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EDITIONS
Monday, 14 October, 2002, 11:31 GMT 12:31 UK
Digital download day: Your views
Westlife
Tracks by bands such as Westlife will be available
Music fans are being offered "the biggest ever official give-away of digital music" in a campaign to tempt them away from unofficial download sites.

A range of websites will offer each user £5 of free access to 110,000 songs by stars from Kylie Minogue to Elvis Presley for one week.

"Put simply, paying for music has to be a better option than stealing it. Any initiative that helps create that atmosphere is to be welcome," said Andrew Yeates, director general of the British Phonographic Industry.

But what do you think?

This debate is now closed. Please see below for a selection of your comments.

Frankly, if I wanted to listen to trash like Gareth Gates, I'd dig out the original versions of his covers. I'd be more likely to find the music I want to hear at the local car boot sale than on the internet. And it'd only cost me 50p for a whole album!
James Mitchell, UK

It's still too expensive. If I pay for music I want to be able to copy it to CD, the fees quoted indicate a charge of £1 per song to enable you to do that. Albums costing £10 at the supermarket usually have more than 10 tracks so the maths doesn¿t add up. On top of that they have none of the CD manufacturing & distribution costs nor do they have to lose a cut to the record stores ¿ the record industry is still being too greedy.
Olli, London

These laws are made by record companies for record companies. If I buy a record it is mine, I should be able to do with it what I like.
Steve Talbot, UK

A step in the right direction......

Record companies have to realise that if they want to make money in future they have to innovate new trends in music distribution. Perhaps encrypted bonus tracks in a CD will encourage people to buy the CD? Either that or encourage musicians to play live alot more to recoup their revenue.
Bob Lord, England


I think it is a great idea and would be happy to pay to download high quality digital recordings

Clare, UK
I think the music industry has got it wrong. I have bought MORE albums since becoming a regular at Napster-type sites. Why? Because I get to sample entire tracks off albums and have time to consider whether I really like them. In this way I have discovered artists I like - particularly those outside the mainstream.

Before I could do this, tired of albums having only one track that I liked on them, my album buying had dwindled to one to three a year. Now I buy 15 - 25 as a direct result of file sharing. I like music and the free sites gives me access to far more of it than any other system.
Kat, UK

No, why should I when I can get CD or even DVD quality for free with unlimited download? Legitimate sites also don't offer the huge variety that is available on peer2peer networks.
Jame, England

I think it is a great idea and would be happy to pay to download high quality digital recordings. I am not interested in illegal copies, and downloading is much easier than getting to a shop to buy the music. As it states in your article, people do not know such services exist, and even though I know they exist, I don't know which providers are reputable. More advertising is needed, and at £4.99 per month it is great value!
Clare, UK

50 tracks - whoopee!!!!! That's how many I get on average in one night. Although I'd rather pay for my music, my current collection would cost thousands, even if downloaded from legitimate sites. Why the record industry is getting so uptight is slightly mystifying - all that used to happen was that the songs were recorded off the radio or TV. If the companies are going to persist with allowing stations to broadcast songs up to two months before they are commercially available, then there will always be a gap for the pirate - even the unknowing one (just ask Zoe Ball about the Nirvana track she played on XFM the other day).
Ster, UK


So to dowloaded and burn an entire CD of, say, 12 tracks would presumably cost me £12. Which is much the same that I would pay for the CD in a shop, and somewhat more than I would pay a cheap mail-order operation

Rob, UK
Let's see if I understand this correctly. They are generously offering me the opportunity to burn a CD at the cost of £1 per track. With a typical CD consisting of 10 or more track, I'm being offered the opportunity to pay over £10 for a CD i.e. the same as now, whilst the record companies cream off the savings they get from having no distribution network as pure profit. Sounds like the the vinyl to CD price rise scam yet again.

They just don't get it do they?

When they finally get around to offering us the opportunity to purchase music for just the cost of the copyright and publishing royalties, they might finally hit on a winner.
Was, UK

Hang on, something's wrong: £5 buys 5 tracks burnt to CD. So to dowloaded and burn an entire CD of, say, 12 tracks would presumably cost me £12. Which is much the same that I would pay for the CD in a shop, and somewhat more than I would pay a cheap mail-order operation such as 101cd.com. But I am also paying for the disk and for the burner, the retailer avoids all their shipping and storage and handling costs, I don't get the liner notes and the music company does away with all their manufacturing and printing and shipping costs... Thanks, guys. Now I can pay more in return for less and reduce your operating costs at the same time.
Rob, UK

Great idea, shame about the way it's being done. All of the participating "legitimate" sites complain that "the site you have tried to enter requires Internet Explorer 5 (or better) with Windows Media Player 7 (or better) on Windows XP, 2000, Me or 98". This is just one of the reasons people turn to unofficial sites - freedom of choice, and not being limited to running only software the recording industry wants us to run. No thanks, I'll stick with my secure browser and secure operating system, if you don't mind!
Andrew Savory, UK


The world is made up of a LOT more music that Britney Spears and Westlife, try and download anything that isn't mainstream from an official site and you'll draw a blank

