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MacRumors
Sep 25, 2007, 02:00 PM
http://www.macrumors.com/images/macrumorsthreadlogo.gif (http://www.macrumors.com)

Amazon announced (http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?c=176060&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=1055053&highlight=) the public beta of a new service called Amazon MP3, a music download store that sells MP3 music downloads that do not include any Digital Rights Management (DRM).
"Amazon MP3 is an all-MP3, DRM-free catalog of a la carte music from major labels and independent labels, playable on any device, in high-quality audio, at low prices," said Bill Carr, Amazon.com Vice President for Digital Music. "This new digital music service has already been through an extensive private beta, and today we're excited to offer it to our customers as a fully functional public beta. We look forward to receiving feedback from our customers and using their input to refine the service."
The MP3 formatted files are compatible with a wide range of music players, including the Apple iTunes, iPod and iPhone. Songs are priced from 89 cents to 99 cents, and albums from $5.99 to $9.99. All MP3s are encoded in 256kbps format and are now available at Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&location=http%3A%2F%2Famazon.com%2Fb%3F%255Fencoding%3DUTF8%26node%3D163856011%26pf%5Frd%5Fm%3DATVPD KIKX0DER%26pf%5Frd%5Fs%3Dleft-nav-1%26pf%5Frd%5Fr%3D195NSA3QN1NKJMN86JSN%26pf%5Frd%5Ft%3D101%26pf%5Frd%5Fp%3D311501601%26pf%5Frd%5Fi%3 D507846&tag=weeno&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325).

This represents the latest trend in the online download industry to move towards DRM-Free downloads that are playable in a number of different media players and not tied to a particular vendor. Apple launched (http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2007/05/30itunesplus.html) DRM Free songs on the iTunes store in May, 2007.

Article Link (http://www.macrumors.com/2007/09/25/amazon-launches-public-beta-of-drm-free-music-store/)



Eidorian
Sep 25, 2007, 02:02 PM
DRM-free MP3

Everyone wins.

IJ Reilly
Sep 25, 2007, 02:02 PM
Hard to argue with competition. It won't hurt iPod sales, that's for sure.

longofest
Sep 25, 2007, 02:05 PM
Pretty sweet... and one of the first Mac-compatible stores outside iTunes?

Now... how much of the music is no-name or strictly EMI, we'll have to examine more closely...

GeekLawyer
Sep 25, 2007, 02:05 PM
Good news for consumers. I agree that everybody wins here.

RidleyGriff
Sep 25, 2007, 02:06 PM
Now to see how easy the experience is. 256 or not, mp3s are still a no-go for me, but most folks will just see the number and think it's the same as iTunes.

But what's up with KT Tunstall being quoted on the press release? A little swipe at Apple after she played at their event, I imagine?

Let the fun begin.

cube
Sep 25, 2007, 02:08 PM
Fanboys voting negative.

Ted Witcher
Sep 25, 2007, 02:09 PM
I have to say, I don't really care about DRM-free. I have an iPod, like most of the developed world, iTunes... DRM restricts nothing for me. Selling music DRM-free really will hasten the recod companies' demise, so somebody needs to explain to me why they would do it. If they really wanted to provide competition, how about DRM-free and full CD quality? Now that's something I'd be interested in...

sparks9
Sep 25, 2007, 02:09 PM
this is great

256 is a good compromise between quality and filesize...

narco
Sep 25, 2007, 02:09 PM
If other labels aside from EMI are participating in this, then why don't they release DRM free music on iTunes? It's weird how record execs and Apple always seem to be fighting over price, yet Amazon sells high quality DRM free MP3s for equal or lower prices? Something's weird.

PhatBoyG
Sep 25, 2007, 02:11 PM
Excellent alternative to buying from iTMS. And guess what, it works with iTunes, so no reason to whine at all.

iomar
Sep 25, 2007, 02:12 PM
I would love this.. I never liked itunes to keep my music only in my work computer or my home computer now I can have all my songs in both places.. that will be wonderful!

RidleyGriff
Sep 25, 2007, 02:12 PM
If other labels aside from EMI are participating in this, then why don't they release DRM free music on iTunes? It's weird how record execs and Apple always seem to be fighting over price, yet Amazon sells high quality DRM free MP3s for equal or lower prices? Something's weird.

The labels are simply trying to remove Apple from their position of power in the digital download industry so Apple will no longer be able to dictate such strict terms in negotiations. And they're going DRM-free only because lack of iPod support will pretty much kill any new music service instantly.

NightStorm
Sep 25, 2007, 02:14 PM
I'd rather have DRM-free AAC at 256kbps... newer technology, smaller files.

devilot
Sep 25, 2007, 02:15 PM
Pretty sweet... and one of the first Mac-compatible stores outside iTunes?

Now... how much of the music is no-name or strictly EMI, we'll have to examine more closely...There's been eMusic for a long time now. :)

And they have quite a few artists-- most aren't mainstream, but quite a few of the lesser known names have gotten bigger and eMusic still has their music available (one that comes to mind is Spoon).

At any rate, I'll definitely have a poke around to see Amazon's offerings.


Ah, just in case people start whining in a few (insert time period here):

After you have successfully downloaded the file to your computer at the time of purchase, we recommend that you create a backup copy. We are currently unable to replace any purchased files that you delete or lose due to a system or disk error.

GeekLawyer
Sep 25, 2007, 02:16 PM
Excellent alternative to buying from iTMS. And guess what, it works with iTunes, so no reason to whine at all.

LOL! As if they need a reason to whine. :rolleyes:

Westside guy
Sep 25, 2007, 02:16 PM
It looks like the same artist list that's in iTunes Plus. Has anyone found anything that's on Amazon's DRM-free store but not on iTune's?

I love the marketing - "world's largest catalog of DRM-free MP3s". Well, yeah, because iTunes doesn't sell MP3s. :D

Regardless of the marketing silliness - this is only good news for the consumer.

Nicky G
Sep 25, 2007, 02:19 PM
My favorite online music store, Warp Records' bleep.com, has been selling DRM-free VBR MP3s since its inception. It's awesome, especially as they distribute tons of electronica labels other than Warp through the site. Generally works well, the pricing is fair, and I am happy with the quality of recordings (they also sell FLAC files at a slightly higher price.) My guess is that Apple cares nothing about this, OTHER than the fact that Universal is being a douche and not offering them a similar arrangement (purely out of spite, it would seem.)

em500
Sep 25, 2007, 02:23 PM
AAC is in theory more efficient than mp3, but in practice you only really notice a real difference at very low bitrates. In the last public listening test at Hydrogenaudio, Lame even at 128kbps put up a pretty good fight. I believe the number of people who can consistently tell the difference between Lame -V0 and 256kbps CBR AAC is extremely small. (That doesn't prevent everybody on the internet claiming that they can easily hear the difference with their music samples on their equipment though :rolleyes: )

BoyBach
Sep 25, 2007, 02:23 PM
A viable competitor (finally!?) means cheaper iTunes prices (please!?)

Two thumbs up, here. :D

Mydel
Sep 25, 2007, 02:27 PM
It looks like the same artist list that's in iTunes Plus. Has anyone found anything that's on Amazon's DRM-free store but not on iTune's?

I love the marketing - "world's largest catalog of DRM-free MP3s". Well, yeah, because iTunes doesn't sell MP3s. :D

Regardless of the marketing silliness - this is only good news for the consumer.

I found a lot. specially artist like Manson, Perfect Circle etc. iTunes hardly has any rock in 256 which is pretty bad cos they are loosing a lot of money I would eventually spend there. but I refuse to buy 128 AND DRM music :(

puuukeey
Sep 25, 2007, 02:27 PM
inevitable. the iTMS is a velvet rope around a piece of sidewalk. Thats the reason content companies are turned off. The only thing standing between them and the market is apple's brand. being the most user friendly should not bring the entire music and motion picture industry to a stand still

plumbingandtech
Sep 25, 2007, 02:27 PM
Seems like this is more competion to a Windows DRM online store then apple.

I mean we buy stuff here or the itunes.


Now if Amazon starts to rack up tons of exclusives... but even then its not like apple is going to sell less ipods*. Maybe lose some on itunes but it is peanuts compared to ipod hardware.



Except for those ogg vorbis freaks that insist on putting linux on their mp3 players with crappy interfaces.

rockthecasbah
Sep 25, 2007, 02:27 PM
Wow this is exciting! I like the iTunes direct compatibility, where you can automatically add downloads into your iTunes library without any clicks, cheaper prices than the iTMS ($1 less for Sigur Ros' "()" album!!), and of course DRM free at great quality.

Mal
Sep 25, 2007, 02:28 PM
More options helps us consumers, so I'm all for it. I just bought an album, in addition to the free song that they give you for downloading the downloader (heh). We'll see how good it sounds (I'm in class so can't test it now), but I can't imagine anything but good. If they have sales on albums to make them cheaper than iTunes (the album I just bought was 10 songs, but only $8.99, so already a dollar less than iTunes), then they'll definitely make an impact.

jW

arn
Sep 25, 2007, 02:29 PM
I'd rather have DRM-free AAC at 256kbps... newer technology, smaller files.

256kbps MP3 is the same size as 256kbps AAC

and it's also the same size as 256kbps [whatever format] since it's a data rate. 256kilobits per second of audio.

(The AAC quality may be better for that same datarate, however)

arn

asterizk
Sep 25, 2007, 02:30 PM
http://www.macrumors.com/images/macrumorsthreadlogo.gif (http://www.macrumors.com)

Amazon announced (http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?c=176060&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=1055053&highlight=) the public beta of a new service called Amazon MP3, a music download store that sells MP3 music downloads that do not include any Digital Rights Management (DRM).

The MP3 formatted files are compatible with a wide range of music players, including the Apple iTunes, iPod and iPhone. Songs are priced from 89 cents to 99 cents, and albums from $5.99 to $9.99. All MP3s are encoded in 256kbps format and are now available at Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&location=http%3A%2F%2Famazon.com%2Fb%3F%255Fencoding%3DUTF8%26node%3D163856011%26pf%5Frd%5Fm%3DATVPD KIKX0DER%26pf%5Frd%5Fs%3Dleft-nav-1%26pf%5Frd%5Fr%3D195NSA3QN1NKJMN86JSN%26pf%5Frd%5Ft%3D101%26pf%5Frd%5Fp%3D311501601%26pf%5Frd%5Fi%3 D507846&tag=weeno&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325).

This represents the latest trend in the online download industry to move towards DRM-Free downloads that are playable in a number of different media players and not tied to a particular vendor. Apple launched (http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2007/05/30itunesplus.html) DRM Free songs on the iTunes store in May, 2007.

