I was very excited today to see that Yahoo had purchased MusicMatch for $160 million. Ironically I had lunch with Michael Robertson yesterday and spoke with him about when if ever he thought that MusicMatch would sell, as we both know the executives at the company.
Two thoughts jump to mind. One is that a lot of great people who worked with me at MP3.com and others who I know from my interaction with them in business at MusicMatch have a great conclusion for an admirable run competing against Microsoft and Real Networks. The second thought is that we are approaching the conclusion of this phase of digital music. We have gone from early pioneers, through the lawsuit phase (Napster, MP3.com, Kazaa), the early .99 download phase, and consolidation of a wide number of businesses into a relatively small number of big players (Apple, Microsoft, Napster 2.0, and arguably Yahoo)
The next phase isn't clear to me, but the 9th circuit court decision, and the thin margins of the download stores, doesn't reveal a clear path to the creation of a viable and meaningful market. I see more eMule and Fast Track style clones popping up, more people getting sued, and not much real progress in the near term.
On the other hand, more people are listening to more music than ever, And more importantly, more people are creating music than ever before. I think this may be a good topic for my next User Generated Content posts.