IQ News: Music Boulevard to Sell Downloadable Singles

The music industry will see new developments in the online distribution of music this week during the Intel New York Music Festival.
Online music company N2K, with technology partners Liquid Audio and RSA Data Security, will make downloadable singles available for purchase over the Internet as soon as this week, industry sources said. The company plans to sell the singles over its Music Boulevard Web site (
Believed to be an online first, the singles will be piracy-protected, so that it will not be possible for third parties to make additional digital copies of the singles. The singles will also be watermarked, which makes analog copies of the music traceable. Additionally, the companies have worked to ensure that the transactions themselves are secure.
Neither N2K nor Liquid Audio would comment about the plan.
Each single is expected to cost $.99 per download, and artists believed to be part of the initial sale include Blake Morgan and Tragically Hip, sources said.
The release of this music is different from N2K’s release of the David Bowie single “Telling Lies,” which over 300,000 users have downloaded for free since last September when it was first available.
Users will have to download Liquid Audio’s Liquid MusicPlayer at no cost before they can purchase and download the singles. Liquid Audio is also said to be working on deals with a number of major record labels to expand the effort to sell music over the Internet.
The deal is one step toward making recordable CDs available at the mass consumer level. The process to record on blank CDs has been technically complicated and posed copyright and anti-piracy issues that have held up the possibility of making them commercially viable.