Business Dude, Have You Heard the New Kanye West USB?
posted by October 18 at 12:00 PMon
Universal Music, the world’s biggest music company, is to release singles on USB memory sticks this month, in an attempt to arrest the decline in music sales.
The Vivendi-owned company plans to charge about £4.99 for USB singles starting on October 29 with releases from piano rock band Keane and Nicole, the lead singer of the Pussycat Dolls. That compares with £2.99 for a typical CD single.
According to the story, the UK is the test market because “the UK is the last important market for singles,” according to Universal. So if this flops, the US may never see the new product. But other labels (EMI and Warner Music) are following Universal’s lead, and Universal hopes to release full USB albums by the end of the year.
Especially in the shadow of Radiohead’s ballsy (and successful) “name your own price” release, I think it’s interesting to see the ways major labels are panicking and struggling to find their place in the market. They want to keep up with the technological trends, but they want to remain profitable and offer something physical for consumers to buy.
I mean, USB albums? Would you buy that instead of just downloading the record? Maybe I’m missing the point of it, but I’d be shocked if this was an at all successful venture.