Has The Recording Industry Finally Realized That Selling 1,000 Songs In One Package Makes Sense?

from the could-it-be?!? dept

While we still think SanDisk's new music format is unlikely to get much traction, there was one bit of interesting news in a report on the new slotRadio device designed to play its music-on-microSD: you'll be able to buy slotRadio cards with 1,000 songs on them for $40. We've been wondering for years why the industry is so focused on the $1/song price, when new technology allows for tens of thousands of songs to fit in your pocket. In fact, if you get past the whole price-per-song thing, you start to wonder why you can't buy an iPod stuffed with thousands of songs based on exactly what you like. To date, it's always been a price issue -- with the industry requiring its huge fee per song.

But apparently that's changing. slotRadio has almost no chance (DRM included!), but the very fact that it got the industry to agree to a package that involves 1,000 songs for $40 shows that, somewhere, somehow, people in the industry are realizing that, when you can carry 40,000 songs in your pocket, the $1/song pricing model just doesn't make sense.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    Weird Harold, Apr 2nd, 2009 @ 11:37am

    "It's being used to create a new type of product, one that costs less than CDs but conveys far fewer rights."

    fewer?

     

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      R. Miles, Apr 2nd, 2009 @ 11:48am

      Re:

      I wondered that myself.

      Unless he was speaking in terms of CD portability (player in the house vs. in the car).

      On topic:
      $40 for 1000 songs. Great! Sign me up! Now, where do I go to select my 1000 songs?
      *search*
      Umm...

      Pass. No way in hell will I pay $0.04 for a Britney Spears song or other artists I don't like.

      No choice. No sale.

       

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2009 @ 12:26pm

      Re:

      Fewer as in the songs have DRM whereas a standard CD does not.

       

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2009 @ 12:40pm

      Re:

      Harold was a mighty troll
      everyday posts
      flames and buttered toast

       

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    •  
      identicon
      Dave, Apr 2nd, 2009 @ 1:10pm

      Re:

      "you can turn the thing on or off, pick a playlist, fast-forward past tracks (but not move backwards to play songs again), and turn the volume up or down. There's no way to search for songs, create playlists or do any other customization -- you turn it on and listen, that's pretty much it. Like a radio."

      Much fewer than a CD.

       

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    Weird Harold, Apr 2nd, 2009 @ 11:53am

    It actually looks like a good deal only for the record labels, that get to load up 1000 songs out of the back catalog, charge $40 for it, and then make it so that you can't move the songs around after that.

    Woohoo! A new business model that Mike likes that gives you less rights. Damn straight, Mike is switching teams!

     

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      Mike (profile), Apr 2nd, 2009 @ 12:06pm

      Re:

      Woohoo! A new business model that Mike likes that gives you less rights. Damn straight, Mike is switching teams!


      Reading comprehension is your friend: I said *THIS* model isn't very good because of the DRM (which, yes, is fewer rights than a CD). But the very notion of finally recognizing that packages of 15 songs makes a lot less sense than a package of 1000 songs is a huge step forward.

      Is it that hard for you to separate two concepts in your brain?

       

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        Weird Harold, Apr 2nd, 2009 @ 12:09pm

        Re: Re:

        Mike, the only reason the package exists at that price is because of super restrictive DRM. Open without restrictions, the 1000 songs would likely be sold for hundreds of dollars.

        I can't see why you are happy about a significant increase in DRM.

         

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        •  
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          mike42 (profile), Apr 2nd, 2009 @ 12:20pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          To answer your question Mike, yes, it does seem to be that hard for him to hold two concepts in his brain at once. Actually, I would say that even one seems to be beyond his capacity, as he constantly changes the subject. I think only ADHD is his friend...

           

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          PaulT (profile), Apr 2nd, 2009 @ 12:45pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Open without restrictions, the 1000 songs would likely be sold for hundreds of dollars."

          Yet another logical mistake, Harold. Yes, that's the market price *now*, under the business model they're currently trying to enforce (and even then only via major labels). There's no specific reason why they can't be priced lower, especially with a "lucky dip" kind of structure like this.

          It's not a bad model once you remove the DRM. Submit your likes and dislikes, get a grab bag of 1000 songs for virtually nothing per track. Remove the ones you don't like. The customer gets a good deal (unless the selection is *really* off, they get a significant saving on the tracks they keep). The label gets a good deal (exposure for lesser-known artists and back catalogue tracks that wouldn't normally get bought).

