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3 Major Labels Resist Unlimited Download Model

LOS ANGELES (Hypebot) –
ISP Virgin Media and Universal announced an unlimited download service that would allow subscribers to keep the tracks. But Sony Music and EMI are now signaling that they don't believe in the model and WMG has yet to decide.

The fear is that an unlimited download service will be most attractive to heavy downloaders who are already paying for tracks and hoping to pay less for more. “We want to work with Virgin Media as a partner but any deal has to sit comfortably with how we value our assets against how it values its customers,” a label source told New Media Age. “We have to evaluate each deal as it comes in and make sure we’re happy with the overall value of the proposition.”

A source at Universal source chided the other labels over fears that the new service would cannibalize sales elsewhere and that their research indicated download levels would average 35 tracks a month. “The labels don’t want unlimited music services marketed to the regular music buyer,” said Steve Mayall of consultancy Music Ally. “What Virgin is trying to do is groundbreaking so it’s complicated to set up and the problems could be seen as speed bumps rather than road blocks. But it does need to find a way past them.”