On Wednesday, John Bailey (Program Director over at KBIA) posted a very thoughtful blog about music subscription services. We've all known about the trials and tribulations of Napster, Rhapsody, and the many other attempts to direct music lovers to subscription-based music. There isn't a ton of inspiring information on the success of any of those models, so hopefully I can shed some light on what I think makes our model successful.
We have a very focused purpose which is to educate classical music students and aficionados about the history of music. We don't have any limitations on how much you can stream, and the only way you can increase the cost is by getting a higher-quality stream. Plus, we just upgraded to a Flash player, which streams at 96kbps (Near CD-Quality) and 192kbps (CD Quality), instead of our previous rates with Windows Media Player (64kpbs and 128kbps).
Clearly, classical music remains an important part of a music student's education and is used as background music in countless movies, video games, commercials, TV Shows, websites, etc. A subscription service is the perfect way to add to anyone's classical music collection, especially since you can take it with you wherever you go in the world with an Internet connection. You don't have to overload your computer or iPod with hundreds of megabytes, which is a MAJOR problem for me. Plus, it's so cheap! It's like buying 1 or 2 new CDs every month, even though we add roughly 500 tracks a month (if not more) from a ton of labels.
Are you using a music subscription service and which is your favorite? Better yet - if you do subscribe, what have you discovered that you'd otherwise have no idea about?