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Remember how the RIAA dropped all those lawsuits against grannies and sickly children
? Well ever since then, it's become pretty clear that industry folks are at least prepared to try new approaches to the downloading game. Here's the news from the front lines of the digital music wars: EMI is debuting what's known as the iTunes Pass
--a means for artists to get exclusive music and video directly to their fans--and they're kicking it off with Depeche Mode. From EMI:
With iTunes Pass, music fans can get new and exclusive singles, remixes, video and other content from their favorite artists over a set period of time, delivered to their libraries as soon as they're available.
It certainly doesn't sound like they'll just up and put an artist's entire catalog at your fingertips. Rather, the Pass gives fans bonuses over a seemingly arbitrary period of time. Here's what Depeche-heads get: their forthcoming 12th studio album Sounds of the Universe
(to be released on April 21 in the US), their new single "Wrong" and the Black Light Odyssey Dub Remix of the new track "Oh Well." Fans receive "the new album on its street date plus great music and video exclusives before and after the album's release over the next fifteen weeks. The Depeche Mode iTunes Pass can be purchased starting [yesterday] for $18.99."
Mashable's Stan Schroeder certainly seems to think it's a great idea
. Hell, he has three reasons why he thinks it's sweet. But surely they haven't gotten all the kinks worked out yet. And think about this: Is Depeche Mode really going to make exclusive tracks and videos available to people who buy their iTunes Pass but not folks who schlep down to the record shop to pick up a physical copy? Is this the sort of thing that will get fans downloading legally? Depeche Mode seems like a pretty good first candidate; there are likely plenty of DM completists with loads of expendible income.
My suggestion for the next Pass? Wilco. We sad grampas
have plenty of pocket change to spend on exclusive tracks to listen to as we while away our idle afternoons on benches in the mall. We can't spend all
our money on Werther's Originals.