In an attempt to offset sluggish CD sales, six of the largest music retailers have come together to create Echo, a company that will tap consumers into the burgeoning world of digital music. According to Billboard, Best Buy, Tower Records, Virgin Entertainment Group, Wherehouse Music, Hastings Entertainment, and Trans World Entertainment Group have all joined forces to offer consumers a range of in-store and online content and special deals though what is being called a "supercharged loyalty card program."
The six partners will distribute thousands of free "starter" CDs that consumers can use to become Echo members. After the free software is installed, Echo will track info on what music members play, stream, or download (as well as where they surf). In exchange, consumers will get free downloads, bundled promo packages, email updates, etc., all targeted to the user's personal tastes. Echo is scheduled to go live before the year's end.