Currently being tested in Britain with a full-on rollout scheduled for December, digital radios that allow you to download a song you like for keeps should be landing elsewhere in the near future.
Australia, for instance, is supposedly getting these new radios in about a year and a half. Aside from being able to download songs directly, the units will also be able to display track, album, and artist images on built-in screens.
Is this too little, too late? We’ll see. I think pricing will be a big factor. How much will the radios cost and how much will each song cost? Up until now, the appeal of radio has been that’s a relatively inexpensive and hassle-free medium for consumers who aren’t all that picky about their music. If these things are too complicated and expensive, they’re going to have to compete for more tech-savvy consumers who already have the option of directly downloading music to their computers, some MP3 players and phones, and other devices that are already on the market.
Still, on paper it’s a good step for the radio industry. The execution will be what makes or breaks this new strategy, however.