Daft Punk CD promises Web piracy protection

CANNES — Virgin, Zomba, Intertrust and French electronica duo Daft Punk unveiled Daft Club, a new CD concept that could cut media theft, at Midem on Monday.

Each copy of Daft Punk’s new album, “Discovery,” includes a card with a personalized code to download bonus tunes and other content off the Net. The extra material will not be available to those who copy the album illegally from a service such as Napster. The system will also preclude users from sharing the files or burning them onto a CD.

Daft Punk, which has sold more than 2 million copies of 1998 release “Homework” worldwide, came up with the idea in a bid to develop a more intimate connection with fans.

Curbing file-shares

According to Jay Samit, senior VP for new media at Virgin parent EMI, Daft Club also establishes a means to sell music and combat the popularity of Napster-style services.

“What really makes my heart move is when a creative vision solves huge business problems,” Samit said.

An inside source, however, admitted that the technology was not yet working to standard and there was a headlong rush to bring it up to scratch by the March 12 release date. Digital content security firm Intertrust is handling the nuts and bolts of the project.

Bertelsmann deals

Elsewhere, EMI’s possible spouse-to-be Bertelsmann made another attempt to be in the vanguard of digital distribution. Bertelsmann unit Digital World Services (DWS) has announced a pact with France’s ZoomZig.com to run the back-office functions for ZoomZig’s new subscription download portal. Company plans to offer 10,000 titles by the end of 2001.

Despite the flurry of activity, new-media dealings at Midem lack the euphoria of last year, but the somber note is offset by the live performances the annual music market offers.

Topping the bill Monday was a tribute to Montreux Jazz Festival vet Claude Nobs featuring Herbie Hancock and John McLaughlin. Other Midem venues hosted everything from Belgian group Hooverphonic to Brazil’s Marcio Faraco to Senegal’s Wock.

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