You do the math. Napster-to-Go doesn’t quite add up.

The Register has a good breakdown on the just announced Napster-to-Go program and how, despite their claims and flashy Super Bowl commercial, the whole idea of a subcription-based download service doesn’t quite add up. Now I realize that The Rock and Roll Report is an iTunes affiliate and I make no bones about it but I have always maintained that the whole concept of renting music, much like watching video through these tiny video iPod-type devices does not make any sense to me. I want to own my music collection. Short of a fire or robbery, my CD collection (and vinyl record collection) is mine and it won’t suddenly disappear if I stop paying some kind of “CD subsription” fee. At least with iTunes you own the digital files that you have paid for. Maybe I am missing something somewhere but I have to agree that just because your iPod can hold 10,000 songs doesn’t mean that you will fill it up exclusively with songs bought from iTunes. I trust that a lot of us are too busy loading our CD collections into our MP3 players to have much time to even listen to half the stuff we already own!
UPDATE! A well reasoned counter-argument to the Resgister article can be found at Bubblegeneration.
Later.

4 Comments

  1. I personally use Napster and Rhapsody and love it. I used Kazaa for years, and am glad I am able to stream a million songs thru my home receiver which happens to be routed to almost every room and porch in my house.

    I can spend hours just wading thru new artists and songs….it is so fun, and eye opening. This is the future people…get with it. Who wants to own anything…I just want to be able to listen to all the music ever made for the rest of my life…and to me 15.00 a month is a small price to pay for that kind of access.

    CD’s are oldschool, and so is your thinking.

    Learn how to hook up your computer to a nice stereo system and load a commercial free playlist of more than a thousand songs which you love every one of…there’s no comparison. Why would I want to pay 99 cents a song for that? I wouldn’t. My playlist is long, wide, and deep and never ending. I could never afford to buy all the songs I enjoy everyday thru Napster and Rhapsody.

    You will be doing this in ten years anyways…get with it losers.

  2. Well in 10 years I am pretty sure that I will still own my CDs. And in 10 years I’m pretty sure I will be able to play my CDs. But in 10 years will Napster and Rhapsody still be around? And in 10 years, what type of format will they chain me to by then in order for me to play the music that I rent? At that rate I might as well keep streaming the ‘Net radio that I do throughout my house which is subscription free right now and offers endless variety and knowledgable DJs to boot.

  3. Mark,

    Like you, I initially balked at the thought of a subscription-based personal music service. But you just need to get past that mental block of seeing music as something you own.

    B- is right: in 10 years (or less) personal ownership and media storage will be obsolete, because content will be centrallized and available on-demand. Your personal music player will be able to stream any song at any time from a remotely stored library. Think about it. You say you love internet radio, well how about your own personal radio station. Commercial free. Playing whatever you want, whenever you want, with a virtually unlimited library of songs to choose from. And that’s basically what Napster is, except right now it doesn’t have quite the immediacy that personal music services will eventually have.

    Don’t think of Napster as a download service; think of it as a music service. The only thing you’re “chained” to right now is your own library, which you’ve spent hundreds/thousands of dollars amassing. Think of the cycle of media: in 10 years, CDs will have gone the way of records, even AACs and MP3s might be gone. Even though you may still be able to play them, your library will still be fragmented as you buy newer media. Napster might be gone, too, but so what? The only thing you might lose is playlist data, and there will always be someone providing the service.

    So rather than asking yourself, Is this song worth $.99? Ask yourself: Is MUSIC worth $10-$15 a month? If you buy more than 15 songs on iTunes per month, it seems like a no-brainer to me. Ownership is overrated.

  4. Another thought:

    When the music industry tried to force us to buy our music as a packaged good (overpriced CDs) Napster came along and showed us there was a better way.

    Now we have iTunes, and we think it’s the ultimate solution? Wake up! It’s the same thing, only now we buy it by the overpriced song.

    You think you “own” all that music you bought packaged up in CDs and 99 cent downloads?

    You only bought the rights to listen to it. So why not buy the rights to listen to a million songs for the price of 15 songs a month?

    Just to note: I’m not a Napster subscriber, just someone who “gets it.”

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