Article Link (http://www.macrumors.com/2007/09/25/amazon-launches-public-beta-of-drm-free-music-store/)

Just bought Arcade Fire's "Neon Bible" album for $8.99... the integration is pretty seamless. I'm running OS X 10.4.10, Firefox 2.0.0.7 and iTunes 7.4.2. Songs add as soon as they're done being downloaded, and the addition doesn't interrupt your currently playing song. I have Amazon configured to use One-Click, which made the whole process actually disturbingly easy... there's a confirmation dialog, but still...

Overall I'm very happy with this development.

homestar
Sep 25, 2007, 02:33 PM
It looks like the same artist list that's in iTunes Plus. Has anyone found anything that's on Amazon's DRM-free store but not on iTune's?

Unless my iTunes has suddenly stopped showing DRM-free choices, there seem to be quite a few artists that Amazon's got that iTunes doesn't.

Feist is one, Caribou is another.

Haven't found any examples of iTunes having stuff that Amazon doesn't.

Stella
Sep 25, 2007, 02:33 PM
When this opens up to Canada then I'll definitely be buying stuff music from Amazon, rather than iTMS, as my first choice.

Lack of DRM is great.

NightStorm
Sep 25, 2007, 02:33 PM
256kbps MP3 is the same size as 256kbps AAC

and it's also the same size as 256kbps [whatever format] since it's a data rate. 256kilobits per second of audio.

(The AAC quality may be better for that same datarate, however)

arn

Yes, you are correct; I mistyped in my posting and was going to edit it when I saw your reply. I should have simply said that I would rather have a 256kbps AAC file than a 256kbps MP3 file. The size would remain the same, but the quality would theoretically be better.

Anyone who has purchased a track from Amazon, do they insert any tags to identify that it was purchased from Amazon? I'm not concerned about "privacy" issues, but rather something embedded that can be used to create a smart playlist of Amazon-purchased tracks (so I can use an AppleScript to copy them automatically to my backup drive). Not 100% sure I'll use it, but competition is always a good thing. :)

unconcious
Sep 25, 2007, 02:37 PM
I love having choices, but most likely I'll end up using it once or twice. I am too lazy and I am used to using iTunes anyways (whenever i purchase songs)

:D.

PS: Go Amazon !!!! : )

Butters
Sep 25, 2007, 02:38 PM
I've found a lot of stuff I didn't really expect, like Distorted Memory, Dawn of Ashes, Tactical Sekt! :D this is great

none of that is on the iTunes store

Nicky G
Sep 25, 2007, 02:40 PM
Interestingly AAPL is WAY up today, $3.68 at this moment. It was down earlier int he day, and the upward swing seems to correlate to this announcement. My guess is people are very glad to see that this works with iPods, and probably will only lead to more iPod sales. Glad to see that Amazon (which I purchase many items through) was smart enough to support both Mac and iPod users with this store -- kudos! And thumbs-down Universal -- no need to dis Apple, just because you fear them.

BWhaler
Sep 25, 2007, 02:40 PM
a few weeks ago, I wouldn't have considered this, even though I like Amazon. I guess I have more loyalty to Apple.

But watching Apple's quality go into rapid decline in the past two years--not design, but production quality--and some of the recent decisions which seem to reflect a change in the wind and Apple becoming more like a typical big company, has forced me to take a good look at the Amazon offering.

MP3 (Although I am OK with AAC)
Higher bit rates
No DRM
Cheaper. (You have to compare the prices against iTunes plus. These songs are 39 cents cheaper each)

I think competition is good for us. And obviously, Apple needs it. I still want Apple to win, but I am definitely hedging my bets nowadays and looking around.

Sandfleaz
Sep 25, 2007, 02:40 PM
Can't imagine that the folks at Apple are that upset.
I think this will help them sell even more iPods. From the figures they released a while ago, most music on iPods comes from sources other than iTunes.

Can't wait to try it!

Mainyehc
Sep 25, 2007, 02:42 PM
Amazon could pull a "Windows" on iTS... :eek:

OTOH, I'm hoping that, since they have always been in the business of content distribution, they won't turn evil like M$, and try to keep the prices low... If both Apple and Amazon stick to that game, and at least iPod/Mac users start and keep buying iTunes+ files en masse, this will be the end of both WMA formats and DRM, FairPlay, and the labels as we know them, in one fell swoop... :cool:

macdork92
Sep 25, 2007, 02:43 PM
This is only gonna hurt iTunes sale, but not us. I hope they also start selling Movies and TV shows. :apple:

Zygon Gambit
Sep 25, 2007, 02:47 PM
Excellent news - I'm impressed with Amazon that they've made it Mac compatible from day one.

Pity I can't seem to get it to work from the UK, but I expect an (overpriced) UK store will open soon.

More competition = good.

CIrawI3riCIge
Sep 25, 2007, 02:49 PM
MP3, pfff. Just goes to show how the vast majority of people are satisfied with mediocrity:(

Selling compressed music at nearly the same price of a CD is shameful. -Especially using MP3.

Some of us still have our hearing and would eagerly purchase uncompressed PCM. Then we can encode for our iPods as we wish. Until then, I'll stick with CD's.

512ke
Sep 25, 2007, 02:49 PM
Wow, Amazon will give some real competition finally to the Zune Marketplace.

yoak
Sep 25, 2007, 02:51 PM
Hopefully this will have an impact on the quality of the offerings at iTunes. 128 bits is just not good enough in my opinion. I envy the people who canīt hear any difference between iTunes and CD quality

maberga29
Sep 25, 2007, 02:53 PM
Seems weird that NBC moves away from apple due to cheap prices, then finds their way into the arms of an even cheaper audio/video vendor. I do wonder how this will play out with prices on both iTMS and the Amazon store... specifically how it will affect the horrid Unbox "purchases expire" scene

Zygon Gambit
Sep 25, 2007, 02:54 PM
MP3, pfff. Just goes to show how the vast majority of people are satisfied with mediocrity:(

Selling compressed music at nearly the same price of a CD is shameful. -Especially using MP3.

Some of us still have our hearing and would eagerly purchase uncompressed PCM. Then we can encode for our iPods as we wish. Until then, I'll stick with CD's.
Anyone who wants the music properly will buy the CD, and then rip it at a good rate (or losslessly) to their computer.

This store is is for other people. It's competition at that level, not the level that you're interested in. It's still good to compete with iTunes.

orbital
Sep 25, 2007, 02:55 PM
Hum except that a 256kbps Mp3 is not equal to a 256kbps AAC. Infact all it means is the songs are no better than those found on the iTunes Store.

Well what ever its a step in the right direction

zorinlynx
Sep 25, 2007, 02:56 PM
Just downloaded a track, and to my surprise, they used LAME 3.97 to encode it. So not only are they selling music in the open MP3 format, but they're using an open source encoder to make them!

LAME is one of the better encoders, *period*, even when compared to commercial ones. So we get to have our cake (DRM free files) and eat it too (that sound good)! Sweet.

silverbelly
Sep 25, 2007, 02:57 PM
this is good news. a little competition is never a bad thing.

selling more music is also good for Apple as they make more money off of selling iPods than they do selling a few more mp3's.

gkarris
Sep 25, 2007, 02:59 PM
Just downloaded a track, and to my surprise, they used LAME 3.97 to encode it. So not only are they selling music in the open MP3 format, but they're using an open source encoder to make them!

LAME is one of the better encoders, *period*, even when compared to commercial ones. So we get to have our cake (DRM free files) and eat it too (that sound good)! Sweet.

That's LAME.... :p

Looked up a couple of songs I *just* bought on iTunes and on Amazon, they are unprotected, higher quality, and only 89 cents... :mad:

I've bought Amazon Unbox for direct to my Tivo. It's cool, just rent a movie from work, and when I get home, it's ready to watch on my TV.

Amazon is getting cooler by the minute...

Mydel
Sep 25, 2007, 03:00 PM
I've just bought one song from Amazon - Recoil "Intruder", download took 8 sec /2.1 MB/sek/ and after song was downloaded iTunes opened, import the song with album art. No problem, Im impressed. Finally maybe some competition for iTMS. Seriously my hearing is far from perfect but even I cant listen to 128 AA...Oh and by the way iTunes shows that song is 320VBR...???:rolleyes:

BTW
Sep 25, 2007, 03:00 PM
I'd rather have DRM-free AAC at 256kbps... newer technology, smaller files.

I agree. AAC is an open standard too. What's the deal keeping with MP3 compression?

Thataboy
Sep 25, 2007, 03:00 PM
I don't do mp3's. They make me feel dirty. :)

Then again, I no longer do lossy of any kind. ALAC or bust!

Small White Car
Sep 25, 2007, 03:00 PM
I envy the people who canīt hear any difference between iTunes and CD quality

That's not the test for many people.

For many (and me) online downloads only have to sound better than FM radio. And they do. Those are my 2 choices: radio or iPod. As long as the iPod keeps sounding better than the radio I could not care less what CDs sound like.

brandon6684
Sep 25, 2007, 03:02 PM
It looks like I finally found a music store I can live with. Bigger selection than eMusic and I don't have to wade through all DRM on iTunes to find the select songs offered in iTunes Plus.

thejadedmonkey
Sep 25, 2007, 03:03 PM
That's LAME.... :p

Looked up a couple of songs I *just* bought on iTunes and on Amazon, they are unprotected, higher quality, and only 89 cents... :mad:

I've bought Amazon Unbox for direct to my Tivo. It's cool, just rent a movie from work, and when I get home, it's ready to watch on my TV.

Amazon is getting cooler by the minute...

The one thing that they lack is unity. With iTMS it just works. With Amazon, I've never seen any movie/music rental services anywhere..

milkmanamok
Sep 25, 2007, 03:03 PM
I love that for all their bitching and moaning about Apple setting pricing, the record companies are now selling DRM-free tracks at a price even lower than $0.99. In their usual incompetent fashion, they have shot themselves in the foot again. Time for Apple to renegotiate their deal for distributing tracks trough iTunes store.

Eduardo1971
Sep 25, 2007, 03:04 PM
...and one of the first Mac-compatible stores outside iTunes?


www.emusic.com has been selling MP3's for sometime now.

sanford
Sep 25, 2007, 03:07 PM
DRM-free MP3

Everyone wins.

I wish it were DRM-free AAC, but I probably won't hear the difference on most tracks. Well, being half-deaf, I almost certainly won't hear it, but some of you may.

Good albums prices, too, I'm sure knocked a buck or two off for beta launch to smack iTunes but will rise to $10. A bargain right now, anyway. And I've been saving quite a bit in new music purchases to fool around with the WiFi Store on my iPhone; but if Apple can't manage to get that iPhone update out by end of today, even though the iTunes interface is better I could always fool around with Amazon's new store with that money.

ChrisA
Sep 25, 2007, 03:08 PM
DRM-free MP3
Everyone wins.

Except the people who run Apple's iTunes store. They could be out on the street looking for new jobs once word of this gets out.

Gherkin
Sep 25, 2007, 03:08 PM
Hum except that a 256kbps Mp3 is not equal to a 256kbps AAC. Infact all it means is the songs are no better than those found on the iTunes Store.