E Machine, UK
The record industries business model no longer functions, hence the fall in sales. What person in their right mind would want to pay £15 for an album when they can get the tracks they want for free? With the recent penalty paid in the States for price fixing it's obvious that we consumer has and is being ripped off by the record industry. The end result of this all will be a radical re-thinking of the whole business model, with the consumer eventually paying a realistic price for music which will be measured in pence not pounds.
Mick, England

Why pay for music you can get for free? CDs are overpriced, if it was under £10 then I would buy more but £15 for a CD is a rip off.
AG, UK

Well, it's okey to use pay sites if they actually have the music that you want to download. The world is made up of a LOT more music that Britney Spears and Westlife, try and download anything that isn't mainstream from an official site and you'll draw a blank. The unregulated file share applications are the only place to find music and spoken word that the big labels don't advertise, the shops don't sell, or are so old that nobody has copyright on the material any more.
Mr E Machine, England

The problem with legal sites is that you have to subscribe to more than one if you want music from different labels ¿ it gets expensive. Perhaps if the music business got together behind a single legal site, users would be more likely to start paying for their downloads. £5 per month for 50 downloads from a single site is far more attractive than £5 per month each for downloads from half-a-dozen sites. Their arguments of better quality and service would then surely win-over customers.
Trev, UK


This is just another disgusting trick from people rich enough to know better

Joanne, England
This scheme gets off to a bad start. The first thing it requires you to do is install the Windows Media Player. Once again people fail to understand that users will not be forced into using the Microsoft lowest common denominator. Most people using their computers for music play MP3s using a third party application such as WinAmp or a jukebox application. People will only pay for the music when it comes in the format they want, which is where the "free" downloads score. If I can get high bitrate quality MP3s which I can play with the tools I choose, I and many like me are more than happy to pay.
Paul Senior, Liverpool UK

If CDs were realistically priced (as US and continent) people would be more prepared to buy them.
J. Malpas, UK

This is just another disgusting trick from people rich enough to know better.
Joanne, England

I think it is great idea! I am a big fan of new indie music like The Idlewild and Coldplay, but it's very difficult to get hold of here in Brighton, so I just end up with the same old pop and urban nonsense. I don't see how this will stop me taping things off local radio though, another once-lambasted practice that never did kill the industry. Remember Home Taping is Killing Music?

Anyway, it's good to see Peter Gabriel involved! Sledgehammer? Rock on!
Chris Houghton, Brighton, UK

What OD2 are offering is to "lend" potential customers up to 50 tracks for 30 days in exchange for their personal details. Is this a great deal? I don't think so! I would rather use something like Wippit because at least I get to keep the songs I've downloaded and the artist still gets paid too.
Peter Bird, UK


This is an excellent move in the right direction, finally a media company taking a sensible attitude to online music

Chris Jones, UK
Paying £4.99 a month sounds great. A lot cheaper than buying the real product from the shop. However if they can reduce their prices so, why not ask for a fee per download? 10p a song sounds even better to me.
Chris Hughes, Botswana

This is a good idea if there is a good choice. Try finding "Part of the Union" by the Strawbs in a shop or a swap site. How much of the 4.99 goes to the groups?
Ian, Poland, Ex UK

This is an excellent move in the right direction, finally a media company taking a sensible attitude to online music - make a good, affordable service instead of pouring tens/hundreds of millions of dollars into expensive lawsuits against peer-2-peer services like KaZaA and Morpheus.

That the p2p sites have become so popular is not an indication that people want to steal music, it's an indication that there is a large and growing market for online music distribution. Lawsuits can stop one site, but several more can (and do) spring up in its place.
Chris Jones, UK

Why should I pay £5 for the ability to download five songs from a possible 110,000 songs, when I can download 110,000 songs for free elsewhere?? It is time for record companies to stop being greedy and reduce the prices of CDs, and pay the artists a larger proportion. Just look what happend to TLC - biggest selling female band, who had to declare bankruptcy.
Anon, UK


Useless - none of the sites work with Macs!

John Bloor, UK
As a child, I was a pirate, and as an adult, I'm not. Why? Cause I can afford as many CDs as I want now I have a job. The reality is that most of the music that is pirated on the net are the pop songs which are directly aimed at children anyway - children who's parents don't randomly dish out £5 for spending a day online downloading Britney Spears' records. The music industry's efforts are futile. Their continued attempts to deny us rights through law are only serving to infuriate their legitimate customers. Moreover, this stunt is of no use to me (if I want the music, then I'll buy the CD), and as we already know, no pirate is going to pay £5 for it.
Giles, UK

I think this really is a sign that the music companies are fighting a losing battle against peer to peer networks. They whinge about losing revenue but at the end of the day people are still buying records. They've just stopped buying rubbish ones! Now that people can try before they buy, they only spend their money on stuff they like. And there's no social stigma attached to downloading a Westlife CD, as opposed to actually buying one...
Kevin Fairhurst, UK

It would make more sense to allow payment for what you download rather than a flat rate. i.e. set it up as pay as you go.
John Elkins, UK

