I got an out of the blue email from Chris Reeder, who was one of the editors of the Yellow Journal (the scurrilous humor mag at the University of Virginia) when I was a young first year too timid and serious to contribute much but a little paste-up. (Aside: I use the term “editor” advisedly. In my yellowing copies from that year, he is varyingly credited as “First Mate” and “Voice of the Hamster.” So who the hell knows?) As coincidence goes, this was a pretty big one: turns out he’s in Boston, finishing up his MBA at Boston College.
I’m looking forward to meeting him again—I haven’t seen in in a baker’s dozen of years—and also to finishing his travel narrative, which is published online (semi-conveniently) in 101 RTF files as “My Life on Two Wheels” at his personal site. I’m currently up to chapter 24 and already feeling confirmed in my own personal journey.
The beta of MSN Music, the online music service from Microsoft (my former employer), launched yesterday. And unless I’m missing something, it looks very much like the same content being offered by all the other for-pay music download sites. No Beatles, no Radiohead, no Connells, light on the old school 80s rap.
In fact, it looks a lot like the other services, but requires Passport, a recent flavor of Windows, Internet Explorer, and Windows Media Player.
If I were a business developer for MSN music, I would be pushing hard to get exclusive artists and content. As a customer (note: I did not say, nor will I ever say, consumer), I’m actually kind of glad to see another storefront open up presenting the same goods in a slightly different format. It means that online music is becoming a commodity just as online CD purchases did, and we as customers can look forward to more and more benefits as retailers try to differentiate themselves, and as artists and labels realize that the online stores, not the Towers and HMVs, is where they should be concentrating their efforts.