Sony Commercial

november 9, 2004

So here I am watching the MTV show "Spankin' New: Yellowcard" and I am hit with a Sony Connect.com and Digital Walkman commercial over and over. The commercial features some band named Los Lonely Boys (only recognizable to me because of the spinning glass wall in the background that reads "Los Lonely B"). Hmm...Nice, but not as captivating as say...U2 promoting Apple's iTunes Music Store and iPod. It's not that there was some rather nameless and boring band playing some uninteresting tune (which in big letters at the bottom of the screen reads "available on Connect.com"). Rather it is the catch-line at the end of the commercial promoting the Digital Walkman line. The announcer says: "The family of Digital Walkman players from Sony, whatever you're into, there's a Walkman for you." Well, I am into a player that works on a Mac. I am into a player that supports native MP3 playback. I am into a player that interfaces with an application that is not buggy. So far, there is no Walkman for me -- so I am still using my Apple iPod. The announcer finishes his speech with the new Sony tagline, "Sony, Like No Other." Yea, right now they are like no other: They have players that support only ATRAC3 and ATRAC3pro -- and staunchly support no other (though they have announced that they will, but we have yet to see this talk come true). I want to see Sony succeed. The Sony brand name is still strong and the technology behind the Sony brand name is still good. What Sony needs to realize and change is the way that they utilize the brand name and the technology. Sony needs to utilize all their assets to make the company stronger. First, they need to do some true market research. Why does the iPod have 70% of all of the MP3 player market? Easy, because it plays MP3s (duh!). Sony needs to drop the ATRAC3-only thing and start supporting MP3s directly in hardware. Yea, ATRAC3 sounds good and gets good compression ratios, but sheesh, no one supports it. Second, Sony is a mega-entertainment company (SonyBMG) if they haven't noticed. Bring out the big guns (like with the DSC-T1 commercial featuring Steven Tyler) to promote the products. How about Beyonce, Justin Timberlake, Jennifer Lopez, Jessica Simpson, or Avril? These artists are on one of the labels that Sony BMG takes care of, get one of them to promote the digital products. Not to knock Los Lonely Boys, but Sony needs to use bigger names to be used to promote their products -- or if they want to use unknown talent, get some talent that is cool and aimed at the correct audience; the young audience is not going to respond to some old guy playing drums and two guitarmen singing -- look at what Apple did with (at the time unknowns) Jet and Steriogram. Third, Sony needs to fire the software engineers responsible for the crappy software that come out of the company (like SonicStage) and get someone to write a simple program that does things without all sorts of limitations and confusion. And lastly, Sony needs to innovate, stop following everyone and break down the internal barriers between Sony companies. Sony Corporation, like many other corporation is comprised of many internal companies. Companies like Sony Music, Sony Entertainment, Sony Electronics, and Sony Computer Entertainment. All of these companies work separately from each other -- and sometimes work against each other (like how Music forces Electronics to implement the inane ATRAC3 limitations on the digital music players to "stop" piracy). These barriers need to come down and the companies need to be encouraged to work together to bring together a unified front of products to the public. A PS2 with the harddrive add-on should be able to rip MP3s from CDs and store the music on the harddrive. The PS2 should be able to sync up its music with a Digital Walkman or PSP. The VAIO computers should be able to listen to music stored on the PS2. The new PS2 and PS3 should be able to rip DVDs onto internal harddrives in a secure format. That video should be able to be synchronized onto the upcoming PSP and written onto the UMD media that the PSP uses. An Internet connected PS2 or PS3 should be able to access the Connect.com music store to preview and buy music -- or even stream songs in a lower quality as an Internet radio station. The login used for Connect.com should be a universal login (much like Microsoft's Xbox Live login) so that people playing games online do not need to register with each game publisher. The PS3 should include a harddrive and TV tuner and it should offer TiVo like services (with TV programming information available on Connect.com). Shows that are recorded on the harddrive should be able to sync right onto a UMD disc inside a PSP or watched across a home network on a VAIO computer. The PS3 should have a DVD burner to let people archive shows and if this is not achievable on the PS3 budget, let a DVD-R equiped VAIO do the burning over the network. The ways that Sony could innovate using the combined talent and resources from its established companies are limitless. If only they can bring down the barriers that separate the companies. Please Sony, wake up. You have the potential, now take advantage of it!