Will subscriptions drown out iTunes?


wordmunger

macrumors 603
Sep 3, 2003
5,125
2
North Carolina
More and more colleges are going the subscription route. Just heard Eastern Michigan is giving all its students free Napster. It will be interesting to see how all this plays out in the long run.
 

bpd115

macrumors 6502a
Feb 4, 2003
809
42
Pennsylvania
Apple is -in- right now.....if the subscription services start nipping at their heels, Apple will adapt and develop their own solution for portible subscription based iTunes.

Steve stated people don't want to rent their music, however if the market dictates otherwise, he's not stupid.
 

birdherder

macrumors newbie
Sep 12, 2003
23
0
austin, tx
The subscription based model has been around a long time -- longer than iTMS -- and I think Steve is right about it. I listen to music on my iPod exclusively so unless there's a solution for that I'm not changing my habits.

And I'm bad about synching my iPod with my Mac. It is full so there's not a lot of new music being put on it.

I do pay $10/mnth for XM radio for the car when I want to hear something new and different. But that's a completly diffent animal.
 

dombi

macrumors regular
Jul 8, 2003
120
59
Here is a question. With the subscription based service will I be able to download all the albums and then burn them to a CD? Because then I would actually sign up for a month, download all the albums and burn them to a CD. 10$ would get me all the songs.

How do subscription based services deal with burned CDs?
 

wordmunger

macrumors 603
Sep 3, 2003
5,125
2
North Carolina
dombi said:
How do subscription based services deal with burned CDs?
Napster charges 99 cents per track to burn a CD, just like iTunes. The subscription tracks can be downloaded to an MP3 player, but they "go away" if you cancel your subscription.
 

Applespider

macrumors G4
IIRC, you have to pay an additional fee if you want to burn the music onto a CD.

I'm not sure I'd pay for a subscription service - I guess it would be useful if you were having a party and could allow guests to request pretty much any track they'd like...
 

dombi

macrumors regular
Jul 8, 2003
120
59
wordmunger said:
Napster charges 99 cents per track to burn a CD, just like iTunes. The subscription tracks can be downloaded to an MP3 player, but they "go away" if you cancel your subscription.
Ok, but if I downlaod all the songs to my mp3 player and cancel the subscription, will my songs still go away?
 

wordmunger

macrumors 603
Sep 3, 2003
5,125
2
North Carolina
dombi said:
Ok, but if I downlaod all the songs to my mp3 player and cancel the subscription, will my songs still go away?
Yes, they do. I'm not sure exactly how that works, though. There might be a way to get around it, but then you'd be defeating the purpose of paying for "legal" downloads.
 

jholzner

macrumors 65816
Jul 24, 2002
1,384
0
Champaign, IL
What I would like to see Apple do is offer the service exaclty as it is now to anyone but also have a subscription service for 10 bucks a month. I can listen to anything in their catalogue as much as I want but If I want to burn it or put it on my iPod I pay the regular 99 cents to buy it. Once I buy it for 99 cents, it's mine, even if I cancel my sub.
 

shamino

macrumors 68040
Jan 7, 2004
3,386
130
Purcellville, VA
wordmunger said:
More and more colleges are going the subscription route. Just heard Eastern Michigan is giving all its students free Napster. It will be interesting to see how all this plays out in the long run.
The colleges are going that route because they've bee coerced into it. The RIAA sends lawyers to colleges and says "we've got proof that your students are trading files. Buy a Napster subscription for everybody or we sue for eight trillion dollars." A few years ago, this would be considered racketeering, but thanks to our wonderful Congress, it's now considered a legitimate business model.

Yeah, the kids may use the service while they're students, but are they going to buy their own subscription after graduation? I doubt it. It's more likely that they're using programs to capture the audio without DRM, so they can play their school-provided songs without an ongoing subscription.
 

shamino

macrumors 68040
Jan 7, 2004
3,386
130
Purcellville, VA
Applespider said:
IIRC, you have to pay an additional fee if you want to burn the music onto a CD.

I'm not sure I'd pay for a subscription service - I guess it would be useful if you were having a party and could allow guests to request pretty much any track they'd like...
No there's an idea. They should offer one-shot subscriptions. A single payment for a day, or a week or a month of service, with no further commitment or automatic renewal.

