The digital arm of British retail trade body ERA is pushing for a series of reforms which it says are essential for continued growth in the market.
ERA Digital, which represents digital music businesses under the auspices of the Entertainment Retailers Association, has unveiled a five-point plan for digital music. It is calling for:
— A commercially-driven and collaborative approach to ISPs – it says this is the best way to tackle illegal file-sharing.
— A more open approach to new models from the recording industry – it supports the progress made by the industry in supporting new models beyond the a-la-carte download, but believes more openness and discussion is required.
— Encouraging competition among collection societies – ERA Digital says this should be encouraged, to further modernise and improve efficiency to reduce costs and it also backs global licensing where appropriate.
— Digital Rights Management – the trade group says DRM should be abandoned for a-la-carte, insisting it is confusing and inconvenient for the music fan and hampers music sales. However, it continues to support DRM where it is needed to enable new models.
— Clearer understanding of the digital music consumer – it says more work is required to better understand consumer attitudes to and requirements from digital music services; ERA Digital says there’s also a need for new charts tracking digital music consumption.
“Too often the debate about the future of music is dominated by the interests of producers rather than of consumers,” comments ERA Digital chairman Russel Coulthart in a statement.
“As the link in the chain closest to the consumer, it is right and appropriate that ERA Digital should align itself with the interests of music fans. Our five-point-plan goes a long way towards identifying the areas of keenest interest to music fans.”
Coultart added that ERA Digital will now seek to engage with all sides of the industry in order to make progress on its agenda.
Latest figures from the Official U.K. Charts Company — jointly owned by ERA and labels body the BPI — show album downloads growing 71% year on year to 2.3 million.
Members of ERA Digital include hmv.com, Play.com, 7digital.com, Orange, EUK, digitalstores.co.uk, Playlouder MSP, Trackitdown.net and various specialist operators.