New York Times: "The Universal

New York Times: “The Universal Music Group plans to announce today that it has licensed its catalog to Listen.com, making Listen.com the first to provide customers access to the catalogs of all five major labels over the Internet for under $10 a month.”

I’ve always liked Listen.com, though the company almost didn’t survive the dotcom crash. Like many others, it raised too much money too fast, for a business model that wasn’t viable (being the Yahoo! directory equivalent for MP3s). But it seems to have turned around and become the stealth competitor for digital music downloads. PressPlay and MusicNet get all the press, and have investments from the record labels themselves. Being independent, however, may actually be an advantage for Listen, as today’s announcement indicates. Now the question is whether Listen was able to sign deals that actually make financial sense for the startup… and whether users will go for licensed music distribution. I think they will, but give it another couple years for any significant revenues.