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Digital Music... High Notes and Low Notes

Techstination feature for Wednesday, January 2, 2002

High notes and low notes... .the battle over music downloads. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. With the music industry and the courts having put their foot down on Napster and other music sharing services on the Internet ... .the question in this new year is... will consumers be willing to pay for online music. The major music labels are lining up behind new services. Among them... Pressplay, which allows subscribers to burn limited numbers of songs onto CDs... .but does not allow the downloaded music to be saved onto portable digital players. Brad Duea is a VP at Roxio... one of the Pressplay partners...

" I think what is so important about this announcement and this service is that it gave the consumers what they wanted the most... and that was portability through burning. A lot of people talk about maybe the MP3 players, but that installed base is actually quite low."

But a lot of young people especially like to save music on hard drives or CDs... in the MP3 or Windows Media format. At Real Networks... which is partnering with Warner Music, BMG and EMI in a service called MusicNet... CEO Rob Glaser believes the subscription model can work...

"Are consumers willing to pay for music? And our bet is in the long term... yes, absolutely they will."

The key words there might be long term. The industry is adding copy prevention technology to music CDs. Marc Tokayer is CEO of TTR of the companies competing the copy protection space..with a product called SafeAudio...

"On the one hand, it does not allow you to make copies to CDRs... on the other hand it does allow you to make archival copies to the PC."

For fans of portable digital music players... the battle is just beginning. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.