Monday, June 26, 2006


The surprise in the news that American record shop Tower is launching a digital download service is that this is 2006, and that they're only just now doing so.

The company insists its got two areas of edge over its competitors - first, it's selling its downloads as .wma files; second, it claims to have a much wider catalogue than some of its competitors.

The breadth, of course, is only any good if it has the track you want - if you're seeking something by Alisha Chinoy, the fact you're looking through a database of thousands of jazz tracks isn't going to impress very much.

The wma files - much lusher quality - are only attractive to broadband users; there are a lot of these in the US, but according to the DTI only about 39% of households have access to the technology, growing at a fairly slow 16% over the course of a year. Lots of people to sell to, but the majority of the market isn't ready yet for trickling CD-quality files through their dial-up modems.

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