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"If you want to compete with the iPod, you won't win with a better looking video screen...but if your player is full, that changes the equation."
—-Hal Oppenheimer, PushButtonMusic

CAN PRE-LOADED MUSIC TRUMP THE IPOD?

BDS Founders PushButton on Filling Devices Before Purchase
How do you compete with the iPod?

According to Broadcast Data Systems founders Hal Oppenheimer and Robert Uhlmann, with a portable media player that already comes pre-loaded with 30k songs.

PushButtonMusic is a pre-launch start-up helmed by the pair which builds on the terrestrial radio monitoring system they started in the ‘80s and is now part of Nielsen Entertainment.

“We have a really good sense for what American consumers listen to," Oppenheimer told Digital Music News.

The company is assembling a list of 30k songs by monitoring airplay, file-sharing, purchasing, social networking and club spins that, according to Oppenheimer, addresses “98% of the market."

The plan is to pre-load that pyramid of songs onto devices, before it hits consumer hands.  The company is scheduling its initial launch in July, at which point consumers can handpick their collections online and have their pre-loaded devices shipped to them. 

But the idea is not iTunes compatible, and relies on a subscription-based relationship  of around $20 per month, using MediaNet Digital. 

PushButton will initially launch on a 30GB, Creative Zen, a size that trims the collection to about 7,000 songs.  But much bigger players are on the roadmap, potentially by Christmas.

MediaNet offers subscription-based licensing, though PushButton has met with labels to explain the service.

Militating against the plan are the fact iPod owners seem incredibly happy, and subscription-based models have not quite caught on with the public.

"If you want to compete with the iPod, you won't win with a better looking video screen," Oppenheimer told Digital Media News.  "But if your player is full, that changes the equation."

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