What do they say about those who cannot remember the past? Twenty years ago, a company named Personics was set to revolutionize the music world setting up music kiosks where you could make your own mix tape. It got a lot of hype and stuck around for a while, but it was a failure. Since then, every year or so, we hear of yet another company trying to do something similar. The list goes on and on and on and on. And, yet, it's always a new company -- because the old ones never make it very far. There are a few simple reasons for this, with the core one being that most people just aren't that interested. If they want to buy a CD, they buy a CD. Buying a mix isn't that exciting. These days, it's even worse, because people who are actually interested in more of a mix are likely to just buy it off of iTunes or some similar service. The kiosk offers almost no benefit -- yet here it goes again, with yet another press story talking about how this is a "make or break year" for kiosks. Sorry, but if the last twenty years weren't make or break years for the concept, it's hard to see how this one is going to be much different. The company quoted in this article makes all the usual claims -- but none of them hold up to scrutiny. The only thing "different" this time around is that some of the kiosks have Bluetooth connections to put songs on your phone -- but people already put songs on their phones directly from their computers and new services are showing up that let people download songs to their phones directly over the air. In other words, the kiosks still offer no real benefit and no real differentiation -- yet they're expensive to maintain, they break easily, and only one person can use them at a time. It's a terrible solution for a problem that doesn't exist -- and yet companies keep on trying, and none of them seem to acknowledge the long, troubled history of similar efforts.
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