          As ever, the DRM is the sticking point. But other than that, it's a good idea. The reason why this is a positive move is that previously the RIAA has been obsessed with per-track pricing, claiming that 99c/track isn't enough. This looks like a good move in the other direction, letting consumers choose their pricing model. Time will tell how this works, but it's a nice gesture toward giving some value to customers even if the DRM ultimately makes it useless.

          "the only reason the package exists at that price is because of super restrictive DRM."

          It was claimed just a few years ago that iTunes could only exist with DRM, and that it would be impossible to sell unrestricted files. This has been proven wrong. You do seem to concentrate on the current status of new ideas rather than look at their future possibilities. It's a shame that people as closed-minded as yourself are the ones in control of the music industry.

           

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          PhilD, Apr 2nd, 2009 @ 1:45pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          @Weird Harold

          Dude you need to work on your reading comprehension skills.
          Even a 7 year old can understand what Mike is saying, why can't you?

           

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          Rose M. Welch, Apr 2nd, 2009 @ 3:06pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Or not sold at all. However, even 1000 songs for $100 is better than 1000 songs for $1000, and is a step in a Mike-applauded direction. I thought you hated anything Mike liked?

          Anyway, you're a troll.

           

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        identicon
        R. Miles, Apr 2nd, 2009 @ 12:10pm

        Re: Re:

        Is it that hard for you to separate two concepts in your brain?
        Hey! I thought you don't like assuming.

        That brain remark contradicts that.

         

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    •  
      identicon
      Me, Apr 2nd, 2009 @ 12:33pm

      Re:

      Weird Harold, you're my hero.

       

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    AJ the Troll Dietician, Apr 2nd, 2009 @ 12:02pm

    Trying new things....

    Looks interesting, I think its a good idea they are trying new things. I doubt this one will take hold, but its cool to see them trying.

    Now if you got to pick the songs, have them preloaded in a specific order like playlists, it might gain more interest. Maybe for people who like older music?

     

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  •  
    identicon
    AJ the Troll Dietician, Apr 2nd, 2009 @ 12:13pm

    Whoooa guys...

    He's had plenty to eat today... you can't fix learning impaired Trolls by over feeding them, its been tried.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2009 @ 12:29pm

    I wonder is you get to choose the 1000 songs are if you get a prepackaged deal? I would hate to drop $40 bucks to find I own the entire Barry Manilow Collection.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2009 @ 12:32pm

      Re:

      Ok, I typed WAY to fast on that comment.

      "I wonder IF you get to choose 1000 song OR do you get a prepackaged deal?" - yech

       

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  •  
    identicon
    Robert, Apr 2nd, 2009 @ 12:32pm

    What's odd is that at the same time, iTunes is moving to raise the price of popular songs to $1.29, seemingly for pure profit. I completely agree with your analysis.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    John Doe, Apr 2nd, 2009 @ 12:35pm

    Why is it that people like WH get to stick around and I got the boot?

     

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    •  
      identicon
      John Doe, Apr 2nd, 2009 @ 12:36pm

      Re:

      Hey, the Doe is back! Why am I no longer being censored? I will try to keep on topic in the future, I promise. :)

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Rose M. Welch, Apr 2nd, 2009 @ 3:08pm

      Re:

      You were censored? Do tell more. :)

      I wonder if this site uses a spam filter...

       

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      •  
        identicon
        John Doe, Apr 2nd, 2009 @ 3:27pm

        Re: Re:

        Yes, everytime I tried to comment I got a message saying my post would be reviewed and would appear shortly. None of my messages got through during that time. Now I just get the usual message that my post will appear shortly. No mention of being reviewed.

        To be honest, I was antognistic a few times, but nothing like WH.

         

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      •  
        icon
        Mike (profile), Apr 3rd, 2009 @ 12:46am

        Re: Re:

        I wonder if this site uses a spam filter...


        Yes, we use a spam filter. We get approximately (no joke) 20,000 spam comments a day. The filter is pretty good... Probably only about 25 spam comments get through to the site each day, and about 1 false positive is flagged each week -- though we do let those through eventually.

        Not sure why John Doe's posts got caught, but hopefully shouldn't be an issue going forward.

         

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        •  
          identicon
          John Doe, Apr 3rd, 2009 @ 4:08am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Interesting, so it wasn't personal? :) BTW, I did get blocked at home last night too.

