Wednesday, June 11, 2003

THE LATEST FROM THE DOWNLOAD FRONTIER: AOL stutter out plans with the dead-eyed phrase "We were focusing, until 2003, on programming, discovering and experiencing (music). This year we are focused on ownership and consumption" falling from the lips from general manager of AOL Entertainment Bill Wilson. This might come as a bit of a shock to most people - AOL haven't been all about ownership and consumption in an area? Since when could you discover and experience music without consuming it? Is this a tacit announcement that hitherto AOL hasn't been much interested in who owns the music its been programming? And where exactly does the 'discovering' bit come from? Have AOL had talent scouts out, seeking the best new music? Or are they suggesting that they've had to bring music - as an artform - to the attention of their customers? Is this an irritating Connie advert we've missed? "Music is sounds, arranged to be pleasant. And with AOL, you can have singing as well. Free, on top of the music."

AOL's plans are to develop a confusing second tier to allow a la carte burning of tracks to CD, to run alongside its current subscription service which allows ten tracks to be copied to CD. It's also going to allow users - get this - to buy the real CD. Selling records online, eh? What crazy ideas will they come up with next at AOL?

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