If you thought Universal Music Group’s all-you-can-eat music access endeavors were just experiments, check digital SVP Rob Wells’ comments on a music panel at Mobile World Congress: “The start and endgame for Universal and, indeed, the industry worldwide, is providing consumers with blanket access through a celestial jukebox anytime, at home, in the car,” Wells said. “This is the next step in the utopian future for music…”
UMG recently licensed Nokia (NYSE: NOK) and, here in Barcelona, Omnifone to provide unlimited handset music out of the box. Along with selling through Amazon’s (NSDQ: AMZN) MP3 store and undertaking limited DRM-free trials, it’s one way the label is taking some eggs out of the iTunes Store basket.
“We have an overreliance on one partner,” Wells said. “We won’t do an exclusive deal with anyone.” Well said, whilst many might expect UMG’s biggest retail chain after iTunes Store US would be iTunes UK, “it’s actually the mobile stores in Japan – Asia is the region to watch, most definitely”.
Not only that but the label will adopt “temporal pricing” models: “If an artist has just delivered an album from studio, we could potentially deliver it to a limited number of users for a higher price. It’s something we’re quite keen to develop; for example, through our own B2C channels – artists websites.”