A “Celestial Jukebox” Variant

A real jukebox: Jukebox is reborn for the Internet age [pdf]

For the jukebox, digital technology and broadband Internet connections offer the hope of a comeback — and the possibility that, someday, for 50 cents or so, a customer could play any one of 2 million songs.

[…] One reason jukeboxes saw “an erosion in market share” was that they were infrequently updated, Vann-Adib said. Tired of hearing the same songs, customers played the jukebox less and less. Worse, they might even seek out a tavern with a better sonic atmosphere.

But a jukebox linked by the Internet to a database offers virtually unlimited choice. In Europe, Internet jukeboxes can theoretically access 2 million songs, Vann-Adib said. In the United States, where licensing laws are stricter, Ecast jukeboxes can dial up 150,000 songs, with more songs added every week.

[…] “A typical CD jukebox generates about $400 a month in revenue,” Vann-Adib said. “With our product, a jukebox generates an average of $1,000 a month.”

That extra revenue is a big plus in trying to convince a saloonkeeper that a jukebox is preferable to Muzak, Vara said.

[…] But in locations where both Muzak and jukeboxes could be suitable, the issue comes down to who should control the music, management or customers.

Muzak favors management.

“Muzak is about understanding what music is appropriate to a particular retail experience,” said Moore, before referring to a disco anthem of the late 1970s. “Everybody loves ‘YMCA.’ But you don’t want to be in a situation where someone can load up on the jukebox and play ‘YMCA’ 15 times in a row. To allow your customer to change your brand is a dangerous thing.

[…] Meanwhile, Ecast is experimenting with “genre-blocking,” which would prevent its jukeboxes from playing boisterous Saturday night music during the tender moment of a romantic dinner. One possibility is a filtering method that could be applied at different times of the day and on different days of the week.

Still, when it comes to determining what music should be played in public venues, ”power to the people” is Vann-Adib’s mantra.

Companion piece: On latest players, choice is unlimited [pdf]