As if I'd pay for music when I can get it for free! I still buy music because I love the graphic design aspect and I like to collect vinyl, but at least when I download it, it gives me a chance to sample music which I would be reluctant to buy in the shop if I hadn't heard it before.
Anon, UK

Useless - none of the sites work with Macs!
John Bloor, UK


I cannot imagine anyone on minimum wage feeling guilty about stealing a few songs from an industry that can pay Robbie Williams £80m

David Moss, UK
Whilst I would love to get involved the system requirements are far too restrictive. How many people are still using windows 95 or IE 5/6 ( or non-microsoft operating systems/browers ) so cannot use these sites?
David, UK

The legitimate sites need to offer unprotected files that people can do what they want with. I don't mind paying a modest sum for a download, but I'm never going to pay for something that is encumbered with "digital rights management" restrictions.
Mike Scott, UK

I have to admit it does sound tempting - as long as it permitted the music to be burned onto CD for listening to in the car etc and I could access the music I listen to (which isn't mainstream pop!) It still, however, won't cure the problem that most of the "popular" music being released is utter garbage.
Simon, UK

I cannot imagine anyone on minimum wage feeling guilty about stealing a few songs from an industry that can pay Robbie Williams £80m.
David Moss, England

We have been ripped-off for so long buying music, and now it has been fully exposed that Music Companies were operating a price fixing policy with music shops. Is it any wonder people are downloading illegally? I think it's time the Music Industry showed some respect for its customers. And embrace new technologies.
Mike, UK


Piracy exists due to prices being set to high and the music industry seems to be the only group not to understand this

Rod Bell, UK
It is a good idea, but I think it is too little too late. Most people know that record companies are greedy. Why should we pay when we can get it free?
Kev, UK

Many of the pirate sites stink - Napster came a cropper and many of the files are infected. I'm going to give the legal sites a go!
Simon, UK

If the price was reasonable and there was a varied range of songs (including all available mixes and non-chart music) then it's a good possibility people would be interested.
S Boyd, Cyprus

So global music sales slumped by 5% in 2001? Is this because of illegal downloads, or because most of today's music is rubbish? Obviously the record companies will not agree with the second reason, therefore it must be the illegal downloads, QED.
Stephen, Scotland

With Kazaa screaming around the world the need for music over the counter really needs to be looked at. Piracy exists due to prices being set to high and the music industry seems to be the only group not to understand this and continue to set the price to high making the customers look else where for the music. The free download day will be a big let down due to the fact that the world and its brother shall be logging on and causing slow downloads or not giving the ability for people to log on. Again when this disapointment happens the world shall turn to the ever stable Kazaa.
Rod Bell, UK


If we allow people to steal music online this will be taking pennies from the pockets of many, many performers and musicians

Paul, UK
The reson people download music is that they're sick of paying for it. People don't like paying for stuff on the Internet either (credit card security risks and the fact they can remember when it used to be free); basically, the music industry is dead. It'll just take a while for it to realise.
Joe Whiteley, UK

Interesting. I tend to do all my shopping from bargain bins. I do without the CD until it appears for a price I'm happy with. This offer looked quite appealing, so I browsed to two of the sites. They both require me to upgrade my system. I'm not willing to do that, so I guess it's back to old fashioned CDs for me!
Stu Carter, UK

Imagine the number of backing musicians/ engineers etc. on a piece of music. They will get paid a small amount for appearance plus royalties. If we allow people to steal music online this will be taking pennies from the pockets of many, many performers and musicians etc. who don't make millions or even thousands. They are hard working professionals trying to make a living. I don't think any form of give away is a good idea. How to stop it? Simple... Sue the ISP for carrying the data... they are aiding someone in stealing a product. ISP's can filter filetypes etc and block sites from being accessed.
Paul, UK

I really like the idea, but it's too expensive. To download a 12 track album would be £12 - many back-catalogue CDs are £7.99, and that includes the cost of producing and distributing the CD! 35 - 40p per track would seem a more reasonable price.
Joolz Williams, GB


This could be a very cunning ploy to force Digital Rights Management onto unsuspecting peoples machines

Mark Prince, UK
Record companies losing millions? They must be really struggling to pay Robbie Williams £80m. Perhaps they should invest some of that money in a few bands with a bit more talent and musical ability. The only way to find good new music is listen to decent radio stations (including those on the internet), listen to your mates' opinions/new records, check the web sites of record labels & distributors who handle artists that you enjoy and most importantly go to gigs and buy direct from the bands. The "five major record labels" are only in it for the money, it's the nusic that counts and if the music is good people will pay for it eventually.
John, UK

What has become apparent is that the web is changing the way people buy music, but not for the reasons the recording industry thinks. Modern music listeners are much more web savvy, and have access to a potentially limitless number of reviews and opinion from a much broader demographic. In earlier years, if I liked a single, I had to buy the whole album to get a feel, or buy a specialist magasine. Now I can go to any one of the online music e-tailers, and get access to hundreds of reviews, plus 30 second samples, allowing me to very quickly differentiate quality from the large amount of generic pulp that assaults us. The industry should acknowledge that this is the real battleground, and stop trying to vilify ordinary music fans.
Edward, UK

This could be a very cunning ploy to force Digital Rights Management onto unsuspecting peoples machines. There's no such thing as a free lunch.
Mark Prince, UK

I think people are avoiding the real issue here. This is all about publicity for Peter Gabriel's new album.
John, U.K.

