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songs

Is Apple Considering iTunes Subscriptions?

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Apparently, Apple may be considering a service that allows unlimited iTunes Store downloads for a year in exchange for a higher initial purchase price on future iPods and iPhones. It has been dubbed “Comes With Music.” However, this means that Apple would go against its long-standing view that music should not be purchased permanently and not merely rented as many other music services do. I don’t know quite where I stand with this yet. It’s an interesting concept. Here’s the article, via AppleInsider.

A longtime opponent of subscription music services, Apple is reportedly exploring the possibility of charging extra for iPhones and iPods in exchange for unlimited iTunes Store access. Allegedly tipped off by senior officials close to the matter, the Financial Times suggests that Apple is in talks with music labels to follow an approach first pioneered by Nokia and Universal Music Group.

Dubbed Comes With Music, the upcoming service has customers pay more for a cellphone in return for as many a la carte music downloads as the customer likes over the course of a year. In this implementation, customers can either renew a subscription once it expires or else keep the tracks they’ve downloaded, even if they switch to competing phones or music services. This would eliminate common reservations about subscription services whose copy protection automatically invalidates downloaded tracks as soon as the subscription ends. Apple chief Steve Jobs famously attacked this latter concept as “renting music” upon introducing the iTunes Music Store in 2003.

Apple is said to be entertaining the notion of a similar plan to spur sales for iPhones and iPods. However, the electronics giant is claimed by a pair of executives to have hit a roadblock through its early insistence on low prices. While Nokia already plans to charge $80 for its year-long music giveaway, its newest opponent in the cellphone market is only willing to offer $20 at present — a gap that may result in no deal at all if no labels agree to the strategy. “It’s who blinks first,” says one of the claimed sources, “and whether or not anyone does blink.”

Apple may nonetheless be willing to budge. Studies purportedly conducted about the subject have shown that many would be willing to spend $100 for unlimited access throughout the device’s entire useful lifespan. Whether these studies were conducted by Apple or music industry analysts is unknown. More surprising still are assertions that Apple is willing to consider a conventional subscription model with a monthly fee, though the details of any proposals are unclear. The Times claims that such a service would require an iPhone due to the monthly billing structure and that most industry discussions revolve around unlimited access to songs with permanent downloads for 40-50 of those songs. The same research conducted for a Comes With Music-style premium also suggests that customers would be willing to pay between $7 and $8 per month for a subscription. Apple has declined comment on the report.

Music Monday: Third Eye Blind – “Semi-Charmed Life”

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“Semi-Charmed Life” by Third Eye Blind is probably on the top five list of my all-time favorite songs. There’s nothing better, in my opinion, than mid-1990s alternative rock, specifically 1996 and 1997, had some of the best music ever. I liked this song so much back in ’96 that I bought it and it was my first cassette tape (that’s right, not CD but tape). It’s still just as awesome today, twelve years later, and brings back lots of great memories. Take a listen. 

Across The Universe – Review

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I went to see Across The Universe with a big group of friends last night at the Byrd Theater. I can summarize it best simply in one word: trippy. Of course I don’t do drugs, but I think that watching that movie shows you what it’s like to be on an acid trip in the same way drunk goggles show you what it looks like to be completely wasted. The plot of the movie is built around the most popular songs of The Beetles. While the songs are great and the singers’ renditions were very good, I (along with most people in our group of about eight) had a hard time following the story. I got bored and a little restless about half way through, and when I was finally able to pick the plot up again (after an extremely odd scene of someone throwing strawberries all over the walls while the song “Strawberry Fields Forever” played), I found it dry and uninteresting for the most part. The best part about this movie? It was at the Byrd so it was only two dollars. Glad I didn’t waste ten bucks on it at Short Pump when it was playing there. Nice try, but you guys lost me.

Overall rating: No stars.

Song Of The Week: Lou Gramm – “Midnight Blue”

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I know it’s Wednesday and I usually do the Song Of The Week on Mondays. I’ve been really busy painting my room and doing other stuff I’ve needed to for a while. Sorry for not keeping up with posting. I’ll be back on track in a couple days.

Anyway, I like pretty much all kinds of music, especially some of the older stuff. Here’s a really good 80s track I heard on XM this week. It’s called “Midnight Blue,” and it’s by Lou Gramm, lead singer from the band Foreigner. Good stuff. Check it out.