Hands up — who wants a music subscription service on their Apple iPhone? OK, I just put both hands up and everyone in the Starbucks is wondering where the invisible mugger is behind me. ;) The industry has long pondered Apple jumping into the music subscription market, but it hasn’t happened yet. So Rhapsody is attempting to make the leap, since Apple hasn’t.
The company just submitted an iPhone version of their music subscription service to Apple’s iTunes App Store and at first glance you might think it doesn’t stand a chance to get approved. But I see at least two reasons why it will get approved.
First of all, both Slacker and Pandora already have applications in the App Store. Like Rhapsody, these services offer streaming music direct to your handset. The main difference is that both Slacker and Pandora do so for free — Rhapsody offers their “to go” service for $14.95 a month. That might be considered an issue since Rhapsody would make money on the iPhone while Slacker and Pandora don’t. But that leads into the second reason why I think Rhapsody will find approval.
If you hear a song you like on Rhapsody and want to buy a licensed copy of it from your iPhone, Rhapsody offers a “Buy on iTunes” feature, which puts more cash in Apple’s coffers. I caught a quick glimpse of the link in this video demo of the Rhapsody iPhone application.
I didn’t see a purchase link to any other music store, so it looks like Rhapsody conceded their own MP3 music store to Apple’s in the software. Why do that? It offers the application a much better chance of getting approved and it opens up the tens of millions of iPhone owners to plunking down $14.99 a month for a Rhapsody music subscription. Sounds like a win-win to me.