Music for Rent

I held a garage sale recently and had hundreds of CDs on display. One of the shoppers asked me why I was dumping all my CDs. I wasn't getting rid of all my discs. I was just filtering out those that I bought for maybe a song or two (Journey's Greatest Hits, The Best of Don McLean...). I picked the tunes I wanted, shoved them into iTunes and put the discs up for sale.

These days, instead of paying $15 for a greatest hits album of '70s faves to get one favorite song, I just hop into iTunes or Napster, pay 99 cents and then I don't have to worry about where I'll fit another plastic case in my space-challenged CD rack.

Technically, of course, I could get rid of all of my CDs and still have access to millions of songs. Many people today are doing just that thanks to iTunes, Rhapsody, Napster and other web-based music services. According to ABI Research, consumers are looking increasingly to subscription music services to give them the anywhere/anytime access to music that they crave.
Sonos's announcement this week that it has added Napster to the list of subscription services available via the company's wireless multi-room music system is just another example of the growing interest in music services for the home. The Sonos system alone gives users access to Napster, Sirius Satellite Radio, Rhapsody, Pandora and Best Buy's digital music service.

Even better, the PC has nothing to do with it. You can start a Sonos system with the company's new Zone Bridge BR100 ($99), which connects to a router in a standard home network and then add receivers throughout the house for access to personal playlists, music channels, recommended music and new releases.

This is all very good news. But expensive. Now that Sonos has lassoed all these services into one user interface, how about a discount combination package for subscribers?--Rebecca Day

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