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What’s Better Than Music Subscriptions? Coming soon, iCloud

What’s in a word?

If the word is Cloud then the assumption is that it’s newer and better.

Last week Apple bought the music service Lala. Without going into the gory details, Lala’s product allows you to access the music you already purchased from their cloud computers, no matter where you are located.

Talk About Bandwagons

The technology press is gushing over this breakthrough.

…The idea of a limitless jukebox in the sky — or in tech-speak, “in the cloud” — has been around for some time, but [now] it is consuming music executives…

I’m amazed (but not surprised) that they don’t talk about Rhapsody, a music service that’s been doing this for years. Rhapsody provides a subscription music service. But the subscription model was crushed over the past few years by Apple’s iTunes store. Let me say that again: crushed.

Once Crushed, Twice Shy

The subscription model is simple. You pay a monthly ‘subscription’ fee and have access to virtually millions of songs without having to purchase them. We’ve been huge fans of Rhapsody for years and have recommended it on this blog. But it never caught on because Apple came to dominate digital music and they haven’t offered subscriptions.

Oh yeah, there’s another Brand that is doing subscriptions; Microsoft’s Zune.

Another nail in the coffin.

Perhaps with the Lala purchase Apple are re-thinking subscriptions. But of course they are way too smart to call it that.

My guess is that if Apple moves to subscriptions, they will re-Brand it as the iCloud and sell it as a great new idea. It’s an idea whose time may finally have come.

Bob Lefsetz, who writes an influential music industry newsletter, the Lefsetz Letter, acknowledged that some people bristle at the idea of not owning their music, but he compared them to people who once said they would never rent a videotape.

“If you ask anybody today, they’ll tell you, ‘I need to own it.’ But once you have these services, you get to the point of, ‘Why would I own it, because I have access to everything?’ ”

Only one teensy weensy issue for Apple. The iCloud name is already owned by another company.

But this shouldn’t stop Apple from just co-opting the name, just as they did with Cisco who owned the iPhone copyright.

Remember, you heard it here first.

Public Service Announcement. In the meantime, why wait, you can sign up for a Rhapsody subscription now. They’ve also put out an App that allows you to stream music to your iPhone. The difference between this and a streaming service like Pandora is that you have access to your playlists, library and any specific song whenever and wherever you like. Personally I love it.

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One thought on “What’s Better Than Music Subscriptions? Coming soon, iCloud

  1. Meanwhile, upload all your music to http://icloud.com and stream it to your iPhone for free together with complete access to all other files you have uploaded 🙂

    Posted by Daniel | December 16, 2009, 9:51 pm

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