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MacBytes
Jan 18, 2005, 09:36 AM
Category: News and Press Releases
Link: Online music stores falling short - study (http://www.macbytes.com/link.php?sid=20050118103609)
Posted on MacBytes.com (http://www.macbytes.com)

Approved by Mudbug

Mudbug
Jan 18, 2005, 09:37 AM
The market-leading iTunes store, driven by the success of Apple's (AAPL.O: Quote, Profile, Research) iPod portable music device, lost out on the top ranking to France's Fnac in Taylor's study of 15 of the best music stores.

"(Apple and iTunes) need to watch their back and continue to develop, especially since they've never been good at the e-commerce and shopping," Taylor said. She cited several key Fnac features that are lacking in iTunes, including discounts for buying multiple tracks and the ability to download music videos and purchase concert tickets.

never heard of Fnac - at least not that I remember. Anyone have any info on it? www.fnac.com looks like a french version of amazon.com to me...

wrldwzrd89
Jan 18, 2005, 09:44 AM
never heard of Fnac - at least not that I remember. Anyone have any info on it? www.fnac.com looks like a french version of amazon.com to me...
Go to http://www.fnacmusic.com/ for the Fnac music store. I found it by clicking one of the links on http://www.fnac.com/. I was looking through the guided tour, and it looks like it's another one of those WMA stores that doesn't work with Mac OS X (at least right now).

the_mole1314
Jan 18, 2005, 10:00 AM
They complain because you can't download music videos to your hard drive and can't purchase concert tickets online? Oh give me a break! :rolleyes:

coolfactor
Jan 18, 2005, 10:08 AM
Another Windows/IE-only site. They've actually done a really good job with the interface and navigation. Expanding albums to reveal the tracks is a nice feature. However, I feel iTunes still deserves first place for supporting more than one platform, strong integration with computer and the iPod, and an all-in-one design. fnacmusic requires use of a browser and a media app to manage the music.

SiliconAddict
Jan 18, 2005, 10:15 AM
Lost out on the top ranking to France's Fnac

Yah too bad that:

1. I and, I'm betting, pretty much everyone outside of France has never even heard of Fnac.

2. You want to talk proprietary. DRMed WMA only runs on Windows. So much for seeing the big picture. :rolleyes:

3. Fnac sounds like someone sneezing. :D

I supose if you look hard enough iTunes will lose out to someone. Probably some online music store based out of Ethiopia who's web server is being powered by a hand crank. :rolleyes: :p :D

mcarvin
Jan 18, 2005, 11:20 AM
"As a result, users' initial enthusiasm is being deflated as they realize they have been conned -- there are more limitations imposed on legitimate digital downloads, media players and portable devices than advertised," Taylor said.

Let's be completely honest: All reservations and problems with DRM aside, is there anyone that can say that the FairPlay DRM is onerous? Better than average sound quality, unlimited iPods, 5(?) client machines, and 10 playlist burns before you have to change the song order. How is that so bad?

NOV
Jan 18, 2005, 11:27 AM
Personally I don't care for dloadable videos and concert tickets.

I do care for CONTENT...
for mainstream music iTunes is holding up fine, but it's sometimes hard to find "niche" music...

wordmunger
Jan 18, 2005, 11:28 AM
Let's be completely honest: All reservations and problems with DRM aside, is there anyone that can say that the FairPlay DRM is onerous? Better than average sound quality, unlimited iPods, 5(?) client machines, and 10 playlist burns before you have to change the song order. How is that so bad?

I wouldn't say it's onerous, but I do wonder how well this service will hold up over the years. I have working CDs that are over 20 years old. I'm just not sure in 20 years I'll still be able to play my purchased iTMS tracks. Especially after multiple computer upgrades, etc.

There are lots of ways things can get screwed up: forgetting to deauthorize old computers, losing songs due to computer failure, inadvertently erasing songs, backups not working. It's just so much more complicated than sticking a CD in the player and pressing "play." I'm someone who's very comfortable with computers; I imagine someone who isn't could come up with many more ways of losing their music.

The bigger problem is that with computers, you tend to lose ALL your music at once. Sometimes you might lose one CD, or break it, but rarely does someone lose their entire CD collection.

coolfactor
Jan 18, 2005, 11:29 AM
Let's be completely honest: All reservations and problems with DRM aside, is there anyone that can say that the FairPlay DRM is onerous? Better than average sound quality, unlimited iPods, 5(?) client machines, and 10 playlist burns before you have to change the song order. How is that so bad?

