Fattening your iPod at digital filling stations in the near future


Jason Huntley’s Disc-Go Digital Studios provide on-the-spot music database

In a day and age of instant information and entertainment, there are still a few gaps that need to be filled. You may be endlessly frustrated with the droll fare of modern radio, or you’ve been stymied in the pursuit of making your own mix CDs by a lack of technological know-how.

Indy’s Jason Huntley recognized these gaps while still a student at the Butler School of Business in 2003, when NUVO first caught up with him. At that time, Huntley concentrated on creating and marketing the prototype of a machine that would allow users to burn compact discs on the spot. He called them Disc-Go machines, and they were basically small, one-person kiosks with a computer screen interface that allowed users to select songs from a library of music and instantly create their own personalized CD.

“There was definitely a demand to mix and match back then,” Huntley says. “One of the biggest holdups was the software. I wanted to make it easier and convenient, so people didn’t have to have any previous knowledge of the technology.”

What began as a small, one-man operation, in which Huntley personally obtained distribution rights from local and regional artists for their songs, has bloomed since NUVO last covered his story. The boxy-looking prototype Huntley first unveiled is now simply, in the words of Chairman Mao, “the spark that lit the prairie fire.”

Huntley is now vice president of operations and the managing partner and founder of Digital Kiosk Technologies, LLC. His Disc-Go machines are now called Disc-Go Digital Studios and are carried in over 50 stores throughout the country, from California to Georgia. Most prominently, Huntley’s machine is featured in most Karma music stores throughout Indiana. The database users have to choose from has also greatly improved. It has grown from around 1,000 songs of regional, independent artists to over 50,000 albums and 700,000 individual songs.

Staying on top of customers’ needs and new technology is an important aspect of this business. Though the Disc-Go machines sound like an interesting idea and certainly cater to the needs of the less-technically savvy, they also seem destined to be a stop gap technology.

Huntley admits he sees the music business becoming completely digital in the future in what he describes as a “long adoption cycle,” with a demand for the physical product still alive in the interim. To combat the natural progression to outdate his company, Huntley has a long-term vision to have his kiosks become what he calls “digital filling stations.”

These stations would be available at places like truck stops, record stores or gas stations, and would not only allow users to download new music on the go but other forms of digital media, including movies, video games and audio books. The technology is already in place at the Disc-Go machines for D2D or direct-to-device downloads, where a user can copy the music they choose onto their iPod as opposed to burning a CD.

“Originally, we thought it would be a baby boomer thing [and] that would be our typical user,” Huntley says. “We’ve found it is also used by people who love their iPod but don’t love iTunes.”

Huntley also stresses that Indiana has been a great place to start a business, and in a way, it seems that the Disc-Go machines are a technology that could only come from the Midwest. It is a technological advance made specifically to take a step back and let in the humble crowd of folks not yet cognizant of the media revolutions that have taken place.


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