Apple Vs Subscription Services


In the past, I have argued that one of the main reasons, Apple’s music platform -iPod + iTunes + iTunes store – works is because it is quite simple. You know which specific device to buy, and you know all songs you purchase from the store for 99 cents are going to work on that device. In comparison, the subscription services are inherently complex, as pointed out by USA Today’s Edward C Baig, who still thinks that they will eventually work, and Apple will also introduce a “music rental” package.

Renting can be complex, though, reflecting conflicts over digital rights. You’ll have to buy tunes to burn them to a CD. But some songs can’t be bought. Others can be streamed but not downloaded. Some can be downloaded but must stay tethered to a PC. And some can be downloaded and moved to a portable device. Got it?

I believe that once we move past the early adopter stage, many of these services will face a serious consumer backlash. Remember, none of Vonage’s early adopters really cared about the e911, it was the mass market which did. Oh by the way, when iTunes subscription service does come, well it is going to be what the others are not – simple!



It’s the WRONG analogy. The burning to CD is a minor thing just like burning tracks from itunes is a minor reason to buy fro m itunes.

The main problem with subs is it sounds all fine (1-million tracks, $8!) but the reality is you have to schedule TIME in front of your PC – you must listen to dozens, hundreds – thousands of tracks, select those and move them into playlists – repeat each month for music you LIKE enough to LISTEN but NOT enough TO OWN? Then if you want to download them, that’s another time allotment.

You save ZERO time with a subscription based service. You in fact are playing radio programmer in your spare time. How many people spend hours walking around BORDERS listening to CD’s? Not many. SAME THING!

If you want to LISTEN to music, why do-it-yourself? Why not regular radio, internet radio (both free) or satellite radio and then BUY THE tracks you actually like enough to own from the store or itunes?

Who has time to play radio station for music you DO NOT OWN? How is it different from going to Borders?

It has certain appeal – college students and peope who want to stream record either because they are cheap or because they are thieves … true music fantatics with income are not satisfied with the “low” fidelity of MP3, they’re not going to be satisfied with stream recording anyway so they are out … what does that leave you?

It’s a business but it’s like ice skating rink music licensing, it’s a business but ultimately, a minor player.

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