I agree with most of what Greenspun says about how music CDs are dead, and really should have died years ago. I don’t wholly agree with this part:
Most people don’t want to make a lot of 25 cent or 99 cent purchase decisions every day. They’d rather pay a fixed known subscription and have the freedom to “flip channels” to their heart’s content.
I think that people actually want both and I think there’s quite a bit of history on my side in that argument. People have been buying singles and albums for a long time. Why? Because they want to be able to listen to whichever songs they feel like whenever they want (and wherever they want!) Sure, XM has a lot of channels… but if I feel like listening to Depeche Mode, they don’t have a “Depeche Mode” channel, whereas my iPod does.
Buying singles for under $1 is something that people can get their minds around, and I don’t think it’s just the Macintosh types who have sucked up 10 million ITMS tracks.