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Universal Bans Song Streams, Cuts Nokia Free Music Deal. WILL THE REAL DOUG MORRIS PLEASE STAND UP?

NEW YORK (Hypebot) –Anyone who read Universal CEO Doug Morris' recent Wired interview

knows just how conflicted he and his fellow execs are about this

whole digital revolution Music 2.0 thing. But even the closest

observer couldn't have been prepared for the company's recent

schizophrenic behavior.

On the one hand you have Universal right behind EMI jumping into

the DRM free mp3 waters with both feet. Just yesterday, the

company cut a deal with the world's largest cell maker Nokia to

provide phone buyers with a year of free access to the label's

music as part of a "Comes With Music" campaign to be launched in

the second half of 2008. It's one of many creative deals that

Morris and Universal Music have made over the last year to monetize

the label group's massive catalog.

But now its come to light that Universal is systematically forcing

its artists and web sites that offer song sampling (MySpace, etc.)

to cut the samples to 90 seconds. Exempted are sites who pay

Universal for each stream. Universal artist Colbie Callat

apologized to her fans:

"..bad news. Due to circumstances beyond my control I have to

swap the songs out on my page for 90 second versions instead of

full length versions. In fact some of the songs have already been

swapped as I write this."

COMMENTARY: Is Doug Morris so out of touch that he

believes that full song streaming will replace sales? Does he

really think that a dedicated fan is going to surf over to each

individual MySpace page, find a song, click on it, wait for it to

play, and then repeat that process every 3-4 minutes to hear the

songs they crave? It's less work to grab the songs free via any

mp3 blog or P2P.

Music discovery is the key to sales; and with radio and traditional

becoming less relevant, full song streaming is the only way for

many consumers to learn about a new artist they've read or heard

about. In Music 1.0 a great print review did not necessarily lead

to sales. In the new music business, 90 seconds of music will not

be enough either.


You're obviously a very savvy businessman. That means you know

that the payoffs for some of the best deals don't always come right

away. Sometimes you've got to give the shills a real taste before

they'll open their wallets.