Is There A Market for Used Digital Media?

Buying and selling used DVDs, CDs and other physical media has been around for as long as the media itself. Doing the same with used digital media is a bit trickier though and, until now, setting up a legal marketplace has seemed all but impossible. This is set to change with tomorrow’s launch of ReDigi’s beta, a service that looks to give its members an avenue for selling and trading their (non dog-eared and moisture-damaged) virtual media.

ReDigi is nothing if not ambitious. Billing itself as “the world’s first online marketplace for used digital music” and giving users the ability to purchase new songs for “a fraction of the price currently available on iTunes”, the site looks to make a bold entry into the already crowded digital music retail scene.

So, how does it work you ask? Well, ReDigi has recruited a whole gang of super-smart programmers to construct software that allows for the kind of  non-copyable peer-to-peer file transfers that its service requires. This means, simply enough, that once you’ve sold a file, it’s gone from your computer and neatly sent over to the buyer. The legality of a sold song is determined by ReDigi’s Verification Engine, ensuring that each track has been bought from a digital retailer.

The site is also working to cut artists in on revenue gained from its sales. Although only vaguely defined for now, ReDigi explains that it will be “giving artists and labels a significant portion of all proceeds from the sale and each subsequent resale of their music.”

The whole process is carried out through the site (accessible across multiple platforms with a single account) and the ReDigi Music Manager software client. A new member is immediately able to check out the marketplace or begin managing their song library through ReDigi’s cloud service. Buying songs allows users to choose from an extensive catalog of new or used files then manage their playback in the traditional mode (storing in iTunes or other designated folders and players). Selling tunes involves uploading them to the ReDigi cloud and then waiting for them to get bought up while the software automatically handles the transaction and rewards the seller with credits.

ReDigi has drummed up significant interest in its service through Facebook and Twitter, gathering a healthy mass of followers and “Like”s in the time leading up to its beta. Considering how important a solid user base will be in establishing a continuously worthwhile marketplace, ReDigi’s viability already looks promising. What will really determine the success of the service is how actively these potential users make use of the marketplace — without a bustling trading community it will be difficult for ReDigi to stick out amongst the competition of existing digital music retailers.

We’ll see how it pans out soon enough. The ReDigi beta goes live this Thursday (October 13) and allows users to sign up on a first-come, first-serve basis. The service is free to use and compatible with both PC and Mac operating systems. Head over to ReDigi to check out more information on the site or to add a handy bookmark for tomorrow’s beta launch.