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The Move from Bundles to Pay-per-item to subscription

I was on Facebook and I saw a link to an article for the Economist. Normally I skip by them, but this time i was so interested I signed into an account I made years ago to read it. Normally, I never do that.

This got me thinking: I was willing to go through the friction of logging in for some articles, but not for others. Why? Is there a way that companies are not capitalizing on this?

This moved me into thinking about a pay per article system like they have for journals, but using micropayments ($0.20, $0.10). Why don’t people implement that?

In recent years we have seen the transformation of business models. The first to go was the music industry.

Bundle: Pay the music label for access to a bundle of songs. No option in choosing single songs unless paying for a single.

Pay per Item: iTunes comes out with a pay per song model. No longer do you need to pay for a whole album, but only for the songs you like.

Subscription: Pay for access to a whole library of songs. You have access to them only as long as you maintain a subscription.

This final, subscription model clearly makes more money and it is surprisingly similar to the bundle model. In fact with even less right to ownership.

We are moving into an age where the consumer no longer owns anything, but have rented out everything.

We no longer own the movies we watch, the music we listen to. With food/cooking boxes we no longer even own the food that we eat.

I get it. Ownership is hard and it comes with responsibilities to maintain. But with that extra effort comes freedom.

But is that freedom worth it?

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