          BTW, with all of your posts you have about the music and movie industry; do any of the record labels or studios ever call you up to chat? Have they ever sat down with you to hear the counter opinion?

           

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          •  
            icon
            Mike (profile), Apr 3rd, 2009 @ 10:58am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Interesting, so it wasn't personal? :) BTW, I did get blocked at home last night too.


            Nope, not personal. And, yes, I cleared out the one that got blocked last night (it was the only false positive in a list of 700 to check). The spam system dumps things in two piles: one is *this is 100% spam* and the other is *this is most likely spam*. Yours was in the latter, but it's usually easy to pick out the real posts (they include actual words!). But I whitelisted your IP also, just to make sure.

            BTW, with all of your posts you have about the music and movie industry; do any of the record labels or studios ever call you up to chat? Have they ever sat down with you to hear the counter opinion?

            Only recently that has happened. But... so far only one label has actually taken the time to really talk it out (so far). Others have called, but basically to complain about what we write. I've asked them to take part in the discussion or to explain what I got wrong, but they refuse.

            But, there is a growing openness. I've now at least talked with people at all 4 of the major record labels, with one recently expressing a lot of interest in talking further. So, we'll see...

             

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            •  
              identicon
              John Doe, Apr 3rd, 2009 @ 11:48am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              I would say it is surprising that it has taken this long for a major company to seek other opinions, but sadly I work for just such a company.

               

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  •  
    identicon
    Matt, Apr 2nd, 2009 @ 12:43pm

    even royalties are screwed

    Take note of the "less rights are provided". WH is right for once in that this is a bad thing. For some reason the media companies (not just riaa, mpaa as well) have a problem with REWINDING and actually playing back the same song/movie/using something more than once by your own choice.

    This is why Pandora has to do this, this is why Sandisk has to do this, it's stupid. Mike, can you look up and/or someone link as to where or why this is? I never could figure it out, but it's really stupid overall.

     

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    RD, Apr 2nd, 2009 @ 1:08pm

    Missing the point once again WeirdMoron

    This is why sharing is so much more popular, aside from any "no cost" aspects. CONSUMER CHOICE. IF this was 1000 songs that YOU want, play WHERE and WHEN and on WHAT device YOU want, then people would eat it up. But the greedy labels cant have that, no sir, we gotta have a) lotsa money and b) absolute control. The consumer sees this, and goes with sharing because he can GET WHAT HE WANTS. The idea of "you cant compete with free" is true when "free" represents as much about choice and ease of use as it is about cost. People WILL pay if its reasonable and easy (see: iTunes), but when you lock it all up and chose FOR the customer what they are getting, the customer will give you the big middle finger and find it elsewhere.

     

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    Yakko Warner, Apr 2nd, 2009 @ 1:35pm

    Unplayable without special software

    Anyone taking bets on how long it'll take to crack the DRM and (a) get the MP3 files off the card, (b) add support to Rockbox to play the files and support your own playlists/rewinding/etc, or (c) both?

    I don't know whether to say it'll happen quickly (due to the potential of all those songs and/or the possibility of using them on any Rockbox-compatible player) or slowly-to-never (due to the fact that no one will care, since all the songs are probably available on the internet in un-DRM'd MP3 already).

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Mikecancook, Apr 2nd, 2009 @ 1:52pm

    Why Sharing is Caring

    You know when you share music with friends? You're in your car and some kick ass song comes on and they are like, "Who's this?"

    Then you reply, "Oh this is so-and-so. Their first cd sucked but this one is awesome!"

    So then, you burn them a cd and say, "Here's a cd from that band you asked about the other day. I think you'll totally love it!"

    See, no one burns a cd for their friend and says, "Hey, here's a cd from so-and-so. This cd is complete crap and I'm sure you'll agree with me. Just keep a bucket handy in case it makes you vomit!"

    My point is people share experiences they enjoy with their friends. Movies, tv shows, music, whatever. It's really retarded for any group of individuals or businesses to assume that each 'experience', each play for each person is going to equal a sale. If the experience was worth while enough for the person who did not originate the purchase then they may choose to purchase the content which will then be shared with their friends. Which may generate more sales but never in a one-to-one relationship.

    Personally, the movie studios and music industry should really be paying me for exposing my friends to music and movies that they otherwise wouldn't have experienced and would never have bought.

