In the Guardian: reviewing MusicStation


MusicStation is how sounds on the go should be: cheap, easy and offering a wide range of tracks

And it really is – this is a subscription service on mobile which works, really well. The incredible thing will be if any of the mobile providers think that they can make their pay-to-download systems work. (Vodafone offers this, and I think it should quickly bury the whole music side of Vodafone Live!.)

I know people trot out arguments about music subscription – if you stop paying, all the music vanishes! Oh no! But look, if you like the music that much, then you’re getting to listen to it all the time you have it. (And if you want it in some other context, you can pay for the CD or individual track.) If you don’t like the music enough to actually buy it, then you clearly don’t care much if it vanishes with your subscription.

The benefit here is that you can sample tracks or albums without worrying that it’s costing you (there aren’t even data charges) and the record labels get a cut each time you play a track (not just download). So I’ve paid my tithes towards Robert Fripp’s fortune in the past week or so.

The real argument in the past has been that subscription services don’t work very well, and they aren’t portable. This is portable, and it works really well. It’s a no-brainer: if I was out of contract, I’d think this a strong reason to switch to Vodafone, at £2 per week. It also means you don’t have to spend on an iPod or other MP3 player – in itself, saving you some money, surely.


  1. £2 a week sounds good. I’d enjoy being able to listen to the whole thing; better than iTunes’ 30-second previews.

    I still don’t buy the term “subscription” though. It’s rental, surely?

  2. @paul: subscription, rental – nearly the same thing. Subscription (I read it) is where you subscribe to a service and you get stuff through that service. Rental would be renting the individual tracks – which would have an incremental price for each track. Not much of a distinction, really, but I think subscription is more accurate.

  3. @Charles “I think subscription is more accurate”. I think not. If I subscribe to a magazine, it turns up regularly and I get to keep it. If I rent a car I don’t get to keep it. This really sound like rental radio (now where have I heard that before?) like the satellite broadcasters Sirius and XM in the US.