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Tech Talk Radio Show 41 of 2010
Transmission date: October 11, 2010
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Ep 41 of 2010
October 11, 2010

Everyone is pretty blasé these days when it comes to on line music stores. Everyone has heard of them and nearly everyone has bought from them. But to get the edge on their competitors, online music stores have had to evolve, and evolve they have. Your average online store serves up a range of music, movies, applications for your smart phone, music videos and podcasts. So where to from here? Well it seems that the next frontier is subscription music, where punters will be able to by the rights to listen to music online for a pre determined period of time.

The New Post reported this week that Apple is talking with the major record labels about a subscription music service that would give customers unlimited access to songs for a monthly fee. According to the report Apple iTunes boss Eddy Cue was on the phone with music honchos as recently as a few weeks ago trying to figure out how the partners can move forward.

One source said the service could have tiered pricing ranging from $10 to $15, although there are issues to be ironed out, including how much music would be included in each tier and how long consumers would be able to access that content. One top music exec said the labels are supportive of the idea and believe it could re-energize digital music sales. While album downloads have been on the rise, single track sales were flat in the first half of 2010 compared to the previous year.

Speculation that Apple would introduce a subscription service has been kicking around for years but the news that music service Spotify will be part of Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 release on Oct. 11 revived industry chatter. Spotify is a European music service that has yet to launch in the US. The company's stumbling block has been its free ad-supported streaming music business model as the record labels prefer a paid subscription model.

There are several free music streaming sites which are currently available to Australians. Grooveshark and Jango to name just two, but it hasn't always been an easy ride for these sites. Several years ago, Pandora pioneered free online streaming sites, but was swiftly blocked to countries outside the US. So with radio stations around the world embracing streaming, and online programmable streaming websites, does a music subscription option via our favourite online store stand a chance or has the horse already bolted?

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