    My best example is the movie 'Pootie Tang'. Which, if a friend had not exposed me to, I would never have watched. After see it, I bought the movie and have showed it to all my friends. Who, of course, never would have watched it. Now they have experienced it, some have purchased it, but none of them would have if not for someone sharing the experience in the first place.

    A referral fee of about 10% sounds good. Thank you very much!

     

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    identicon
    refe, Apr 2nd, 2009 @ 1:58pm

    restrictions

    If there are that many restrictions it sounds more like the industry folks are just trying to show that they 'get it' without actually giving anything up.

     

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    Cecil Green, Apr 2nd, 2009 @ 2:12pm

    So... They give BJs?

    I like the idea of buying an iPod and being able to choose 40,000 songs pre-loaded. That would be pretty cool.

    How about a house that comes pre-loaded with lots of movies and songs in a media database as well? Why not. Could do it for cars as well. Buy a car, get 1000 free songs, DRM-free, pre-loaded on an on-board media system.

    Then the artists could just schedule a time to come by and blow me for a few dollars -- or a "pay what you think it's worth" BJ. Pretty cool.

     

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    Weird Harold's former #5 fan, Apr 2nd, 2009 @ 3:44pm

    Reading how crippled this thing is, I just have to wonder if it's actually designed to flop in the marketplace just so the labels can point at this example and say "See, we tried such-and-such and it failed. Back to paying us $1.29/song".

     

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    TPBer, Apr 2nd, 2009 @ 4:48pm

    This is so new

    Why would we start paying now, 10 years ago , maybe if a deal like this was offered. I doubt it though, because of all the restrictions put in place. Car stereos and cheap Philips dvd players come with USB media ports that can navigate FAT32 partitions, 128GB max, like an Ipod.

    I bet I have amassed 500+ gigs of mp3s alone not, counting the terabytes of .avi files. I started in the late 90s, just as anyone with a clue and new the value of infinite copies is nothing.

    Hey Harry take your short-sighted retarded views and go let the 'AAs anally rape you. Like anybody can stop this, it's like trying to stop the "Global Warming".

     

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    identicon
    Stephen, Apr 2nd, 2009 @ 5:18pm

    in defense of concept

    I bought a Sansa Fuze instead of an iPod for several reasons, one which was it came with a 512mb microcard loaded with music. I figured it was going to be all crap and I planned to just erase the card and use it for extra memory, but to my surprise it was actually pretty good stuff. I like one song enough to buy the band's album. The DRM sucks, but sooner or later I'll get off my butt and rip my favorite tracks to a rewritable CD and poof goes the DRM. Then I'll have what I want to listen to when I want where I want and how I want.

    Note: the promotion was doubly pleasing because they accidentally sent me a second card.

     

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    SilentMountain, Apr 2nd, 2009 @ 5:33pm

    Great - except...

    I did some concept work for SanDisk on products that would execute this model. Was a cool idea, except for ONE GLARING problem - the devices can't random access the songs. So if you want to listen to song 99, you have to press the forward button 99 times. Imagine that with 1000 songs. Hella lame...

     

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    Justin Guarini, Apr 3rd, 2009 @ 2:28am

    You did a great post hope you post more info regarding.. Keep sharing.. Thanks!

     

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    identicon
    SunKing, Apr 3rd, 2009 @ 6:33am

    Emperor's New Clothes

    Finally!! No more need to hang around in elevators or supermarkets.

    The Sansa "couldn't-be-bothered-putting-any-effort-into-your-gift-so-I-got-you-this" slotRadio....... for (snigger) "music lovers".

     

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    Justin M, Dec 28th, 2009 @ 8:01am

    Sansa Fuze

    I gotta tell ya, I bought the Sansa Fuze yesterday and purchased the slot radio card to go with it. I did a quick update to the Fuze and SR works perfectly. I will admit I am alittle disappointed that you cannot play the music on another media or use random access to start a song over or goto the one you really wanna hear but I will say this. The song selection was great. I purchased the "Rock" card and it came preloaded with 7 really good playlist, "Classic Rock", "Modern Rock", "Hard Rock", "80's Rock", "90's Rock", "Workout", and "Chillout". They are very well constructed. If for example you we're at a party and just wanted a good mix of music to play in the background this thing is absolutely perfect not to mention it makes for great driving music also. Don't completely knock it. It's not all bad.

     

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