The Wall Street Journal is now reporting the same thing that several blogs — including The Register, which got it from a music industry mailing list called Music Ally — were reporting earlier today, which is that the Department of Justice is looking into whether a proposed music service from the four big labels would be collusion, restraint of trade, etc.
As Mike Masnick of Techdirt points out, of course, what they should really be accusing the labels of is restraint of intelligence or colluding to waste everyone’s time. It’s probably not surprising that the DoJ might be interested in a plan to distribute music through ISPs and music players, with device makers and service providers picking up the tab, since that would pretty much be a cartel. And the record labels have used their combined powers before in various underhanded ways.
At the same time, however, it’s hard to imagine how TotalMusic — the name of this so-far vapourware service — could be anything but lame. It will no doubt come with all kinds of restrictions on what you can stream, or when (and if) you can save or transfer a file, and will generally be all smothered in DRM and all that other good stuff that makes consumers so overjoyed. As far as I’m concerned, the DoJ should just let the labels go ahead with their plan — they are their own worst enemy.