Tower Records Tries To Reinvent The Record Store... With Free Music Podcasts?
from the desperation-sets-in dept
But what about the biggest brand name of them all, Tower Records? While it was pretty meaningless in real terms, the company had many people writing its obituary when the news came out that Apple's iTunes had surpassed Tower Records in terms of sales. As we noted at the time, if you looked at the list of retailers who were at the top -- all of them were using music as a loss leader, and not trying to make money off of it. All of them made their money elsewhere. Tower, however, had stubbornly stuck to selling mostly music -- a business model that seems to be unsustainable. However, perhaps the indignity of being passed by Apple has kicked the company into gear, as it looks for a new business model. Rather than following others in creating a destination site, or trying to create yet another digital music store, the company has actually decided to let people download music for free online. The details aren't that simple, of course. It sounds like (though it's not clear) that you won't be able to just download a single song, but you can create whole podcasts of songs, and then download the batch. They hope to make revenue from (what else?) advertising -- though, in a twist, some of the ad revenue may get shared with the creator of the musical podcast (meaning it sounds like people will be able to play "DJ" by posting their Tower podcasts for others to download). Of course, since this doesn't fit with the major labels' world view, none of them are participating in the program -- meaning that it's limited to just 6,000 songs from a group of independent labels. It's definitely an interesting experiment, though especially after seeing just how many hands are in the pie for any revenue that comes out of this experiment, it may very well be too little, too late for Tower Records.