by Mike Masnick

Download Kiosks Just Won't Die

from the haven't-we-been-through-this-before? dept

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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  • identicon
    Tech Dirt Chick, 17 Jan 2006 @ 11:42am

    No Subject Given

    Why would I buy a mix CD? That's what boyfriends are for.

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

  • identicon
    Stan, 17 Jan 2006 @ 2:41pm

    On Kiosks

    The problem with Kiosks are:

    1. Overpriced. The mixed tracks carry fees upon fees, you get nickel and dimed to death. The product itself is overpriced.

    2. Dumb selection. Only a handful of songs are available to 'mix'.

    3. Dumb machines. Counter-intuitive, it takes upwards of a day to figure out how to operate it, by then you could have just bought your CD at the cashier and already made it home.

    4. Restricted formats. You can't choose from a variety of formats, only one is available per machine.

    5. Did I say Overpriced? WHY should I pay full retail price for a mix when I can just buy the real CD!

    6. BTW... overpriced. $.99 a song is ridiculous. I won't pay it. We'll see if anyone else will either.

    7. Non-sensical idea. Listeners usually shop for music based on the song and artist, not a variety of songs from other artists. The song, voice and style are in their head. They hear a song, like it, find out who sings it, and buys the artist's CD to sample their other songs.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2006 @ 4:46pm

      Re: On Kiosks

      $0.99 a song is too much? How much do you pay for legal songs that that is ridiculous? Buying a full cd for $15 when you only like 1-3 songs on it is ridiculous.
      I loved the idea of the kiosks mix cd's and have used them several times. The only reason I didn't use them all the time is that they didn't carry all the songs I wanted. If they had even anywhere near the selection as I-tunes I would have gone far out of my way to use nothing but them.

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

  • identicon
    bseltzer, 11 Jul 2006 @ 2:49pm


    Bigger selection..easy to use... been a lot of failures in all businesses... want to have this succeed

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

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