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February 03, 2005


Hans Fugal

I, for one, bought a lot of music in my late teens and early twenties, and now I am content to listen to my collection, the radio, and the occasional purchase. Some people do buy music in a fairly regular way throughout their lives, but judging by the actions of the studios, they at least believe that many people spend like me.

Jeremy Bowers

The "subscription is best" argument only fully holds true in the case that if I drop one subscription service, I can pick up another and have all the same music available to me.

At the moment, I doubt that is true, but as you say, it should converge on that over time.

Until then, there is still room to rationally want to own the songs such that you can't be orphaned by your subscription service. How important this is is a function of your own priorities (in particular, you may desire to be independent of the service so they can't yank you around with pricing), and how many subscription services carry the music you like.

At the moment, I would disagree that either is a clear winner. Both have advantages and disadvantages. At the moment, personally I would still prefer to buy music because of my priorities and how many times I've been burned by letting a company have too much control over what I supposedly "own" when in fact they do. But other people will legitimately go the other way.


You wrote:

"And hey, you still can't get the Beatles through iTMS"

And neither can you get the Beatles from Napster nor any online service (legal anyway).


i have CDs that I still listen to that are ten years old. do you honestly think the napster subscription service will still be around in 10 years?

Gary Robinson

It doesn't matter whether Napster's subscription service will be around in 10 years. SOME subscription service certainly will. It doesn't matter at all whether it's the same one or another one, as long as it lets you hear what you want to hear, when you want to hear it.

John C. Welch

The sub model only holds up if you:

1) Download music a lot.

2) Don't mind paying even if you aren't downloading.

3) Don't mind that you don't have anything in the end.

if even one of those aren't true, then subs don't hold up. I will, and have gone literally months without downloading new music. With the iTMS model, I paid nothing. Nor did I have to "re-validate" my iPod.

For those months, 3 out of the last 14, I would have had to pay Napster for the priviledge of listening to what I already had. Actually, looking at the last 14 months, (as far back as iTMS stats go for me), I would have saved:


That's just over a third of Napster's cost for one month. So the ROI on napster is not there for me, and I bet i'm not alone.

As well, Napster is a single platform service: Windows. Napster would like you to believe that it's apple's fault. This of course is crap. There's nothing stopping Napster from running under OS X except for Microsoft, who refuses to allow Windows Media Player 10 and its DRM run under anything but Windows.

So, for me to use Napster, would carry a significant premium, in that I'd have to buy a windows box, and deal with all that maintenenance, just so I could use a Sub service that isn't offering me anything new. No new music. No better service. No simpler DRM. Just the same thing, paying in perpetuity.

Sorry, but the economics just don't work out.


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