Virgin to launch jukebox software, online music store by August

“British billionaire Richard Branson’s latest company, Virgin Digital, is developing its own digital jukebox and online music store with music delivery company MusicNet that will be available by the end of August, the companies said on Sunday,” Reuters reports. “Newly launched Virgin Digital, with offices in Los Angeles and London, is part of Virgin Group Ltd., which includes an airline, a record label, mobile phone service, Virgin Megastores and other assets.”

Reuters reports., “Ultimately, Virgin Digital will work on mobile phones, handheld devices and other consumer electronics gear, said Zack Zalon, president of Virgin Digital. The product will include a jukebox, the ability to burn, rip and encode songs onto CDs, access to Virgin’s digital music club and its Radio Free Virgin Internet radio stations, Zalon declined to comment on pricing for the online store, which will let consumers buy songs individually or subscribe to the service.”

“‘We’re not releasing the (pricing) information but it’ll be hyper competitive,’ Zalon said. The prevailing per-song price for legal, purchased music downloads is 99 cents. Virgin Digital will be moving into an already crowded field, populated by Apple Computer Inc.’s iTunes software and online music store, and myriad others — from Roxio Inc.’s revived Napster service to MusicMatch,’ Reuters reports. “‘We’re not afraid not to be first movers in this space,’ Zalon said. ‘We think that if we time it right, it will be the second movers who win.'”

Full article here.

12 Comments

  1. One would have thought that if they wanted to get on mobile phones they’d go AAC. Do they intend on charging again for the phone, or are they hoping that microsoft can finally push their “standard” onto phones too?
    I must say, I do have to wonder whether Apple hasn’t missed a great revenue opportunity by not licensing fairplay. It’s getting high time that they started, as they don’t want to be perceived to be in isolation. The last thing Apple needs is MS to get control of A/V content, and if the phone and other device manufacturers start shifting to WMA (because everyone but Apple is using it) it’ll be too late.

  2. “‘We’re not afraid not to be first movers in this space,’ Zalon said. ‘We think that if we time it right, it will be the second movers who win.'”

    But what about Virgin, the thousandth movers?

  3. Right now Apple is leading both in music downloads and music player sales. If Apple had to make a choice I wonder which one of the two Apple would prefer to dominate?

  4. This whole music download thing is feeling more and more like the dotcom bubble. Everybody is jumping on the bandwagon but only those that have a business model that works will be around in 3 years. And the only business model that I have heard of so far is Apple. They are making money off ITMS by selling iPods, everyone else is just bleeding red ink.

  5. correction *only business model I have heard of THAT WORKS

    Also I agree with Bo’ster, I hope Apple has plans to license Fairplay and make sure they are involved WHENEVER online music is involved.

  6. “Free, Virgin, Internet, smells fishy to me.” – Sailfish

    Sounds like one of those pr0n spam, doesn’t it?

    By August, how many people will use iTMS? Once they have iTMS on their Windows, how many will go for other alternatives? And WMA doesn’t play on iPod. There are similarities in his comments and Gorog’s. Branson = Gorog’s rich twin?

    About the comment that the second mover wins: That would be buymusic.com *shudder at the thought*

  7. yeah, i love Branson.. WTF man… why not at least talk to apple..

    uh oh well.. i guess i have to err on the side of reason now.. Virgin’s brand has spread too thin and they are cannibalizing their megastore revs… uhhh besides killing any impulse buys (go in for a cd, stop at the bookstore etc)

  8. Oh great, Virgin is getting in on the game, now he can try price gouging and once everyone else is gone he can jack up the prices and charge $24 for one cds worth of music, Virgin stores are the biggest rip offs! Do not be tempted by the dark side.

  9. I don’t understand. Everyone admits that at 99 cents per song, you need to sell a million a week to make any money. So let’s do $10 per month instead???? Granted, you don’t own the songs so maybe you can make people come back over and over again to play the same songs (I know I wouldn’t).

    The only business model that works is to sell the songs as a loss leader to sell —- ( fill in the blanks – iPods). So now we have a whole bunch of music services that are lining up for the right to lose money. If you sell your own music player, then it makes sense to have your own music site or else partner with someone.

    Here goes the Windows business model again. Hardware and software manufacturers pay licensing fees to MS for the right to drive one another out of business. I repeat, I don’t understand.

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