I am a fan of subscription music services. I consider music a service, not a product. I am not interested in keeping track of what I own and where it’s stored. What I want is to queue up my tracks when and where I please — I don’t need to “own” anything to achieve that.
So I am a Rhapsody subscriber (after the Yahoo subscription service folded). The service is fine, but the user experience needs an overhaul.
Here’s my dream scenario. First, Rhapsody and Pandora need to merge. Use the new Pandora One as the code base — it’s cross platform and looks really nice. Integrate Rhapsody’s subscription functionality into this engine, dropping Rhapsody’s radio and recommendation engine in favor of Pandora’s. (Preserve the Pandora brand, it’s the stronger of the two.)
Next, buy (or license) Airfoil, which allows streaming to Apple’s Airport Express. Get the music to the living room. Ditto Xbox. And add third-party radio stations (KDFC FTW!) as first-class citizens.
Once this is all sorted out — sell it to Amazon! Integrate with Amazon’s music store. Now you’ve got all the pieces: a rich desktop client, two A+ recommendation engines, a subscription service combined with MP3 downloads. And bump up the bit rates as a competitive edge — Amazon’s got infrastructure.
Now transition to the Amazon brand. Pandora and Amazon are very complementary brands, with personalization in their DNA. Maybe keep “Pandora by Amazon” in the short term.
Next? Expand Amazon’s (and the old Rhapsody’s) deal with TiVo. Get premium placement, call it My Amazon or some such. Further into the living room.
(Now imagine a similar chain of events involving Netflix…)