Universal Trials "Pay Per Download' With 99? MP3 Sale

Vivendi Universalis online division and Maverick Records are selling an MP3 for just 99?, trialling a pay-per-download retail model. According to a ZDNet article yesterday, a remix of Meshell Ndegeocellois single Earth is offered for sale on various Universal-run sites, including MP3.com, Rolling Stone, EMusic and GetMusic. Itis literally as simple as that: just pay 99 cents, and you can download it to burn or use on your computer or MP3 player. According to the article:

Phil Benyola, a digital media research associate for investment company Raymond James Financial, called the MP3 sale an "innovative" marketing maneuver. But he warned it might not be a successful one.

"Itis very significant that they would endorse the MP3 format since MP3 has always been a dirty word to the labels. Up until now, everything they have offered has been a secure format," Benyola said.

But "I think youill be able to count the number of sales on one hand," he added. "As soon as one person gets it, itis all over the (peer-to-peer) networks for free."

However, EMusicis general manager, Steve Grady, is hopeful.

"I think there are a lot of fans that are loyal to these artists and are willing to pay a reasonable price for a download or a CD."

"Sure, there is always a concern of piracy; thereis always the concern of people illegally transferring things. But we feel the best way to combat that is by giving people a legitimate alternative, and this is a test to make that alternative available to them," Grady said.

You can read the rest of the article at ZDNet.com.