CNN dusts off iTunes subscription service rumor

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
Though the rumors have never come to pass, CNN through its Media Biz website on Wednesday raised new evidence in revisiting the prospect that Apple may soon announce a monthly subscription service for digital music downloads through iTunes.



The media outlet cited Les Ottolenghi, chief executive of INTENT MediaWorks, a digital distribution system that works with peer-to-peer networks, as saying that he’s had meetings with people from Apple and believes the company will announce a subscription service for iTunes within the next six months.



"I think Apple is seriously considering a subscription offering right now even though they will probably tell you otherwise," he said.



While subscription services from iTunes rivals Napster, Real and Yahoo have done little garner interest, Ottolenghi argues that consumers aren't necessarily averse to paying monthly subscriptions. Instead, he claims music fans haven’t embraced the model because Apple doesn't offer it as an option.



Phil Leigh, a senior analyst with Inside Digital Media, seconded the notion. He claims the number one factor retarding the acceptance of the subscription model is the sheer dominance of the industry by Apple.



"Record labels would like a subscription service. They, like anyone else, like recurring revenue. Ringing the cash register every month is a beautiful way to run a business," the analyst told CNN. “But I don’t think they are going to do it because Jobs has said he’s against it and I believe that most of the time we should take people at face value unless we have compelling evidence not to."



Still, Ottolenghi is reportedly high in his convictions that Apple will eventually offer a monthly subscription model alongside its a-la-carte and album sales models, if only to increase iTunes usage amongst illegal file-sharing dwellers.



"With peer-to-peer, there are 2.5 billion downloads per month compared to Apple taking three years to sell 1 billion songs on iTunes," he said. "That’s a big difference."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 88
    I'm not a fan boy or anything like that, but if they do this I think they are going to kill off the so called competition. I love movies, but I don't like buying dvd's, I just watch them once.
  • Reply 2 of 88
    I don't think this has anything to do with the music side, I think quite possibly they will use subscription in the video side.



    I would rather own my music than the movies.
  • Reply 3 of 88
    irelandireland Posts: 17,446member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by josephwinters View Post


    I don't think this has anything to do with the music side, I think quite possibly they will use subscription in the video side.



    I would rather own my music than the movies.



    You're not alone in that regard by any means. I and many many many other people don't like to be tied to a subscription to listen to music. How many songs does one actually need, that and most of the songs people have are from CD's anyway. iTunes works cause people can pick and chose when they want to buy. Movies are a slightly different matter, but this could also be a subscritption service for TV Shows for an iTunes iPTV service.



    Personally I rather own my movies too, although I have rented on occasion. In an ideal iTunes world this is what I would like:

    1. Buy songs

    2. Buy Movies

    3. Rent Movie option

    4. Subscription TV Shows service with some live news and sports content (not that I'm a big sport or news guy, I just think it couldn't replace cable or satellite otherwise).



    Besides I'd rather support a company I like, and the service would probably be pretty good too.
  • Reply 4 of 88
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,040member
    Baloney. If iTunes were to start to see real competition, they'd change. Not now. Not in six months.
  • Reply 5 of 88
    mrjoec123mrjoec123 Posts: 223member
    There's no way Apple can do this on the music side without altering the way Fairplay fundamentally works. Right now, iPod and Apple TV don't handle DRM at all—only iTunes does. A rental model would force Apple to move DRM functionality onto the iPod and Apple TV. Thus, I don't see it happening.



    Not to mention that every attempt to do this in the history of digital music has been a complete flop. It makes no business sense.



    Video is another story, but even that would introduce unneeded complexity that would confuse and frustrate users whenever it malfunctioned. Who wants files that are timebombs, ready to self-destruct from the moment you start watching them? This is the major flaw of pay-per-view and onDemand services. I often start a movie on one day, and then not get back to finish it until a few days later.



    The only way to make it work would be to set it up like Netflix, where there was no timelimit on a file, but rather a maximum number of files you could "rent" at a time. "Turn in" one file, and you'd be granted access to another. All for a monthly fee. But again, you'd have to have some way for the iPod and Apple TV to be aware immediately whenever you turned in a file. Otherwise, it would continue to be available until you synched again.



