EU gives thumbs up to government subsidised music downloads

The European Commission has given the thumbs up to a French program which subsidises legal music downloads for young people.

The Carte Musique is aimed at combating illegal downloads by getting young people to pay for music online through legal channels.

It gives French residents between 12 to 25 years old £22 (€25)  to spend on music downloads or subscription services. They purchase a £47 (€50) card for £22 (€25) and the other half is subsidised by the government.

France has been banging on about illegal music downloads for a while now and it was president Nicolas Sarkozy who kicked started the three strikes rule.

The service, which will launch in the next few weeks, is later than the middle of the year timeline the Sarkozy put forward. This was due to an investigation from the EU, which was concerned that the service could have contravened the E.U.’s anti-competitive rules. It has now been given the go-ahead after the Commission ruled that this was not the case.

European Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia praised the scheme: “We welcome initiatives from member states to increase the availability of music online at a lower price for consumers and through legal distribution channels. Music online is certainly a driver for the success of the Internet and for economic development.”

However, while the likes of Gaga, Bieber, Beyonce and Timberlake will be getting their dosh, website operators may suffer – with the scheme asking them to contribute a reduction in the price of the music, an extension of the duration of the subscription, or a contribution to the cost of advertising the card.