7 playlist burns. It was downgraded when the CPU count when up to 5 from 3.

But you're so right. Apple has really aimed for pretty transparent rights, and that's what is going to make the difference in the end.

TwitchOSX
Jan 18, 2005, 11:31 AM
I download music video's from iTunes for FREE. Some program called something like "Gotcha" or IGetVideos.. I dont remember captures the videos after you completely load them in iTunes. Pretty cool. Made me buy a track too (Rammstein : Amerika)..

TwitchOSX

24C
Jan 18, 2005, 11:40 AM
Quote..."Lost out on the top ranking to France's Fnac"

Ok, so they came second in somebody's survey. Adding a link to music videos, no problems there, Apple has to raise its' game...you can already see Quicktime stuff through iTunes, and CD covers.... BUT concert tickets. Gimme a huge break :(

How many tracks in France for Fnac vs iTunes? Does Fnac stretch outside France? I am so tired of this locked out DRM stuff, and far from being conned, if you believe this "article" you have been. :D

I suppose these consultants have gotta get their name on the Web. :rolleyes:

Loge
Jan 18, 2005, 11:51 AM
I download music video's from iTunes for FREE. Some program called something like "Gotcha" or IGetVideos.. I dont remember captures the videos after you completely load them in iTunes. Pretty cool. Made me buy a track too (Rammstein : Amerika)..

TwitchOSX

I think it is called iGetMovies -

http://homepage.mac.com/djodjodesign/

Oh, and works with any iTunes music store (the US one has a lot more than the others :rolleyes: )

nagromme
Jan 18, 2005, 11:53 AM
The bigger problem is that with computers, you tend to lose ALL your music at once. Sometimes you might lose one CD, or break it, but rarely does someone lose their entire CD collection.

Anything you download, DRM or no, can be lost if you don't back it up. Having all your music in one place has big advantages--but ANYTHING important on a computer should be backed up. Those who never make backups are indeed better off buying CDs--for music AND for software.

Audio CD is one good backup format for iTunes--universally playable anywhere forever. Burn-as-you-buy. Or, simpler and more space-efficient: just back up your data directly.

As for the DRM accidentally stopping you from playing your music... 5 computers at once is pretty generous, with room for error. You'd have to forget to de-authorize 5 TIMES before you lost the ability to play (and burn to non-DRM CD) your music. If you made the mistake 4 times, backing up to CD would be smart if you haven't already. (And iTunes Customer Service is good about authorization, I've heard--making allowances in special situations such as a computer being destroyed etc.)

And as for the possibility that, one day, Apple will stop making software capable of PLAYING iTunes DRM songs... well, anything's possible. Apple could get bought by Microsoft and simply shut down, or whatever. BUT if that ever happens, the value of iTunes playback will still exist. And that value can be sold. SOME company--probably a big one--will buy the "key" to keep those millions upon millions of songs playing. Even if they make you buy something to do it. (Of course, you could just keep the last version of iTunes anyway.) So betting on iTunes DRM is even SAFER than betting on Apple as a company.

mcarvin
Jan 18, 2005, 11:55 AM
I wouldn't say it's onerous, but I do wonder how well this service will hold up over the years. I have working CDs that are over 20 years old. I'm just not sure in 20 years I'll still be able to play my purchased iTMS tracks. Especially after multiple computer upgrades, etc.

There are lots of ways things can get screwed up: forgetting to deauthorize old computers, losing songs due to computer failure, inadvertently erasing songs, backups not working. It's just so much more complicated than sticking a CD in the player and pressing "play." I'm someone who's very comfortable with computers; I imagine someone who isn't could come up with many more ways of losing their music.

The bigger problem is that with computers, you tend to lose ALL your music at once. Sometimes you might lose one CD, or break it, but rarely does someone lose their entire CD collection.

And I'm in much of the same situation - I still have the first CD I ever bought. I'm an idiot when it comes to making backups (iPodRip saved my music). And I forgot to deauthorize my G5 when I did a clean install in October (thanks Apple support!). The only point of yours that I question is what happens in X years when there's no more iTMS. I think Apple has a contingency plan where hundreds of millions of songs wouldn't be rendered totally useless.

