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Broadband ISP BT Retail UK Plans FREE Legal Music Service

Posted: 29th Mar, 2011 By: MarkJ
uk internet music piracybtA leaked Invitation to Tender document has revealed that BT plans "in the near future" to start offering a new legal music download and or streaming service to its broadband ISP customers. The first 6 to 9 months of access would be offered for free (not-for-profit), after which the operator would seek a subscription model.

According to The Guardian newspaper, BT is in discussions with several major music firms, including Universal Music and EMI. The news confirms our report last week (here), which revealed that Rights Holders were working with several big broadband ISPs to launch a raft of new music distribution products "over the next two to three months".

The aim is of course to facilitate the development of new legal alternatives to "illegal" internet copyright infringement (p2p piracy). However the recent failure of Sky Songs (here) has underlined just how difficult such a task can be.

Precious little is known about BT's plan, although some form of music streaming service, possibly based off Spotify, is thought to be part of the equation. However, this would appear to conflict with BT's assertion that the free element would only remain so for a limited period of operation.

Spotify has a permanently free solution as well as a Premium option, though it's associated music track download options aren't always the cheapest in the business. Amazon is better value for individual downloads, although their tracks can sometimes be of lower quality.

Naturally BT wants to develop a model that customers will actually want, but they'd also like to make some money on it too; easier said than done. To succeed BT will need to offer something original beyond what already exists and it'll need to do it for longer than a short term promotional period.

We can't help but wonder how many of the big providers have actually thought to ask what their customers might want first.
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