Analysts see iTunes music subscriptions in Apple’s future

“As more stores and record labels abandon digital rights management, Apple may have an alternative plan for subscription services,” Tim Anderson writes for The Guardian.

“Last year, EMI began offering songs without it on iTunes. ‘The industry has finally been able to get some hard data about how removing DRM restrictions from legitimately purchased tracks affects piracy,’ says Bill Rosenplatt, DRM specialist and president of GiantSteps Media Technology Strategies. ‘The statistics show that there’s no effect on piracy,'” Anderson writes.

“No effect. The assertion is remarkable. If DRM does not in fact discourage piracy, then it is merely a nuisance for the user,” Anderson writes.

“Ironically, the music companies are now abandoning DRM because it worked too well. Apple wouldn’t license its version to rivals – so the best-selling iPod drove the iTunes store to its present position, where it is the third-largest music retailer in any form in the US,” Anderson erroneously reports.

MacDailyNews Note: That’s incorrect. Apple is the number one music retailer in the US.

Anderson continues, “In the meantime, some early adopters are suffering the consequences of DRM’s failure. Last month, former customers of Microsoft’s defunct MSN Music store in the US received an unwelcome email. ‘As of August 31, 2008, we will no longer be able to support the retrieval of licence keys for the songs you purchased from MSN Music or the authorization of additional computers,’ it said.”

“The problem is worse than it first appears, since a ‘new’ device may actually be your existing PC. Some users habitually reinstall Windows to keep it running sweetly, but doing so removes its authorisation,” Anderson reports.

MacDailyNews Take: Windows is incapable of running sweetly and any users who rely on an OS that requires habitual wipes and reinstalls should have their heads examined.

Anderson continues, “Bill Rosenplatt, DRM specialist and president of GiantSteps Media Technology Strategies, thinks that subscriptions may turn out to be Apple’s answer to the DRM-free competition… Mark Mulligan, digital music analyst at Jupiter Research, also expects Apple to change its approach. ‘It’s highly likely Apple will get into the next-generation service game. That could be Apple selling iPods preinstalled with unlimited access to music, or with a bundle to a subscription offering,’ he says.”

Much more in the full article here.

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

As we’ve often said, Apple should offer an iTunes music subscription option if and when it makes business sense.

25 Comments

  1. Analysts and consultantrs are always correct. This is because analysts are free to think freely. Their thought are not burdened by the need to make deadlines or be profitable.

    just my $0.02

  2. “As we’ve often said, Apple should offer an iTunes music subscription option if and when it makes business sense.

    Bullshit. You have trashed it until recently when rumors were becoming more common that iTunes would go subscription. We already caught you in that lie a couple months ago MDN. fucking liars. Why do you people keep putting any weight in MDN when there are REAL Mac news sites that dont lie and spin?

  3. “No effect. The assertion is remarkable. If DRM does not in fact discourage piracy, then it is merely a nuisance for the user,” Anderson writes.

    Really? Wow. We haven’t known that for 10 years or anything.

    “‘Bill Rosenplatt, DRM specialist and president of GiantSteps Media Technology Strategies, thinks that subscriptions may turn out to be Apple’s answer to the DRM-free competition… Mark Mulligan, digital music analyst at Jupiter Research, also expects Apple to change its approach. ‘It’s highly likely Apple will get into the next-generation service game. That could be Apple selling iPods preinstalled with unlimited access to music, or with a bundle to a subscription offering,’ he says.”

    Wow. These guys are morons. I fully support Apple having an option for subscription, but these guys are basically saying that Apple should change their method, the one that works, to be more like the method that they want to work, but doesn’t. Gee, I’m sure at the same time they will get into the “next-generation hardware game” and add a radio tuner and more buttons to the iPod.

  4. In what parallel universe are any consumers even remotely excited by the idea of subscription music?

    Apple’s on the side of the consumer because Apple sells directly to consumers. They can’t afford to try following business models suggested by their suppliers, particularly when those suppliers are trying to push a bad business model which grossly favors themselves at the expense of the consumer. The legacy music industry, much like Microsoft, wants to return to the monopolistic high-profit low-effort environment of yesteryear. That time has passed.

    It’s rather odd to see MDN’s about-face on the music subscription idea – even if Apple were to offer such a thing, I don’t think it would make any sense to do so, nor would I support it.

    Any “analyst” who suggests that music subscriptions are a good idea, or are just waiting for the right moment to take off, is simply a paid shill for the legacy music industry, as far as I’m concerned. They’ll just keep throwing this idea out there, on the theory that a lie repeated often enough will eventually become true, or that people will eventually assume it’s going to happen after hearing about it so often. I, for one, ain’t buying it.

  5. Apple is not likely to do a subscriptions model or even a preload subscription model. The Punter’s keep flogging the notion that iPods are the #1 digital music player because of the iTunes store. The fact is the iTunes store is #1 because of the iPod. The iTunes store and the iPod will be #1 with or without DRM. Apple’s DRM has never locked the iPod to the music or videos purchased in the iTunes store, so the claim that the iPod is #1 because of a DRM lock to the content is an absurd and well ridiculous conclusion to draw and then to make a leap to Apple change to a subscription model for music to maintain a DRM iPod iTunes Store lock-in is a notion that is so far out their that it doesn’t even make sense.

  6. Funny though, you can subscribe to a podcast….and get updates on a particular radio program for example. I think this sort of subscription would be great if they followed a major selling point of the podcast…it is free.

  7. @MDN Lying again

    1st June 2006
    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?

    Are you “Me in LA”?

    MDN has consistently said that most people want to own music and rent movies and TV but has for at least 2 years said a subscription OPTION might work for those that want something different.

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