This is great news. Pressplay will allow unlimited downloads (though not burning to a CD) for $9.95 per month, or burning 10 songs per month for $17.95. That’s still not perfect, but it’s a pricing structure one could imagine real consumers actually going for. If I’m willing to pay up to $17.95 for a physical CD from one artist, I should be willing to pay that amount for a collection of 10 songs that I select.
I’ve long felt that digital downloading of music was a matter of when, not if, and that the record industry would gradually relax its excessive requirements. It just makes too much sense for everyone involved. Despite its aggressive legal posture, the music industry mostly recognizes that it will have to evolve its business in the digital era, and that it can’t alienate its best customers forever. Pressplay only offers songs from Universal and Sony, and the prices are still higher than I’d like to see, but this is a good move in the right direction. Now, the question is whether the dogs will eat the dog food.