Well what ever its a step in the right direction

256kbps MP3 is better than 128kbps AAC, so don't delude yourself, EVERYTHING on the Amazon store is better quality than MOST of what's on the iTunes store.

When comparing 256 MP3 and 256 AAC, well, I've never done a test, but websites obsessed with audio quality have, and most of them say that unless you are an audio buff and using very expensive headphones, you won't notice the difference.

Oh, and the Amazon store has EMI AND Universal on, that's two major labels to Apple's one as far as DRM-free goes. Plus Amazon has "thousands" of indie labels, which Apple has none of.

Apple has clearly been one-upped. Hopefully they can renegotiate their contracts and get us more DRM-free music. Also, let's hope Sony BMG and Warner hop on the DRM-free bandwagon soon.

Phil A.
Sep 25, 2007, 03:09 PM
Voted negative, but only because it's not available in the UK :(
Great to have some competition for iTunes and whilst I'd have preferred 320kbps for MP3, it's better than nothing

bartelby
Sep 25, 2007, 03:10 PM
Several searches with no results.
I'll stick to emusic.

bobr
Sep 25, 2007, 03:11 PM
Just bought two albums and am impressed so far. Seamless and quick and 256kbs is sufficent for my use. Also saved 5$ on one of the albums over the iTMS price.

ChrisA
Sep 25, 2007, 03:11 PM
www.emusic.com has been selling MP3's for sometime now.

emusic is great but their selection is uneven. They don't have what seems to be the most popular but they do have lots of stuff that is otherwise hard to find.

emusic is not really what you'd call "mainstream".

sanford
Sep 25, 2007, 03:11 PM
Hopefully this will have an impact on the quality of the offerings at iTunes. 128 bits is just not good enough in my opinion. I envy the people who canīt hear any difference between iTunes and CD quality

I used to have that ability. But I have progressive degenerative hearing loss and can't anymore. So don't envy us too much. But still, I've been able to cheap out buying AAC iTunes downloads and lower-end models of high-end brands of audio equipment without sacrificing my perception of audio fidelity. I'm going deaf but I'm getting richer. Go figure.

parafish13
Sep 25, 2007, 03:15 PM
Wait...did I see Amazon offering DRM-free Radiohead downloads and albums at $8.99?

irmongoose
Sep 25, 2007, 03:15 PM
I just bought Cornell 1964 by Charles Mingus for $8.99 at Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Cornell-1964/dp/B000TRVJ90/ref=sr_f3_1/105-1351334-7830066?ie=UTF8&s=dmusic&qid=1190751153&sr=103-1). The same album at iTunes Plus (http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewAlbum?id=258981074&s=143441)? $16.99.



irmongoose

Dagless
Sep 25, 2007, 03:18 PM
I am very interested to see Apple's response to this.

Maccus Aurelius
Sep 25, 2007, 03:19 PM
A big plus for me: They have radiohead, albums that iTunes has never been able to grab a hold of.

Wait...did I see Amazon offering DRM-free Radiohead downloads and albums at $8.99?

YES! and I'm buying the ones I don't have yet as soon as I get the heck out of the office.

Why are people complaining about mp3's? If you ran an online music store, wouldn't you like to have your stock in a codec that everyone could use?

This is great, and I can't wait to get home to download "The Bends", which Disc-O-Rama didn't have last time I stopped over :( The more stores the merrier!

milo
Sep 25, 2007, 03:19 PM
MP3, pfff. Just goes to show how the vast majority of people are satisfied with mediocrity:(

Selling compressed music at nearly the same price of a CD is shameful. -Especially using MP3.

The first one I checked was 6.99 download versus 15.99 CD. Hardly the same price. And CD's don't give you the option of buying individual songs.

Although I'd rather see these as 256 AAC, I'd bet you couldn't pick out 256 mp3 versus cd in a blind test.

This is a great option to have in terms of convenience, price, and even the quality isn't too bad. I've been hesitating to buy some things from the iTunes store because of DRM, I'll probably start buying stuff from amazon right away and seeing how they've done.

sanford
Sep 25, 2007, 03:22 PM
I am very interested to see Apple's response to this.

How about: release the WiFi iTunes Music Store for iPhones. That's a start.

CmdrLaForge
Sep 25, 2007, 03:22 PM
Believe it or not - I love iTunes and Apple but I love my own money as well and I will compare prices and features between the two services and get myself the better deal.

Having said that - I believe Amazon is a real competition for Apple.

Chris Welch
Sep 25, 2007, 03:24 PM
Well I just purchased my first track from the new store.

"Monday Night" by Ryan Adams

242kbps (VBR), encoded with LAME 3.97

Pretty damn great. Kudos, Amazon.

benpatient
Sep 25, 2007, 03:24 PM
It looks like the same artist list that's in iTunes Plus. Has anyone found anything that's on Amazon's DRM-free store but not on iTune's?

I love the marketing - "world's largest catalog of DRM-free MP3s". Well, yeah, because iTunes doesn't sell MP3s. :D

Regardless of the marketing silliness - this is only good news for the consumer.

Allman Brothers "Beginnings," for one. It's 8.99 on amazon at 256 with no DRM and 9.99 on itunes at 128 with DRM....tough call...what to do??? ha.

electricrenaiss
Sep 25, 2007, 03:25 PM
Can't imagine that the folks at Apple are that upset.
I think this will help them sell even more iPods. From the figures they released a while ago, most music on iPods comes from sources other than iTunes.

Can't wait to try it!

I don't understand the argument that this is going to sell more iPods. Folks who buy music online (mp3s, aac, whatever) already have a media player (ipod or zune or whatever else) that they use to listen to that music. How is this supposed to help iPod sales? Just because you can buy mp3 on amazon means now you'll buy an ipod?

Of course lets say hypothetically that amazon only sold AAC format. Maybe then I can understand that helping iPod sales becasue iPod is the only music player that plays that format.

sanford
Sep 25, 2007, 03:26 PM
This is kind of sell-out bizarre for Radiohead, though. It's always been presented as sort of a, Radiohead says, No way on digital distribution of any kind for some recordings. And then they pop up on Amazon's store after again recently refusing to put all their music on iTunes.

I like Radiohead, but I think their integrity marker just dropped a bit for me.

A big plus for me: They have radiohead, albums that iTunes has never been able to grab a hold of.



YES! and I'm buying the ones I don't have yet as soon as I get the heck out of the office.

Why are people complaining about mp3's? If you ran an online music store, wouldn't you like to have your stock in a codec that everyone could use?

This is great, and I can't wait to get home to download "The Bends", which Disc-O-Rama didn't have last time I stopped over :( The more stores the merrier!

Eduardo1971
Sep 25, 2007, 03:26 PM
Awesome!!!

Just saw that Amazon's service sells Radiohead!!!

http://amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_dm_hp_nav_lk/105-2390510-4751615?initialSearch=1&url=search-alias%3Ddigital-music&field-keywords=radiohead

Me, being the consumate consumer, won't buy anything as I have all of Radiohead's cataloge on CD or Vinyl!:p

termite
Sep 25, 2007, 03:27 PM
HOLY MOLEY.... Pink Floyd's the Wall for less than nine bucks? I'm all over that. It's 17 bucks on iTunes, and usually even more expensive on physical media.

Competition is fine. Death to DRM.

ChrisA
Sep 25, 2007, 03:27 PM
The user interface is pretty simple. The "Amazon MP3 Downloader" automatically places the tracks inside iTunes. Makes it pretty darn easy.

I just found some stuff Apple doesn't even have but Amazon has in 256K MP3 for $0.89

I think the way to go now is to check Amazon first, see if they have it. Then only buy from iTunes if Amazon does not have it.

I also notice that if Amazon caries the CD they will link to it from their MP3 store. In one case I was able to follow links from the MP3 store to a reseller who had a used copy of the CD that is even less then the 89 cent download although shipping killed the price advantage.

Apple needs to worry.

Eduardo1971
Sep 25, 2007, 03:28 PM
emusic is great but their selection is uneven. They don't have what seems to be the most popular but they do have lots of stuff that is otherwise hard to find.

emusic is not really what you'd call "mainstream".

Point taken. I have a subscription to www.emusic.com and I love it as my musical tastes are not too "mainstream".

chrisgeleven
Sep 25, 2007, 03:28 PM
HOLY MOLEY.... Pink Floyd's the Wall for less than nine bucks? I'm all over that. It's 17 bucks on iTunes, and usually even more expensive on physical media.

Competition is fine. Death to DRM.

I saw that too (and clicked the buy button). I wonder if it is a mistake. Double album for $8.99 seems too good to be true.

siurpeeman
Sep 25, 2007, 03:29 PM
Several searches with no results.
I'll stick to emusic.

i was looking this morning for a track to download just to see. i couldn't find anything i wanted. :( to make myself feel better, i went and bought a song off itunes. ;)

BulkHedd
Sep 25, 2007, 03:30 PM
I have to say, I don't really care about DRM-free. I have an iPod, like most of the developed world, iTunes... DRM restricts nothing for me. Selling music DRM-free really will hasten the recod companies' demise, so somebody needs to explain to me why they would do it. If they really wanted to provide competition, how about DRM-free and full CD quality? Now that's something I'd be interested in...

I used to think that until I was doing a slideshow for my cousin's wedding reception using FotoMagico. I found out that DRMed music purchased from iTunes could not be exported out to iDVD. So I had to burn it and re-rip it as unprotected music.

sdschwendener
Sep 25, 2007, 03:32 PM
Where is all that international **** I love. This is interesting.

A amazon search of the hiragana name Utada Hikaru found here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utada_Hikaru) (macrumors wont displaya hiragana) in mp3 downloads turns up...

Showing 1-24 of 2,324,316 Songs as seen here (http://amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_dm_hp_nav_lk/105-9058495-5791614?initialSearch=1&url=search-alias%3Ddigital-music&field-keywords=%3F%3F%3F%3F%3F%3F&Go.x=14&Go.y=4&Go=Go)

Eduardo1971
Sep 25, 2007, 03:34 PM
This is kind of sell-out bizarre for Radiohead, though. It's always been presented as sort of a, Radiohead says, No way on digital distribution of any kind for some recordings. And then they pop up on Amazon's store after again recently refusing to put all their music on iTunes.

I like Radiohead, but I think their integrity marker just dropped a bit for me.

Oh brother, get over yourself.:rolleyes:

This has NOTHING to do with Radiohead "selling-out". Radiohead opposed the notion of buying individual tracks off albums; that's why they never offered their library to iTunes or other music download services. The would only offer their music as a whole album.

Maccus Aurelius
Sep 25, 2007, 03:38 PM
Of course lets say hypothetically that amazon only sold AAC format. Maybe then I can understand that helping iPod sales becasue iPod is the only music player that plays that format.

