The Return of Physical Media?

The Sony Cards are in!!!! The Sony Cards are in???

"I want my Maypo!!!"

To paraphrase the Doobie Brothers, what was once ridiculous has now become absurd. To the Nth power.

Here's the deal with Sony's latest effort to fight piracy, the piracy by the way that they allowed occur in the first place, an idea straight from the boys in accounting and legal: Platinum Musicpass. You go into a Best Buy, Target or Fred's and purchase a credit card with fancy artwork for each album you want to download in what the press release calls, "high-quality MP3 files." Each card costs $12.99. You then take your card home and scratch the back to reveal a pin number. You then type that pin number into a website to unlock a legal download and extra content, mostly videos, which were not on the original record.

This is blatant sop to retail, the same retail that the labels first, years ago, made partners out of and more recently have cut out like a crazy uncle. And then this isn't even going to record stores; it's going to big box retailers where in theory it has a better chance of success because it will reach the semi-computer literate.

Unfortunately, this is a non-starter of the kind only the record business can devise. First, it's still too damned expensive. Twelve Ninety Nine for catalog pieces? These are records that were paid for years ago. Why not six bucks? Next, it emphasizes entire albums when what downloaders want is the ability to select tracks. This scheme also fails to recognize that getting people to pay for downloads they can steal elsewhere ain't ever gonna happen. And why the claptrap of buying a card so you can go home and plug in a number, blah, blah, blah. iTunes is easy and convenient. This is not.

The ways that this is wrong and unrealistic boogle the mind. The idea that this is going to somehow satisfy anyone's jones for physical media is also crazy although the press release asserts that, "the cards themselves are highly collectible."

I'm in absolute shock that the business is finding ways to make things worse instead of better.

Robert's picture

Given that so much effort is being put into not changing the way business is done, I wonder how much pressure retailers are putting on music companies to keep their product in stores. With Sony, retailers can actually do that easily, no media players without media to sell with them. Keeping the retailers that sell Sony's media players, etc., in business is a win-win for them too. Too expensive, of course, but they get away with it with SACD, etc, so why not here? I work for a company (think coffee) that sold a similar product, and it has failed miserably. You may be in shock but these companies are nothing if not stubborn and are hoping that something similar to the old way of doing business will click with the public. The old way of doing business also applies to the board room, and in Japan where tradition and respect for what has been runs deep, we may find some of the reasons for your surprise.

Eli's picture

My 2 cents is that it's not SUCH a bad idea... Granted, 12.99$ is absurd, espacially since you can buy the whole CD for about the same price (at the same store probably). That said, I've been wondering for years when would the "iCard" would come up. I didn't had a credit card for the longest time and buying a song on iTunes, or anywhere else, regardless of the 0.99$ low price was always a pain, having to ask around for a credit card number. Hence me going the illegal road. I always thought It would be so much easier to buy a card like a gift certificate (5$,10$,20$,50$) at a convenient store, drugstore, or anywhere else for that matter, like a calling card, or this Sony card, with a pin number, and you just add up until you reach your limit and then buy another one. Maybe I am naive here but, sell a song 0.50$ a piece, high rez downloads, put a 5$ card out there where the kids can afford AND buy It, maybe an habit of BUYING legal will occur... Maybe It's too late already but what do

Jimmy's picture

What kind of crap is this??? How can any record label be so insipid as to "repackage" previously recorded media? This is one more reason why the record companies no longer connect with the average consumer!!!

JimD's picture

Divx Redux !!! Die, Divx, Die !!!

Dave's picture

Is it me, or do they look like the packages pantyhose are sold in? Nevermind. And nevermind a new product like this that uses more paper, costs as much as the real deal (a CD) yet delivers a fraction of the benefit. Pass.

Aden's picture

Hahaha. The reason why downloading is occuring is because people's musical tastes are a little wider than the same boring catalogue that you find in record stores! This is a download (with all the negatives of a download (eg. Quality)) with all the negatives of a purchased product (limited variety, have to go out to buy it, have to find what you want instead of type in the name, etc). If you're going to buy a boring, mass market, super star back-catalogue, why wouldn't you just buy a CD?