Virgin enters the fray

Europeís Digital Music services are doing a pretty convincing impression of London buses: you sit waiting as nothing comes for ages and then suddenly 3 or 4 come along all at once. Hot on the heals of MSNís, Tiscaliís and HMVís services comes Virgin Megastoreís. As with its competitors it is powered by the increasingly omnipresent OD2.

All of which is good news for :

∑ consumers because of increased choice
∑ record labels because these services may help offset declining sales
∑ Europeís digital music market because a la carte services are crucial to driving initial growth of online music services

I think there is plenty of scope for further entrants into the market over the mid-term future. Bear in mind that all these services are powered by OD2, other back-end vendors will enter the market to provide competition both on price and quality of service. Also the nature of the consumer facing side of the market will change. The sleeping giants of the retailers are finally beginning to stir from their collective slumber and will be a vital conduit for first-time-online-music-buyers who will be drawn by the familiar off-line brands.

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