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« A Seat at the Table | Main | Internet Radio: What does the law say? »

December 02, 2004

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There is no reason why a subscription based service would preclude a subscriber from downloading songs on to their hard drive burning them on to a CD. You are absolutely correct in that some services might decide not to give these "iTunes-esque" rights; or some record companies might be reluctant to enter agreements where such rights are given, but there is no finnacial barrier.

Cuban's article goes on to discuss how subscription services can out-profit services like iTunes by requiring service for "X-months", or requiring some similar provision. Sure, in the first few months people may download more value in songs then their monthly dues would cover; but people will download fewer and fewer songs per month over time. Further (as you suggested), people might not feel the need to download copies if they can access the music whenever they would like and save the storage space. New wireless devices might make the need for a "hard-copy" obsolete; people would be able to access the omni-server whenever and wherever they feel the need to hear some GnR, or whatever. I think that Cuban's point is that people will not feel the need to work around the system, because the new "system" would be so freakin cheap and easy.

Consumers might be able, or even expected, to extract value beyond their subscription fees for the first few months, but over the course of a year everything will balance out. There is no reason to beleive that consumers, after having access to this cheap, easy service will decide to cancel after the year is up (services could even take a que from the pages of the "Cell-Phone-Provider-Manifesto", and require 2 year subscriptions). All this is based on the presumtion that people will want/need to have access to a hard copy; with technology the way it is, I don't think we can safely assume that.

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