Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Music kiosks changing the retail landscape...

...to paraphrase the title of this article (and inject some of my own opinion :) Given the high-profile deployments of music burning and MP3 kiosks to coffee shops, restaurants, retail stores, and yes, music stores, some are forced to wonder what the long-term ramifications of all this self-service music distribution will actually be. Here's a clip from the article:
Kiosk business is at an all-time high, with some providers readying U.S. deployments numbering in the thousands, an executive at startup kiosk provider MediaPort says. Such major chains as Starbucks and McDonald's have experimented with them, and MusicLand has made kiosks a central feature of its new Graze Music in-store environment.

But there is also a great deal of skepticism as to whether kiosks actually fulfill any consumer demand.

Kiosk providers claim the digital music revolution has created an opportunity for what they are marketing as a music store in a box. The idea is to place music kiosks in well-trafficked areas where people generally have 10-15 minutes of time to kill -- such as airports, coffehouses, university student unions, truck stops, even convenience stores.


For record labels, these music kiosks are just another new distribution channel made possible by digital formats. As music retailers continue to struggle, anyone willing to pay around $10,000 per unit can place a kiosk on their property and start competing for record-store business.

"This gives them the ability to go head to head with anybody for music," MediaPort executive VP Jon Butler says.

Music retailers also like kiosks because they make it possible to offer more titles than what is available on shelves, as well as offer custom CDs to digital-savvy consumers accustomed to burning their own music at home.

But whether consumers will like them is the big question.

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