EMI’s New Business Models: YouTube Viewing and DRM-free Music

EMI is testing out new business models and attempting to improve its relationship with consumers at the same time. Recent partnerships with iTunes, Amazon, and YouTube could prove successful for the record label’s brand as it cozies up to some of music aficionados’ favorite digital services.

The music giant’s latest move will enable YouTube users to watch EMI artists’ videos and also incorporate elements of the videos into their own user-generated content to create a mashup. As part of the deal, YouTube is required to track EMI content so that artists will be compensated. In some cases, the record label may still request the removal of copyright content from YouTube’s servers.

EMI’s YouTube partnership follows closely on the heels of Apple’s release of iTunes Plus, where music buyers can now purchase songs without copy protection. Apple’s new service currently only makes EMI music available without protection, but the rest of the music industry is expected to follow. iTunes purchasers will no longer be limited to listening to their downloads only on iPods as they’ll now be able to play the music on any MP3 device.

EMI will also be Amazon’s first partner when the online retailer launches it’s DRM-free music store.

The music company could be taking a really big risk here, but with the dire straits that the music industry is in overall its better that the industry figure out what its consumers really want instead of blocking how they interact with music and music artists on every front.