Music retailing in 2007.

On the heels of two announcements, I am brought back to the days of working in a record store in college.

Announcement one: via NYTimes Everyone’s favorite underdog online music retailer,, has announced that they will be offering downloads directly to mobile phone users on the AT&T network. This is a big deal for one big reason: direct-to-consumer sales. Sure, music downloads have been available to mobiles, but often through mind-bending-ly clunky interfaces and at super-inflated prices.

The eMusic folks have worked out a deal: 5 tunes for $7.49 on mobiles, but that also includes regular versions of those tunes that fans can download to their computers for use on iPods or whatever player suiting their fancy. This is more than the usual rate that has served me well on eMusic [30 cuts for $9.99], but less than other mobile providers. And those providers don’t allow another download to a personal computer.

As a side note, eMusic has not put a length restriction on songs lasting more than ten minutes, unlike iTunes. If you want to buy a track from iTunes that has a running time of 10+ minutes, we are forced to buy the whole album. The same track, if available on eMusic, will count as a single tune. This works well for longer works like your average raga or qawaali masterpiece, often clocking in at 30+ minutes!

Announcement two: iTunes has taken over as the #3 music retailer in the US, behind only Wal-Mart and Best Buy, and passing, reports Forbes.

Things do change…

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