Despite the fact that most of us buy music, and probably prefer to own the music we listen to, subscription music services are taking root, and that impacts traditional music sales, including internet downloads. What is Apple doing?
iTunes vs. Trends
Apple’s iTune is, by far, the world’s largest music store; online or otherwise, more people buy their music the old fashioned way. They pay for it.
The only problem with that model is that it’s changing. Though the trend line is small, it is distinct.
Music rentals and advertising support music subscription services are gaining customers and traction within the marketplace.
What is Apple doing?
While Apple sets the standards for the future in many product lines, the company often is late to the trend party. Large screen smartphones is a good example.
So is the trend toward subscription music services whereby we listen to music and advertisements, or pay a monthly fee to listen to all the music we have time for.
Apple’s iTunes Radio is a way the company combats the advertising supported music trend, but the purchase of Beats Electronics also brought in Beats Music, a human curated music subscription service.
Trend Setting And Fence Sitting
The trends toward ad supported and subscription services are obvious, but I remain on the fence with both. I prefer to own the music I listen to, but I have Pandora, and have tried a few music subscription services.
Here’s why I’m on the fence about subscription music. Money. $10 a month for all the music I want to download or stream to listen to sounds acceptable, but it’s not. At least, not quite. That’s $120 a year for life (or, $100 at the annual payment rate). I buy less than $100 worth of music from iTunes each year.
Over 10 years, I would spend $1,000 for music. That’s a lot of singles, and more than I’m willing to pay long term (I give the cable TV company money each month to use their DBR, so, go figure, right?).
Word on the streets is that Apple wants the music industry to drop their collective panties and let the monthly subscription fee go down to $5.00 a month. I’m in favor of that price point. Why? It’s less burdensome than $10 per month, yet it could impact my digital music buying habits, which does not benefit Apple or the music industry.
Yet, I’m cognizant of the trend toward using online services and paying by the month. My iCloud storage just went over the free amount, so I’m paying money there; why not another $5 a month for all the music I can possibly listen to?
This is probably a math issue. A $10 monthly subscription service will get fewer customers than a $5 a month subscription service. What’s the math? Double? Triple? Quadruple?