Notes From the Net

PETER GABRIEL, BRIAN ENO FORM MUSICIANS' UNION The relationship of artist to the [record] business has most often been one of contract and servitude,
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PETER GABRIEL, BRIAN ENO FORM MUSICIANS' UNION

“The relationship of artist to the [record] business has most often been one of contract and servitude,” reads the MUDDA, Magnificent Union of Digitally Downloading Artists, Website (www.mudda.org). “We believe the way forward must be a partnership in which the artist can take a much bigger role in how their creations are sold, but also have the chance to stand at the front of the queue when payments are made instead of the traditional position of being paid long after everyone else.” With this stance, rockers Peter Gabriel and Brian Eno have formed MUDDA to help fellow artists stand their ground in the digital-download age. Gabriel is no stranger to digital distribution, as he co-founded with Charles Grimsdale OD2 (On Demand Distribution), which hosts 300,000 tracks in MP3 and WMA formats. Details of the union were not provided.

SONY CONNECTS PORTABLE DEVICES WITH CONSUMERS ONLINE

Sony Corporation of America's new Connect™ online music service offers consumers a means to purchase music online and download to a wide variety of Sony portable devices, including Net MD™ Walkman recorders, Hi-MD Walkman recorders, ATRAC CD Walkman players and Network Walkman players. SCA has established a new subsidiary, Sony Connect Inc., to develop and manage its music service; it will be based in Santa Monica, Calif., under the management of Jay Samit.

The new Connect service will come to market in phases. After a series of test trials for a limited number of users, it will officially launch this spring; upgraded software with more flexibility, features and tighter integration with Sony products will be released in the summer. At full launch, the Connect service will feature more than 500,000 tracks from the major labels and many independents. Singles will be available for $0.99, and entire albums can be downloaded for $9.95 — without requiring a subscription. The service will feature ATRAC3 audio compression, in which music can be recorded and compressed to 132 kilobits per second, allowing consumers to store more high-fidelity audio on CD-R, MiniDisc, Hi-MD or Memory Stick media.

GROKSTER WILL NOT BOW DOWN

On the heels of a federal appeals court hearing over an entertainment industry appeal in MGM Studios v. Grokster, the P2P music-download site has launched Version 2.6.

“In this age of media monopolization and consolidation, it is critical to establish democratic and consumer-driven applications to preserve diversity of opinion and ideas,” said Henry Wilson, Grokster founder. “Big media can be countered with technology, and the people can create their own alternative to the centralized sources that pervade the traditional mediums — right from their own desktops.”

Send Your “Current” News to Sarah Benzuly at sbenzuly@primediabusiness.com.