What a scam! You have to have the latest version of Windows, of Microsoft Media Player and give your contact details to them so they can spam you - I don't call that free. Why are the BBC plugging this? Please improve your research as I value your news service.
Icey, UK


When I see Peter Gabriel busking on the street for money, then I will stop downloading

Nicole, UK
In reply to the first comment, I agree that in the US CDs are better value, although prices there have been creeping steadily upwards. As for on the continent, I'm here in France and CDs are more expensive than in the UK and the range is extremely limited.
Dermott, France

Record companies will pay a vast amount of money to researchers and info miners for information on their customer base and potential customer base. This is just a sly way round that while giving people a "free" taster of something they probably don't want that much anyway. Why don't the labels and the musicians for that matter (Prince? Britney? You don't live in the poor house do you?) Stop being so world beatingly greedy and face up to the fact that P2P services have made the music industry more democratic, not less so and that sales figures reflect only a decrease in sales for artists that were never much cop anyway. If they want to make a difference why not employ good a&r people at last?
Harriet, UK

When I see Peter Gabriel busking on the street for money, then I will stop downloading.
Nicole, U.K.

Although I do not disagree that there is a great deal of piracy we seem to be forgetting that there is no evidence that people buy less CDs because they download. Just because record sales are falling globally that can not be blamed soley on piracy. Piracy has happened for years, perhaps not in the same way. The issue is really that consumers are not finding the product value for money. Also we are forgetting that record sales actually rose by 5% in the UK last year. Yet we are one of the few countries plagued with this copy protection that prevents me from playing the cds I buy in my PC. Am I the only person who listens to CDs at work. The message to record companies should be deliver a good product and we will buy!
Chris, Englend


Why not start a proper site and sell CDs on for 10p, 20p, 50p per song download?

Simon, UK
Actually, I have bought more CDs since I started to download mass tracks. Bands I have never heard of or ones I never wanted to risk my money on, some I have had to import. There is nothing better than an official solid CD with a glossy cover. For those of us not into POP or Urban, it is difficult to actually hear songs before you buy them. The music industry fears thats their 'Prime POP Records' are at risk because people are realising there are many smaller and unknown bands out there just as good and often better at an international level. The music charts does not reflect the truth, too much hype and advertising combined with TV. MP3s tell the truth, they are what the people want.
Alister, UK

I agree that the net is a great source of songs, you can't buy on CD any more because they've been deleted (or were only available on Vinyl). Why not start a proper site and sell them on for 10p, 20p, 50p per song download? You could even price it by the quality of recording available. The costs involved for the industry must surely be less than pressing CDs, promoting and distributing them.
Si, UK

I think this is a great idea in principle. Only one thing bothers me and thats that I might be forced to download a newer version of Microsoft Media Player. The problem? Well, this incorporates "DRM" (Digital Rights Management) technology, which despite the propaganda about it protecting your music, actually allows the media giants to control how you listen to their products. So you download your music on Thursday, but do you think it will play on anything other than your PC? Do you think you'll be able to cut these onto a cut? Do you really think the music companies are really that naive?! You have been warned! :)
Peter, UK


Downloadable music simply isn't of sufficiently high sound quality to replace CD

Liam, UK
I haven't bought a CD for over four years now. Music companies have over charged consumers for way too long. It's about time the music companies woke up and realised what's going on in the music industry. They were terribly naive to dismiss the internet revolution and now they're being made to pay for their ignorance.
Marcus Sz, England

We tried to kill music with home-taping - but it didn't work. Now will the electronic-internet finally allow us to be rid of this annoying young-person's music? Let's hope so.
Bremstrahlung Jones, UK

When will the record industry wake up and realise they can't charge 15 quid for an album that can be downloaded for free. Charge me 2 quid and give more money to the artist and then I'll think about it.
Ali, UK

I'd be willing to pay to download tracks. As it is, I use Kazaa, Imesh, Morpheus etc, mainly to sample tracks by artists that I like. If I like what I download, I buy the CD. If I could download a whole album and not have to pay the for packaging costs, shop overheads etc, it would be a good deal. The music business has kept the prices of CDs high for long enough. If they can deliver a reliable download service that allows you to download an album for less than the price of a shop CD, I'll sign up for it. Somehow, I think they'll still find a way of charging too much.
Aiden Truss, UK


Why pay £5 for a few downloads? You can download a new album within days of its release and then wait a few months until it appears in the sales at a reasonable price

Colin, UK
Downloadable music simply isn't of sufficiently high sound quality to replace CD. The best way to avoid paying the exorbitant price for music in the UK is to buy a CD burner, copy the CD and then return the original to the retailer asking for a refund. If I was a record company, this is what I'd be worried about...
Liam, UK

