HITS Daily Double


Will Partnership To Provide CDKey To Labels Be Key To Consumer Loyalty?
While online journalists investigate supposed plans by the biz to produce CDs that limit consumer options with restrictive anti-copying technology, the CD database experts at Gracenote are betting on tech that gives CD buyers more options.

That’s the thinking behind the company’s newly announced partnership with Infotects, an Oregon-based software and systems developer. Infotects’ CDKey gives consumers who purchase a particular disc access to such bonuses as extra tracks, videos, advance ticket sales, coupons and discounts. Gracenote’s CD-recognition technology (which powers the widely used CDDB) is used to confirm the legitimacy of the disc via an Internet connection; users are then able to access bonus material.

Because the bonus elements are customizable—and can be delivered to consumers via links on artist sites, among other places—labels can tailor the CDKey application to their particular promotional objectives. Users, naturally, supply e-mail addresses and other info and are given the option to sign up for artist newsletters.

So far, Capitol (promoting Coldplay and Otep) and Island Def Jam (Primer 55) have integrated CDKey into campaigns.

"Our relationship with Infotects will enable us to provide CDKey promotions to record labels and artists on a larger scale, which benefits music fans worldwide," declared Gracenote President David Hyman. "And I’m really stoked to be in a relationship where keys are exchanged, because that’s, like, a total commitment. It’s scary, but sometimes I’m so giddy I have to, like, dance around and stuff. Seriously."

"The synergy between Gracenote and Infotects make this a valuable partnership for delivering CDKey," added Infotects CTO Vince Price. "Gracenote’s unrivaled music recognition technology and Infotects’ focus on professional services will unlock the value of CDKey to the entertainment and digital media industries. I promised David I wouldn’t use the word ‘synergy,’ but I’m just so majorly geeked."

By the way, Vince, you were deliciously terrifying in Theatre of Blood and The Masque of the Red Death.

With rampant online piracy a primary concern for major labels, much energy has been devoted to figuring out how to prevent CD buyers from swapping music files on the Net. Meanwhile, as arguments continue to rage about the impact of file sharing on an increasingly difficult sales climate for sales, Gracenote and Infotects believe tools like CDKey not only reward consumers for legitimately obtaining music product, but provide means to maintain and strengthen the relationship with fans after they buy.

Meanwhile, we look forward to the day when we figure out how to put a CD into our computers.