Apple eyeing iTunes subscription service? | iLounge News

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Apple eyeing iTunes subscription service?

Despite Apple consistently denying it has any interest in offering a subscription-based music service, CNNMoney.com is reporting that Apple’s stance may soon change. According to Les Ottolenghi, CEO of Intent Media Works, a digital distribution system that works with P2P networks, he has had meetings with Apple and believes the company is on the verge of announcing a subscription service for iTunes. “I think Apple is seriously considering a subscription offering right now even though they will probably tell you otherwise,” he said.

This move would go against market precedents, which show that rival subscription services such as Napster, Rhapsody, and Yahoo! Music Unlimited have struggled against the iTunes model. Some feel, however, that subscription services have failed to catch on with consumers due to the lack of an iTunes-based option. “The number one factor retarding the acceptance of the subscription model is the dominance of Apple. The idea of subscribing to music is new to most consumers so when the dominant player doesn’t talk about it, the idea seems out of the mainstream for most consumers,” said Phil Leigh, a senior analyst with Inside Digital Media.

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Comments

1

Are they talking about renting music like Rhapsody or a fixed quota like eMusic?

Posted by otaku on April 11, 2007 at 11:47 AM (PDT)

2

Music subscription service?  No, thanks.
Video subscription service?  Heck yeah!

Posted by Galley in Greenville, SC on April 11, 2007 at 11:48 AM (PDT)

3

I agree with Galley, I have no interest in a music subscription, but definitely interested in a video subscription. BUT, if a music subscription would spawn a larger capacity iPod, I’d be all for that!

Posted by urbanslaughter on April 11, 2007 at 12:08 PM (PDT)

4

Apple, I know your listening.

If you do go to a subscription service, please keep the availability of ala cart. It’s the only way I’ll continue to be a customer.

Posted by sixtn39 on April 11, 2007 at 12:27 PM (PDT)

5

On demand has been great for TV watching, I don’t see why it wouldn’t work for iPod video. As far as music, I’d prefer the opportunity to access satellite radio feeds through the iTunes interface, enhanced with playlists views so I can pick and choose music that’s been played that I might want to download.

Posted by Derek on April 11, 2007 at 12:34 PM (PDT)

6

Having been using WMA based sub services for more than 2 years now, I’d be happy to sign up when my current contract expires IF they are competive on price and quality.

Posted by Code Monkey in Midstate New York on April 11, 2007 at 12:42 PM (PDT)

7

I doubt Apple will go to a subscription only option.  All the other services offer the subscription service with the ability to buy the track if you want.

I like the ability to burn my music for mix CDs so I wouldn’t like the subscription service.  However, I don’t think it’s a horrible model.  People pay for satellite radio with the convenience of being able to listen to radio stations tailored to their musical tastes.  The subscription service would offer similar perks but the user would program the channel themselves.

Posted by DF57 on April 11, 2007 at 12:54 PM (PDT)

8

I have been using emusic for about a year now and love it, have just uograded to 200 tracks a month if itunes went sub i would be there.

Posted by Steven Bates on April 11, 2007 at 1:04 PM (PDT)

9

Steven,

I think (maybe it’s just me) that the subscription model they are talking about is the one used by Napter/Yahoo.  It’s where you can download unlimited tunes to your MP3 device.  The catch is that the files are coded to expire (in some manner) after a certain period of time.  The files are also not burnable to a disc.  You’re basically renting the music.  The advantage is that you can listen to -a lot- of tunes and if you really like something you can buy it.  The disadvantage is that there’s a monthly fee and you can only use the tunes on your MP3 device/PC.

Emusic is a different animal where you pay a monthly fee for X amount of downloads a month.  You fully keep the tracks and can do what you like.  I really don’t see Apple doing this since they’d probably make less money via this method.  I pay about $0.22 per track which is way below Apple’s $0.99.

Posted by DF57 on April 11, 2007 at 2:19 PM (PDT)

10

The only way I see Steve Jobs adding a monthly subscription/rental model to the iTunes Store (which is what the Music Companies want) is if it’s a concession to get rid of DRM in purchased songs.

However, I will say this—I can’t really see a downside for Apple in offering a subscription model for those who are interested.

As a general rule, more choices for the consumer are a good thing. While I don’t think I would ever choose the subscription model (I prefer owning my music), there are a lot of people who would.