I have a problem with the principle of illegal downloads because I think the artists deserve payment for their work. I use them a lot though because the industry still fails to propose a realistic alternative. I do not want to commit to £60 per year for my downloads, but I would consider paying a few pence for each track. I want to choose how much and how often I download music. I am also unhappy about entering my credit card details to any system that promises not to bill for the fist month but it is then up to ME to cancel the contract. The music industry has to understand that it is dealing with unlimited, totally free and high quality music from illegal sites. Deal with the issue seriously please.
Static, UK

Why pay £5 for a few downloads? You can download a new album within days of its release and then wait a few months until it appears in the sales at a reasonable price. Until the record companies realise that they are ripping off Joe Public this sort of practice will continue.
Colin, UK

With some of the comments that have come through, it is little wonder that the music industry has been so slow to come up with a solution. I buy a reasonable number of albums every month and have continued to do so despite what I can download on the web. I like listening to music, rather than spending hours trying to find and download free tracks.

Music is a business and one needs to pay for it - it is a pity that those more involved with computers than music do not appreciate that. There is a lot of music that is difficult to get hold and providing a centralised way of getting these would be very useful and would mean only a small amount of time on the computer. The music industry needs to serve those who are committed to music not people whose only interest is freebies.
Mark, London


This would be a good idea if the record companies opened all of their back catalogues and made them available online

Richard Rackham, UK
The quality of MP3 isn't good enough for me. (I'm also a poet and I don't know it).
Pete, England

As long as there is DRM on the files I am not interested in a subscription site. I want to listen to the same album at work, at home and on my portable stereo.
Paul T, UK

Oh dear, what a complete waste of time. Buying a CD is now a very rare event for me, since I can find, download and burn pretty much any song out there for absolutely nothing.

The best part of that? Well now I have more money in my pocket to actually go and see the bands I like live!
Big Dunc, England

Anyone with half a clue knows where to get as much free downloads as they want, films, music, anything! What the film and record companies fail to understand is that we do not want to pay exorbitant fees for something that might be rubbish. Therefore, we can download it for free, listen to it, and if we like it we go and buy it for our collections! I would never buy copies from markets or anywhere else, as I could make my own copies a 100 times better. If UK prices were on a par with the US then people would feel less inclined to "steal" free downloads!
Steve T, England

"Put simply, paying for music has to be a better option than stealing it."

Then put Jason Becker's Perpetual Burn out so I can buy it. No? Then stop off moaning about people downloading for free. Look at the charts at the moment... it's full of insipid manufactured RUBBISH. Maybe, just maybe that's why CD sales are down (nah, that can't be it!).
Robert Poole, UK


Music sales rose through the coming of home taping and CD burning. In the UK, music sales rose more recently despite msic downloads

Epidavros, UK
If many of the sites don't work with Macs and somebody doesn't have the equipment to burn the CDs, what's the point?
Andy, United States

This would be a good idea if the record companies opened all of their back catalogues and made them available online. There are many songs I want to have but simply cannot find, and the record companies refuse to rerelease them. I would be willing to pay to download such back-catalogue tracks, but the record companies are willing to offer tracks that you hear on the radio everyday.

I am convinced that the record companies would make more money from people who are willing to buy music rather than focus on people who will always want things for free.

The majority of the tracks on offer today are ones that have been about for a while, and have been pirated quite significantly. I'm sure if there were tracks that were exclusive to the digital download day, people would take more interest.
Richard Rackham, UK

Another hopelessly flawed attempt to discourage privacy. I would like to see the music world wake up to the fact that the industry is now doomed. Whatever poor thought out prevention methods they devise, there is still the unavoidable fact that music is sound. Encrypt it as much as you like, add multimedia gimics but at some point a person has to listen to the sound which is then, at that point, easily recorded and distributed.

I look forward to the collapse of the industry and hopefully as the money moves away, so will all the money men in promotion and marketting and the manufacutered pap of current pop will die and decent talented artists will again be recognised - they won't be on big wages but why should they be?
Kieran, England


I don't like downloading music, but I do it, and I'll carry on, simply because I cannot afford the extortionate prices the record companies charge

Dade, England
Since getting broadband I have regularly used p2p networks to download music. The reason I do this is because of the variety of available material. I don't download stuff that's in the charts or played to death on radio, I want to hear the acoustic versions, the live performances, the extended takes and such like, the defining example being the rather obtuse recording of Paul Weller's Wild Wood remixed by Portishead.

Also I can listen to a broad range of artists that remain outside the mainstream, then I'll hunt out their album. And the cost of getting a song on these proposed legitimate file sharing services is ridiculous to the hilt. A pound for each track, no cover notes or artwork, no disc print, with the user providing their own equipment, surely a fair price taking into account that there is no shop, no staff, no printing costs and no actual physical resource that the record company is providing, about 35p per track with 25p going to the artist seems fair. I challenge someone to tell me that the artist gets more than this anyway.
MatFlat, UK

Only the monumentally incompetent executives of the record industry could turn the greatest opportunity for them in the history of mass market music - the Internet - into their biggest threat.

