A recent Switched On discussed the latest offering from Lala.com, which is trying to pioneer the dirt-cheap Web song as an alternative to downloads. As part of its new offering, Lala provides hosted online access to your local music library, a feature that led to the demise of longtime digital music gadfly Michael Robertson’s MP3.com.
But today the BBC reports on Robertson’s new venture Datz, which offers a different take on subscription and music. Like Nokia’s Comes with Music program, the Datz device, a security key that attaches to your PC (Windows-only for now), enables all-you-can-eat access. Unlike the Nokia program, though, the songs are in MP3 format and can presumably be used with any device . The product/service combination costs £100 for a year of access, kind of the digital music version of magicJack, which has done well spreadking its message via infomercials.
Only two of the big four music labels have signed up for now, and of the program is limited to the UK, but it seems like a fresh and winning approach, certainly one that will offer a better value than existing subscription services if Sony BMG and Universal Music come on board and the subscription price after a year stays below $15. I only question why the hardware is needed. What difference does it make if someone is turning on the spigot from only one PC in the house?
Both Lala and Datz are showing that access and ownership are not mutually exclusive ideas, although Datz offers a level of assurance that consumers can continue to use their media should the venture fail.. And Datz not funny (sorry, Dave).