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‘On Air, On Sale’ Shake-up For Music Industry

It was going to happen soon enough, living as we do in the instant digital age, but the day of getting your hands on ‘instant music’ legally is now finally here after Sony Music and Universal Music announce that new releases are set to go on sale and on air at the same time.

This means that music fans will be able to download or buy CDs of their favourite songs as soon as they are released on the radio. The initiative, which is called ‘On Air, On Sale’ will go live simultaneously via Universal and Sony, two of the UK’s biggest record labels, from 1st February, 2011.

David Joseph, the chief executive of Universal Music, speaking to the Guardian newspaper website said:

“Wait is not a word in the vocabulary of the current generation. It’s out of date to think that you can build up demand for a song by playing it for several weeks on radio in advance.”

Thanks to the internet and iTunes, people’s interest in songs typically peaks two weeks before a song is released to the public to buy, something the industry was keen to redress as it increasingly meant music lovers were enticed into downloading music illegally in advance.

The move should do much to combat music piracy and illegal downloads online, but it will also undoubtedly transform the music charts too, helping new bands break the hold many larger recording artists such as Take That, backed by enormous marketing budgets, have on the charts.

Backed with the phenomenal success of the iPod, Apple iTunes is the world’s most popular source for downloading new music. More than 10 billion songs have been sold via the service since it was launched.

However, illegal downloads have caused considerable problems to the music industry over the last decade – a report from the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) claimed that more than 40 billion songs were downloaded illegally in 2008, accounting for 95% of all music downloads.

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