Not to go too far off course, but it's not unreasonable to think that in 20 years, CD players will have gone the way of the 78rpm record.

wordmunger
Jan 18, 2005, 12:06 PM
As for the DRM accidentally stopping you from playing your music... 5 computers at once is pretty generous, with room for error. You'd have to forget to de-authorize 5 TIMES before you lost the ability to play (and burn to non-DRM CD) your music. If you made the mistake 4 times, backing up to CD would be smart if you haven't already. (And iTunes Customer Service is good about authorization, I've heard--making allowances in special situations such as a computer being destroyed etc.)

I did hear a story of someone on these forums backing up their music to upgrade their computer, then not being able to get the backup to work afterwards. It happens. It would be better if iTMS had some way users could re-download "broken" music. Probably never going to happen, though.

And as for the possibility that, one day, Apple will stop making software capable of PLAYING iTunes DRM songs... well, anything's possible. Apple could get bought by Microsoft and simply shut down, or whatever. BUT if that ever happens, the value of iTunes playback will still exist. And that value can be sold. SOME company--probably a big one--will buy the "key" to keep those millions upon millions of songs playing. Even if they make you buy something to do it. (Of course, you could just keep the last version of iTunes anyway.) So betting on iTunes DRM is even SAFER than betting on Apple as a company.

Possibly my ignorance talking here, but doesn't the latest version of iTunes check on a server somewhere to make sure a computer is authorized? What if someone, someday made me pay to access that server -- isn't that what you're suggesting? I wouldn't say that's a comforting thought about Apple's DRM.

Don't get me wrong -- I'm moving to a model where I buy most of my music online. I don't think I'm the one who's going to end up getting screwed by Apple's DRM. I do think it's very possible that a large number of people will end up feeling that way.

SiliconAddict
Jan 18, 2005, 12:32 PM
Let's be completely honest: All reservations and problems with DRM aside, is there anyone that can say that the FairPlay DRM is onerous? Better than average sound quality, unlimited iPods, 5(?) client machines, and 10 playlist burns before you have to change the song order. How is that so bad?


Don't know about you guys but I've "lost" 2 of my activations :( and own 3 systems right now. I hope that in the future Apple will allow us to reset, online, our count to 0 so we simply have to reactivate the systems again.

nagromme
Jan 18, 2005, 12:32 PM
Possibly my ignorance talking here, but doesn't the latest version of iTunes check on a server somewhere to make sure a computer is authorized? What if someone, someday made me pay to access that server -- isn't that what you're suggesting?.

No, it doesn't check online to make sure you're authorized. (Which is why you can play music without being online.) What it does is pretty clever and user-friendly--it goes online ONCE, at your direction, to authorize. Then you're "authorized" forever, and the computer "checks itself" to make sure you're authorized. Until and unless you go online and de-authorize. So the only thing online is basically a count of how many machines you have currently authorized at one time. If that number is 5, you can't go online and authorize a new one--until you de-authorize one of your other computers. (And iPods are unlimited--play on as many iPods at once as you like.)

So I'm saying that, worst case, you could keep using your old iTunes and machine, or choose to pay Company X for a newer version of iTunes and/or transfers to other computers.

Of course it's far more likely that they would buy the whole iTMS system and NOT charge existing customers unreasonably. But even if they did--that's still your chance to burn to non-DRM CDs and escape with your music, playable forever for free.

Besides, that's a doomsday scenario in which Apple ceases to exist. Any such demise would have PLENTY of rumblings as warning, so you'd be highly unlikely to be caught "in between" authorized machines at that moment, and thus forced to pay whoever gets iTunes/Fairplay.

I agree that someone could lose all their music in the right kind of catastrophe with no backup. And so some people will. Then again, some people lose all their CDs in a fire, too, while their iTunes music is safe on their iBook tucked under their arm :D

The best Apple can do is remind people to make backups--and iTunes does do that. (The popup appears, I believe, when you make a multiple purchase?) If you have only ONE copy of your data, and that copy goes bad, then you're in trouble. So the person who was upgrading the computer, and allowed their data to exist in only one place, was taking a risk I wouldn't have taken. Such is life. That kind of scenario isn't going to turn large numbers of people against Apple, though.

