Tesco’s takes on iTunes with new down­load ser­vice

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - News -

This week’s an­nounce­ment by su­per­mar­ket gi­ant Tesco of a fur­ther move into mu­sic re­tail­ing pro­vides yet an­other rea­son to hope for the con­tin­ued ex­is­tence of lo­cal in­de­pen­dent record stores.

On the back of £2.8 bil­lion (¤3.5 bil­lion) prof­its for the past year, Tesco re­vealed plans to re­vamp their cur­rent mu­sic down­load of­fer­ing and to po­si­tion it as yet aother chal­lenger to Ap­ple’s iTunes.

Tesco Dig­i­tal will re­launch in May and aims to have more than 3.3 mil­lion songs avail­able for down­load as MP3s by the end of the year. This is in con­tast to its cur­rent down­load store (www.tescodown­loads.com), where songs are avail­able in Win­dows Me­dia for­mat only.

It’s a fur­ther sign of Tesco’s in­ten­tions to in­crease its rev­enues by mov­ing away from tra­di­tional food and cloth­ing lines. Ac­cord­ing to the com­pany’s latest fig­ures, sales of such items as CDs, DVDs, books and elec­tron­ics rose by nine per cent last year. Nat­u­rally, the move into mu­sic down­loads will be fol­lowed by film and TV show down­loads in time.

One sec­tor which has suf­fered sig­nif­i­cantly from the move by Tesco and other su­per­mar­ket chains into mu­sic re­tail­ing is the tra­di­tional record store.

There have been whole­sale changes here in the past few years, with the dis­ap­pear­ance of such on­ce­sig­nif­i­cant play­ers as Tower in the US and Vir­gin in the UK and Ire­land.

There has also been a huge re­duc­tion in the num­ber of in­de­pen­dent stores, with many out­lets now flog­ging mo­bile phones and DVDs where once they sold CDs and vinyl.

But in­de­pen­dent stores are still in busi­ness, and to­mor­row’s world­wide Record Store Day (www. record­store­day.com) is a world­wide event en­dorsed by many big names in an at­tempt to re-fo­cus at­ten­tion on the lo­cal record shop.

While many big­ger shops have been squeezed out, there are still many in­de­pen­dent stores world­wide which con­tinue to pro­vide the kind of ser­vice, knowl­edge and en­thu­si­asm about mu­sic which you won’t find in your lo­cal Tesco.

And there are still dozens of Ir­ish indies up and down the coun­try worth sup­port­ing to­mor­row – and ev­ery week – when it comes to buy­ing mu­sic.

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