ReDigi: the world's first second-hand mp3 marketplace
Filed under: News
We all enjoy getting rid of unwanted CDs at car boot sales or through online second-hand marketplaces like Amazon or eBay. But have you ever considered what to do with all the unwanted music gathering metaphorical dust in your digital library?
Well, an innovative American company called ReDigi, launched in last year, is offering a service that can help the digital generation tidy up their music collections.
How it works
ReDigi's creators claim it's the world's first online marketplace for used digital music.
The site works simply as a digital marketplace for new and old mp3s purchased from iTunes.
Users are able to sell their legally acquired music files, but not CDs copied onto a computer.
A meticulous verification engine determines what is legally acquired and what is not. There are no repercussions to having illegal music in your library, but you will not be able to sell any of it via the website.
Once a track is verified the ReDigi Media Manager deletes the music file from your computer and any synced devices and puts it up for sale. When someone chooses to buy the used track the song is transferred to them and you get some credits to buy more music (new or used) from the website.
Like a real second-hand record shop, ReDigi only offers as many copies as it has in stock from users, so in some cases the used version of a track may not be available. In this case you can make an order request or opt to buy a new digital track from iTunes.
Making a difference to artists
As well as transforming how we think about digital media the company also wants to make a difference to artists.
The Artist Syndication Programme offers musicians the chance to profit from the resale of their music in the second-hand market.
Artists like Justin Bieber can sign up and receive royalties worth 20% of the transaction value each time a track is sold and resold through the website.
So unlike other second-hand transactions artists are compensated as their music moves through users. In this way ReDigi hopes to revive the music community.
In May this year, for the first time ever, digital music spending overtook the sales of CDs and records.
This shift calls for new ways of protecting (see more in how to protect your digital media) and understanding our right to distribute things we buy online.
ReDigi hopes its model could spread into pre-owned eBooks and online games.
However, despite gaining support from iTunes and hundreds of thousands of users, ReDigi is facing a backlash from record companies.
In January this year Capitol Records (part of music giant EMI) launched a suit against the start-up claiming it infringed on copyright laws. It stated: "ReDigi is actually a clearinghouse for copyright infringement and a business model built on widespread, unauthorized copying of sound recordings."
The label wants Capitol-owned material removed from the website and to be awarded damages of up to $150,000 per track.
ReDigi contests that it is exercising the right to sell used digital tracks through the First Sale Doctrine, which grants people who buy a copyrighted item like a CD or book to sell on, display or get rid of how they see fit- as long as no copies are made.
The case has got the technology and music community in a frenzy. Questions are flying about what constitutes consumer rights in a digital age and whether we own the digital media files we buy or have just been given permission to play them.
The sale of digital copies does not fit comfortably within the law at the moment so this is sure to be a landmark case that will pave the way for more defined intellectual property protections in the future.
The case comes to trial in October.
What do you think?
Is it wrong to sell unwanted digital tracks? Or should music companies learn to keep up with advancements in the digital era?