An Australian music download service, Guvera Limited, will provide users with free tracks without copyright protection.
The way the business is set up record companies get money from advertisers, who in turn receive market data from downloaders.
Music will be downloadable as 256Kbps MP3 files that can be run on any compatible device.
Corporate brands take over a ‘channel’ and advertise to listeners, who must complete profile information to gain credits that are used to download songs. The brands then pay record labels for each downloaded track.
Guvera head of content, Dan Thompson, said 46 advertisers had already signed up for the Australian launch along with five record labels and 20,000 registered users. About 40,000 are expected on-board by the launch date on March 30.
But Thompson said he did not expect piracy and illegal downloads to end because of the Guvera model.
“I don’t think it’s going to end piracy, that’s not something we’ve ever suggested would happen,” he said. “We’re offering an alternative to P2P pirate users and providing files that are virus-free where they don’t have the problem of potential prosecution.
“Realistically, people will still pirate and download from illegal sites and people will still purchase files from legitimate services. Guvera just targets a segment of that potential market.”
Thompson said the rise in broadband use was a key factor in making the service popular and praised moves by AAPT to launch an unlimited ADSL 2+ service.
“When users move away from toll-type data services to unlimited all-you-can-eat services with broader connectivity, it offers the availability of film and TV,” he said. “AAPT are innovators and that’s a good thing.”
Record labels participating in the venture locally include EMI, Shock Records and INgrooves. Artists such available include Katy Perry, Lily Allen and Megadeath.
But music lovers expecting Lady GaGa or Cold Chisel will be disappointed, as other major labels yet to sign up or confirm involvement. This is despite payment being offered per downloaded track.
“They’re very complicated negotiations and often take years to complete. We don’t have opposition from major labels, it just takes time to do the deals,” Thompson said.
“Advertisers get the ability to provide an engagement service with the user, whereby they enter a branded mini-website,” he said. “They can present the messages to the members with no interruptions to the music and you don’t have to watch any pre-roll advertisements and there’s no spamming.”
Although personal details are required to get credits that ‘pay’ for each song, Thompson claimed no personal identifying information would be given to the advertisers.
While other companies had attempted similar offers in the past, he said Guvera would succeed thanks to its low-disruption advertising and lack of copyright protection.
“We have a completely different approach in the advertising model, we don’t make our users sit through 30-second clips to get a piece of content, other services had DRM wrapped around them and you could only play the music using their software,” Thompson said.
“The portability and the ability to play it on personal players is key to the success of this. Really it’s a matching process of delivering the best available content in the best format and making the process less painful.”