Thursday, June 10, 1999 12:41 PM EDT
Sony To Ship Music On Demand
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Sony Music Entertainment plans to make more
than 4,000 albums from its catalogs available on demand by storing
them on computers and sending them directly to stores via a
high-speed computer network.
The deal announced Wednesday with the Carlsbad, Calif.-based
Digital On-Demand means record stores can install kiosks where
customers can select their albums, pay for them at the register and
have their CD made while they wait, complete with liner notes and
``This really gives the consumer access to product that wasn't
there before,'' said Sony spokesman Danny Yarbrough.
The back-catalog access provided by Sony includes material that
may not sell enough copies to merit store space, which previously
would have forced customers to make a special order.
Customers would be able to receive the music in a variety of
formats, including CD, DVD, and MiniDisc, or have it installed
directly onto a digital music player. Sony will only offer
full-length albums, and not singles, as the service first rolls
Artwork and liner notes for the music printed out on a laser
printer will also be available for purchase.
The service will be tested beginning Sept. 1 at select
Transworld and Virgin Megastores in Los Angeles and New York City.
Bookstores are taking notice of new technology that will allow
them to provide books on demand. Sprout Inc. of Atlanta will
provide Borders Group Inc., which owns the second-largest bookstore
chain, with books in digital form that it licenses from publishers.
Other bookstores are considering the technology as well, seeing
it as another way to broaden their appeal to readers.
Mashal Hoda, 18, who was shopping through San Francisco's Virgin
Megastore for a new CD by Detroit rap artists Insane Clown Posse,
though having music on demand sounded like a good idea.
``No one likes waiting,'' Hoda said as she browsed through CDs.
She said she would probably use the service if it offered
individual songs as well as full-length albums.
While the fast and easy digital access may be music to the ears
of consumers, some industry analysts cautioned that Sony must
overcome a few obstacles.
Forrester Research analyst Mark Hardie said the diminished laser
printer quality of photos and art that accompany the music may work
against an increasingly visual consumer.
``Teen girls are not going to buy generic packages around an
artist whose image is everything,'' Hardie said.
He also predicted that digital access would eventually fail
unless artists from all labels could be marketed through one
``People want artists, not labels,'' Hardie said.
The stores will get the equipment to manufacture the CDs free of
charge, paying only a fee to the partnered companies on a
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