This is untrue, but it's obviously not as widely supported as mp3's.

benpatient
Sep 25, 2007, 03:38 PM
I saw that too (and clicked the buy button). I wonder if it is a mistake. Double album for $8.99 seems too good to be true.

Just wait. Within a couple of months, double disc prices (and other album prices) will come down on iTMS to match or get close to Amazon's prices. The labels have long ago covered the costs on these discs, and digital distribution of a double CD is essentially the same as a single CD, so why not put the price lower and sell more copies? It's virtually free for the labels at this point anyway. Free money.

This makes me think that Apple has been the one keeping the music prices so high (and TV episodes, too) by demanding their usual 40-60% net profit on everything they sell.

Amazon is happy with 10% or less if they can get the volume to justify it. And with prices like these, and easy itunes integration like this, and a huge library of high-quality releases and hard-to-find things as well, they will get big volume indeed.

I've been disappointed by every "iTMS-killer" to date. This is the first one that can really compete...and competition is a good thing for us. Maybe not for all you Apple stockholders out there used to irrationally good stock performance and profit numbers, but for consumers, this is a good, good day.

I've already purchased more music from Amazon MP3 than I ever did from the iTMS...and I've been using iTunes since it was called SoundJam.

Bobcat37
Sep 25, 2007, 03:40 PM
I also am impressed. I just bought my first song off of Amazon too. It was "Stronger" by Kanye West.

89 cents for a 256kbps DRM-free MP3 vs 99 cents for a 128kbps DRM AAC?

I think the choice was easy. I'll definitely be checking Amazon for random singles before I buy on iTunes. As for full albums, I still stick with CDs 95% of the time. But I definitely foresee that changing over time as more things go DRM-free...

Someone asked if there is an ID tag of any kind. The only thing I can see is that in the Comments section of the MP3 I bought it says "Amazon.com Song ID: 202628965" Otherwise, I don't see any blatant tags.

treblah
Sep 25, 2007, 03:42 PM
Let's see here…

Ben Harper - Live from Mars

iTunes Plus = $19.99
Amazon = $18.06

iTunes = $1.29 per song (21 of 25)
Amazon = $.99 per song (21 of 25)

iTunes = 4 songs are 'Album Only' presumably because they are over 8 minutes in length.
Amazon = Same 4 songs are $1.94 each.

Yeah, iTunes will now be my second choice.

bluebomberman
Sep 25, 2007, 03:43 PM
Looks really nice. Selection is very uneven, though. (But hey, they have Sol Seppy (http://www.amazon.com/The-Bells-Of-1-2/dp/B000QZU3OM/ref=sr_f3_2/104-2284462-9055157?ie=UTF8&s=dmusic&qid=1190752903&sr=103-2)! Woohoo!)

Kobekes
Sep 25, 2007, 03:43 PM
"As required by our Digital Content providers, Digital Content will, unless otherwise designated, be available only to customers located in the United States."

When will we see it in Europe ?

Peace
Sep 25, 2007, 03:43 PM
This makes me think that Apple has been the one keeping the music prices so high (and TV episodes, too) by demanding their usual 40-60% net profit on everything they sell.



I quote from Vivendi :

"At present, UMG, the world's largest record company, gets 0.70 euro ($0.99) out of the 0.99 euro retail price charged by iTunes, Vivendi said."

Thats $.99 of the $1.40 Apple charges.
Apple gets 30%.

MacBoySeattle
Sep 25, 2007, 03:44 PM
Lol. Why the hell am I ever going to buy from iTunes again when I can get cheaper DRM-free MP3s at a decent bitrate that I can put on any device INCLUDING my iPod. Apple better start stepping up their game, they've been pitiful lately and the backlash is starting to come from all angles. And there's increased competition.

robpow
Sep 25, 2007, 03:44 PM
Voted negative, but only because it's not available in the UK :( Really? I'm in the UK but didn't notice that and I have just bought an OMD album from the Amazon MP3 store, it was very quick and easy and the sound quality is great too.

Matt

thiago824
Sep 25, 2007, 03:46 PM
I just tried it and I LOVE IT. Amazon has come out with a Mac software and the download is super simple. The audio quality is GREAT, it comes with album artwork already and they don't charge taxes on the songs you purchase. I paid only $0.89.

The only CON I have found is that there isn't a large variety of songs like iTunes has. For example Rihanna-Umbrella is not available.

Hopefully they will get that fixed soon.

NightStorm
Sep 25, 2007, 03:49 PM
HOLY MOLEY.... Pink Floyd's the Wall for less than nine bucks? I'm all over that. It's 17 bucks on iTunes, and usually even more expensive on physical media.

Competition is fine. Death to DRM.
If that is true, I will be buying this as soon as I get home tonight.

MacBoySeattle
Sep 25, 2007, 03:49 PM
Apple has one option. Kill off DRM ENTIRELY on the iTunes music store and higher the bitrate of their music, otherwise they ain't getting a cent more of my money. Face the frickin competition or go home.

bugabuga
Sep 25, 2007, 03:50 PM
Seems weird that NBC moves away from apple due to cheap prices, then finds their way into the arms of an even cheaper audio/video vendor. I do wonder how this will play out with prices on both iTMS and the Amazon store... specifically how it will affect the horrid Unbox "purchases expire" scene
Probably not at all. Unbox is not the Mp3 store :)
If non-uniform price means some things are cheaper than 99c I'm all for it :D

robcoles
Sep 25, 2007, 03:55 PM
I did subscribe to emusic for a while.. but to be honest, I don't like the subscription model, sometimes I want to get a lot of new music, sometimes a little.

I rarely purchase music from itunes.. ( maybe a couple of impulse purchases) I just don't like not having the freedom to do what I want with it, so its mostly *still* CD purchases for me.. the original non-DRM solution, however having a *legal/reputable* source to purchase MP3s will almost certainly get me away from that habit..

AgingGeek
Sep 25, 2007, 03:56 PM
The user interface is pretty simple. The "Amazon MP3 Downloader" automatically places the tracks inside iTunes. Makes it pretty darn easy.

Yeah, but there's no "shipping options" button! That's lame! :cool:

Peace
Sep 25, 2007, 03:58 PM
Don't be surprised if we see an actual iTunes website with content in the coming months.

sparks9
Sep 25, 2007, 04:00 PM
I would love this.. I never liked itunes to keep my music only in my work computer or my home computer now I can have all my songs in both places.. that will be wonderful!

You can already, just authorize both computers in your iTunes account...

RidleyGriff
Sep 25, 2007, 04:02 PM
Apple has one option. Kill off DRM ENTIRELY on the iTunes music store and higher the bitrate of their music, otherwise they ain't getting a cent more of my money. Face the frickin competition or go home.

I doubt it is that simple. Do you really think Apple wouldn't love to offer DRM-free tracks? That they didn't try to get the necessary licenses from the record companies to do so, before announcing iTunes Plus?

This is the labels, with Amazon's help, manipulating the market by providing exclusive content to one reseller over another. Which is fine -- that's the way business works -- but let's all call it what it is. And do we really think the labels' long term gameplan is to keep prices this low, once they've knocked Apple off their perch?

Call me crazy, but the evidence of their behavior over the last 20 years leads me to a very different conclusion. Don't let the record companies fool us so easily here.

MacBoySeattle
Sep 25, 2007, 04:07 PM
I doubt it is that simple. Do you really think Apple wouldn't love to offer DRM-free tracks? That they didn't try to get the necessary licenses from the record companies to do so, before announcing iTunes Plus?

This is the labels, with Amazon's help, manipulating the market by providing exclusive content to one reseller over another. Which is fine -- that's the way business works -- but let's all call it what it is. And do we really think the labels' long term gameplan is to keep prices this low, once they've knocked Apple off their perch?

Call me crazy, but the evidence of their behavior over the last 20 years leads me to a very different conclusion. Don't let the record companies fool us so easily here.

Well I do know until today, the venerable Apple was trying to charge me extra for the "privelege" of downloading a DRM free track. What do you know? Amazon comes along, is ALL DRM free and charges less than an Apple DRM track. Apple isn't noble like you think it is.

ejrizo
Sep 25, 2007, 04:07 PM
and apple has just put out a press release..

BEATLES NOW ON iTunes!!

DRM free music from all labels!!!

99 Cents Each!!

lol :p

electricrenaiss
Sep 25, 2007, 04:08 PM
Lol. Why the hell am I ever going to buy from iTunes again when I can get cheaper DRM-free MP3s at a decent bitrate that I can put on any device INCLUDING my iPod. Apple better start stepping up their game, they've been pitiful lately and the backlash is starting to come from all angles. And there's increased competition.

I agree with you 100% but doesn't seem like AAPL actually cares about all the backlash. Have you looked at the stock price lately? As long as the investors are happy, they don't care about any of the recent backlash.

cwryn
Sep 25, 2007, 04:11 PM
I just bought two albums. They cost less than they would have on itunes and were not available in iTunes plus either. I just hope the sound quality is alright.

RidleyGriff
Sep 25, 2007, 04:12 PM
Well I do know until today, the venerable Apple was trying to charge me extra for the "privelege" of downloading a DRM free track. What do you know? Amazon comes along, is ALL DRM free and charges less than an Apple DRM track. Apple isn't noble like you think it is.

I don't think Apple is noble whatsover. I think they're a business that wants to make money. I also know they don't have the rights to sell DRM-free tracks from all the labels.

So who is to blame for Apple not being all DRM-free? Jobs? Don't think so. The record companies, taking their last and best shot in getting Apple out of the pole position in digital content distribution?

Now you're getting warmer.

MacBoySeattle
Sep 25, 2007, 04:13 PM
I agree with you 100% but doesn't seem like AAPL actually cares about all the backlash. Have you looked at the stock price lately? As long as the investors are happy, they don't care about any of the recent backlash.

Have you seen the backlash lately? I've been following Apple for 5 years through the great growth times, and I'm telling you, this is the worst time for bad sentiment about Apple's business practices I have ever seen. The stock price is sure to reflect this soon, it always lags.

Just go look at this article:

http://www.ilounge.com/index.php/articles/comments/11475/

electricrenaiss
Sep 25, 2007, 04:16 PM
Have you seen the backlash lately? I've been following Apple for 5 years through the great growth times, and I'm telling you, this is the worst time for bad sentiment about Apple's business practices I have ever seen. The stock price is sure to reflect this soon, it always lags.

Just go look at this article:

http://www.ilounge.com/index.php/articles/comments/11475/

I've seen that article but the sales of all their products are higher than ever when the quality seems to be going the other way. The only complaints about quality I hear (the recent iPod touch fiasco) are in forums such as this, not in the wider media.

reallynotnick
Sep 25, 2007, 04:23 PM
Grrrr I just put $30 into my iTunes account...

What really makes the deal is addition of universal, why the hell they won't sell on iTunes I don't know.

