It’s good to see UK Music Service Provider PlayLouder still pushing ahead with their Broadband Music ISP (MSP) solution, and equally good news that they have got some major label content on board (Sony BMG). Unfortunately, however well they try to spin it, they have exactly the same problem as the other UK ‘legal file sharing’ provider Wippit: Major labels simply won’t allow their content to be distributed DRM free. Take a look at David Card’s blog on CD protection to see how the Majors are actually intensifying their efforts to digitally protect content not loosen their control. What this means is that, however appealing the idea of tapping the latent demand of file sharing by implementing imitative business models, the Major’s desire to protect their content means that any ‘legal file sharing’ solution will be so watered down that to file sharers it won’t even look like file sharing. Also, the PlayLouder’s BSP model has big unanswered legal questions hanging over it. They’re confident they’re covered. I’m less so. I’ll not go over the details here, but if you are interested and are a Jupiter client with inquiry access, get in touch via your client service manager and we’ll set up a call.
Don’t get me wrong, I really like PlayLouder, I think they have a unique and viable business positioning, I just don’t think the industry is ready for their MSP model.