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Fuzzy on the concept: Subscription music services

Posted by onlydarksets on March 4, 2008

DRM-Free Music Spells Trouble – Columns by PC Magazine

I love how intelligent people think subscription-based music services are the way to go. All you can eat for $15 a month. Talk about devaluing your product. People can download enough songs to fill 100 albums and pay under $20. How does anyone make money this way?

Worse yet, if you sign up for a subscription, you’re saying that it’s okay for the music service to wipe out your music collection if you cancel. Imagine walking into your living room as all your books disappear because you changed libraries, or your DVD collection disappears because you switched from Blockbuster to Netflix.

Not quite.

I’m consistently amazed by the number of intelligent people who don’t understand the purpose of subscription music. I’ve seen far too many commentaries who analogize it to purchasing a product from a company and then having the company repo it when you stop paying their fees. These commentaries come from the same people who are likely paying $13/month for XM Radio, $80/month for cable/satellite, $9/month for NetFlix, and $10+/month for Tivo.

Subscription music isn’t a replacement for content you own. It’s an alternative to radio that provides on-demand access to almost every artist out there (with notable exceptions, of course).

Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who just don’t get it yet.

UPDATE: Here’s a quote from Steve Jobs, similarly mischaracterizing the issue.


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