Online Music Choices Expanding

It’s been pretty obvious for a while now to many but online choices of where to get music have been expanding rapidly. Here’s Reuters article that talks about this:

Reuters: Online music choices grow

Soon there may be an even wider array of choices. Ben Cardew, chief reporter of Music Week magazine, sees the industry sampling lots of new ways to sell tunes to meet demand, which he says is stronger than ever.

“Wherever you go, people are listening to iPods, music is on adverts and the live scene is doing incredibly well. The demand is absolutely there,” Cardew said. “(There are) so many great new ideas — from ad-funded to subscription and giving away your album with a newspaper.”

It’s an interesting overview article, covering some new trends, such as pricing music tracks by popularity and giveaways promotions like those by Prince and Radiohead. However, the article is a little too iPod centric for my taste. 

There is one part of the article that I strongly disagree with though

One model is a subscription service that provides unlimited music for a set amount each month. Those were expected to be one of the most successful models when services like the now-legal Napster (NAPS.O) and RealNetwork’s (RNWK.O) Rhapsody launched.

But some say the fact that you don’t own the music, and can lose it if you cancel the subscription, has resulted in turning off consumers.

The only consumers this would turn off are those who have to be ultra trendy and have an iPod or nothing else and those who hadn’t worked the numbers on subscription vs. pay-per-track. Think about it.

Napster or Rhapsody cost you $15 a month and you can download as many tracks as you want from their service to your PC or compatible player. You can get a compatible player for under $50, as I mentioned in this previous article, Saying “NO” to iPod.

If you use iTunes and an iPod your upfront costs are greater. Plus, at the end of the month, you still have a collection of DRM’ed, low quality, digital tracks except, for the same price, you only have 15 tracks instead of thousands.

Which is a better value and gives you the most bang for your buck, especially if you have very wide ranging musical tastes like I do?

What are your thoughts on the expanding online music choices? Do you think subscription is the way to go or is it better to pay-per-track. Leave a comment and let me know what you think.


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