of a collaboration with Microsoft and MusicNet as well. Full details of HMV's plans are here: "HMV's big noise"

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August 21, 2005

Music ISP Playlouder Signs With Sony BMG; EMI and UMG To Follow

Guardian: In what is a big win for the UK music-focused ISP Playlouder (it calls itself the music service provider, MSP), it is tying up with SonyBMG, the world's second largest record label, and is confident that the other two big record labels, Universal and EMI, will follow suit.
Subscribers will be charged £26 a month for a high speed broadband internet connection, similar to the price charged by BT in UK, with the added attraction of being able to share as much music as they want with other subscribers at no extra cost...the good part is there is no DRM, so the music users will be free to transfer songs to any type of digital music player, including the market leading Apple iPod, or burn them to CD.
It has already signed deals with dozens of independent labels affiliated to the Association of Independent Music, representing artists such as the White Stripes, Franz Ferdinand and Dizzee Rascal.

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August 19, 2005

Music Choice Europe Sold For $4.85 Million

The Independent: Music Choice Europe, the digital music company backed by Rupert Murdoch's BSkyB that was once worth more than $380 million on the stock market, has been sold for just $4.85 million, to a group of individual investors.
Much like its U.S. namesake, it provides music channels on cable and satellite TV, and online.
The company went IPO in 2000, at the height of the boom. Sky is the biggest shareholder in MCE, with a 36 per cent holding after the listing, while the original investors in the business, Time Warner and Sony, now have 16 per cent and 8 per cent respectively.
As well as the inability to garner significant advertising sales, MCE said yesterday that its other revenue source - a subscription paid to it by TV companies for carrying MCE channels - was also drying up. Margot Daly, MCE's CEO, who will stay on under the new owners, said that the company now had new opportunities to "gun for" in broadband and mobile platforms.

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August 18, 2005

2 EU States Ease Online Music Sales

IHT: The music royalty collection agencies in Belgium and the Netherlands had given up monopoly rights for online licensing, hopefully easing the online music sales in Europe. EU is looking at other countries too: "This is the first of many steps to follow," said an official at the European Commission office. "Now we will look at imposing fines in the collecting societies who do not make similar agreements."
In their agreements, the Dutch and Belgian agencies said they would allow online music operators within their countries to purchase music rights from collecting agencies in other European countries. The collecting agencies, which manage the collection of royalties, will retain control of other forms of distribution, like discothèques, radio broadcasts and music stores.
BBC: The EU said it sees modernising the licensing of music for online services as highly important, and is hoping an agreement can be reached with other national music copyright agencies by October.

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August 14, 2005

HMV stores to give download help

BBC News: In UK, retailer HMV will teach customers how to download music, to try to persuade a wider range of people to download as it enters the digital music will install computers in 200 stores and launch its own download service in September.
HMV said it aimed to "demystify" downloading for "women, older people and music fans in general".

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EMI creates download site for NOW music brand

Netimperative: EMI/Virgin TV, the TV advertising division of EMI Music, has launched a new site for the music brand 'Now That’s What I Call Music!'. The site,, offers track downloads, including an EMI-exclusive podcast, behind-the-scenes artist footage and interviews, along with EMI’s entire UK ringtone catalogue.
Launched in 1983, the NOW brand provides music compilations through album series tie-ups such as ‘Capital Gold Legends’, ‘New Woman’ and ‘Smash Hits’ to brands like the ‘Best…..Album In The World…Ever!’.

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August 02, 2005

V2 Music Partners With Audible Magic

Businesswire: Audible Magic, the developer of unique patented audio fingerprinting technology, announced yesterday that it has signed an agreement with Virgin Group's V2 Music, the UK's preeminent indie label. The news is rather significant as V2 is the first European-based independent label to partner with California-based Audible Magic and is also the first UK Indie label to sign a deal protecting and supporting legitimate P2P downloads...In addition to V2, Audible's corporate partners include CMJ, Extreme Networks, Palisade Systems, SESAC, and Loudeye Technologies. (EMI partnered with Audible three years ago, Universal signed on in 2003 and Sony/BMG in 2004.)

Under the multi-faceted agreement, V2 will register their present catalog with Audible's vast database of digitally fingerprinted content - which features one of the largest collections of copyrighted songs in the world. Audible's CopySense technology will be implemented to monitor all current and future V2 tracks and enable the legal P2P download and distribution of V2's online music. (By registering V2's catalog with Audible, the label basically enables "secure downloads" with all the P2P services that are using Audible for their content registry services...)

Audible's technology reportedly allows P2P network operators (i.e., Israel's iMesh) to not only recognize copyrighted works flowing through the network and flag them for future payment, but it will also block the transmission of unauthorized music files...As part of the deal , V2's catalogue will also be registered with Audible's RepliCheck service, which is intended to help prevent the manufacturing of CDs that infringe copyright...

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August 01, 2005

Virgin Digital To Launch in UK

Netimperative: Virgin Digital, the online music service from Virgin which hasn't really done well in U.S., is now launching in UK on Sept 2. Powered by technology from MusicNet, Virgin Digital will be promoted via a multi-million pound investment campaign covering advertising, in-store marketing and online spend.
Users can visit Virgin Megastores in-store Digital sections to purchase MP3 hardware, pick up a free Virgin Digital CD, and seek advice and assistance from staff.

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July 28, 2005

Panasonic Partners With Loudeye

LoudeyelogoPress Release: Loudeye announced today (along with the launch of Panasonic's new MP3 players SVMP120 and SVMP110) that it was chosen to create an end-to-end consumer digital music download service under the Panasonic brand...As a result, U.K. consumers will now have one website where they can buy hardware and legitimate downloads...

Panasonic also announced that its Oxyride Extreme Power batteries are about to hit market shelves, offering consumers new technology specifically designed for the digital era. Representing the most significant development in primary battery technology since the introduction of alkaline in 1965, Oxyrides are a powerful, durable and disposable energy source that last up to twice as long as traditional alkaline batteries - but at  similar prices. They will be available in AA and AAA-sizes at retailers nationwide by the end of this month...

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July 19, 2005

EU Clarifies Conditions for Merger Withdrawals

Forbes: The European Commission has clarified conditions for the withdrawal of a merger notification by companies who change the terms of their deal or who abandon it altogether...With respect to Microsoft and Time Warner's acquisition of ContentGuard and the subsequent EU probe which was eventually dropped, "Companies must now provide a binding agreement to cancel their merger plans and proof that any letter of intent or memorandum of understanding has been cancelled. If a public bid has been made, a public announcement must be made terminating the bidding procedure."

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