A few months ago I mentioned that to compete with the likes of Yahoo Skype/eBay would have to go out and cut deals with leading content suppliers. They have started to today with a deal cut with EMI that is similar in scope, but much deeper and broader than their Warner Brothers deal a few months back. This agreement marks the first time a label, EMI, and a distribution partner, Skype, have ever struck one agreement with worldwide licensing righs at the core. This is significant and takes aim at Yahoo, MSN, Amazon and other virtual, not to mention physical realm distribution operations.
I have always felt that Skype is not just a phone replacement but in a way a pipe within another pipe (the Internet) and a way to get content to consumers in an efficient manner using their P2P technology platform. According to the story the agreement with EMI includes downloads, mastertones and subscriptions for EMI's
Anglo-American repertoire. EMI Music Publishing is also becoming a music
consultant in this brand new service whch places the label in the same position as category captain for the music industry.
I only wonder if after a buyer tires of a track or CD if they can auction it off on eBay. That would give rise to a whole new market of tracks and CD downloads, where limited edition and the financial model of duration of primary disribution could come into play, some thing both Steve Jobs at Apple and Jef Bezos at Amazon are already doing. This also makes me wonder about the back catalog of Beatles which are on EMI and Capitol records (an EMI subsidiary) and just how that impacts Apple who is working to clean up with the Apple label.
Oh, the story above is so huge it actually overshadows a very nice story about the rise of Skype, Niklas Zennstrom and how eBay is managing the company ran in today's L.A. Times.