You'll Have To Do Better Napster

february 3, 2005

Napster's new gimmick in its run to squash Apple's iTunes Music Store is music-rental. They are running a slick webpage with their spiel about how renting music is better than buying music. The bottom line: 1,000,000 songs on Napster = $15 a month. 1,000,000 songs on iTunes Music Store ~ $1,000,000. I like that, it's a good shot at Apple, but does it hold up? Not really, I like owning my music, not renting it. Unlike movies, which are great to rent, music is something that I can come back to over and over again -- whereas movies I'll watch once and return, unless it is really good, then I buy it to own it. The Napster music-rental way is based on Microsoft's new Janus system. It allows you to rent as much music as you want for $15, if you like the song -- drum roll please -- you can pay 99 cents for the song and burn it to a CD. I have 3,000+ songs on my iPod, most ripped from my own CDs, but a lot purchased from the iTunes Music Store. Do I wish I had 1,000,000 songs on my iPod? Nah. I hardly listen to the 3,000 on my iPod as it is. There are songs I like and buy. Those songs get burned to CDs for archive and I can keep them forever. Remember, after you pay $15 a month for a year and decide that Napster really sucks, you'll have no songs. If I pay for 15 songs for a year and decide that iTunes Music store really sucks, I will still have 180 songs that are mine to keep...forever. I get 30 second samples on iTunes Music Store, that's good enough for me to sample songs -- especially since it is free.