Page last updated at 19:26 GMT, Tuesday, 24 January 2006

Digital music: Industry answers

Some of the top executives in the music industry have answered your questions about digital music.

The BBC News website asked for your queries and gripes about the way new technology is being used - and the eight sharpest, most frequent and most important questions were put to the virtual panel.

Click on each question to read the answers.

I don't expect to be using my iPod in 20 years time. But I do expect to be able to listen to the digital music I buy today in 2026 without having to re-purchase it. Can online music providers guarantee that my collection will be safe in 20 years if I buy from them? Simon Wilson, Brussels, Belgium

  • John Kennedy, IFPI:

    This is more a question for the online music shops. My understanding is that every service will allow you to copy to multiple devices or computers, and to burn copies to CD-R. I know that iTunes allows you to burn seven copies of any playlist, so I would say that if you make back-up copies your music collection should be safe for a long time. Services can also back up your account so your music can be restored after a system crash or if you need to use a different computer.

    Of course if you sign up with a subscription service, you can listen to all your favourite tracks with no ties to any one physical device.

  • Peter Jamieson, BPI:

    I can't speak for Apple or the other online music providers, but I do know this is an issue they are trying to resolve by allowing back-ups and by allowing you to transfer music to other devices.

  • Steve Knott, HMV

    Nobody can say exactly what will happen in 20 years time or allow for the changes in technology which, if anything, are likely to accelerate. People buying 78rpm recordings in the 1950s will have found that by the '70s there were no longer any players being made to play them on.

    Having said that, the beauty of digital music is that it is far less constrained by the physical limitations placed on, say, vinyl or CDs, so I can't see any reason at this time why digital music purchased today cannot be stored and played on future generations of players.

  • Brad Duea, Napster:

    Simon, given your concern, you should never have been using the iPod or iTunes. Apple appears to want to sell and resell you hardware and music, over and over again. Also, when compared to subscribing to music, buying music in any format does not make much sense, particularly when history shows us the pain folks have endured from the format sales scam by having to buy the same album on eight-track, vinyl, cassette, CD and now digital.

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