After lots of hype and debate Napster to Go finally launched today in the UK. My colleague David Card has written a report explaining just how important flexibility and portability are to music fans, and the Janus enabled portability of Napster certainly adds a valuable string to its bow. However, as David explains in his report, Janus is not necessarily going to be a panacea for subscription services. Napster to Go will significantly enhance value for existing customers and will be the tipping point for many ‘wavering voters’. But it is not about to make Apple twitch nervously. Portable subscriptions will not knock Apple off its throne in the near term future, for a whole host of reasons, not least being the greater mid term receptivity towards a la carte services and the highly fragmented nature of the device market.
All that said, Napster to Go is a mile stone and significantly strengthens the subscription service proposition. Sure it will take time for consumers to become familiar with the rental model, let alone the portable rental model, but when music fans get their heads around the concept, subscription services offer the ability to consume much more music for much less money then with a la carte.