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MusicMatch To Unveil New Digital Monster
By Darren Ratner
(more articles from this author)
2001-05-16
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Ladies and gentleman, it has arrived - a digital music jukebox that does everything but wipe your backside! It was only a matter of time before a company like MusicMatch concocted a unique way of throwing us in front of the digital music onslaught. Now, their much anticipated Frankenstein called Radio MX is about to hit the lines.

Just last March, the fawned over MusicMatch Jukebox Software sprinted past RealJukebox to become a marketable superforce. But the integrated Radio MX service is guaranteed to provide music listeners with a fresh way of getting the music you want, while scratching your creative itch at the same time. It wants to present the music lover with not only CD quality sounds (128 kbps - advertisement and buffering free), but the ability to create their own personal radio station by hearing their favorite artists and songs "on-demand." But wait, friends - there's more!! In addition, Radio MX promises little high tech doo-dads like tempo control, a recommendation engine that picks tracks closely related to your favorites, and get this: CD-R and CD-RW support. It's certainly no secret that CD burning is the in thing.

Dennis Mudd, CEO of MusicMatch is all a glow about his wave of the future. "MusicMatch Jukebox now provides music fans with more control over their music than was ever possible before," he said. "The integrated Radio MX service provides a new and powerful way for people to find and play music from their favorite artists, as well as discover new music from related artists."

A five-month run of MusicMatch Radio (which is located within the Jukebox software) showed statistics that could propel this wave of the future to tsunami like potential. In just March alone, the service clocked in with 2.8 Aggregate Tuning Hours (ATH) and 750,000 listeners. Its success thus far has been chalked up to the "unlimited choice of artist-based radio stations" it provides. Now the company looks for Radio MX to cash in on what they think will be their ticket to ride.

"Four years ago, we invented the digital music jukebox, and we continue to provide innovative digital music services by listening to our millions of customers and giving them what they want," said Mudd confidently.

It's becoming increasingly clear that organizations such as MusicMatch see every music enthusiast as Oliver Twist screaming, "Please sir, may I have some more?" And frankly, they might be right. The objective is allowing cutting-edge technology to bring people at close quarters with the digital music revolution, keeping devotees craving for what they want... and for a price. That may be well and good, but long term effects towards the industry may pack dangerous consequences.

What consequences, you ask? With a booming industry realization that people are becoming more hesitant to run to their favorite record store, the MusicMatch Jukebox seems like an alternative to those 20 dollar CD's - not to mention the terribly annoying security wrap. What will be the affect on stores like Sam Goody, Music World or The Wall? Many of these businesses are already closing their doors and a program such as Radio MX drives another nail into a slowly built coffin. The Jukebox seems to cover each and every base, showing us that you don't have to worry about finding a certain song/artist while shelling out no more than $19.99 for the Jukebox itself and 4.95 per month for Radio MX service. If you're a computer owner with a passion for music, you're probably wiping away the drool.

People are gradually coming to the conclusion that sometimes, technological advances do have their sensitive spots. If purchasing CD's at retail stores goes the way of the dinosaur, we could have a nice little period of downsizing on our hands. Think of it: sales people, cover artists, factory workers, engineers and others all out of work. Would many of these people be useful to companies like MusicMatch? Not likely. Cutbacks are certain to surface and possibly ignite a new type of music industry. The only hope that does come to light (dim as it may be) is the many Americans that still can't afford their own PC. While uneconomical and inefficient to some, many still prefer to pay anywhere from 15-20 dollars for a CD rather than use the money to finance a computer. So go ahead, take a small breath.

Bottom Line: MusicMatch knows what they're doing and well aware of where this could lead them. The capabilities of this new Radio MX seem impressive enough to borderline on frightening. But as awe-inspiring as MusicMatch Radio MX may be, it's creepier to think it could very well act as the finger pushing over those downsizing dominoes.

MusicMatch - www.musicmatch.com


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