The BBC is covering the news that Keane will be releasing its latest single on a 512 MB USB key. The device will include an MP3 version of the song and a video for the song. The article points to a few other bands that have distributed music on USB devices, noting that none have been that successful. That's not too surprising, as there's little advantage to selling music this way. It's nice and gimmicky, but it's expensive for the seller, since the USB devices aren't nearly as cheap on their own as a CD. That means they often have to charge more for it. At the same time, consumers don't get that much additional benefit. Most of the people who would find this interesting probably already have a USB key and get little benefit out of another one. What may be a lot more interesting and is brushed over in the article is the fact that the record label is also trying to get feedback from those who buy the USB device by opening up a content only to those who buy it. I've never understood why bands and record labels haven't done this more often: why not set up a club or a contest or the ability to buy tickets to a private concert or any other kind of special treatment to anyone who actually buys the music, whether on CD or USB key. So, while this is an interesting experiment, the focus may be on the wrong part (the different media) rather than the more exciting part (a specific benefit to buying it this way in the form of a contest).
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