Not only has Apple been late to every computing and mobile technology advance in the past 15 years, they’re late to a party where Google has just arrived.
Can you say, ‘Streaming music?‘ Google’s new streaming music service is called All Access (just rolls off the tongue, no?) and costs $9.99 a month for all you can eat. Or, in this case, all you want to listen to.
Yes, friends, even Google has beaten Apple to streaming music subscription services; somewhat pioneered by Pandora and Spotify (more expensive than Pandora’s basic plan, but about the same as Spotify).
What’s not to like?
The fly in the ointment here isn’t that Apple doesn’t yet have a streaming music subscription service, it’s whether or not such services make money (they do not), and what kind of service Apple will create.
Personally, I like to own my music, not rent my music. I own DVDs. I own CDs. They’re mine to do with as I please, including the inherent right to sell them to others. Subscription music services are like leasing a car forever. Money goes out, music comes in, but there’s nothing to own. Stop paying and you can’t listen to music anymore.
I want to think that someone has put a spreadsheet to the subscription business and figured out a way to make money in a few years. Remember Napster? One can argue that Napster almost killed the music recording industry while iTunes saved it. How so? With the original Napster, users stole their music. With iTunes, they bought music with real money. Win, win, win.
The subscription model has yet to show a propensity for making anyone any money at all. Not Spotify, Pandora, Google, not record companies, not recording artists, not anyone. Subscription music is really a test. If enough people subscribe, it could work. Maybe. After all, the world has about a billion Android smartphones cluttering up the landscape.
Subscription music and software might be the wave of the future. It sure seems as if big companies like Google, and Adobe, and Microsoft are pushing hard for us to pay by the month. Forever. For now, I still prefer to own what I buy.
One more thing. Isn’t it interesting that Google won’t say which music labels or how many songs are in the subscription library?