McClure & Trowbridge Publishing
P.O. Box 70403 Nashville USA 37207-0403
BMI Publisher - Harry Fox Agency (NMPA) Publisher Principal - NARAS


[June 20, 1999]

05/29/1999 - NASHVILLE TN (McClure & Trowbridge Publishing)

Major players are now entering the encoded mp3 Digital sound arena. The idea is to encode downloaded music so it can only be played back with a decode key which is sold to the user. The Digital Player is supplied free. Currently,;; and others; provide free Players with no encoding.

AT&T/Bell Labs, the originators of the powerful UNIX Operating System and C/C++ Programming Languages (thirty years ago), are making their play to enter the mp3/Digital Audio Internet marketplace. Other major players are offering their encode/decode technologies as well.

AT&T will sell indie and major mp3 Digital products for a $250.00 setup fee and 50% of all sale proceeds, and encode all sound so that downloads can only be played with a decode key, which they sell to the download customers. The mp3 Digital Player is given away free. (McClure & Trowbridge Publishing did not partake of their offer.)

The new encode/decode technology will go through the familiar settle out lifecycle (like all software and hardware) over the next few years. We feel a major encode/decode technology will become dominant within a relatively short period of time, and it will be a simple matter to go with that paradigm when it becomes dominant. We recommend not registering or purchasing any particular technology at this point. The vast majority (99.9% or better) of mp3 and Digital Audio now online is not encoded, and it is too early to accurately guage where things will end up.

Also here now are portable mp3 Players for your car and your hand (like the WalkMan.) Empeg makes a car mp3 player (expensive) and Nomad sells a portable with FM tuner and voice recorder built in. The RI0 PMP300 was an early entrant to the race. Rolling Stone [05.27.1999] says the PMP300 is limited to about 30 minutes of music storage, and the sound quality is less than CD quality. Prices range from $150 to $250 for storage up to 32MB. (In general, mp3 requires about 3MB/minute of music.) There actually is an MP-MAN on the market, $179 by Saehan. Samsung introduced its YEPP, and Creative Nomad has a new 64MB model for $250. [Rolling Stone, 05/27/1999]

Before the whole Inet [Internet] music, royalties, mechanicals, and rights issues settle out, we anticipate discussions (at the Congressional level) on the feasibility of collecting royalties payments from the manufacturers; and discussions on collecting Inet "airplay" royalties for download activities. Of course there is Inet Radio as well, and we expect BMI, ASCAP, SOCAN, &c. to collect for these playlists similar to how they collect for AM and FM radio now.

Do you remember when cassette recorders and tape blanks became readily available? Musicians, writers, producers, and artists fought long and hard battles to try to protect themselves from common piracy - everyone trading albums and cassette copies of recorded music. How did it settle out? The collections companies and collectives and lawmakers decided there is absolutely no way to police people in illegal duplication (on cassette) of protected music, so now cassette tape manufacturers pay the royalties to the collection agencies, who then distribute to the artists/writers/producers. It's easily conceivable that similar measures be taken for mp3 Digital formats.

McClure & Trowbridge Publishing has signed Inet mechanical licensing agreements with The Harry Fox Agency thus far. Inet "airplay" and Inet Radio royalties are next!

[c.1999 McClure & Trowbridge Publishing]

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