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Retailers Continue Search For Digital Music Success

By Bruce Houghton
Expert Author
Article Date: 2007-04-23

Circuit City + Napster is the name of a new service launching April 29th that has the retail giant marketing Napster's 3 million track library. (press release here)

This is a major expansion of Circuit City's marketing of the Napster To Go subscription service.

It is unclear Circuit_city if the retailer will also continue to also promote eMusic as it has in the past.

Other big box retailers continue to flirt with digital attempting to find the winning mix.

TransWorld via its Fye brand recently began marketing a new PassAlong produced service thatFye_2 smartly puts 2 million DRM free mp3's from Indies alongside WMA tracks from the majors.

For now at least EMI's catalog is only delivered with DRM even though iTunes will soon begin offering the major's catalog as unrestricted AAC files.

WalMart seems content to compete on price with an 88 cent per track offering and internet retailer Amazon is reportedly about a month away from its own digital store launch.

The web powerhouse's mp3 only offering (which may or may not include much major label product) alsoAmazon has some potential to shake up the marketplace.

But consumers don't understand record labels as brands. Nor or they happy when the tracks they purchase are not easily portable across platforms and devices.

Fans willing to pay want what they want when they want it.

Thus it may be that until all songs are available in a universally portable format digital adoption will not see real growth beyond that that which the powerful iTunes and iPod combination can provide.


About the Author:
Bruce Houghton is a 25 year music industry veteran who owns booking agency Skyline Music and the tour marketing company Skyline Innovations.

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