Live Nation has concluded deals with three of the four major labels, Sony Music, Universal Music Group and EMI to offer DRM-free mp3 downloads of music to be available directly from an artists’ web page. Live Nation subsidiary MusicToday will serve as the backend.
TMV has commented how Live Nations strategy seemed to be all over the place in terms of its quick movement into 360 degree deals and then Michael Rapino’s subsequent sacking of Live Nation’s record label board. They followed up this year when they lined up to take on Ticketmaster, the dominant force in the ticketing, with their own in-house ticket sales. And now they intend to move into digital music retailing? This really seems to give out signals of desperation in terms of a company without direction of what its core business focus is or needs to be.
Apparently, Live Nation’s strategy is monetizing virtually every aspect of an artist, from venues and concert tickets to merchandise and even music. Talk about mixed signals! Yet the digital music retail segment is over run with too many companies chasing a very limited market share. iTunes has somewhere between 70 – 80% global market share whilst the remaining amount is fought over by more than 500 different companies.
Apparently, unlike iTunes, artist web pages provide a more interactive experience for fans, offering news, blogs and forums, for talk with like-minded enthusiasts and the addition of music seems like a natural extension. Sounds a lot like Ticketmaster’s Hello Echo proposition, which is currently being rolled out across Europe.
“Looking ahead, our primary goal remains centred on maximizing our global concert pipe for our client – the artist,” Live Nation president and CEO Michael Rapino told Wire Magazine, “expanding into direct ticketing/online distribution, completing the world’s only concert-to-fan direct platform for artists”.
Whilst I applaud the move to retail digital tracks as DRM free MP3s, I have serious reservations about the ability for Live Nation to be successful in this particular endeavour. TMV wishes them luck. For now time will be the measure of success.
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