Tech reporter: Apple needs to adopt subscription model or face ‘the Macification of the iTunes Music

Paul Thurrott quotes MacNewsWorld in a recent blurb at Paul Thurrott’s Internet-Nexus, “What if you could pay a flat monthly fee to download as many songs as you want and transfer them to your music player — but they’d only be playable for a certain length of time? In effect, you’d be able to use your subscription to pack your music player as full as it can get — but with rented tunes. Before you dismiss the concept out of hand, consider this: Microsoft is exploring it.”

Thurrott writes, “Microsoft isn’t ‘exploring’ it, they’re rolling it out, as are Microsoft’s partners, such as Napster and Virgin Music. Again, this is an example of a place where Apple is falling behind. If they don’t adopt a subscription model, we’re going to see the Macification of the iTunes Music Store this year.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: If any other service gets even remotely close to iTunes’ success (hasn’t happened, yet), what’s stopping Apple from adding this option if it proved popular with consumers? Songs and music are listened to repeatedly. By contrast, most movies are usually watched once. Movies are more conducive to the rental model (Blockbuster), but music-for-rent doesn’t strike us as a great idea. Do you think “renting” your music will prove more popular than “owning” your own music?


  1. Yo Thurrott! This has been tried by several Windows only services already and so far it has failed miserably. Do us all a favor Paul and stick to something you know about, mainly bug ridden Windows software…

  2. Thurr-idiot and the other Windrone anal-ists seem to love the subscription model, despite the utter failure that such a model is for all involved. They are simply cheap bastards with no business sense. Unfortunately, they have a forum to air their idiocy.

    The subscription model will NEVER succeed. Period. The same imbeciles who promote this have been telling us for years that everyone subscribe to web-based versions of Microsoft Office. I first started hearing about this around 1997. Guess where we are seven years later? That’s right, the subscription model for software failed, too.

    When will these morons learn?

  3. I tried this model with Rhapsody. At first I thought it was a good idea, but then music that I had been listening to for months suddenly disappeared from the service. This really pissed me off and it happened constantly. After a few months I dropped my subscription to Rhapsody. With iTunes or a CD, I know that once I buy it, I can listen to it forever.

  4. As much as I love iTunes, I actually prefer the subscription model for exploring new music. the 30 second samples don’t really do it for me.
    The only downside for me would be that i can’t listen to the music on my iPod (which is how I listen to most of my music in the car, gym etc…) But that may soon be a thing of the past.

    I think both buying and renting have value. why not get a choice?
    I’ve spent $300 at the iTMS already this year, that could’ve lasted 3 years on a subscription site and given me access to a lot more music. I will probably only be listening to 20% of that music 3 years from now. and i’d gladly keep paying the subscription fee or buy them outright if I think I will listen to them in another 10 years.

  5. They love the subscription model because that’s all they’ve got to sustain thier hopes that Apple will falter. Apple has already won. I suspect Thurrott et al already know this subconsciously, but just haven’t admitted it to themselves yet.

    I want to own my music, thanks. I do not wish to rent it.

  6. In Massachusetts, you have MIT and Harvard increasing the intelligence of the state and then you have Thurrott who wipes out the advantage of a couple of thousand really smart people in one fell swoop.

    What people like Thurrott and Enderle desperately want is for Apple to come and play on Microsoft’s terms: if iTMS drops down to rental, it legitimises a thoroughly stupid concept. As a by-product, Apple might no longer have such a substantial market leadership position which then gives Windows zealots the chance to say that Apple is ‘beleaguered’,

    Thurrott is truly myopic in his support of Microsoft although, given his recent positive bleatings about some Linux offerings, I’ll give you even money that he has a Linux book in development. Let’s ask the same questions that I ask every time Thurrott expresses an opinion about how iTMS and the iPod should develop:

    How many DJ Music Players have Dell sold?

    How many tracks have the WMA cartel sold since Apple launched iTMS for Windows?

    And now, let’s add some new questions:

    Where is the market-tested proof that rental works for the music marketplace?

    Where is the unequivocal music industry support for this model, given that most record companies (the owners of the content) seem relatively ambivalent to the idea?

  7. I guess they don’t get the fact that part of the reason of iTunes success is its business model. Buy your music and do with it as you please. The music stores before it and the ones that come after it will fail. anyone?

  8. I think MS is thinking since XM Satellite radio is doing well by subscribing to the service….that people will do the same for “on demand songs” but only played on an authorized computer?

    Hmmmmmm……I dont think that is the same model….even though it seems to be the same concept but, its really not.

    MDN lets get one thing straight. NO ONE owns the songs. One may OWN the license to the song. When you buy a CD you dont OWN the songs….you OWN the license to play them. If the CD gets damaged….you should return the CD for a like replacement because you already paid for the license, you should be entitled to a replacement without paying for another license. Same goes for DVD movies. I called several studios to ask them about this. They confirmed I was right…and Disney offers a DVD replacement program. Of course…like all studios…they all want to make a buck. It costs to replace a DVD (almost half or the original price – I think its a racket) Now….if I can only argue the same for VHS…..since they are phased out….and I still own a license….BUT its only a VHS license. I cannot convince them to give me a replacement in DVD format. I think within time with all the people that own VHS tapes there will eventually be a replacement program.

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