CNET Editor: Apple will soon introduce subscription-based music and video service

“Going against conventional wisdom, I think Apple will soon introduce a subscription-based music and video service. Although music-subscription services have been in the digital music rotation for years now–and with relatively low success–Apple has repeatedly shunned this still intriguing distribution model for its iTunes Music Store. But the digital music space is still young, and as competition from the likes of WMP 11 and Urge heats–or, rather, warms–up, I believe Apple may shock us with its own bulletproof version of an all-you-can eat iTunes club. And consumers will lick it up,” James Kim, Senior editor, CNET Reviews writes. “While subscription services have struggled to capture the hearts and wallets of the masses, the infrastructure and the standards for operating a service are ready to go. While not everybody will warm to the idea of renting songs, the time is now for users to accept the subscription model as one of the many options for consuming music.”

“Imagine a subscription-enabled iTunes 7 with all-you-can-stream access to more than 3 million tracks for $10 month. You’d also be able to compile playlists manually or automatically using a mix of your own songs and the entire iTunes catalog. You could actually fill up a 60GB iPod with the click of a button. You’d still have the option to buy tracks, perhaps for less than 99 cents. As a subscriber, you’d get access to videos and maybe even movies for a few bucks more. Of course, you’d have to get the newest iPod, equipped with an internal subscription clock,” Kim writes. “I can’t believe that in five years, Apple won’t have a subscription service. The company has taken note of the problems on the WMA side, plus it has the advantage of controlling both the hardware and software sides of the subscription equation. The time is now for an easy-to-use, utterly convenient, and cheap subscription service from Apple.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: A subscription service option for iTunes that works for both Mac and Windows PC users plus also works with iPods? Now that sounds like a winner to us. Not for everyone, of course, but it would be a nice option to have. What do you think?

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Related articles:
Apple iTunes music and video store takes first step toward subscription model – March 08, 2006
Survey hints at Apple iTunes movie service with subscription, a la carte models explored – March 02, 2006
EMI Music Chairman: Music subscription services like Napster and Rhapsody haven’t beeen huge – January 23, 2006
BusinessWeek: Apple unlikely to launch music subscription service – August 15, 2005
Merrill Lynch analyst: Apple could ‘flick the switch on a music subscription model’ – May 13, 2005
Apple cautious about online music subscription model – May 09, 2005
Study shows Apple iTunes Music Store pay-per-download model preferred over subscription service – April 11, 2005
Should Apple add subscription service to iTunes? – March 07, 2005
Apple to add subscription-based option to iTunes Music Store? – December 06, 2004


  1. I’ve always said that they should have a subscription-based video store and a pay-per-download music store. It just makes the most sense because that is what people are used to. For years (before iTunes), you would go to a record store to buy your CD’s and you would go to a video store to RENT your movies.

    Seems obvious to me.

  2. Nah. Call me old fashioned, but people still like to have ownership over their music. The streaming-and-buying-for-€10-a-month-and-less-than-99c-a-track model just sounds unnecessarily complicated to me.

    MW: truth, as in ‘ain’t that the…’

  3. If I had a subscription with the option to purchase, I’d likely buy more. I’m always looking for new music, but I hate buying an album and finding out its crap. With a subscription service, you could have a Try-buy which would be great!

  4. If Apple moves to a subscription – fine – if they leave the ability to buy songs as it is now as an option – so we can choose which option best meets or buying habits. Early on when I was first buying lots of songs a subscription would have made sense for me. Now, however, I only buy a song every so often – maybe one every two months or so. If I have to buy a subscription for that – no thanks! If it were up to me – I would leave it as is. Not everyone who enjoys iTunes is buying tons of songs every week or month.

  5. i still believe in *owning* my music… but options are always good i suppose. but rest assured subscription services will never get my dollar. simple as that.

    frankly, if anything, what i would much much rather see is the option to pay a few cents more for 320 kbps aac or lossless! WITH liner notes and lyrics included for every song, thank you very much. the closer the digital product can approximate the physical, the more likely i am to spend a greater percentage of my music dollar at itms versus amazon, or any number of overseas vendors, online and offline. (my current habits). paying for overseas shipping is a bitch! but please…i need a worthy alternative. and 128 kbps is only acceptable (for me) for the most casual of purchases.

  6. i wanna own my music, so if i lose a job, i can listen to depressing sad songs, not silence because i cant keep up payments, music renting is bad, the average person doesnt even buy that much music, so it would be cheaper for them to just by the 1-5 albums they get a year.

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