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Talking Smack with MusicNet

posted by DL Byron on April 12, 2005

Pam pPod On our way back from NYC, a couple weeks ago, our flight was delayed and we joined other travelers huddled around the only power outlets in the terminal. We’d take turns plugging into the outlet to charge our laptops. The newness of her iPod hadn’t worn off yet and Pam was playing with all the menu features (Pam is shown in today's photo at the Manhattan Apple Store, happily about to purchase her iPod). Seeing her iPod, the traveller next to us noted that he had the latest in digital audio gadgets and showed us his Creative Zen Micro and pitched us on how users prefer subscription services. He also claimed that Apple would have a subscription service in 6 months. We discussed this further, debating subscription v. pay for downloads, Real’s hack, how Napster is destroying its brand, and it turns out the guy was a marketing rep for MusicNet. As he discussed MusicNet’s services, he also disclaimed most of the features of the Zen micro: “it’s not, but, it could, this bugs me, the menu … .” His effort culminated in the radio being the only feature better than the iPod and that’s because the iPod doesn’t have a radio. He was a nice guy, but Pam and I remained unconvinced.

The flight was delayed another hour and the debate about subscription services picked up again. I don’t really care either way. I prefer to buy music and some want to lease it. There’s room for both. While a recent study found that pay-per-download is preferred, I’m sure MusicNet’s marketing staff is at the ready to say otherwise. They can also convince themselves that the iPod sucks because it doesn’t have a radio.

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