The problem is for me is I can't buy anything on amazon because I do not have a CC, with iTunes I can just buy gift cards and that works well for me.

Dangit Apple if Universal wants to sell high quality DRM audio for 89Ē then by god let them! I simply refuse to buy the 128kbs DRM audio from Apple any more so I am pretty limited to just EMI stuff...(yeah the GC's were a present...)

spawn135
Sep 25, 2007, 04:39 PM
Time for Apple to drop the price on their DRM-free music.

Competitions are great!

RidleyGriff
Sep 25, 2007, 04:39 PM
What really makes the deal is addition of universal, why the hell they won't sell on iTunes I don't know.

Because Universal doesn't like the stubbornness Apple has shown in negotiating its deals -- on such stances as consistent, low pricing, and prohibiting b.s. like bundling. So now Universal is trying to undercut Apple with the Amazon service in an effort to take away Apple's #3 market position.


Dangit Apple if Universal wants to sell high quality DRM audio for 89¢ then by god let them! I simply refuse to buy the 128kbs DRM audio from Apple any more so I am pretty limited to just EMI stuff...(yeah the GC's were a present...)

Universal doesn't. They want you think Apple is ripping you off, so they cut a more favorable deal with Amazon. From the looks of this forum most people are taking the bait. And if iTunes loses its negotiating leverage, you can bet they will raise all the prices back up to what they'd like them to be.

Zadillo
Sep 25, 2007, 04:40 PM
Dangit Apple if Universal wants to sell high quality DRM audio for 89Ē then by god let them! I simply refuse to buy the 128kbs DRM audio from Apple any more so I am pretty limited to just EMI stuff...(yeah the GC's were a present...)

I can't tell if you're serious or not; the issue isn't that Universal wants to sell high quality DRM-free (I assume that's what you meant) audio for 89 cents.

The issue is that Universal, and many of the other labels, want to force Apple into allowing them to charge significantly more for music, DRM-free or not, specifically the most popular and most recent music.

Apple has been sticking to the idea that no music should be more than 99 cents. It's been a compromise on their part to sell the DRM-less stuff for $1.29.

The labels don't like this though, because they would much prefer to sell the hottest new songs for $2, $3, $4, even $5.

On a side note, they also want to do what they can to prop up iTunes competitors, so in this case they are willing to let Amazon do something they won't let iTunes do, like sell DRM-free tracks for less, etc.

The hope is that they can build up competitors to iTunes to give them a better bargaining position to force Apple's hand.

In the end, as long as the end result is DRM-free MP3's, I don't think there's a big problem.

Apple ultimately wants to sell iPods, etc. The success of an Amazon MP3 store that seems to be designed specifically to also be easy to use for people who use iTunes and iPods (the Amazon song downloading app will automatically move your music over to iTunes) would not hurt that much at all.

Zadillo
Sep 25, 2007, 04:42 PM
Time for Apple to drop the price on their DRM-free mp3.

Competitions are great!

You're assuming that Apple has the rights to do that. The $1.29 price for DRM-free stuff was a compromise on their part, to placate the labels (or EMI at least).

Hopefully if any of this sticks though, the labels will accept 99 cent DRM-free pricing, but I doubt that will happen.

Again, the labels want to charge MORE money for a lot of this stuff.

freeny
Sep 25, 2007, 04:42 PM
Fanboys voting negative.

:confused::confused:
What makes you think this.
Please give support to your theory instead of just throwing this stuff out there.

Or do you just like to call people names that dont agree with you?

Peace
Sep 25, 2007, 04:42 PM
Well I just bought a song from Amazon.Installed the downloader and got nothing.Zip.Zilch

So much for ease of use.:rolleyes:




Ok I got the song but it isn't 256kbps it's 244 VBR

MacBoySeattle
Sep 25, 2007, 04:47 PM
Universal doesn't. They want you think Apple is ripping you off, so they cut a more favorable deal with Amazon. From the looks of this forum most people are taking the bait. And if iTunes loses its negotiating leverage, you can bet they will raise all the prices back up to what they'd like them to be.

Lol, so let me get this straight. Universal doesn't want to charge far less for DRM free high quality music, but they ARE? And Apple wants to charge less for DRM free music but they AREN'T or CAN'T? Get your head out of the sand Apple apologist.

Let me tell you something, Amazon is like Walmart, the price ain't EVER going up. They can either be a loss leader or will do it just for the principle of it forever. Apple can't compete with retailers like Amazon.

It's as simple as this for me. If I have a choice between a 256kbps DRM-free mp3 that I can play on anything including my ipod or I can buy crippleware from Apple, Apple is SOL.

RidleyGriff
Sep 25, 2007, 04:48 PM
Hopefully if any of this sticks though, the labels will accept 99 cent DRM-free pricing, but I doubt that will happen.

Again, the labels want to charge MORE money for a lot of this stuff.

How much do you want to bet the "Public Beta" lasts about 6 months, after which it goes "official"... and the prices get bumped?

Plutonius
Sep 25, 2007, 04:50 PM
I doubt it is that simple. Do you really think Apple wouldn't love to offer DRM-free tracks? That they didn't try to get the necessary licenses from the record companies to do so, before announcing iTunes Plus?

This is the labels, with Amazon's help, manipulating the market by providing exclusive content to one reseller over another. Which is fine -- that's the way business works -- but let's all call it what it is. And do we really think the labels' long term gameplan is to keep prices this low, once they've knocked Apple off their perch?

Call me crazy, but the evidence of their behavior over the last 20 years leads me to a very different conclusion. Don't let the record companies fool us so easily here.

Good call. Apple will not be able to match Amazon because of Apple's contracts with the different labels (the labels would rather deal with Amazon instead of Apple). Whe iTunes market share disappears, I can see the prices going way up and people complaining / going back to illegal downloads / file sharing.

rish
Sep 25, 2007, 04:52 PM
Sorry will not subscribe to any other music store. Happy to continue to undermine the music industries influence and buy from iTunes (DRM or not).

I want to see the day when artists will be free to distribute music digitally through a tech company and see industry dinosaurs like Universal eventually become extinct.
:)

RidleyGriff
Sep 25, 2007, 04:53 PM
Lol, so let me get this straight. Universal doesn't want to charge far less for DRM free high quality music, but they ARE? And Apple wants to charge less for DRM free music and they AREN'T? Get your head out of the sand Apple apologist.

Yes, MacBoy, try to think it through.

1. iTunes is the #1 digital distributor. This gives them enormous leverage.

2. The labels want to remove iTunes' dominance.

3. Given that iPod and iTunes are integrated, giving Apple the ease-of-use edge, what is the labels/Amazon's only alternative? Offer DRM-free tracks, at a price lower than Apple.

4. People move to Amazon because it is cheaper.

5. Apple isn't #1 anymore. Apple doesn't have leverage. Record labels can then go and set digital wholesale prices wherever they like. Amazon will be in their pocket as the labels pretty much gave them the industry, and they can lock out iTunes as long as they want.

6. MacBoySeattle wonders why Amazon prices suddenly got more expensive.


I mean, you really don't expect the labels to help Amazon by asking them to charge MORE, do you? Uh-huh.

redfirebird08
Sep 25, 2007, 04:55 PM
Holy mother of God. Amazon has their ***** together! Their download program works on OSX and they're selling Pink Floyd's The Wall for $8.99. That's right, $17 on iTunes BEFORE tax and only $8.99 on Amazon with NO SALES TAX. Hell, surprisingly enough the songs were automatically added to iTunes and came with artwork. Amazing!

Looks like I've finally found a digital store that is worth my time, at least for things that I feel a need to purchase ripped versions like The Wall because it's a gapless album. Otherwise, I just use a Yahoo music subscription and record unlimited songs for "free" at $70 a year.

MacBoySeattle
Sep 25, 2007, 04:56 PM
Yes, MacBoy, try to think it through.

1. iTunes is the #1 digital distributor. This gives them enormous leverage.

2. The labels want to remove iTunes' dominance.

3. Given that iPod and iTunes are integrated, giving Apple the ease-of-use edge, what is the labels/Amazon's only alternative? Offer DRM-free tracks, at a price lower than Apple.

4. People move to Amazon because it is cheaper.

5. Apple isn't #1 anymore. Apple doesn't have leverage. Record labels can then go and set digital wholesale prices wherever they like. Amazon will be in their pocket as the labels pretty much gave them the industry, and they can lock out iTunes as long as they want.

6. MacBoySeattle wonders why Amazon prices suddenly got more expensive.


I mean, you really don't expect the labels to help Amazon by asking them to charge MORE, do you? Uh-huh.

Since you missed the 2nd part:

Let me tell you something, Amazon is like Walmart, the price ain't EVER going up. They can either be a loss leader or will do it just for the principle of it forever. Apple can't compete with retailers like Amazon.

RidleyGriff
Sep 25, 2007, 04:56 PM
I want to see the day when artists will be free to distribute music digitally through a tech company and see industry dinosaurs like Universal eventually become extinct.
:)

Agreed. I'm hoping Trent Reznor follows through with his rhetoric and starts selling new Nine Inch Nails direct after he fulfills his last album requirement with Interscope. No matter what one thinks of his music, all it is going to take is one marquee artist to cross the digital-only picket lines and then the whole thing will come crashing down.

Since you missed the 2nd part:

Let me tell you something, Amazon is like Walmart, the price ain't EVER going up. They can either be a loss leader or will do it just for the principle of it forever. Apple can't compete with retailers like Amazon.

They're counting on consumers like you, my friend.

compuguy1088
Sep 25, 2007, 04:57 PM
Hopefully this will have an impact on the quality of the offerings at iTunes. 128 bits is just not good enough in my opinion. I envy the people who canīt hear any difference between iTunes and CD quality

For AAC, with most songs it is fine, though for classical, you really need 192 VBR AAC to hear the tones well, or 192 VBR MP3, which is slightly worse than AAC.

MacBoySeattle
Sep 25, 2007, 04:58 PM
They're counting on consumers like you, my friend.

All of you Apple fanboys amuse me. It can't be Apple that was trying to keep prices high to maintain their 40%, it MUST be labels. Oh, but look at that, Amazon sells the same thing for half price from the SAME labels. Stop drinking the Kool-Aid.

RidleyGriff
Sep 25, 2007, 05:12 PM
All of you Apple fanboys amuse me. It can't be Apple that was trying to keep prices high to maintain their 40%, it MUST be labels. Oh, but look at that, Amazon sells the same thing for half price from the SAME labels. Stop drinking the Kool-Aid.

The guy with "MacBoy" as his handle is accusing me of being a fanboy (as I post from a Windows machine).

We can agree to disagree here, but I find Universal's move here a complete about face, not only in terms of price, but the DRM-free angle is incredibly suspect, given their previous stances regarding piracy (this is the company that gets $1 per Zune to help compensate for all that "stolen music" that is on everyone's iPods). It doesn't quite add up.