Music sales rose through the coming of home taping and CD burning. In the UK, music sales rose more recently despite msic downloads. Despite the best efforts of the industry, music is now ubiquitous.

But just read the other comments here to see if the industry knows what its doing. If it founders on the doorstep of a new technology, then at least we will know that it deserved to.
Epidavros, UK


If the record companies are still controling what they will offer us then this will be no use to me

Sam Lowry, Scotland
Robbie Williams gets £80 million for 4 albums, Mariah Carey got, what, £35 million just to get her out of a contract? £115 million on two artists - no wonder the Record Industry claims to be hard up. Music is too expensive. Plain and simple. Up to £16.99 for an album in some places and £3.99 for a CD single the week after release. Not everyone can afford those prices. Personally, I'd lower the prices of CD's and get the artist to tour more. If the artist is as good as the record companies make out, they'd have no problem filling a 50,000 seater stadium every night.

I don't like downloading music, but I do it, and I'll carry on, simply because I cannot afford the extortionate prices the record companies charge. I will buy an album every 4 or 5 months, or on the day of release if it's one of my favourite bands, but otherwise, I'll download it & try it first. I don't have money to waste on CDs that could turn out to be a waste of time.

The music industry has brought this on themselves, and creating a download day which only serves to give them more addresses for junkmail and give Microsoft a greater foothold with inferior products isn't gonna work - not on my computer anyway.
Dade, England

Tried to log on, but it doesn't give you any free credits as promised in the story. And it is far too slow to actually use.
Dave, UK

Do the record companies really think that people won't copy, burn to CD, pass on to friends etc.? If I pay for a download then I will burn it to a CD in order not to lose it if my PC crashes. Also, I would want to play it on an audio system or in the car. Wake up to the real world, what I pay for is mine and I will use it for my own use in any way I see fit. Wake up to the real world!
Steve, UK

If the record companies are still controling what they will offer us then this will be no use to me. I use the "illegal" services to find songs or versions that either where never released in this country or have been out of print for years. If the record companies would open up their whole back-catalogue I would be willing to pay for it. As long as this does not happen, they will not have me as a customer.
Sam Lowry, Scotland


It was so cumbersome, so awkward, so misleading and poorly interfaced that I left 15 minutes later after being totally lost in the maze of log-ons and subscription buttons

Anton, USA
It seems to me that the record companies still have no clue about the music consumers they claim to serve. People will flock to the "free" site for that day, take the rubbish music that is offered, and return to their faithful, free p2p server the next day.

I have downloaded all of Coldplay's songs off of Kazaa - very high quality music (so I'm not really sure where people come off saying that you can't get CD-quality music on the web - just look for a 192 bit-rate, instead of a 128 bit rate) and I went to Coldplay's concert in New York that cost me $80 for two tickets. Record companies are still getting their money - they're just going to have to concentrate on getting better musicians that will do more live performances.

By the way, CD prices are exorbitantly high in the U.S. - typically around $15-$18 - so I'm not really sure why people are saying they are chepaer here than in the UK or on the continent.
David, United States

Forcing the use of Microsoft's Digital Rights Management is a pain but all you users of Kazzaa and similar peer-to-peer software be aware that they contain "Spyware" which will send a lot more information about your computer and you, to people who may be a bit less trustworthy that Microsoft. Stay safe people!
Rick, UK

Well... I decided to try it out... just out of sheer curiousity. It was so cumbersome, so awkward, so misleading and poorly interfaced that I left 15 minutes later after being totally lost in the maze of log-ons and subscription buttons. Why can't the labels make it simple? Not coming back, for sure. Back to the hassle-free alternatives until Mr. Gabriel and company suss it out.
Anton, USA


So record companies are feeling the pinch are they - um £80m to Robbie - excuse me. Britney earning $40m so is hardly on the breadline

Phil, UK
People might be more willing to pay for music if the profiteering the music industry makes were not so apparent. For example, why should back catalogue copyright be sold after an artist's death ? I don't see why a dead artist's work should not be made available to all.
Amy Quinn, UK

Let's remember the days when music existed only live and unmediated. Finally it's being shown in the marketplace that recorded music is a form of promotion, and only serves to inform you that it's worth your money to go experience a musician live.
Axel, Canada

Why do record companies treat mp3s as the big evil when they could embrace the technology and make some serious money?

Meanwhile I'm getting frustrated because I cannot convert my Sony CDs to mp3 to play on my Sony mp3 player.
Nick, UK

The terms and conditions of these sites are very vague. I couldn't work out whether or not I get to keep the music after the month is up. I have a feeling that I don't.

I would use these services if: 1) We were charged by the song, not for a monthly fee; 2) Upon buying the song, I am entitled to do with it as I please (as long as I don't redistribute it). This would mean it is in a non-proprietary format (e.g. ogg vorbis). Is it really that much to ask?
Dave, UK


Just because the chances of getting caught and prosecuted or put in prison for copyright theft is so small it doesn't mean it's right to do it!

