Thursday, May 12, 2005

In the Mix

I was listening to NPR this morning on the way into work (like a good liberal. I also listened to some Bob Dylan.), and I caught a report on the new Yahoo Music Unlimited service. It was interesting, analyzing how Yahoo Music stacks up against Apple's ITunes and Real's Rhapsody. In particular, they contrasted Yahoo Musics subscription model (where you rent the service each month and have access to all the songs) to ITunes pay as you go approach.

But one baffling thing in this report is the lack of discussion of selection. Instead there's some perfunctory noise about "Millions of songs" before getting on to how you can download tunes to your computer (or not, as the case may be). To me it's a bit like a Record store advertising they have CDs.
"We're the best record store in town. Look at all these CDs?"

"Do you have the Manufacture album Terrorvision?"

"No, I don't think we got that one. But look at this, Madonna's American Life album. And it's on CD!"

"How about Orchestral Manoevers in the Darks seminal but shlocky album, "Crush."

"Well no we don't have that either. How about a CD of Guatemalan Yodelling. Note the format. It's CD!"
I don't know why other people go to record stores, or what they think a good record store is. I like going to record stores where I might find something cool that I haven't heard in a long time or ever. I like going to record stores that encourage browsing, where the people behind the counter seem to care about music and so on. I don't usually care for Mall record stores (We've got what's currently hot for no percent off!). And, it seems to me that most online retailers are trying to be more like Mall Record stores than Good Record shops.

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