Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Music album in my pocket

Shall We Say Adiós to our CDs & Welcome Music Plastic Cards?

Rolling out January 15, SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT launches credit card-sized album vouchers.

Dubbed Platinum MusicPass, it is a digital album card people can buy from retail outlets across the U.S. --with music to download through it-- playable on all MP3 players, including iPods, and of course on your computer.

It is crystal clear that such a creative offering is an attempt to counter attack the increasing loss in music sales.  According to Nielsen SoundScan, sales of 584.9 million albums or their digital equivalents last year were off 9.5% from 2006.
Sony BMG hopes this innovative approach will help delete or at least decrease illegal downloads and music piracy, as these cards will entitle the consumer to purchase an entire music album.
However, and since it is possible to burn copies of the files acquired for personal use, illegal sharing will still prevail and the claimed mission of the # 2 record company -- after Universal Music-- to wipe out free downloads won't be a piece of cake.
Nonetheless, the cards do offer several advantages over traditional Compact Disc.

"We see MusicPass as a great way to bring digital music to the physical retail space. We believe it will have strong appeal for a broad range of customers, and that it will ultimately expand both the digital and physical markets for music," said Thomas Hesse, president of global digital business and U.S. sales at Sony BMG, in a statement.

The cards come in two different retail prices: $12.99 and $19.99 and are redeemable for one year from purchase, or in accordance with retailer local and state laws.
The redemption/download process is said to be simple and streamlined.
In order to get the content from their MusicPass cards, consumers scratch the back of their card to unveil their pin number. They then visit MusicPass.com to download their music files and bonus material.
Tracks can be added directly to iTunes, Windows Media Player, or the like.
Download speeds always depend upon everyone's Internet connection.
MusicPass supports both PC and Mac.

Right now, you can purchase a MusicPass for 37 artists-- of Sony label of course -- including, Bob Dylan, Pink, Santana, Alicia Keys,  Tony Bennett. 
All of the cards will feature either bonus material that can include music videos, interviews with the artist, bonus audio tracks, lyrics, or in the case of compilations, an extensive number of tracks.

MusicPass are set to hit the Canadian market late January.

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