Music fans in London and New York will be able to make compilation CDs of their favourite music in photo booth style kiosks early next year for around half the price of a CD bought in a shop.
A joint venture between the UK-based photo booth giant Photo-Me and Musicmaker.com, the world's largest supplier of music on the Internet, could kickstart a major new way of buying music.
Early next year the two companies intend to open ten music booths, looking very similar to the photo booths where you get passport snaps taken, in London and New York. If the trial is successful, the companies will place thousands of similar booths across Europe and the US in railway stations, airports, cinemas and supermarkets.
Customers enter the booth where there will have a choice of up to 10,000 tracks which, once chosen, are downloaded via an Internet connection onto a blank CD. After waiting between five and seven minutes, a finished CD along with a jewel case and printed tray card will pop out of a slot in the booth.
The joint venture partners believe that at a price of 60 pence per track, a ten track CD comprised solely of music a customer wants to hear, and with no album fillers, will prove very attractive compared to the asking price of CD albums in the shops which is typically around £12 or more.
The booths will accept payment both by credit card or money, and Photo-Me expects people to make compilation CDs to listen to before a long journey in much the same way as they make cassettes of favourites today.
Musicmaker.com claims to have a library of 750,000 songs which it owns or licenses from companies like EMI (which has a 40 per cent stake in Musicmaker).
Although Musicmaker says it also licenses music from 100 independent record companies, a quick scan of the company's website which already offers a CDcompilation service shows a distinct bias towards middle of the road rockand no tracks from EMI giants like the Beatles and Queen.
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