Mix: Gift cards, Spun, Music collections, Clear Channel

Gift cards for digital music downloads are helping to boost online music sales. “In the U.S. there’s been fantastic gift card download sales,” said Larry Kenswil, President of Universal Music Group’s eLabs unit. “Towards the middle of last year we were wondering if the digital revolution was over. But after the holiday season sales really picked up as a result of gift cards.”

Spun.com has launched a new service that allows customers to trade in their CDs, DVDs and video games for iPods or iTunes Music Store gift cards. “The transaction is fast and easy,” says Spun. “Simply log on to Spun.com, enter the ‘old media’ titles you want to exchange, and get instant credit toward digital gift cards and players. In a few days, you’ll receive your new digital entertainment gear, and a postage-paid box to ship your old CDs, DVDs and games back to Spun.”
Glenn Lovell of Knight Ridder writes about the difference between collecting music digitally compared to having a physical collection. “The idea of not having a tangible music collection—be it CD, cassette or vinyl album—has rattled some ardent collectors. They argue that without something to touch and discuss, you forfeit something fundamental.”

Clear Channel Communications plans to make some of its programming available to rival radio broadcasters. Reuters reports: “The new audio, video and text programming, developed by a community of 200 programmers called Format Lab, is expected to be used for Internet channels, station Web sites, Apple’s iPod, satellite broadcasts, high-definition radio broadcasts and other venues.”

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