Apple's Jobs still not keen on iTunes subscription service

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  • Reply 61 of 85
    macgregormacgregor Posts: 1,434member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TBaggins View Post


    Apple could do subscriptions despite the DRM, they'd just have to open it up. The thing that's getting them into hot water in Europe isn't so much DRM but the 'no interoperability' thing caused by the closed nature of FairPlay. \



    Of course, that then begs the question, "Why didn't they just open up FairPlay, instead of going DRM-free?".

    A: Because it solves the interoperability problem, gets the European regulators off their nuts, AND its something that customers like. But subscriptions are something that some customers like too, and they're likely to accept DRM as a necessary consequence of having it. They already have elsewhere.



    Meanwhile, for the "DRM can burn in hell" crowd, there'd still be iTunes' regular 'you own the music' DRM-free downloads. Everybody's happy... except of course for the 5% of people who are never happy and will always complain no matter what.



    .



    I was thinking about that model as well.



    Since Jobs talks about the CD as the medium of content that is already DRM-free and the iTunes Store with the ability to burn to physical CD media, its logical descendent - why not make all purchases, high quality, DRM-free music and make all rentals, current quality and DRM-laden music?



    Yes, it adds some complexity and I personally would not go that way, but again if 10-20% do want to go that way, why not let them?



    A third option is to re-define the service slightly so that you get beyond the current perception of what "rented music" is ...



    I know this is a ways off, but I sort of think of subscriptions, not like magazine or current music subscriptions, but rather like paying to have on-demand radio with customizeable playlists. Once the iPhone is up and going and wefi more ubiquitous in public spaces, you may not even need to keep subscription content on the device at all (beyond the necessary buffering and metadata). You would then stream "your" music inside your house, on your aTV and your other devices and you wouldn't really care that you didn't own it. It would be the equivalent of paying $10/month to be able to program your own radio station and change songs on the fly.



    The problem with this is obviously the trick to making streaming media something that is portable. Well then Apple could make iPods wifi, which would give communities even more reason to wifi urban areas and Apple has the lead in the emerging Radio over IP market as the iPhone pushes VOIP and GoogleOIP, etc.



    In this way there is a much greater separation in the services of getting music from Apple and it might create a better model in the minds of the consumers:

    Option 1: Buy music from iTunes as I always have done.

    Option 2: Pay $10 for unlimited music exploration via on-demand "radio" which doesn't take up harddrive space

    Option 3: Do both.



    What am I missing here? Besides the flooding of bandwidth...
  • Reply 62 of 85
    sjksjk Posts: 603member
    The number of intelligently positive "'subscriptions' in addition to purchases" posts in this thread has been enjoyably surprising. It's satisfying to finally see many of the same points I attempted making years ago not being drown out by a majority of narrow-viewed naysayers.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MacGregor View Post


    In this way there is a much greater separation in the services of getting music from Apple and it might create a better model in the minds of the consumers:

    Option 1: Buy music from iTunes as I always have done.

    Option 2: Pay $10 for unlimited music exploration via on-demand "radio" which doesn't take up harddrive space

    Option 3: Do both.



    Both services would be advantageous for me. Option 2 because, for one reason:

    Quote:

    It would be the equivalent of paying $10/month to be able to program your own radio station and change songs on the fly.



    I listen to streaming internet audio "stations", with the sequential playback limitation of conventional radio. I'd like the choice of creating custom streaming playlists or choosing from ones other people have created. On the iTunes Store, I can imagine the iMix feature being a more broadly appealing social music network service than with its current purchase-only model.



    Quote:

    What am I missing here? Besides the flooding of bandwidth...



    Missing, as in any currently irresolvable issues?



    Do you think the type of on-demand streaming you're proposing could be a viable alternative to satellite radio if portability issues you mentioned could be resolved?



    Maybe it's too late for further discussion since this thread seems to have fizzled-out a few days ago.
  • Reply 63 of 85
    macgregormacgregor Posts: 1,434member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sjk View Post


    I'd like the choice of creating custom streaming playlists or choosing from ones other people have created. On the iTunes Store, I can imagine the iMix feature being a more broadly appealing social music network service than with its current purchase-only model.





    Missing, as in any currently irresolvable issues?



    Do you think the type of on-demand streaming you're proposing could be a viable alternative to satellite radio if portability issues you mentioned could be resolved?



