Hark, the end of the era of legally purchased MP3’s may be near.
Tuesday Friaday could mark the end of AllofMP3.com as we know (and love) it. The service becomes subject to new rules dictated by Russian strong man Vladimir Putin on September 1st and the impact of these rules may result in sweeping changes for all Russian MP3 sites. While I’m no lawyer and I dont claim to understand the nuances of Russian Law, a cursory reading of the updated rules governing AllofMP3.com’s service seems to indicate that rights holders may have been given the right to individually license content to AllofMP3.com. Given all the rabid anti-AllofMp3.com FUD music industry mouthpieces have been spreading its unlikely they’ll offer any sort of licensing agreement and this would end sale of international content by the site.
If your not up-to-date on the musical goodness that is AllofMP3.com, I’ve mentioned it here and here and here. A seemingly independent, but clearly pro-AllofMP3 FAQ is here. I’m a fan of these services for a bunch of different reasons: first, they operate completely within the law, sure its Russian law, but its legal nonetheless. Second, they experiment with a new models for selling digital downloads. Third, they sell what people want to buy (DRM free MP3’s) at a price that people can accept (about twelve cents a song). High-priced business consultants might refer to this as an “innovative synergy that leverages a customer-centric disruptive technology resulting in a market expanding paradigm shift.” Of course you “civilians” (thats the consultants term for non-consultants), might just call it a “no-brainer“.
Back in July an amendment was passed which specifically targeted AllofMP3.com’s business operations, largely in response to international pressure fueled by politicians employed by the copyright mafia (IFPI, RIAA, BPI). According to the new regs, rights holders will have the exclusive right to cut deals directly with sites to offer their products for sale. For those legally inclined you can read though Articles 16, 37,38,39 all of which cover “making music available to the public”. An apocalyptic scenario in which labels refuse to license their product to Russian MP3 sites and as a result all the sites go away, is highly unlikely. The only evidence I have for this is that the copyright mafia havent been trumpeting the impending demise of the Russian evil doers of evil to every newspaper and blogger on the planet. I know its flimsy but its all I got.
So if you have an account on one of the Russian MP3 sites then make sure you zero out your balance by the first. While there are no indications that they will cease to exist its better safe then sorry. And if this is the last of AllofMP3.com I shall not be the only one to morn its passing.
Update: ML, Thanks for helping to reorient my time horizon and date calculations. 9/1/06 isnt the same as 8/29/06, got it.