Look, can we maybe just admit a few things that we may be mildly obsessed with?
Maybe, say, an obviously highly commercial reality TV program where clearly nothing is even remotely real, but somehow I end up getting teary every time because some little lost rocker is achieving his / her dream of stardom?
Ok, here it is: I watch Rockstar Supernova. On DVR so that I can rewind and watch my favorite "rockers" again. And, I liked two of the songs soooooo much that I actually went online to download them.
Wait, let's be clear.
Not the original versions of the songs. Nay, young marketer, nay.
Rather I bought the whole boatload of branded TV and downloaded the versions by the reality TV stars themselves: Rebel Yell by
Billy Idol Lukas Ross and Lithium by Nirvana Dilana Robichaux.
And, ok, since we're admitting things. I downloaded two others, too, since I was there.
And, of course, I immediately tried to import them into iTunes so that I could dance around with them blaring in my iPod (a la your average 30-something).
<error> <error> <error>
However, these files were created by Microsoft. AND are in WMA format. WHICH is not compatible with iTunes. AND is actually only compatible with computers and about three portable music players. WHICH is super handy for music one MIGHT WANT TO TAKE WITH HER.
How did I find this out? Was it clearly stated that these files - priced exactly like all MPG downloads are priced - would not work with the type of music players the vast, vast majority of the market owns? Um, no. It was in the fine print in the FAQ. Brilliantly placed so that only aggravated post-purchasers could locate it.
A miserable consumer experience. And, a monopoly (with exclusive rights to these particular songs). Oh, Microsoft, how you hate consumers so.
Actual fake memo from lead product manager to marketing team regarding new proprietary format:
Dear Marketing Department,
We’re ready to launch our new M*N Music Store. Instead of using the global standard for security and portability – MPG – we’ve elected to build our own proprietary format that will prevent customers from listening to these songs on any portable music player anyone, anywhere presently owns.
No worries, we’re selling music players, too – so, they’ll just have to buy a new $300 player for the songs they buy at the Music Store. Perhaps someday – possibly in a parallel universe – this will destroy our evil foe, iP*d.
Here’s where you come in – we have financial projections to reach to justify the product development budget. So, we’re hoping you could delay any consumer education on this product. We’re thinking, develop a price point, look/feel and experience that’s just like iTunes.
Customers will get excited about the exclusive deals we’ve worked out with key artists who long ago traded their integrity to win a few billions of Bill’s big ad budget. And, they’ll download without even guessing that someone could have created a new format that won’t work with any device they currently own.
Once they’re hooked, we’ll provide the compatibity info in super fine print that users will find when they try to troubleshoot errors. And, then we can cross sell our new portable devices, too.
Remember our motto: Screw the customer. Most of them can’t get around using us anyway.
Satan C. Frogface
M*N Product Manager