The NY Times takes note of a convergence of the legal digital music services around the price of $10 per month and 99 cents per download:
- Has the music industry found the 99-cent solution to its file-sharing woes?
“Solution” is far too final a term for this business still very much in flux. But after years of denial and confusion, belligerence and panic, most of the big record labels have coalesced around a set of prices at which they will make almost all of their music available to an ever-expanding array of legal online services.
….They all now charge $9 or $10 a month for customers to listen to a pool of about 250,000 songs online, using a technology called streaming. And they charge about 99 cents to download a song and copy it onto a CD, where it can be played in a car or on a home stereo, or converted to a computer file format like MP3 to be shared with others (legally or not).
There are big problems: none of the songs should come with strings attached, the price should be somewhere around 10 cents per song OR the $10 per month fee for “unlimited” downloads (some upper limit would be reasonable – 100 songs per month would come out to $10 at 10 cents per song). At those prices the reliability, convenience and legality of the system would substantially cut into use of free services like Kazaa. Volume has to be the key – a total change of philosophy from the CD past, a concept that some are starting to get, even if they have the price wrong:
- But Mr. Rose of EMI argued that the big issue for the music industry is not the subtleties of whether people buy songs or albums, but finding something that music lovers will pay anything for at all. And there is money to be made in volume, he said.
“If all the consumers who pirate tracks today bought them for a buck, that would be a $5 billion a month business,” Mr. Rose said, noting that that is twice the size of the music industry today.