Can An Idea That Has Failed At Least A Dozen Times Be Called Innovative?

from the hmmm... dept

Every other year or so someone seems to come up with the “new” idea of making an in-store kiosk for stores, to let people download their own software or music. It’s a terrible idea. It’s always been a terrible idea, and it always fails. There are bunch of obvious problems — that never seem to get solved as each new entrant tries. First, the machines break. The public pounding on a computer will break it. So, maintenance is really expensive. Second, while it can have a larger inventory (maybe), it is a huge bottleneck for shoppers. Only one shopper can use a machine at once — so you either need a lot of these kiosks, or there’s a very limited number of buyers. Many people sit there and waste quite a bit of time… before buying nothing — and no one else can use the kiosk during that time. And, of course, more recently, on top of all of this, is that it’s simply cheaper and easier to download at home and burn your own CDs. However, for some unexplained reason, the folks at Billboard’s blog think Wal-Mart’s attempt is an “innovation” and “will no doubt be a huge hit.” Considering that record stores tried this in the late 80s with a company called Personics, it’s hard to see how this is innovative, or likely to be a huge hit. There was also Virgin Megastores who tried this exact thing in 1999, and any number of other attempts in the past two decades… all of which have failed. So it’s a bit confusing that the folks at Billboard’s blog would be so giddy over this me-too offering, two decades too late.

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Comments on “Can An Idea That Has Failed At Least A Dozen Times Be Called Innovative?”

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Terry says:

Music Kiosks

Don’t forget about Starbucks and Hear Now. We have these kiosks in our local Starbucks. I never see anyone buying. They have three or four terminals and people just sit in the comfy chairs sipping mochaccinos hogging the headphones. They aren’t buying, just drowning out the neighboring tables yatter about how much money they made on their last house sale. It’s a nice perk for customers but it won’t pay for itself. Who wants to burn CD’s anyway? If anything you should be able to plug in via USB Jumpdrive or some such.

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