    Maybe it's too late for further discussion since this thread seems to have fizzled-out a few days ago.



    Yes, the ability to stream the iMixes would be a much better social framework than any Zunefied squirting. Everyone gets to be their own DJ/radio station programmer without having to design their own blogs or podcasts.



    Yes, I was wondering about technical issues to a million people streaming iMixes.



    Is this being debated in another thread? Seems like once the aTV and iPhone hit a critical mass, streaming content (via iTunes Store or not) will be the frontier Apple needs to stake out.
  • Reply 64 of 85
    spindlerspindler Posts: 713member
    Just because Steve Jobs says he doesn't think subscriptions will sell it doesn't mean anything. He always says that until the day he's ready to sell something.



    I can't imagine how the subscription model would NOT sell well. You get everything you want, as much as you want, right now. That is the American way. If you are throwing a party and you want to pick 30 songs to play, you can pick any 30 whether you own them or not.



    For people really into music it is the way to go. Let's say I want to rediscover the top psychadelic songs from the 60s. Am I really going to spend $100 on 100 songs? No, but for $15 for a subscription I can download a bunch of albums. Let's say I haven't heard much Marvin Gaye but I want to get into him. Download 10 of his albums and listen to them for only $15.



    I don't see how 1000 new songs for a month for $15 isn't a great deal but 15 songs that you might get bored of for $15 forever is.
  • Reply 65 of 85
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,231member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by spindler View Post


    Just because Steve Jobs says he doesn't think subscriptions will sell it doesn't mean anything. He always says that until the day he's ready to sell something.



    I can't imagine how the subscription model would NOT sell well. You get everything you want, as much as you want, right now. That is the American way. If you are throwing a party and you want to pick 30 songs to play, you can pick any 30 whether you own them or not.



    For people really into music it is the way to go. Let's say I want to rediscover the top psychadelic songs from the 60s. Am I really going to spend $100 on 100 songs? No, but for $15 for a subscription I can download a bunch of albums. Let's say I haven't heard much Marvin Gaye but I want to get into him. Download 10 of his albums and listen to them for only $15.



    I don't see how 1000 new songs for a month for $15 isn't a great deal but 15 songs that you might get bored of for $15 forever is.



    You are unusual. You also seem young.



    We also buy books, though I suppose you don't buy them either.



    Subscriptions haven't done well. That's a fact.
  • Reply 66 of 85
    sjksjk Posts: 603member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MacGregor View Post


    Yes, the ability to stream the iMixes would be a much better social framework than any Zunefied squirting. Everyone gets to be their own DJ/radio station programmer without having to design their own blogs or podcasts.



    Seems an obvious way to extend the value of the iTunes Store for existing and new customers. Only those who'd be satisfied with pricing and limitations, of course.



    Quote:

    Yes, I was wondering about technical issues to a million people streaming iMixes.



    Without identifying specific issues it generally seems possible for audio streaming since popular sites like YouTube are capable of handling heavy streaming video traffic. And streaming uses less bandwidth than downloading the same content.



    Quote:

    Is this being debated in another thread?



    Probably; is there any topic that's not being redundantly debated?



    Quote:

    Seems like once the aTV and iPhone hit a critical mass, streaming content (via iTunes Store or not) will be the frontier Apple needs to stake out.



    Maybe sooner? I've recently been considering it in the context of possible consequences to Internet radio if the proposed royalty rate increase (which I vehemently oppose; SaveNetRadio) for webcasters does go into effect on July 15th.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    Subscriptions haven't done well. That's a fact.



    That doesn't imply they can't do well, which is also a fact. Btw, you seemed a bit harsh with spindler.



    How and why these types of "subscriptions" might succeed in the future is more interesting (for me) to speculate and discuss than dwelling too negatively on the failures.
  • Reply 67 of 85
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,951member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sjk View Post


    And streaming uses less bandwidth than downloading the same content.



    There may be a small difference if it really is the same content at the same bitrates. Usually what happens is that streaming often uses lower bitrate encodings than a download of the same content.
  • Reply 68 of 85
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,231member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sjk View Post




    That doesn't imply they can't do well, which is also a fact. Btw, you seemed a bit harsh with spindler.



    While it's a fact that they haven't done well, it's only a supposition that they can do well. It isn't a fact until it happens one way or the other.



