Apple have announced the launch of their new digital music service, aimed specifically at Mac Users – this may well be why the labels have been persuaded to grant the apparently broad and flexible licenses that they have. The service is interesting both in that it is an a la carte model and that it allows ‘unlimited burning’ of individual tracks. It will be interesting to see just how compelling the content is that the majors have made available for such a service. However, I’ll have to rely on my colleagues in the US to help me out on this count as the service is restricted to US only, once again leaving Europe out in the cold.
Of course limitations of geographical reach don’t bother the likes of Morpheus or Grockster who have just received a fillip in the form of US court ruling that judges them not to be liable for the content available on their networks. I have always maintained that the legitimate sector needs to have comparable breadth and depth of catalogue to the illegal sector if they are to compete effectively. But that assumes that the legal establishment will actually support and enforce the view that illegal file sharing is indeed illegal. This ruling coupled with the Dutch Kazaa ruling simply stacks the odds even further against an already massively handicapped legitimate digital music market.