The Digital Brit Pack

It’s been a busy ol’ week in the UK’s digital music world.

Firstly BT underlined their commitment to their long-term partnership with Yahoo by selling dotmusic to them. BT have invested heavily in dotmusic, making it one of the most comprehensive European music services and will expect to be able to leverage its content for its broadband customers. It shall be interesting to see just how much, or little, integration will happen between dotmusic and Launch.

Whilst all that was going on, Wippit reminded everyone that they are still here with the leaked news that they are about to get content from one of the majors onto their service. Wippit have stuck to their guns for a number of years now, with an attempt to create a legal Napster-like experience, facilitating unlimited file sharing for a flat fee. The model sounds great for consumers, the majors have thus far been less convinced.

And finally….Play Louder, another stalwart of the UK digital music scene, have been grabbing their own share of the limelight with the announcement of their virtual ISP. It certainly seems a novel idea: in return for 30 pound monthly fee a subscriber gets 512k broadband access and, here’s the rub, a music file sharing service. Although the closed network will be seeded with licensed content, subscribers will not be prevented from sharing illegal content. The argument goes that file sharing is going on in all the ISP networks so if it is actually limited to a closed environment with compelling legitimate then illegal content will be stopped at source and will be steadily replaced by the compelling legitimate content. Good theory, it will be interesting to see if it works in practice. Either way, it certainly presents a unique consumer proposition and, as with Wippit, seeks to harness rather than ignore file sharing activity.

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