Apple iTunes music and video store takes first step toward subscription model

“Apple Computer Inc.’s iTunes music and video store on Wednesday took its first step toward a monthly subscription model with a new service called Multi-Pass that lets users buy TV shows on a monthly basis,” Reuters reports. “iTunes is launching the service in partnership with Viacom Inc.’s Comedy Central Network, which is rolling out ‘The Daily Show with Jon Stewart’ and ‘The Colbert Report’ on the service. Fans will be able to buy the next month’s series of 16 new episodes via Multi-Pass for $9.99, or to pay $1.99 per episode. Four episodes air each week and viewers can download each episode after it’s been broadcast.”

“Apple has so far resisted calls from media companies and competitors to adopt a monthly subscription fee favored by the likes of Napster and Real Networks Inc.’s Rhapsody, preferring an a la carte download model where music tracks cost 99 cents and videos $1.99,” Reuters reports. “Videos downloaded from the iTunes Music Store can be played back on a personal computer or an Apple iPod portable media player, among other devices. More than 8 million videos have been sold since it launched at the end of last year.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Make that “more than 15 million videos purchased and downloaded” since it launched. Ever notice that mistakes about Apple usually shortchange the company and rarely overstate figures? We have. With that said and duly corrected, the importance of Apple’s new “Multi-Pass” volume-discount option probably cannot be overstated.

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Related articles:
Comedy Central’s iTunes Music Store press release – March 08, 2006
Apple adds Comedy Central’s ‘The Daily Show,’ ‘The Colbert Report’ to iTunes with Multi-Pass option – March 08, 2006


  1. As Jimy pointed out, it’s not “subscription” in the usual sense. It’s more like a prepaid discount. You’re still owner of the videos unlike Napster, etc., where you lose access to those downloads once you stop paying the extortion fees.

    MW: they. They should’ve made this more clear.

  2. <i>I will NEVER be forced into a monthly subscription model thank you very much. People want freedom, not contracts and memberships!!!!</i>

    No. 6: I am not a number! I am a human being!

    No. 2: Hahahahahaha!

  3. “As Jimy pointed out, it’s not “subscription” in the usual sense.”

    Actually I’d say it exactly like a subscription in the ususal sense. You order 12 months of SI or the New York Times – a subscription – and you get to keep every single copy they send you. The all you can play services like Napster are just that, a service.

  4. MacMaster: “Rush may be a fan of the iPod but he’s a bigger fan of CASH.”

    And Apple isn´t? Tip to MacMaster: Apple made the iPod so it could make lots of CASH!

    Or all the TV stations and record companies selling their products for the iPod?

    “I didn’t listen to Rush before Podcasting and I’ll definitely not listen to him now.”
    -Rush and the rest of us don´t really care.

  5. Buffalo, you got me. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

    What I meant to say is it’s not the usual sense as applied to online downloads of media files, with the exception of perhaps audio books.

    Regardless, it’s a far better model than Rhapsody, Napster, etc.

  6. It seems to me that it’s more like buying an album, except that they’re grouping TV videos into albums. Think about it, you could buy each song (usually, unless there’s an “album only” release) from iTMS individually and pay more… OR you can just decide to purchase all the individual offerings at one time, and (again, USUALLY) pay less–sometimes a lot less. This doesn’t seem much different to me except that you’re buying the items pre-release. I think it’s less like a Napster-style subscription, and much more like an iTMS album model. Maybe someday the iTMS will offer some sort of Napster-style subscription, but I think that’s a long way off.

  7. Yep you subscribe and you keep, just like that door stop the New York Times. It is not the Napster “rent-a-song” crap…. in a sense it is like buying an album before the tracks are laid…. and the discount price is $9.99

    Funny that the weak-a*** writer didn’t declare that albums were first step toward the subscription service…

    And pleased don’t be offended at my use of a*** or else I will be offended that you are trying to restrict my freedom of vocabulary!

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