Jury Still Out On Subscription Plans

from the i'm-yours-till-you-stop-paying dept

Last week, Yahoo executives didn’t give much info on how their music subscription service was faring, but they did raise the prices of their portable services, raising questions about its success. Paul Resnikoff over at Digital Music News points out Real Networks’ subscriber figures aren’t clear at all, either: the company said it had 1.3 million subscribers for all of its premium services, but didn’t break the number out by individual offering. Napster’s earnings are out next week, and they’re expected to report about 500,000 users. Resnikoff says points out that the iPod plus iTunes and high P2P activity would indicate that downloading is still the preferred paradigm for buying music, and even though “rent stuff” business models are flourishing, it may not work for music.

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Comments on “Jury Still Out On Subscription Plans”

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1 Comment
M says:

No Subject Given

As a Rhapsody premium subscriber, I find the service worthwhile, and the sound quality and catalogue excellent. The service certainly isn’t perfect, but I think it’s easier and more convenient than monkeying around with digital files.

I think any problems with Rhapsody’s business have more to do with management than the product. For example, Rhapsody’s advertising seems nonexistent or irrelevant, especially when compared to Apple. They have one TV ad that has the look and feel of a Ginsu knife commercial — one of those cheap, late night kitchen gadget ads. I’m not suggesting that they try and compete with iPod, but at least put together a coherent ad campaign. Even as a longtime subscriber, I find it really hard to find out what improvements and innovations Rhapsody plans. Since the product has improved dramatically in the last year, I know they’re working on it, but why don’t let the public know?

Somehow I think Rhapsody’s problems derive from the RealPlayer legacy — a product which always struck me as useless at best and as a bloatware nuisance at worst. Now, with Rhapsody, RealNetworks has a great product, but it seems like same team than ran RealPlayer into the ground, may do the same with Rhapsody. I hope not.

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