More blood on Apple iTunes Store’s play button: Virgin shutters U.S. music service

“Virgin Digital has had enough of trying to convince U.S. music fans to sign onto its music subscription service and has announced it is ceasing U.S. operation. The company contacted subscribers telling them to claim a free MP3 player and three free months of the Napster To Go subscription service (a $44.85 value), as an incentive to switch,” Eliot Van Buskirk and Sean Michaels blog for Wired.

“It looked for a little while like [Virgin’s] bargain basement approach to both hardware and the service (which started out cheaper than the rest) would stand a chance against Apple, or at least against the rest of the PlaysForSure ecosystem. But it’s entirely possible that [Virgin Chief Richard Branson] is even more excited to get out of this market than he was to get in.

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “coolfactor” for the heads up.]

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35 Comments

  1. And another one down.
    And another one down.
    And another one bites the dust. !!!

    Hmmmm, I think I have heard that somewhere else. Maybe I should go to iTunes and see who sings it.

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  2. “The subscription model is the problem. People want to own their music not rent it.”

    I agree–and disagree.

    I agree that people want to own “their favorite music”–not rent it. But I think there’s a big opening for those who want to rent music to see whether or not it will become their favorite.

    Part of where I think subscriptions have failed–and where Apple has an opportunity–is in how they are marketed. Essentially, as you say, the companies tried to convince you that you wanted to rent all your music. Consumers pretty much nixed that idea.

    But I would have no problem with renting, say, the Billboard Top 40, Radio & Records Top College tracks, the playlist from WKYE, and/or dynamic iMixes from my friends every week to sort of spruce up my playlist. This way, I get “exposed to new music” and I still have my favorites. Add some podcasts in there and I have my own radio station that only I listen to.

    This is essentially the equivalent of XM or Sirius. They have various channels which play certain genres of music (some commercial free, some not). They typically charge around $13/month. With a subscription service from iTunes, for $13/month you get the same music, commercial free. Download any and all genres you’re interested in. Rate the songs you like and don’t like to adjust how often they’re played. You have pause, skip, and all the other controls. And, if you like the song, it’s pretty easy to hit the “Buy” button for your own permanent copy.

    Again, subscription services have been trying to compete with the iTunes Store. They should have been trying to compete against XM, Sirius, and Terrestrial radio.

  3. This is getting boring and predictable.

    I’m looking forward to some real blood on the Mac keyboard…

    As in Gateway, Acer, HP, Dell….et al.

    Now THAT

    will be

    TRULY

    gratifying.

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