Trandall6’s Blog

Posts Tagged ‘streaming music

In arguments for or against subscription music it is consistently argued that people wish to own music not rent it.

The most vocal opponent of subscription music is Apple founder Steve Jobs. He argued in a Rollingstone interview back in 2003: “These [music subscription] services that are out there now are going to fail. Music Net’s gonna fail, Press Play’s gonna fail. Here’s why: People don’t want to buy their music as a subscription. They bought 45’s; then they bought LP’s; then they bought cassettes; then they bought 8-tracks; then they bought CD’s. They’re going to want to buy downloads. People want to own their music. You don’t want to rent your music — and then, one day, if you stop paying, all your music goes away”.

Technological advancements are now making such an argument is increasingly irrelevant. People in the days of 45’s and LP’s did not purchase the record for the tangible object, the success of iTunes proves this. Rather they purchased 45’s, CD’s, etc. for the convenience of being able to listen to the recordings they desired, when they desired. This being opposed to waiting for the song they enjoyed to be played on the radio. However such records are usually, and still are priced to the extent that an extremely limited amount of music could be accessed each month. People desire to listen to far more music than this. Even 99c singles on iTunes do not satisfy my appetite for music before I run out of money. This is why people are turning to file sharing and will turn to subscription music if it is set up properly.

This desire to listen to more than say, one album a month is evident in youth culture. Teenagers today, the primary music market have access to a far wider variety of music and they choose to access it. This is evident as in the 1980’s for instance, due to economic limitations kids would only buy around one record a month, and strongly identify with it. High schools were filled with subcultures of Hip-Hop fans, Metal heads, and many other groups. Where as today, while there may be some identification with an artist that strongly resonates with an individual, kids do not form subcultures as strongly based on music any more.

A large scale subscription music model becoming the primary means by which people obtain their music also creates the issue that it would drive most record stores out of business. Speciality retailers that sell merchandise and nostalgia items such as vinyl may still exist, but chain stores such as Virgin, and even CD’s at Walmart would probably be a thing of the past. People consistently argue the loss of such stores to argue against digital music. To me this is a non issue. Such businesses will fade and die unless they change their model. It isn’t tragic or sad, it is capitalism. Public Enemy rapper Chuck D stated something along the lines of those that want to own music as a tangible physical product need to get with the times.

I personally take pride in my huge CD collection, the music I own. However I hope that one day my children will look at it the same way I look at my father’s vinyl collection, as a relic of the past.


Hi this is the second part of a very short series explaining why subscription music could save the music industry, as well as giving us a more enjoyable listening experience. It will now be explained why subscription music has not yet taken off as the primary means that people enjoy music and suggestions for the form a large scale subscription model could take.

Why it has not yet worked

A reason subscription music has not risen from its current status as a niche service is technological constraints. Broadband infrastructure would have to exist to the extent that users could access high quality streaming music in the home. Customers would most probably expect to access the same music with a portable device as well.

However within the next decade these issues could also be resolved. A type of Wi-Fi is currently in development which has a signal range of over one hundred kilometres, rather than 10 metres. Moreover this type of Wi-Fi allows roaming, meaning once the user is out of range of one transmitter they pick up the signal of another, like a cell phone.

Suggestions for the form it could take


If carefully designed, subscription music could offer a similar cultural and economic model as the pay for recordings model of years past. Firstly statistics of what users have listened to could be anonymously recorded. This would allow for Billboard style charts, the popularity of artists could be measured again.

This could also help the artist, as a payment model could be put in place which compensates the artists for what they contribute to the popularity of the system. More listens would equal more money.

I also believe that what music is accessed on a subscription model should completely remain the user’s choice. By this I mean that if the user wants to hear, for example the Dixie Chicks they simply should access that music without being marketed other music through the device or having what they desire be off limits in some fashion. Music should be marketed separately from the subscription service through traditional means such as old media including MTV, RollingStone magazine, radio, etc and new media such as internet, MySpace, etc.


  • trandall6: Thanks alot for that comment. I had never even considered the potental loss of data which could occur under such a model. Like you said, differnet per
  • indie69: Excellent part 3. You make some great points and bring up ideas that I hadn't thought of before. Different perspectives. The one thing I'd point o
  • indie69: Thanks for the comment on my blog. You've challenged some of my ideas, too. But really I just agree with you on the subscription model with the only r