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MacRumors
Aug 9, 2007, 07:35 PM
http://www.macrumors.com/images/macrumorsthreadlogo.gif (http://www.macrumors.com)

NYTimes reports (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/10/business/10music.html?_r=1&oref=slogin) that Universal Music is planning to sell a significant portion of its catalog without copy protection (DRM) "for at least the next few months" according to people with knowledge of the situation.
Universal, the world’s biggest music conglomerate, is set to announce that it will offer albums and songs without the software, known as digital rights management, through existing digital music retail services like RealNetworks and Wal-Mart, nascent services from Amazon.com and Google, and some artists’ web Wites, these people said.

Universal is specifically not expected to offer DRM-free music through Apple's iTunes service.

This plan is described as a "test" and is expected to run into January of 2008 to gauge user demand and if there is any effect on online piracy. The exclusion of iTunes is seen as a push to leverage power away from Apple's iTunes which currently leads the digital music industry.

It was clear that trouble had been brewing between Universal and Apple, with the recent announcement that Universal would not renew (http://www.macrumors.com/2007/07/05/universal-confirms-itunes-contract-change/) their long term iTunes contract and instead be continuing "at will."

EMI was the first label to adopt DRM-free music distribution in a joint announcement with Apple. EMI's DRM-Free tracks are called "iTunes Plus" and cost $1.29/song for the DRM-free, but higher quality tracks.

According to the New York Times article EMI's sales results have been "promising". While no specific pricing has been revealed for Universal's DRM-free music, at least some of the songs are expected to be sold at the traditional $.99 price point.



Article Link (http://www.macrumors.com/2007/08/09/universal-to-sell-music-without-copy-protection-but-not-on-itunes/)



Peace
Aug 9, 2007, 07:36 PM
Here's another link :

http://apnews.excite.com/article/20070809/D8QTQH5G0.html

"Universal Music spokesman Peter LoFrumento said, however, that the company isn't selling DRM-free tracks on iTunes for now so it could use the Apple store as a control group for measuring the impact of sales on pricing, piracy and sales."

ppc_michael
Aug 9, 2007, 07:38 PM
That is one huge "eff you."

sebastianlewis
Aug 9, 2007, 07:39 PM
That is one huge "eff you."

Yep but it won't work. iTunes is the only online music store that is actually selling something besides CDs... they don't even sell CDs :p

Sebastian

synth3tik
Aug 9, 2007, 07:41 PM
So how on earth do they expect to get results from this "test" with out using the largest online music store? Personally any listed place that they are offering this too are places I would not shop for online music. I think Universal is being stupid. They acting like a whinny teenager.

japanime
Aug 9, 2007, 07:42 PM
Choice is good. DRM-free is even better.

I like this news.

Cecily
Aug 9, 2007, 07:47 PM
Will they get good results not going with iTunes? Probably not. But I think the decision to not use them isn't based on music sales alone but on an attitude that iTunes could monopolize the music downloading business. Perhaps theyre also testing how much clout they have over who buys what and where?

Just throwing a few thoughts out there.

JonMan
Aug 9, 2007, 07:49 PM
The stance taken by Universal depicts perfectly the problem facing the music industry -- arrogance and an inability to see the reality of the situation.

They are concerned with Apple gaining too much power with iTunes? Guess what, if not for iTunes, the market for legal music downloads would be virtually non-existent! They are shooting themselves in the foot by playing hardball with Apple on this.

Do they not recognize the severity of the problem? I am in my mid-twenties, and am basically the only one in my circle who pays for music. Everyone else I know -- including my peers in the workplace -- is downloading illegally.

iTunes appeals to me, and millions of others, because it is simple to use and looks nice. Everything else out there, to be frank, sucks!

Let them try their new strategy, whatever it is. If they continue to isolate themselves from Apple, they will regret it. If they wanted to be this aggressive, they should have taken action back in 1999. Idiots.

RidleyGriff
Aug 9, 2007, 07:49 PM
So how on earth do they expect to get results from this "test" with out using the largest online music store?

They're clearly not -- they're just using that excuse as a smokescreen to not make it seem like they're intentionally withholding product from the retailer people like to use most.

I understand their intent -- and if people were actively upset with FairPlay, and the other services worked as smoothly and easily with the iPod as the iTMS does, it may be a very powerful move against iTunes. Unfortunately, it seems they're once again not understanding why the iPod/iTMS combination works so easily, and what music purchasers really care about. (And I am speaking about music purchasers as a whole group; those of us that care about 128kbs and DRM are the minority).

Most people will choose ease of use vs. "DRM-free" -- particularly when the majority of people out there don't seem to be butting about against Apple's authorization/burning ceilings.

Universal is making their stance clear -- they're also wasting all of our -- their customers -- time.

[JonMan beat me to the philosophical punch, but... there you go]

robertnq
Aug 9, 2007, 07:51 PM
Sounds dumb...why would i want to go to another music store open an account...download the song/album....and then load it into iTunes...thats just extra steps and more of a hastle for me...thats like driving 100 miles away to get cheaper gas...not worth it...boo universal!

RichP
Aug 9, 2007, 07:52 PM
Well, good news is they will be MP3 format, and play on ipods. Bad news is, as stated, most people will gravitate towards the ease of iTunes rather than buying on another service and importing into iTunes.

mudaudio
Aug 9, 2007, 07:53 PM
At first this did strike me as being a petty blow at Apple.

But if you think about this objectively from Universal's point of view... iTunes is a proven success with DRM. Messing with this success - perhaps by tentatively 'testing' non-DRM tracks and for whatever reason reverting back to DRM later - could potentially confuse or irritate the customer, or in some other way rock the iTunes boat.

Universal are obviously sceptical about removing DRM, so it makes sense for them to test the market. If they want test a few things out it's probably best they mess with the smaller stores first, see how it goes and roll out to iTunes when if and when they decide its a good call.

If they, and the media, also spin this to be a move to stir up the competition and put pressure on apple, then all the better from Univeral's point of view.

Regardless, the mere fact that Universal are playing with no DRM is a good thing... And even if they do play with apple for a while, im sure they'll make an iTunes deal eventually :)

zv470
Aug 9, 2007, 07:53 PM
Typical... Universal seems to be totally Microsoft aligned. eg: Universal backs HD-DVD, Apple backs Blu-ray. :(

Peace
Aug 9, 2007, 07:56 PM
It will be real interesting to see how Jobs reacts to this.If I were him I'd pull ALL of Universals music and tell them to..You know.

RidleyGriff
Aug 9, 2007, 08:01 PM
I disagree mudaudio -- trying this out in every store but itunes is Universal giving people an incentive to try a music service OTHER than itunes -- nothing more. This move in and of itself -- and their press announcement -- is the definition of confusing the customer (some stores have drm, some stores don't, no uniform formatting, etc), so clearly they have no qualms in that regard.

Furthermore, by introducing something in a smaller store, and not the single most successful retailer, all they are doing is ensuring a) that the drm-free files will find their way out into the wild (it only takes one purchase for this to happen), and b) they will lose revenue on DRM-less files because consumers will not easily be able to find them on the store they use most often (iTunes).

If anything, this move is ENCOURAGING piracy.

The public is also not on their side here, as Apple has a very favorable public image (they're the "good guy"), and the record labels have NO reliability in the eyes of the consumers whatsoever. They only public pressure here will be the pressure that Universal create for themselves.

You are right about the ultimate silver-lining; now that they've announced DRM-free files, it will only be a matter of time before they do the same with iTunes. Because like it or not, that is where the sales are for them.

kitki83
Aug 9, 2007, 08:02 PM
I want to make sure I understand the situation

1. Universal is starting a drm free service outside of iTunes
2. Its a testing phase to see if piracy is decreased or not.

I dont know doesnt make sense, how can you make a test of this style and discriminate certain sources. Its like making a research paper but excluding all sides of the argument.

LethalWolfe
Aug 9, 2007, 08:02 PM
Typical... Universal seems to be totally Microsoft aligned. eg: Universal backs HD-DVD, Apple backs Blu-ray. :(
Apple hasn't picked a favorite. If you have DVD Studio Pro you can burn an HD-DVD onto a SD disc.


Lethal

minik
Aug 9, 2007, 08:05 PM
Don't Universal dislike Apple and/or Sony?! (not meant to bring Sony into the topic.. but a big picture.)

DRM-free is a good way to go, but in general I don't really care as long as I can play the music I bought. Meanwhile, I did upgrade all my eligible songs to iTunes Plus, but none of my other devices (Nokia 6682 and Sidekick 3 in this case) recognize the native 256kbps AAC tracks w/o a workaround.

Nokia 6682 cannot playback anything higher than 192kbps and the Sidekick 3 only likes .mp3.

Anyway, let's see how it goes.

Schtumple
Aug 9, 2007, 08:07 PM
Record industry companies move in mysterious ways, often, retarded mysterious ways.

Yet more proof of record companies desperately trying to regain control of the industry, it won't happen...

mudaudio
Aug 9, 2007, 08:12 PM
Furthermore, by introducing something in a smaller store, and not the single most successful retailer, all they are doing is ensuring a) that the drm-free files will find their way out into the wild (it only takes one purchase for this to happen), and b) they will lose revenue on DRM-less files because consumers will not easily be able to find them on the store they use most often (iTunes).

If anything, this move is ENCOURAGING piracy.



to me point a) makes no sense. It only take 1 CD to ensure drm-free files find their way into the wild. Furthermore, I'm sure some iTunes users would pirate if given the chance. So the files would for various reasons find their way into the wild regardless of what shops they appear in. Completely agree with point b) though.

I'm only speculating. All I'm saying is if I was running the show, and I wasn't sure if something was going to work, I wouldn't test it on my most successful business model.

And for the record, I happen to support non-DRM content and for many reasons do not like Universal one bit ;)

MacTheSpoon
Aug 9, 2007, 08:16 PM
Wow, well, I like Universal even less now. The $.99 works for me, and I don't like their champing at the bit to gouge me on new releases, which is what their frustration with iTunes is all about. I'll be curious to see what price structure they set with these tracks on other services...

BayAreaMacFan
Aug 9, 2007, 08:18 PM
Wow. IMO this is Universal trying to play hardball with Apple for not raising prices/giving them a share of the iPod, both absurd requests. I see this as a precursor to taking all the Universal music off the store if Apple doesn't cower to their dumb demands, but eventually Universal will do what Apple wants and what all the other studios agreed to because they aren't going to throw away billions of dollars of revenue in some pissing contest. Also, I don't think it'll have that much of an effect for a few reasons:

a) I would say out of the general population that buy off iTunes most don't know/care about DRM considering a lot of people only play it off iTunes, on their iPod, or burned onto a CD. Apple's sales wouldn't suffer at all because out of this population not many would move to wherever they are selling it.

b) For those that do care about DRM, I think most would go the route of stealing the music for the reasons Job mentioned a few years ago. This would be the easiest route and no one would care about screwing over Universal.

nemaslov
Aug 9, 2007, 08:24 PM
If I was an artist signed to one of their labels I would be PISSED!!!

TimelessWind88
Aug 9, 2007, 08:27 PM
This plan is described as a "test" and is expected to run into January of 2008 to gauge user demand and if there is any effect on online piracy.


What an senseless way to "test" DRM-free music's impact on the market by bypassing the, without a doubt, largest online music retailer. Clearly this is more of a snub to Apple than anything else. I just don't really understand Universal's grudge against Apple and iTMS. The worst part about all this mess is that it really hurts the customer in the long run through confusion and irritation.

