Technology enhances versatility in music delivery systems
Whether you're a small retailer or a good-sized chain, choosing to use
music as part of your image is a decision fraught with headaches. Broadcasting
tunes without buying the rights to them is a violation of copyright law,
so you're subject to fines if you simply play your personal compact disc
collection; the same goes for playing the local radio station over your
speakers. Instead, many retailers enlist music delivery services, which
obtain licenses for thousands of titles, then deliver a customized mix of
songs by satellite or on CD.
Problems still arise, says Lon Troxel, CEO and president of Los Angeles-based
DMX, a company specializing in delivery of residential and commercial music.
Some retailers can't get permission from the mall or property owner to put
a satellite dish or antenna on the building roof, and making changes in
CD mixes for on-premise systems sometimes takes 90 days or more.
For retailers who want more control and flexibility, DMX recently unveiled
Axis, a system in which stores use a receiver that plugs into a phone line
to access the Internet. It can share a line with a fax machine because it's
not on-line more than a few minutes each day, says Troxel. DMX works with
retailers to develop a unique "music profile" based on the store's
image, then programs 400 hours of music. The central system dials into individual
store devices a few times a day, establishing a modem connection with the
Axis receivers and downloading updates that refresh the mix of music so
customers will hear new songs every time they come into the store.
DMX eventually will switch all its systems currently found in
Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale's, Chili's and Coach Leather establishments
to Internet-only technology. Though the new system debuted in women's
footwear giant Nine West, Troxel says the system is accessible enough not
to exclude small retailers. "The cost parameters are not prohibitive
to taking it down to individual stores," he says.
by Stacey King
Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.