Music Kiosks

At CES I saw something about a music kiosk that allows anyone to record audio CDs or download audio content to their mp3 player at a retail location.

Early on at LDS Audio we explored pre-loading iPods with audio content, but we found that the pre-loaded content would be erased when someone hooked up their iPod to their own computer and registered it.

Does anyone know if there is a way to pre-load iPods with audio now, without losing it later, or how these Music Kiosks will work. Will they allow you to copy mp3 files onto any mp3 player (including an iPod) without messing up the home computer connection?

eWeek has an interesting article about the concept of Music Kiosks and what Starbucks and other large retailers are doing/considering doing.

One very interesting point the article makes at the end is that college students and recent grads seem to have little interest in music kiosks, since they can go online and get all the content they want at home.

But I’m not sure that older consumers would like kiosks either, since hooking up an mp3 player to a kiosk might be difficult.

Any thoughts? Has anyone tried a music kiosk? Was it a good experience? Bad? What would make it better?

14 Comments

  1. Cort

    There has been a music kiosk at the U in their Union building since at least last summer. I’ve never seen anyone touch it. I played with it once to check it out. Even though it will let you burn songs onto a CD or download them onto an MP3 player I can’t see the idea takingoff. I don’t see any incentive for not downloading the song off itunes, napster, LDS audio, etc.

  2. You could load an iPod with content via iTunes and also copy the music to a data folder. The user could then drag the music back into iTunes from the data folder on the iPod.

    This is less desirable on a nano because it takes double the storage space, but is not an issue when you have 30-60 GB available.

  3. I heard from a friend that attends the U that the kiosk there was getting good traction. As for me, I sure wouldn’t be the target market for that product.

  4. Paul,

    The leader in this space is a little company in Salt Lake that has been on the verge of hitting it big for about three years.

    The Company is Mediaport (www.mediaport.com). The founder, Jon Butler, is a great guy. I can’t imagine they wouldn’t be open to a dialogue and I’m sure he can answer your question.

    Mediaport is the company that has the kiosk at the U and may be the one you say at CES.

    ddt

  5. I was part of the team that came up with this idea originally back in 2000 or so. We didnt have the resources at the time to make it fly, but Im still taking credit for it if it does. I think it has a chance and I will be researching the companies progress.

  6. FYI:
    Mediaport have recently launched music download kiosks with Brazin in Australia … Brazin own the Sanity, HMV and Virgin stores in Australia (ie: all the big name music stores here). The kiosks were launched on the 15th with frontpage articles in Sydney’s main paper the Sydney Morning Herald …. we will see how successful these kiosks are in their current format.

    In answer to your original question: “What would make it better ?”
    Our company has an interest as we have patents pending in the US on our “justmixit” product (www.justmixit.com) that we believe to be the missing link for music downloads in both the kiosk and mobilephone environment – namely the profiling of customers and the automatic presentation of tailor made compilation albums. In a practicle sense in a kiosks environment customers currently have to wade through hundreds of thousands of music titles to come up with a relevant compilation. On a mobile phone sending non-relevant music samples to your customer base is SPAM for the vast majority. We are currently in a rapid grow stage and seeking global partners with complimentary products …. any suggestions as to who to approach would be gratefully received.

  7. Steven G Rogers

    I have long pondered the concept of the automated music dispensing kiosk. It is an idea that has yet to come into its own. The executives that I presented the idea to scoffed at the idea. However, it is my firm belief that the concept which I posess will revolutionize not only the music industry, but, have a profound impact on many others as well. It is my resolve to bring this concept to bear upon the market in spite of the nay sayers and industry skeptics.

  8. Yo

    Paul:

    Mediaport is a joke and will never go big. They don’t get the market.

    I’ve known these guys for years – my advice is to stay away.

  9. jordy

    I stopped at a little music kiosk at Barnes and Noble for about an hour, but it wasn’t for downloading stuff to an MP3 player. I just wanted to hear the new music coming out of Brazil before I purchased any. I may be an exception, but I loved it. A key difference of course might have been that Brazilian Music isn’t super accessible online.

  10. Clint

    I’m not a proponent of the music kiosk. Besides the obvious convenience and usability issues, it suffers from being a product whose market is primarily late adopters. As far as your LDSaudio problem goes, try unlocking your ipod for data storage. Once your ipod is plugged in, open itunes and select ipod settings icon from the lower right-hand side of the itunes window. It’s similar to using old flash-based mp3 players or mp3 watches as jump drives, allowing you to use up a lot of that surplus space on your 60GB ipod. I back up my entire PoweBook G4 on my 60GB video ipod in this same way.

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