Let’s look at the two biggest MP3 experiments to date. Jessica Simpson’s “A Public Affair” single and Jesse McCartney’s Right Where You Want Me don’t appear to have changed the status quo. I don’t know what Yahoo has sold, but McCartney’s album has sold an overall 4% at digital stores (nothing out of the ordinary). There were over 530 different, customized versions of the Jessica Simpson single, and Yahoo! sold a total of 7,636 tracks, according to Soundscan. In contrast, the regular “A Public Affair” single has sold over 414,000 units. Allmost all most certainly came from iTunes. If iTunes is responsible for 80% of “A Public Affair” sales, then sales of the Yahoo! MP3 version are only 2.3% of iTunes’ sales of the regular single.
We decided to see what the purchasing process was like, so we attempted to buy the McCartney record (for a younger cousin, we swear) via Yahoo! The process took us through a few clicks even before we had to enter our payment info–and jumping through all those hoops represents a point at which a user can have second thoughts about ponying up the cash for something they can download anyway. To us, finding out an elegant buy-and-play solution is the real hurdle record companies have to think about when they dream of taking on iTunes–after all, there’s a reason that supermarkets put their impulse buys, like Jessica Simpson-filled tabloids and Jessica Simpson personalized singles, right by the check-out counter.
Blue Note’s Experiment With MP3 [Coolfer]