    There's no reason why Netflix and iTunes can't co-exist. When I want to buy a movie that I know I'll watch many times, I buy it on iTunes. When I want to rent a movie for a single viewing, I use Netflix. It's no different from what I've always done.



    It's a slippery DRM slope, moving into the rental space. I think digital files are best left for purchase only.
  • Reply 6 of 88
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,946member
    I wonder if the aversion to music subscription / renting is cultural. People don't have an aversion to renting movies or subscribing to videos, those models have been around for a couple decades now, but there has been no subscription music service that's been around for a long time.



    People say that they watch movies only once but listen to music multiple times, but I think that maybe someone that's grown up with the subscription music idea might only listen to most tracks once when they have access to millions of tracks.
  • Reply 7 of 88
    salmonstksalmonstk Posts: 560member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mrjoec123 View Post


    There's no way Apple can do this on the music side without altering the way Fairplay fundamentally works. Right now, iPod and Apple TV don't handle DRM at all?only iTunes does. A rental model would force Apple to move DRM functionality onto the iPod and Apple TV. Thus, I don't see it happening.



    Not to mention that every attempt to do this in the history of digital music has been a complete flop. It makes no business sense.



    Video is another story, but even that would introduce unneeded complexity that would confuse and frustrate users whenever it malfunctioned. Who wants files that are timebombs, ready to self-destruct from the moment you start watching them? This is the major flaw of pay-per-view and onDemand services. I often start a movie on one day, and then not get back to finish it until a few days later.



    The only way to make it work would be to set it up like Netflix, where there was no timelimit on a file, but rather a maximum number of files you could "rent" at a time. "Turn in" one file, and you'd be granted access to another. All for a monthly fee. But again, you'd have to have some way for the iPod and Apple TV to be aware immediately whenever you turned in a file. Otherwise, it would continue to be available until you synched again.



    It's a slippery DRM slope, moving into the rental space. I think digital files are best left for purchase only.



    Maybe Apple is thinking of Music Subscript just to pacify the labels in the negotiations. i.e. offer subscript if the labels agree to keep the uniform price model.
  • Reply 8 of 88
    I agree, I would never want to "rent" music. My listen habits are a lot different from my viewing habits. But it would be great if they had a subscription service for TV and movies. Goodbye comast, hello apple. Oh wait, I would still have to pay comcast for the internet part and it costs the same to internet allow as it does to have internet and cable.



    hum.
  • Reply 9 of 88
    A Movie/TV subscription service would definitely address the NetFlix/Blockbuster/Cable competitors, and I could see Apple getting into this. But at the same time... isn't that basically what "buy this season" passes are? And you keep the content. I was under the impression that the market was moving away from Cable-like subscriptions and towards more flexible venues like seasons on DVD. Would it make sense for Apple to regress rather than follow the market?



    The statement really smells like "we really really want a subscription model and we're trying to talk Apple into it" rather than any real incite into Apple's plans.



    Not to mention his arguments for subscription model either show insane levels of ignorance or he's lying through his teeth.,
  • Reply 10 of 88
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,946member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mrjoec123 View Post


    There's no way Apple can do this on the music side without altering the way Fairplay fundamentally works. Right now, iPod and Apple TV don't handle DRM at all—only iTunes does. A rental model would force Apple to move DRM functionality onto the iPod and Apple TV.



    This paragraph is probably completely wrong.



    Automatic rights revocation already exists in iPods for "Fairplay" media. Use an iPod for a month without docking it to a computer and you'll find that you won't be able to play your protected tracks. My sister went a long time between docks, using a wall charger instead of letting the computer charge the iPod, and this has happened to her several times.
  • Reply 11 of 88
    bdj21yabdj21ya Posts: 297member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mrjoec123 View Post


    There's no way Apple can do this on the music side without altering the way Fairplay fundamentally works. Right now, iPod and Apple TV don't handle DRM at all?only iTunes does. A rental model would force Apple to move DRM functionality onto the iPod and Apple TV. Thus, I don't see it happening.



    I disagree with your conclusion. People want to sync their iPods and Apple TV's, upon which the files which have "expired" could easily be removed. I don't think Apple or record companies would be too worried about the infrequent "rogue" iPod or Apple TV that was not being connected back to iTunes.



