Friday, November 04, 2005

Dutch public library launches music download service

Tonight at 18.00h (Dutch time) all 3 million members of the Dutch public libraries can start downloading more than 35.000 music pieces (songs and albums) for free on They can listen to them with Windows Media Audio.

The Central Discotheque Rotterdam (CDR) of the Rotterdam Public Library coordinates the service on behalf of the 800 public libraries in the Nethrlands. The department has already a history since the sixties in music loans and has a collection of 300.000 CDs and DVDs for hire.

The department has developed this service with two music distributors. The label Naxos offers classical music and labels Challenge and Chesky present jazz. The rights have been coordinated by BUMA/STEMRA the collecting body and the national Library body. A DRM company has taken care of the technology. The music distributors hope for more sales.

Every body with a fast PC and a broadband connection can download the music. They need to be members of a public library; trial accounts can be made. Once a person is registered he has to download a program for searching, downloading and playing. There is a limit to the times the music can be played: either one week or 70 times. The service is for free, while the experiment of one year lasts.

The music download service is interesting. The libraries hope to get more members this way. The department hopes to convince other music distribution companies to participate. The rights body is happy; in the past the Dutch libraries have been in year long fights over copyrights. The range of choice is for the time being limited to classical music and jazz, but this will undoubtedly change, when the repertoire is extended.

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