Good news for subscriptions

Hard on the heels of the EMI/Apple announcement on DRM comes good news from MusicNet and Napster on the subscription side.

MusicNet has reported that it is now serving nearly 7 million tracks per day, representing more than 100 percent growth over the first two months of 2006. They put this growth down to four trends:

* More world class brands entering the market resulting in the number of subscribers climbing dramatically over the last year; examples of MusicNet's distribution partners are Yahoo, MTV, HMV, Virgin, Samsung Electronics, iMesh, BearShare, Synacor and its affiliates which include Time Warner Cable and Charter, among others;

* Consumer devices entering the market -- such as Samsung's widely popular K5 media player -- making portable music easier than ever to sync with a PC and manage music files;

* Music being added to the services quicker and in larger numbers as well as the addition of music videos; the MusicNet catalog now includes over 4 million songs and videos;

* Stronger music programming with in-depth editorial features, personalization features driving music discovery, and intuitive playlist creation.

Napster was also on a high this week, with its shares rising 6.3% on the back of a quarterly revenue forecast ahead of Wall Street expectations. The company now has 830,000 paid subscribers globally, helped by the integration of over 225,000 AOL Music Now subscribers onto the Napster service in March.

The subscription model still has some way to go before it can be judged to be a success, but as I listen to The Waterboys new album on Virgin Digital it certainly works for me.



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