“Call it the soft underbelly of the subscription music business model, something none of the major players seems to want to talk about: It’s very easy to turn stream-only services into download plans without changing a thing,” Eric Hellweg writes for Technology Review. “Replay Music, which retails for $50,  will even append song, artist, and album information to the file in the background, with about a 90 percent accuracy rate.”

“None of the the major streaming services — Napster, Yahoo’s MusicMatch, RealNetwork’s Rhapsody, or digital music distributor MusicNet — would talk on the record about their company’s position on the various programs,” Hellweg writes. “Their reluctance is understandable. Since programs such as Replay Music operate locally on the user’s computer — recording whatever is going through a soundcard as opposed to going out and pulling streams directly off of, say, Napster’s servers — there’s little the subscription music services can legally do to stop them.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Well, okay, so it’s not so secret anymore. Therein lies the subscription services’ not-so-little problem. We’d bet that the music labels can do the math.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
AOL removes Napster pirate plug-in ‘Output Stacker’ from website – February 17, 2005
Napster feels the heat over flawed copy-protection scheme – February 17, 2005
Apple CEO Steve Jobs warns record industry of Napster To Go’s security gap – February 16, 2005
Users thwart Napster To Go’s copy protection; do the music labels realize the piracy potential? – February 15, 2005
Napster-To-Go’s ‘rental music’ DRM circumvented – February 14, 2005