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  #1  
Old 05-02-2007, 02:09 PM
David Tucker
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Default Leander Kahney: An iTunes Subscription Service Won't Happen

<div class='os_post_top_link'><a href='http://www.wired.com/gadgets/mac/commentary/cultofmac/2007/05/cultofmac_0501' target='_blank'>http://www.wired.com/gadgets/mac/commentary/cultofmac/2007/05/cultofmac_0501</a><br /><br /></div><em>&quot;Don't hold your breath for music subscriptions from Apple's iTunes music store -- Steve Jobs will never offer them. Renting music flies in the face of consumer behavior. Consumers want to buy music, not rent it, and a big part of Steve Jobs' genius is his firm, intuitive grasp of how consumers behave, and tailoring Apple's technology to accommodate it -- not the other way around.&quot;</em><br /><br /><a href="http://www.wired.com/gadgets/mac/commentary/cultofmac/2007/05/cultofmac_0501">Leander Kahney agrees with Steve Jobs'</a> assessment of the music subscription concept. Once you get past him drooling over Steve and his &quot;firm, intuitive grasp&quot; he does offer a good point of view for why people may not be interested in music subscriptions. The reason he gives is mainly that he doesn't listen to much new music. He has things that he knows he likes to listen to and doesn't want anything else. I know a lot of people who listen to music like this. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that either. On that front, I completely agree with Mr. Kahney. If you aren't looking for anything other than what you already listen to then just buy your music and be done with it.<br /><br />Of course, I do disagree with him on an important point. He's operating under the assumption that the service is meant to be used as a vehicle to discover new music. While you CAN do that it&rsquo;s not easy. Yahoo is actually very good for this as they recommend music to you based on your preferences. Zune Marketplace doesn't do this so the only real way to discover music is to slog through the catalogue.<br /><br />Music subscription is not for everyone. I'm in my mid-twenties and the bands I mostly listen to today aren't the same ones I listened to ten years. For me, music subscription is an absolutely incredible service. I think what would really help other people discover the service is simply better marketing and education about what subscription really is and how to make it work for you. I'll save that for another time. In the meantime, if your music consumption resembles Mr. Kahney then you can probably pass on subscription.
 
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Old 05-03-2007, 12:39 AM
MarxMarvelous
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Weird article... I thought he actually made some good arguments for subscription music...

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Tunes are addictive for a while and then discarded.
Isn't that the whole point of subscriptions? Sure, in his example where he just wants to listen to one album day & night for months, that doesn't make sense. But if your taste is slightly broader (let's say a handful of albums) or your attention span shorter (let's say you're only into it a couple of weeks before you move on), it seems to me that the subscription model makes sense.

He seems to think that you need to listen to a gazillion songs (just because its available) in order for it to be worth it. Actually, it just needs to offset the cost of one album per month. If music is truly 'discarded' anyway, you won't miss the fact that when you stop paying for the subscription you lose the music.

In my case, I listen to the same stuff for years! Now, in that case I can see advantages to the buy model...
 
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Old 05-03-2007, 05:31 AM
Jason Dunn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarxMarvelous View Post
But if your taste is slightly broader (let's say a handful of albums) or your attention span shorter (let's say you're only into it a couple of weeks before you move on), it seems to me that the subscription model makes sense.
I thought the same thing when I was reading the article - the entire point of subscription music is that for $15 a month, you can listen to as much music as you want and then ditch it and move onto something else...you can't do that with CDs!
 
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Old 05-03-2007, 11:49 AM
Adam Krebs
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I read this earlier today, and was about to flame the man for making such a pro-subscription argument (in the typical mac-user mentality of something that's bad actually being GREAT for me), but after seeing that a million or so of my compadres had already stepped to my rescue, I realized I was safe.

But damn that was quite possibly the worst argument I've ever seen. I truly hope someone at Wired noticed as well.
 
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Old 05-03-2007, 03:07 PM
David Tucker
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I do understand his point though. If you don't want to listen to new music then subscription is worthless to you. I think with the Generation X people starting to not really find much of today's music appealing, subscription often seems to blow by them. (If you're a Gen Xer and into subscription, ignore my generalization here )

What reall is the problem is people simply don't understand the concept of subscription.
 
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Old 05-03-2007, 04:28 PM
Adam Krebs
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Tucker View Post
If you don't want to listen to new music then subscription is worthless to you.
I don't necessarily agree with that. I dislike a grate majority of today's music, but the real selling point for me with a subscription is that I can download thousands of songs without paying out the ear. I can listen to a song in full (something that eMusic and other purchase sites don't allow, for good reason), and then decide to purchase it if I really like it. A subcription costs me what, $10-$15 a month? I'm downloading many orders of magnitude than that a week. An a la carte service simly isn't economically feasible for me.

Quote:
people simply don't understand the concept of subscription.
I think that's the real problem. People hear "unlimited music" and become extatic. They hear "but it dies after you cancel", and become significantly less so. Sure, that's a problem, and I wish there was some way to future-proof subscription DRM (besides getting rid of the DRM wrapper itself), but it is still an amazing deal. If I purchase DRM'd tracks from an a la carte service, I'm similarly locked in. But that's an argument for another day.
 
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Old 05-03-2007, 06:00 PM
Jason Dunn
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Originally Posted by mysekurity View Post
I think that's the real problem. People hear "unlimited music" and become extatic. They hear "but it dies after you cancel", and become significantly less so.
I'm honestly stunned every time this happens...people really think that for $15 a month they can download unlimited music and keep it forever...for $15?? Sometimes people are, well, a bit stupid.
 
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