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Subscription Music Stores

Yahoo just released their music store and it’s the latest in the string of subscription based services. Subscription based services that I just don’t get. Why would you pay a monthly fee to RENT songs? Even Napster states on their homepage “It is necessary to maintain a Napster subscription in order to continue access to songs downloaded through the Napster service.” Same idea goes for the new Yahoo Music Store and Rhapsody.

So, lets say you buy 100 songs on each service and you want to OWN your music. By own I mean put it on a CD so you can enjoy it in the car. Here are the prices not including sales tax…
iTunes – $0.99 a song – $99
Yahoo – $6.99 + $0.99 a song – $105.99
Napster – $14.95 + $0.99 a song – $113.95
Rhapsody – $13.32 + $0.89 a song – $102.32
* Prices taken from Yahoo, based on one month and buying every track individually.

There isn’t a huge difference in the cost, however that’s based off buying 100 songs a month, every month. If you choose to buy only 3 songs a month then subscription services just don’t make sense. I just can’t see myself downloading that much music every month. Seems like a waste. However, I guess if you were to download hundreds of songs a month, then subscriptions might make since. Just remember to purchase your music or you’ll loose it.

Subscription services just make it more complicated to buy and enjoy music. I prefer iTunes where it’s just 99 cents a song or $9.99 an album and once I buy them, I own them. No more fees. Some complain about the security on the iTunes downloaded files and I don’t know why. Just burn them to a CD and the music is free of any security features.

If you feel that subscription based services are that much better, please do let me know. I’m interested to see why so many companies are going with this subscription based, rent a song, business model.

2 Responses

  1. Dan says:

    For about the price of one CD per month, my two kids and I can have unlimited music on our Mp3 players. I would pay full price for that one monthly CD to have the two or three populars tunes on the CD and the rest are of no interest. Seeing that my kids and I have somewhat different taste in music, I would actually be buying three different CDs per month and again only get the few desirable tunes on each. If the subscription service goes out of business we can join another and have all of our favorites dowloaded again in short time.

    I know of people who in one week spend three times the cost of a subscription service on beer and cigarettes and that seems to be culturally acceptable. So in my opinion $100 dollars per year to rent unlimitted music is reasonable. Another comparison could be to cable TV. Many people are spending $100 per month for TV programming that they can’t legally keep or copy. Music subscriptions are a much better dealthan that.

    Thanks for the opportunity to comment.

  2. Ernie Mink says:

    I am responding to your story about why or why not subscription music download services are a good idea or likeable. For one thing, not everyone has the time or can afford to buy hundreds of songs and maybe don’t care to buy the actual CD maybe because they only like one or two songs on it. The downside is the quality compared to the actual CD will never bas as good but will be close enough that most don’t care or won’t notice right away. But you do lose “digital information” and dynamics to when compressed. However you can fit more songs on a portable MP3 player. Now that everything is thankfully going to flash based memoery, it is better to because there are no moving parts. Sites like Yahoo and Rhapsody are nice because you can find new songs and strem music that you might have never known about so paying a monthly or yearly subscription for unlimited music transfer and streaming can be a big plus for a lot of people and can make sense. One final note: .WMA is a better compression format versus .MP3 or .AAC and this has been proven 100 percent and is why it is the music compression format chosen by so many companies for this service. iTunes is limited to the inferior .AAC format and iPods are junk compared to the .WMA players especially by Sandisk and Creative.

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