British firm recognizes the struggle for what it its:
- In a fight to win back fans from the “gray zone” of online song-swapping
services, the music industry is borrowing a trick from its nemeses: free
For one week beginning Thursday, music fans in Europe will be able to
download, stream or burn onto their hard drives a selection of tracks from
6,000 artists including Coldplay, Dido and Elvis Presley.
It is part of a marketing ploy called “Digital Download Day” devised by
British firm OD2, a technology company specializing in digital music
distribution and co-founded by recording artist Peter Gabriel.
Backed by record labels and music retailers, a host of subscription
download services have been hatched over the past year to tap into the
consumer craze of downloading music.
But the pay-for services are still no match for free download services such
as Kazaa and Morpheus MusicCity, which claim tens of millions of users. The
major labels blame the availability of free music downloads for a drop in
The free download, or peer-to-peer, services brand themselves as
“file-sharing” Web sites and do not actively condone downloading
copyrighted files such as music or video files.
But the music industry brands the services as pirates and has launched a
number of high-profile lawsuits against them, recently claiming the scalp
of now-defunct peer-to-peer pioneer Napster.
“We’re now facing a marketing challenge,” said Ed Averdieck, marketing
director for OD2. “We need to show the public that instead of downloading
from…one of the file-swapping services, you can download from the legal
- The program will be open only to European Web users. Consumers who register
on one of the six participating sites will get $7.90-worth of digital music
to sample or burn.
The Digital Download Day initiative is a change in strategy for the
industry. Averdieck, for one, believes taking a tough-talking approach is
not nearly as effective as giving consumers the option to try services for
“Paying for music has to be a better option…any initiative that helps
create that atmosphere is to be welcomed,” said Andrew Yeates, director
general of the British Phonographic Industry trade group, in a statement.
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