BMG Music Canada explores digital distribution options

Rather than watching stacks of CD singles pile up, BMG Music Canada Inc. is testing various solutions to send music to radio stations digitally.

The technology is still under evaluation, but Norman Miller, BMG’s vice-president

of information systems, technology and new media, believes it could potentially replace more commonplace delivery methods in only a few years.

“”The traditional process of delivering CDs is time-consuming and it’s also costly. The extent to which delivering digitally represents a cost savings is yet to be determined, but for sure it’s a lot faster,”” said Miller.

One of the technologies under evaluation is Digital Media Distribution System (DMDS) from Toronto-based Musicrypt.

“”What DMDS provides them with is a desktop application that allows them to . . . encrypt and upload their track and select which radio stations they want to receive it just by clicking,”” explained Musicrypt president and CEO John Heaven.

Radio stations can download the music from a secure site through a user and password authentication and transfer the file right into their programming hard drives.

“”They don’t have to take a CD single and rip it and check it before they can get it onto their programming system,”” added Heaven. “”It eliminates that step and it eliminates a lot of storage and sorting and filing issues for the CD singles as well.””

The technology is secure enough to prevent any leaks, said Heaven. The amount of illegal music trading hands through file-sharing sites has been heavily publicized by the recording industry in recent years. Entire albums were moving across the Internet before the record companies could organize a release party. One of the most recent examples was Radiohead’s “”Hail to the Thief”” album, which was leaked three months before its official drop date.

To prevent that kind of thing happening with digital media, Musicrypt stamps each file that’s downloaded by a radio station. If a single shows up illegally online, it can be traced to its point of origin through a digital signature.

Musicrypt’s log-on process also recognizes the user by the way they type. When a person first logs onto the system, they are asked to type out their ID and password eight times to establish a unique typing signature. Every time that person logs on, their typing rhythm is compared to the one established in their profile.

BMG has been evaluating DMDS internally for some time and recently used the service to send “”Star of All the Planets,”” a single from Canadian Idol winner Ryan Malcolm, to radio stations.

Just the same, BMG is taking tentative steps towards using the technology on a more widespread basis. “”The costs of (music distribution) are generally borne out by record companies,”” said Miller. “”I don’t know how much we stand to save, which is why we’ve not yet made a commitment to this delivery (service). . . . All I can say is, the concept intrigues me and we are evaluating the space.””

Musicrypt is gaining traction with other Canadian record companies. EMI Music Canada has been using DMDS for its own music delivery, citing anti-piracy as its primary motivator.

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