SONY BMG Music Entertainment today announced the launch of Platinum MusicPass, a series of digital album cards that enable consumers to download full-length albums, and in many cases special bonus content, in the form of high-quality MP3 files. The first 37 titles in the series, which represent musical genres ranging from Rock and Pop to R&B and Country, will debut on January 15th, 2008 and by the end of the month will be available at 4,500 retail outlets across the United States. In Canada, MusicPass will debut in late January of 2008.
"The introduction of MusicPass is an important part of SONY BMG's ongoing campaign to bring its artists' music to fans in new and innovative ways, and to develop compelling new business models," commented Thomas Hesse, President, Global Digital Business & U.S. Sales, Sony BMG Music Entertainment. "The MP3 files delivered through MusicPass play on computers, as well as on all MP3 players, including iPods. This makes them a simple, easy to use solution that will appeal to fans who already access their music on the Internet, as well as to consumers who are just getting into the digital realm. The cards themselves are high-quality collectibles featuring artist images and album information. They're a great choice whether you're buying for yourself, or as a gift for occasions ranging from a birthday to Valentine's Day."
According to the 2007 American Express Gift Card Survey, Americans plan to spend 25% of their total gift spending on gift cards, up from 13% in 2005. 61% of shoppers said they were planning to purchase at least one gift card, and on average intended to purchase a total of six cards.
In the United States, MusicPass cards will be available at Best Buy, Target, and Fred's on January 15th, with Trans World stores (Coconuts, FYE, Wherehouse, & Spec's) and Winn-Dixie rolling out the cards by the end of January.
In Canada, participating retailers include Best Buy, CD Plus, Future Shop, Shoppers Drug Mart and Wal-Mart. In addition, HMV will launch MusicPass in Canada during the first calendar quarter of 2008.
"We see MusicPass as a great way to bring digital music to the physical retail space," Mr. Hesse added. "We believe it will have strong appeal for a broad range of consumers, and that it will ultimately expand both the digital and physical markets for music. As we begin the roll out of this impressive new product we are extremely encouraged by the high levels of enthusiasm that MusicPass has generated among our artists and launch partners, and we look forward to making music fans across the U.S. and Canada a part of the MusicPass experience."
"We're happy to be participating in the launch of a new physical format of digital music for retail," commented Jennifer Johnston Schaidler, Vice President, Music, Best Buy. "Physical products like this will be another way for Best Buy to deliver music and entertainment to our customers in a manner that suits their needs whether it is an impulse purchase, gift, or great collectible. Digital music doesn't need to be restricted to online environments. We look forward to learning how physical products can help grow the digital marketplace."
Rich Romano, Prepaid Card Sales Manager, Winn-Dixie, commented, "We are excited to have the opportunity to partner with SONY BMG to launch this initiative. An extensive list of titles and bonus material from superstar artists makes this offering unlike any other in the marketplace; it gives our customers the opportunity to purchase new release albums while they do their grocery shopping."
SONY BMG is offering Platinum MusicPass cards at leading national retailers through a technology and distribution relationship with InComm, the nation's largest marketing and technology provider for gift and music cards and other prepaid products.
"We are excited to be working with SONY BMG on Platinum MusicPass," commented Brooks Smith, InComm President and CEO, "We believe people want a physical product as part of their music purchase, and these cards speak directly to that desire -- they have great graphics and a quality look and feel that will make them highly collectible. We look forward to working with SONY BMG as we roll out this exciting new product line."
The cards will be priced at a suggested list retail price (slrp) of $12.99 which will include the complete digital album plus bonus material or, in the case of compilations, extensive track listings.In order get the content from their MusicPass cards consumers scratch the back of their card to unveil their pin number. They then visit MusicPass.com to download their music files and bonus material.
Two of the albums included in the initial offering -- Celine Dion
's Taking Chances
and Kenny Chesney
's Just Who I Am: Poets & Pirates
-- will be made available both as regularly priced Platinum MusicPass Cards, and in special slrp $19.99 versions through which consumers will receive the complete album and bonus material, plus the choice of one additional album from that same artist's rich catalog of recordings.
The initial slate of Platinum MusicPass titles is as follows:
Platinum MusicPass Albums with Bonus Material:
, Viento A Favor
, As I Am
, The Best Damn Thing
, The Greatest Songs of the Seventies
Boys Like Girls
, Boys Like Girls
, 5th Gear
Brooks & Dunn
, Cowboy Town
, Residente o Visitante
, Todo Cambio
, Carnival Ride
, The Altar and The Door
, Taking Chances
, Elvis 30 #1 Hits
, Just Who I Am: Poets & Pirates
, Waking Up Laughing
, I'm Not Dead
, Ultimate Santana
, Little Voice
, Sean Kingston
, How To Save A Life
Three Days Grace
Platinum MusicPass Compilations:
Various, 70's Pop Hits
Various, Rock Of The 70's
Various, Sensational 60's
Various, Country Gold: The 90's
Various, 80's Pop Hits
Various, Classic Rock
Various, Everlasting Love
Expanded MusicPass Titles:
Kenny Chesney, Just Who I Am: Poets & Pirates
Celine Dion, Taking Chances