Sony’s expands 66-cent-per-song music attack at Apple

Posted by Wolfgang Gruener

New York (NY) – Music industry giants show more and more effort in supporting digital music download services that compete with Apple’s iTunes. Universal Music Group this morning announced that it will be supplying its music catalog to Dada.net, which plans to be offering over-the-air DRM-free MP3 tracks. The cost per song is well below iTunes pricing: A 15 song package is sold for $10.

Last week we witnessed another cat fight between the music industry and Apple, in which in the music industry requests Apple to shell out more money to compensate artists and Apple claims it has no room to do so. Apple eventually prevailed, but we all know that the music industry will be thinking about steps to cut down Apple’s profits and its influence.

One strategy, of course, is to build up other suppliers - and that includes one of the industry’s own big players. Dada.net, which is operated at a 50/50 share by Dada USA and Sony Music Entertainment (formerly Sony BMG) today said that it has begun offering the music catalog of Universal Music Group, in addition to Sony’s already available catalog. The company noted that it will soon be adding content from other music labels as well as Indie labels “in the near future.”     

Dada said all of its MP3 tracks are DRM-free and can be freely transferred to any mobile phone, iPod or digital music player. Over-the-air MP3 downloads to mobile devices in will be supported in the coming weeks, the company said. But the key selling point may actually be the price of those music tracks: Compared to the uniform 99-cent pricing on iTunes, Dada.net is offering 15-song packages for $10 per month. If we assume that you actually download 15 songs per month, the per-song-cost is 33% below the iTunes cost – 66 cents. Or, in a different perspective, songs 11-15 are actually free when compared to iTunes.

Of course, if you don’t download at least 10 songs per month, the service will turn out to be more expensive as the song budget (described in “tokens”) cannot be rolled over to the next month. Users can cancel a subscription to the Dada.net service at any time.