It's been a busy week for digital music news, with some of the biz's biggest names – EMI and YouTube – making waves in an already rocky climate. YouTube is carefully-placing 'click to buy' links next to music videos, while EMI is launching its own online music shop, just in time for Christmas…
EMI music downloads
The record label plans to offer audio and video content - some free some paid-for - alongside a music discovery service in the vein of The Filter and LastFM. With the likes of iTunes and MySpace leading the way, the digital download space is a crowded one, and EMI will have to offer something special to compete.
Sony's similar initiative – PressPlay – failed to take-off because it did not cover a broad enough spectrum of artists. Rumour has it that EMI's service will diversify to rival labels' catalogue, which is surely a must if it is to avoid a similar fate.
The YouTube marketplace
While EMI is attempting to topple Apple, YouTube is jumping into bed with them, and book-selling heavyweights Amazon. The king of online video has saddled up with iTunes and Amazon.com by embedding 'buy it now' links next to music videos and computer game trailers.
You watch a video, you like it, you want it, you buy it with one click. Well, maybe three or four after you've signed up, logged in etc.
Apart from having to dig around for the official video rather than a user-ripped and uploaded one (the links only appear on the corresponding label's official channel), it seems like a good idea. It's interesting that EMI have signed-up, sending more traffic to iTunes will surely do its upcoming download service the world of good…
UPDATE: Play.com is cheaper than iTunes
It would seem that the 'download wars' just got nastier: Play.com has launched its own online service, and at 65-pence-per-track, it undercuts iTunes by 14p. It's also managed to bag "the big four" record labels, with Sony, Warner, Universal and EMI eager to climb onboard.
Cheers, here's to healthy, cheaper competition...