A few days before we broke for Christmas, I was having lunch at the Athenian with one of our interns, when I asked him how he felt about music-subscription services like Rhapsody. "Rhapsody?" he replied. To this young gentleman, Rhapsody is little more than another unwanted accessory that comes with a new computer.
As I proceeded to explain how the Seattle-based subscription service works, and how things have changed in the music-subscription experience over the last decade, I realized just how dated the public perception of Rhapsody and its competitors is. When I saw a commercial for Rhapsody over the holidays, I realized how off the company's pitch is. If people have heard of Rhapsody, they associate the name with something they don't want. If they thought otherwise, they'd already subscribe. But the commercial did NOTHING to off-set the notion that Rhapsody is an antiquated Internet relic along with AOL.
Rhapsody - and their competitors like MOG - need to not only sell their services, but the idea that leasing millions of songs a month for $10 is a better deal than buying an album a month for the same price. That hasn't always been the case with music-subscription services.
Here is a paraphrased transcription of our exchange, and all the reasons you need to at least put $10 from grandma's check toward giving Rhapsody another chance.ME: When you subscribe to Rhapsody for $10 a month, you have unlimited access to their 10-million song catalog.
Intern: So, do you own the music
ME: Why would you want to own the songs?
Intern: Well, I like to download tracks and put them on my iPod. Or burn CDs.
Me: Come on, when was the last time you burned a CD? I know I sound like I'm on the Rhapsody payroll, but when you subscribe to Rhapsody, you have access to all the songs on your computer, and when you're on the go, you can access them on your iPhone via the Rhapsody app. You don't need to own songs anymore. If you have access to the songs from wherever you are, why would you need to "own" them? Access is better than ownership.
Intern: OK, but I don't have an iPhone. I have an Android.
Me: It works with Android phones, too.
Intern: Oh, that might be a game-changer.