EMI Music Canada puts lockdown on downloads

EMI Music Canada is one step closer to preventing listeners from hearing its recordings any sooner than intended through security technology from Musicrypt Inc.


Musicrypt’s Digital Media Distribution System (DMDS) currently allows partnered labels such as EMI to strictly mediate the process through which music recordings are disseminated — starting at the source, the studio level.

Through DMDS, a digital music file can be transmitted securely from the final mixing process at the studio straight through to the label and on down the chain — to radio stations, media, and so on — without a physical copy ever changing hands.

“”The primary goal is it’s an antipiracy move,”” said Rob Brooks, vice-president of marketing for EMI Music Canada. Though music leaks are a concern across the recording industry, EMI became one of the most notoriously affected labels after Radiohead’s “”Hail to the Thief”” was leaked more than three months in advance of its release earlier this year.

“”I’m not pointing any fingers at anyone, but if you look at all the whole process from the band themselves to their friends, the studio, radio, press, it’s leaked out of there at some point and we’re trying to stop it at any source,”” Brooks said. “”Leaks have been found at virtually every one of those points somewhere.””

Now, each of the points EMI distributes to will have to enter individually tailored passwords into Musicrypt’s biometrically enhanced software before they get access to a new release.

“”We lock in an individual to their own password with biometric protection, much the same way as a retina scanner or a fingerprint or thumbprint reader would lock it to an individual,”” said Peter Diemer, vice-president sales and marketing for Musicrypt. “”We actually lock it to an individual with keystroke dynamic protection.””

Musicrypt’s software allows radio stations to download full broadcast-quality audio from a Web interface. Playlists can also be generated for songs remaining on the Musicrypt server for auditioning purposes until a song is actually added to a station’s rotation.

Of course, once a song is downloaded, it’s still possible for a leak to occur. Musicrypt’s software watermarks each downloaded track, however, tagging the downloader’s ID to each piece of downloaded music.

Currently the DMDS service is offered on a fee-per-song basis, though Musicrypt hopes to move towards a blanket fee system in the near future, especially as it expands to serve other labels and international markets.

Musicrypt hopes to address the consumer end of piracy prevention at some point in the future as well.

“”Because the internet is a bit of a Wild West right now still with music downloading, security at a consumer level is a huge factor, but consumers are likely not to be fully accepting of such a high security level for downloading at this point in time,”” said Diemer.

And though there will certainly be financial benefit to removing the cost of sending physical advance copies to radio stations, promoters, and the press, Brooks sees DMDS cost savings purely in terms of piracy prevention.

“”We may save money on this in the end, but that’s not the primary goal at this point, it’s totally anti-piracy, (Piracy is) totally crippling the industry,”” said Brooks.

Comment: info@itbusiness.ca

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