Today sees the announcement of Datz Music Lounge. This one's been bubbling in the background for a little while now and a few record execs have been very elusive when pressed. What�s the big deal? It's an unlimited DRM-free music service with major record label content. Yes, you heard correctly. So what's the catch? Well so far only two of the majors are on board (EMI and WMG) and, crucially, it won't include all new releases, rather "a wide selection of new music released in 2009". But I wouldn't get too hung up on that. I'd expect more content to roll out over time if this thing proves successful.
The pricing is a 100 GBP upfront fee. Regular readers will recall this is exactly how I suggested the future of music subscriptions should be back in the summer. In the new digital world of Comes With Music and Play Now plus, 10 Euros/GBP/dollars a month for temporary downloads is a dead-end business model. New entrants like Spotify will either have to get new licenses or recognize that their ad-supported tiers are their future. As for Napster and Rhapsody, well they need more than a makeover to survive in the new digital world order.
One thing to be clear about though, this is not a tool to fight piracy. A hundred pounds up front might work for younger demographics if there�s a device involved (i.e. the 5310 or, say, an iPod Nano bundle) but is not going to hit the mark for a music service. For this price point it's going to be hitting older, higher spending music aficionados. Indeed the focus on catalogue aims it even more squarely at older consumers.
So don�t get distracted by all the current caveats, this is as big a deal in its own way as Comes With Music or MySpace Music. Datz itself may never be a market leading service but it�s laid the licensing groundwork for the rest of the market.