More details on the new legal P2P service from Sony BMG, written by the intrepid Andrew Orlowski of the Reg. (He’s one of the best trade-pub journalists covering DRM and digital music.)
It’s called PlayLouder MSP (Media Service Provider), and it’s being launched in the U.K. Users pay a single monthly fee of 27 pounds (about 50 bucks) and get both a fast Internet connection (1Mbps DSL) and the legal right to download and share any song from the PlayLouder service.
It’s only a first step, but look forward a few years and imagine:
1. All the major and many indie record labels offering extensive back catalogs through a single network (or a client that can access multiple networks)
2. Portable players with wireless access.
Suddenly, you’ve got access to any song, anywhere, any time, from any device, for a single monthly fee that also includes your broadband and/or wireless access. The record companies and artists get reimbursed through the subscription fees, with some sort of tracking mechanism ensuring that the most popular artists get the most bread.
The technology’s all in place. All that needs to happen is for the content owners and technology companies to work out the business model.