OMD Aggregators…

With the blossoming profusion of online music sales sites, it must just be a matter of time before meta-sales sites turn up, offering simple consolidation of search (so you can specify an artist/song and the service will track it down for you at a price/in a format you want). Such a portal would have an interesting effect on the market: I can’t imagine it unseating ITMS, which is heavily tied into a brand experience and standalone software (iTunes), but the effect on the smaller online music distribution (OMD) businesses could be quite dramatic, adding to sales but weakening branding and brand presence: the endless cycle of commodification continues.

What I’d be most interested to see would be such a portal also offering on-the-fly format transcoding. Not exactly a commercial proposition (wait for the lawsuits on that one!), but certainly something that, if released, deCSS-style, as a covert open source hack, might prosper in the wild: cheap easy online music sales, where the music companies actually get their cut, but consumers get the freedom to use a single portal interface and whatever device they choose for listening…

5 comments

  1. makes me reflect on the good “old” days of M$oft anti-trust IE=OS.
    i can see the point at which iTunes and Safari merge to surmount the “portal effect”. Quicktime is already such an embedded technology … over time it seems standalone apps are absorbed by either the OS or browser.
    Perhaps it should all be compiled into a “license layering for profit” manual.
    Hell, you can play games in firmware CLIs these days!

  2. yep — i guess another play for an OMD aggregator would be to have it as a web service, so that artists could for example easily have ‘buy my stuff’ links on their website and it would find the cheapest/best format and autolink to that for the consumers (same as best-buy sites, but with hooks into the actual store so it can purchase/download and transcode behind the scenes) — and the record labels shouldn’t be upset about that, as they’re still getting whatever cut they agreed with the OMDs –all that happens with an aggregation model is that the OMD providers go from having a workable brand-based business to a simple commodity model. say goodbye to sexy ‘online music stores’ — its just a webby facilitation…

  3. quoth: you can play games in firmware CLIs these days!

    not just that, but you can program them IN FUCKING FORTH, which is even more fun that writing programs in postscript (which owes almost everything to FORTH)….

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