Eduardo1971
Aug 9, 2007, 08:28 PM
Sounds dumb...why would i want to go to another music store open an account...download the song/album....and then load it into iTunes...thats just extra steps and more of a hastle for me...thats like driving 100 miles away to get cheaper gas...not worth it...boo universal!

I can understand your anger, but seriously, chill. Life is very short, there is a war going on (amongst other problems) and your comment sounds very petulant.

Lighten up. I have both an iTunes account and a www.emusic.com account. I can attest that you are totally blowing this out of proportion. I enjoy using both services; each has its own strengths and weakness. Nothing in life is perfect.
Relax.:)

Peace.

Remel
Aug 9, 2007, 08:28 PM
Not a very scientific trial they are conducting. Universal clearly want to take control back.

To the average Joe Consumer who doesn't know the background, it may also look like that everyone else sells the music without DRM while big bad iTunes only sells a DRMed version. Particularly if the price is the same as iTunes at the other stores.

Perhaps they are hoping the Apple followers will buy up big on Universal music on iTunes to skew the results:p

More likely piracy of Universal music will increase:eek:

longofest
Aug 9, 2007, 08:29 PM
As much as I love iTunes, music without copy protection is still a good step. If I have to go and download it from another website, so be it... it will be guaranteed to work with my iPod/iPhone because its DRM-free :) The only benefit to the iTunes store itself is convenience, although Apple has done a good job of pressuring the companies because they have a virtual monopoly.

bentley
Aug 9, 2007, 08:30 PM
the DRM argument doesn't bother me, however the insistence on 128k AAC does.

Music on the iTunes store is unlistenable due to this. Give the consumer more quality options.

Kwill
Aug 9, 2007, 08:30 PM
This plan is described as a "test" ... to gauge user demand and if there is any effect on online piracy... While no specific pricing has been revealed for Universal's DRM-free music, at least some of the songs are expected to be sold at the traditional $.99 price point.
Wait a minute. What we are getting from news sources is that Universal was at odds with Apple over pricing and that DRM was essential to thwart piracy. Now Universal wants to sell DRM-free music at smaller outlets charging less than iTunes would have. Everything doesn't add up. Either the price point quoted above is way off or this is just a ploy to move marketshare away from iTunes.

The other odd thing about this move is that Universal is gauging user demand in markets were there is no demand. Nearly everybody has an iPod. Those that don't have an iPhone. How are these other offerings going to determine how well the DRM-free music will do on the largest digital store.

BTW, with good speakers, the higher bit-rate iTunes Plus music sounds much nicer than the regular iTunes songs. I can't wait for all the music to be upgraded. iTunes is also great about replacing the previously purchased lower bit-rate DRM music so you don't have to worry about recreating playlists. Very slick!

Peace
Aug 9, 2007, 08:35 PM
[snippet]



Lighten up. I have both an iTunes account and a www.emusic.com account. I can attest that you are totally blowing this out of proportion. I enjoy using both services; each has its own strengths and weakness. Nothing in life is perfect.
Relax.:)

Peace.


This is one of the BIG reasons I dont go anywhere else besides iTunes.

Go to emusic.com

You have to pay a subscription and you have no idea WHO they have without signing up.

Stupid.Just plain stupid.

Remel
Aug 9, 2007, 08:36 PM
the DRM argument doesn't bother me, however the insistence on 128k AAC does.

Music on the iTunes store is unlistenable due to this. Give the consumer more quality options.

If Universal went the same way as EMI we would have DRM free and 256k AAC, although the price would go up 30c a song.

It will be interesting to see bitrates they sell at the other stores.

clevin
Aug 9, 2007, 08:37 PM
I support balance, any time, anywhere, monopoly isn't good

RidleyGriff
Aug 9, 2007, 08:38 PM
to me point a) makes no sense. It only take 1 CD to ensure drm-free files find their way into the wild.

I'm actually in agreement with you 100% on this -- the labels have always argued that DRM-free files would increase piracy, but when the hard media itself has no restrictions, and the fact that all DRM schemes will be hacked eventually is considered, its clear their argument holds no water.

I just can't believe that they're claiming this is a test, when such a test would basically go against the basic tenants of everything they've been fighting for in the past 10+ years.

Then again, I suppose I should never be surprised at their complete and total inability to understand what consumers want, and why alternate distribution models (such as iTunes) have been successful.

bluebomberman
Aug 9, 2007, 08:41 PM
More places to buy music that will actually play is good for the consumer. Not sure about Universal's strategy, though - they seem to be adopting an antagonistic stance with Apple that seems to be driven more by emotional ill than by good business sense.

clevin
Aug 9, 2007, 08:51 PM
More places to buy music that will actually play is good for the consumer. Not sure about Universal's strategy, though - they seem to be adopting an antagonistic stance with Apple that seems to be driven more by emotional ill than by good business sense.

lol, don't think so, Universal isn't that stupid. Its 100% business.

milkmanamok
Aug 9, 2007, 08:53 PM
The stance taken by Universal depicts perfectly the problem facing the music industry -- arrogance and an inability to see the reality of the situation.


Six months from now, I envision the Chairman of the Board for Universal confronting this little problem:

You convinced us to cut off distribution from the music industry's fastest growing channel? Are you retarded? You're fired!

Good thing major label VPs are becoming as disposable as a squares of toilet paper. If they would apply some energy and creativity to making all of their online retailers successful, they wouldn't be in their current predicament.

If I were an artist signed to one of their labels, I'd be doing everything in my power to void my contract and move to one that "gets it." Either that, or I would demand that the royalties from every missed sale be deducted from the management team's salaries.

Agent Smith
Aug 9, 2007, 08:59 PM
More places to buy music that will actually play is good for the consumer. Not sure about Universal's strategy, though - they seem to be adopting an antagonistic stance with Apple that seems to be driven more by emotional ill than by good business sense.

Agreed. If they spent more time and energy working on a solution that would benefit everyone concerned instead of trying to maintain a hold on a steadily declining revenue stream, then maybe something could be worked out. Instead, by taking this action, Universal comes out looking like a petulent (and greedy) baby.

Nermal
Aug 9, 2007, 09:12 PM
Sounds good… if they sell internationally and it's cheaper than buying the CD.

Analog Kid
Aug 9, 2007, 09:14 PM
"Universal Music spokesman Peter LoFrumento said, however, that the company isn't selling DRM-free tracks on iTunes for now so it could use the Apple store as a control group for measuring the impact of sales on pricing, piracy and sales."
Using fancy words like "control group" make this sound like a scientifically sound market experiment, and maybe this is science to a marketeer, but the fact that they don't have a statistically significant sample size in the test group makes this whole thing kind of moot.
TGuess what, if not for iTunes, the market for legal music downloads would be virtually non-existent! They are shooting themselves in the foot by playing hardball with Apple on this.

As you make clear, they've gotten tired of shooting themselves in the foot and have begun to shoot themselves in the head.
NYTimes reports (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/10/business/10music.html?_r=1&oref=slogin) that Universal Music is planning to sell a significant portion of its catalog without copy protection (DRM) "for at least the next few months" according to people with knowledge of the situation.

Others have alluded to it, but I'm going to say it again-- what's with this "DRM is necessary to prevent privacy" but "we're going to sell a significant portion of our catalog without DRM for a few months"?!? For an industry so worried about piracy, they have absolutely no understanding of what they're fighting against. There's this whole genie-and-bottle thing they're not getting.

CDs are a different argument. CDs won't be around forever and when the technology changes they'll DRM it if they can. Download is here to stay though, so that's where the battle is.
As much as I love iTunes, music without copy protection is still a good step. If I have to go and download it from another website, so be it... it will be guaranteed to work with my iPod/iPhone because its DRM-free :) The only benefit to the iTunes store itself is convenience, although Apple has done a good job of pressuring the companies because they have a virtual monopoly.
You may not want to answer this personally, but it's a dilemma I've been going over in my head-- would you feel justified buying the DRMd song from iTunes and then pulling the unlocked song from a P2P? Artist got paid and you've wound up with essentially the same result as a burn-rip cycle, albeit more easily and possibly higher quality...

fawlty
Aug 9, 2007, 09:14 PM
[snippet]
This is one of the BIG reasons I dont go anywhere else besides iTunes.

Go to emusic.com

You have to pay a subscription and you have no idea WHO they have without signing up.

Stupid.Just plain stupid.

Click on the "About eMusic" link at the bottom of the page...

slate1
Aug 9, 2007, 09:44 PM
The stance taken by Universal depicts perfectly the problem facing the music industry -- arrogance and an inability to see the reality of the situation.

They are concerned with Apple gaining too much power with iTunes? Guess what, if not for iTunes, the market for legal music downloads would be virtually non-existent! They are shooting themselves in the foot by playing hardball with Apple on this.

Do they not recognize the severity of the problem? I am in my mid-twenties, and am basically the only one in my circle who pays for music. Everyone else I know -- including my peers in the workplace -- is downloading illegally.

iTunes appeals to me, and millions of others, because it is simple to use and looks nice. Everything else out there, to be frank, sucks!

Let them try their new strategy, whatever it is. If they continue to isolate themselves from Apple, they will regret it. If they wanted to be this aggressive, they should have taken action back in 1999. Idiots.

Excellent... could have written this myself and couldn't agree more.

tderemigis
Aug 9, 2007, 09:44 PM
i still think its dumb they left itunes

iMikeT
Aug 9, 2007, 09:46 PM
This wont go anywhere.

daijones
Aug 9, 2007, 09:47 PM
The big music labels are a bunch of bastards, and Universal is the worst by some margin. They have their ideas of what the business involves. based way back in the early 90s. They've never gotten over the boost to their business provided by people moving from vinyl to CD. Result? They keep peddling the same old ****, and moan that their profits are being threatened by illegal downloads. No, their profits are being threatened by consumers having as many Beatles re-release CDs as any sad bastard could ever handle, and by the fundamental weaknesses of their catalogues. Let's face it, the music they're selling is ****. But no, let's not face it. Let's bury our heads in the sand and try to **** over iTunes instead. Let's hope they get shafted.

D

slate1
Aug 9, 2007, 09:53 PM
You may not want to answer this personally, but it's a dilemma I've been going over in my head-- would you feel justified buying the DRMd song from iTunes and then pulling the unlocked song from a P2P? Artist got paid and you've wound up with essentially the same result as a burn-rip cycle, albeit more easily and possibly higher quality...

I know I'm not the one you directed this too... but, here goes. I fall on two sides of this. On one hand, I could care less about the DRM, as long as it plays on the iPod and I can burn a CD to listen to in my car, I'm happy.

So, you ask, why did I upgrade every EMI song in my library when they made the DRM-Free songs available? Simple - higher bit-rate and better sound. I would take a DRM'd 256kbs over a non-DRM'd 128kbs download any day of the week.

Now, the other side of me harks back to the days of vinyl (and, yes, I still have thousands of vinyl records that I regularly spin - believe it or not, it really is the best sounding medium out there... but that's another story). When I was a kid - we would trade tapes all the time of vinyl "rips". Those mix-tapes resulted in me spending THOUSANDS of dollars on artists I liked. I realize it's different now since it's so easy to steal music, but I agree that the labels do not have a clue as to the best way to deal with it and their arrogance with regards to the situation only fuels the fires.

