The digital music revolution is not just about the latest Apple iPod or iPhone, or even iTunes, for that matter. While there are obviously a lot of players in the music industry as a whole, it is rare that we actually get to see something different, at least from the technology side.
The clever guys at Playbutton, while not inventing something new, have merged the “age old” MP3 Player and USB Thumb Drive, into a new style of portable music device.
While the newer player, called the Playbutton, is just a small button sized MP3 player by today’s standards, they have taken the approach that brought success to the early days of full albums and CDs; you can get the entire album onto each individual Playbutton. You can then collect these Playbuttons, for each of your favourite musicians. Then, as the name implies, you then pin the MP3 player onto your jacket or pack, plug in your headphones, and listen to the tunes of your music.
The problem with most “collections” these days is that there really is nothing to show for it. You can download all your itunes songs onto your ipod, but you can never really show other people. Remember the “old days” when you could physically show people your beautiful collections of DVDs, books, CDs, etc.? This definitely has a high potential, based on the collector mentality of most of us.
This is definitely where some of the trend volume and attachement will come from – as people are looking for that never ending sense of telling people about what they have and know. Now they can show it off, again.
They’ve obviously done some thinking about marketing as well, getting Canadian nice-guy-turned-bad-boy singer Justin Bieber with his new album release of “Believe” to lend an awful lot of weight to the marketing mix. Justin Bieber actually is one of the intro acts that they are purporting, having him post to his Facebook page to get, I would imagine, a large influx of orders from teenage girls – a great market that matches with music quite nicely.
Playbutton also allows the opportunity to customize your own play list – great for weddings, special events, concerts or promotional products. You could even think about putting a podcast or even a digital audiobook onto these devices for publishers.
This is an interesting device, that definitely fills some of the basic consumer needs of “telling” and the association of big brand names. While no product guarantees any kind of success, this should definitely have a positive response in the marketplace, as it gains some market traction. While the consumer attraction will probably be more to the younger set, to show-off their albums, there also is a continuity play for “collections” with a broader based consumer market.