Why “Napster to Go”, Won’t

Hedge fund manager Jeff Matthews has a typically savvy & practical take on why “Napster to Go”, which is lightly touted by Walt Mossberg in today’s Wall Street Journal, will fail:

Go to a college campus. Ask a random student how many songs they have on their iPod. The student will probably say something between 200 and 2,000. I am not making this up. Students take their music seriously.

Then ask how many of those songs have been purchased from iTunes. They will smile, wrinkle their brow, look up at the ceiling and ponder this, and then probably say something like maybe 1%.

Yes, 1%. Not half, not a quarter, not even 10%. Kids do not download music from iTunes for 99c a pop. They burn compact discs already in their collection, they burn friends’ cds, they swap files.

So this notion that an online rental service for music is far more cost-effective for the average iPod user than iTunes itself, is hokum.

Kids wanted their MTV, and their want their iPods, and they are not going to pay $14.95 a month or $14.95 a year, for that matter, to rent something they can download for free.


  1. Yes, but thats as of NOW. Students have an existing trove of CDs dating back a decade, and ITMS has been around for not even ~2 years.
    Ask the same question 10 years from now. What do you think the answer will be?
    As to Napster, what happens to them when Apple rolls out a similar Buffet style for $20/mo?