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November 18, 2008

They couldn’t make it more confusing if they tried

LONDON, England – I’m at risk now of outing an unpopular opinion here, but I don’t get the marketing for Comes with Music. I like it, in that it’s original, quite clever and most definitely very cool. But, from a communication perspective I have a simple problem (or two, as it happens) in that it doesn’t really tell me what the service is, or what it’s supposed to do. After all, this is a service where, after you’ve bought a device, you get all-you-can-eat music without having to spend another penny.

As Mike eluded to in his post yesterday, we’re hotly debating the pluses and minuses of Comes with Music. I’m quite evangelical about it. It suits my approach to music (almost) perfectly. For me, things like DRM aren’t too troublesome and I can easily see past other shortcomings people have raised (and let’s face it, they’re not difficult to see past). What this service gives me is two things. The first is an opportunity to create a more complete music library than I have currently (my iTunes library has more holes than a Wall Street banker’s accounts) by enabling me to not worry about which album I’m going to buy (I’ll simply have them all, if there’s an artist I like). The second is simply to experience new music.

Cost, I’ll admit, has always been a factor for me when it comes to buying music. I’m not an avid music consumer, but I do buy and listen to music. To have the option to listen to something new definitely interests me, but given the standard of music in a lot of parts today, compared to 10 or 20 years ago (maybe this is just a “you’re getting older Mr BC” taste thing) it really is hit and miss as to whether you’re going to get a killer album or a one-hit-wonder surrounded by manufactured tat. With Comes with Music it doesn’t matter.

And it’s these points, I think, a lot of people fail to see. It’s also these points which I’m not sure Comes with Music’s advertising gets across. The idea of using track names to tell stories (and show off the variety) is clever, but what’s it telling me about the service? Not much, if I’m honest. I’m not a marketing guru, but I do have a fundamental understanding of communication. So maybe I’m just being stupid. But then, that’d be all the more reason for the advertising to help me understand, no?