’s Kiosks Focus On Retail Stores this week announced plans to debut 25 kiosks in 20 cities
under test-marketing agreements with music retailers Tower Records, Transworld
Entertainment and Wherehouse Music.

“Conducting this test with the leading music retailers in brick and mortar
confirms the continued commitment of the industry to meeting the needs of the
consumer through traditional distribution channels,” said Bob Bernardi,
chairman and co-CEO of

The kiosk is a compact, standalone unit
with a touchscreen monitor and technology that requires only a standard phone
line and an electrical outlet. The kiosk features on-screen animation with
voice direction, that talks the consumer through each step in the music
purchasing process.

The system allows a customer to choose music from thousands of tracks drawn
from’s total library of 200,000 songs. All tracks in the kiosk
are available for audio preview on the system. Each kiosk is, in effect, a
scaled-down version of the patented custom CD production system that powers’s popular Web-based service.

The unit can also make musical suggestions for gifts, most
popular artists and most popular tracks based on the personal tastes of each
consumer. The first five tracks cost $9.95, and additional tracks are $1
each. To further personalize the CD, the customer can add a title and a
graphic for the CD’s label. The kiosk will accept both cash and credit cards
for payment. When the consumer’s personal CD is ready (usually in five
minutes or less), the customer will also receive a jewel case and a tray card
listing all of their chosen tracks.’s retail kiosks will also allow consumers to securely download
digital music files directly into portable devices and portable media.
Because the kiosk’s digital tracks are stored locally, consumers without
high-speed Internet access at home will have a quick and convenient way to
buy digital tracks. Initially,’s kiosks will support the
download of “Secure MP3” files into the Diamond Rio 500, with additional
secure formats and players coming online as they become available.

Bernardi also announced that is working to complete an
agreement with The Smithsonian Institution to install, operate and test’s kiosks at selected Smithsonian Institution Museum locations
in Washington D.C. The museum kiosks will feature songs from more than 32,000
tracks in the Smithsonian/Folkways Collection of historic American music,
from premier American artists in the folk, roots, jazz, blues, rock, R&B and
classical genres, which has licensed.

“We are tremendously excited about this program with the Smithsonian
Institution,” said Bernardi. “Visitors from around the globe enjoying the
world’s finest Museums and Institution will be able to easily acquire their
own personalized piece of music Americana, directly from the
kiosks, while they wait.”

Starting Dec. 1, the kiosks will begin appearing in the following U.S.
cities: Boston; Washington D.C.; Arlington, Va.; San Diego; Los Angeles
(Pasadena & Manhattan Beach); New York City (Rockefeller Center and Lincoln
Center); Santa Barbara, Calif.; South Beach, Fla.; Albany and Victor, N.Y.;
Gaithersburg, Md.; Elizabeth and Hackensack, N.J.; Bellevue, Wash.; and West
Covina, Davis, and Concord, Calif.

There are also plans to install kiosks in Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas, Denver,
and Kansas City. It is expected that additional agreements will be announced
sometime in the near future. will program music for sale at
the kiosks tailored to the specific interests and consumer preferences of not
only the region, but each individual store location.

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