There is a rumor that has been circulating that Apple is going to be introducing a music subscription service like Rhapsody. I don't know if it is true, but hope that it is. I love music subscription services, and am a current subscriber to Rhapsody, but I would switch to Apple in a minute so I could use my neat iPod with it.
But what triggered me wanting to write about this was not the rumor, but the reaction to the rumor by certain quarters. Specifically, whenever you read about subscription services, you always read vehement and angry comments from people that don't like the idea of subscriptions. It is certainly fine to not want it for yourself. But what is odd to me is the anger that said people have at the idea that I might want something different.
It's fascinating that this response always comes from the "free" music crowd, and yet I am confident, if they had a magic wand, they would make such services illegal, or so socially or politically unacceptable that they would not be offered.
This vehemence strikes me as strange because clearly I should have the right to buy something the way I want and a vendor should have the right to sell it to me in the way that s/he wants.
In short, it strikes me that the free music crowd is really more a religious movement than one based in logic and reason. It is very similar to the way that certain fundamentalist religious groups demonize people for different beliefs. Here the free music community demonizes subscription services because, by definition, subscriptions must use DRM, which is "evil". And the irrational zealous passion brought to bear is exactly analogous to the behavior of every out of control religious group in human history. Ok, they haven't gotten to burning people at the stake, but you know what I mean.
The point is, even if you have the wacky view that all music or intellectual property should be free, the idea that you should consider business and interaction models, and technologies like DRM that don't match your world view to be "evil", is, to me, bizarre. This is particularly true when the DRM *enables* a, compelling, at least for some, business model such as subscriptions.
As I see it, this movement would be more appropriately lead by a religious figure like Pat Robertson, or John Hagee, or Richard Stallman, or... oh wait, it is!