Merlin, WMG and Universal have all finalized deals with PlayAnywhere. The new service puts personal music and video collections onto the “cloud” and enables subscribers access and play across multiple devices including mobile, PC and in-car regardless of DRM and formats. Why, at a time when they seem to be suing new services and trying to renegotiate their deals with existing ones, has PlayAnywhere been able to finalize these deals?
According to a spokesperson, Play Anywhere is a subscription based service, except they do not sell direct to consumers. Rather they "supply their service to device manufacturers, telecoms companies and ISPs who can then offer it to their user base either as part of their package or as an extra".
WHAT WILL CONSUMERS THINK?
"The system monitors what music you play, not what you download, so although they do not condone unlicensed file sharing, to the ‘Play Anywhere’ system a track bought from iTunes would appear just the same as one ripped from a CD would or one taken off a P2P network," The spokesperson continued. "It will keep a log of what you play, whether you are on or offline and then when it can it will send that information back to Catch who use it to determine how to divvy up the money received in the form of subscription fees and distribute that to the rights holders."
Conceptually, the ability to play your music whenever you want wherever you want and on any device is wonderfully attractive. But how will consumers feel about having their habits monitored and will they or their ISPs, telecoms and device manufacturers be willing to pay for the priveledge.