    Not harsh, just straightforward.



    I find that by ignoring history we can think that something is true when it isn't.



    Quote:

    How and why these types of "subscriptions" might succeed in the future is more interesting (for me) to speculate and discuss than dwelling too negatively on the failures.



    I've stated many times that I have nothing against Apple trying it.



    But, how would you measure success? What numbers would you think Apple would have to produce to show that it was worthwhile? At some point, hopefully, a venture goes from losing money to making money, if it becomes a success at all. At what point would that happen?



    If it takes away from song sales, would Apple lose more than it gained?



    I'm sure that Apple is working on numbers for all of this and more that I didn't bother to mention.
  • Reply 69 of 85
    sjksjk Posts: 603member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post


    There may be a small difference if it really is the same content at the same bitrates. Usually what happens is that streaming often uses lower bitrate encodings than a download of the same content.



    Not sure I understand. An example of what I meant is that downloading any content from iTS potentially uses all my available broadband bandwidth while streaming audio uses only a fraction of it (dependent on, and possibly with even higher than iTS content, bitrates).
  • Reply 70 of 85
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,231member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sjk View Post


    Not sure I understand. An example of what I meant is that downloading any content from iTS potentially uses all my available broadband bandwidth while streaming audio uses only a fraction of it (dependent on, and possibly with even higher than iTS content, bitrates).



    I'll bite on this one.



    Why would streaming use a lower amount of bandwidth? Are you talking about slower than realtime streaming?
  • Reply 71 of 85
    sjksjk Posts: 603member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    I find that by ignoring history we can think that something is true when it isn't.



    Sure, though I don't think that's applicable to any of my comments.



    Quote:

    I've stated many times that I have nothing against Apple trying it.



    I know your objections don't exclude the possibility it could be worthwhile for reasons some people clearly expressed earlier in this thread.



    It's ridiculous when the idea is entirely dismissed simply because someone has no personal interest, especially when they've extrapolated that to assume it's true for everyone else. Heck, there's a predictable tendency for certain people to do that on many forums (etc.) regardless of what the topics of (dis)interest are.



    Quote:

    But, how would you measure success? What numbers would you think Apple would have to produce to show that it was worthwhile? At some point, hopefully, a venture goes from losing money to making money, if it becomes a success at all. At what point would that happen?



    Those are sort of rhetorical questions since I'm incapable of answering with anything more than limited information guesses.



    Quote:

    If it takes away from song sales, would Apple lose more than it gained?



    I've considered that's one reason why Apple is satisfied with iTS remaining purchase-only as long as it sustains sufficient profit (whatever that may be).
  • Reply 72 of 85
    sjksjk Posts: 603member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    Why would streaming use a lower amount of bandwidth? Are you talking about slower than realtime streaming?



    I'm talking about bits/second bandwidth, approximately measured/monitored in near realtime with MenuMeters' Network menubar item (for instance). Am I using the wrong terminology?
  • Reply 73 of 85
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,231member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sjk View Post


    Sure, though I don't think that's applicable to any of my comments.



    Ok.



    Quote:

    I know your objections don't exclude the possibility it could be worthwhile for reasons some people clearly expressed earlier in this thread.



    It's ridiculous when the idea is entirely dismissed simply because someone has no personal interest, especially when they've extrapolated that to assume it's true for everyone else. Heck, there's a predictable tendency for certain people to do that on many forums (etc.) regardless of what the topics of (dis)interest are.



    Let me more clearly state my position on this.



    My non-objection to this is known.I'm not saying that it can't succeed. I'm saying that I don't see how it will.



    I sometimes find playing the Devil's Advocate to be more useful then simply agreeing, or letting things go. I'd rather get people to think things through, however it turns out.



    Quote:

    Those are sort of rhetorical questions since I'm incapable of answering with anything more than limited information guesses.



    Of course. It goes back to what I said above. We should at least think about these problems when forming our opinions about it though.



    Quote:

    I've considered that's one reason why Apple is satisfied with iTS remaining purchase-only as long as it sustains sufficient profit (whatever that may be).



    That's one of my reasons as well.
  • Reply 74 of 85
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,231member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sjk View Post


    I'm talking about bits/second bandwidth, approximately measured/monitored in near realtime with MenuMeters' Network menubar item (for instance). Am I using the wrong terminology?



