All you can eat vs. off the menu

Charlie Cooper of News.com touches on a topic that Julie and I throw around from time to time — do customers prefer an all you can devour subscription model vs. a traditional pay-as-you-go model when it come to digital content and assets (i.e. music files). The sub model, as adopted by Napster and Real, allows the consumer to download unlimited music files for roughly the price of a CD each month. As so long as your subscription is in good standing you can continue to download music. But once it lapses, you are out of SOL. Blaine, this would not be the preferred route for you. The downside is obvious; when you cancel your sub you lose access to all your music. Another strike is the limited means of distribution. Positives are equally as obvious. As the consumer you don’t need to think how the purchase of a Lyle Lovette CD will impact your monthly budget. This model also allows for trying different types of music — the rarely discussed advantage the originally Napster introduced to the music industry. Hey – this is how Julie and I fell for TMBG.

The latter is the more traditional want a song buy a song as with iTunes. Once purchased, you own that file outright. As the owner of that file you have larger distribution rights – not complete distribution mind-you. Downside being, if you lose the file you need to purchase it a second time. Working in the world of digital fulfillment you would be surprised as to how often this happens.

I go back and forth on this issue. Ultimately, the sub model should win out but with one caveat. If I decide to cancel I have the ability to purchase specific files or my entire music library.


4 Responses to “All you can eat vs. off the menu”

  1. 1 Hammer
    February 9, 2005 at 9:11 am

    Actually I prefer the free downloading of songs (or movies, pictures, etc) from LimeWire and then just writing them to a DVD for permanent storage. I can put over 1000 mp3’s on one 4g DVD and then I can just copy them to my hard drive when I want to write them to CD for listening pleasure… Movies work the same way except they are much bigger, usually about 500mb per movie. I have a plethora of movies that I have downloaded over the years… They are .avi format and have to be watched on your PC but the quality is great.

  2. 2 Blaine Baker
    February 9, 2005 at 2:12 pm

    I assume the sub model is what Napster was advertising during the SuperBowl? Gotta go with the subscription model accompanied with a Bank of America direct deposit.

  3. 3 Hammer
    February 9, 2005 at 7:52 pm

    Why spend any money at all…???

  4. 4 Brent
    February 10, 2005 at 9:25 am

    Most people I know in the tech industry warn against the likes of free services like LimeWire due to the fact you are opening up your system to the world and run the risk of intrusion — let’s hope GF isn’t subscribed to this topic. Spyware is also an issue. Personally, I like the depth of files you can find with a service like LimeWire but choose to play it safe with our computer. And hey — if I can help out the Rev or G-Love I am all for it.

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