Universal Music Takes on iTunes: "While the details are in flux, insiders say Morris & Co. have an intriguing business model: get hardware makers or cell carriers to absorb the cost of a roughly $5-per-month subscription fee so consumers get a device with all-you-can-eat music that's essentially free. Music companies would collect the subscription fee, while hardware makers theoretically would move many more players."
This feels a bit like Microsoft telling all their device and subscription/DRM partners, "we're tired of waiting for you guys to make a market, get out of the way and we will do it ourselves". Now that frustration has moved further up the chain and the world's largest record label is saying, "I'm watching my business go down the drain and a guy in black mock turtleneck has got me over a barrel - get out of the way, we will do it ourselves".
Questions? Sure, I've got a few...
Q. What about the indies? How bad are they screwed in this scenario?
Q. DRM? I sure as hell hope not. If it doesn't play on iPods and iPhones, it doesn't play.
Q. How quickly does Napster and Rhapsody America bleed customers if this happens?
Q. Pressplay and MusicNet... anyone remember the fate of those major label subscription consortiums?
Q. Will they expose APIs so that they can syndicate this content everywhere, or are they going to drag everyone to a central "store"?
I'm sure I will have more thoughts on this over the coming days. What do you guys think?