In the end though - an illegally ripped and uploaded song is still illegal... the simple answer to your question for me is "no".

Click on the "About eMusic" link at the bottom of the page...

I'm actually a member of e-music as well and love it. There are TONS of FANTASTIC undiscovered artists on that site and it ends up costing me an average of around $4 an album. As a music lover, it's a bargain. The bit-rate is variable on e-music and averages around 190-200kbs for most.

iQuit
Aug 9, 2007, 09:59 PM
are what push people to use Limewire.

megfilmworks
Aug 9, 2007, 10:07 PM
It's just a power play. Universal (which is actually NBC) can't swallow the fact that Apple is the big player in the Music Business, as the record business is almost dead.

jicon
Aug 9, 2007, 10:08 PM
No DRM is great, I hope prices remain the same, and honestly, the format doesn't bother me as much, so long as it sounds good.

I'm for pushing of old standards like MP3, or other formats such as AIFF, etc simply to keep Apple on it's toes.

Ya know why the AppleTV won't take off any time soon? Lack of format support like they had with the iPod. Keep the devices open, please.

MacFly123
Aug 9, 2007, 10:11 PM
are what push people to use Limewire.

Limewire??? hehe :D What is that??? hehe :D

marco114
Aug 9, 2007, 10:22 PM
Universal is doing it with these other retailers because it's a test and represents such a SMALL part of the industry. If something goes wrong, it's such a small portion it will have less effect. If they are happy with the results, they will likely expand it to the world.

It's a lot like when a McDonalds tests a new product in a couple small markets, they want to test the waters.

I don't see this any differently. It's likely this will backfire on them anyway because they aren't good with their public relations and they will always be seen as evil regardless of what happens.

I could also see this as using monopolistic power to leverage themselves. The only way you can make this happen is to email your favorite Universal artists and tell them you want their music DRM free and you want it on iTunes or your are NOT buying their music.

Consumers drive the market, but you got to make a stand.

twoodcc
Aug 9, 2007, 10:38 PM
not good news. i'm starting to not like Universal (as if i did before)

halhiker
Aug 9, 2007, 10:53 PM
Remember how it seemed that every few months something would come out that was touted as an iPod killer. The new player from Dell, Sony, iRiver, Microsoft or whomever was going to kill the iPod. Yeah, whatever.

This now will be seen by some as an iTunes killer. Uh huh. Sure.

If I were a hot new artist, do you think I would want to be with Universal now? Where am I going to get the kind of exposure that I could get from iTunes? And when Apple finally comes out with a new iPod (my guess is next month :D) do you think they're going to use a Universal artist in their ad campaign?

There are some who think that more choice is good but what if it's a false choice? Why am I am made to choose between a download service that I like, that I have used, that I am familiar with and.....Walmart? No thanks.

Look for Universal to start showing Apple more love once their trial (and error) ends. They'd best hope Apple forgives them.

Remel
Aug 9, 2007, 10:56 PM
I could also see this as using monopolistic power to leverage themselves. The only way you can make this happen is to email your favorite Universal artists and tell them you want their music DRM free and you want it on iTunes or your are NOT buying their music.

Consumers drive the market, but you got to make a stand.

Great idea! Here is a list of their artists

http://new.umusic.com/artists.aspx

andrewag
Aug 9, 2007, 11:11 PM
Maybe Universal didn't want to "test" DRM free music in such a large store. iTunes is the most popular online music store after all.

usarioclave
Aug 9, 2007, 11:13 PM
Yep but it won't work. iTunes is the only online music store that is actually selling something besides CDs... they don't even sell CDs :p


That's very true.

What this really is a test of is iTunes' dominance. This is a bigger risk than Universal realizes.

What if sales don't go up? Well, they've given iTunes even more leverage...and they've pissed off a large "partner."

In industries populated by real businessmen, a company would be happy that someone was selling $200 million worth of its stuff; they'd be a trusted partner. In the music industry, they complain that the outlet is too powerful and making too much money.

What happened, did the coke and hooker fund get low?

The music industry is showing just how retarded it is.

megfilmworks
Aug 9, 2007, 11:19 PM
The music industry is showing just how retarded it is.
Remember the record industry is not the music industry. Don't lump a much larger industry in with the record companies who are just a segment.

sblasl
Aug 9, 2007, 11:32 PM
How Should Apple Deal With This?

1. Drop Universal Artist from the iTunes store?
2. Have an iTunes store sale - buy 1 song get 2nd song for half price?
3. Ignore it entirely?
4. iPod purchase gets 100 free songs?
5. Sell Universal Artist songs with any of the above promos only?
6. Remove the DRM from Universal Artist to skew the "test" results?

TimelessWind88
Aug 9, 2007, 11:54 PM
How Should Apple Deal With This?

1. Drop Universal Artist from the iTunes store?
2. Have an iTunes store sale - buy 1 song get 2nd song for half price?
3. Ignore it entirely?
4. iPod purchase gets 100 free songs?
5. Sell Universal Artist songs with any of the above promos only?
6. Remove the DRM from Universal Artist to skew the "test" results?

Not really any of those options are feasible solutions. On one hand, it is really in Apple's best interest to keep artists from Universal up and running on iTunes, yet it would really be a step backwards for the digital music industry for them to give in to Universal's ridiculous demands, as iTMS is both the pioneer and world leader in this regard.

Also, I don't really follow your logic of making bargain songs (options 2 and 4), care to explain? At any rate, 100 free songs (heck, even 50 free songs) with the purchase of an iPod sounds like a great promo deal.

Finally, option 6 would, I'm pretty sure, be illegal as this breeches the contract between Apple and Universal.

cjboffoli97
Aug 10, 2007, 12:09 AM
Don't forget to make the distinction that Apple (through Steve Jobs' board positions) is aligned to Pixar/Disney/ABC Television and were talking about the Universal Music Group which is now NBC/Universal. It may be more about business and less about it being a personal power struggle to wrest away control of pricing.

Eduardo1971
Aug 10, 2007, 12:11 AM
[snippet]




This is one of the BIG reasons I dont go anywhere else besides iTunes.

Go to emusic.com

You have to pay a subscription and you have no idea WHO they have without signing up.

Stupid.Just plain stupid.

What?

You have a free trial period, so you can see if the artists/labels there are to your liking. I personally love artists that sign on with smaller labels, so I use up my monthly allotment of 65 songs per month.

Your milage may vary; if i see an iTunes Plus (bitrate) song/album and if it is not available on emusic; I just buy it from iTunes. No biggie.

I'm actually a member of e-music as well and love it. There are TONS of FANTASTIC undiscovered artists on that site and it ends up costing me an average of around $4 an album. As a music lover, it's a bargain. The bit-rate is variable on e-music and averages around 190-200kbs for most.

I agree. For me, both iTunes and emusic are both great outlets to buy digital downloads of music and/or videos/shows.:)

mashny
Aug 10, 2007, 12:33 AM
No surprise here: Universal executives, true to their music-label heritage, are a bunch of greedy, spiteful bastards. But we all knew that. They already get at least $0.90 of every song sold, but that's not enough for them. In iTunes, their music is available on the world's fastest-growing, and America's third largest music retailer, but that's also not enough for them. The fact that they're offering their music DRM-free, but not on iTunes, is pure spite.

Perhaps Universal wants a less-transparent method of music sales so they can continue to screw the public as well as the artists they claim to care so much about. Perhaps they are getting desperate because they can no longer vertically monopolize their industry.

I don't know whether Steve Jobs is a nice guy--it really doesn't matter to me--but I have only admiration for him as a visionary and CEO. His courage to stare down Microsoft when they were strongarming every other company in the computer industry--and using underhanded, illegal, and bullying tactics to squash competition--as well as his handling of the record labels has been audacious and masterful.

We'll see how this all plays out. My guess is that the days of Universal acting like the schoolyard bully are over.

hotinplaya
Aug 10, 2007, 12:52 AM
Not really any of those options are feasible solutions. On one hand, it is really in Apple's best interest to keep artists from Universal up and running on iTunes, yet it would really be a step backwards for the digital music industry for them to give in to Universal's ridiculous demands, as iTMS is both the pioneer and world leader in this regard.

Also, I don't really follow your logic of making bargain songs (options 2 and 4), care to explain? At any rate, 100 free songs (heck, even 50 free songs) with the purchase of an iPod sounds like a great promo deal.

Finally, option 6 would, I'm pretty sure, be illegal as this breeches the contract between Apple and Universal.

I read that the record company recieves $.70 from every iTunes sale.

Apple should offer all of their music at cost ($0.70) for as long as they sell DRM free thru other channels , Apple can absorb that, and really screw their "Test" up

iNoles
Aug 10, 2007, 12:55 AM
I has found Peter Lofrumento email address is Peter.Lofrumento@umusic.com. Let write a nice message to him.

BTW
Aug 10, 2007, 01:16 AM
It will be real interesting to see how Jobs reacts to this.If I were him I'd pull ALL of Universals music and tell them to..You know.

Jobs may care somewhat, but he said it himself that it is about selling the iPods. So long as those DRM free (non-WMA) songs can be played on the iPod, everything is cool. Apple estimates that the average iPod owner only buys 25 songs a year through iTunes, so Universal is only going to hurt themselves.

joeshell383
Aug 10, 2007, 01:35 AM
It's just a power play. Universal (which is actually NBC) can't swallow the fact that Apple is the big player in the Music Business, as the record business is almost dead.

...Universal Music Group which is now NBC/Universal...

Universal Music Group is not NBC or NBC Universal. It is not part of, or owned by, NBC Universal or GE. It is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Vivendi SA.

Vivendi SA owns 20% of NBC Universal and GE owns the other 80%. NBC Universal owns and operates the theme parks, television, and film businesses under the Universal brand.

Not sure about Universal's strategy, though - they seem to be adopting an antagonistic stance with Apple that seems to be driven more by emotional ill than by good business sense.

It's hardly emotionally driven. It is a mid-term strategy to ensure the online music distribution business does not become an Apple-controlled monopsony.

weckart
Aug 10, 2007, 01:51 AM
If it is mp3, then it will work with any player, not just iPods and a few others that support AAC.

This is a good move for ALL users, not just iPod owners. iTunes is not the be-all and end-all of music distributors.

irun5k
Aug 10, 2007, 01:59 AM
What are the chances that Universal *wants* this to fail? Perhaps nobody will buy any of this music from the hole in the wall place they are going to sell it out of. What can they come back and say at that point? I'm sure they can spin it how ever they want. Perhaps, they'll issue a public statement saying, "nobody wants DRMless music- iTMS sold more of our music WITH DRM than our hole in the wall outlet sold without DRM during the same period!"

What a mess. Talk about a couple industries have a major crisis- the recording and motion picture industries. They clung to their old, antiquated methods of distribution for so long, and it took a computer manufacturer to come along and open an online store to even get us into something that remotely resembles the 21st century.

The world is changing whether these guys accept it or not. Did anyone catch Colbie Caillat on iTMS? She had a free single of the week and now her album has been in the top 10 on iTMS for a few weeks. And remember, iTMS is one of the major music retailers in the US. I assume she attained this status without any airplay on the big corporate radio stations or CDs prominently displayed on an end cap in WalMart or Best Buy. Things like this are very encouraging. The Internet has provided a mechanism to defeat the government-granted monopolies that currently rule the legacy airwaves.

