CEO of digital distribution firm says Apple to debut iTunes Store subscriptions with 6 months

Apple Store“Since Apple launched its wildly successful iTunes music store back in 2003, CEO Steve Jobs has adamantly refused to offer a monthly subscription service. If you want to buy music from iTunes, you do it either by the single or the album, that’s it. But that could soon change,” Paul R. La Monica reports for CNNMoney.

“Les Ottolenghi, CEO of INTENT MediaWorks, a digital distribution system that works with peer-to-peer networks, said he’s had meetings with people from Apple and he believes the company will announce a subscription service for iTunes within the next six months. ‘I think Apple is seriously considering a subscription offering right now even though they will probably tell you otherwise,’ he said. Spokespeople for Apple were not immediately available for comment,” La Monica reports.

La Monica reports, “So far though, it appears that Apple has made the right decision to spurn the subscription model. Rival online music stores, such as Napster, RealNetworks’ Rhapsody and Yahoo’s Y! Music Unlimited, that offer monthly subscriptions have failed to attract a lot of interest. In fact, I wrote yesterday about how teens widely prefer iTunes to subscription-based music stores.”

“But Ottolenghi said that even though music subscription services have struggled against iTunes so far, he doesn’t think consumers are necessarily averse to paying monthly subscriptions. He argues that because Apple doesn’t offer a subscription product, that’s why music fans haven’t embraced the model,” La Monica reports.

Full article here.
Subscriptions for music? Well, okay, whatever – for those that want that option. But, subscriptions for movies and/or TV shows, now that could have some real widespread interest!

Related articles:
CNET Editor: Apple will soon introduce subscription-based music and video service – June 01, 2006
Consultant: Apple iPod dominance holding back subscription services – April 17, 2006
EMI Music Chairman: Music subscription services like Napster and Rhapsody haven’t beeen huge – January 23, 2006

43 Comments

  1. “Subscriptions for music? Well, okay, whatever – for those that want that option. But, subscriptions for movies and/or TV shows, now that could have some real widespread interest!”

    Yup…. true enuff …

    But this article makes me wonder how this guy got his “Amazing Kreskin” abilities … and how does he know what His Steveness is thinking ??

    And another thing …
    Has anyone ever heard of the P2P called “INTENT MediaWorks” ??

    Limewire, maybe …

  2. It’s funny how opinions on this board can change so quickly. It wasn’t that long ago that people recoiled at the idea of subscription based TV and movies. Now it seems people are warming up to the idea.

    Personally, I won’t buy an $TV until Apple has a subscription TV and movie service. I’ve already dumped my cable in favor of BLockbuster by mail, and I’ll drop Block buster if Apple has a reasonable subscription as well.

  3. “[B]ecause Apple doesn’t offer a subscription product, that’s why music fans haven’t embraced the model.”

    Uh, OK, whatever. So people really want a subscription based iTunes, they just haven’t had a public outcry over it, Apple’s consumer research says people want to own their music instead of renting it, and iTunes sells more music than all other services combined.

    The real problem is that Steve Jobs is simply too stubborn to offer a subscription service, that’s why subscription services haven’t taken off. Sure. It’s all Apple’s fault for not offering subscriptions.

    Subscriptions do make sense for movies and TV shows. Typically you watch a DVD a few times, and then it sits on the shelf gathering dust. Pay-per-view or On Demand has been popular for many years for precisely this reason.

    I definitely could see renting a movie/TV show, or subscribing to a TV show so I don’t have to see commercials or so I can see a show I missed (like 24 from the beginning, say), but not with music.

    Music and video are two different animals. You won’t see a subscription model for music on iTunes, but we will see one for video content.

  4. I would really like to see a subscription model for movies and TV. I don’t care about music.

    I’m hoping that will happen, but I’m not counting on it. The same thing impulse that drives Jobs to insist that the Ipod only has 5 (he actually only wanted 4) buttons also keeps him from changing mistakes. Two examples:

    Cursor keys
    Two buton mouse.

  5. It’s funny how opinions on this board can change so quickly. It wasn’t that long ago that people recoiled at the idea of subscription based TV and movies.

    ———————-

    Actually, I totally disagree with this statement..

    Ever since talk of Apple TV and movies began, the two consistent gripes have been 1) The lack of a movie rental method and 2) The poor quality of the content that’s offered.. I never buy movies on dvd, I always rent, but I did purchase one movie from the iTunes store as a test and the quality is truly disappointing on my HD widescreen tv. If Apple begins offering higher quality content with a rental or subscription model, I will cancel my Netflix subscription in a heartbeat.

  6. I would buy my music but rent the movies and TV shows! If I stream audio from a radio station in iTunes, there is no charge. Why can’t we stream TV shows if we do not want to keep them?

  7. You can’t simply look at online music purchases (ie. the success of selling songs on the iTS) and be able to make a judgment about what consumers really want. That would be like saying that if people really wanted DRM-free songs they would be buying those instead of iTunes songs, and then naively concluding that the success of the iTS shows that consumers really want DRM. Similarly, just because people haven’t been going crazy over the existing subscription offers, that does not mean that people don’t want a subscription service.

  8. If this meeting ever took place, I’m guessing Mr. Ottolenghi didn’t pass the audition. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have blabbed about it, given Apple’s penchant for playing their plans close to the vest.

    I agree with MDN take. Music subscriptions, no. Video/movie subscriptions, yes.

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