Datz Music Lounge – Unlimited, DRM-free MP3s for £100 a year. Too good to be true?

datz-logo.pngLet the record show that I’m very suspicious about this one. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been in touch with a company called Datz who claim that they’ve got a product, launching this weekend, which will give you unlimited MP3 downloads for a year, for a one-off price of £99.

Sounds good, right? Sounds awesome to me. They’ve only got EMI and Warner Music signed up from the major labels, as well as Beggars Group and The Orchard on the indies side, but that should provide a reasonable respectable catalogue for launch – especially as they say they’re in discussions with the other labels.

£99 for unlimited MP3s is quite a good deal. I suspect that limits might show up, but taking them at face value, it’s a great deal, and the first unlimited MP3 deal in the world.

It’s that last factor that makes me suspicious, however. I’ve never heard of Datz, and I like to think I’m relatively knowledgeable in the digital music area. A friend of mine who works in the digital department of a mid-sized independent label hadn’t heard of them, either. Datz aren’t a major player. Why would the major labels sign a deal with an unknown, when it’s likely that the big download sites are pushing for a deal just like this one?

I also have suspicions around the catalogue. Statements in the press release like “a wide selection of new music released in 2009 will be available to Datz Music Lounge members” seem to indicate that it won’t be *all* the new music released in 2009 – just selected tracks, probably ones that aren’t selling well.

Similarly, a statement from EMI says “The product is subscription based and will be a valuable and insightful tool for understanding how consumers explore and react to EMI’s deep and rich back catalogue” – again, a focus on catalogue, not future releases, which is unusual coming from the record industry who are usually obsessed with the next big thing.

I suspect that the catalogue offered won’t be the full EMI and Warner catalogue. It’ll be a selection of back catalogue stuff and certain new releases that they want to give extra promotion to. To give you some idea what WILL be available, the site’s listing Kylie, Elvis, Madonna, REM, The Streets, the Rolling Stones and Katy Perry as downloadable.

I’ll wait and see, on release, what’s going on but for the mean time, colour me excited but wary. This could be a revolution in music, but I suspect it won’t be. In the meantime, go bag yourself a Spotify invite.

Datz Music Lounge

Related posts: NOISE GATE: Lala launches idiotic “web song” concept | NOISE GATE: Why music subscription services will eventually work

By Duncan Geere | October 30th, 2008





Duncan GeereDatz Music Lounge – Unlimited, DRM-free MP3s for £100 a year. Too good to be true?
  • Garry

    Actually datz are part of a much larger and well known company in the mobile phone market as far as i know.

    • Duncan Geere

      They seem to be owned by a company called “Comment Retail Services”, who provide branded phones to retail outlets. I wouldn’t call them “well known” either…

  • Salih Niper

    I checked which albums of Metallica exist in the site. Only an old song named “Whiplash” appeared from the whole bunch of albums. Very very attractive(!) huh?

  • Holly Davis

    Comment is a specialist supplier to retailers such as Sainsburys, Woolworths, Littlewoods and WH Smith and therefore doesn’t have any consumer branding of its own.

    • Duncan Geere

      Thanks for the info, Holly. I think it’s fair to say that you guys aren’t a major player in the download space, though I’d probably append a “yet” to that sentence, depending on how good the new service turns out to be.

  • http://www.datz.com Paul

    Salih although you are right reference to Metallica, I do in our defence think it’s worth pointing out that it does contain 192 tracks from Megadeth, 250 from Iron Maiden 146 tracks from Led Zeppelin and over 436 by Deep Purple to name but a few alternate groups you may also like. We will continue to work over the coming months to add more and more content and although we are at around one and half million tracks available at launch this I believe will be well over two million by December.

  • MikeG

    This site is certainly not as good as the blurb would suggest. Download bandwidth is severely constrainted, and content tends to disappear. Was downloading some Led Zeppelin tracks from #4, lost contact with the site (again) during track 6 download, when I reconnected the site had wiped all trace of Led Zep from its catalogues, and has been so for the past week. I left a query with the site and received the standard response …… nothing.

    Can only hope things will improve

  • Eddie P

    I paid my £100 for one, and think it was money I should have just put in the oven, Limited tracks and lots of the same tracks, site keeps going down during down load, and as for the comment above, looking at the net it seems this “comment Retail” are a little dodgy anyway and have just gone into administration!! Whats going to happen to the Datz site, I mailed them 1 week ago and have had no response!!!!!!

    • Duncan Geere

      Oh dear… I wasn’t aware of Comment Retail going into administration. That’s very concerning indeed. In my review I strongly recommended against buying Datz Music Lounge. To make it better, I’ll wing you a Spotify invite instead.

  • http://www.datzmusiclounge.com Holly Davis

    We just wanted to confirm that while Comment Retail Services has gone into administration. Datz is a separate company and is still trading; it has recently secured investment so the future of Datz look’s bright. Comment’s main customer was Woolworths and stopped trading shortly after Woolworths went into administration however Datz has not been affected. Any customer queries can be sent direct to holly at datz.com. Led Zeppelin unfortunately had to be removed from the site, requested by the record label which is completely outside of our control. Duplicates and broken links should be sorted by tomorrow and a new update is hopefully going to be made available by Friday. Any questions please do not hesitate to contact us. Regards

  • http://www.datzmusiclounge.com Holly Davis

    Eddiep we’ve checked back our records and we can’t find any evidence of you either registering or emailing. Please email info at datz dot com so we can help resolve the problems you are experiencing. It could potentially be a problem with your server if the email hasn’t come through.

  • Tim

    I guess we must expect companies to come and go, especially in the current economic climate. It’s great that DATZ are trying out a new model which could work brilliantly for up-and-coming artists and some back catalogs. I would never expect them to have access to all new and existing content from the major artists.

    The important thing for me is that, for as long as DATZ is around, it is unleashing millions of legal non-DRM MP3s onto the market. IMHO Killing DRM is the most important thing.

    • Duncan Geere

      More important than artists being able to afford to make amazing music? I agree with you, but that’s the question that the record companies are asking.

  • Hugh

    Having originally received a Datz subscription last year, initial impressions were good. There was a good choice to download.

    However it has slowly gone down hill. At this point in time 16/8/09 the choice is truly appalling. When you do find something you want it is usually a karaoke track or recorded by another artist.

    Datz use a third party (http://www.247entertainment.com/) to supply the music. Is every customer of 247 Entertainment receiving such a poor catalogue of music?

    As I write this the Datz site is returning SQL errors!

    I would avoid unless Datz can improve the catalogue.

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