Avicdar
Aug 10, 2007, 02:25 AM
Great idea! Here is a list of their artists

http://new.umusic.com/artists.aspx


Thanks for the link.

So.... U2 is with Universal. With Steve and Bono being such good buds...I wonder if there will be any issues there.

bousozoku
Aug 10, 2007, 02:40 AM
I don't think they'll succeed in selling much but I don't believe they want to succeed. They want to prove that the old way works best.

They probably don't like the idea that iTunes sells their wares pretty well because that gives Apple power and obviously, these people really like their own power. That's why they were bought by a utility company. (I think they did water, not electricity, though. :p)

princigalli
Aug 10, 2007, 02:57 AM
universal sucks. but does anyone really think they could revive the useless realnetwork?

surferfromuk
Aug 10, 2007, 03:03 AM
I can't wait to see the Home and sub-'Genre' pages on iTunes change over the next few weeks to universal artist free zones.

Oh sure they'll still be on iTunes, but they won't get the limelight and won't it be interesting when all these other labels begin selling in droves!!!.

See how that 'impacts' on the test. Seriously without itunes Universal will get a nice $300 million dollar hole in there accounts.

This is a bit like the tyre company Michelin announcing that they are no longer planning to produce tyres for automobiles but intend to make them available for bicycles only - oh and only in Paraguay.

Are universal also holding out on Blu-ray too ? Seems like the same mentality at work...

Whoever is making these decisions is a 6:a.m vegas 'watch hocking' gambler in a cheap suit.

Apple should just buy Universal simply for the satisfaction of removing this bozo...:)

miniConvert
Aug 10, 2007, 03:24 AM
I'm disappointed by this Universal move, as I'm sure most of you are.

It's clear that Universal see the future of music as being online, but don't see that future as being overly dominated by iTunes. They obviously feel that iTunes is inflexible to their ambitions, or they wouldn't be so keen on backing other horses.

I can understand their plight. They have the artists, yet very little power. Steve Jobs managed to sell music Apple's way, when the labels were still roaming in a mixture of expensive Microsoft DRM crippled tracks (I found several UK digital stores to impose much stricter DRM than iTunes, not to mention how damn difficult it can be when you need to move your music from one computer to another once your 3-PC limit has been reached) and subscription models.

I think it's also clear that Universal isn't ready to cut off its nose despite its face. It can probably imagine worse times than Apple succeeding in cementing its position as the worlds No.1 music retailer for the future. It's desperate to use this 'grace period' of conflicting DRM to experiment with retailers that have, relatively speaking, no clout with it. It probably doesn't have anything to gain, but at the same time it'll make some friends in online music and doesn't really have anything to lose with iTunes as it's doubtful Steve will say 'enough is enough' any time soon.

So, Universal are playing silly beggars before they're ready to get into bed with iTunes. Perhaps that's good for all of us, fuelling competition and keeping Apple on its toes. We just have to hope that, ultimately, Apple's rift with Universal heals and what is, without saying, the worlds best digital music store continues to be just that.

Jim Campbell
Aug 10, 2007, 03:52 AM
So, Universal are playing silly beggars before they're ready to get into bed with iTunes. Perhaps that's good for all of us, fuelling competition and keeping Apple on its toes. We just have to hope that, ultimately, Apple's rift with Universal heals and what is, without saying, the worlds best digital music store continues to be just that.

Hmm ... it's a brave man who risks incurring the wrath of Jobs. Didn't work out too well for Michael Eisner, after all.

Whilst I have to (generally) agree that any kind of monopoly anywhere is a bad thing*, I remain entirely gob-smacked by the short-sightedness of the music industry as a whole where Apple is concerned.

I mean, how much money were they making from online sales pre-iTunes? Pretty much nothing. They argued that MP3 was a format inherent to piracy, that MP3s were baaaad, m'kay.

Then iTunes came along and proved, quite definitively, that it wasn't the format (online distribution of files, not MP3 specifically) that was wrong, it was the half-arsed business model that the industry had been trying to implement.

So then what to the major labels do? They moan that they're not making enough money from iTunes. What? As opposed to the bog-all they were making before? Yeah! Let's break the working, viable business model by messing with all the aspects of it that have been proven to make it work!

Cheeses. Ultimately, I suspect that the music labels' fear of iTunes is much more far-reaching. I suspect that they can see a time when artists sell directly to consumers via an online distro network and the labels' sweet scam where they screw both the artist and the consumer comes to an end.

The problem is that the major labels are looking at the very real possibility of extinction. The days of their business model are numbered and they lack either the imagination or the will to formulate a new one.

Cheers

Jim

* With the possible exclusion of utilities, postal services and rail networks, the breaking of whose monopolies in the UK hasn't exactly been a shining success.

joeshell383
Aug 10, 2007, 04:12 AM
Are universal also holding out on Blu-ray too ? Seems like the same mentality at work...


As I mentioned earlier in this thread, the Universal Music Group is a completely separate company from NBC Universal (which owns the Universal theme parks, film and television studios, NBC, USA, Bravo, and a variety of other businesses.)

Nemesis
Aug 10, 2007, 04:16 AM
I support balance, any time, anywhere, monopoly isn't good

You mean Universal's monopoly?
I agree. And that's why all hose greedy, slimy music companes have to disappear. Freedom to all.

Nemesis

Porco
Aug 10, 2007, 04:30 AM
I think it's very very funny.

They should re-name themselves Uni-squirm-al, as they try to wriggle like the worms they are, out of the apple that is so much larger than they realised it would ever become. If they didn't want to get stuck in the apple, they shouldn't have made it so difficult to get out. That sweet juicy DRM smelled and tasted so good, but they didn't heed the warnings that it would go sour for them, and now they are trying to cook the apple so they have a bigger piece of the pie.

eenu
Aug 10, 2007, 04:40 AM
I for one stopped buying any Universal music or movies or even viewing them in the cinema when they made the last announcement regarding iTunes. I have no issues with them doing what they are doing its the manner in which they have done it - and you just get a real sense that univeral is run by tools!

So congratulations Universal you have just increased your piracy levels that were probably at an all time low thanks to iTunes as i won't be spending my money on your wares!

k2k koos
Aug 10, 2007, 04:51 AM
It is clear that Universal does not care about consumers.

They are a greedy, highly corrupted record company, that unfortunately has a lot of leverage, and is abusing this. Apple's iTunes set up is not bad at all, it offers a fair price, and gives a good share to the record company, but record companies are among the most greedy in the world, and always will try and squeeze everything out of every business deal, as they are equally squeezing the artists they sign on, make no mistake, in music, the record company always has the best deal.
Of course, we as consumers would always like lower prices etc, but to be fair, the 99 cent per track is very reasonable, and Apple would even use this price point for DRM free, high quality music, but the record companies are the ones forcing them to charge more.
:apple:

rob@robburns.co
Aug 10, 2007, 05:48 AM
Universal, the world’s biggest music conglomerate, is set to announce that it will offer albums and songs without the software, known as digital rights management, through existing digital music retail services like RealNetworks and Wal-Mart, nascent services from Amazon.com and Google, and some artists’ web Wites, these people said.

Someone's going to have to break this to Universal, but they've been selling digital music without DRM for decades now. That's what a CD is. Not only is it digital music without DRM, but it's in a lossless format and so it can be converted to other formats without consumers going to Universal again for the latest up-to-date digital lossy format (like when we went from MP3 to AAC).

joeshell383
Aug 10, 2007, 05:50 AM
I for one stopped buying any Universal music or movies or even viewing them in the cinema when they made the last announcement regarding iTunes.

As I have now mentioned twice before in this thread, the Universal Music Group and NBC Universal are different companies.

Yankees 4 Life
Aug 10, 2007, 07:30 AM
This is really stupid, i dont get what, other than their belief that apple is a "true monopoly," couldve pushed them to do this?

overcast
Aug 10, 2007, 07:42 AM
Sounds dumb...why would i want to go to another music store open an account...download the song/album....and then load it into iTunes...thats just extra steps and more of a hastle for me...thats like driving 100 miles away to get cheaper gas...not worth it...boo universal!
That's not even close to a proper analogy. I love how you people argue all day over where you should be buying your low quality music from. Either way you are getting ripped off.

Will_reed
Aug 10, 2007, 07:50 AM
I'm really begging to dislike Universal as a whole.
I mean even the movie guys are being *******s by only putting their films on HD DVD.

Some of my favorite movies are Universal!

eenu
Aug 10, 2007, 09:07 AM
As I have now mentioned twice before in this thread, the Universal Music Group and NBC Universal are different companies.

Then why the same logos?

They maybe two separate entity's but i bet they are owned by one and the same.

drugs!
Aug 10, 2007, 09:22 AM
I'm not going to read everyone's bitching and moaning.... but this is finally someone taking a proactive step for the good of the industry and against itunes. I am an apple user, but when having only one main digital store for all music is a bad thing. Competition is necessary and this should help those other services grow to have a positive digital economy.

bommai
Aug 10, 2007, 09:30 AM
Typical... Universal seems to be totally Microsoft aligned. eg: Universal backs HD-DVD, Apple backs Blu-ray. :(

While I am a Bluray backer (already have a PS3), you are confused. Universal Music and Universal Studios are totally different. Universal Music is French owned - by Vivendi. Universal Studios is owned by GE (NBC). GE is the HD-DVD backer. I have seen Universal Music as one of the backers of Bluray (I saw their logo in the bluray website).

So, keep them separate!!

Now, if I can convince GE to release movies on BD - that would be awesome.

bommai
Aug 10, 2007, 09:33 AM
Then why the same logos?

They maybe two separate entity's but i bet they are owned by one and the same.

Wrong!!! They used to be the same in the past. But GE bought Universal Studios from Seagram and merged it with their NBC unit. Vivendi bought Universal Music. So, Vivendi (French) owns Universal Music. GE (USA) owns Universal Studios. Both entities are pissing me off because I back Bluray (I own the PS3 and love it) and I love Apple. The irony here is I work for GE!

overcast
Aug 10, 2007, 09:51 AM
I'm really begging to dislike Universal as a whole.
I mean even the movie guys are being *******s by only putting their films on HD DVD.

Some of my favorite movies are Universal!
Oh you mean how the other half is only putting their films on Blu-Ray? :rolleyes:

goosnarrggh
Aug 10, 2007, 09:53 AM
[snippet]




This is one of the BIG reasons I dont go anywhere else besides iTunes.

Go to emusic.com

You have to pay a subscription and you have no idea WHO they have without signing up.

Stupid.Just plain stupid.
Of course you can browse their entire catalogue without needing to pay the subscription fee:
http://www.emusic.com/browse/all.html

Don't forget, too, that emusic's subscription model is vastly different from the models advocated by most other online subscription services.

With most subscription models, all the songs you've already acquired will self-destruct as soon as you allow the subscription to lapse.

With emusic, once you download the track, it's yours forever. The subscription just makes it possible for you to continue acquiring additional tracks in the future.

mustang_dvs
Aug 10, 2007, 09:59 AM
Universal Music Group is not NBC or NBC Universal. It is not part of, or owned by, NBC Universal or GE. It is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Vivendi SA.

Vivendi SA owns 20% of NBC Universal and GE owns the other 80%. NBC Universal owns and operates the theme parks, television, and film businesses under the Universal brand.

