As I’ve been saying for years and posted again just days ago, music by subscription is dead. Well, the New York Times agrees with me — Rhapsody Runs Hard Just to Stay in Place — reporting that streaming subscription plans “have essentially failed in the market.” It’s nice being right.
So, Rhapsody has, at long last, formally given up on its subscription model. Rhapsody Looks to MP3 Sales to Topple iTunes [InternetNews.com]. The MTV- and RealNetworks-backed music service “distances itself from subscriptions to focus on appealing to owners of the ubiquitous Apple iPod.” Funny thing, though, is that Rob Glaser of Real has said for years that consumers want “all you can eat” subscription plans, not ownership of music. And at a high-profile industry event last week, the Digital Media Conference, big-wigs from AOL and the like opined the same thing. WRONG!
Real CEO Rob Glaser says that the company’s Rhapsody streaming music service — which it acquired with its purchase of Listen.com — competes with Apple’s iTunes because “anyone can burn any song to a CD for 49 cents.” But that’s like saying that you can listen so long as you stay wedded to your CD player, when the whole point of digital music is bringing it with you on your digital device. Sorry, Rob, you just don’t get it. Rhapsody is still advertised as “The Internet’s Best Radio” because that’s all streaming music really amounts to. Until you let people buy music and treat it like what it is, namely something they own, you aren’t going anywhere.