Aussie music download stores "failed miserably": analyst

Aussie music download stores "failed miserably": analyst

Summary: Major Australian online music stores have "failed miserably" in selling music to the public, according to music analyst Phil Tripp.Tripp said Telstra's BigPond, ninemsn and Destra have not succeeded in attracting Australian music fans to buying licensed music online because of a lack of marketing.

Major Australian online music stores have "failed miserably" in selling music to the public, according to music analyst Phil Tripp.

Tripp said Telstra's BigPond, ninemsn and Destra have not succeeded in attracting Australian music fans to buying licensed music online because of a lack of marketing.

"They are not marketing it to the public. There are no advertisements you can see on music downloading. They do not make it a pleasurable experience for users. Most people who try it once won't try it again," Tripp said.

He added that the music that can be downloaded is limited to PC users, which alienates the growing iPod population in Australia.

"It is limited to PC users only. Seventy percent of the digital music players sold are iPods. They are not able to buy music, and so at the meantime the users are ripping their entire CD collections. But the final nail in the coffin is that in most cases, [online music stores] don't even have 30,000 songs to choose from. They have a crap choice and a crap system, so why wouldn't the consumers stay away?" Tripp said.

Tripp said in an editorial entitled "Loose Cannon" on the Web site, "On the subject of downloading, what didn't happen this year was the sort of blue sky results that were projected by the three major download retailers-BigPond, ninemsn and Destra. The WMA way of downloading, PC only, with no real marketing, a poor selection of music, not enough of a compelling reason to try and buy plus everyone buying that incompatible iPod made the dawn of downloading a travesty at best".

Tripp believes that Australians will only get to experience how "seamless" legal music downloading is once Apple iTunes enters the Australian market.

"Once Apple comes in, people will see how seamless it can be. Unfortunately, Australians can't see it unless they get their hands on it," Tripp said.

"The fact that Apple did not enter the market with iTunes Music Store didn't help matters either but that remains to be seen and heard when they finally do here," Tripp said in his editorial.

Tripp also gave his opinion on the still-to-be-concluded civil trial in Sydney against peer to peer software provider Sharman Networks for alleged copyright infringing behaviour. He said that in the end, it will be "a matter of law, not justice".

"It is interesting that the local industry and its army of lawyers have gotten so far so quickly. In the end I believe that it's a matter of law, not justice. I don't think it will be on the industry's favour. Because the copyright act in Australia is so outdated, it really makes it a 505-50 chance," Tripp said.

Topics: Telcos, Broadband, Browser, Legal, Piracy, Telstra

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Who are the people who would use a download music service? They are the same people who have a MP3 player or iPod. They want a seamless experience.


    John hears a song on the radio at work. When he gets home, he decides to buy it so he can listen to it on his MP3 player. He buys it and copies it to the player to listen to the next day ...... Nah that would be logical and easy.

    Instead, John has to burn it to a CD, and find some way to re-encode it to put it on his device.

    And the music industry wonders why it hasn't taken off as they hoped? Even though John owns the track, it is still easier and faster for him to get the track off a P2P network than to use the copy he has legally downloaded. Unfortunately it is a case of cutting off their nose. When they stop treating everyone like theives, realise that their DRM security provided is pretty poor at best and start using legal channels to prevent piracy, rather than technical obsticles that only hurt legitimate users, it may work. Until then, they will sell a couple of songs when they do their < $1 specials, but the CD shops are going nowhere fast.
  • I'm ready to download songs from a local itunes music store - its a shame the record companies are dragging their heels and cybersquatters are standing in apple's way's hoping for a store early 2005
  • I have an iPod, and a Mac. So I will wait until iTunes Music store comes to OZ.
  • Also telstra have oh get so many songs when you sign up. That is the only advert I have ever seen.

    Telstra got raided remember for copywright infringement? whats this a backflip?

    Personaly I dont like telstra or its CEO's way of doing shams on customers. Fine print you cant read without NASA tech.

    Also Piracy lets see ... the girl that won australian Idiot (woops) didnt sell well and that bloke from gelong sold alot... isnt that saying something ... Not everything is pireted. Telstra is slowly falling into the hands of money grabers and the public are noticing it. I only know 1 person that has a telstra mobile these days.
  • I have been using iTunes in the USA. It's amazing (really) and worth the wait!!! (but, come on Apple, get it happening in Oz!!)
  • After finding it hard to find one of my tracks using the "illegitimate" means, I thought I'd use the bigpond service.
    Yes one of it's problems is that it's not promoted well, but apart from that it does not have a great range of songs, and you don't have a choice in the quality/bitrate of the song.
    I did end up paying for two songs, which I was happy to do. The quality was poor compared to the one available on Kazaa. Another track, being of the not-super-popular-like-delta-goodrem variety, was simply not available and i was fed up waiting and got it off kazaa.
    If the Apple service was available in Aus I'd certainly give it a go. It would HAVE to be better.
  • Early last year I decided to try the Destra site which was advertised on the DSE (Dick Smith Electronics) web site. I purchased a few songs and thought it was great. However it was clear to me that thier was not much choice in in songs I wanted and therefor did not go back to that site for about 3 months. When I did go back, DSE no longer offered there service. So now I am back to downloading for free.
  • I would like to dowmload a couple of Artur Blanch tracks also same for Slim Dusty . Are they available ?
  • Painfully slow sites is my main gripe. I will always by the cd proper for my favoured artists, however I do enjoy putting together legal compilations of tracks from artists from whom I don't want to pay for an entire album.

    I'm willing to be patient for the catalogue to grow, but the whole process is painful at the moment, the sites are often, not always, but far to often akin to wading through tar & just pure frustration. Hardly a way to spend a relaxing evening building your music collection.

    Their systems are full of KNOWN bugs yet their support systems are all shockingly inadequate, leaving the customer with even further frustration & wasted time.

    Wasted time is a huge issue, I often spent more than the average store cd price buying tracks individually for compilations, I've got no problem with that, I have got a problem with it taking 4 or 5 hours to do so. To the point I have stopped using them until thing improve.

    & don't get me started on issues with drm, it's fine when it works properly but a total nightmare when it doesn't, & don't even think about upgrading you os &/or pc without drm h****les.

    Short Version: "Must try harder" the overall standard of service would be completely unacceptable in the real world & any business with such low service delivery would go broke real quick, & deservedly so.