Mick Jagger Takes a Stand for Online Retailing

Music legend Mick Jagger made the long trip to Brussels recently to have a lengthy chat with the European Commission. The subject of the discussion was online retailing, and it seems that if the powers that be have their way, shopping online for your favorite music shouldn’t be too difficult in the near future.

Mick Jagger used to resort to stones to get the attention of the power’s that be but these days it seems he’s respected enough to receive an invite. Jagger recently met with Neelie Kroes, the competition commissioner, and Charlie McCreevy, the internal market commissioner, as well as other key figures to discuss how to better improve online retailing for the consumer. Kroes uttered concerns that online shoppers frequently found it difficult to get what they wanted online yet they could easily walk into a real world shop and purchase the same item with little difficulty. It seems music downloads received the most attention, since these were the hardest to gain access to regardless if payment was involved or not. According to Ms Kroes, it is “possible to buy a CD from an online retailer and have it shipped to anywhere in Europe, but it is not possible to buy the same music, by the same artist, as an electronic download with similar ease.”

Mr McCreevy commented that he never foresaw the Internet being such a stumbling block since it has “no natural physical frontiers or boundaries like traditional markets.” He admitted that the Internet “has been trapped and parceled up by a whole series of barriers,” and said that the commission needed to look at the “present system of awarding one license for one kind of right, limited to one territory at a time.” In the end a lot of problems with current Internet trading were raised and some ideas and concepts were examined in more depth, providing potential starting points from which progress can be made and these giant trading hurdles can be overcome. Other people attending the meeting included the CEO of Apple from which music download shop iTunes originated, and the head of record label EMI. The meeting was also attended by people not involved in the music sector, such as the heads of Ebay, Louis Vuitton, Alcatel-Lucent and Which?