Positions: Chairman and CEO, Universal Music Group
Location: New York, N.Y.
All-you-can-eat subscription services were once considered to be a panacea for the struggling music business, but up until now very few consumers have embraced the idea of “renting” their tunes. Doug Morris’ idea? Give it away—temporarily. “Doug wanted to create a concept whereby people could access all the music they want for an X amount of time, and when that time is up, have it roll into a subscription,” said our source inside the Universal Music Group.
We say “source” and not a specific name because as of press time UMG was the subject of a Department of Justice inquiry. The reported reason: fear of collusion on pricing, especially since all of the other major labels are supposedly already on board. (Some have said Total Music would cost as little as $5 per month—$10 less than Rhapsody to Go—but our source denied that figure.)
Also on board is Nokia. The cell phone giant’s new Comes with Music service for cell phones, launching later this year in Europe, is based on Total Music. But in this case customers will be able to hold onto their content indefinitely, even after the year-long all-you-can-eat download party is over. They can also transfer the tunes to a new Nokia phone, even though they’ll be locked down by DRM.
Now you know why Apple is nervous and why there are rumors that the company is trying to negotiate a Comes with Music–like service for the iPod.
Did You Know: Morris enjoys freshwater fishing and novels by John Grisham and Tom Clancy.