This article, Napster on the ropes? | CNET News.com, deals with the business health of a couple of legal online music services.
It points out the two basic philosophies: A la carte (like iTunes) where you buy individual tracks or albums, and subscription (like Napster) where you can access lots of content for a monthly fee, and pay extra to burn things or for other added “rights.”
I think ultimately the subscription model, or a similar “utility” model (see this book for more on that) may win out, but the technology has not quite reached the point to make that work on a grand scale. I think it will, it just hasn’t yet.
What do you think? (Use the comments section)