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


  1. 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.

  2. 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?

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Macworld prediction: when Leopard is introduced a subscription model for TV and Movies will be introduced along with an update to Apple TV. Much like the iLife apps, the update to Apple TV and the subscription service will require the technology in Leopard.

    Once that happens, count me in for an Apple TV.

  6. As an everyday Mac user, I haven’t and won’t buy and iPod until they day they start offering subscription music. It’s the greatest thing in the world to sit down at your computer every Tuesday morning when new albums are released and be able to download 3 or 4 new releases and listen to them that day will sitting in my cubicle at work. Then I can get rid of the stuff that sucks and enjoy the new stuff I like without having to waste .99 a track on stuff I don’t really care to hear again. For those who enjoy sampling new music, there’s nothing greater than a subscription service. I understand those who want to own there music, but having the option to also sample new music with a subscription would be a great thing for Apple and for music fans.

  7. I am a happy user of which works on a subscription basis. The basic plans start at 9.99 USD per month for 30 downloads (tracks). This is a use it or lose it policy. If you don’t download your tracks you lose them. If you buy it on an annual basis instead of paying monthly, you get a 20% discount.

    This model works very well for me and encourages experimentation with new music.

  8. Did this guy pay any attention to the press conference in London last week?? With DRM beginning to fall by the wayside now for music, the chances of Apple starting a subscription music service are actually rapidly decreasing, not increasing.

    As MDN pointed out though, a subscription service for TV shows and movies would be quite interesting however.

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