Bose shows first PC powered jukebox

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    Victoria Laney

    AMOA Atlanta, October 24

    Bose corporation has teamed with TouchTunes Digital Jukebox to create the first jukebox that requires no CD Roms.

    It uses digitally encoded music sent over a phone line, and stored on the hard drive of an Intel Pentium computer. Customers use a touch screen to select their tunes. The music is played back through Bose amplifiers and speakers.

    The complete jukebox is assembled by Bose corporation to ensure the audio quality. The jukebox is being demonstrated at the Amusement and Music Operators Expo, and will be available for shipment in February, said John Margold, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for TouchTunes.

    Even over the noise of pinball machines and video games on the AMOA expo floor, jukebox tunes and lyrics were crystal clear. Arcade owners placed orders and clustered around the jukeboxes, which resemble stereo television sets. They each come with a dual Bose sound system for two zones with independent controls.

    Because the songs are in digital format, they can be downloaded before CD Roms are pressed and sent to records stores. “Everyone was waiting for record stores to receive Elton John’s new version of Candle in the Wind. An eagerly awaited song like that can be heard it on a TouchTunes jukebox the day after it is recorded,” said Jim Scammon of Bose Corporation.

    The new jukeboxes offer 750 hit songs. Songs and accompanying artwork are pre-loaded on the hard drive when the jukebox ships. Jukebox operators can chose from a minimum data-base of 25,000 songs. Only hit songs are downloaded. There is no need to include every song on a CD. “Most CDs have one or two popular songs, while the rest of the disc is never played,” Margold said.

    The jukebox operator can order new songs, and eliminate old ones, using the touchtone screen. A special code is required so that customers or staff cannot change the songs. The computer dials a toll-free number. New songs are downloaded over an MCI telephone line. No dedicated phone line is required. When the phone is needed for a call, the computer automatically stops the download. It continues after the voice call is finished. Through multi-tasking, the jukebox can still be played while new songs are downloading, Scammon said.

    Traditional jukeboxes are purchased with a set of start-up disks. The operator must buy new discs each month, and buy replacement parts once the jukebox is out of warranty. TouchTune jukeboxes are placed in return for a percentage of the profits. The jukebox, music, record company payments, performance rights, telephone charges, and replacement parts are all provided by TouchTunes, Margold said.

    The jukebox is 107 years old in 1997. There are about 250,000 commercially-used jukeboxes in the US. About 120,00 of those are CD jukeboxes. An estimated 75-80 million Americans hear music on a jukebox each week, according to AMOA figures.

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