So you can do just what you described - get a subscription for a party and not for the rest of your life.
 

nagromme

macrumors G5
May 2, 2002
12,551
1,186
Something like subscriptions ARE already possible with iTunes

I wanted a subscription service for iTunes, and I came across a hack that gives me just what I'm after!

I download the songs I want for .99 as usual. THEN, once a month, I put a ten dollar bill in my toaster oven until it's gone.

It's not quite the real thing, but I'm happy with it!
 

wordmunger

macrumors 603
Sep 3, 2003
5,125
2
North Carolina
shamino said:
The colleges are going that route because they've bee coerced into it. The RIAA sends lawyers to colleges and says "we've got proof that your students are trading files. Buy a Napster subscription for everybody or we sue for eight trillion dollars." A few years ago, this would be considered racketeering, but thanks to our wonderful Congress, it's now considered a legitimate business model.
We're all being coerced into it -- who would use iTMS if they thought they could get the same thing free with impunity?

Apple needs to consider whether they want to get a piece of this pie. I could see music service subscriptions bundled with cable modem service for an extra $5 per month. When it gets to that level, watch out -- the pay-per-download system may be history.

I don't think this is a big problem for Apple: the integration of iTMS with iPod is so good, that they are absolutely the dominant player right now. It wouldn't be difficult at all for them to start a subscription service and bury Napster/Real, if they see the subscription market beginning to take off.
 

winmacguy

macrumors 68020
Nov 8, 2003
2,237
0
New Zealand
dombi said:
Here is a question. With the subscription based service will I be able to download all the albums and then burn them to a CD? Because then I would actually sign up for a month, download all the albums and burn them to a CD. 10$ would get me all the songs.

How do subscription based services deal with burned CDs?
With the subscription services if you want the music you still have to pay 99c a track for it.
 

shamino

macrumors 68040
Jan 7, 2004
3,386
130
Purcellville, VA
wordmunger said:
We're all being coerced into it -- who would use iTMS if they thought they could get the same thing free with impunity?
So you agree with the RIAA's assumption - that everybody at heart is a crook, and threats of massive lawsuits and jail time is the only reason people pay for anything.

If you really believe that, I pity you.
wordmunger said:
Apple needs to consider whether they want to get a piece of this pie.
You're assuming that there's a pie to begin with. Subscription based music services were around for years before iTMS. That was the dominant form of legal on-line music before Apple came along. Then they all switched over, because Apple's system was making money and theirs were not.

Now, pretending that the past never happened, they want to start over again with the same old failed scheme. Why would Apple want a piece of that?
wordmunger said:
I could see music service subscriptions bundled with cable modem service for an extra $5 per month. When it gets to that level, watch out -- the pay-per-download system may be history.
Tell you what. If it ever happens, I owe you a Coke.
wordmunger said:
I don't think this is a big problem for Apple: the integration of iTMS with iPod is so good, that they are absolutely the dominant player right now. It wouldn't be difficult at all for them to start a subscription service and bury Napster/Real, if they see the subscription market beginning to take off.
I don't think it ever will take off. Nobody is interested in buying music that self-destructs the minute you stop paying your monthly maintenance fees. The experiment was already tried years ago, and it failed miserably.
 

Loge

macrumors 68030
Jun 24, 2004
2,679
1,147
England
Pride of ownership beats renting a service.

Many people love to collect stuff. People have collected music for decades on various formats; I really don't see a desire on behalf of consumers to change that. The subscription models have not exactly taken off, even with the ability to transfer to a portable player. It's possible there's some market there for a subscription service as a luxury form of the 30sec samples you can get from iTunes, but not as a replacement.
 

nagromme

macrumors G5
May 2, 2002
12,551
1,186
It's a fine option to have--I don't think subscriptions should vanish--but they doesn't make sense for most people.
 

