Monika Ermert has posted a great summary of the state of play on P2P music downloads on Intellectual Property Watch: “After Grokster, Industry Seeks Legal P2P As Mobile Music Takes Over”.
The title says it all: legal P2P systems and mobile music:
Now industry is looking for the next model, one that will meet demand within the confines of the legal and policy environment which itself is changing.
There is a whole array of P2P services in the making, as British music consultancy MusicAlly found out in a study presented at Midem. “Most of these services have been around for several years already preparing for a start,” says Paul Brindley, managing director of MusicAlly. “If they do not start this year, it is over.”
. . .
The music industry, on the other hand, seems to place its hope on a different technology. The Midemnet in Cannes devoted a whole day of discussion to mobile music. “Mobile music may solve the piracy problem,” said Brazilian lawyer Marcelo Goyanes. “Mobile might be the saviour of the music industry in China,” added Richard Robinson, co-founder of Shanghai ISP and mobile content provider Linktone.
While the CD and Internet music market was 90 percent pirated, this was yet no problem with mobile phones. The combination of fast-growing numbers of handsets in countries like China (400 million), India (over 80 million) and Brazil (86 million) and a nearly piracy-free technology makes mobile very attractive.
The ongoing conductivity part sounds similar to the interaction model of gaming that has cutting down on video-game piracy (see my earlier posting). I’m not sure that the technology can be made piracy-proof, but if the nature of the commercial interaction is “right-now, just-for-me” it seem hard to see how pirates have an advantage. Unless of course the music industry follows to old movie industry practice of limiting initial distribution — there is a reason why all those pirated videos are in hot demand and it has to do with availability well before the “official” video release, not just price. Interestingly we are now seeing movies with simultaneous release in multiple formats. Someone is learning that in the digital age, more (distribution channels) is better.