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PassAlong: eBay Music Downloads & Multilevel Marketing September 24, 2004

Posted by David Card in Uncategorized.

PassAlong Networks launched its digital music store on eBay yesterday. Ironically, the characteristics that make it unique are practically buried in the store and its promotions. Here’s what’s new:

– PassAlong allows users to create digital stores they can promote via pages, email, and IM. If you buy a song or album I recommend, I get 10% of its value in points I can used to buy more music. If you pass that recommendation along, I get another 1%. This is one of the first easy-for-consumers multilevel marketing network I’ve seen in music. That’s a great idea for communities and P2P networks.

– The primary payment mechanism for PassAlong songs is PayPal, which, as we wrote here, can actually make selling 99-cent singles profitable.

Otherwise, it’s a Windows Media DRM store that supports auctions (who’s going to bid up 99-cent singles?), it’s kind of buried on the eBay site (although there’s an auction for 15 minutes on the phone with Avril Lavigne), its catalogue is thin (500K songs), and its store merchandising and programming is weak. PassAlong execs have software, community, and label expertise, but no retail or merchandising.

The company will also OEM its services to other stores, and has plans to give users credit for passalong sales even if they didn’t purchase the songs at the PassAlong store.

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