Mark Cuban speculates that Google or Microsoft are in a good position to enter into the online music sales industry and capture that market from Apple.
The underlying principle here would be offering the downloaded songs for free and leveraging on the possibility of being able to offset the cost thru advertising.
What I’m not sure is how the advertising will be applied. Will Google just do a Youtube-style approach and just flash everything with Adsense? I don’t think Google’s Adsense will be able to generate enough revenue to offset free music downloads, so there must be some more valuable trade-off there.
This may sound a bit aggressive but one possibility is to do in-song advertising. Could Microsoft pull it off by injecting 10 second ads at the beginning of each downloaded song? Ahh, back to traditional radio ads, this time directly from your music player.
I can barely hear it now.
This song is brought to you by… (10 seconds later… music pipes in).
Will that bite? A lot of popular podcast shows are able to subsidize their cost using this approach, so it’s not far from reasonable to do the same with music. It may not appeal to everyone but I’m sure there’s a sizeable market there.
And with Microsoft’s Zune player hanging tight, the idea might not be a bad move after all.