Chester, UK
The record companies have to compete with services that are free, let you do anything you want with the downloaded music, and have huge choice. This is the best they can come up with?!?! When will they learn consumers expect a lot more than this pathetic effort..
Steve, USA (Ex Pat)

So record companies are feeling the pinch are they - um £80m to Robbie - excuse me. Britney earning $40m so is hardly on the breadline. Make the cost of CDs more attractive and people will not download as much. As for paying for downloads £1 a track is just another example for record label greed.
Phil, UK

The record companies claim they cannot afford to invest in new music anymore... so how can EMI justify paying Robbie Williams £80m for a 4 album deal? It's not like they seem to go round looking for new talent anymore, labels such as BMG putting all their faith in ready-made-popstar tv.

And if that isn't worse, they go and upset the REAL fans by re-releasing albums with more tracks, do they really expect us to pay for the album again to get the missing tracks?

The day record companies realise that they need to inprove value-for-money in purchases the better. The singles market is in decline (prob due to p2p swapping) so make singles more worthwhile purchases by adding extras such as videos etc.

Next time a record company claims they're hard done by, think about how much their executives are earning.
Richard, UK

I disagree with the people who say they download music because they can't afford it. I can't afford a lot of things, but I don't steal them instead! Just because the chances of getting caught and prosecuted or put in prison for copyright theft is so small it doesn't mean it's right to do it!
Chester, UK


There is a big flaw in record companies' logic - most people who download music online wouldn't have bought it ANYWAY, so you are not losing sales because of them, you are gaining free promotion!

Aneta, Poland
Why pay to hire music when you can join your local library and get CDs out pretty much free? As I understand it, as soon as I end my "relationship" with OD2, they pull the plug on all the music I've downloaded from them. I think they're either relying on the moral fibre of their users not wanting to "steal" from hardworking artists, or they're just completely misguided if they believe that this represents what the consumer wants.
Realnice, London

The new service is probably set up to attract novice users who still don't understand the workings of p2p. All others know that it is not a viable service anyway. Too expensive and not user friendly. Furthermore, if p2p would disappear we would start borrowing cds from each other again!! Bottom line is: set up a really good database (p2p) and sell at really low cost (max.50% of retail) then MAYBE people would become members!!!
Mike, Netherlands

The record labels are once again slow to grab new technology. They should have nipped this in the bud...but as it is they are now showing their greed. What about rectifying the pittance they used to pay some groups back in the 1950s? Some of that stuff we still have to pay full price for. OK so put a limit on free stuff - say it must be at least 40yrs old!!! That would satisfy my taste - partly anyways.
Steve, UK

Don't know what it's like to use the service - since I saw the site five days ago I have been unable to get past the initial stages as the site is too busy, then I have left my details and nobody has got back to me, then I finally registered, but when I next visited there was no record of me registering (and I did fill the forms in correctly).

KaZaa worked first time every time - get a service that works if I am paying for it before you try and sell me something for a monthly fee that doesn't have any uptime.

Till then, KaZaa it will be; oh, and by the way, I have bought MORE albums since using P2P software as I have sampled a wider variety of music and found "new" artists that I enjoy. Sure beats London West End's policy of not having decent listening facilities.
Scott, UK

There is a big flaw in record companies' logic - most people who download music online wouldn't have bought it ANYWAY, so you are not losing sales because of them, you are gaining free promotion! People get to learn about new music, and if they like it then they buy it on CD.
Aneta, Poland


I will not be dictated to as to how and where I listen to my music. The record companies need to grow up and realise that we're sick of being messed around and ripped off

Steve, UK
You can lead a record company executive to the Internet but you can't make him think.

They simply don't get it, do they? £1 to copy one song?!
Peter Nelson, USA

P2P is the only way to hear anything interesting. Radio, TV and stores seem compelled to sell me the latest vomit from this week's pretty boy. To paraphrase (I think) Crissy Hynde; Downloading music isn't killing music, rubbish music is killing music.

Record companies should look no further than their oun artists to see why we are all in this sorry state.
Paul, UK

While I am in favour of artists being paid a reasonable rate for their work, everyone is aware that the record companies take the biggest slice and the artists themselves get only a small percentage. I am a regular user of P2P services, purely because a) it allows me a wider choice than is available in my local record stores, b) it's certainly a lot cheaper - £15.99 for a 2-year old CD I bought for £10.99 when it first came out is just plain wrong - and c) it allows me to sample music before committing to buying a whole album.

A common trend now is for record companies to put two or three good tracks on an album and fill the rest up with trash - the good tracks then go out as singles, we buy the album and are disappointed.

I won't be using OD2. I will not be dictated to as to how and where I listen to my music. The record companies need to grow up and realise that we're sick of being messed around and ripped off. As with many people who have commented here, I have bought more CDs since starting to use P2P than I ever did before.
Steve, UK


A desperate act by an increasingly desperate industry

Scott, UK
People just see the end results of the music industry. They don't take into account all the behind the scenes stuff like design, recording costs, production etc etc etc. If music remains "free" there will eventually be no money to make the music. People are moaning about costs, what about the lower paid people they put out of work - record store workers, receptionists and industry support staff et al. they think the money just goes into some fat cat's bank account - simply not true.

