Amazon’s inability to ship Lady GaGa album downloads is getting a bit of attention currently. I doubt they under-estimated demand – if anyone knows about demand it’s Amazon.
It was unlikely to be a basic scaling problem either. Just about anyone with a hardware budget and a few decent systems/network guys can manage to get a few million music downloads out the door these days. Of course Amazon could handle the load, if it were as simple as transactions and file serving.
However it could be that Amazon have been forced to do transactional tagging, which would increase the cost and risk of high volume music delivery many times over.
UITS is a likely culprit.
I can’t see how transactional tagging adds value for Amazon, and in this case it looks, if I am right, like it might have destroyed value on a large scale. I also doubt it adds value for Lady GaGa, and I have yet to see any explanation of how it adds value for anyone else.
Is someone somewhere keeping a ‘leaky service index’ and gearing up to punish retailers on that basis? The presence of a transactional tag shows at least that the file was bought so it surely cannot be that record labels intend to start targeting the relatively few people who actually buy music, can it?