By: Spacelab Research Staff
2008 is going to be the year of cut-throat competition, I can already see it coming. Warner Music is getting a fresh start with that idea with the announcement that it's joining with 7Digital to sell its music in MP3 format, sans any DRM locking.
7Digital will be the first European site to offer Warner's music without any digital rights management (DRM). That will let people in the UK, Ireland, France, Germany and Spain buy Warner music from 7Digital and use it on any digital music device they like, and make as many copies as they like.
They'll also offer additional content with some albums (they call them "value-added album bundles" but that sounds way too markety for me) as an incentive to buy, and dedicated artist pages on the 7Digital site that the band or label can update remotely. Slowly but surely, the big players are beginning to see the web for the potential it has, rather than fearing it. It reminds me of when they feared the CD, when CDs came out.
It looks like an attempt to head Apple's iTunes off at the pass, as they'll sell albums for £5. The major label strategy for 2008 seems to be an intent to drown iTunes out of it's leading status by making their music available in many places, unlocked in the MP3 format.
7Digital already sells music from EMI, and is reportedly in talks with Universal and Sony BMG as well. More than 80% of 7digital’s 3.5million track catalogue is now in MP3 format.
Warner Music Europe Vice Chairman, & WMI President John Reid said “This deal will offer music fans a new level of flexibility in their use of tracks from our world-renowned artists." Its almost like he thinks that Warner is in groundbreaking territory here. Oh well, at least they're freeing their minds.