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Shifting sands in music industry heralds new era for music lovers

New Government proposals to make the act of 'ripping' CD's to a home computer legal are a welcome step in the right direction but need to introduced quickly, says Steve Oliver, the ex-managing director of Music Zone and now founder and managing director of (opens in new tab), an online store that buys and sells pre played CDs.

"These proposals are long overdue. It's always been ridiculous that consumers could potentially face copyright charges for copying CDs to their computers. Most people who use mp3 players and iPods are predominantly using their CD collections to build their digital music collection anyway so the Government should act quickly to introduce this legal clarification to stop people feeling like criminals.

"Moving tracks from their CDs to iPods also lets people keep the actual CD as a backup in case they lose their iPod or PC and it also lets them play their music in other devices or lend it to friends. Clearly, there is no difference in quality between side loading a CD on to your i-Pod and downloading a track from the internet and these proposals clear up a grey area that will finally provide some clarity and comfort for consumers.

However, Oliver does believe it is important to get the balance right between the consumption desires of the consumer and the welfare of the artists and to that end supports the Government's clarification that this digital copy must be wiped if they dispose of the CD.

Despite offering music lovers what they believe to be the most convenient way to dispose of their unwanted CDs and even, if they so wish, to sell back to Magpie a CD they have bought and perhaps no longer want, Oliver insists it is entirely fair that they should be expected to lose their digital copy, if they have made one, at that point:

"We remind all our customers of this when we are purchasing their unwanted CDs as we are a responsible music loving company that wants to encourage people to try more artist's music at lower risk prices but not at the expense of effectively renting the CD and risking damaging the industry"

Oliver also stresses the belief that music fans are still paying more than they need to for their music despite Apple's announcement that it will shave 5p of the price of a music download.

The Apple price cut brings the cost of a standard download to 74p - in line with the rest of Europe - after EU regulators insisted it was unfair to charge UK consumers more than anywhere else in the world.

However, Oliver says Music lovers are still paying a lot more for their music PER track than they need to.

"There are still too many people out there who are paying more than necessary for their music and the fact is that in most cases it is less than half the price to 'side-load' an iPod with music from a pre played CD bought from an online retailer like ours than it is to purchase the entire album's tracks from say iTunes or Napster. For instance, why pay Apple £7.99 for Definitely Maybe by Oasis when you can get it for £2.99 as a fully guaranteed pre played CD from"

Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.