Rumored iTunes subscription would be a bargain

According to a tip received by MacDailyNews, Apple's considering an iTunes all-you-can-eat subscription for $129.99 a year--that's cheaper than all other subscription services, and would cement iTunes' absolute dominance.

Repeat after me: it's just a rumor. Record company sources deny it. But if the anonymous tipster who e-mailed Mac Daily News is telling the truth, and Apple is indeed going to offer an all-you-can-download iTunes subscription service for for $129.99 a year (or $179.99 a year with Mobile Me), other subscription services will have a hard time surviving.

Let's review for a moment, shall we?

eMusic.
Cost? The cheapest plan $143.88 per year, but only for 30 downloads per month. No unlimited plan available.
Works with the iPod? Yes, because the downloads are non-DRM-protected MP3s.
Chance of survival? Only with price cuts and a more generous subscription plan.

Zune Pass.
Cost? $179.88 per year.
Works with iPod? No.
Chance of survival? Yes, but only because Microsoft seems committed to losing money on the Zune for as long as it takes to make a dent in Apple's market share, and will probably follow with a price cut.

Rhapsody to Go.
Cost? $179.88 per year.
Works with iPod? No.
Chance of survival? Slim. Subscription-music fans tend to like Rhapsody, but once there's an alternative that costs less and works with the most popular MP3 player in the world, I imagine a lot of those fans will reconsider.

Napster to Go.
Cost? $179.40 per year.
Works with iPod? No.
Chance of survival? Given all the other problems Napster's already facing, an iTunes subscription service could be the last straw.

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