Online music services have sprouted up like so much ragweed in an unplowed field in early spring. It's getting harder to keep track of them--Apple's iTunes, Roxio's Napster, RealNetworks' Rhapsody, Virgin Digital, Yahoo!'s Launch, and the list goes on and on. There are also online music stores from Wal-Mart, Best Buy, and other retailers. Some providers market premium subscription services, others sell single digital downloads, many offer both.
The topic was "The Future of Advertising" and expectations were high. How often, if ever, has Microsoft's chief software guru spoken on such a topic?
Yahoo! CEO Terry Semel, who stood on a Microsoft stage and suggested to customers of MSN who are no doubt, customers of Yahoo!, that it's important to work together toward a common goal "to take greater and greater share of market and voice."
Not even a hardcore hit by European Union regulators could dampen the spirits of marketers, agency executives, and the MSN folks gathered last night for a cocktail reception kicking off the MSN Customer Summit
Wal-Mart, middle America's favorite retailer, has thrown its hat into the increasingly crowded online music arena. The chain began testing its online music store concept late last year and is selling digital singles for 88 cents a piece-undercutting, (of course), the rest of the field. Apple, Roxio's Napster, RealNetworks' Rhapsody, and a host of other online music providers charge music aficionados 99 cents per download. None of the online music providers are making any money.
Two Internet giants sharing the same stage--yep. Both going after the same customers. That would be Yahoo! and MSN promoting the power of online marketing as Microsoft kicks off its annual MSN Customer Summit on Thursday. This year's event is a huge affair, where I'm told at least a couple hundred marketers and agency executives and more than 20 journalists will gather to hear MSN's vision for interactive media and marketing.
In its first buyers panel survey, Interevco, an online advertising consulting and rep firm, found that 57 percent of the planners it queried were "somewhat bullish" or "bullish" with regard to the second quarter outlook for online media.
Multiple press reports are circulating (again) about the potential spinoff or sale of Time Warner's America Online division. These reports seem to ebb and flow driven by multiple factors---rumors swirling in the investment banking community, Time Warner earnings reports, the uphill slog for AOL in converting dial-up subscribers to broadband, ongoing federal probes into allegations of improper accounting, and the list goes on and on.
Earlier this month, a source sent me a link to a survey via AOL. It was an odd little thing and I didn't know quite what to make of it, but it might be indicative of the kinds of marketing and promotions AOL is attempting.