Apple needs to find a way to swim upstream

The hard question for Apple is whether it can build a meaningful paid-subscription business without grossly cannibalizing its current per-track paid download business. There are very few examples of those two models being successfully combined within a single content service or a single billing relationship.…

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Why do so many digital music services fail?

Although it's now simpler and more efficient than ever to create a compelling music destination, only a few digital music outlets today are truly successful. Merlin's CEO Charles Caldas explains why so many services fail, and so few succeed.…

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Patching the cord

In just the past few weeks, Barry Diller-backed Aereo launched a subscriptions streaming service in New York City, Cisco bought NDS for $5 billion, word leaked of Intel's plans to create a nationwide virtual cable TV service and Netflix began chatting up cable operators about addings its channel to their old-fashion, through-the-cord TV subscription services. While varied in their particulars, what all those moves represent is a big-money bets on the future of bundled TV subscriptions, and at least a tacit acknowledgment of the limits of a la carte distribution.…

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The rise of the subscription commerce startup

A number of companies are emerging to build businesses with recurring revenue streams based on serving up monthly packages of food, beauty, clothing and other products. The so-called subscription commerce market is expanding rapidly -- but what's behind the trend, and why are consumers signing up?…

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Grey Lady's Troubles With the P-Word

Is charging users for online content an act of slow-motion seppuku? The New York Times may be about to find out. But the real risk is that it is neither a runaway success nor an abject failure, but rather a slow, steady decline.…

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