Musicians make end-runs around record companies by putting their songs online for fans to download directly. And while audio technology companies say they respect the record labels' intentions, they also have acknowledged the market demand for MP3 technology (just try to shop for an mp3 player and check out all the brands you can purchase now.)

Part II
by Dwight Brewster
World-Wide Music Industry at the Crossroads

With the government looking to monitor your computer, credit card, travel and your telephone usage, are they going to bust you for obtaining illegal downloads?

Think about this! If all music is free who is going to pay to produce new music?

The labels understand that they didn't create MP3 and didn't create the environment using this format. There is obviously pirating going on, but this is still a totally legitimate technology and new phenomenon plus it's a great opportunity for individual rights holders, new artists and independent labels to get their music out to consumers. To that end there's tons of free music available on the Internet. People are uploading their songs (and just about everybody else's for that matter) for a multitude of reasons. Big acts are doing it for advanced or pre-exposure, new acts are doing it because they can't get any exposure. We're waiting for the rules to become static but that may not happen for quite some time. Remember all the big record companies were going to set up some type of pay to download! They all had a press release, BMG, Sony, Universal, Time Warner. Remember from April 1999 ""? Well nothing much happened they were all looking at and BOOM! Napster** happened! However, under the weight of various lawsuits and a preliminary injunction to stop the exchange of music owned by the record labels without their permission, Napster shut down its service in July 2001.

Prodded into action by the lightning proliferation of the MP3 music through the peer to peer format and the piracy that has gone with it, music companies are struggling desperately to develop a feasible method for distributing digital music securely. This effort is supposedly centered on a process known as the Secure Digital Music Initiative, launched in December 1998 by the music industry's lobbying group, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). But what's really going on is a good old-fashioned corporate power struggle. It involves IBM, Microsoft, AT&T, Sony, Matsushita and Time Warner, as well as BMG, Universal, EMI, Real Networks, Liquid Player, Throttle Box and a host of smaller companies. It's ultimately not just about how consumers will buy music, but how they'll buy movies, computer software and just about anything else that can be delivered in digital form. Few in the business are willing to talk on the record about what's going on. Since the battle is still in the middle stages, the dynamics are shifting almost daily. But key alliances are forming and almost everyone is scrambling to figure out where they'll fit in.

Tired of the download fanfare, never did it before, only for kids? Hmm, want to download music yourself? Want to see what downloading is all about?

Bet you can't download JUST ONE SONG!


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