Actually, GE owns Kitchen-All of Colorado, which in turn owns JMI of Stanford, which is a majority shareholder in Pokerfastlane.com, which recently acquired the Sheinhardt Wig Company, which owns NBC outright. NBC owns Winnipeg Iron Works, which owns the Ahp Chanagi Party Meats Corporation of Pyongyang, North Korea (which manufactures the Whoopi Goldberg Meat Machine).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQlOHNV6ALE

nemaslov
Aug 10, 2007, 10:13 AM
I think you should all care more about the QUALITY of the sound. A much as I love my iPod and taking everyhting with me, we should demand better quality than MP3s. Good article from the San Francisco Chronicle: (yeah I know you already know all this):


MP3 music - it's better than it sounds

Joel Selvin, Chronicle Senior Pop Music Critic
Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Whether you know it or not, that compact disc you just copied to your MP3 player is only partially there.

With the CD on its way out and computer files taking over as the primary means of hearing recorded music, the artificial audio of MP3s is quickly becoming the primary way people listen to music. Apple already has sold 100 million iPods, and more than a billion MP3 files are traded every month through the Internet.

[ MP3: Just because it's digital, doesn't mean it sounds good.]

But the music contained in these computer files represents less than 10 percent of the original music on the CDs. In its journey from CD to MP3 player, the music has been compressed by eliminating data that computer analysis deems redundant, squeezed down until it fits through the Internet pipeline.

When even the full files on the CDs contain less than half the information stored to studio hard drives during recording, these compressed MP3s represent a minuscule fraction of the actual recording. For purists, it's the dark ages of recorded sound.

"You can get used to awful," says record producer Phil Ramone. "You can appreciate nothing. We've done it with fast food."

Ramone, who has recorded everyone from Frank Sinatra to the Rolling Stones, was a musical prodigy who graduated from Juilliard at 16. He won the first of his nine Grammys in 1965 for the classic album "Getz/Gilberto." He is not alone in the upper ranks of his profession in decrying the state of audio, even though millions of dollars have been spent building high-tech digital recording studios.

"We're pretty happy with what we send out," says engineer Al Schmitt, winner of 15 Grammys for records by artists from Henry Mancini to Diana Krall. "What happens after that, we have no control over that anymore."

These studio professionals bring their experience and expensive, modern technology to bear on their work; they're scrupulous and fastidious. Then they hear their work played back on an iPod through a pair of plastic earbuds. Ask Ramone how it feels to hear his work on MP3s, and he doesn't mince words.

"It's painful," he says.

MP3s have won the war of the formats because of technology, not because of their audio quality. "It's like hearing through a screen door," says neuroscientist Daniel Levitin of McGill University, author of "This Is Your Brain on Music." "There are lines between me and what I want to see."

But what is the price of inferior audio quality? Can poor audio touch the heart as deeply as better sound? John Meyer, who designs and builds some of the world's best speakers at his Meyer Sound Labs in Berkeley, doesn't think so.

"It turns you into an observer," Meyer says. "It forces the brain to work harder to solve it all the time. Any compression system is based on the idea you can throw data away, and that's proved tricky because we don't know how the brain works."

It could be that MP3s actually reach the receptors in our brains in entirely different ways than analog phonograph records. The difference could be as fundamental as which brain hemisphere the music engages.

"Poorer-fidelity music stimulates the brain in different ways," says Dr. Robert Sweetow, head of UCSF audiology department. "With different neurons, perhaps lesser neurons, stimulated, there are fewer cortical neurons connected back to the limbic system, where the emotions are stored."

But Sweetow also notes that music with lyrics may act entirely differently on a cerebral level than instrumental music. "The words trigger the emotion," he says. "But those words aren't necessarily affected by fidelity."

Certainly '50s and '60s teens got the message of the old rock 'n' roll records through cheap plastic transistor radios. Levitin remembers hearing Sly and the Family Stone's "Hot Fun in the Summertime" on just such a portable radio, an ancient ancestor of the iPod.

"It was crap, but it sounded great," he says. "All the essential stuff comes through that inch-and-a-half speaker."

Levitin also says that Enrico Caruso and Billie Holiday can probably move him more than Michael Bolton or Mariah Carey under any fidelity.

"If the power of the narrative of the movie isn't there," he says metaphorically, "there's only so far cinematography can take you."

Most of today's pop records are already compressed before they leave the studio in the first place, so the process may matter less to artists like Maroon 5 or Justin Timberlake. Other kinds of music, in which subtlety, detail and shaded tonalities are important, may suffer more harm at the hands of the algorithms.

"When you listen to a world-class symphony or a good jazz record," says Schmitt, "and you hear all the nuance in the voices, the fingers touching the string on the bass, the key striking the string on the piano, that's just a wonderful sensation."

How much the audio quality is affected by the MP3 process depends on the compression strategy, the encoder used, the playback equipment, computer speed and many other steps along the way. Experts agree, however, that the audio quality of most MP3s is somewhere around FM radio. The best digital audio, even with increased sampling rates and higher bit rates, still falls short of the natural quality of now-obsolete analog tape recording.

EMI Records announced earlier this year the introduction of higher-priced downloads at a slightly higher bit rate, although the difference will be difficult to detect. "It's probably indistinguishable to even a great set of ears," says Levitin.

How good MP3s sound obviously also depends greatly on the playback system. But most MP3s are heard through cheap computer speakers, plastic iPod docking stations or, worse yet, those audio abominations called earbuds.

The ease of distribution means that MP3s are turning up everywhere, even places where they probably shouldn't. Schmitt, who has won the award more times than anyone else, is incredulous that the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences posts MP3s of nominees for the best engineering Grammy. "As if you could tell anything from that," he sneers.

For digital audio to substantially improve, several major technological hurdles will have to be cleared. The files will have to be stored at higher sampling rates and higher bit rates. Computing power will have to grow. New playback machines will have to be introduced ( Ramone thinks high-definition television is the model for something that could be "HD audio"). If the Internet is going to be the main delivery system for music in the future, as appears to be the case, Internet bandwidth will also be a factor.

"The Internet is in charge now," says Ramone, "and it has all kinds of wobbles. You have wires hanging out of windows and things like that. That's just the way things have to be because the Internet is in transition."

Meanwhile, most music listeners don't know what they're missing. They listen to MP3s on shiny chrome machines and plastic earpieces, and what they hear is what they get. But what's being lost is not replaced by the convenience.

In effect, sound reproduction is caught in a technological wrinkle that may take years to straighten out. "This is a transition phase," says McGill's Levitin. "It's having an effect on the culture, no question, but it's temporary. ... (But) it may be around for a while."

overcast
Aug 10, 2007, 10:17 AM
The real issue is that the general public either has pathetic sound systems and/or just does not care. It's the same reason why DVD-Audio and SuperAudio CD never took off. I'm stuck listening to only a handful I've managed to find, because the public doesn't make it worth the studios time. Big business is capitalizing on this by offering substandard quality digital music. All iTunes tracks should be encoded in Apple Lossless at the very least.

sosumi1981
Aug 10, 2007, 10:22 AM
It's hardly emotionally driven. It is a mid-term strategy to ensure the online music distribution business does not become an Apple-controlled monopsony.

A monopsony? Considering Apple doesn't purchase Universal's music, rather takes a fee for selling it, I think it would be rather hard to have a monopsony. Additionally, I think it would be rather hard to have a monopsony on an intangible product. A monopsony on something like timber or copper is one thing, but digital information is something entirely different.

Apple is not a monopoly in digital music, nor could it ever become one, unless it bought all or a large majority of the music labels. It's hard to have a monopoly when you don't own the product. Also, it will never have a monopoly while there are other mediums through which to acquire music, i.e. CDs.

What seems to be at issue here is Universals stance that Apple should offer music at a price dictated by Universal. Apple has so far resisted this, possibly through loyalty to it's customers or for some other reason. What ever the reason, we have read time and time again about Universal pressuring Apple to offer music at a premium. To now assume that it has to do with a "fair market" is ludicrous.

b_eleven
Aug 10, 2007, 10:37 AM
I gotta say that I really like itunes with the pricing and simplicity. I would pay more for something like itunes plus, but I also like the opportunity to buy the current files which are smaller (limited disc space). I guess I'll just buy used CDs of Universal Artists on ebay and such and encode it however I want. See if Universal gets any more money from me. It's a shame, because sometimes there may only be a song instead of a whole album that I want. I think most people will illegally download one song if there isn't a better legal option such as itunes. If the price is too expensive then one may as well buy the cd used.

People will depart with $1.00 much easier and I think that is where itunes succeeds. It gets you with the impulse buy for $1. Without that, there probably would have been less purchases on my part.

cliffjumper68
Aug 10, 2007, 10:40 AM
The stance taken by Universal depicts perfectly the problem facing the music industry -- arrogance and an inability to see the reality of the situation.

They are concerned with Apple gaining too much power with iTunes? Guess what, if not for iTunes, the market for legal music downloads would be virtually non-existent! They are shooting themselves in the foot by playing hardball with Apple on this.

Do they not recognize the severity of the problem? I am in my mid-twenties, and am basically the only one in my circle who pays for music. Everyone else I know -- including my peers in the workplace -- is downloading illegally.

iTunes appeals to me, and millions of others, because it is simple to use and looks nice. Everything else out there, to be frank, sucks!

Let them try their new strategy, whatever it is. If they continue to isolate themselves from Apple, they will regret it. If they wanted to be this aggressive, they should have taken action back in 1999. Idiots.

Couldn't have said it better!

The indy bands are where good music really is! Boycott the RIAA shlubs and support true artists! There are alot of them on iTunes waiting for your discovery (and no I am not one of them).:D

NuMan
Aug 10, 2007, 10:45 AM
If anything, this move is ENCOURAGING piracy.



I think Universal's "tracking piracy" comment is a ruse. How do they track or measure the amount of piracy? Where do they collect and keep the data on piracy? Is there a master data-base that records whenever any person gets a song without paying? Maybe their plan is to somehow tag the files with the purchasers info, in a way that would allow them to be traced later on. If the morons at Universal would download a brain, they might stumble onto a plan that actually works without offending more potential customers. Personally, DRM or no DRM, for now I'll stick with iTunes.

cliffjumper68
Aug 10, 2007, 10:50 AM
I think Universal's "tracking piracy" comment is a ruse. How do they track or measure the amount of piracy? Where do they collect and keep the data on piracy? Is there a master data-base that records whenever any person gets a song without paying? Maybe their plan is to somehow tag the files with the purchasers info, in a way that would allow them to be traced later on. If the morons at Universal would download a brain, they might stumble onto a plan that actually works without offending more potential customers. Personally, DRM or no DRM, for now I'll stick with iTunes.

Music has an imprint at sale when downloaded that tracks it as it spreads over the internet. This probably a lot to do about nothing, universal is probably trying to set up a fail case to justify draconian measures of control. But hey i am a cynic.

joeshell383
Aug 10, 2007, 11:19 AM
I'm really begging to dislike Universal as a whole.
I mean even the movie guys are being *******s by only putting their films on HD DVD.

Some of my favorite movies are Universal!

Not the same company.

See the Wikipedia entry for Universal Music Group and NBC Universal.

Then why the same logos?

They maybe two separate entity's but i bet they are owned by one and the same.

Like Bommai and I said earlier, the only ownership overlap is with Vivendi SA (the parent company of the Universal Music Group) owning 20% of NBC Universal.

bankshot
Aug 10, 2007, 11:38 AM
Go to emusic.com

You have to pay a subscription and you have no idea WHO they have without signing up.