Furthermore, your Walmart analogy does not hold. The labels, in fact, have a contentious relationship with Walmart, as Walmart has pushed for consistently lower and lower wholesale prices (which is why we can get CDs on Amazon for $8.99, and why traditional record stores have gone out of business). If Amazon becomes the dominant online force, they will have no such incentive to force the labels hand towards lower prices on digital downloads -- if people don't want to pay $1.99 for the hot new single, they'll just buy the CD; Amazon wins either way.

Should iTunes lose its dominance, Amazon has ZERO incentive to push down prices for digital downloads in the long run.

pianojoe
Sep 25, 2007, 05:13 PM
I'd rather have DRM-free AAC at 256kbps... newer technology, smaller files.

And stupid me always thought, 256kb per second were the same number of bytes per second, AAC or MP3.

I think you're trying to say that at any file size given, AAC will sound better than MP3, therefore, at the same audio quality, AAC will provide smaller files.

Oh wait, I didn't understand what I just said.

Anyway...

MacBoySeattle
Sep 25, 2007, 05:16 PM
The guy with "MacBoy" as his handle is accusing me of being a fanboy (as I post from a Windows machine).

We can agree to disagree here, but I find Universal's move here a complete about face, not only in terms of price, but the DRM-free angle is incredibly suspect, given their previous stances regarding piracy (this is the company that gets $1 per Zune to help compensate for all that stolen music that is on everyone's iPods).

It doesn't quite add up. Furthermore, the Walmart analogy does not hold. The labels have a contentious relationship with Walmart, as Walmart has pushed for consistently lower and lower wholesale prices (which is why we can get CDs on Amazon for $8.99, and why traditional record stores have gone out of business). If Amazon becomes the dominant online force, they will have no such incentive to force the labels hand towards lower prices on digital downloads -- if people don't want to pay $1.99 for the hot new single, they'll just buy the CD; Amazon wins either way. Should iTunes lose its dominance, Amazon has ZERO incentive to push down prices for digital downloads in the long run.

Your speculation about future events with your clouded vision doesn't interest me in the least. Right now, Amazon is selling 89 cent DRM free tracks. You find Universal's move an "About face" because you live in Apple fanboy land where somehow Apple was the victim of the "evil" record companies. I, on the other hand, think that Apple was trying to screw us over with over priced markups on DRM free music, and Amazon seems to do just fine charging far less.

robPOD
Sep 25, 2007, 05:17 PM
Healthy Competition, always good to see

iQuit
Sep 25, 2007, 05:17 PM
I'm a pirate, Apple gives me my digital lifestyle, they deserve my support. I will continue using iTunes as my music download service.

psychofreak
Sep 25, 2007, 05:18 PM
DRM free FTW!

chicagostars
Sep 25, 2007, 05:19 PM
Something gets lost in all of the talk on message boards about bitrates of digital music: Most people do not care as long as they can hear the beat and (some) lyrics of their favorite songs, or at least the song that's hot at the moment. Higher quality does indeed retain some of the subtle nuances that make some recored music special. But for the vast majority of the listening public and industry people who are in the BUSINESS of music, getting that instant gratification is the big thing. And sad when you think about the many in a generation of people damaging their hearing for music as flat as the backside of Kate Moss.

aapl.jlo
Sep 25, 2007, 05:23 PM
I guess you can say this is the first person to beat Apple in selling a product for cheaper, that actually might have a chance against the Music Monopoly. What I want to know is-will people catch on to this? Even with such low prices, won't the majority of songs on iPods and other MP3/MP4 players still be illegal.
There has to be some kind of catch for Amazon to sell it at that low of a price when I look at it. It just looks too good to be true.

JimmyK
Sep 25, 2007, 05:27 PM
The guy with "MacBoy" as his handle is accusing me of being a fanboy (as I post from a Windows machine).

We can agree to disagree here, but I find Universal's move here a complete about face, not only in terms of price, but the DRM-free angle is incredibly suspect, given their previous stances regarding piracy (this is the company that gets $1 per Zune to help compensate for all that "stolen music" that is on everyone's iPods). It doesn't quite add up.

Furthermore, your Walmart analogy does not hold. The labels, in fact, have a contentious relationship with Walmart, as Walmart has pushed for consistently lower and lower wholesale prices (which is why we can get CDs on Amazon for $8.99, and why traditional record stores have gone out of business). If Amazon becomes the dominant online force, they will have no such incentive to force the labels hand towards lower prices on digital downloads -- if people don't want to pay $1.99 for the hot new single, they'll just buy the CD; Amazon wins either way.

Should iTunes lose its dominance, Amazon has ZERO incentive to push down prices for digital downloads in the long run.

Yeah, ad homs are a pretty weak way to argue a point. Fanboy is a pretty weak attacks anyway.

I agree with you. This is just a ploy by the companies to break Apples dominance. Your prior post about their long range attack plan is pretty much deadon. I mean the record companies have been saying that they want to break their dominance, they don't want Fergie's latest hot tune to be priced the same as a tune from 10 years ago, and they want to bundle tunes together to push unknown artists. This isn't a damn secret. Everyone is pumping up the competition is good theme but there is another reason for their actions and it ain't good.

Why are :apple: haters in these forums anyways?

rish
Sep 25, 2007, 05:30 PM
I've observed that in order for any business to get established, prices of it's goods or services are significantly reduced. Now as consumers we can do what most of us have always done and this is to flock to the cheapest vendor. At some point when the competition has been eliminated the prices do eventually go up. Just look at any physical retail store that has establshed its business and you'll catch my drift.

I'm choosing not to do that this time around. I care little for the music industry and even less for the physical distributors. I still can recall the time when most places here in the UK were charging approx Ģ16.99 for an album and Ģ3.99 for a single with different versions of the same song (lame, really lame).

Amazon won't get a penny from me because I'm in no doubt that the usual business model will take precedence if successful and that will be true also of anyone in the tech industry who has an interest in the windows platform/devices. I'm referring to hiring your music for a subscription fee, an idea that is still being banded about by those predominantly with an interest in the continued fleecing of consumers irrespective of their platform interests (Mac OSX, Linux Windows etc).

Always appreciate your feedback and thoughts.

:)

uNext
Sep 25, 2007, 05:30 PM
Ucle steve's lies once again resurface and his cult members once again justify his actions.

Remember the "power pc chips are better then x86 (intel blah blah scenario"
but then when the macpro came out all of a sudden it blew the ppc architecture out the water

Sounds to me like he did it again with this. I mean why is he charging 1.29 per drm-FREE track again? and why is amazon only charging 89?

APPLE JUICE IS DELICIOUS I LOVE IT BUT FRUITS DO GET ROTTEN AFTER
A WHILE THEY DONT STAY FRESH FOREVER.

I mean the head poncho did lie to his partner about the amount of money he recieved from atari ...what makes you think his business motives
havent changed?

RidleyGriff
Sep 25, 2007, 05:35 PM
Your speculation about future events with your clouded vision doesn't interest me in the least.

Clearly it does, friend, as you're responding to it. As I said, we can agree to disagree. You think I'm a fanboy; I think you're naïve, and we'll leave it at that (though I'm guessing you won't).

freediverdude
Sep 25, 2007, 05:37 PM
That's because it is too good to be true. Amazon and Universal are trying to pull a Walmart and sell the tracks for way less than they'd like, anything to take a bite out of itunes. The only thing is, I'm not sure Amazon has the strength to pull a Walmart anymore. They would have to continue this for quite a long time, and be in it for the long haul, with very little or no profit for several years, to even take a bite. And if the catalogs are similar, and Apple gets miffed, all Apple has to do is say "ok, fine, all our itunes plus tracks are 99 cents and albums $9.99" and Poof! there goes the Amazon store. People aren't going to deal with a separate download and filling out payment info in another place and everything for 10 cents on some tracks.

Sorry Amazon, stickin with itunes. Oh, and by the way, if you want me to be serious about the Unbox service, make the movies widescreen like on itunes or a dvd, not 4:3.

Loge
Sep 25, 2007, 05:38 PM
Really? I'm in the UK but didn't notice that and I have just bought an OMD album from the Amazon MP3 store, it was very quick and easy and the sound quality is great too.

Matt

Didn't work for me - it wanted a US billing address.

And why on earth does it want to install its own downloader?

MacBoySeattle
Sep 25, 2007, 05:39 PM
Clearly it does, friend, as you're responding to it. As I said, we can agree to disagree. You think I'm a fanboy; I think you're naïve, and we'll leave it at that (though I'm guessing you won't).


Oh yes, you're SO right. You're right that Apple is the noble one in interactions with content providers. That's why they shopped around for providers for their iPhone to secure a deal that no other handset manufacturer has received in the history of the industry where the service providers provide Apple with revenue sharing. Hey how about this for a theory, Apple was jacking up prices to Universal and wanted too big a piece of the pie like they did with the iPhone and Universal told them to stick it in their you-know-what?

JimmyK
Sep 25, 2007, 05:39 PM
Hardly a conspiracy theory when the record companies have said they want to break Apple's dominance and this is the second salvo. NBC was first and I expect more. This is business as usual and doesn't involve nobility or evil. Just $.

theBB
Sep 25, 2007, 05:40 PM
Ok I got the song but it isn't 256kbps it's 244 VBR

Well, I purchased five songs. One of them is about 160kps and the other is 190kbs. I have not checked the others. I am not sure where this 256kbps claim is coming from. I mean they sound OK, but that is about eMusic quality, not more.

MacBoySeattle
Sep 25, 2007, 05:41 PM
Hardly a conspiracy theory when the record companies have said they want to break Apple's dominance and this is the second salvo. NBC was first and I expect more. This is business as usual and doesn't involve nobility or evil. Just $.

And Apple has tried to screw over other content providers and service providers of their hardware with trying to negotiate for provider revenue and then screwing over consumers when they try to unlock their iPhones by making veiled threats to protect their revenue stream. Lol this is your great Apple.

AgingGeek
Sep 25, 2007, 05:42 PM
I do think they need a little bit of work, as I don't think there's much of a market for anyone to pony up 99 cents for a 16 second track of opening applause...

Charles Mingus album with clap track (http://www.amazon.com/Cornell-1964/dp/B000TRVJ90/ref=pd_ts_th_4/104-4003277-6844714?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-4&pf_rd_r=0QXJVDH2ZRANSX9W9HSQ&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=306920201&pf_rd_i=195368011)

Loge
Sep 25, 2007, 05:45 PM
Just goes to show Apple were right not to license Fairplay.

astral
Sep 25, 2007, 05:47 PM
Yes, you are correct; I mistyped in my posting and was going to edit it when I saw your reply. I should have simply said that I would rather have a 256kbps AAC file than a 256kbps MP3 file. The size would remain the same, but the quality would theoretically be better.

