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Now eMusic and HP are considering digital lockers, too

By | Published on Monday 13 June 2011


Both eMusic and Hewlett Packard are planning on jumping on the digital locker bandwagon, according to reports. Whether they’ll follow Apple in securing record label support for their cloud-based music storage flim flams, or go the “it’s just storage, we don’t need licenses” route taken by Amazon and Google remains to be seen.

eMusic boss man Adam Klein told Billboard his company hopes to launch some sort of locker service in the final quarter of this year, adding that he thinks his bigger competitors “are doing exactly the right thing” by moving into the access-your-content-anywhere space.

eMusic, of course, already operates a subscription system, whereby users basically bulk-buy a set number of tracks each month (more or less, the system changed a bit last year), so presumably any locker service could be tacked on to that. It’s not clear if eMusic’s locker would just offer remote access and back-ups of music downloaded via the platform itself (the service’s users are already able to re-download purchases), or if it would offer the facility to upload your entire MP3 collection, as Amazon, Google and Apple do.

Digital Music News last week noted that eMusic’s subscriber levels have remained pretty static since 2007, despite the company expanding its catalogue considerably via deals with the major record companies in the US. Of course, the conditions of some of those major label deals led to some of the big indies exiting the service, which possibly means any new subscribers attracted by the newly enlarged eMusic catalogue were counterbalanced by some of the service’s traditional muso customer base cancelling their subscriptions.

Either way, Klein is known to be planning a number of innovations in the coming months in a bid to instigate a new period of subscriber growth. A preview streaming service is expected to come online soon, though the digital locker is probably part of those plans also.

HP is planning a new digital content service – including music and movies – to go with its iPad competing TouchPad tablet computer. Although still at an early stage, it is thought that the IT firm is considering offering a digital locker to enable users to consume content across multiple devices. It’s also thought they are considering a subscription-based streaming content service similar to Sony’s Qriocity platform. That said, HP have had musical ambitions before, most of which came to little, so it remains to be seen how things turn out this time.