Thu, Nov 13, 2003 - Page 9 News List

Legitimate music downloads rock the music establishment

By Bobbie Johnson  /  THE GUARDIAN , LONDON

The current uneasy truce between record companies and download operators is one born not of action, but reaction. It's a complicated process with labels, licensing companies, digital facilitators, portals and service providers all competing for their slice of music's profitable pie. And all the while file sharers are able to continue with only the fear of a needle-in-a-haystack legal action over their heads.

"Peer to peer is such a powerful technology," says Paul Hitchman. "E-mail was the killer application of narrowband, and downloading is the driving force behind broadband. It's just not going to go away."

In the long run, services like Playlouder may or may not prove to be the answer the music industry is looking for. Consumers may eventually switch to download shops or other, unexplored, methods of purchase. But in an industry populated by closed minds and stuck playing an eternal game of catch-up, at least someone is trying to make a much-derided technology work legally.

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