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Digital Music Price Fixing Suit Moves Ahead

If you think about the common pricing of digital music across different labels today, you may wonder why it has taken so long that a suit in fact was filed.

This specific cases targets Musicnet and Pressplay, which are DRM-laden services that were created by those labels in 2001. The suit questions the pricing of 70 cent per song and alleges that there has been illegal collusion. The suit also complains about the unusually high subscription price of $240 per year. Some might file this under the initial clumsy attempts to squeeze music money out from consumers after the time of Napster, but the Supreme Court now found that there is enough substance to the claims to allow the suit to proceed. According to the court, there was a sufficient allegation of the violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act under Twombly.   

If found guilty, the case may not reach through to third-party resellers such as iTunes, but collusion could get rather expensive and it seems reasonable that the four labels will try to settle out or court.

Pressplay was originally founded as a joint venture between Universal Music Group and Sony and sold to Roxio in 2003, which renamed the service to Napster. MusicNet was formed in a partnership between AOL Time Warner, Bertelsmann, EMI and Real Networks in early 2001. In 2005, the platform was sold to private equity firm Baker Capital. In 2008, MusicNet was turned into MediaNet, a platform for digital content fulfillment services.

  • applegetsmelaid
    You would think the record labels would have learned from the first price fixing lawsuit concerning CDs back in 2000.
  • fjjb
    does this mean price reduction in music? if not meh..
  • bejabbers
    do torrents still work? Yep! So this doesn't concern me.... or well most smart people.
  • thesupermedium
    This was kept conveniently absent from the TV news...
  • eddieroolz
    Ouch. Lawsuit's come back to bite labels' ass!
  • molo9000
    bejabbersdo torrents still work? Yep! So this doesn't concern me.... or well most smart people.
    I wouldn't call anyone smart who still uses p2p networks to download copyrighted material.
    Having to pay a music publisher a few thousand bucks just because u shared 20songs is not very smart.

    There are other ways of "pirating" music&films that don't require you to share the material in question. It's still illegal but at least no company can argue that you've caused thousands of dollars worth of damage by distributing copyrighted material for free.
    *cough* one-click-hosters *cough*
  • bak0n
    Today's music mainly sucks. I haven't bought/downloaded a song in probably 10 years.
  • Stryter
    Is it just me or are these spam comments becoming more and more numerous? Something seriously needs to be done about this. Come on, 8 in a row, with 3 a few comments before? It doesn't take rocket science to block these douchebags.
  • Milleman
    Intel could license ARM as well and manufature the chips with their latest technology. If other companies could make dollars on making ARM on license, sodo could Intel. Would be more profitable than putting costly R&D money on keeping an old architecture alive.
  • Travis Beane
    Netflix is $96/year.
    I think Netflix got it right.

    I've used to download music quite a bit recently. Indie music that I prefer over pop, the fact that it's all free and legal is just icing.