We posted yesterday about EMI’s bleak balance sheet: today they’re in the news with a new Hulu page for Norah Jones, presumably the first of many of their artists that will be featuring on the site. I think this adoption of new channels can only be a good thing for the industry. It might feel like EMI are the first to be making these deals with new service providers because they’re under financial pressure, but from this support and collaboration between big record labels and innovative new channels the next mainstream will be born, and those industry players that adopt early will have a headstart on their competitors in terms of implementation and consumer base. EMI’s cooperation will hopefully encourage the others in the big 4 to follow suit – the ground is being laid as we speak: Spotify is preparing their platform for a US launch, youtube’s collab with the majors ‘Vevo’ will launch within a month, and the big guys are warming to the idea of online streaming services, as this Hulu/EMI deal shows. I’m betting that the record labels will swallow the bitter pill of lower per track fees, the big online channels will fight it out with the rights industries over standard rates, and the dust will settle with most people using ad-supported on demand streaming services, with a smallish percentage of us opting to buy the premium ad free offerings like the one our digital distribution partner Spotify offers.