Online music first for Brum

January 25, 2005 at 12:00 am | Posted in digital downloads, emusu, music | Leave a comment

A Birmingham company has launched an innovative digital content distribution and retail management platform for the independent music industry.

The firm, called MusicCONTROL, is the brainchild of Chris Thompson and Ann-Marie Taggart and has won backing from local entrepreneur Harry Gandham, of Lite Technologies.

The pair have formed DA Recordings and were assisted on legal compliance issues by Andrew Sparrow, founder of internet and new media law firm Lecote Solicitors, which is also based in the city.

Mr Thompson said: “The launch of MusicCONTROL is a hugely significant development for the online music industry and the product is aimed at small record labels, bedroom producers, singersongwriters and DJs.

MusicCONTROL provides everything required to set up a website for managing and selling music online.

Previously, publishing and selling music on the internet has proved too costly and technically prohibitive for the majority of small players.

With MusicCONTROL, small independent record labels and musicians with basic internet knowledge and minimal funds can market and sell music online.”

He added: “Our product puts artists in control, providing a voice online and a stage from which to share their talents.

“Current online music stores and subscription file sharing services have proved the demand for online music but are geared towards the five major record labels.

“Retailing at £549, Music-CONTROL consists of a web-site template that can be fully customised and branded, enabling copyright owners to offer and take payments for downloadable music content.”

Optional digital rights management tools restrict illegal file sharing, providing media owners much more control over their content.”

The product has been endorsed nationally by BT Click&buy, which described MusicCONTROL as ’online innovation at its finest presenting musicians with a viable and cost efficient route to market’.

BT Click&buy currently has 300,000 UK subscribers and an international user base of three million. It has partnered with MusicCONTROL to provide the payment system for the product.

Mr Thompson said: “The system also provides copyright owners with online access to web statistics and sales figures and automatically directs sales revenue into a designated bank account. The package also includes hosting and domain name registration.”

The web based system presented complex legal issues, including internet contract formation, online payment, licensing and rights management, so the company turned to Lecote Solicitors for advice as recognised leaders in the field of new media and IT law.

Mr Thompson added: “Lecote rose to the challenge providing a wealth of experience and expertise in the digital domain and a first class consultancy service.

“Never mind London, with Lecote we were able to obtain advice which helped shape our thinking.”

Andrew Sparrow said: “I’ve concentrated on internet legal issues for almost a decade now and the latest significant legal area is online music.

“The whole area has received massive public attention and the law has recently changed to accomo-date copyright in music made available online.

“It is very cutting edge law, which from our perspective is interesting, and it was good to work with a Birmingham-based music business in an industry heavily dominated by London.

“It’s important to emphasise that both the MusicCONTROL product and its legal governance are highly advanced and the team demonstrated that the city can take on London in the sphere of new media.”

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