BeakerAndGreg

macrumors newbie
Jun 23, 2003
12
0
Twin Cities, MN
subscriptions will (hopefully)

...go the way of divx (the dvd competitor, not the codec). It seems to be a fantasy out there in internet business land that everyone has an extra 10 or 20 bucks to send in to countless companies every month. Anyway, I'll just go back to buying CD's if I had to pay a subscription.
 

macnulty

macrumors 6502
May 18, 2003
496
0
Rehoboth Beach, De
wordmunger said:
We're all being coerced into it -- who would use iTMS if they thought they could get the same thing free with impunity?

Apple needs to consider whether they want to get a piece of this pie. I could see music service subscriptions bundled with cable modem service for an extra $5 per month. When it gets to that level, watch out -- the pay-per-download system may be history.
Doesn't satellite TV offer something similar?
 

iMeowbot

macrumors G3
Aug 30, 2003
8,643
0
wordmunger said:
We're all being coerced into it -- who would use iTMS if they thought they could get the same thing free with impunity?
But I can! P2P gets all the publicity, but there are other avenues the recording companies pretty much have to ignore. The portions of the 1996 Communications Decency Act that weren't ruled unconstitutional conspire with the DMCA to make some types of violations impractical to counter.

Despite that, I still pay for downloaded tracks. I want the artists I like to have a better chance of paying off their contracts, so they might keep turning out albums.
 

wordmunger

macrumors 603
Sep 3, 2003
5,125
2
North Carolina
shamino said:
So you agree with the RIAA's assumption - that everybody at heart is a crook, and threats of massive lawsuits and jail time is the only reason people pay for anything.
I'm not saying I agree with it, I'm just describing the world I see now.

You're assuming that there's a pie to begin with. Subscription based music services were around for years before iTMS. That was the dominant form of legal on-line music before Apple came along. Then they all switched over, because Apple's system was making money and theirs were not.
That was then, this is now. Computers were around before the Apple II, so why did the Apple take off when others didn't? Cars were around before the Model T. I could give a hundred examples.

Now, pretending that the past never happened, they want to start over again with the same old failed scheme. Why would Apple want a piece of that? Tell you what. If it ever happens, I owe you a Coke.
Hey, we've already got $10 subscriptions. We're halfway there. I'll take that bet.

I don't think it ever will take off. Nobody is interested in buying music that self-destructs the minute you stop paying your monthly maintenance fees. The experiment was already tried years ago, and it failed miserably.
I don't know whether it will take off, but it is definitely a possibility that people's minds might change when they begin to see the subscriptions as insurance against lawsuits and a convenient way to get music. I don't like it, but it's definitely something that could happen. I assume Apple is ready, in case it does.
 

wordmunger

macrumors 603
Sep 3, 2003
5,125
2
North Carolina
macnulty said:
Doesn't satellite TV offer something similar?
No, it's not really the same thing. Satellite TV's music service is like radio: you listen to what they play; you don't get to choose a playlist to download to your computer and play what you want.
 

sjk

macrumors 6502a
May 2, 2003
826
0
Eugene
I certainly don't own all music I listen to (who does?). Nor do I want or need to, as iTMS currently assumes.

A subscription service that limits my choice to whatever happens to be playing on a selected "station" doesn't interest me; I already listen to streaming audio when I want that. But an iTMS subscription service that lets me select individual tracks I'm interested in (e.g. playlists creation), still with the option to purchase anything I'd like to own, would be very cool. And I can imagine how iMix might be much more interesting and useful than it is now, a potential others seem to have overlooked.

I'm sure there's plenty of music on iTMS that I might like to own but dropping $0.99/track isn't how I'll discover it. A reasonably priced subscription is a try-before-buy service I'd seriously consider.

Considering various issues, some already discussed, I don't know if Apple would have a viable business plan for that kind of iTMS subscription service but it seems pretty exciting to me.
 

wrldwzrd89

macrumors G5
Jun 6, 2003
12,106
73
Solon, OH
The biggest problem with subscription services is their lack of appeal to those who listen infrequently and/or would rather keep their music. This segment of the music listening population is significantly large enough to limit the revenue potential of a subscription service considerably. Unfortunately, the music industry executives completely fail to understand this. Also, they are the ones preventing online music downloads from flourishing. They must change their ways, or their business will fall apart around them, and they won't know why.