Total Choice is a concept launched by the music label industry to enter into an arena that would bolster profits and be a competitive force for the audio entertainment landscape. The Total Choice concept is the brainchild of Universal Music, and has been proposed to the three other largest record labels, however, even in it's infancy of planning, the Department of Justice is already sending letter of inquiry to the labels seeking additional information.
As a concept Total Choice would deliver music from the entire library of participating labels by combining a "gadget", on line or wireless delivery into a service that has a flat subscription fee.
The obvious target of such a service is Apple and their iTunes store, but the inclusion of wireless delivery should get the attention of terrestrial radio, satellite radio, as well as services such as Slacker.
If the Total Choice concept were to come to fruition, the music label industry would effectively control the music itself as well as a distribution platform, and this is perhaps one reason why the DOJ is getting involved early in the process. The advent of so many choices for music listening, and the ability for consumers to effectively buy songs on a track by track basis, or access music commercial free has had a large impact on CD sales. The music industry has been chasing higher royalty rates in every conceivable venue, and has even proposed a royalty structure for terrestrial radio. Clearly they are trying to maximize profits.
Whether the DOJ inquiry gets more involved as time passes, or it derails the concept, one thing is clear. The music industry is looking for every avenue to increase their share of the pie.
[ via Wall Street Journal ]