Anyone who has purchased a track from Amazon, do they insert any tags to identify that it was purchased from Amazon? I'm not concerned about "privacy" issues, but rather something embedded that can be used to create a smart playlist of Amazon-purchased tracks (so I can use an AppleScript to copy them automatically to my backup drive). Not 100% sure I'll use it, but competition is always a good thing. :)

yes. for example, the free song is tagged "Amazon.com Song ID: 201470018" in the comments.

JimmyK
Sep 25, 2007, 05:47 PM
And Apple has tried to screw over other content providers and service providers of their hardware with trying to negotiate for provider revenue and then screwing over consumers when they try to unlock their iPhones by making veiled threats to protect their revenue stream. Lol this is your great Apple.

Business as usual. What don't you understand? Apple is hardly the only company to do this.

Also, you accuse people of having "clouded" reasoning because of their love for Apple (fanboy/koolaid) but the flipside is people's hatred of Apple also "clouds" their reasoning also. It's not hard to figure out where you stand. As much as you invalidate Griff's arguments yours are also suspect.

decksnap
Sep 25, 2007, 05:51 PM
Business as usual. What don't you understand? Apple is hardly the only company to do this.

Also, you accuse people of having "clouded" reasoning because of their love for Apple (fanboy/koolaid) but the flipside is people's hatred of Apple also "clouds" their reasoning also. It's not hard to figure out where you stand. As much as you invalidate Griff's arguments yours are also suspect.

Except Griff's argument actually holds water. Much of what he's saying has been very public in the media, unlike Macboy's 'theorys'.

citi
Sep 25, 2007, 05:54 PM
competition is a GOOD thing. Stop complaining. You really don't want a monopoly because that limits choices, and when you don't have choices, financially $&%*$&. I can't believe people are mad because Amazon wants to get into the market with obviously a good product with huge credibility in the retail game. I am a dj and I hate having to buy protected AAC files, burn them and reimport them as mp3s just so my Serato can see the files.

I won't buy DRM free from itunes because I never believed they should have charged more for the same product.

It is a great thing for me.

Shotgun OS
Sep 25, 2007, 05:54 PM
It will make an impact on the market, but it won't bother me. Not that I buy many digital songs anyways, it's just that it seems to me iTunes is more convienient.

I would be suprised if Apple offered some kind of offer like "Buy X songs, get X songs free", though.

GotPro
Sep 25, 2007, 05:58 PM
This is the coolest thing I've seen in a long time.

And for those idiots saying that I won't switch for 10Cents a track... you bet your A$$ I will!

If Albums are $9 and are $1 cheaper... that means that by using Amazon I get 10 Albums for the price of 9 on iTunes.

I have purchased over 200 albums since iTunes was released... thats about 20 free albums over the life of my purchase history or $200!!!

That savings is enough to basically keep paying for my new iPods every couple years ;-)

Go Amazon!!!!

kirkbross
Sep 25, 2007, 05:58 PM
"rights" were never "manageable" in the "digital" world.

You're lucky if you get someone to click on iTunes in the dock rather than Limewire. C'mon people. How basic is the math?

That said...

Is 256k supposed to be high res? Do people just not care anymore?

Is it just me, or are we slowly being aclimated to accept the sound of digital feculence? ...warm, brown, sonic diarrhea flowing from minty pastel green iPods...

Sure, listen to an album at 128kb mp3 for an hour and then at 256kb and it will sound way better... but listen to a good ol' 16 bit / 44.1 CD and then then 256k mp3s... puh leeze...

I wonder if it's actually uncool, nerdy or snobby to actually prefer CD quality to mp3z these days. (I suppose the same people like the look of a one-inch 72 dpi jpg blown up to poster size).

happydude
Sep 25, 2007, 05:59 PM
isn't this just all the natural forces of the market at play? for how many years has apple been at the absolute peak in this game. as soon as they opened itunes and ipods up to the pc world, bam! world dominance and apple had total control over pricing since they were never interested in making money off the songs, but using ipod sales to generate the cash. other smaller start ups who charged less per song were out there but couldn't amass the popularity to force their own sector of the market, at least a significant part. it's finally happened where technology in general caught up to apple, amazon being an obvious company to take this up having a considerably sized other portion of their business to subsidize a bit of a loss in the beginning until their profits start to come in. DRM free music is clearly the future, it has much more appeal to the consumer and the internet community in general and since there isn't any restrictions on it, it can play on the ipod so sales of the ipod shouldn't really be effected. i see this as nothing but great future success for apple/industry in general and the consumers. everyone wins.

that said, i'll still be an itunes customer. the $.10 difference is worth the seemless integration between buying the music and having it available for my ipod and on my computer . . . i'm assuming the same will be true for many others.

LxMx
Sep 25, 2007, 06:02 PM
Well, I purchased five songs. One of them is about 160kps and the other is 190kbs. I have not checked the others. I am not sure where this 256kbps claim is coming from. I mean they sound OK, but that is about eMusic quality, not more.

VBR means variable bit rate, so the file has a higher bitrate in some places than others (more complex parts need more bits to encode).

The way iTunes reports the bitrate of VBR files is by taking the average of the whole file. So the files are indeed 256kbps VBR files, iTunes doesn't call them that though (nor would any other decoder TTBOMK).

Take any VBR file from any source, and the reported bitrate won't match the settings you used. Some will be higher than 256, some will be lower. The quality will however, always be equal to, or better than a 256kbps CBR file (with most modern encoders).

JimmyK
Sep 25, 2007, 06:03 PM
DRM was the biggest mistake iTunes music store made.

They didn't exactly have a choice.

GotPro
Sep 25, 2007, 06:04 PM
the $.10 difference is worth the seemless integration between buying the music and having it available for my ipod and on my computer . . . i'm assuming the same will be true for many others.

Ahhh... but it STILL IS SEAMLESS... it downloads them and automatically inserts them into your iTunes library :-)

How cool is THAT???? :eek:

The other incredible feature I like is the "Preview All" selection... you pull up, say, Alternative... and thousands of songs are there... hit Preview All... and you have instant radio :-)

theBB
Sep 25, 2007, 06:04 PM
I wonder if it's actually uncool, nerdy or snobby to actually prefer CD quality to mp3z these days.
No, just "delusional." :)

Based on my purchases, I can tell you not all of the songs are 256kbps, so...

Take any VBR file from any source, and the reported bitrate won't match the settings you used. Some will be higher than 256, some will be lower. The quality will however, always be equal to, or better than a 256kbps CBR file (with most modern encoders).
Well, I hope you are right. In any case, 128kbps AAC purchase is good enough for me as long as I can buy per song, so songs at Amazon is good enough in the end whatever the exact mechanism they use.

jettredmont
Sep 25, 2007, 06:10 PM
I don't understand the argument that this is going to sell more iPods. Folks who buy music online (mp3s, aac, whatever) already have a media player (ipod or zune or whatever else) that they use to listen to that music. How is this supposed to help iPod sales? Just because you can buy mp3 on amazon means now you'll buy an ipod?

Of course lets say hypothetically that amazon only sold AAC format. Maybe then I can understand that helping iPod sales becasue iPod is the only music player that plays that format.

The iPod (as a group of products) owns, what? 80% of the MP3 player market? Expanding the ubiquity of portable music helps iPod sales, and has the potential to increase them far more than, say, taking the last 20% of the market could. Apple could work on iPod lock-in for a potential 25% revenue gain, or work on market expansion for a potential 300-500% revenue gain. I think the choice is obvious!

The downside, though, is that "portable MP3 players" also include phones, which far outsell iPods and all MP3-only devices. If phone makers got their acts in gear and cell providers allowed it, people might actually start listening to music on their phones instead of their iPods, and Apple loses revenue. Of course, other than Apple herself, phone companies tend to have the UI design chops somewhere south of the Marquis de Sade, so that's still not a real issue.

happylittlemac
Sep 25, 2007, 06:14 PM
Looks not bad, I downloaded a song using it, I was asked to download some download manager form Amazon for getting the songs, it just downloads them and really does nothing else. When buying I was asked for a US address but was able to pay with a UK registered credit card just fine.

It's ok but not as easy or as integrated as iTunes music store but it's DRM free and I was even able to get the song "Car Bomb" by Negativland something I can't download from iTunes UK :cool::D

twoodcc
Sep 25, 2007, 06:20 PM
Hard to argue with competition. It won't hurt iPod sales, that's for sure.

you are right on that one. now let's see how successful they are

zioxide
Sep 25, 2007, 06:24 PM
Good, iTunes Music Store ****ing blows. 128kbit with drm? lmao.

Hopefully this competition will make Apple make iTunes suck less.

Silencio
Sep 25, 2007, 06:27 PM
Seven pages of posts already, and only RidleyGriff and a few others seem to have a firm grasp of what's going on behind the scenes here in the minds of the labels.

If the labels are all of a sudden so interested in selling less expensive, DRM-free digital downloads, let's see them offer Apple the same pricing they've given Amazon. They won't, however, because the labels are desperate to break Apple's dominance in online music sales. This deal is pretty clever on their part because they can spin Apple as being the bad guy being in favor of DRM and higher prices. Not sure how Apple will fight back if the labels don't play ball; should they be expected to take a loss on music sales? They already make negligible profit on iTMS sales.

The one nice thing about all this talk is that Microsoft is nowhere to be heard from. The more DRM is marginalized, the worse Microsoft is going to hurt.

EricNau
Sep 25, 2007, 06:36 PM
Seven pages of posts already, and only RidleyGriff and a few others seem to have a firm grasp of what's going on behind the scenes here in the minds of the labels.

If the labels are all of a sudden so interested in selling less expensive, DRM-free digital downloads, let's see them offer Apple the same pricing they've given Amazon. They won't, however, because the labels are desperate to break Apple's dominance in online music sales. This deal is pretty clever on their part because they can spin Apple as being the bad guy being in favor of DRM and higher prices. Not sure how Apple will fight back if the labels don't play ball; should they be expected to take a loss on music sales? They already make negligible profit on iTMS sales.

The one nice thing about all this talk is that Microsoft is nowhere to be heard from. The more DRM is marginalized, the worse Microsoft is going to hurt.
That's very true.

I'm curious to see how Apple handles this.

Not to mention that Apple has some ground to cover as far as prices are concerned, considering that Apple is charging $.30 - $.40 more per song than Amazon. I wonder if it was Apple's idea to charge more for iTunes + songs (I'm starting to think it may have been).

ghall
Sep 25, 2007, 06:36 PM
I bought a song that I already got from iTunes just to see how the quality differed. Sounds the same to me. Right now I think I'll stick with iTunes, an extra 10Ē won't kill me. Plus I'm a total Apple fanboy. I always have to have Apple's version. But if iTunes doesn't offer what I'm looking for, you bet I'll be buying from AmazonMP3.

