By Ryan Nakashima, AP Business Writer
LOS ANGELES (AP) — There's no more need to own songs before being able to listen to them at your convenience.
No more buying music to download onto computers and mobile devices — and certainly no more stacking CDs on shelves. Virtually the whole world of recorded music is at your fingertips at any time, for a subscription, over the Internet.
Services that make this scenario possible haven't proven very popular yet. But new price cuts and advances in technology could finally drive the idea to the mainstream.
For instance, Rhapsody International Inc. and Thumbplay Inc. now offer the ability, for $10 a month, to choose and play almost any song or album instantly on a mobile device that can connect to the Internet over a cell phone network.
Justin Darcy, a 32-year-old sales director at a resort company in San Francisco, says he consumes so much music it would cost him $10,000 a year if he didn't have a Rhapsody plan. He calls it "one of the greatest values in consumer goods I've ever come across."
Given the obvious benefit of being able to listen to millions of songs as if they were in your personal stash, why haven't services like these gotten more use?
Partly because of poor marketing, previously clunky execution and the fact that people are more familiar with compact discs and downloading songs from Apple Inc.'s iTunes music store. People who spend less than $120 a year on music also wouldn't see the subscription plans as such a great deal.