After years of the iTunes model dominating digital music sales, the time for subscription music services could be near. So far, fewer than 3 million Americans have signed up for such services. But as customizable online radio stations and social networks where users sample and recommend music grow in popularity, the public may be ready for the subscription model, reports BusinessWeek.
Ever more companies are banking on that. Microsoft's Zune player offers music subscriptions, Verizon will offer the Rhapsody subscription service on some cell phones and a Universal Music-backed plan would build the cost of a subscription into the prices of devices or cellular plans. Still, BusinessWeek predicts such services won't become mainstream until Apple jumps on the bandwagon.