Posted by Chris Brummund
I started writing up this post for another site, but then I thought, “This is related to music. I’m going to use it for my work blog and then I can just take the day off.” I’m kidding about taking the day off, but the rest of it is true.
I came across a good article touting all that is good and great about Rhapsody’s music service. I tend to agree with most of this article. Rhapsody gives you on-demand access to an extensive music library for $15 per month. That’s about the same as buying 1 or 2 CDs a month. The only other “cost” is you have to put up with their rarely-updated, buggy software.
This article and it’s accompanying reader comments inspired me to resubscribe. I actually had a subscription but ended it about a month ago. It wasn’t intentional. Well, it sort of was. My credit card on file had expired and I didn’t update my account with a new number. They e-mailed me a couple times before shutting down my service, but I decided to hold off on submitting payment. I thought I’d use this as an opportunity to explore some other services.
I again tried to get into iTunes. I really dig their store and the software is fairly easy to use. Unfortunately, iTunes does not offer subscription services for their music. That’s kind of a deal breaker for me. I absolutely love the subscription model and think it’s the best choice for music fans.
As a music fan, I like to go out and explore all types of music. Rhapsody gave me an entire catalog of over 6 million tracks on demand. I could listen to them streaming online, download them to my hard-drive to listen offline, and transfer them to my MP3 player. If I wanted to burn a mix CD, then I would pay the obligatory $0.99 a track. This is perfect for music fans like myself. Unfortunately, music fans like myself are in the minority.
There’s a reason why iTunes is so incredibly popular, and it’s not just because of the iPod’s complete and utter dominance of the MP3 player market. The reason is that the $0.99-per-track model is perfect for the majority of music consumers who have a narrower listening preference. Most don’t care for full albums, b-sides, and live tracks. They are happy with just purchasing singles they hear on the radio. Most consumers may not hear more than $15 worth of new songs in a month.
That’s perfectly fine for them, but not me. I want the whole enchilada (sometimes with a side of rice and refried beans), and a subscription service delivers that at the most reasonable price. I wish Apple and others out there would start offering subscription plans. More competition for this market will lead to better products and services for us all.
Some people have said to me, “Wouldn’t you rather own your music?” Ultimately, yes I would. But due to my budget limitations, I would never be able to purchase as much music as I listen to through the subscription service. Plus, if I am to “own” some music, I’ll go out and purchase the CD to get all the added frills.
So what say you? How do you purchase and consume your music? Pay-per-download? Subscription? Streaming online? CDs? Vinyl?