Microsoft plan lets subscribers download away

Chris Gorog is convinced people won't continue to pay $1 a song for online music. That is despite Apple's record string of recent achievements, including 200 million songs sold at its iTunes Music Store, and nearly 4 million iPod digital music players moved into consumers' homes this year. Gorog runs Apple rival Napster, which offers digital downloads and a music subscription deal. Consumers get unlimited access to listen to 700,000 songs for $9.95 monthly.

The hitch is that to move songs onto a portable digital device or to a CD costs extra: $1 a song. That's one of the reasons digital music fans have not taken to the subscription model -- also offered by Real Networks' Rhapsody -- in a big way. But Gorog thinks that will change next year. And he has other heavyweights such as Yahoo and Microsoft in his corner. Microsoft earlier this year developed a new copyright protection plan that allows for the transfer of subscription songs to portable players.

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