Listen.com fires shot over Apple’s bow; lowers burning fee to 79 cents per song

“The online music price war has begun. Listen.com’s Rhapsody service, which offers Internet radio broadcasts and other programming for $9.95 a month, is lowering the price for burning digital music onto compact discs to 79 cents per song, the company said Wednesday,” reports AP’s Helen Jung. “The move comes just one month after Apple Computer Inc. launched an online music store, in which Macintosh users can download a song for 99 cents with few restrictions — and no monthly subscription fee.”

Jung reports, “The announcement also reflects how companies are casting about for effective strategies to lure customers in the nascent business of selling songs online. ‘We’re starting to see the business model experiments,’ said Michael McGuire, an analyst with Gartner G2.”

Full article here.

In related news, Reuters reports, “‘There’s this idea from (Apple CEO) Steve Jobs that there’s only one kind of product and that is a digital download store and one type of consumer, who only wants to buy 99-cent tracks. That makes zero sense,’ said Sean Ryan, chief executive officer of Listen.com. In addition to offering streaming and track burning, Rhapsody subscribers can burn full albums or mix CDs, build their own custom Internet radio stations, listen to professionally-programmed stations, and browse music information and editorial recommendations, Ryan said.

“While Rhapsody is considered by critics to be among the easiest-to-use subscription services, it has garnered under 100,000 subscribers, according to analysts. ‘We think Apple is certainly getting a massive amount of attention, but as long as we execute and get lots of distribution now, we should be in great shape regardless of when Apple enters the Windows market,’ said Dan Sheeran, vice president of marketing for RealNetworks,” Reuters reports.

Full article here.

11 Comments

  1. They still don’t get it.
    Sure, it’s 79 cents. After you pay a SUBSCRIPTION fee! That just doesn’t make any sense! It’s like if your local WalMart or BestBuy had a sale on CD’s but you had to pay a $9.95 cover charge to go into the store….every month! So for only $9.95, you can buy a song for only 79 cents, such a deal!

    But wait, there’s MORE! If you want to listen to streaming radio stations all you have to do is pay an additional $4.95 every month!

    So let me get this right. For about $179 a year, these guys will allow me the privlage of listening to streaming radio (which is free with iTunes) and saving 20 cents per downloaded song? Bear in mind, that that is the price for downloading the larger sized and inferior quality, MP3 files and not AAC files you get with iTunes.

    Oh, and since it is not Mac friendly, you would also have to use or buy an inferior Windows PC to use the service. There is no telling how much the extra hassle and maintenance fees of owning a Wintel cost over time.

  2. “these guys will allow me the privlage of listening to streaming radio (which is free with iTunes)”

    That has always confused me… I, and all iTunes users, can get streaming radio from any number of stations and formats for absolutely free. Is this the same concept as the pay for stream subscriptions? By the by, without first reading the article, I wonder about Rhapsody’s actual selection of music that can be downloaded and bought..

  3. The streaming radio in these subscription services let you pick the song you want and hear it, but not download it. It’s not like iTunes radio where the radio station picks the playlist – on Listen.com you can pick the song and can hear the whole thing, but you have to pay extra to download it. iTunes would be just like it, except they limit the songs to :30 previews in iTunes Music Store.

  4. They still don’t get it. All their business plans call for making money on add-ons. See following paragraph.

    “That makes zero sense,’ said Sean Ryan, chief executive officer of Listen.com. In addition to offering streaming and track burning, Rhapsody subscribers can burn full albums or mix CDs, build their own custom Internet radio stations, listen to professionally-programmed stations, and browse music information and editorial recommendations, Ryan said.”

    iTunes is a simple way to purchase music, not “Teen Beat” magazine. Apple will continue to have a winner as long as they DO NOT try to “add content” (reviews, profiles, etc).

    Cinque

  5. Actually, Costco has this business model. You pay something like $40 a year for the privelege of shopping there.

    79 cents a song is curious. If they are getting the same deal from the record labels as Apple (about 65 cents a song cost) how can they make any money? On the other hand, if they are getting a better deal why would the record labels undercut Apple?

  6. sean ryan is a moron and this service sounds like garbage. its no use for a person like me who is usually broke. apple’s approach is much better because i dont have to worry about no damn subsription. listen.com has the wrong approach. they figure that if the customer is willing to pay for a subcription, then they will have to buy songs to make the subscription worth it. screw that.

    i’ll buy a song when i want to buy a song. the music store is always there and when i want something i’ll look for it. thats it. so die listen.com you guys are worthless

  7. At listen.com, You still have to pay $9.95 a month even if you buy NOTHING ($119.40 a year minimum) … you have to buy at least 50 songs from listen.com EVERY MONTH to equal the savings at itunes music store.

    Nevermind that at the itunes store, you can buy as little as ZERO a month or 50 songs, you ONLY pay for what you want.

    (50 x $.79 + $9.95=$49.45 at listen.com)
    (50 X $.99 = $49.50 at itunes music store)

  8. Listen.com starts to get noticably ‘cheaper’ than iTMS when you’re buying around 90-100 songs per month or more.

    However, that’s a lot of commitment on your part. I don’t believe that anyone would sustain that kind of spending for more than a few months. iTMS clearly is ‘better’ for the consumer who shops in ‘spurts’.

    Besides who likes to always be obligated to buy X amount of product ‘before’ they see any savings. 3 one pound boxes of FrostoFlakes bundled together; or that beautiful Pork Loin bundled with 2 others; or one Soda for 99� or 79� if you buy 8. Sometimes that’s great, sometimes we just want one.

    ————————————————————-

    Sorry, this is for another thread. But, I have comment on this…

    (It’s the software that makes a Windows PC inferior, the hardware of course wipes the floor with Apple’s hardware.)

    While I obviously concur with the first part of this statement, I would only agree that ‘PC’ hardware MOSTLY ‘wipes the floor with Apple’s hardware’. In terms of ‘performance’, each separate part in a typical PC is usually better than each part in a typical Mac. But, all together, makes many folks go ‘hmmm’.

    And regardless of what many feel the so-called benefits of a ‘two-button’ mouse, I see a cursor that flies around the screen like a flea on coffee. So, for many like me, we like the ‘feature’ of precise cursor control, and we always have the control-click option ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

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