Road Test: Guvera
A new service called Guvera promises free music in exchange for being willfully marketed to, but is it really the solution to illegal downloading? ANDREW MCMILLEN finds out.
Guvera is a new online music service. It offers free downloads to consumers in exchange for the “pleasure” of being blatantly marketed to throughout the entire experience. Here’s how it works: instead of interrupting people with annoying ads, potential advertisers can inhabit a personalised channel that people will voluntarily visit (or, more accurately, tolerate) in exchange for 256kbps MP3s of their favourite artists. CEO Claes Loberg describes this as a “reversal of the advertising process”.
The site launched on March 30 to widespread media fanfare including a spot on A Current Affair, whose audience might not have been aware that “the internet is the electronic equivalent of going to a record store”, as one of the show’s talking heads revealed. However, Loberg admits they’re targeting those who currently obtain music illegally.
“The reality is that the people who want to use those [illegal] services still can,” he said. “What we’re trying to do is implement a service that creates an option for the music industry to try and monetise the free stuff that everybody’s already getting, by getting advertisers to pay for it.”
In theory, it’s an admirable endeavour. But how does the service rate in terms of usability and practicality?