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Rights Holders Expect UK ISPs to Launch New Music Services this Summer

Posted: 25th Mar, 2011 By: MarkJ
uk internet music piracyDespite the collapse of Sky Songs and Virgin Media's inability to launch the "unlimited" music download service that it originally wanted, Rights Holders still expect broadband ISPs in the UK to launch a raft of new music distribution products "over the next two to three months".

The aim has, as always, been to facilitate the development of new legal ways for people to access music without resorting to "illegal" internet copyright infringement (p2p piracy) activity.

Universal Music's UK Digital Director, Paul Smernicki, told PaidContent:

"There are positive discussions with almost all the ISPs about music being a part of their offering. I think you’ll see some announcements over the next two to three months that are positive."

UK Music CEO, Feargal Sharkey, added:

"Unfortunately, I can’t go in to all the details right now, some of it’s in the public domain. Toward the end of last year, there was a roundtable of all the major ISPs and content industries across music, film, TV etc - at that last meeting about three weeks ago, it is proving really productive and really constructive and really positive."

So far little has happened, largely because Rights Holders have objected to some of the initial plans for related projects and as a result some providers, such as Sky ( Sky Broadband ), have ended up launching unattractive clones of existing services; it failed.

Analysts at Ovum have consistently claimed that UK ISPs could rake in £100m or more by bundling new music services in with their existing packages. So far there's been little sign of that happening, which is partly because ISPs have their hands tied and cannot offer anything better than what already exists.

Ultimately it comes down to traditional consumer market forces. Virgin Media plans to launch a Spotify clone, but people already have Spotify. Virgin must offer something beyond what already exists, as should other ISPs. Cheaper music tracks, a set allowance of free music track downloads per month.. essentially anything that hasn't been done 100 times before would be positive.
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