Others have already pointed out that you can get a free trial and/or browse directly to the page where you can search for music. I just thought I'd point out that while the standard emusic trial is for 25 songs, you can get a 100-song free just by Googling a little bit (http://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=100+free+emusic&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8). http://www.emusic.com/ge/ looks like it'll give you 100 songs. I found this out after I'd done my 25-song free trial. Grrr. :mad: ;)

On this topic in general, there's really nothing not to like here. The Apple fanboyism is, predictably, over the top. Let's see, we have:

Yet another one of the big boys dabbling in DRM-free downloads. Good for us.
Universal poking at Apple, the market leader, keeping them on their toes. This can only force Apple to offer a better service in order to compete. Good for us.
Did I mention DRM-free music downloads?

My one concern regarding this is really about a related industry: the movie industry. While the music industry is buckling under pressure and slowly doing away with DRM, I don't see the movie industry doing that any time soon. They seem to feel that because their first digital consumer product (the DVD) had encryption from day one, that they have more "right" or more of a precedent to shove DRM down the consumer's throat. And sadly, they seem to be winning.

Even Apple and Steve Jobs (who has a bit of a conflict of interest with Disney/Pixar) won't touch the idea of non-DRM movies. They know the movie studios won't buckle like the music companies have started to do. Heck, we still don't have the movie equivalent of iTunes where you rip your DVDs to a huge hard drive and then have them all available to watch at a moment's notice. iTunes has a video library, but that's either DRM-laden purchased files, or stuff you have to painstakingly convert yourself (and lose DVD features like menus and extras). It's pathetic. There's no technical reason we can't do this - it's all political.

So I say while it's nice that we seem to be winning the battle with music companies (for now, anyway), we have to put more pressure on the movie companies. They, too, need to be shown that encryption and DRM do not thwart piracy, but only penalize the honest consumer who wants to manage their purchased content for the best experience. Totally ridiculous.

diamond.g
Aug 10, 2007, 11:52 AM
Others have already pointed out that you can get a free trial and/or browse directly to the page where you can search for music. I just thought I'd point out that while the standard emusic trial is for 25 songs, you can get a 100-song free just by Googling a little bit (http://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=100+free+emusic&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8). http://www.emusic.com/ge/ looks like it'll give you 100 songs. I found this out after I'd done my 25-song free trial. Grrr. :mad: ;)

On this topic in general, there's really nothing not to like here. The Apple fanboyism is, predictably, over the top. Let's see, we have:

Yet another one of the big boys dabbling in DRM-free downloads. Good for us.
Universal poking at Apple, the market leader, keeping them on their toes. This can only force Apple to offer a better service in order to compete. Good for us.
Did I mention DRM-free music downloads?

My one concern regarding this is really about a related industry: the movie industry. While the music industry is buckling under pressure and slowly doing away with DRM, I don't see the movie industry doing that any time soon. They seem to feel that because their first digital consumer product (the DVD) had encryption from day one, that they have more "right" or more of a precedent to shove DRM down the consumer's throat. And sadly, they seem to be winning.

Even Apple and Steve Jobs (who has a bit of a conflict of interest with Disney/Pixar) won't touch the idea of non-DRM movies. They know the movie studios won't buckle like the music companies have started to do. Heck, we still don't have the movie equivalent of iTunes where you rip your DVDs to a huge hard drive and then have them all available to watch at a moment's notice. iTunes has a video library, but that's either DRM-laden purchased files, or stuff you have to painstakingly convert yourself (and lose DVD features like menus and extras). It's pathetic. There's no technical reason we can't do this - it's all political.

So I say while it's nice that we seem to be winning the battle with music companies (for now, anyway), we have to put more pressure on the movie companies. They, too, need to be shown that encryption and DRM do not thwart piracy, but only penalize the honest consumer who wants to manage their purchased content for the best experience. Totally ridiculous.

Does macrovision count as DRM? If so then count VHS in as well.

What I find humorous in the movie situation is the love of BR when it is the most DRM ladened format (BD+). Not to mention the Region Encoding that has to be put up with.

gusapple
Aug 10, 2007, 11:57 AM
So how on earth do they expect to get results from this "test" with out using the largest online music store? Personally any listed place that they are offering this too are places I would not shop for online music. I think Universal is being stupid. They acting like a whinny teenager.

I see this issue the exact same way, I mean the people at Universal are just being sutupid. Yeah, people will shop less on iTunes if they can't find the music, but nobody will buy the music online! There is a HUGE chance for a virus there! I think Universal should shut up and leave music exclusively to iTunes. Even with no viruses, this is a stupid move.
Without the music on iTunes, the music company will loose money on top selling songs. These are not just everyday songs these are top selling artists such as 50 Cent, Akon, Amy Winehouse (In my opinion, she can just leave, but to others she might be good), Blink 182, Black-Eyed Peas, Bon Jovi, Dashboad Confessional, Eminem, Fall Out Boy, Guns N' Roses, Gwen Stefani, Jack Johnson, Jay-Z, Jimmy Eat World, Keane, Kiss, NOT LINDSAY LOHAN, Ludacris, Maroon 5, Nelly, Nelly Furtado, NickleBack, Nine Inch Nails (For some peoples hard side, just in case they need to see that evil somehow lies in the name Universal.), and much more! We need to stand up! I call that we, the people of MACRUMORS start a movement against this! Anybody that is with me, mail me a private message about this today! If you want to help to keep Universal Music on iTunes, now is the time to start. Just think, not being able to have your favorite artists on iTunes anymore! To see a compleate list of them go to this link. (http://new.umusic.com/artists.aspx) If you do not want to help then think of a tomorrow where you cannot get any music on iTunes! Think about a world controlled by Walmart! Which kills an economy and overall makes things harder! Now is the time to stand, now people of Macrumors!

..........?
Aug 10, 2007, 12:08 PM
They're clearly not -- they're just using that excuse as a smokescreen to not make it seem like they're intentionally withholding product from the retailer people like to use most.

I understand their intent -- and if people were actively upset with FairPlay, and the other services worked as smoothly and easily with the iPod as the iTMS does, it may be a very powerful move against iTunes. Unfortunately, it seems they're once again not understanding why the iPod/iTMS combination works so easily, and what music purchasers really care about. (And I am speaking about music purchasers as a whole group; those of us that care about 128kbs and DRM are the minority).


I agree. itune store is so large is because ipods. Apple is using itune store as one of the reason to buy ipods. Not everyone buying ipod will buy music from the itune store since ipod will work with any source of music legal or not legal. Steve jobs said that they use the store to sell more ipod but without it they are still selling ipod at a amazing rate.

So my conclusion is who care about universal whinny and fear of apple gaining too much control. As long as ipod is still easy to use and apple could sell lots of ipod(since they don't earn that much from the store but rely on ipod sales mostly) then the ipod part of apple will being doing well.

Peace
Aug 10, 2007, 12:09 PM
Of course you can browse their entire catalogue without needing to pay the subscription fee:
http://www.emusic.com/browse/all.html

Don't forget, too, that emusic's subscription model is vastly different from the models advocated by most other online subscription services.

With most subscription models, all the songs you've already acquired will self-destruct as soon as you allow the subscription to lapse.

With emusic, once you download the track, it's yours forever. The subscription just makes it possible for you to continue acquiring additional tracks in the future.

Thanks for the info.This is my point.Had nobody said anything about where to find any sort of index I would have never known.There is no direct link to artists on their homepage.And it's still a subscription model which I am firmly against.
If I choose not to download any music in a given month I still have to pay.

No thanks.

drugs!
Aug 10, 2007, 12:10 PM
I think you should all care more about the QUALITY of the sound. A much as I love my iPod and taking everyhting with me, we should demand better quality than MP3s. Good article from the San Francisco Chronicle: (yeah I know you already know all this):


MP3 music - it's better than it sounds

Joel Selvin, Chronicle Senior Pop Music Critic
Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Whether you know it or not, that compact disc you just copied to your MP3 player is only partially there.

With the CD on its way out and computer files taking over as the primary means of hearing recorded music, the artificial audio of MP3s is quickly becoming the primary way people listen to music. Apple already has sold 100 million iPods, and more than a billion MP3 files are traded every month through the Internet.

[ MP3: Just because it's digital, doesn't mean it sounds good.]

But the music contained in these computer files represents less than 10 percent of the original music on the CDs. In its journey from CD to MP3 player, the music has been compressed by eliminating data that computer analysis deems redundant, squeezed down until it fits through the Internet pipeline.

When even the full files on the CDs contain less than half the information stored to studio hard drives during recording, these compressed MP3s represent a minuscule fraction of the actual recording. For purists, it's the dark ages of recorded sound.

"You can get used to awful," says record producer Phil Ramone. "You can appreciate nothing. We've done it with fast food."

Ramone, who has recorded everyone from Frank Sinatra to the Rolling Stones, was a musical prodigy who graduated from Juilliard at 16. He won the first of his nine Grammys in 1965 for the classic album "Getz/Gilberto." He is not alone in the upper ranks of his profession in decrying the state of audio, even though millions of dollars have been spent building high-tech digital recording studios.

"We're pretty happy with what we send out," says engineer Al Schmitt, winner of 15 Grammys for records by artists from Henry Mancini to Diana Krall. "What happens after that, we have no control over that anymore."

These studio professionals bring their experience and expensive, modern technology to bear on their work; they're scrupulous and fastidious. Then they hear their work played back on an iPod through a pair of plastic earbuds. Ask Ramone how it feels to hear his work on MP3s, and he doesn't mince words.

"It's painful," he says.

MP3s have won the war of the formats because of technology, not because of their audio quality. "It's like hearing through a screen door," says neuroscientist Daniel Levitin of McGill University, author of "This Is Your Brain on Music." "There are lines between me and what I want to see."

But what is the price of inferior audio quality? Can poor audio touch the heart as deeply as better sound? John Meyer, who designs and builds some of the world's best speakers at his Meyer Sound Labs in Berkeley, doesn't think so.

"It turns you into an observer," Meyer says. "It forces the brain to work harder to solve it all the time. Any compression system is based on the idea you can throw data away, and that's proved tricky because we don't know how the brain works."

It could be that MP3s actually reach the receptors in our brains in entirely different ways than analog phonograph records. The difference could be as fundamental as which brain hemisphere the music engages.

"Poorer-fidelity music stimulates the brain in different ways," says Dr. Robert Sweetow, head of UCSF audiology department. "With different neurons, perhaps lesser neurons, stimulated, there are fewer cortical neurons connected back to the limbic system, where the emotions are stored."

But Sweetow also notes that music with lyrics may act entirely differently on a cerebral level than instrumental music. "The words trigger the emotion," he says. "But those words aren't necessarily affected by fidelity."

Certainly '50s and '60s teens got the message of the old rock 'n' roll records through cheap plastic transistor radios. Levitin remembers hearing Sly and the Family Stone's "Hot Fun in the Summertime" on just such a portable radio, an ancient ancestor of the iPod.

"It was crap, but it sounded great," he says. "All the essential stuff comes through that inch-and-a-half speaker."

Levitin also says that Enrico Caruso and Billie Holiday can probably move him more than Michael Bolton or Mariah Carey under any fidelity.

"If the power of the narrative of the movie isn't there," he says metaphorically, "there's only so far cinematography can take you."

Most of today's pop records are already compressed before they leave the studio in the first place, so the process may matter less to artists like Maroon 5 or Justin Timberlake. Other kinds of music, in which subtlety, detail and shaded tonalities are important, may suffer more harm at the hands of the algorithms.

