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April 26, 2005

A Challenger Arises to Fight Audible

Just did want to notify you all who's going to be Audible's main competition in the digital downloading of audio books sector. Media Bay is joining forces with MSN Music to create the largest downloadable audio book fleet this side of Audible's union with Apple iTunes.

Media Bay powers their Audio Book Club which is sort of like the clubs you get through Columbia House or BMG Music if you ever got suckered into those.

Audio Book Club offers to it's members 4 audiobooks for 99 cents (plus shipping and handling) as long as you purchase 2 audiobooks at regular Club prices ($11.95-$30) within the next year. But then the hook is during the year you receive 12 Audio Book Club catalogs which contain hundreds of titles including their featured selection which is automatically shipped to you unless you specify that you don't want it on your mailed decision card or via their website within 10 days. It's probably not the hottest business model for the dot-com days. And good news for Old Time Radio fans that have upgraded to iPods. Media Bay also owns Radio Spirits and Radio Classics which I'm sure will make those a lot of old time radio programs available for digital download. And I'm guessing all Media Bay's audio books on the club will now be availabe for digital download.

But it ain't up on MSN Music yet as I can't really find any of their audio books there. But MSN Music does have a pretty nice Spoken Word Section which has a ton of audio programs available for digital download. I'll do a blog on this section at a later date, but it's got Smithsonian Folkways recordings, Maximum audio biographies of hot music pop stars, William S. Burroughs reading his poetry, a bunch of great comedy albums, and I'm sure a lot more if I browse enough.

So back to the main event. Media Bay & MSN Music go head to head with Audible & Apple iTunes at the 2005 Audio Publishers Association Conference in New York City on June 2nd for the Digital Audio Panel from 11:00a.m.–12:15 p.m. It's going to be a Royal Rumble.