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Back from the dead

A few tears have been shed about an (expected) unfortunate casualty of today’s launch of the iTunes Music Store here. How can Amplifier, the groundbreaking online music store that made Kiwi music available online and currently has over 1,000 local acts on its catalogue, compete with the maker of the iPod? Surely it’s curtains for the plucky local upstart?

Hell no! Amplifier, it turns out, is now an official supplier to the iTunes store. The local musos who have sold their music through Amplifier will now have a much bigger market. As Amplifier’s business manager, Stephen O’Hoy, says in a press release: “The distribution model is the same as it ever was, it’s the method that’s changed.”

It’s great news for Amplifier, for local artists and for anyone who buys from iTunes. Amplifier is also supplying independent Kiwi music to Vodafone’s music service. Sweet.

They’re not the only local distributor, of course. Wellington’s LOOPdigital has been placing Kiwi music on iTunes since early this year. Both Amplifier and LOOPdigital offer aspiring musos with an easy way to distribute music to the masses without a major label deal. “The big difference is that as an artist you don’t need to sign away all or part of your copyrights in order to be plugged in,” says O’Hoy.

That suits Apple—it’s interesting that the iPod maker apparently made the initial approach to Amplifier, which might have been seen as a competitor. With deals like this and even more innovative ideas like sellaband.com, there’s never been a better time to be a muso—or a music fan.

(It’s not just musicians who can reach a bigger audience: the Idealog podcast is now live in the iTunes Music store, too. And of course, it’s free.) 

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