You can buy anything from a vending machine, from shoes to iPods and earthworms — and now that includes DRM-free digital music, too. Starting today at 10 Quick Chek convenience stores across New York and New Jersey, manufacturer MOD Systems' new Download2Go kiosks will allow shoppers to download individual songs or entire albums to SD memory cards and USB devices.
Idle listeners can tap the touchscreen display to browse tracks by Lady Gaga, Seal and the Rolling Stones, search by artist, album or song title, or request recommendations on similar albums. Once selected, a USB-enabled device such as an Android or BlackBerry cell phone, MP3 player or thumb drive is inserted, with transfer starting after a swipe of the credit card payment. The unprotected tunes are playable on a range of gadgets from Mac and PC laptops to portable media players, with users able to transfer freely between devices. Smartphone owners, who already enjoy on-demand music sampling and download options through services like iTunes, may scoff. Handsets and streaming data plans still remain an expensive commodity for many, though, and reception can of course wash out, especially in rural or highly-trafficked metropolitan areas. Should rollouts be extended to airports, subways and other locations where connectivity remains dubious, extended layovers may suddenly sound that much easier to stomach.