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BT scraps digital music service
DIGITAL n BY TIM INGHAM
BT’s long-awaited digital music service has been canned by the technology company.
According to leaked tender documents obtained last year, the planned service would have offered BT’s 5.5 million broadband customers a not-for-profit alternative to iTunes – and helped wean them off piracy.
Speaking to Music Week as part of our special anti-piracy feature in this issue, a BT spokesperson said: “The UK has a vibrant digital music market and we don’t see at the moment how a similar BT service will offer anything new to customers. However, we will keep the
“The UK has a vibrant digital music market and we don’t see at the moment how a similar BT service will offer anything new to customers” BT SPOKESPERSON
situation under review.”
The BT service was widely seen in industry circles as a clear investment in content from the ISP – helping build bridges with industry following the firm’s opposition to the Digital Economy Act. BT was still in discussions with major labels in late 2011 over the platform.
Meanwhile, BT is staying quiet on whether it will host its annual Digital Music Awards this year. The DMA website continues to show assets from
2011’s event, and no dates have been confirmed for 2012.
“No decision has been made yet on the DMAs,” added the spokesperson. “It’s a busy calendar this year with the
BT will sponsor a wealth of live music as part of Olympics spin-off BT London Live throughout July, August and September. And it has this month made one major investment in copyright content: snapping up TV rights to three seasons of Premier League matches alongside BSkyB for £3 billion.
Discussing BT’s historic opposition to the Digital Economy Act, the spokesperson told Music Week: “BT welcomes the Government and OFCOM’s recent indications and guidance on the next steps on implementation of the DEA. Our intention is to comply diligently with our obligations and to be ready for its implementation.” n Read our anti-piracy special feature: Pages 19-21
DEA’s legal letters are on course for 2014
OFCOM will finally publish its Initial Obligations Code of Practice proposal later this month – leaving the way clear for warning letters to be sent out to illegal filesharers in 2014.
The code is a much-delayed requirement of the Digital Economy Act, and will set out a timetable for implementation.
OFCOM published its first draft code in May 2010, but has faced repeated legal challenges from ISPs.
An OFCOM spokesperson told Music Week that the first ‘three-strikes’ letters were likely to be sent out in 2014. Meanwhile, a rep for the
Department Of Media, Culture and Sport said the Government expected letters to be distributed in the first quarter of 2014.
OFCOM dismissed any chance of the letters being sent out as early as 2013.
The CBI’s chief policy director, Katja Hall, warned the Government last week that without robust IP and regulatory frameworks, the UK’s creative industries would suffer abroad.
Speaking at Sony Music UK HQ, she said: “Creative businesses will be reluctant to export if they think their IP will be stolen. The Government needs to take a stronger lead on the international stage in calling for enforcement measures.
“We also need to recognise the potential that a modern, internationally-focused regulatory framework holds for today’s creative companies.
“The BBC’s iPlayer is an excellent example of a digital platform already successfully exporting creative content around the world.”
Leona teams up with Smith
Fraser T Smith is overseeing production of Leona Lewis’s new album, making it the first time a producer has worked across one of her releases.
The co-writer of Adele’s Set Fire To The Rain and Taio Cruz’s Break Your Heart told Music Week that, while other producers were working on what will be in Glassheart her third studio set, he was taking a production role for the whole album as well as coauthoring about half of its tracks.
This approach is entirely different to Lewis’ first two albums Spirit and Echo, which were littered with different songwriters and producers across their tracks, among them Max Martin, Dr Luke, Stargate, Ryan Tedder and Steve Mac.
Sony/ATV-signed Smith suggested having one producer would result in Lewis “making an artist album rather than a collection of songs”.
Using a mixture of producers for one album, he reckoned “you end up with maybe two or three radio songs and not necessarily the album sales you want”.
“It’s been amazing,” he said, adding that the Syco album, which is due for release on November 26, was about 80% finished. n Read our European songwriter analysis: Pages 14-17