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Yes, Conan... the Future...
January 27, 2003 3:06 PM   Subscribe

The future of music retail... will be nothing like this. Echo Networks, a Los Angeles based "digital venture", in partnership with Best Buy, Tower, Wherehouse, Virgin & FYE, has launched an instore downloadable purchase initiative whose chances of failure are only exceeded by the extreme vagueness surrounding the announcement. For more, read the news article at CNET.
posted by jonson (14 comments total)

 
I loved the old Echo, which streamed music of a user's choice and suggested tracks based upon feedback.

Sigh.
posted by pmurray63 at 3:11 PM on January 27, 2003


And here you have it folks, a new world's record for number of empty and/or near meaningless buzzwords packed into a single sentence:
Echo’s technology is built around a scalable, fault-tolerant, highly distributed architecture that leverages industry standards to provide maximum functionality, easy configuration and integration with third party applications, and support for a variety of user-facing platforms.
posted by malphigian at 3:12 PM on January 27, 2003


Mal! How can you make fun of a "digital venture" like that, have you no shame?
posted by jonson at 3:16 PM on January 27, 2003


Fault-tolerant. Just like me.
posted by monkeymike at 3:24 PM on January 27, 2003


I was wondering when the retailers would get around to realising that the labels were about to knife them.

It's a dinosaur eat dinosaur world out there.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 3:32 PM on January 27, 2003


I'm more curious about the "patents" - we've seen what happens when THOSE get actively enforced.
posted by bkdelong at 3:34 PM on January 27, 2003


Echo’s technology is built around a scalable, fault-tolerant, highly distributed architecture that leverages industry standards to provide maximum functionality, easy configuration and integration with third party applications, and support for a variety of user-facing platforms.

So it's peer-to-peer file sharing, using Gnutella maybe? :P
posted by Foosnark at 3:38 PM on January 27, 2003


I'm envisioning high speed download terminals in each store, with firewire & USB(1 & 2) hookups, but I still have no idea how they would support the vast multitude of client softwares the various media players (iPod, Rio, etc) use to transfer tunes.
posted by jonson at 3:45 PM on January 27, 2003


Of all the press that the new Echo launch has recieved, Forbes has one of the few articles that manages to dig into things a bit.
posted by redshifter at 4:35 PM on January 27, 2003


This sounds like something that would be great for promotional sweepstakes prizes. Imagine some kind of label-sponsored contest where the winner gets an empty iPod or something and five minutes to go nuts at a download terminal.

As for the technology, I think that's an issue that would appeal to the industry- sure, all types of devices could plug in (or at least the three or four major ones) but say Rio sponsored the venture and made downloads to Rio players the "recommended" system (not to mention sold them en masse at the store, etc.)
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 5:17 PM on January 27, 2003


Yeah, that seems like one of the only ways this would work...
posted by jonson at 5:20 PM on January 27, 2003


(buzzer) Oh, I'm sorry. You've still got it wrong. Sigh. You're a major trade organization, you're a retailing group, surely these two organizations can come up with something to meet consumer demand.

People use free services because of availability and portability. Once you have an MP3, you can burn it to a CD, you can transfer it to your iPod, you can do what you want with it.

DRM is a guarantee that any system the recording industry comes up is doomed to failure. The fact is, is that as long as sound continues as physics dictates, it will be impossible to put copying restrictions on it.

A better solution? Offer something consumers will buy. A service that offers the entire catalog, including a lot of the unpublished stuff, in MP3 format, which is the de facto standard for digital music. 192kbs encoding. I'd pay for it, and I'm sure a lot of people would too. Not as much as I am paying for a CD, but thats natural, because there are no packaging and shipping costs there. But I'd still shell out some money. $10 per album, or $0.99 per track, depending on what you are buying. A reasonably priced system which brings in money for the recording industry, and empowers consumers with what they want, control over their media lives.

Any system that does not comply is doomed to failure, as Echo is doomed to failure.
posted by benjh at 6:44 PM on January 27, 2003


Oh, and "Echo?s patent-pending Song Selection technology delivers music based on users? music profiles using a sophisticated algorithm, reducing the need for continuous song requests and time-consuming playlist creation."

Can we say overly intrusive profiling system which will know a little too much about its customers?
posted by benjh at 6:47 PM on January 27, 2003


Echo’s technology is built around a scalable, fault-tolerant, highly distributed architecture that leverages industry standards to provide maximum functionality, easy configuration and integration with third party applications, and support for a variety of user-facing platforms.


Oh, I'm gonna party like it's 1999. When's the IPO? This looks like a strong buy.
posted by qbert72 at 8:32 PM on January 27, 2003


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