Over the next year, we are bound to see all sorts of competition to Appleis iTunes Music Store (iTMS). Thatis as it should be in a market where competition is a sign of health.
One of the sore points many have with the iTMS is that the 30 second music previews Apple offers do little to aid in the discovery of new music; would be customers canit get a good feel for what a tune sounds like, or artists the prime opportunity to get the exposure they want and need.
According to an article in USA Today, a new music download site with a different way of doing thing may be pointing the way Apple and the rest of the music download industry should go. The site, Magnatune, offers a small list of independent artists in several genres of music; but what makes the company cutting edge is its business model. From the article Appleis iTunes might not be only answer to ending piracy:
When you go to Magnatune, you find a list of a few dozen artists the company has signed. They are not famous. (About one in 300 artists that send music to Magnatune get signed -- the idea is to maintain a level of quality.)
Click on an artist such as Falik -- who plays electro-Indian music and may or may not intend his name to be a homonym -- and you can listen to his album for free by streaming it over the Internet. It works like an on-demand radio station: Youire not downloading the music onto your computeris hard drive, and you donit own it.
To download an album so you can play the songs any time or burn them to a CD, you have to buy it. When you click to buy, you see a "suggested" price of maybe US$8, but you can choose to pay as little as US$5, or as much as you want. Hereis whatis fascinating: "Everyone assumes weire just getting US$5," Buckman says. "The average is US$8.93."
Buckman is convinced his customers are willing to pay for -- not steal -- his artistsi music, and even pay more than is necessary, because Magnatune pays artists half its revenue from selling music.
From Magnatune Web site:
Weire a record label. But weire not evil.
We call it "try before you buy." Itis the shareware model applied to music.
Listen to hundreds of MP3id albums from our artists. Or try our genre-based radio stations.
If you like what you hear, buy our music online for as little as $5 an album or license our music for commercial use.
Artists get a full 50% of the purchase price. And unlike most record labels, our artists keep the rights to their music.
Founded by musicians, for musicians.
No major label connections.
We are not evil.