“Whether you like Napster To Go, the online store’s new music subscription service, depends on whether you think of it as all-you-can-eat or all-you-can-pay,” Rob Pegoraro writes for The Washington Post. “Both descriptions are accurate. For $15 a month, Napster To Go offers unlimited song downloads — in a copy-restricted format that can be played only on Windows XP computers and some digital music players — but these songs expire if you don’t keep paying that fee each month.”
“Napster To Go’s $15 monthly bills, however, will keep coming due for as long as you care to listen to your downloads. And over time, those fees add up, too,” Pegoraro writes. “Consider this example: I have been purchasing CDs for about 20 years now, in which time I’ve accumulated about 300 of the things. At an average of $15 each, I’ve spent $4,500. Now suppose that, instead of buying those CDs, I could have opened up a Napster To Go account back in 1985. My total bill would be $3,600 and counting — and although I might have accumulated a larger, more diverse collection, I wouldn’t own any of it.”
“I have a hard time accepting that. At its best, music has the same lasting value as books or paintings or any other sort of meaningful art: It isn’t a disposable good that you use and then forget about. It’s something that you keep listening to and discovering new things in. When music is good, you want to know that it can’t be taken away from you,” Pegoraro writes. “Napster To Go doesn’t allow for that. And when you realize this point, it looks less like a service that allows you to pay to get new music and more like one that forces you to pay to keep your existing music.”
Full article here.