Virgin’s all-you-can-eat plan outdated, says Virgin’s music man

By | Published on Friday 4 March 2011

Virgin Media

Virgin Media’s music man Richard Wheeler this week admitted that trying to persuade record companies to sign up to his company’s proposal of an all-you-can-eat MP3 download service had been “challenging”.

Although Virgin announced a partnership with Universal Music in 2009 to launch a subscription service where users could download as many MP3s as they liked from a vast catalogue of tunes for a set monthly fee, the other majors and big indies have resisted signing up. So much so that the proposed service has never launched and the proposal itself has, according to some reports, been dropped altogether.

According to the FT Tech Hub, Wheeler didn’t go so far as to confirm that at their conference this week, but he did say he thought the Spotify model – ie unlimited streaming with the ability to ‘cache’ tracks to a mobile player so they can be played offline – possibly meant the all-you-can-eat MP3 system was no longer needed.

He’s quoted as saying: “I don’t think it necessarily needs to be [all-you-can-eat]. Users’ desire to cache tracks and listen to them on the go, that outdates the unlimited download model to a degree”.

There have been reports that Virgin Media are in talks with Spotify to bundle the Swedish firm’s premium streaming service in with their broadband packages.