Apple’s iTunes Music Store is facing its strongest challenger in subscription services from Napster and others. At least one analyst says that subscriptions will outpace downloads within the next five years.
“Subscriptions are a great thing for real fans because you get access to a lot of music. The appeal is it’s on-demand. As long as you keep paying, its all there,” Jupiter Research analyst David Card says.
Many believe Apple CEO Steve Jobs will change his stance on subscriptions (he says they won’t succeed because consumers want to own, not rent) if iTunes and the iPod are challenged.
“The only reason they have iTunes is to sell iPods. If it turns out subscription services are important to sell iPods, they’ll probably get into that business,” Card says.
Update: Today at the iHollywood Forum Digital Living Room conference taking place in San Mateo, California, RealNetworks CEO Rob Glaser said that one day Apple CEO Steve Jobs will have to move iTunes to subscriptions. “The day that they introduce subscriptions is the day that Steve Jobs has the brilliant revelation that subscriptions are a good thing,” Glaser said.