EMI goes digital

24 Apr 2003

Music giant EMI has announced plans to enter the digital music market with a deal involving 20 music sites in six different European countries. The company will make available for sale online over 140,000 tracks from over 3,000 EMI artists.

As well as upping the amount of tracks available, EMI said that it aimed to offer consumers more flexibility by enabling them to burn music on to CDs, copy tracks to portable players and purchase singles online as soon as the songs are serviced to radio and in advance of their commercial release on CD.

The 20 partner sites are currently preparing to start selling EMI’s new downloads and will go live at varying times over the coming weeks. The company stated that it hoped additional retail partners would join the programme.

Retailers participating in the initial launch phase include HMV, Freeserve, BT Openworld’s Dotmusic and Telewest Broadband’s Blueyonder ISP service in the UK, Alapage, Fnac and Wanadoo in France, Karstadt, Kontor and WOM in Germany, Los40 in Spain plus MSN’s sites in the UK and France, Tiscali’s sites in the UK, Netherlands, France, Italy and Germany, and MTV’s sites in the UK, Netherlands, France, Italy and Germany.

All of the launch retailers are using the platform of online distributor OD2. Other online distributors are expected to join the programme in due course such as Newsplayer Group’s VideoTV in the UK.

The online catalogue will include music from the majority of EMI’s current artists including Air, Atomic Kitten, Blue, Blur, Coldplay, The Dandy Warhols, Daft Punk, Dirty Vegas, Doves, Janet Jackson, Norah Jones and Kylie Minogue.

Since the advent of digital music file formats such as MP3, the music industry has claimed huge lost revenues due to the illegal sharing of files online. Initiatives such as this are seen as an attempt to claw back the market lost to digital music.

By Dick O’Brien