Madonna’s disembodied voice enquires of file sharers, “What the fuck do you think you’re doing?” as they try to download a copy of her “American Life” single via Kazaa or other sharing services. But Madonna isn’t only thwarting file sharers:
- companies trying to launch legitimate online music services are asking Madonna the same question.
Warner Music Group, which owns Warner Bros. Records, this week informed the companies that they finally could offer Madonna’s earlier releases to subscribers for downloading – but only as full-length albums, not separate songs. None of the leading services are equipped to deliver music that way, so they still won’t be able to offer most of Madonna’s music.
The situation reflects the complexities faced by the music industry as it tries to wean music fans off pirate services. Although many artists, labels and publishers have thrown their support behind such legitimate outlets as Pressplay, MusicNet and Listen.com, some top artists and labels remain reluctant to make their music available online the way millions of fans clearly want – on a song-by-song basis.
“It doesn’t make sense,” one online company executive said. “It takes away one of the major conveniences for using a service like this.”
Caresse Henry, Madonna’s manager, said she did not know about the restrictions. “Madonna as an artist has not denied the availability of her music,” Henry said, noting that fans can listen to the new album in its entirety this week at the Web site operated by Viacom
Inc.’s MTV. Warner officials would not comment.
Several executives close to the situation, however, said Madonna controls how her music is distributed online.
….People familiar with the restrictions say they don’t allow subscribers to play songs from an online jukebox or download individual tracks that had not been released as CD singles. Nor could subscribers download free temporary copies. [LA Times]
I’m very disappointed in you, M, get with the program. You can’t force albums on people anymore – they want songs.