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Fans are starting to gravitate to paid online music services?

The New York Times' Neil Strauss surveyed some former die-hard file-swapping fans who now say they are becoming grudgingly happy with paid online music services back by labels. Why? Selection and ease of use has come within the range of what they consider reasonable for $10 or so a month. (Registration Required to view site)

KaZaa now lets consumers filter out bogus files

File-swapping service Kazaa's new software allows people to rate files so that corrupt or false files will quickly collect ratings poor enough to warn people away from downloading them. That's just one of the features the company unveiled this week that is likely to annoy record labels, according to CNET New's John Borland.

Pent up consumer demand awaits reasonably priced online music?

Although estimates are that fewer than 100,000 people have joined legal music-download services, write Simon Avery quotes experts as saying there is huge pent-up demand for simple, reasonably priced Internet music services. How about typing in "dinner music" and getting personalized selections, the BizReport.COM writer suggests?

Jupiter study says royalties may webcasting music a money-looser

Lisa Bowman of CNET News writes that Jupiter Research said royalty fees could bankrupt Web radio stations by forcing them to pay more to play songs than they could ever make up in advertising revenue--a prediction that's already come true for dozens of stations that have ceased their Webcasts because of the payments.

Napster shuts down after Bertelsmann bailout denied

Napster Inc. officially shut down last night after a bankruptcy judge blocked the sale of the company that revolutionized music-swapping to Bertelsmann AG. See a The Washington Post story. The Boston Globe's D.C. Dennison also has the story.

Labels now blaming Internet for 7% drop in CD sales

The recording industry trade group says CD sales are dropping and -- despite some surveys to the contrary -- it is blaming illegal Internet downloading. Supporters of downloading say the labels can solve the problem overnight -- by offering "comprehensive, innovative, fairly priced legal services." Reuters has the story.

Real Networks hires arch rival's former "content" czar

Real Networks, the scrappy competitor to Microsoft's Windows Media Player software, has hired the former head of MSNBC -- Microsoft's joint-venture news service. Merrill Brown will be in charge of Real's stream-media subscription services -- which Brown says are the future of the Internet. Also, Real says it is consider adult content as one posssible channel on its Super Pass service.

Report: Music downloading could add $2B to label revenues

A new Forrester Research study says it is the economy that is really hurting the record label's business right now -- and the study estimates that legal downloading could generate $2 billion in new revenue over the next two years for the industry. Reuters has a story. The best story is on the Los Angeles Times website, but if you visit the site, you will have to register.

Pressplay to offer 120 "burnable" songs/year for $1.50/song

Pressplay, the Sony-Vivendi joint venture, will reportedly offer unlimited "cripped" MP3 downloads for $179.40 per year, according to CNET News's John Borland -- but there's still a limit on the number of MP3s which you can burn to a CD -- a total of 120 -- about $1.50 per song. The San Jose Mercury News reporter Dawn Chmielewski also has a story, noting that additional songs above the 10-song per month (for $17.95) limit are available at 99 cents per song. The company said the new version, Pressplay 2.0, became available on Thursday through distribution affiliates, Microsoft Corp.'s MSN service, Roxio Inc., Sony Musiclub and Yahoo.

Future of Napster seen as bleak after Middlehoff's Bertelsmann resignation

A business-school professor, Napster insiders and music industry commentators are all predicting that the once-supreme file sharing service may face a bleak future after the ouster of Bertelsmann CEO Thomas Middlehoff.
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