Apple to add subscription-based option to iTunes Music Store?

“Subscription-based music services are becoming popular among young adults and will eventually outgrow a la carte song downloads, a new study predicts. While 16 percent of online adults currently enjoy downloading 99-cent singles, 17 percent have been wooed by subscription services such as Napster and RealNetworks’ Rhapsody–and that number is expected to grow, according to a survey released Wednesday by JupiterResearch,” Dinesh C. Sharma reports for CNET News.

“The survey showed that the number of people interested in subscription services increased with age–19 percent of 13- to 17 year olds used the services, compared with 31 percent of 18- to 24 year olds. That number reached 37 percent for ‘music addicts,’ defined by Jupiter as those who have spent more than $45 on music in the past three months,” Sharma reports.

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Certainly, one would hope, that market-dominating Apple has their collective eye on this and other research. If the subscription model becomes interesting enough to Apple, one would suspect that they’d add the option to their iTunes Music Store (iTMS) and the FairPlay Digital Rights Management technology used to protect iTMS-purchased files. There is nothing that we know of that would prevent Apple from doing so technically. The agreements with the labels would be another consideration, that may or may not already be spelled out in existing agreements, before a subscription feature would debut. Would a subscription option, say US$9.99 per month for unlimited streaming and downloading of the iTMS library to your computer and iPod, be of interest to you? Remember, if you decided to stop subscribing, your music would stop working unless you buy the tracks you want to keep for 99-cents each.


  1. subscription “services”….are really no service to the consumer… that is, if your music stops working when you quit subscribing….

    Thats a dumb idea which I doubt His Steveness wouldnt even entertain…

    In other news…. Heres another X-Serve cluster being built….

    Not quite as large as the Big Mac at Va Tech… but its a start !!

  2. I don’t buy this. Just because 13- to 17-year-olds like subscription-based services doesn’t mean they will when they grow up. It could simply mean it suits their needs as teenagers. But yeah, if it does really become popular, one would hope Apple gets on board.

  3. Give people a choice. If they want to be stupid and use iTunes as a subscription service then let them.

    Apple just has to be upfront about the limitations of a subscription service and hopefully smart people will go for owning rather than renting.

  4. What happens with the music the day I forget or decide not to pay the subscription? I will not subscribe to something like that!
    I already have to make too many monthly payments, music is not going to be an additional one!

  5. I still think the subscription model is for the birds. Most consumers don’t want to rent their music. Offering it as an option if there is a market for it is fine, but I’m sure the majority of iTunes music buyers would rather own their music instead.

  6. The subscribe and buy model might be interesting. You get to hear a lot of songs and keep (by paying extra) those you like.

    The only problem I see with this is how could you download and play songs recieved by subscription on an ipod? Does the ipod know that you have paid your dues for that month and allow the subscribed songs to be play? If you let the subscription lapse for a month, are the songs deleted or simply locked?

    The cost for Apple of running a subscription service has to be taken into account. More downloads per user will occur and will need to be supported by hardware and bandwidth increases.

  7. Without question I’d be interested. I’ve gone back to only buying physical CD’s because of the far superior sound quality but I occassionally buy a song from iTunes to check out an artist. To have unlimited access to review an entire album (much less multiple albums) would be a great option prior to going out and purchasing the CD. At that point I could care less if I lose the rights to them later.

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