Posts Tagged ‘Warner Music’

Vodafone Music's DRM-free move makes Apple and Nokia look bad

Vodafone, which currently operates music download stores in over 20 countries, is to become the latest company to jump on the DRM-free bandwagon, announcing this week that it will soon be transitioning its music catalog away from the copy-protected WMA format to standard MP3s. Additionally, customers will be able to covert their existing Vodafone purchases to DRM-free versions at no extra charge, unlike Apple’s current iTunes arrangement where users wishing to ‘upgrade’ are effectively asked to pay twice.

That’s the good news as far as Vodafone is concerned. The bad: only three of the four major record labels are on board – Universal Music Group, Sony Music and EMI – with Warner, for now at least, refusing to join in the fun, and the whole DRM-free deal only applies to a la carte downloads not Vodafone’s MusicStation all-you-can eat subscription service.

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A year after launch, free music service Qtrax has all four majors but questions remain

Twelve months ago, free ad-supported music download service Qtrax launched in a blaze of controversy, most notably claiming it had support from all four major record labels, which was news to them. Qtrax is going after the holy grail of music, free and legal downloads, and so it wasn’t surprising that the company faced a licensing uphill battle. A year later and all the “t”s have been crossed and the “i”s dotted: EMI, Warner, Sony BMG and Universal Music are on board, reports AP, and a relaunch is planned for next month. However, a few questions remain.

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We7 signs Warner Music for ad-supported streaming and MP3 downloads

Why are ad-supported models such a hard sell to the major record labels? “It’s simple”, answered Steve Purdham CEO of We7 in a recent interview with last100. “They are worried that if they leave the iTunes model, the revenues they get will be diminished”.

At the time, Purdham’s company, which offers ad-supported streaming and downloads, didn’t have a single major on board. That was just over six months ago, and how things have moved on.

In early March, We7 unveiled its first major label partner, Sony BMG, to offer free streaming of its music catalog to We7 users in the UK. And just today the company announced a partnership with a second major label: Warner Music UK.

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Warner Music jumps on-board Nokia’s all-you-can-eat music plan

Three down, one to go

Warner Music jumps on-board Nokia’s all-you-can-eat music planNokia continues to cozy up to the music industry, announcing today that Warner Music has signed onto ‘Comes With Music’, the company’s all-you-can-eat music subscription plan. The major recording label becomes the third of the Big Four to have agreed a partnership with Nokia, following earlier deals with Universal Music and Sony BMG. The remaining major holdout is EMI.

Announced last December at the annual Nokia World conference, “Comes With Music” will enable customers to buy a Nokia device with a year of unlimited access to “millions of tracks”, and – rather surprisingly – get to keep any downloaded tracks once the twelve month subscription period ends. The only way to then continue accessing the service, however, is to purchase a new “Comes With Music” device (see our follow-up report).

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Wal-Mart ditches DRM at a cost

Wal-Mart ditches DRM at a costWhen Wal-Mart first starting selling DRM-free music through its online store, we had one major complaint. Alongside those iPod-friendly MP3s from EMI and Universal Music, sat copy-protected tracks from the two remaining major labels that were only compatible with PCs running Windows and supported PlayForSure devices. A sure way to confuse customers and create a very poor shopping experience, we concluded.

Along with a redesign of the Wal-Mart online music store, the “world’s largest retailer” has finally ditched DRM completely but at a cost. Rather than successfully negotiating licensing deals with the DRM-free holdouts – Sony BMG and Warner Music – Wal-Mart has sacrificed music from those two labels completely (tracks from Sony BMG’s Neil Diamond seem to be the exception, reports Wired).

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What's next? Madonna in my corn flakes?

madonna hard candyRecord labels sure seem desperate these days to get their music in your hands any way they can. What’s next? Free music in your corn flakes?

Samsung, the No. 2 mobile handset maker, has signed a deal with Warner Music that will put Madonna’s upcoming album “Hard Candy” and video for the single “4 Minutes” preloaded on its F400 music phone.

Granted, the F400 comes with Bang & Olufsen speakers, but come on. What will any of the players gain here?

Will Madonna sell more Samsung F400 phones?

Will Warner Music sell more Madonna (or music from its catalog) just because it’s on the latest Samsung music phone?

Will Madonna sell more albums and ancillary content because she’s so cutting-edge mobile?

What’s Madonna demographics these days anyway? Aging pop fans with disposable income willing to buy yet another cell phone? Do the world’s youth even care about the Material Girl, even if she does say this next album “will kick your ass?”

In case you are one who does care, Madonna’s “Hard Candy” will be released April 29 — and the F400 is already available in the U.S. The F400 will be released in “early June” in France.

In other markets, carrier Vodafone and Warner Music have an arrangement that will make the new music and other content from “Hard Candy” available exclusively to Vodafone mobile customers prior to its general release.

But don’t expect Madonna in your corn flakes. At least not yet.