“This generation does not want an archive of music” – Vodafone

Vodafone‘s head of internet and content services made this bold, and rather hasty, claim in promotion of MusicStation, Vodafone’s new subscription music service, which offers unlimited music downloads – downloads which all become useless the inst ant you stop making regular monthly payments to Vodafone.

“This generation does not want an archive of music. We offer unlimited music on a rental model – no-one has done this in the marketplace, and certainly not the iPhone.”
Al Russell, Vodafone’s head of internet and content services

Maybe this blogger, in his early-to-mid-twenties, is too old not part of whatever Mr Russel means by “this generation” any longer, but the last thing I want is to pay over £100 a year (£2 a week) and have nothing to show for it at the end should I decide to change networks. I’ve always avoided subscription-based download services like Napster for exactly this kind of reason (even they now offer Napster Light: a pay-per-download service). I will use it if it’s included free when I happen to take out a Vodafone contract (which I might have to if they’re the only network to get the N95 8GB which I desperately want, just not at £50 a month!), but MusicStation will not be a factor in my decision.

Perhaps Vodafone should take a look at the experience of Bango who manage, among other services, The Sun newspaper’s download service.

Trusted brands are keen not to be tarred with the subscription brush. For example, The Sun newspaper that uses Bango to power the pay per downloads on Sun Mobile, print “No subscriptions – No hidden charges” on its ads to reassure consumers it is not a subscription service. Mobile operators have also expressed a desire to move away from this type of payment as subscriptions are a major cause of consumer dissatisfaction.
Network for Online Commerce – Pay-per-download gaining popularity…

The ‘archive of music’ as Mr Russell describes it, is the modern equivalent of the CD collection. It doesn’t make a difference if you only listen to the CD once in 5 years, you keep it because you can.  It comforts the inner-hoarder in all of us. The long and short of it is, I think, that we do want it.

The push for subscription based downloads has nothing to do with what Vodafone’s (or anyone else’s) consumers want, it’s all about the interests of the big service providers and record labels, and any push towards this should be resisted. It will by this consumer anyway.

Author: nerd.

An experienced IT professional, I used to run a number of small websites and spend a lot of time tinkering with my sites or my PC - back when I had free time.

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