    However, I do agree that Apple has no reason to move into subscription music, it's not what people want, and it's not where the profit is. I agree that it would be much more likely for them to move into a "Netflix style" model where you can only have a certain number of movie(s) rented out at a time. I would be fine with a rental model for movies as well. Subscription or rental, and you've certainly got my dollars committed. As it is I just don't see the point of iTS movies. At the current price-point and quality, the only thing it makes sense to purchase is kids movies. (kids care a lot less about HD, or decent compression algorithms, AND they're a lot more likely to watch a movie more than once/damage any physical media).
  • Reply 12 of 88
    runningrunning Posts: 20member
    I don't believe CNN a word about this thing. It's maybe possible with films (movie rental), but really not with music. Steve said it million times, that people want to OWN the music, as they own the physical CD. And I hate the idea "you don't pay, so everything dissapears".



    Anyway, in Czech there is no iTunes music store, so what
  • Reply 13 of 88
    sandausandau Posts: 1,230member
    for my iPod, I don't see renting music, but for Apple TV, --IF-- I could browse the store through the Apple TV and select tracks live - I'd pay $20 a month every month and be very very happy with that..



    hell yes. iTunes Store on demand. Bring it to Apple TV.
  • Reply 14 of 88
    tundraboytundraboy Posts: 1,587member
    The two words from Apple that will kill Netflix (and a few others): Now Renting.



    Provided it's 720P, the seamless operation that iTunes-AppleTV offers cannot be matched by any kludgy cobbled-up Windows-based multi-manufacturer mosaic.



    The future of the living room is getting clearer.
  • Reply 15 of 88
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ferris13 View Post


    I agree, I would never want to "rent" music. My listen habits are a lot different from my viewing habits. But it would be great if they had a subscription service for TV and movies.



    Me three... er, eleven!



    The desire to buy and STORE movies/TV shows is rare for me. Music I want to listen to again and again, but with video, I'd rather rent--and therefore pay less.
  • Reply 16 of 88
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,946member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by running View Post


    I don't believe CNN a word about this thing. It's maybe possible with films (movie rental), but really not with music. Steve said it million times, that people want to OWN the music,



    Two things to keep in mind are that CNN rarely dips its toes into Apple rumor mongering, and there are times that Steve said Apple would never do something and later actually do it. Those two things don't mean that this is true, just that I wouldn't rule it out. If Digitimes said something, then I would ignore it.
  • Reply 17 of 88
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post


    Automatic rights revocation already exists in iPods for "Fairplay" media.



    Can you point me to some sites that explain that? My understanding that FairPlay does not have any time-limiting features.
  • Reply 18 of 88
    I don't know why people insist on being WEIRD about this. The subscription service will likely HAPPEN, and it will likely be similar to:



    1. Season Pass "subscriptions" for TV shows

    2. eMusic Service

    3. Music Clubs - except, online



    It will NOT be similar to:



    1. Napster

    2. Yahoo Unlimited

    3. Other piddly "RENTAL" services



    You will OWN your music for cheaper, discounted prices.



    What, are people high? I blame media outlets for pretending a controversy exists that doesn't exist, just to have something to talk about before adding the uncontroversial points in fine print at the end of the article. Certified lame.
  • Reply 19 of 88
    Apple could go for the eMusic.com approach, which is a fixed monthly subscription for a set number of tracks to keep forever. Though the price paid per track is lower, Apple and the record companies may be willing to reduce margin in return for the steady income flow.
  • Reply 20 of 88
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Cleverboy View Post


    I don't know why people insist on being WEIRD about this. The subscription service will likely HAPPEN, and it will likely be similar to:



    1. Season Pass "subscriptions" for TV shows

    2. eMusic Service

    3. Music Clubs - except, online



    It will NOT be similar to:



    1. Napster

    2. Yahoo Unlimited

    3. Other piddly "RENTAL" services



    You will OWN your music for cheaper, discounted prices.



    What, are people high? I blame media outlets for pretending a controversy exists that doesn't exist, just to have something to talk about before adding the uncontroversial points in fine print at the end of the article. Certified lame.



    I love a detailed and simplified explanation of how this would work. I know, I'm obviously "weird" and "high".



    I'm not familiar with eMusic subscriptions or music clubs. THe only music subs I know of are rentals only. I reallly don't see how you can have a subscription to digital online music and at the same time own it.
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