Too Cool for Internet Explorer

Tuesday, February 8, 2005

It’s Time, Once Again, For an Exciting Game of “Success or Failure?”

Gruber, as always, makes obscenely obvious points. My prediction—Napster To Go is going to fail. Miserably.

Subscription Small Print

What happens when you cancel your Napster To Go subscription?

[Daring Fireball]

Gruber points out some things I’m betting many people don’t realize at all, such as having to frequently sync your portable device so it knows you still subscribe to Napster To Go. That’s ridiculous. I seldom sync my iPod—only whenever I have purchased or ripped new music and want to transfer the tracks.

So, with Napster To Go’s plan, what happens if I go on a long trip that lasts longer than the DRM limit on the portable device? I’ll tell ya what happens. You’re SOL!

Oh yeah, and suppose you want to burn one of those songs to a CD. Fine—once you pony up 99 cents! Yep. Suddenly, you’re paying Napster the same as you’d pay Apple for a single song plus $15 per year!

And here’s a little gem for you that Gruber doesn’t appear to have touched on: that 99-cent track you just bought only gave you the right to burn it to a CD. Which means, to put it back on your computer, you get to re-encode it!! Oh yeah, digital music quality advocates are going to love that one.

Let’s recap:

$180 per year for all the music I want for as long as I want—at least until I cancel my subscription or Napster goes belly up—and an additional buck gets you the privilege of burning one song to a CD and having that song be lower quality than the original if you choose to put it back on your computer in a compressed form.

Or, 99 cents per song to listen with no fear of losing it—even if Apple, god forbid, goes belly up—including the right to burn it to a CD and no need for a lower quality computer rip since you already have it.

Decisions, decisions!

» Posted by ALBj at 11:21 PM (ET)
Category: Idiot of the Moment, Rant


I agree with you all that Napster To Go will probably fail, but I don’t think investing in songs from Apple is that secure. 99 cents buys you a borderline-quality, DRM-protected recording that, yes, you can burn to CD, but ripping that CD will reduce the quality further.

If there’s music I want to keep, I buy it on CD. None of the online services can really compete with that. If I want to explore new music without buying the CD, ITMS leads Napster because of iTunes and because of Napster’s inflexible pricing—not because Apple’s “own it for 99 cents” business model is what people actually want. I think that the subscription model has more potential. Eventually, someone will figure out how to do it right, and it will be great.

» Posted by Michael Tsai
February 11, 2005 02:30 PM

Personally, if I’m going to subscribe to music, I’d much rather put my money into a convertable car/portable satalite radio. Of course I still would rather purchase at $0.99 per track. Oh wait, I do!

» Posted by Queue
February 14, 2005 08:27 AM

Sorry, due to comment spam abuse, new comments on this entry are closed until I find time to upgrade Movable Type and enable registration and moderation.