eBay, Live Nation & Fairmont Start Selling Digital Downloads

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Perhaps if labels make it easier for fans to purchase, they will buy more music; or so the theory goes.  MySpace Music, imeem and Spotify are just a few of the sites adding buy buttons.  Now some new players who each already have millions of website visitors are entering the online music retailing game.

In an experiment that has already launched in Australia, eBay is selling downloads next to used CD's. with Universal the first major label to sign on. The DRM-free MP3's are priced about 10¢ cheaper than major competitors including iTunes at $1.59 AU with albums $1 AU cheaper at $15.99 AU. eBay Australia spokeswoman Sian Gipslis said the online auction house chose to add new digital music sales to the website after banning digital download re-sales last year.

Live Nation has experimented with downloads for some time as has its probable future partner…

Ticketmaster.  Grabbing the new release when buying concert tickets seems a logical point of purchase and Live Nation has recently been expanding its offering.  Buying opportunities for hit product with fulfillment by one of two Live Nation subsidies Music Today and Fanfire are spread throughout the site, as well as, aggregated as part of a Live Nation Superstore.

EMI has also just expanded its relationship with Fairmont Hotels to include a branded download store. As part of a music initiative, Fairmont is also extending discounts and additional benefits to members of its guest loyalty program including priority access and ticketing concerts featuring EMI artists. 

The jury is out on the volume of sales that these kind initiatives generate. In fact, MySpace Music is already under pressure from labels to increase ita sales. But eBay, Live Nation and Fairmont Hotels each already have two advantages that increase their chances of success: 1) significant existing traffic and 2) on-file credit cards of potential downloaders.

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