Online Distribution Paper_2 - Online Music Distribution...

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Online Music Distribution Katherine S. Cathcart November 29, 2005 MUIN 270 Introduction to the Music Industry Tuesday/Thursday 2:00-3:50
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As computers started to have the memory space and capability to store music on their hard drives individuals soon figured out a way to share the music information and basically take music for free. “Peer to peer” illegal file sharing became available through file sharing sites such as KaZaA, Morpheus, and Napster which, not only allowed “people to copy music off each other’s computers for free” (known as piracy) but it threatened the livelihood of record companies and artists (Passman 372). In reaction to the illegal downloading movement, both record companies and artists pushed for legislation to discontinue this form of “stealing” and developed new distribution strategies using such downloading capabilities to promote their own music digitally to consumers. It is believed that if record companies and artists make their “business models easy, attractive, fun, and inexpensive consumers will bypass the illegal alternatives” (McIlvery 1). According to Donald Passman in All You Need to Know about the Music Business the internet has therefore, grown to be a key source of distribution for many artists (156). Essentially, the music industry has taken a negative situation and is attempting to make it positive and profitable. A new wave of music distribution has thus developed in reaction to the growing technology of the computer world. Online music distribution can be broken down into three major groups: promotional websites, webcasters, and authorized commercial sites. Promotional sites are created by record companies as well as artists and allow fans to copy information such as “publicity materials, photos of artists, tour schedules and (most importantly digital) sound samples” (Passman371). Webcasters are “basically radio stations on the internet that play music on the internet in real time (almost at the same instant that the server is sending the music)” (Passman 372). Authorized commercial sites can be divided into “electronic Cathcart, Katherine 2
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sites” and “packaged goods sites”. Electronic sites such as Apple’s iTunes Music Store sell both streaming-on-demand, tethered downloads (downloader is not given complete control/ may not copy the file to a CD for reproduction), and permanent (free to do what downloader legally desires with sound file) downloads (Passman 372). In other words websites such as iTunes allow individuals to connect to a server and pay to download music files digitally. On the other hand, packaged goods sites such as CDbaby.com and Artist1stop.com serve as distributor/ retailers and will be further compared and contrasted in this essay.
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