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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About the author

    Matt Rosoff is an analyst with Directions on Microsoft, where he covers Microsoft's consumer products and corporate news. He's written about the technology industry since 1995, and reviewed the first Rio MP3 player for CNET.com in 1998. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network. Disclosure. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattrosoff.

     

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