Public Download #1

June 24, 1999

Forget London, Tokyo or even New York. The next city to be dubbed "cutting edge" may be Columbus, OH. Beginning July 16, customers at the Columbus Virgin Megastore will be able to stroll up to a kiosk, touch a screen, and download music to a CD-ROM. Initially the high speed kiosks, provided by digital-on-demand company RedDotNet, will offer a limited mix of individual tracks from lesser-known artists. By fall, full albums from a catalogue of 4,000 Sony Music titles—focusing on music that the store may not carry—will be added to the mix. The company hopes to wire its U.S. Megastores by September and plans to extend the technology to its more than 150 stores worldwide by the new millennium. "Retail stores are going to be much more digitized," says Anthony Deen, a vice president at Virgin Entertainment Group in Los Angeles. "We think a lot of music will be sold like this in the future."

"This is the beginning of a whole new era for how people will buy music," says Beth Walton, spokesperson for RedDotNet, adding that the kiosks give people without computers the option to download music. And, she says, they will be compatible with the Secure Digital Music Initiative, the major record labels' campaign to create copyright-safe musical downloads. Mark Hardie, senior analyst at Forrester Research in Cambridge, Mass., isn't as enthusiastic. Selecting songs and creating compilations takes time, and he can't imagine people wanting to compile their own records more than once a year. Complex technology also tends to break down easily and can be unreliable with repeated public exposure. In the end, he says, it may just be a way to get people into the stores.

Story by Sarah Kanter

Newsbit furnished by:

A: NetShift Software Ltd.
A: Hughenden Yard, Marlborough, Wilts,SN8 1LT, UK
T: +44 (0)1672 511 094
F: +44 (0)1672 511 078
E: [email protected]

Thanks Anna!

Thanks Kinetic!

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