This morning thanks to Slick Deals I picked up a iRiver H10 5 gig, color, mp3 player + 1 year of Napster To Go for $180.

Keep in mind that the H10 by itself runs $270 or so… even without the service it's a sweet deal.

Now about the service: Lots of assclowns are hatin' on the subscription model of Napster To Go (henceforth: NTG). The fine folks at the UK's Register are no exception.

With NTG you pay $15/mo for access to a metric shitload of songs. You can download as many as you want to 3 different computers and to your nifty new iRiver H10. You have access to this collection as long as you continue to pay the subscription fee. Sounds reasonable to me, but this is what gets the Register's panties in a bind.

They breathlessly point out:

The big detractor, however, is that you still don't own the music. You rent it. Stop paying the Napster tax man, and all your music disappears.

Oh my! No one would ever fall for that… I mean what kind of service where you pay for access to the content would ever catch on? Umm… How about Cable/Satellite TV, Satellite Radio? If I stop paying, I can't watch the content. Hell, I can't even pick what/when I want to see that content. I have to pay a monthly fee for phone, internet access, and Tivo service too. If I go see a concert I have to pay, and the only copy of the music I get is what sticks in my brain. The Register's argument is retarded.

A more convincing argument might be: $15/mo is too much for the service Napster is providing. But they never even consider Napster's implementation or the convenience/size of their archive.

I already own most of the music I like, and I've been disappointed often enough when buying new CDs, that I've all but stopped buying them. This leaves me stuck listening to the same old stuff. However, with an all-you-can-eat approach, I'm encouraged to download tons of shit, and maybe I'll get lucky and find something new I like. If it sucks, or the novelty wears off… no loss for me, it gets deleted. So, for me the subscription model holds some promise.

NTG's promise is dependent on how convenient it is to use… If it's a pain, it might not be worth even $1/mo, but if it made access seamless, and if helped me find the content I want (but was possibly unaware of) it could be worth even more than $15/mo.

I'm surprised to report that NTG is thus far well worth the $15. I've been able to easily find and download the content I'm looking for. And I've already stumbled onto some good content I wouldn't have thought to download.

I know some people hate the subscription/renting model… I generally do too. But I think Napster's price is right (at least for now.) Besides, if I find something I really want, couldn't I just steal it via bitTorrent?