UK digital music provider Wippit have announced a few interesting stats, including that they have exceeded 200,000 registered users and that an increasingly large share of those consumers are based outside of the UK. The really interesting point though is that nearly half of Wippitís sales are in MP3 format, which of course are iPod compatible. Wippit are one of the few large scale digital music services selling music in MP3 format: independent content is in MP3 format. That all their major label content is in WMA format reflects the continuing lack of willingness from large tracts of the music industry to consider DRM-free digital distribution. Which is understandable enough, but the fact remains that until Apple ever decide to embrace interoperability (which is unlikely unless compelled to do so*) you are forcing your audience to have consumer electronic purchase considerations determine their music buying choices.
It simply isnít in the interest of the music industry to have digital music go the same way as the games console market with multiple platforms which are entirely non-interoperable. The music market is already well into a long term process of genre driven fragmentation, multiple digital audio formats only serve to fragment the market further. So the question is whether Wippitís affection for MP3 will be seen as visionary trail blazing or Quixotesque tilting at windmills.
And if you want to hear more about Wippitís view of the digital music world, Wippitís CEO and founder Paul Meyers will be appearing on one of the panels at Jupiterís Plug.In Digital Music forum on March 15th.
*There are a whole host of reasons for this, if you are a Jupiter client and would like to discuss these issues at more length then please feel free to set up a call with your Client Services Manager. If youíre not a client yet then click here for more details to find out how to become one.