Sunday, September 05, 2004

Downloading Music..when will JM be available?

The fight for a share of the downloading music arena lives on. It's apple V.S. microsoft...

This week, Microsoft, stung by Apple's success and the threat iPod presents to its plan to dominate online music with Windows Media Player software, opened its own online music store. It is, so far, limited to US buyers and, says Microsoft, will remain so for the foreseeable future.

Nor will it replace ninemsn's deal with the British-based online music libraries, OD2, bought for about $60 million by rival service Loudeye.

But the field is being crowded. Sony Music recently opened its own download store and even big department stores, led by the massive Walmart, have gone into the business.

But, so far Apple remains champion. Since iTunes Music Store went online last year, Apple has sold 125 million tracks at 99 ¢ apiece. The iPod now commands 58 per cent of the world market for such devices, far ahead of other player makers.

Microsoft's concern is that the iPod does not use Windows Media Player but is available for users of Windows PCs, a direct challenge to the Gates empire's plan to have Windows Media Player dominate the music download business.

Apple's iTunes Store now has a library of nearly a million songs - everything from Led Zeppelin to Schubert. Microsoft has done a similar song-licensing deal with the big record companies, but is still building its library.

Downloadable music still alarms the big record companies that watch it steadily eroding CD and music DVD sales. But the ubiquity of the internet, the growth of broadband and its increasing use as a high-speed conduit for music, movies and much else, has also given singers and bands the chance to market their own wares.

In Australia, the Record Industry Association says, music piracy has cost the industry about $60 million of its annual $600 million revenue and some pirates have been prosecuted under Australia's copyright laws.

How long will it be before jewish music is available through download?