Regardless, I AM opposed to DRM. I plame the pirates first and the RIAA second. And I buy much if not most of my music on iTunes all the same, for convenience, selection, and best of all--single songs!

nagromme
Jan 18, 2005, 12:45 PM
Don't know about you guys but I've "lost" 2 of my activations :( and own 3 systems right now. I hope that in the future Apple will allow us to reset, online, our count to 0 so we simply have to reactivate the systems again.

I believe iTunes Customer Support can do something very like that. Have you contacted them? And how did you "lose" activations?

I "lost" an activation when I performed an upgrade once (HD swap I think). The machine was no longer authorized after the upgrade (my mistake for forgetting to de-authorize). When I viewed my iTunes account I could see that I was still "down one" even though I had no machines authorized.

BUT... when I re-authorized the machine, it did NOT count against my total. I was STILL down one and not two--just like I should be. I didn't lose anything, and I didn't even have to contact customer service. The system automatically recognized the situation and corrected it. (How? By MAC address? Serial number? Beats me!)

dashiel
Jan 18, 2005, 01:18 PM
I believe iTunes Customer Support can do something very like that. Have you contacted them? And how did you "lose" activations?

I "lost" an activation when I performed an upgrade once (HD swap I think). The machine was no longer authorized after the upgrade (my mistake for forgetting to de-authorize). When I viewed my iTunes account I could see that I was still "down one" even though I had no machines authorized.

BUT... when I re-authorized the machine, it did NOT count against my total. I was STILL down one and not two--just like I should be. I didn't lose anything, and I didn't even have to contact customer service. The system automatically recognized the situation and corrected it. (How? By MAC address? Serial number? Beats me!)

yes, your authorization "id", for lack of a better term, has to do with your MAC address on the ethernet card. so when you go to re-authorize the computer it checks against that ID and sees it's the same computer. it gives itunes its pass key and you're all set.

mcarvin
Jan 18, 2005, 01:18 PM
I believe iTunes Customer Support can do something very like that. Have you contacted them? And how did you "lose" activations?

I "lost" an activation when I performed an upgrade once (HD swap I think). The machine was no longer authorized after the upgrade (my mistake for forgetting to de-authorize). When I viewed my iTunes account I could see that I was still "down one" even though I had no machines authorized.

BUT... when I re-authorized the machine, it did NOT count against my total. I was STILL down one and not two--just like I should be. I didn't lose anything, and I didn't even have to contact customer service. The system automatically recognized the situation and corrected it. (How? By MAC address? Serial number? Beats me!)

Let's not look that gift horse in the mouth. Automated, transparent customer service? So long as they use their powers for good and not evil, it's a wonderful thing. Let's see that with MS software!

solvs
Jan 18, 2005, 03:09 PM
Don't know about you guys but I've "lost" 2 of my activations :( and own 3 systems right now. I hope that in the future Apple will allow us to reset, online, our count to 0 so we simply have to reactivate the systems again.
Similar thing happened to me during the course of several upgrades. I e-mailed Apple Support, they reset it for me the next day. I just re-authorized the 2 I use. Just in case, I burned backups to CD... and :cough: tested a few programs that strip the DRM out.

It's all mine of course, I payed for it, I ain't givin' it away. :cool: Just wanted to see if I could, and the backups are non-DRM'ed, the regulars are not. I swear, the original, DRM'ed ones, sound better somehow.

nagromme
Jan 18, 2005, 05:00 PM
To my knowledge, Audio CD is the only LOSSLESS DRM removal.

Other tools bypass the step of burning and re-ripping, but have the same end result: re-ripped means double-compressed (even though the file size may be the same in the end). That always means some loss, and possibly loss you can hear. UNLESS you re-rip to Apple Lossless or AIFF. (Can those tools do that?) Apple Lossless has no loss (of course), no DRM, and smaller files than audio CD or AIFF. But still much bigger than AAC of course. No free lunch :)

So you're probably right--the non-DRM backups are not as good. Take the DRM originals and burn to CD to make lossless non-DRM backups. Drag those back to HD or import as Apple Lossless if you desire a magnetic copy too.

But ALSO back up the original AACs, because you may never achieve the same quality at the same small size using other formats or double-ripping.

Mainyehc
Jan 18, 2005, 08:16 PM
never heard of Fnac - at least not that I remember. Anyone have any info on it? www.fnac.com looks like a french version of amazon.com to me...

