Is music’s future on the Isle of

The Isle of Man is proposing a music licensing plan that would let consumers download to their hearts’ content. Sites like MySpace Music, Imeem and TDC are financed by advertising or Internet subscriptions. But the Isle of Man would offer its residents unlimited song downloads in exchange for a slight increase in the cost of a broadband subscription.A generation ago, the Isle of Man gave the world the Bee Gees. Now it says it wants to help the wounded music industry stay alive.The island, a rainy outpost in the Irish Sea, is promoting an offbeat remedy for digital piracy, which the record companies blame for billions of dollars in lost sales. Instead of fighting file-sharing, the government wants to embrace it – and it is trying to enlist a skeptical music industry in support.Under a proposal announced this month, the 80,000 people who live on the Isle of Man would be able to download unlimited amounts of music – perhaps even from notorious peer-to-peer pirate sites. To make this possible, broadband subscribers would have to pay a nominal fee of as little as £1, or $1.37, a month to their Internet service providers.

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