Apple to Buy Roxio?

I’ve been away on vacation for a couple of weeks and whilst I’ve been gone, it seems like the digital music market has been working over time. I’m not going to even try to do a synopsis of everything that happened but there is a new rumour today which links in with some of those events.

Rumour has it that Apple are lining up a bid for Roxio. Apple has been linked with various companies recently, and whilst there is every chance that this rumour is as unfounded as those others, there is certainly an argument that Apple could be looking to invest their capital now before it gets swallowed up by declining PC sales and a weakening hold on their niche video editing, graphics, audio editing market. In that context this would be an attempt at revenue diversification with a fair degree of synergy.

Perhaps of greater interest though, is the evolution of Roxio and how that fits into the changing face of the digital music market. Once simply a CD burning software company (and the scourge of the Music Industry) Roxio has transformed itself into a major player in the digital music space and has diversified its software offerings to encompass a whole suite of multi-media activities. One could even interpret the new all singing all dancing Creator package as an attempt to usurp the roles of Real Player and Windows Media Player.

It is the purchases of Napster and press play though, that have done most to change how the world views Roxio. Whereas they may have found it nigh on impossible to get licenses from the majors for a music service of their own, now they have simply bought them in through the back door (it will be interesting to see how license renewal negations go). But Roxio’s purchase of press play, when considered in context with Real Network’s purchase of Listen.com, shows a shift in the balance of power from the labels to technology companies. It seems the labels are beginning to realise that they are best placed to stick at doing what they do best (developing and promoting artists) rather than getting tied up in the nitty gritty of distribution.

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