    Then you aren't talking about realtime. If it is slower than realtime, then the bandwidth will be less. But if it is in realtime, and the quality is the same, then bandwidth will also be the same.



    These meters are not known for their accuracy.
  • Reply 75 of 85
    sjksjk Posts: 603member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    My non-objection to this is known.I'm not saying that it can't succeed. I'm saying that I don't see how it will.



    I sometimes find playing the Devil's Advocate to be more useful then simply agreeing, or letting things go. I'd rather get people to think things through, however it turns out.



    I'll often take devil's advocate role to encourage alternative viewpoints, as I've been doing by considering ways iTS "subscriptions" could succeed while others are altogether opposed to the idea.



    'nuf said.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    Then you aren't talking about realtime. If it is slower than realtime, then the bandwidth will be less. But if it is in realtime, and the quality is the same, then bandwidth will also be the same.



    Obviously it takes longer listening/watching/saving an entire track that's throttled by a streaming A/V server than typically downloading the same track via FTP (etc.). If downloading A/V content is much faster than streaming identical content then how can they be using the same bandwidth?



    Would it be more accurate to substitute "transfer rate" for "bandwidth"?



    Quote:

    These meters are not known for their accuracy.



    Which is why I said approximately; it's certainly good enough for casual measurements/monitoring I use it for.
  • Reply 76 of 85
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,231member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sjk View Post


    Obviously it takes longer listening/watching/saving an entire track that's throttled by a streaming A/V server than typically downloading the same track via FTP (etc.). If downloading A/V content is much faster than streaming identical content then how can they be using the same bandwidth?



    If that's so, then yes, of course it would be different. But, generally, streamed content seems to come down as your connection will allow it. Each site is different in their capabilities. Apple has vast amounts of bandwidth for this purpose.



    When I stream something to my machine, with my 6 Mb/s connection, it often downloads much faster then it plays, so the download from the stream finishes well before the content is through playing.



    I don't think that any site will stream at the exact speed needed to play the file because of the vagaries of the web. If they do that, there will be a likelihood of stuttering, or even stoppage. They simply download as fast as they can, up to a certain point, which will cover any problems.



    [quote[

    Would it be more accurate to substitute "transfer rate" for "bandwidth"?[/quote]



    I suppose it would be more meaningful that way. The bandwidth is what the site has in total.



    Quote:

    Which is why I said approximately; it's certainly good enough for casual measurements/monitoring I use it for.



    Sure, but if the speeds are close, it might not be able to tell which one is faster.
  • Reply 77 of 85
    chuckerchucker Posts: 5,089member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    When I stream something to my machine, with my 6 Mb/s connection, it often downloads much faster then it plays, so the download from the stream finishes well before the content is through playing.



    You're confusing things. A stream is a continuous connection as you play. The stream's download definitely does not finish before you play. That wouldn't be a stream.
  • Reply 78 of 85
    sjksjk Posts: 603member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Chucker View Post


    You're confusing things. A stream is a continuous connection as you play. The stream's download definitely does not finish before you play. That wouldn't be a stream.



    Yep, that's the difference between streaming and downloading (and their bandwidth consumption) that I've been struggling to explain to Mel. Thank you!
  • Reply 79 of 85
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,231member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Chucker View Post


    You're confusing things. A stream is a continuous connection as you play. The stream's download definitely does not finish before you play. That wouldn't be a stream.



    No, I simply giving the information as to what actually happens with streamed media.



    Are you saying that whenever you stream something it comes down at exactly the rate required?



    Except for slower connections that never happens.



    A download is when you download a file of whatever it may be, and play it later.



    You've read Apple's own prefs on Quicktime. It gives you choices as to how you will have the stream work. You can cache part before the stream starts to play. You need to do this on slower connections so that the strean can get a head start on the play, or the play stops in the middle somewhere until the stream catches up.



    If your connection is fast enough, the stream caches faster then it plays, and finishes caching the entire file before the play is finished.



    This isn't downloading at all, unless you are allowed to keep the stream later. Then it is both.
  • Reply 80 of 85
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,231member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sjk View Post


    Yep, that's the difference between streaming and downloading (and their bandwidth consumption) that I've been struggling to explain to Mel. Thank you!



    My statement to Chucker is the answer to what I'm trying to explain.
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