Online music, the clash of the titans
Rome – Microsoft’s agreement with the most important European music distributor, Peter Gabriel’s OD2, marks a major turning point in the legal market for music distributed via the internet.
The agreement announced yesterday allows the Redmond big to spread the impressive music catalog of OD2 through its own Windows Media Player exploiting the network of resellers who in Europe and Italy have joined the distributor to have a role in the sector market.
The catalog available to buyers via OD2 is 350 thousand songs, an impressive number although it represents only half of that made available by Roxio with Napster. On these same numbers, however, Apple should move with its iTunes.
Users of the Microsoft Player, which is widespread thanks to the integration into the operating system, will therefore be able to purchase music from a service developed by OD2 and called “SonicSelector” . Microsoft has confirmed that SonicSelector essentially acts as a plug-in for the player, that is, capable of integrating the traditional functionality of the company’s software with that of browsing the OD2 catalog, listening to songs and possibly burning the songs.
The downloaded music can in fact be transferred to CDs or to the audio players on which Windows Media runs. The download it costs 99 cents but each piece can be heard in streaming for a penny. The SonicSelector software has been available for a free download for some now and will in any case be made available by OD2 resellers, including MSN and Tiscali.
OD2, one of the first companies to have explicitly contrasted the business of legal distribution via the Internet with peer-to-peer, took the opportunity to enter into a holy alliance with Microsoft seen the imminent landing of iTunes . Just today Apple should in fact announce the opening of its jukebox on the three major European markets: France, United Kingdom and Germany.
The arrival of Apple, capable of transforming the iTunes-iPod duo in the United States into a winning horse that has conquered a market of extreme interest, has long represented a potential obstacle on the path of OD2 which has so far dominated in Europe thanks to to the partnerships it has managed to forge with five sisters of the international discography, the majors of the sector.
But if the clash between Apple and Microsoft-OD2 is destined to shake the valves of the continental jukeboxes, there are those who stand by the window and watch: by the end of the month, in fact, the service will also enter Europe. “Connect” by Sony. When that happens, the ingredients for a clash of the titans will all be there. The only common denominator between them will be the hope that the peer-to-peer platforms, so popular today, can lose ground thanks to the advent of legal paid distribution.