OD2 think that streaming music to PCs, rather than downloading tracks, is the way forward: “Most of the music our users listen to on their PCs will be streamed,” Charles Grimsdale, chief executive of the company said.
Consequently, OD2 have launched their Sonic Selector service – allowing customers in France, Germany, Italy and the UK to stream any track from the company’s 350,000 track catalogue. As the streams are Windows Media encoded, you’ll need you’ll need Version 9 of Microsoft’s player.
OD2 already offered a similar feature on their download sites such as the shudder-inducing MyCokeMusic, where users can stream some tracks for one of their credits, as opposed to buying the track for 99 credits. Napster also offer a streaming service, but only with their UK£9.99 (€15) subscription.
OD2 evidently hope that a pay-as-you-go system will entice more users to buy music in a market where increased competition every day means that punters are less willing to lock themselves into a particular vendor with a subscription: “The pay-as-you-go system also allows the users to spend as little or as much as they wish each month, without the burden of a fixed rate subscription” commented Grimsdale.
Sonic Selector is in fact a proprietary plug in for Windows Media Player, created by OD2, but is a little more interesting that just a streaming gadget. Every day, the Sonic Selector team pick through new releases, chart hits and exclusives to offer their recommended picks, with featured artists in key genres. If you really like a track, then you can buy it and keep it.
Sonic Selector marks another small shift to consumers not owning music, instead paying for each play – it’ll be interesting to see how iTunes reacts to this at launch.