Will Microsoft Dominate the Grammys?
Are we seeing one of the turning points in the evolution of
the music industry? In addition to Ice-T's matching up with
Altnet & Kazaa, Sanctuary Records' Widespread Panic
announced that it would make an unreleased track "Nebulous,"
from their new album "Ball," available exclusively to Kazaa
Media Desktop's users. With a critical mass of loyal users
(200M+ downloads) just a desktop click away from accessing a
wealth of music, Kazaa would appear the logical choice for
artists wishing to reach their fans without the baggage of a
So why wouldn't a computer company known for being on the
cutting-edge of design, lifestyle & multimedia want a piece
of the action. The mere rumor that Apple was in talks
to purchase Vivendi's music division was greeted with an 8%
drop in Apple's stock, the media had a field day. A search
on Google News of 'Apple' & 'Vivendi' yielded 227 results,
with the best headline being "Enter Jobs, Exit Music
Piracy?" While the financial community has it right, Apple's
success with everything from iTunes to the iPod makes the
idea of an 'iMusic' facelift to UMG more than appealing.
But what if a computer company controls 95% of desktops,
owns one of the leading media formats, internet services &
browsers, and has established itself in no-time as a serious
player in the gaming industry. Yes, the media was in a fit
as speculation expanded to rumors that Microsoft was also
eyeing the ailing music company.
There are valid arguments why computer/software companies
like Apple & Microsoft are a more logical combination for
music companies than media conglomerates. First, if the
Internet & wireless are the distribution pipes of tomorrow,
few companies are better positioned except for one of the
media conglomerates, AOL/TW. Their near-ubiquitous presence
on the Internet's gateway, the PC desktop, provides with the
most visible and embedded retail branding. And despite
Microsoft's recent gaffes with product licensing, they
understand, better than media conglomerates, the online
consumer and business models best suited for a digital,
networked environment. Finally, their stake in nearly every
node of the distribution chain, from the server and desktop
to devices & phones, provide them with the best chance to
develop a truly end-to-end DRM solution.
Maybe Apple could settle for EMI as Microsoft grabs UMG.
Related News from Mi2N:
» Widespread Panic To Release Free Exclusive Download From Upcoming Album, Ball To Kazaa Media Desktop Users Via Altnet
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