More Consumers Looking to Rent Their Music

Young Man Listening To Music on iPod

No matter where you turn, chances are you’ll catch a glance of someone sporting headphones or earbuds, nodding their head to a beat only they can hear. Whether you’re taking a bus across town, working up a sweat at the gym, or out walking the dog, you’ll see them out there. In fact, they are everywhere. As technology continues to spread, more and more individuals are now “plugged in” and have access to all the information they could ever want or need. They also have access to more music than even before.

Not a Novel Concept

In a recent article for Forbes magazine, contributing writer Alan McGlade wrote about the beginnings of subscription music, the idea of owning versus renting music, and the future of the industry. In the article, McGlade writes that the subscription music model was born a dozen years ago with MusicNet and Pressplay.

As the original Napster grew in popularity, major record labels threw their support – financial and otherwise – behind subscription music because they felt it best replicated the Napster experience and kept digital files in their control. While the first subscription services struggled to gain traction, Apple, led by Steve Jobs, moved digital music into the mainstream. Jobs argued that consumers want to own their music, not rent it. He was opposed to subscription services saying that “people weren’t willing to have their music disappear if they stopped paying fees.”

Rent vs. Own

Today, however, McGlade states the opposite is true. Subscriptions delivered by various providers such as Spotify and Pandora are “becoming the dominant model” and even Apple has apparently turned the corner and will introduce an on-demand streaming service in the near future. Going forward, consumers will have several options for instant access to music, according to McGlade, and that should make everyone, including those in the music business, happy.

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