Renting Your Music

Album Cover: The Future

"Love's the only engine of survival."
Leonard Cohen / The Future

Posted on April 02, 2004 11:08 AM in Music
Warning: This blog entry was written two or more years ago. Therefore, it may contain broken links, out-dated or misleading content, or information that is just plain wrong. Please read on with caution.

According to C|Net, Microsoft's "Janus" may be an iPod killer. Why? Because it would allow subscribers to virtually "rent" their music as opposed to buying it on a per-song basis. Do I think Microsoft may be on to something here? I sure do.

The problem with the iPod model is that even a dollar (or 99 cents) can seem like a lot of money in context. As hip-hop has taken over the mainstream, today's "pop" follows the idea of "here today, gone tomorrow" to a tee. Why would I pay a dollar (or anywhere near a dollar) for a song that I probably won't be as into 3 weeks today when I can pay $10 a month to ensure that I will have access to all of the songs that are considered "hot" on any given day, week, etc.?

When Steve Jobs says that consumers want to own, and not rent their music, he is referring to the traditional model of music consumption. He isn't thinking of the future. The music industry has a lot of changes in store over the next few years, most of which no one can currently predict. I wouldn't be surprised if this new, legal model of renting what's "currently popular" ends up being one of the more monumental of those changes.

I'm a traditionalist when it comes to purchasing music. I may listen to something online to get an idea of whether it is purchase worthy, but in the end I prefer having a shiny disc in my hand as opposed to bits on a hard drive. However, this idea of being able to subscribe to all the music I want access to has me thinking. I can honestly say I would pay around $10 a month to be able to play good music on demand, whenever I darn well pleased.

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