AAPL Stock: 117.34 ( -0.96 )

Printed from

Sony, Universal digital singles to sell on same day as radio

updated 11:10 am EST, Mon January 17, 2011

Sony and Universal move singles up to curb piracy

Sony and Universal revealed on Monday that they will move up the releases of singles on iTunes and other stores to the same day as they first air on the radio. The approach, nicknamed "on air, on sale," will cut back on the weeks of radio-only time. Both labels hope to cut back on piracy by eliminating the window for pre-release bootlegs.

Studios agreed that the existing model, a holdover from the pre-Internet era meant to build hype, was obsolete. Customers often wanted the tracks as soon as they were available and were more likely to pirate since the track simply wasn't an option.

"What we were finding under the old system was the searches for songs on Google or iTunes were peaking two weeks before they actually became available to buy, meaning that the public was bored of -- or had already pirated -- new singles," Universal chief David Joseph said to the Guardian.

The decision was spurred in part by Sony's success with X Factor winner Matt Cardle. After putting his first single online as soon as he had won the show's contest, it sold 439,000 copies, a rarity in the industry. Newcomer Jessie J has also been one of the earliest experiments under the new terms and was fifth place on UK charts.

A wider implementation of "on air, on sale" is due in February. It's not clear if EMI and Warner would follow suit.

Studios have traditionally resisted changing their established business models and instead have usually tried to fight piracy directly, such as by suing pirates or by sometimes unsuccessful attempts to legislate their strategies through three-strike models or by making legal penalties tougher than for serious crimes. The new approach would let songs build attention while being available as soon as buyers have interest.

by MacNN Staff



  1. que_ball

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Did it really take them over a decade to figure this out?


  1. facebook_Jake

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Jan 2011


    comment title

    I'm surprised they figured this out at all...I still don't think they get it though that things will never be the same as they used to be in regards to selling records.... has an interesting idea that might be a step in the right direction. Maybe the media execs could learn a thing or two

Login Here

Not a member of the MacNN forums? Register now for free.


Network Headlines

Follow us on Facebook


Most Popular


Recent Reviews

Ultimate Ears Megaboom Bluetooth Speaker

Ultimate Ears (now owned by Logitech) has found great success in the marketplace with its "Boom" series of Bluetooth speakers, a mod ...

Kinivo URBN Premium Bluetooth Headphones

We love music, and we're willing to bet that you do, too. If you're like us, you probably spend a good portion of your time wearing ...

Jamstik+ MIDI Controller

For a long time the MIDI world has been dominated by keyboard-inspired controllers. Times are changing however, and we are slowly star ...


Most Commented