via a recent link sent to the Vibe* internal mailing list from Russ, it seems Universal is going all retro on us with plans to “test” the DRM-free digital media business. Interesting enough, as Russ points out,
… although not on iTunes strangely enough, could just be a case of catchup.
That or a political move in attempt to break the lock iTunes currently has on the digital market.
From the same BBC News article linked to above,
Retailers including Google, Wal-Mart, and Amazon.com, will participate in the DRM-free trial, Universal said.
Okay, so Wal-Mart (I assume online; you can already buy DRM free music from WalMart. They’re called CD’s ;-) and Amazon.com I can see. But since when did Google enter the online retail business? Did I miss an announcement or are they simply letting this one slide right in via linking the results of searches for musicians directly to the purchase of related tracks? Of course, if I were them I would do the same thing if my desire was to enter the retail space, as with their near-monopoly share of the search business, any overly aggressive campaigns that suggested an attempt to compete directly with the same same sites they would potentially be linking to in search results or selling ad space to those already in the online retail space (AKA Amazon.com) would immediately throw up red flares screaming “Hey, look at us! We not only sell advertising space, but we buy it too.”
Certainly takes the idea of ad auctioning to a whole new level, huh?!
“Evil? There’s nothing evil about bidding directly against our customers for the same advertising space, is there?”
Oh, no, none that I can see. Where’d you get that crazy idea from.
Well, I guess you could potentially argue that since you own the ad auction software and host that same software on your own systems there’s an off chance you might be tempted to aggressively outbid the existing advertisers to the point where they simply couldn’t afford the ad space and yet still generate revenue. But you would never do that, would you Google?
I didn’t think so.
Of course, even if they didn’t utilize the ad auction system, and instead simply put in place links to purchase the media files directly, isn’t there a conflict of interest in here somewhere?
Well, anyway, its good to see Universal “testing” the DRM-free digital marketplace. Of course, didn’t they already do that once already? Like back in ‘83 when they first introduced digital music via the CD? Or am I just confusing the “facts” with something else?
Yeah, probably ;-)
Enjoy your dev-days everyone! Oh, and while you’re at it if you happen to pass by anyone from marketing in the hallways, you might want to mention that today might be a good day to buy up as much ad space on Google as they can afford as there’s a good chance that tomorrow they’re won’t be any left. ;-)
“In Google We Trust”?
Well, at least the first two letters would stay the same.
UPDATE: The reason why I praised Apple and EMI when they made the DRM-free announcement and yet am seemingly taking an about face with Universal has everything to do with,
Universal said: “The experiment will run from August to January and analyze such factors as consumer demand, price sensitivity and piracy in regards to the availability of open MP3s.”
“The experiment…”? Get a clue, Universal! You’re already dieing, and you’re experimenting with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation? Good call. I bet that will work out just perfect for ya.
Either that, or it will work out perfect for your competition. It could go either way, really.