I’ve long be a proponent of the music subscription model (see Rhapsody and Topspin) and am convinced that the entire music industry will be soon headed in this direction. Case in point, MySpace has an upcoming music joint venture with 3 of the 4 major labels that will launch in September (EMI is still a holdout). MySpace Music will be a combination music store/subscription service, with unlimited playbacks of full tracks, but for free. The revenue model will be advertising and paid downloads. Advertisers are already lining up, with some eight-figure deals being negotiated.
Anyone who knows me is well aware of how big a fan I am of Rhapsody. It’s one of my essential tools for digesting and discovering new music. The music subscription service model has always made a lot of sense to me and I believe is a model we’re going to see a lot more of. Especially as more and more artists attempt to circumvent labels and go direct to fans (with the help of technology like Topspin).
After all, why wouldn’t you want to pay $12/month to access a virtual unlimited amount of music – anywhere, anytime. It’s beautiful. Especially when leveraged through the Sonos Digital Music System (in which Rhapsody is already integrated). I have an ongoing Rhapsody playlist of new music that I add to whenever I hear or read about a new artist. Then I just queue up the playlist and listen to it whenever I’m at work or futzing around the house. With the combination of Rhaspody and Sonos, listening to music is no longer a dedicated form of entertainment.
Finally, Rhapsody has added an MP3 download component, without all the DRM (Digital Rights Management) hassles like Apple iTunes. (Which means when you download a track or album you can do whatever you want with it – no proprietary formats, limited sharing, etc.) I still love eMusic and inSound for their great selection of Indie music. But I find that Rhapsody is the ideal platform for most of my music research. I’m very happy about this new MP3 service and hope that the the next iteration with include the option for monthly download bundles as part of my subscription. 🙂