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CD Baby Goes Digital,
MP3.com Goes Quietly,
RIAA Goes Guns Blazin'
Article by David Nevue - The Music Biz Academy
July 2003


Back to Internet Music Promotion 101


I have some big, big news for my fellow independent musicians. CD Baby announced over the weekend that members can now submit their music for inclusion Apple's iTunes Music Store. That means you'll be able to sell, and make royalties from digital downloads of your music to anyone who has access to iTunes.

If you haven't heard about iTunes (time to wake up), it represents the biggest consumer leap to digital music in years. The launch of the iTunes store was an event of *huge* magnitude, resulting in the sale of millions of songs at .99 cents each - and that's just on the Mac platform. iTunes is soon coming to a Windows PC near you.  

IPOD, ITUNES PUT APPLE AT CORE OF MUSIC INDUSTRY

At any rate, I'm so impressed by what CD Baby has been doing for indie artists. Derek Sivers, CD Baby founder (and a musician himself) has represented us all very well. And it doesn't stop there. When you sign up for CD Baby's digital distribution service, you're music is automatically considered for inclusion in Listen.com's Rhapsody service as well as any other digital music distribution opportunity that comes along. CD Baby's charge for setting you up for digital distribution is a one-time fee of $40 per CD. They then keep only 9% and pay you 91% of all income from your music.

Derek has asked me, in announcing this, to make clear that Apple reserves the right *not* to include certain CD titles in the iTunes store. It's unclear exactly what that means, but very probably it's just Apple's way of having an 'out' if, for any reason, they feel they need to refuse someone.

Are you a member of CD Baby? If not, you're missing out. Sign up for CD Baby here or, if you want to read more about CD Baby, visit the Music Biz Academy hosting directory for musicians for my just updated review.

By the way, I met with Derek at CD Baby HQ last week and we plan on putting together a music business seminar for folks in the Oregon/Washington area. I'll keep you posted.

In other news...

While CD Baby's stock is rising, MP3.com's is dropping rapidly. You might recall my somewhat recent article 'Is MP3.com on its Last Leg'. Well, that 'last leg' is starting to cramp up.

Vivendi Universal has closed the European arm of MP3.com, and will 'go silent' on August 8th. The 'U.S.' arm of MP3.com is still alive and kicking, but Vivendi's looking for a buyer.

If you're a regular reader to this column, you know what a big fan of MP3.com I am. With over 1.5 million song plays, I've been able to use MP3.com to sell a lot of CDs and send floods of traffic to my 'official' artist web site. If MP3.com goes down, I know I, for one, will very much miss it.

I am hoping, truly, that someone will pick up MP3.com and bring it back to what it initially set out to be - a comfortable, cozy home for independent artists everywhere to share their music.  

VIVENDI CUTS LOSSES WITH MP3.COM

OK, there's plenty of other stuff you should know. The RIAA's launched their campaign to sue hundreds of individuals for illegally swapping music online. I don't have much to say on this topic other than if you're downloading music illegally, it's time to pause and consider the possible ramifications. There are plenty of ways you can get all the music you want at an affordable price using legal means (such as iTunes & Rhapsody). You can no longer say "I didn't know."

RIAA ISSUES 871 SUBPOENAS AGAINST MUSIC TRADERS

RIAA 'SHOCK AND AWE' MOVES TO ISPS

LEGAL LOSS OPENS UNIVERSITY NETWORKS TO MUSIC INDUSTRY

BILL WOULD PUT INTERNET SONG SWAPPERS IN JAIL

ARE YOU IN RIAA'S CROSS HAIRS?

Also in the news, Roxio is going to spend $20 Million to relaunch Napster as a legal online music service. Be watching for that:

ROXIO TO SPEND $20 MILLION ON NAPSTER RELAUNCH

Billboard Magazine has started charting Internet music downloads:

BILLBOARD TO CHART INTERNET MUSIC DOWNLOADS

And a group representing small webcasters is threatening to sue the RIAA on Antitrust grounds:

WEBCASTERS THREATEN TO SUE RIAA

And here's my list of 'way cool articles' for this month.
First, check out how recording artist Liz Phair intends to turn her major label situation to do her advantage. To quote "If this record goes, I can do things on my own. But if this record doesn't go, then Capitol will drop me because of the amount of money they've spent on it, and I can go to an indie."

PHAIR PLAY: LIZ INDULGES IN THE MAJOR LABEL GAME

And don't miss this amazingly creative promo campaign for solo artist Rachel Farris that's going to net her exposure to over 3 million people...

BIG3 RECORDS LAUNCHES SINGER/SONGWRITER ON LIDROCK

Gibson will be the first to introduce a digital guitar.....

GIBSON DARES TO MAKE ELECTRIC GUITARS DIGITAL

And finally,

HOW LABELS AND ARTISTS DIVVY UP YOUR MP3 DOLLAR

Phew! That was a lot.

By the way, don't miss my new article, 'A Better, Braver World for Independent Musicians.' If you'd like to use it on your own web site, just ask.

A BETTER, BRAVER WORLD FOR INDEPENDENT MUSICIANS

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David Nevue is the founder of The Music Biz Academy. He is also a professional pianist, recording artist, full-time Internet musician, and author of the book, "How to Promote Your Music Successfully on the Internet."


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