Posted by BJ Nemeth on April 11, 2007 at 3:09 PM (PDT)

11

I must be the only one that would love the availability of a subscription music service for my iPod.  I already regularly pay about fifteen bucks in a month on iTunes to begin with.  I would MUCH rather use that money to completely max out the capacity on my iPod with a large amount of different music.

To be honest, had Napter/Rhapsody/Yahoo come out with their subscription models before I purchased my iPod, I would most likely be using a different DAP.

The main reason that so much of my music comes from dodgy sources (i.e. Limewire) is due to the fact that most of the new music of today has become so disposable, almost to the point that I don’t want to pay for it anymore because I don’t want to be locked into the purchase of a song/album that I’m going to become bored with after a month.  I would much rather give the ‘disposable’ type music a good listen for a while, then trash it and move on to something else when I grow bored.

A person whose musical tastes change from time to time would benefit also.  I can’t begin to tell you about the large number of purchased music on my HD that I flat out don’t listen to anymore, simply because I’m bored with that particular type of genre/band.

Those of you who don’t have an interest or use for a subscription model need to quit shooting it down.  If a subscription service were ever to be introduced in iTunes, there is NO DOUBT that they would keep the 99 cent per song model.  There are some out there that would be fantastically happy with a subscription model.

I really wish iTunes would pull their socks up and get to it.

Posted by Matthew on April 11, 2007 at 4:04 PM (PDT)

12

Why would subscriptions not work?  If it were cheaper and you regularly purchase X number of albums a month, it would seem like a good deal.

I myself still think buying albums on iTunes is a silly use of $, but I know others get passed that.

Posted by superape on April 11, 2007 at 4:49 PM (PDT)

13

Subscription service would be great as an alternative option, but shouldn’t replace the current standard.  Also, like many of you, I have no interest in ‘renting’ music.  If I have to pay a monthly fee which requires a limited quota, so be it, but please, don’t make me ‘borrow’ music.

Posted by andrew chasnoff on April 11, 2007 at 5:25 PM (PDT)

14

Disinterested in music subscription (I’m a collector), but movies and TV shows would be good. Of course, we Australians are still waiting for the latter.

Posted by Japester on April 11, 2007 at 6:11 PM (PDT)

15

If Apple launch monthely subscription service it will boost the ipods and download music sale. It’s good time to compete with other DAPs compt and online music services. To me end of this year most of major labels will offer same(DRM free) through online music services. I hope Apple will offer HIGHER BITRATE(atleast 192kbps) subsription service(128kbps are very low for audiophiles).

Posted by SHEHZAD on April 11, 2007 at 6:14 PM (PDT)

16

I think, if it happens, that the music aspect of a subscription service from iTunes is an afterthought.

With the introduction of AppleTV however, an iTunes subscription service makes perfect sense.

For instance, I currently pay Blockbuster $18 a month to have DVD’s delivered to my door. With AppleTV and an iTunes subscription, there’s no waiting for the mail carrier.

Scooter

Posted by ScooterD35 on April 11, 2007 at 6:28 PM (PDT)

17

I hate the idea of music subscriptions. iTunes is fine as it is now. Buy whatever you need and pay for it then. There’s no need to make things complicated. The current iTunes setup is obviously working fine as it is. If they do offer subscriptions, hopefully it remains an “offer” and you can choose to keep the current setup.

Posted by ddsd on April 11, 2007 at 8:04 PM (PDT)

18

Imagine a guy that pays emusic for 40 songs a month, and then goes to dodgy sources for the non-emusic downloads. Imagine a guy that is able to digest lots of new and unknown music and who also likes to complete the libraries of artists of which he bought only a few albums. Then imagine that this guy sees the subscription model as an external server backup of his vast and ever changing music collection. Imagine that he would get all this for the price of his current emusic rate. Imagine. Sometimes I imagine it could be me.

Posted by emusiclove on April 12, 2007 at 3:32 AM (PDT)

19

Subscription service music?  For me, no thanks.  I have absolutely no interest in renting music.

Subscription service for movies and TV shows?  Maybe, if the price is right and the movie offerings get better.

Posted by Obadiah on April 12, 2007 at 8:33 AM (PDT)

20

Actually, now that I think about it, it is likely that Apple would begin a subscription service for movies.  With the advent of Apple TV it makes perfect sense and now seems highly likely that Apple will do this.

Posted by Obadiah on April 12, 2007 at 8:37 AM (PDT)

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