Today Sony joined the music-streaming band with subscription-based access to over six million tracks. With Spotify and other similar services already winning customers, Apple's much-delayed entry to the market even more inexplicable. Usually out there ahead of the pack, Apple is looking decidedly tardy.
The traditional iTunes muscic-selling leviathan is now holed below the waterline, possibly fatally. It is beyond doubt that subscription streaming is the future – at least for the mainstream music consumer. Purists will still want their CDs or massive audio files on their own computers, just as some still prefer vinyl, but the man in the street with his iPod will be happy to move to subscription streaming.
In my case, now I have Spotify installed on my Macs and my iPhone I cannot envisage a time in the future when I would actually purchase a piece of music. I have never been a big music buyer, but I am listening to a wider variety of music than ever before thanks to Spotify. The pressure is on Apple now and I would not be surprised by a January announcement; after all, they have to do something with that massive North Carolina server farm.