iTunes: A Challenger Appears
Universal unveils a new music subscription plan that involves a $5 per month subscription fee. Universal has Sony BMG and perhaps Warner on board, so that's 3 of the big 4. The notable absence is EMI, who has gone DRM-free. iPod Observer calls the plan novel, I don't think I'll be as kind. The part of their plan that's novel is that the device manufacturers pay the $5 fee instead of the customer. What inevitably will happen here is that the customer will get charged that extra $5 per month anyway... and the customers won't be able to decide for themselves when to end the subscription service. If I thought any company would pay that fee for more than a few months for 'free,' I'd be delusional. Delusional like Gartner analyst Mike McGuire:
"If the object is to wrest control of the market from Steve Jobs, this is a credible way to try it."