Connected music players will totally reshape the future of music distribution. Record stores haven’t vanished because, let’s face it, shopping for music is fun – part of our utility in consuming media is sampling different goods.
When you combine connected music players with RFID, you get a whole new ecosystem of possbilities for music distribution. Ponder this for a second. RFID opens up whole new kinds of network possibilities for media goods in retail locations. The most obvious is record stores which can beam tracks directly into your iPod without a massive infrastructure investment, while you walk around different listening stations (or similar scenario).
But my money is on clubs becoming music distributors/retailers – when you go to a club, you can get the DJ set or selected tracks beamed into your player. This is a natural evolution for clubs, the most iconic of which (Tresor, Ministry) have evolved naturally into labels with dedicated shops. There are huge synergies here – we go to clubs to hear the tracks DJ’s have selected – that’s the value they add. But we don’t get to consume them later without incurring significant additional cost (ie, tracking down the right tracks on the right CDs at the right record stores). Eliminating this additional cost creates huge gains for consumers.