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How an iPhone App Got Me to Pay for Music


I thought the affair was long over – I’d thrown everything away and I’d changed all of my habits. I’d moved on with my life and everything was going along just fine and then, out of nowhere, it happened. For the first time in nearly a decade, I went and did something I was pretty sure I wouldn’t ever do again – I spent money on music…on the Internet.

What had changed? A service had come along with the flexibility, catalog, and feature list that finally convinced me it was time.

MOG is a streaming “all-you-can-eat” music service that, for $10 a month, gives users access to a catalog of more than 8 million songs both on their computer and on their smartphone. It isn’t a one-of-a-kind service, but after trying out some others, it was the only one with the features to get my money.

Paying for MOG came down to a few simple things – a comprehensive catalog that I could access on-the-go with the ability to download songs and albums directly to my phone for use when I didn’t have Internet access. Downloads are available from anywhere over 3G and, if you’re running out of space or don’t wanna clog up your hard drive, simply stream it as you go.

For me, this was huge, as I might want to listen to that throwback Smashing Pumpkins album only once in a blue moon, but not have it taking up space the rest of the year. Now I can. While streaming services like Pandora or Last.fm would play music similar to that album, MOG serves up the album itself.

We asked MOG CEO David Hyman why he thought users were paying for what they could otherwise get for free and he broke it down into four points – catalog comprehensiveness, speed, discovery tools and instant portability.

“People pay for content all the time. There is a real ‘time equals money’ effect involved,” said Hyman. “There are a plethora of free options and honestly, I’ve probably tested them all. If you’re a college student with no money and lots of free time, I can understand the desire for using these products. But, once you have a job, or your time becomes constrained, or you have access to disposable income, there is no comparison between the two.”

So far, the app has lived up to all its promises, with only a few ticks in the catalog (again, where’s all my favorite Pink Floyd? I’m convinced this is on Pink Floyd’s end of things, now). But catalog is something that Hyman said they are always working on. Currently, MOG has 8,650,000 tracks and Hyman says they are growing by 100,000 a week.

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