The music labels remain committed to selling their music through subscriptions, reports Greg Sandoval at CNet's Digital Media blog. He describes a recent conference panel where a Universal Music Group exec explained that iTunes-like sales won't save the industry. Said David Ring of Universal:
If what we're trying to do is one-by-one downloads...that's not a business that can grow. It won't be healthy for the industry.
Like a lot of consumers, Sandoval remains skeptical of subscription services:
There isn't a single music-subscription service selling music from the top labels that generates significant revenue. Yahoo couldn't make a go of it and got out. Napster and Rhapsody, RealNetwork's subscription service, continue to appeal to niche audiences. People just don't like the idea of losing their music if they stop paying fees.
I think subscriptions have great appeal. But Sandoval is right, there are base issues that need to be addressed in any plan. I need to know that I'll be paying a consistent fee to get access to my music. And in the event my provider tanks, I need to know that all the work I put into finding and organizing my music is transferable to another service.