Monday, November 15, 2004
UK Gives the Customer What They Want
The first vending machines to sell music downloads
are to be introduced in London in December as Britons continue
to turn their backs on traditional methods of buying singles.
Customers will be able to download a single
for about one pound onto a mobile phone or personal music
player and the company launching the project said on Monday
they hoped to initially offer two million songs.
The move follows continuing poor sales for
traditional, over-the-counter singles.
In October the chart compilers said they recorded
the worst ever sales for a song reaching number one -- just
over 23,000 -- compared to sales of hundreds of thousands
in the 1980s and 90s.
Inspired Broadcast Networks will open two music
kiosks in Waterloo and King's Cross stations next month and
plan to have up to 20,000 others in high-street shops, service
stations and pubs by the end of 2005.
Between 200-250,000 singles are bought via
music download services every week, rapidly approaching physical
sales that regularly drop below 400,000, the Official UK
Charts Company said.
In response, the Charts Company started to
produce its own download chart to reflect the growth in the
market and is now planning to merge the two.
The piracy-hit music industry is also desperate
to promote legal digital music services to convert file-sharers
In the states, music retailers Virgin Records,
Best Buy and Walmart have expressed interest in this technology
and are reportedly interested in installing download kiosks
in their stores by mid-2005. Select Virgin Record stores
have been testing their own version of this concept for about
In our current two-year radio attrition study,
Bridge Ratings has been trending audience erosion to digital
forms of audio entertainment (See "Where Did My Listeners
Go, Part 2"). During our interviews of the 1200 participants,
questions were asked related to mobil digital downloading.
Primarily, the 12-24 year old age group shows significant
interest in this technology with over 68% users of digital
music players telling us that if they were able to download
music while visiting their favorite music or retail store,
they would likely pay for this service.