USA Today reports major problems with BuyMusic.com, the new Windows music-download service.
The newspaper reports that early users of the new service have been unable to transfer tunes to their MP3 players – even those lent to the press in a promotional blitz by BuyMusic.
BuyMusic.com launched last week. Company CEO Scott Blum said he expected to sell millions of tracks with the new service. The service uses Windows Media 9, so does not support Macs, and tracks cannot be transferred to Apple's market-leading iPod MP3 player.
"We're working on this", Blum said, promising free downloads and a fix for the problem today.
Apple has sold 6.5 million songs since April, one million in its first week, USA Today reported, adding that "BuyMusic won't release figures". Blum, however, has confirmed that "it's not millions".
One problem faced by BuyMusic is that it has been unable to tie labels to a standard digital-rights agreement, meaning that songs carry different usage limitations. "If you don't have a standard, it hurts consumers," Blum agreed.
Analysts Jupiter Media yesterday revised its initial optimism for the emerging digital-download industry. It now predicts the market will grow from under $1 billion in 2003 to $3.3 billion in 2008.
Jupiter Research Senior Analyst Lee Black said: "While Apple has rekindled interest in digital downloads, total digital sales will not surpass $80 million this year. The industry is suffering from competition for entertainment dollars, changing demographics, the end of the CD upgrade cycle and piracy."
Fellow Jupiter analyst mark Mulligan added: "Europe's online music market has been stuck in the starting blocks for the past few years, but the tide is finally beginning to turn.
"EMI's decision to make most of its catalogue available online is an eye-opener, and the foundation is now there for Europe's legitimate online-music market."