Apple should punt on music subscriptions

In the run up to Let's Rock press event there were a lot of rumors that Apple was preparing to announce a music subscription service called iTunes Unlimited that would cost US$130 per year and would launch in October. Instead Apple announced new iPods and iTunes 8.

In the run up to Let's Rock press event there were a lot of rumors that Apple was preparing to announce a music subscription service called iTunes Unlimited that would cost US$130 per year and would launch in October. Instead Apple announced new iPods and iTunes 8.

Last week, Best Buy acquired Napster which along with RealNetwork's Rhapsody, represent the largest remaining players in the music subscription business.

I agree with CNet's Greg Sandoval that music subscriptions are a risky business. He notes that the Yahoo Unlimited subscription service was shuttered earlier this year and that the market is getting chewed up.

Maybe the subscription music market is just migrating to the carriers. CNET News reported Thursday that Sony Ericsson is prepping their own music service (reportedly with subscriptions) designed to compete with Nokia's "Comes with Music" initiative. Perhaps Apple considers itself more of a phone handset maker these days and feels compelled to stave off advances from Nokia and Sony Ericsson.

At the end of the day iTunes Unlimited is still just a rumor. Not to mention that most people, including myself, don't want to rent their music, as Steve Jobs has long maintained.

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