Bit Player

Jon Healey on Hollywood's love-hate relationship with technology.

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April 12, 2007 |  6:37 pm

Anywherecd_logo Could someone please explain to me how AnywhereCD could succeed? The bare-bones, brand-spanking-new venture -- the latest from founder Michael Robertson -- sells music from many Warner Music Group artists and numerous indie-label bands as MP3 files. While the site doesn't charge a clear premium for the DRM-free format -- the prices are sometimes competitive with those on iTunes, but sometimes a dollar or more higher -- the tracks are sold as full albums only. Ouch. Bear in mind that more than half the tracks sold on iTunes are individual songs, which means that far more than half the units sold there aren't albums. What does that say about why shoppers choose downloads instead of CDs? AnywhereCD offers buyers a package deal for both the CD and downloadable versions of an album, but it typically costs an extra $3. Wouldn't people who want the CD order it from and convert it to MP3 files themselves, for no extra charge? It's interesting to see Warner downloads available without DRM, given the company's strongly negative reaction to the Steve Jobs manifesto and the recent EMI decision to sell MP3s. Still, I don't see the business here. I've got to be missing something -- what is it?

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