"When you listen to a world-class symphony or a good jazz record," says Schmitt, "and you hear all the nuance in the voices, the fingers touching the string on the bass, the key striking the string on the piano, that's just a wonderful sensation."

How much the audio quality is affected by the MP3 process depends on the compression strategy, the encoder used, the playback equipment, computer speed and many other steps along the way. Experts agree, however, that the audio quality of most MP3s is somewhere around FM radio. The best digital audio, even with increased sampling rates and higher bit rates, still falls short of the natural quality of now-obsolete analog tape recording.

EMI Records announced earlier this year the introduction of higher-priced downloads at a slightly higher bit rate, although the difference will be difficult to detect. "It's probably indistinguishable to even a great set of ears," says Levitin.

How good MP3s sound obviously also depends greatly on the playback system. But most MP3s are heard through cheap computer speakers, plastic iPod docking stations or, worse yet, those audio abominations called earbuds.

The ease of distribution means that MP3s are turning up everywhere, even places where they probably shouldn't. Schmitt, who has won the award more times than anyone else, is incredulous that the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences posts MP3s of nominees for the best engineering Grammy. "As if you could tell anything from that," he sneers.

For digital audio to substantially improve, several major technological hurdles will have to be cleared. The files will have to be stored at higher sampling rates and higher bit rates. Computing power will have to grow. New playback machines will have to be introduced ( Ramone thinks high-definition television is the model for something that could be "HD audio"). If the Internet is going to be the main delivery system for music in the future, as appears to be the case, Internet bandwidth will also be a factor.

"The Internet is in charge now," says Ramone, "and it has all kinds of wobbles. You have wires hanging out of windows and things like that. That's just the way things have to be because the Internet is in transition."

Meanwhile, most music listeners don't know what they're missing. They listen to MP3s on shiny chrome machines and plastic earpieces, and what they hear is what they get. But what's being lost is not replaced by the convenience.

In effect, sound reproduction is caught in a technological wrinkle that may take years to straighten out. "This is a transition phase," says McGill's Levitin. "It's having an effect on the culture, no question, but it's temporary. ... (But) it may be around for a while."


I agree completely. However, that is just the way american consumerism works.... convenience > quality. Also i wouldn't be surprised if when the internet pipeline widens for most consumers, flac and hopefully .wav will be what is sold.

drugs!
Aug 10, 2007, 12:12 PM
I see this issue the exact same way, I mean the people at Universal are just being sutupid. Yeah, people will shop less on iTunes if they can't find the music, but nobody will buy the music online! There is a HUGE chance for a virus there! I think Universal should shut up and leave music exclusively to iTunes. Even with no viruses, this is a stupid move.
Without the music on iTunes, the music company will loose money on top selling songs. These are not just everyday songs these are top selling artists such as 50 Cent, Akon, Amy Winehouse (In my opinion, she can just leave, but to others she might be good), Blink 182, Black-Eyed Peas, Bon Jovi, Dashboad Confessional, Eminem, Fall Out Boy, Guns N' Roses, Gwen Stefani, Jack Johnson, Jay-Z, Jimmy Eat World, Keane, Kiss, NOT LINDSAY LOHAN, Ludacris, Maroon 5, Nelly, Nelly Furtado, NickleBack, Nine Inch Nails (For some peoples hard side, just in case they need to see that evil somehow lies in the name Universal.), and much more! We need to stand up! I call that we, the people of MACRUMORS start a movement against this! Anybody that is with me, mail me a private message about this today! If you want to help to keep Universal Music on iTunes, now is the time to start. Just think, not being able to have your favorite artists on iTunes anymore! To see a compleate list of them go to this link. (http://new.umusic.com/artists.aspx) If you do not want to help then think of a tomorrow where you cannot get any music on iTunes! Think about a world controlled by Walmart! Which kills an economy and overall makes things harder! Now is the time to stand, now people of Macrumors!


chill guy, the music isn't leaving iTunes. What it is doing is creating an offensive agains iTunes that will hopefully result in a compromise that is best for everyone. More diversification in choice of digital stores, cheaper product, etc.

gusapple
Aug 10, 2007, 12:18 PM
chill guy, the music isn't leaving iTunes. What it is doing is creating an offensive agains iTunes that will hopefully result in a compromise that is best for everyone. More diversification in choice of digital stores, cheaper product, etc.

We haven' lost the music.... Yet. I am thinking that Universal will pull out in January, just in time for their new music deals to start up, because, according to many news sources, it is not just a six month trial period, it is a six month trial period, then, the Universal Music store will go up in January.

drugs!
Aug 10, 2007, 12:35 PM
We haven' lost the music.... Yet. I am thinking that Universal will pull out in January, just in time for their new music deals to start up, because, according to many news sources, it is not just a six month trial period, it is a six month trial period, then, the Universal Music store will go up in January.

And then in order to support the artists you enjoy, you buy from their store

morespce54
Aug 10, 2007, 12:41 PM
Maybe somebody already answered this but is it possible to know what are the figures for EMI DMR-free on iTunes? I know I buy as much as possible ;) but still, it would be interesting to know

macnews
Aug 10, 2007, 12:50 PM
Competition is good. DRM free music is good.

I find it ironic they are selling at $0.99. Which makes me think this really isn't so much to do with iTMS, as it does with not wanting to let a ton of their DRM free music out in the wild while they TEST it. Remember, this is a short run test. I wouldn't be surprised if they allow DRM free music on iTMS and make and few extra pennies off it since the price there is $1.29.

milkmanamok
Aug 10, 2007, 01:07 PM
Competition is good. DRM free music is good.

I find it ironic they are selling at $0.99. Which makes me think this really isn't so much to do with iTMS, as it does with not wanting to let a ton of their DRM free music out in the wild while they TEST it. Remember, this is a short run test. I wouldn't be surprised if they allow DRM free music on iTMS and make and few extra pennies off it since the price there is $1.29.

I concur. . . it's hilarious that Universal's test is at the same price point they bitch about at the iTunes store. Also agree that they'll knuckle under after a short period of time - after suffering a public relations black eye and a few artists bolting from their stable - and join EMI with DRM-free downloads on the iTunes store.

I wouldn't be surprised if the pirate community actively targets Universal in response to their feeble gesture to contain Apple. And at least one Universal executive will get scapegoated and sacrificed as a result of this bonehead decision to constrict sales at iTunes, once it's revealed the backlash on this decision to exclude Apple did more harm than good.

Oh yeah. . . the big loser here is Microsoft, as their investment in the DRM approach continues to dwindle in relevance. No disagreement that this is a win for consumers, albeit just a baby step until most labels are offering DRM-free music downloads across most channels.

DRM is still probably relevant for the movie industry. That's a different consumer experience altogether.

k2k koos
Aug 10, 2007, 01:18 PM
I'm not going to read everyone's bitching and moaning.... but this is finally someone taking a proactive step for the good of the industry and against itunes. I am an apple user, but when having only one main digital store for all music is a bad thing. Competition is necessary and this should help those other services grow to have a positive digital economy.
competition is fine, but what universal is trying to do is greed, and trying to be the microsoft of the music world, try to win through unfair deals and bullying... Too bad they also have their artists by the balls, and I amy have to buy music from them from artists I like.
Don't get me wrong, I don't mind them offering their songs elsewhere, as long as iTunes is also included. I personally would not realy want to go and shop elsewhere, as I am happy with iTunes in general, and it's integration with iPod , my music library, etc.

Universal (and other music companies) PLEASE stop being greedy, and do not screw us consumers, we are your customers, so be nice!

BWhaler
Aug 10, 2007, 01:23 PM
I understand the fear of Apple, or any one company controlling their distribution, but for the love of God will these people please start thinking about the customer.

Here's a plan:

1. Sell your music via CD in stores
2. Sell your music at decent bit rates to exceptional bit rates. Price accordingly, but don't be greedy.
3. Sell your music DRM free by song, by album, and by "super album" with videos, pdfs, etc.) Price accordingly, but don't be greedy.

Do they, and everyone will make good money.

Someone needs to let the record labels know that Napster is dead. Yes, people still steal music online, just like they steal software online. But Microsoft, Adobe, Intuit, Apple, all make a ton of money and profits anyway.

Yes, some people will steal your products. But if you give most people choice, empowerment, freedom with their products, and fair pricing, they will be honest. And you will be rich.

The funny thing about this is Universal is going to lose this stand-off. And you better believe they are going to feel the wrath of Jobs in January when he knows empirically that they cannot survive without his service. Then they will be screwed.

gusapple
Aug 10, 2007, 01:24 PM
competition is fine, but what universal is trying to do is greed, and trying to be the microsoft of the music world, try to win through unfair deals and bullying... Too bad they also have their artists by the balls, and I amy have to buy music from them from artists I like.
Don't get me wrong, I don't mind them offering their songs elsewhere, as long as iTunes is also included. I personally would not realy want to go and shop elsewhere, as I am happy with iTunes in general, and it's integration with iPod , my music library, etc.

Universal (and other music companies) PLEASE stop being greedy, and do not screw us consumers, we are your customers, so be nice!

I agree completely.

morespce54
Aug 10, 2007, 01:33 PM
Wrong!!! They used to be the same in the past. But GE bought Universal Studios from Seagram and merged it with their NBC unit. Vivendi bought Universal Music. So, Vivendi (French) owns Universal Music. GE (USA) owns Universal Studios. Both entities are pissing me off because I back Bluray (I own the PS3 and love it) and I love Apple. The irony here is I work for GE!

Then, perhaps you could silently switch the Universal (GE) DVD-Burners for Bluray ones... ;):D

surferfromuk
Aug 10, 2007, 01:39 PM
This is quite clearly a deliberate act of war against iTunes and Apple.

It's very disappointing as it goes against EVERYTHING that a free market economy stands for.

If all these other stores were so great then Universal would give every store DRM free music to sell and let the consumer use the one they prefer. By excluding iTunes they are effectively says '***** you Apple and your ipod users can go ***** themselves as well'. And now to get DRM free Universal music you have to go to some other piece of ***** store..

Really it's EXACTLY that strong a message.

gusapple
Aug 10, 2007, 01:53 PM
This is quite clearly a deliberate act of war against iTunes and Apple.

It's very disappointing as it goes against EVERYTHING that a free market economy stands for.

If all these other stores were so great then Universal would give every store DRM free music to sell and let the consumer use the one they prefer. By excluding iTunes they are effectively says '***** you Apple and your ipod users can go ***** themselves as well'. And now to get DRM free Universal music you have to go to some other piece of ***** store..

Really it's EXACTLY that strong a message.

Yeah it is like that. It is an act of war.

BoyBach
Aug 10, 2007, 01:59 PM
I think that Apple will respond to Universal's posturing by doing absolutely nothing.

Then, if - when - Universal's experiment fails, Apple will be able to beat them with the 'Piracy Stick' during negotiations for a new and improved iTunes contract.

Schadenfreude and all that!

Maccus Aurelius
Aug 10, 2007, 02:50 PM
I agree. Apple really doesn't have to do anything. Heck, Apple only gets less than %30 of each song sold in iTunes. With a lot of talk of diversification and the betterment of the consumer universe and all that jazz, all I really see is Universal trying like mad to get more money out of iTunes. Seriously, these ARE the people that get $1 out of every Zune yanno.

