Infrastructure // PC & Servers
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11/3/2005
05:49 PM
Elena Malykhina
Elena Malykhina
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Are You Ready To Pay $2.50 For A Song Download?

As if the battle between Sony and Apple over the latest and greatest gadget that can play song downloads isn't enough, we are now faced with the decision whether to download music on PCs or have it pushed to our cell phones by wireless carriers as another "next generation" service.

As if the battle between Sony and Apple over the latest and greatest gadget that can play song downloads isn't enough, we are now faced with the decision whether to download music on PCs or have it pushed to our cell phones by wireless carriers as another "next generation" service.People have gone iPod-crazy. Whether at the gym or in the subway, literally every other person has their ears plugged with the infamous white earphones. Some people I know have designated certain hours of their week just for downloading the latest songs from iTunes.

No wonder others are trying to match Apple's successâ€"people just love customizable music.

In fact, there has been a lot of buzz around Sprint Nextel, Verizon Wireless, and Cingular planning to roll out over-the-air music services that would let cell phone users download music on their phones for $2 to $3 per song. But the prize goes to Sprint Nextel for being the first U.S. carrier to launch such a service this week. Sprint Nextel is now offering song previews, browsing, and downloading on cell phones for $2.50 per song.

Great concept, considering that cell phones (and mobile devices in general) have become an essential part of our lives. The carriers are thinking: "Why should people carry two separate devices--one for making calls and one for listening to music--when they can have an all-in-one package?" But end users might not be so optimistic paying $2.50 for a song plus air time charges. Meanwhile, they can get the same song at iTunes for 99 cents, not to mention, at much faster download speeds.

iTunes are not perfect. They don't work with MP3 players and can't be used to make CDs. Then again, there's Napster for that. The good thing is, nether Napster not iTunes subject people to monthly or yearly subscriptions, although Napster does offer memberships. Both provide the pay-per-song option, whereas Sprint Nextel only offers the service to its customers under a contract. For many music lovers, higher prices and long-term commitments might be too big of a price to pay for mobile convenience.

But I can't speak for everyone. So, comments are welcome. Are you compelled by the idea of listening to music on your cell phone and willing to pay the $2.50? Or are you content with good ol' iTunes?

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