Rating: Apple’s dominance is under threat from We7
It seems that Apple’s dominance of the digital music space via its iTunes Store may be weakening as other big instry players try to muscle in on its dominance. Recent news has confirmed that Amazon has just signed a deal with four major record companies in the USA for full licensing rights to their music. The idea is that if music lovers decide to store their own music in Amazon’s cloud based service they can listen to it anywhere. This is particularly appealing to smartphone and tablets users who probably hold the majority of their music collections on a desktop or laptop computer. The other major news last week was that Tesco has purchased a majority stake in We7, a British digital music service. (See our previous story on We7 here).We7 itself was founded by Steve Purdham and the former Genesis front-man Peter Gabriel. Of course Gabriel is best known to GoMobile News for founding the WOMAD music festivals, with the British version kicking off next month [July 2012].
Lately, We7 has focused on providing ‘personalised ‘radio stations. However, there’s a very strong hint in the Daily Telegraph version of this story here that Tesco, “plans to launch additional digital music services on the We7 platform in the coming months.”
Just as mobile network operators are cheezed off by facilitating digital music sales over their networks when Apple makes all the money, so it seems the giant UK retailer is looking for a bigger slice of the digital music sales pie.
As Purdham remarked, “With its loyal customer base, numerous marketing channels and international reach, we believe Tesco is the perfect partner to bring We7’s music services to a wider audience.” About three million people per month visit We7.
Back to Amazon and the four music companies with which the company has done deals are apparently EMI, Sony, Universal and Warner.
Reports suggest that Amazon’s enhanced music service will kick off in the USA and then move to other markets such as Europe.
Don’t hold your breathe because exactly the same thing was said when Google Music came out of beta, and GoMobile News is still waiting to utilise the service here in sunny Blighty [UK].
All of this does, of course, leave Google Music as the only major player not to have licenses from the major record companies.
The significant part to Amazon’s plans is that it has adapted its service to provide a ‘match’ facility. So when a consumer signs up, Amazon’s cloud service will scan his or her hard disk looking for tracks (hopefully legally) stored on the computer.
That means when you connect to Amazon’s cloud service via your smartphone, you can listen to high quality versions of your existing music tracks.
Obviously what Amazon will probably do is charge those who buy tracks from its own online store much less than those who merely use the cloud to host their existing music collection.
Talking of musical genre preferences, GoMobile News was recently upset to discover that Bern Leckie’s Chill DAB music station has stopped broadcasting in the London area.
Anybody want to know how to get the station on your smartphone? The web site helpmechill.com currently doesn’t have the right information. The answer is http://ukrp.musicradio.com/chill/live.