Against the backdrop of an ever-expanding digital marketplace boasting a wide variety of authorized music services, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) with NARM, the music business association, and its affiliated organization digitalmusic.org, today jointly launched the “Why Music Matters” website in the United States (www.whymusicmatters.com), a comprehensive one-stop educational guide for fans looking for information about digital music services and other online retail outlets where they can find their favorite music.
Whymusicmatters.com provides fans with a helpful “grid” to learn about 50+ (and growing) online music outlets available in the United States. This includes services such as mp3 download stores, audio and video streaming services, various mobile phone offerings, digital radio outlets, services that sell physical CDs and LPs online and more. On whymusicmatters.com, fans can learn how these different options work and discover which is the best fit for their music listening habits, with the ability to click through to the sites themselves for quick and easy access. Developed by the organizations for the major music companies, music retailers and ecommerce companies, based on original work done by industry colleagues at BPI in the United Kingdom, the website also includes a popular feature of the original U.K. and Australian/New Zealand versions of the Why Music Matters sites: various educational videos about the value of music featuring artists such as Robert Johnson, Louis Armstrong, Jay-Z, Janis Joplin, Kate Bush, Thin Lizzy and others.
“The music community has transformed how it does business, and the launch of the Why Music Matters site is another great milestone in that evolution,” said RIAA Chairman & CEO Cary Sherman. “For the first time, in 2011 digital music revenues surpassed those generated from physical sales and that marker was reached because of a breathtaking array of services and platforms embraced by music companies. We understand that with so many options for accessing music online, users are eager for more information about which services are legitimate and what kinds of functionality they offer. That’s why we’re excited to be partnering with NARM and digitalmusic.org to launch whymusicmatters.com, which will hopefully make it easier for fans to access and discover sites that offer their favorite music.”
“We’re grateful to our colleagues at BPI for creating Music Matters in 2010, followed by versions in Australia and New Zealand. We’re pleased to be able to expand the brand to the United States,” added Sherman.
“We are extremely pleased to be working with the RIAA to launch Why Music Matters. NARM and digitalmusic.org are all about making it easier for fans to get to the music they want, when they want it, and whymusicmatters.com provides them a single, convenient place to survey the legitimate online options that are available in the U.S.,” said NARM President Jim Donio. “With oversight from both our organization and the RIAA, Why Music Matters is almost a ‘Better Business Bureau’ for music on the Internet, and we hope it will increase music fans’ comfort with online music and help promote even more growth in that area.”
“The U.S. music market is vibrant and provides a wealth of choice for consumers looking to discover and explore music. We’re thrilled to put Nokia Music and Mix Radio at the heart of Why Music Matters and share our innovation with the advances taking place throughout the ecosystem,” said Jonathan Dworkin, Nokia's Global Head of Business Affairs & Strategy, Entertainment. “Our U.S. and Global footprint brings a unique perspective, and it’s exciting to join the collaboration between NARM and the RIAA in educating consumers about the best services for their needs.”
“Without a doubt, the number one frustration music fans have with digital music stores is their lack of a personalized way to discover new music,” said Adam Klein, President and CEO, eMusic. “With catalogs ranging from 15 to 30 million tracks, it can be extremely difficult to find the music most relevant to each individual. Why Music Matters is playing a critical role in addressing this important issue, and we enthusiastically support this initiative.”
“Whymusicmatters.com will be a vital tool for music retailers and fans, and I am thrilled that the RIAA, NARM, and digitalmusic.org could come together to create this informational database,” said Rachelle Friedman, Chair of the NARM Board of Directors and CEO of J&R Music & Computer World. “I am particularly pleased at the inclusion of all the Record Store Day participants who are not only active with their physical stores but have active website presence as well, giving people more options as they look for music online.”
Said Rich Bengloff, President of the American Association of Independent Music (A2IM), “In the digital realm as long as our artists’ fans are provided with choices as to how to access the music they want, our fans will support music creators by using sites and services that respect the rights of creators. We applaud the Music Matters website as providing both education for fans and a guide to authorized services.”
The services and retail outlets listed on whymusicmatters.com are offered online or via a mobile carrier. All listed services have an agreement with at least one of the three major record companies in the United States and most offer significant catalogs of independent music. A service will be listed even if it does not have agreements with all three major record companies so long as the service is not using the copyrighted music of a major record company without authorization. The list also includes services that have signed up for the statutory license available to certain types of radio services, such as SiriusXM, iHeartRadio, and Pandora. For more information on how the services were selected and how a service can be added to the site, please visit http://whymusicmatters.com/pages/faq.