Curiously, Fnac is the store where I buy most of my books, music CDs, DVDs, blank CDs and DVDs, film rolls, photo paper, photo prints, inkjet photo-quality paper, inkjet cartridges... Also, I bought my cell phone and both my old iMac G4 and my new iMac G5 there. Fnac is, literally, a physical version of amazon.com ;) And yes, it's a huge french franchise (no pun intended) that spread throughout Europe.

I've been to three of them here in Lisbon (there's at least another one in Oporto, maybe two) - one of them is near my faculty and I go there almost on a daily basis - and two in Paris: one was a "generic" one, and the other was aimed at electronics - they had a great big Apple booth where I held a 4G iPod and an iPod mini in my hands and saw the new 20'' and 23'' Alu. Cinema Displays for the first time! And you know when was that? The day before the Paris Expo Keynote :cool:... I left Paris in that very morning, I was so frustrated I couldn't go there to check it out (the Expo, of course, not the Keynote, even though I'd also love to have seen that :p), since I was on a road trip with my parents :rolleyes:

Anyway, back on subject... Great store if you ask me, because they give nice discounts (I benefited of 6% discount on both Macs, and there's two days each year when Fnac card subscribers get a whopping 10% discount on almost EVERYTHING they buy - excluding already discounted items, of course) and have a big selection of preety much everything. Besides all stores have a café and an auditorium where all sorts of cultural activities take place.

My only gripe with them is their customer service and support... Not that they don't try hard to serve their costumers, they just don't have enough staff! Oh, and they forgot to put the PO Apple Keyboard inside both iMacs' boxes (since that item, being localized, has to be introduced in the box by the retailer and not the supplier. Don't ask me why but that's the way it works here), I had to call them and return to the store for them to give me the keyboard, both times. Fortunately, when we get a mini, that definitely *won't* happen! :D

Mainyehc
Jan 18, 2005, 08:28 PM
1. I and, I'm betting, pretty much everyone outside of France has never even heard of Fnac.

Read my post above this one... ;)

On a side note: Of course, I go there almost mostly because of the concerts and the movies they show in the auditorium, and of course, to lust over the Macs they have there :D

They are probably the best at books, but for CDs, I sometimes prefer some cool Portuguese stores. I like some regular local chains, but my favorite is a very well-known store which sells rare/non-mainstream stuff (new and sealed), vynil records, bootlegs, and lots (I mean *LOTS*) of second-hand CDs at €10 each (only €0,01 more than on iTunes, and in pure AIFF, with booklets and all :cool: )

stcanard
Jan 18, 2005, 09:48 PM
I'm just not sure in 20 years I'll still be able to play my purchased iTMS tracks. Especially after multiple computer upgrades, etc.

This is a bigger issue than just digital music.

I've got a decent DVD library that I'm not sure I'll be able to watch in 20 years. The technology's changing, the encryption's changing, there are too many competing standards.

Mind you, I have a bunch of casette tapes that I bought through the 80's that I can't play now (my last tape deck died recently).

My dad's master thesis is on several 5 1/4" PRO-DOS floppies in AppleWorks format, that we can't retrieve (well, I do still have a working Apple ][e but without a working serial card, no way to transfer it elsewhere).

Unless something is done soon, information is going to become a transient thing.

mcarvin
Jan 19, 2005, 10:18 AM
This is a bigger issue than just digital music.

I've got a decent DVD library that I'm not sure I'll be able to watch in 20 years. The technology's changing, the encryption's changing, there are too many competing standards.

Mind you, I have a bunch of casette tapes that I bought through the 80's that I can't play now (my last tape deck died recently).

My dad's master thesis is on several 5 1/4" PRO-DOS floppies in AppleWorks format, that we can't retrieve (well, I do still have a working Apple ][e but without a working serial card, no way to transfer it elsewhere).

Unless something is done soon, information is going to become a transient thing.

Excellent point. I have about 20 laserdiscs, some of which aren't comparably available on DVD (i.e. a Looney Tunes collection containing shorts I've never ever ever seen on TV, VHS or DVD). Thankfully, a LD player fell into my lap about 3 years ago but otherwise I'd be pretty much stuck with them like you are with your dad's thesis.

Should we expect our technology providers to have some sort of future-compatibility infrastructure in place, or are we on our own with that?