VirginDigital.com launches today, selling music online, and becomes the first major music retailer to enter the download market, “which has been dominated by Apple Computer and other technology companies. Service will begin in the United States. Virgin plans to introduce similar service in other countries starting with Britain, but the timing has not yet been set,” Saul Hansell reports for The New York Times.
“What is interesting is that Virgin is putting its biggest emphasis on its subscription service, rather than on selling songs one at a time for 99 cents a track as Apple and Microsoft do,” Hansell reports. “It is betting that new customers will instead join its Virgin Music Club for a $7.99 monthly fee to listen to an unlimited amount of music from Virgin’s one-million-track library on their computers. A premium subscription service that will allow those tracks to be moved to a portable music player, for a slightly higher monthly fee, will be offered soon.”
Hansell reports, “The difficulty of explaining subscription plans to consumers is exactly why Apple chose the path it did. ‘Consumers have been buying music for 50 years,’ said Eddy Cue, Apple’s vice president in charge of its iTunes online music store. ‘They want to replicate that experience online.’ Cue said that Apple might consider a subscription service in the future but that it had no plans to do so now. ‘Customers are speaking loudly with their wallets,’ he said.”
Full article here.