iPod obsolete, Walkman device will rule, says boss of Sony-owned record label

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ipod.jpgRick Rubin, co-chairman of Columbia Records, has publicly stated that the iPod and iTunes models are doomed, with the way to go being subscription-based, music-anywhere, services.

In fact, he thinks the whole music business will only be saved by going to a subscription model, but he’s quick to pick on the iPod. “The iPod will be obsolete, but there would be a Walkman-like device you could plug into speakers at home,” he said.

Rubin’s motivation is that adopting cheap music subscription services will curb illegal downloads, believing that “If music is easily available at a price of five or six dollars a month, then nobody will steal it.”

I’m not convinced.

What’s more amusing is that somehow, in Rubin’s mind, the iPod and iTunes can’t evolve but this mythical “Walkman-like device” can. Hmm… who owns Columbia Records? Ahh yes, Sony.

The iPod has evolved and, in fact, so has the Walkman. If it hadn’t, we’d still be messing about with cassette tapes.

Apple already has a device that you can plug your iPod into at home – the iPod Hi-Fi – and if that doesn’t suffice then there are plenty of iPod speaker docks that do the same thing.

Rubin isn’t saying anything revolutionary. Subscription-based music services have been around for years, and the idea of mobile music and a converged home is a reality to many.

Even fellow chairman at Columbia, Steve Barnett, isn’t convinced. “Smart people have told me if the subscription model is not done correctly it will be the final nail in our coffin. I’ve heard both sides of the argument, and I’m not convinced it’s the solution to our problems. Rick wants to be a hero immediately. In his mind, you flick a switch and it’s done. It doesn’t work like that,” he said.

I wouldn’t want to be in the Columbia board room after that little spat.

(Via PC Pro)

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Andy Merrett