Think carefully before you illegally download - imagine book downloading! People do not moan about the price of books now do they?! Just as much time and effort goes into recording an album as does writing a book - yet people don't photocopy whole books and swap them.
Shane, New Zealand

Money should be spent on finding new artists whom people will be happy to support and pay for music from. Copy protection will never work, as soon as you can hear a song, it can be pirated, and with peer2peer networks commonplace, only one copy has to become available. Also, people are much happier to pay for something real and physical, rather than something they see readily pirated.
Tom Waddington, Great Britain

Like the thriller-writer Steven King - his site was SO oversubscribed when he published a story online - £5 worth of free music seems to be close to the real and total amount of downloads that the swamped system could allow - come the day! It is a gesture of huge grandiloquence - and no doubt disgruntled downloaders will compensate for their disappointment by having an MP3-swap field-day!!! The net is all about quality of content - and technology getting better and better, means more demands being made, and met. Patron saint of the internet: King Canute
John Russell, UK


Real music is live music. A recording is one peformance sold over and over again . That is NOT value for money. The recording industry has their come-uppance

Steve, UK
A desperate act by an increasingly desperate industry. Recording artists are rebelling against their ridiculous contract terms and hazy royalties, customers are fed up paying over the odds for the latest manufactured drivel (especially in the UK) and all the industry can do is say..."let's have more of the same" and sue the P2P networks. The gravy train is running dry so they'd better wise up or disappear.
Scott, UK

Over-the-counter music is too expensive but means royalty cash goes to artists; P2P file swapping is free, but is allegedly crippling the industry. Solution? Make the P2P sites charge a one -off "sign-up fee", say £20, with unlimited access to file sharing. The punters still save a shedload of money, whilst the artists and record companies get revenue that they're currently missing out on. With around 2m people using Kazaa alone at any point of the day, the maths does itself.
Dave Mc, UK

Hey music industry websites! What about this: Allow us to hear music via lower quality mp3s (say 64kbps). Then let us choose 12 tracks (from this selection) which we can have on a CD shipped to us for around £5. That is something I'm sure will work.
David, UK

The music industry is on its last legs. Soon the file share sites will start to charge but it will still cost next to nothing, they should then start to think about paying royalties to the artists per download. It will give more artists a chance to reach a wide audience without having to pass through the commercial viability filter that the major labels apply to new acts, preventing us from hearing some of the more original stuff out there. It would be good to see these "stars" like Madonna and Peter Gabriel make money that is more in line with an everyday person's income. A trend I think the net will start which will move through more and more industries. Here's hoping anyway.
Gary, UK


Finally the consumers are driving the market instead of the industry. This is the future of music distribution and the record companies have been too slow to see it

Mo, UK
To get people to buy more music, they need to CUT prices dramatically. I never buy CDs anymore, but I DO buy DVDs, despite the fact that DVD copies are just as available online as music tracks. Why do I do that? Because DVDs are finally becoming very reasonably priced in the UK now, with most DVD' (excluding new releases) being sold at £10 per DVD or less in some cases. If consumers feel they are getting value for money, they will buy more, FACT!
Thomas Yasin, UK

What is the problem? Recorded music should be free. Real music is live music. A recording is one peformance sold over and over again . That is NOT value for money. The recording industry has their come-uppance. Period.
Steve, UK

When I see a single person such as Robbie Williams being given £80 million by these entertainment companies I can say that I honestly have not one shred of sympathy for these media conglomerates and would encourage teenagers to save their pocket money and share their MP3s on the internet with whoever they damn well choose.
Paul, England

I thought, "What a good idea." There is a single song I have been trying to get hold of. Unfortunately the site only works if you are using Microsoft software. Since I have no intention of "upgrading" my OS (LOL) or having which programmes I can use dictated to me I guess I'll have to give it a miss. Sorry guys - to compete you have to offer at least the same features as your competitors and that includes platform independence!
Faith, UK

Like many others the music industry "does not get it", yet we do! You seem surprised people will pay for their music, why? Put the infrastructures in place and give people the choice. Investment is the key and companies like Napster, Kazaa and MP3.com have shown you the way. Like so many industries the record companies do not want change, because they only see the short term and associated cost, yet they have the means to make it happen. Technology is about change, video was the death of cinema and now the web will be the death of the music industry...... change your business model.
Sim, UK

Finally the consumers are driving the market instead of the industry. This is the future of music distribution and the record companies have been too slow to see it. I would be willing to pay £5 per month for unlimited downloads, but like many others I am concerned it will just be dull chart music. If the industy got behind one site (I hear Napster is going cheap) and provided the full range of available music (maybe incorporating P2P principles) it would be a much more attractive proposition to consumers.
Mo, UK

See also:

02 Oct 02 | Music
26 Sep 02 | Music
23 Sep 02 | Technology
23 Sep 02 | Music
25 Aug 02 | Technology
27 Aug 02 | Music
05 Aug 02 | Music
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