Digital tunes on high-speed track

MidemNet forum explores tech impact on biz

Digital music, bought on the Internet or via mobile devices, will account for 25% of global sales by 2010, EMI Group chairman Eric Nicoli told delegates Saturday at Midem.

Nicoli was a keynote speaker at the MidemNet forum, which, for the past few years, has explored technology’s impact on the industry.

With digital music now registering about 6% of the global trade, Nicoli admitted the 25% figure is a guess, but said the more the digital business develops, the more informed such guesses become. “The root of my excitement is that in the digital world every player, be they Vodafone or Apple or Yahoo! or Microsoft, is looking to sell music,” Nicoli said.

“Our belief is that the market will get bigger, meaning that the growth in digital music will outstrip the decline in physical sales (of CDs),” he added.

One of the challenges to music companies, he said, was making music a more enticing prospect for consumers. “There are an unlimited number of ways to present digital content, and it’s now about the music and the way we package and present it.”

Though Apple enjoys an 80% share of the digital market, Nicoli said he was “not concerned” by the company’s dominance, but said the iPod producer’s fixed-pricing strategy might not be the best way forward.

With continued speculation that EMI and Warner Music will attempt a merger, Nicoli, asked to give a yes-or-no answer as to whether there will still be two separate companies in a year’s time, quipped, “Yes or no.”

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