JonboyDC
Aug 10, 2007, 03:13 PM
It will be real interesting to see how Jobs reacts to this.If I were him I'd pull ALL of Universals music and tell them to..You know.
Apple has already said that it would prefer to sell music without any DRM if the labels would allow it to do so. EMI agreed to do so, but only if they received more money per song for the music they make available on iTunes Plus. If Universal is willing to sell music without DRM at the established price, Apple should give them the choice of either making the music available on the iTunes Music Store without DRM for the same price or pulling all of their music off of iTunes.

SiliconAddict
Aug 10, 2007, 03:21 PM
The reason for this is pretty simple. Apple is the new Microsoft....lite.

nemaslov
Aug 10, 2007, 06:00 PM
I understand the fear of Apple, or any one company controlling their distribution, but for the love of God will these people please start thinking about the customer.

Here's a plan:

1. Sell your music via CD in stores
2. Sell your music at decent bit rates to exceptional bit rates. Price accordingly, but don't be greedy.
3. Sell your music DRM free by song, by album, and by "super album" with videos, pdfs, etc.) Price accordingly, but don't be greedy.

Do they, and everyone will make good money.

Someone needs to let the record labels know that Napster is dead. Yes, people still steal music online, just like they steal software online. But Microsoft, Adobe, Intuit, Apple, all make a ton of money and profits anyway.

Yes, some people will steal your products. But if you give most people choice, empowerment, freedom with their products, and fair pricing, they will be honest. And you will be rich.

The funny thing about this is Universal is going to lose this stand-off. And you better believe they are going to feel the wrath of Jobs in January when he knows empirically that they cannot survive without his service. Then they will be screwed.


Sounds good but the problem now is there are very few stores that sell full catalogue anymore. Towers used to (in Theory) carry every CD from ever label. Yeah the last few years not so much. Virgin sort of does but they have fewer stores than Tower did and that's it. There are a few indies like Amoeba in San Franciosco Berkeley and LA which might now be the best record stores for music people in the world- they also carry used CDs. You all got to go there if you can.

But where else? So many CDs cannot be found in stores. Yes on Amazon but you have to look for them. The chains like Target Best Buy and so only have the hits and maybe some catalogue but not even all albums by the so called major artists. Labels have cut catalogues. Especially after Tower died.

And online, the sonic quality is less that perfect. Even at iTunes. I for one would rather pay for a whole CD. Even if I don't love every track. But I don't only play back via an iPod or Computer. I still love a great stereo and surround sound system. Nothing matches that!

pseudonymph
Aug 10, 2007, 06:17 PM
This won't stop piracy in the least, and Universal is really dumb for thinking that it will.

imagineer2000
Aug 10, 2007, 09:47 PM
If they, and the media, also spin this to be a move to stir up the competition and put pressure on apple, then all the better from Univeral's point of view.

Regardless, the mere fact that Universal are playing with no DRM is a good thing... And even if they do play with apple for a while, im sure they'll make an iTunes deal eventually :)

Steve Jobs has stated on numerous occasions that iTunes music store is an avenue to sell iPods, nothing Universal is doing would impact that market.

Apple sells iPods and makes $$$ that is used to create cool new products, :apple:TV, iPhone, new Macs best operating system on earth.

DRM-free just makes iPods stronger...

megfilmworks
Aug 10, 2007, 10:07 PM
The solution to piracy is to embed a virus into illegal downloads. A powerful mini app, not some crippled MS app. It infests the host computer with a perpetual and undetectable action which slowly charges small amounts against all charge cards and bank accounts of the host and randomly distributes it to recording artists. I think we could call it the Robin Hood Virus.... illegal downloaders beware.

kenaustus
Aug 10, 2007, 10:35 PM
If I was an artist signed to one of their labels I would be PISSED!!!

That is what Universal has to be worried about. They must be in a position where their top names aren't due to sign a new contract in the near future, but they still have to address the issue of responding to their top names complaining.

Of course, Apple can also play the game by not giving Universal the prime promotional positions in the weekly iTunes email, or front page of their site.

megfilmworks
Aug 10, 2007, 10:43 PM
That is what Universal has to be worried about. They must be in a position where their top names aren't due to sign a new contract in the near future, but they still have to address the issue of responding to their top names complaining.

Of course, Apple can also play the game by not giving Universal the prime promotional positions in the weekly iTunes email, or front page of their site.
Apple is the new "record label" on the block, except now we download our records. Universal is not going to be in the record business much longer unless they control a mega download operation (can you say unlikely?)
It won't be long before Apple enters in to a deal with a major label or signs there own artists.
For all we know, this dispute was the end of a deal that wasn't made.

thomasfxlt
Aug 10, 2007, 10:57 PM
Steve Jobs has stated on numerous occasions that iTunes music store is an avenue to sell iPods

You don't really believe that do you??

surferfromuk
Aug 11, 2007, 02:55 AM
Basically the unspoken fallacy is Universal thinks that if they kill iTunes that people will once again go back to buying CD's.

They think there is a direct correlation between rising digital sales and declining CD sales.

They are trying to kill digital downloads.

IT'S AS SIMPLE AS THAT.

Fairly
Aug 11, 2007, 05:26 AM
That is one huge "eff you."
Yep. Those record companies are a bunch of stupid frigtards. They couldn't sell anything. Apple kept after them and they kept ignoring Apple. Finally they realized they didn't know anything and gave Apple a test. And what do you know? Oh they're making money, so much money.

So then they want price variance to squeeze even more money out of people. They're always coming up with bad ideas, really stupid ideas. So Apple say no. There has to be one price. And they huff and puff and finally give in and everything is OK again and they're still making money.

So now Apple and EMI and others are pushing for DRM-free because it's no secret DRM sucks (as do the record companies). So what is Universal up to? Are they really using iTunes as a test group? Hardly. They're just huffing and puffing again. They're so stupid they want to regain control of the distribution system so they can totally ruin it and go bankrupt. That's all they're good for - making really stupid decisions.

So I second the motion: a big "EFF YOU". :D

Mac Kiwi
Aug 11, 2007, 06:24 AM
I think another reason is that they want the test to fail to be able to say to Apple "see told you people dont care about DRM".They know if they use the Itunes store it will go against them,and after thats happened then they will use it for bargaining power in renegotiating the next deal with Apple.


Maye the Universal execs are having trouble justifying their large salaries now :D

pseudonymph
Aug 11, 2007, 06:30 AM
The solution to piracy is to embed a virus into illegal downloads. A powerful mini app, not some crippled MS app. It infests the host computer with a perpetual and undetectable action which slowly charges small amounts against all charge cards and bank accounts of the host and randomly distributes it to recording artists. I think we could call it the Robin Hood Virus.... illegal downloaders beware.
I'm glad you want to infect everybody with a virus.

The average ipod owner has about 21 iTunes tracks in their collection. Most ipod owners will have A LOT more than 21 songs in their collection. Even the shuffle holds 100-200 songs at decent quality. You think the rest are all from ripped CDs?

S_S
Aug 11, 2007, 08:01 AM
This thread is making me sick. I know, if I don't like it, don't read it. But I feel strongly about the subject, and the same misinformation and myths keep coming up over and over.

iTunes is a monoploy?

iTunes competes against "free" music from file sharring networks. It also competes against CD sales. iTunes doesn't own the product they sell, as some other thoughtful people have pointed out. iTunes has to be downloaded at the will of the user if you own a PC. If you could state that to enjoy music you are forced to download iTunes, then Apple may be consided a monopoly.

Universal wants to encourage competition and competition will keep Apple on its toes?

Universal is PO'd at Apple becuase Apple WONT raise the price per song. Universal wants tiered pricing schemes and suspscriptions. The public voted and has said that overall most people don't like subscriptions. Again, iTunes has to be choosen. No one has a gun to your head.

Please tell me how withholding a product from a reseller keeps the reseller competative. This isn't how free markets are supposed to work. That would be a fixed market. It's like handycapping Apple. How is Apple supposed to "inovate" a way to make DRMed 128k music sound as good and be as unrestrictive as unprotected higher bit rate tracks. This doesn't keep Apple on "on their toes". You've taken a fair race with one guy who happens to be way faster then everyone else and started putting rocks in his pockets.

Both Apple and Universal have their own best interests in mind. They strike a balance between making money and making customers happy. Universal can do whatever they want with their product. Do I think it's smart? No, but it's their business. Universal isn't this savior come to rescue us from evil. Universal and other record companies are the reason the music industry got in trouble in the first place. I'm all for a time when you can get tracks from anywhere to put on whatever player you like. Using this tactic to make it happen isn't the way to get there.

megfilmworks
Aug 11, 2007, 09:02 AM
I'm glad you want to infect everybody with a virus.

The average ipod owner has about 21 iTunes tracks in their collection. Most ipod owners will have A LOT more than 21 songs in their collection. Even the shuffle holds 100-200 songs at decent quality. You think the rest are all from ripped CDs?
Can you spell "sarcasm"?

eenu
Aug 11, 2007, 11:16 AM
Can anyone tell me where Google sells music? Universal are apparently including them in this....

Will never buy Universal music again....

EDIT: Actually i will but from iTMS so they can see more people buying from there

milkmanamok
Aug 11, 2007, 11:53 AM
This is the new Google music project, it's actually more Universal's baby than Google's, and it will include participation from other major labels: http://www.gbox.com

Google's angle will be limited to advertising revenue when people search for artists and tracks, search results will be featured aboove the usual Google results. Not very friendly to Mac users, you'll note from the browser detect. While I can't really fathom how it all works, it doesn't seem to pose much of an alternative to iTunes. Maybe an excuse to fire another bonehead Universal executive?!?

Can anyone tell me where Google sells music? Universal are apparently including them in this....

eenu
Aug 11, 2007, 12:08 PM
This is the new Google music project, it's actually more Universal's baby than Google's, and it will include participation from other major labels: http://www.gbox.com

Google's angle will be limited to advertising revenue when people search for artists and tracks, search results will be featured aboove the usual Google results. Not very friendly to Mac users, you'll note from the browser detect. While I can't really fathom how it all works, it doesn't seem to pose much of an alternative to iTunes. Maybe an excuse to fire another bonehead Universal executive?!?

Looking at this site i would say google has very little to do with it like you say

milkmanamok
Aug 11, 2007, 01:29 PM
Looking at this site i would say google has very little to do with it like you say

As I mentioned, Google's involvement is limited to keyword search advertising, more details here:

http://www.contracostatimes.com/technology/ci_6594013?nclick_check=1

This outlet seeks to cash in on the social aspect of music, but seems like harebrained execution to me. Anything direct from Google will be more thoughtful, I give them more credit for intelligence.

Loge
Aug 11, 2007, 03:22 PM
Not very friendly to Mac users, you'll note from the browser detect.

They support Windows ME, what more do you want?

Counter
Aug 12, 2007, 08:42 AM
Competition in a market place is good when you're a customer. More of this I say. It will push Apple to step up it's game. Or agree to another deal with Universal to lock the market down again. :rolleyes:

spinko
Aug 14, 2007, 05:56 AM
I really hate them. They are greedy and arrogant. But above all, they're trying to screw everybody, including the artists. They havn't seen the change coming for months if not years and now that it is obvious that music will never be sold and consumed the way it used to, they are beeing arrongant towards their clients again. They make me want to through-up. I hope they go bust soon.

spinko
Aug 14, 2007, 06:02 AM
oops, double post... sorry