Virgin Digital President predicts Apple iTunes Music Store demise

“Virgin Group is set to announce a partnership with Internet developer MusicNet today to build the retailer’s online music store. The Virgin site, which will launch in late summer, will try to differentiate itself from the myriad of other stores by offering a monthly subscription plan that, for less than $10, will let users listen to as many songs as they like,” Stephen Lynch reports for The New York Post. “If the subscription is canceled, those songs will no longer be accessible – although users will also have the option of buying music permanently.”

“The Virgin store will use Microsoft’s digital-music format, WMA, which is backed by online retailers such as Wal-Mart and Napster. The leading online music store, iTunes, uses a competing format from Apple,” Lynch reports. “Zack Zalon, president of Virgin Digital, said the large number of digital-music devices backing WMA will give it an advantage over iTunes, which interacts with only one player, the iPod. ‘We believe Microsoft will eventually define the standard,’ Zalon said. ‘Apple is an innovator, but, because it has a closed standard, it will fall off.'”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: You can start laughing now, if you’re not already. Subscriptions? Failed idea. WMA is not a “closed standard?” Apple will “fall off?” You mean like Napster 2.0, BuyMusic.com, etc. fell off or are currently in the process of falling off the map – pushed by iTunes, no less? Mr. Zalon overlooks the simple, usually-easy-to-comprehend fact: millions of iPods sold and millions selling right now means those millions of iPoders will not be using Virgin’s “service” if and when it ever becomes available in August. We’ll be using iTunes and Apple’s iTunes Music Store. Bigtime. So will HP iPoders. Give us a call when you’re not just peddling vapor and FUD, Mr. Zalon.

60 Comments

  1. Does anyone, I mean anyone actually look, listen, and think? It’s is so freaking clear that this sort of service just doesn’t work. No, I’m not going to pay you $120 a year for the priviledge to just listen to music, and possibly buy from you. Duh.

  2. Wippit may succeed in the UK. But it has no Mac client yet. You can petition them to add a mac client by mailing to enoughbillgatesalready@wippit.com

    It’s currently subscription, and uses P2P. You get to burn and keep music you download (legally) and can only share with other subscribers. This is a model I prefer to iTunes. The library is much more limited, so it won’t suit everybody. It’s something I’d try and if it didn’t work for me, I’d just move one.

    They use MP3. Not WMA. This is another important point too.

    If iPod did WMA, it could well be bew-bye iTMS. As long as it doesn’t, people will stick with MP3/AAC.

  3. The really scary thing here is the underlying message this sends. Virgin was already in the music biz before this online stuff started, unlike Apple and Napster (Napster was into music, just not the business). And after all this, it goes to show how they aren’t learning anything. People don’t want to rent music. That’s not the way it works. You rent a movie, becuase most of the time you only watch it once, yet you listen to a song over and over again. I really think this is starting to sound repetitive, and it only shows how the music industry as a whole is getting stupider by the day. Time for an enema, I say.

  4. Just like mr. thurrot(note lower case), this guy thinks that negative publicity is gonna hurt Apple. This could only be the only reason he writes this…otherwise he looks like a fool because the numbers DON’T add up!!
    They are looking like fools trying to affect people towards their side. I got to tip my hat to HP in not joining the crowd on the spiraling toilet bandwagon. Reality is reality and the iPod and the mini are the bomb and it will continue.

  5. I don’t see the innovation here. Others have tried the exact same thing and failed. The general public doesn’t give a tinker’s dam about file encryption. What they want is a way to buy music online easily and cheaply, and then to be able to put it into an easy-to-use portable player just as easily. No one else offers the simplicity and quality that Apple does.

    I do admire Virgin Group for racing down a known dead-end, and thinking they can blaze a new trail past the discarded wrecks that have tried before them. They have the right idea, but they are going down the wrong road.

    Good luck Virgin Group! Your company will provide entertainment, but unfortunately it won’t be in music, just some fun for Apple users that like to watch a good crash and burn.

  6. 10 bucks a month for music you can’t keep? Shit, do that with movies and you’ve sold me, but music?

    You can slate apple all you want for not using WMA, but Mpeg4 is better anyway, and if you buy one song from apple, it’s basically yours for life. I don’t want to have to pay a subscription to listen to music that I payed for (on top of the subscription).

  7. My biggest gripe about subscription/streaming services is this: what do I do when I’m not in front my computer?

    Say I subscribe in January. I listen to all the hottest new tunes. Six months (and $60 later), I decide to skip off to the beach for the weekend. I’d love to bring my music collection with me on my Napster/Samsung player so I can get down in the sand. But wait…

    Any of those hot new tunes I deem worthy for a festive beach mix are not mine to burn and/or download to my portable music player. To do that, I’ve got to offer up an additional buck for every song I couldn’t live without for the few days.

    Ouch.

    I’ve already got a free streaming service. It’s called the radio…and I don’t listen to that either.

    Down with subscriptions. Good luck, Mr. Zalon. You will soooooooo need it.

  8. The Virgin site, which will launch in late summer, will try to differentiate itself from the myriad of other stores by offering a monthly subscription plan that, for less than $10, will let users listen to as many songs as they like,” Stephen Lynch reports for The New York Post. “If the subscription is canceled, those songs will no longer be accessible – although users will also have the option of buying music permanently.”

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    Yeah, that’s going to differentiate you from Napster. ‘Cause that’s way different from what they offer.

    “Zack Zalon, president of Virgin Digital, said the large number of digital-music devices backing WMA will give it an advantage over iTunes.”

    Well, we can’t argue with failure, can we. Get a Clue�, Zach.

    Steve Jobs, in the Marketplace, with the iPod/iTMS combo.

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