By Jared Newman | Tuesday, April 28, 2009 at 2:53 pm
As a concept, I like the People’s Music Store. It allows users to set up their own digital storefronts, in which they recommend music to other visitors through reviews, news and widgets on other Web sites. Aside from gaining cred as music buffs, these citizen salespeople earn store credit worth 10 percent of every sale.
It’s a solid system for word-of-mouth music downloads, and it’s certainly more personal than a recommendation algorithm, but two major problems are holding back the People’s Music Store from greatness. The lack of content, chief among these issues, is on the way to being solved, with Universal signing on to provide 300,000 tunes for download. The Killers, Abba and Amy Winehouse are among the newly-available artists.
The label will be the first major to climb aboard, and wisely so. Labels should jump on any sales opportunity they can, especially those that actively encourage more and more sales. “We are excited to have the Universal Music catalog on People’s Music Store because it shows that forward-thinking labels are willing to try new ways of connecting artists with fans,” said founder Ged Day, who also created the DRM-free indie boutique Bleep.com.
Now, about that other problem: Much of the content at the People’s Music Store is walled off for US consumers, including the new tracks from Universal. From reading earlier articles about the site, I see that consumers outside the US have run into similar problems with existing songs.
I know international licensing is complicated, but consumers should at least be able to filter out the stores and bands that are inaccessable to them. Really though, record labels should find a way to make their content available to everyone.