Universal tests Napster-style music service
Music & MP3
10/23/2000; 5:33:54 PM
'Big five' recording company Universal Music Group has begun secret trials of an unlimited access, subscription-based digital music distribution service....
'The trial apparently provides unlimited access to some 20,000 tracks via a streamed media connection over the Internet. Subscribers, of whom, Reuters reckons there are 5000 - seems a lot to us - can't download and keep the songs they choose to listen to....
'Just as the video market has split between those who want to buy tapes - and now DVDs - to keep and those who simply want to rent movies occasionally, the audio market has traditionally been a sell-through only business. The ability to stream audio provides a way of building a music rental operation without the usual piracy concerns. There are plenty of folk out there who might want to hear, say, the new Radiohead album, but don't want to buy the CD outright in case they find it a mite too depressing.'
One wonders what their reaction will be when people develop ways of keeping the songs anyhow. Streams can be caught. Universal can make it difficult, but usually, once one person cracks the system, for other people it becomes as easy as "Push This Button To Start Recording."