Thursday, 20 March 2008

Stories at CNN, Ars Technica and CNET are covering the fact that Apple is working on a plan that would allow unlimited "free" access to the iTunes music library - if users paid more up-front for their iPod devices.

This sounds interesting, but it seems like an up-front charge (when you buy the device, as a one-time fee) might have some legal (not to mention business viability) challenges associated with it. Now, if they were to go with a Zune-like monthly subscription model, that would be a whole different story. It would actually make a lot of sense.

Group-think/conventional wisdom seems to be that since the average iPod/Phone user spends about $20 total on music through the iTunes store, it would make sense to charge everyone that much up front. Others say something more like $80 is more reasonable. I think they're all wrong: Charge me $20 up front, and I will do everything I can to maximize - in a big way - that mandatory investment. People only spend an average of $20 because they have to keep paying. Charge that up front and grant them unlimited access, and they'll download more music than you can possibly imagine.

That's where the Zune Pass idea is a better one. Recurring monthly revenue of a predictable, fixed amount (which is great from a business standpoint) and a happy customer base. I just don't see a one-time fixed fee model holding water for very long. But then again, if your intent (hypothetically) is to launch a firestorm campaign to (further) monopolize the market and then dump it as unviable... Well, you might actually succeed at one goal by failing at another. Just an thought. :)



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Apple | Mobile | Tech
Thursday, 20 March 2008 13:53:38 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Sunday, 13 July 2008 14:09:42 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
I have to vehemently disagree. If I wanted a pay a monthly subscription, I could choose Rhapsody. I didn't. I don't want another subscription in my budget. I'm quite happy paying for the products (songs, TV shows, movies) I buy, as I buy them. Change to a subscription-based concept and we'll never be rid of DRM.
Chad Hinton
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