Legal music downloads a 'certainty'

Start stocking up on hard drive space: New Zealanders can expect to be buying music online as soon as next year.

Start stocking up on hard drive space: New Zealanders can expect to be buying music online as soon as next year.

“I’d say that’s a certainty,” says Jon Simon, the director of new media at Warner Music Australasia. “I would be shocked if it didn’t happen by next year.”

Warner’s Australian headquarters handles licensing for both Australia and New Zealand. Simon says the topic of music stores for New Zealand has been brought up within Warner.

“We have a couple of conversations going on in Australia with leading portals, retailers, ISPs and telcos. I do know that some of the people I’m talking to have operations in New Zealand.”

Apple’s iTunes Music Store was reported to be among the first stores to open in Australia, but Simon says Apple has concentrated on rolling out its music store for Windows users in the US. “My guess is that they’ll be here by quarter one or quarter two [2004].”

Warner will license its music to any company that can deliver an online store with “all the right ticks in all the right boxes”, says Simon.

“From my point of view, is the content cleared? Yes. Can I deliver it? Yes. It’s just a case of someone building the store.

Asked whether he’d license Warner music to a New Zealand online store, Simon is quick to answer: “Yes, I would indeed.”

Telstra announced this week it will begin selling music online in Australia through a store developed by its ISP, BigPond. Although the telco hasn’t yet announced a store for TelstraClear’s local ISPs, Clear.Net and Paradise.net, BigPond corporate affairs manager Stuart Gray says a local music store is “on the cards” for 2004.

“At this stage it’s not available in New Zealand due to the licensing agreement that has been made with Warner, but there is the possibility that that will change next year and that the licence could be expanded,” he says.

The iTunes store for Windows was widely expected to be announced in the US today.

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