Bopaboo Reviving the Used mp3 Marketplace

-Bopaboo Logo-I’ve always wondered if a marketplace for “used” music digital files would fly. There are some sites out there like GrooveShark which do support a marketplace for such activity, but it isn’t necessarily the primary premise of their service. Bethesda, Maryland based Bopaboo, however, has created a service that’s dedicated to the buying and selling of “used” mp3s.

This sounds silly to some, especially when you think about the word “used.” The files aren’t really “used,” and you’re not really transferring authorization to play an mp3 to another person since you get to keep your copy of the file. But with the $5.00 credit bopaboo gave me to try out the site, I was able to get the entire 808s & Heartbreaks album, along with about 10 other songs.

That’s because a “used” sellers market for mp3s is much closer to the supply and demand consumerism than a flat fee for subscriptions or all music in a given store. An individual user is going to make more money undercutting the retailer’s price, and a consumer purchasing music reaps the benefit of this discount. And Bopaboo? It takes 20% of the transaction.

From a conceptual level, there’s nothing really new here. The same way you go to Amazon.com and purchase a used book for a $1 as opposed to $25 for a new copy, you can go to Bopaboo and get a “used” track. Sellers can be rated and scored, so when your decision comes down to price and trustworthiness, you’ll know who the best seller is.

Now, there are other services that do various aspects of what Bopaboo offers, from Spiral Frog’s free downloads to Amie St.’s direct selling models that reflect the true market’s supply and demand. So if you’re one to pay for your digital music, determining whether or not to use Bopaboo may boil down to user experience. Bopaboo doesn’t leverage any outside recommendation systems and doesn’t have an internal recommendation engine either.

Searching for music can be cumbersome and time consuming, depending on what you’re looking for. And once you have purchased music, you’ll need to download each song individually, while remembering where you left off. All downloads are kept in one giant folder, so three separate transactions will be combined in your download box, organized alphabetically instead of by purchase date.