Hollywood Records, handler of high-profile soundtracks for Austin Powers and Face/Off, is getting a lot of press. Its achievement? Having published a single from Alien Fashion Show – described as a neo-swing band – in the MP3 format beloved of music pirates and hated by the industry. But Hollywood isn’t the first to issue a commercial release on MP3; the Beastie Boys and Australian electronic band Severed Heads consider it old hat already. Even so, Hollywood’s adoption of MP3 is significant, if only because in the past the larger record labels have tended to use encryptable formats such as Liquid Audio to protect their copyright in the work. The bad news for content developers is that the tide of popular opinion is turning against media giants and their intellectual-property police. More than 75% of net users responding to a recent survey in Billboard magazine supported MP3 sites which offer songs and albums downloadable for free.
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