Jamba ripping you off?

by Ragnar Schierholz

Today, Jamba launches their Jamba Music service in a public beta. Even though the link to more infomation, at least all you get in Firefox is a blank page. Using IE you get more.

You can buy a song for €1.29 or subscribe for a fee of €4.99 per month and get access to 20 music files for download. For €14.95 per month you get access to the full directory of music files. You have to use Jamba's software to download the music and to synchronize it to your cell phone. This phone has to run a mobile version of the Jamba software, which is currently available for Nokias N70, N80, N91, 6680, 6630 and 3250.

So far, so good. Not so good, as you are required to run Jamba's software. But it get's worse. Once you cancel the subscription, you can't play the music anymore. What you bought before is no longer yours. Technically, this is enforced by a license check the Jamba software performs with each start. On the mobile this produces traffic of about 10 to 100 kB (according to Jamba). So not only do you have to maintain the monthly subscription, you also have to pay for each time the software is started, how much of course depends on your data plan for the mobile.

I think this is simply a rip off. You have to maintain a subscription to be able to play the music you paid for before. Nothing is said about songs you bought individually. It might well be that they also expire when you don't have a subscription.


Both of the above links with my Firefox (, OSX 10.4.7). That doesn't make the offer any more attractive, though..

Konstantin Klein, 2006-07-27

What exactly was the honking spanking Jamba product they don't rip off someone?

Karsten W. Rohrbach, 2006-07-27

Well, Karsten, selling ringtones is not exactly a rip off. One might argue about the usefulness or value of a ringtone, but at least the selling itself is proper. You get a product definition and a price, you pay the price, you get the product, you have the rights to do with the product what you want. End of story. With the music I would say this is a little different now. If you want to keep using the product you once bought, you have to keep paying.

Ragnar Schierholz, 2006-07-27

That exactly is the point. Jamba offers Abo. So they giv you the right to USE the music, not to "own" the files or something else. Its the same as video-on-demand. So what?! You are not forced to USE it. But further or later this could be a nightmare ... bigbrother is waving his hand...

Henrik Heigl, 2006-07-27

Jamba stinks. 'nuff said.

Thomas Cloer, 2006-07-27

Actually, they're using the same model as Napster, except for the cellphone traffic of course. I guess Jamba's using some DRM as well, to prevent copying to other PCs or cellphones, which makes this offer again absolutely unattractive - like every other one...

Christoph Boecken, 2006-07-28

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