Samiam1
Sep 25, 2007, 06:36 PM
I have been there and poked around, and while it is true they have no where near itunes selection, it is really easy to use, DRM free and is iPod compatible. The music quality isn't too bad, and for the most part, it is cheaper.:)

All in all, a winner in my books. It won't replace ITMS, but it is nice to have a choice.:D

Loge
Sep 25, 2007, 06:37 PM
Looks not bad, I downloaded a song using it, I was asked to download some download manager form Amazon for getting the songs, it just downloads them and really does nothing else. When buying I was asked for a US address but was able to pay with a UK registered credit card just fine.


So did you put something in for "state"? It wouldn't accept mine without it, and only offers US options.

jettredmont
Sep 25, 2007, 06:38 PM
Well, I purchased five songs. One of them is about 160kps and the other is 190kbs. I have not checked the others. I am not sure where this 256kbps claim is coming from. I mean they sound OK, but that is about eMusic quality, not more.

That sounds like a problem. Amazon seems to be advertising everything as 256kbps. Hmmm. My downloads (Feist's latest album) were all 256kbps, CBR, true to the website claims. Claiming 256 and sending less could lead to a major backlash.

redfirebird08
Sep 25, 2007, 06:40 PM
I do think they need a little bit of work, as I don't think there's much of a market for anyone to pony up 99 cents for a 16 second track of opening applause...

Charles Mingus album with clap track (http://www.amazon.com/Cornell-1964/dp/B000TRVJ90/ref=pd_ts_th_4/104-4003277-6844714?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-4&pf_rd_r=0QXJVDH2ZRANSX9W9HSQ&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=306920201&pf_rd_i=195368011)

It's the same thing iTunes has done for years. In fact, the exact same thing in iTunes Plus costs you $1.29 PLUS tax. It's ridiculous that they charge so much for such short songs, but Amazon is not the first to do it.

http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewAlbum?playlistId=258981074&s=143441&i=258981088

theBB
Sep 25, 2007, 06:41 PM
Well, only an idiot would believe that labels are begging Apple to offer songs at a cheaper rate, but Apple is standing in the way. Same with DRM.

As I said on the other thread, I am glad Apple refused to license FairPlay. This forces the music labels to offer DRM free tracks if they want a competitor to iTunes, as anything else would not play on iPods. Brilliantly effective!.. Similarly, iTunes puts a ceiling on the price of a download. In the end, Apple is the one who lets me have what I want, although not from iTunes for now. As long as iTunes remain viable and iPods stay dominant, we will get what we want.

Please remember, MS made statements supporting DRM to curry favor with labels when Jobs anti-DRM public letter was published. If Zune was the dominant player, we would never get tracks without DRM.

jettredmont
Sep 25, 2007, 06:43 PM
that said, i'll still be an itunes customer. the $.10 difference is worth the seemless integration between buying the music and having it available for my ipod and on my computer . . . i'm assuming the same will be true for many others.

The Amazon buying experience, other than starting in your web browser (where, I might add, you can easily bookmark songs you want to return to later, unlike iTMS), is just as seamless. You click "Buy", get a confirmation dialog (unless you say you don't want this confirmation), it downloads in the "downloader" plugin, iTunes opens if it isn't already, the song(s) get placed in iTunes. No interaction necessary other than clicking on "Buy". After that, it all syncs just like anything you'd bought from iTMS.

redfirebird08
Sep 25, 2007, 06:45 PM
Well, only an idiot would believe that labels are begging Apple to offer songs at a cheaper rate, but Apple is standing in the way. Same with DRM.

As I said on the other thread, I am glad Apple refused to license FairPlay. This forces the music labels to offer DRM free tracks if they want a competitor to iTunes, as anything else would not play on iPods. Brilliantly effective!.. Similarly, iTunes puts a ceiling on the price of a download. In the end, Apple is the one who lets me have what I want although not from iTunes for now. As long as iTunes remain viable and iPods stay dominant, we will get what we want.

Please remember, MS made statements supporting DRM to curry favor with labels when Jobs anti-DRM public letter was published. If Zune was the dominant player, we would never get tracks without DRM.

I agree. If Apple had their way, the whole iTunes Music Store would be DRM free. In time, it will get there. I do, however, think that they will need to address the gap in price between non-DRM tracks at iTunes and Amazon. There's no reason they should be charging 30 cents PLUS TAX higher than Amazon. The tax issue is a biggie for me. We should not be getting taxed on Internet downloads. Amazon doesn't even charge tax on physical products when they ship them, which I would think are more taxable than downloads. iTunes needs to get rid of tax and lower their iTunes Plus price to compete with Amazon.

EricNau
Sep 25, 2007, 06:46 PM
Don't be surprised if we see an actual iTunes website with content in the coming months.
What would the point be? ...Almost everyone already has iTunes on their computer.

Digital Skunk
Sep 25, 2007, 06:46 PM
I think this is good news for everyone. Itunes lovers should love the fact that iTunes will finally get some legit competition and iTunes haters will get an alternative to iTunes that works with their iPods and such. I just want to know if I can buy TV shows and rent movies from Amazon, then I will give up iTunes for ever.

synth3tik
Sep 25, 2007, 06:48 PM
Whether you like Amazon or not, this is a good thing. This will help force Apple to stay on it's toes. With out any competition Apple has been able to charge what they want and negotiate how they want.

If this takes off Apple will start having to look at how to retain their iTMS customers, pricing and other things.

I like this whole thing, even though I really don't like Amazon.

jettredmont
Sep 25, 2007, 06:48 PM
Just bought the Feist album my wife has been bugging me to get and I haven't because (1) I am too lazy to go to a record store any more and (2) I'm generally reluctant to purchase DRM music any more. I would have bought it a week or so ago on iTunes Plus, probably for $9.99 (as Plus and non-Plus are the same price for albums); I bought it today on Amazon for $8.99. Rather ironic, I think, that an iPod nano commercial is key to my first Amazon MP3 purchase.

Why do I care about DRM? Because I keep hitting up against the 5-computer limit. I have my machine at work that plays my music while I work, my laptop that I take with me on trips, my wife's laptop, the kid's iMac, and last but most importantly, my G5 at home which is the "master store" for all our music. That's five. In the past six months two hard drives (my laptop and the kids' iMac) have crashed, meaning a reinstall without previous deauthorization, meaning a "bulk deauthorize all computers" call. Fortunately when the laptop drive crashed my wife didn't have her laptop yet (so we were using 4) and so I didn't have to reauthorize until after the kids' drive crashed. If anything of the sort happens again this year, though, I've got to get on the phone and talk to Apple to convince them I'm not abusing the system. I don't look forward to it.

Add to this the fact that it's a major pain in the rear to use my purchased music in Final Cut Pro (sure, I can plop a song in an iMovie home movie, but for the video I'm an FCP junkie; using FCP Apple has deemed the produced home movie to be a professional production and thus thee protected track will not play in the movie). I have to either plop into iMovie with a few pics, export to quicktime, split off the audio, then put that into FCP (a major workflow downer), or burn the disk to CD and re-rip it so I can throw it over into FCP.

So that's why I'm avoiding DRM wherever possible again.

Will 256k MP3 quality be sufficient? I suspect so. I went from 192k MP3 to 160k AAC when I switched over to AAC and didn't see a significant difference (positive or negative), although 160k and especially 128k MP3s grated on my ears; I hardly hear the difference between my 160k encoded files and the purchased 256k iTunes Plus tracks. So, I suspect at 256k the difference between MP3 and AAC will be beyond my hearing capabilities.

A dedicated "downloader" application, specifically for OS X? Very nice touch. More than I expected. Best of all, unlike similar "uploader" apps for photo printing services (Costco and others), it didn't crash when installed with Safari 3 beta! So: kudos, Amazon! See? It takes so little to make us Mac users all warm and fuzzy ...


A few differences to note, though. Can I "complete my album" on Amazon? That doesn't seem to be an option. Will Amazon be featuring a free song each week? That alone has fueled the purchase of several albums: get me into iTMS early on Tuesday mornings, before I'm jaded from the day and also before I am fully enough awake for the impulse filters to be in place, and ... well, let's just say I've ended up with a few non-free albums after downloading the free songs of the week.

Also, I have to say that variable pricing (some track $0.99, others $0.89) is really bad when the prices are arranged in a column in bold with no other indicator. I mean, if you weren't relying on users seeing "$0.89 per song!" and clicking the $0.99 songs ignorantly, the better interface would include a "price scale" of some sort, with "$0.89" songs having a "9" tick bar, and "$0.99" songs having a "10" tick bar (which, conveniently, allows for expansion to 25-tick bars after Universal ends its "trial period" and raises your prices).

Again, this is the great beauty of iTunes. I hear a song on the radio and I know that I can go home, click on it in iTMS, and have it for a buck. Ten songs: ten bucks. I know that before I even open the app. Amazon utterly fails here. While I won't know how much a song is before I open the app, I'd expect the price to be prominently displayed (ie, not crammed in near-illegible type) when I do open the app. Instead, it is squished and bolded so that it is near-impossible to distinguish "89 cent" songs from "99 cent" songs.

ezekielrage_99
Sep 25, 2007, 06:49 PM
DRM-free MP3

Everyone wins.

Yeah the consumer wins, but it is also good to see competition out there this will mean that better product and hopefully better services for the users.

redfirebird08
Sep 25, 2007, 06:49 PM
That sounds like a problem. Amazon seems to be advertising everything as 256kbps. Hmmm. My downloads (Feist's latest album) were all 256kbps, CBR, true to the website claims. Claiming 256 and sending less could lead to a major backlash.

I downloaded Pink Floyd's "The Wall," which by the way is the best value on Amazon's store right now. $8.99 with no tax for a double album that you pay $17+ tax for on iTunes and $25 for at Best Buy. That's a great deal. The tracks appear to be 256 VBR to me. The highest bit rate on any single track is 245 kbps. The lowest appears to be 214 kbps. The majority are in the 225 to 235 kbps range.

macfan70
Sep 25, 2007, 06:49 PM
iTMS was always just an option for finding content. Now Amazon is another. By providing legitimate sources of music at reasonable prices, the digital world can only get better.

theBB
Sep 25, 2007, 06:50 PM
The Amazon buying experience, other than starting in your web browser (where, I might add, you can easily bookmark songs you want to return to later, unlike iTMS),
In iTunes, you can drag and drop the song you like from the store to a playlist on the sidebar. That works much better than bookmarking a website.

As for the sales tax issue, write to your representatives. Apple has no choice in that matter.

sshrivastava
Sep 25, 2007, 06:52 PM
I wonder how many "joe average" consumers even know what DRM is? I'm guessing MOST people who buy iPods and who buy songs will gravitate to the easiest and cheapest solution. The easiest solution is iTunes because it's bundled, but the cheapest is Amazon, so first time buyers will buy their first tracks using iTunes but will eventually seek out less expensive alternatives. But "joe average" just needs to be able to buy a song and play it, he doesn't know what DRM is, what it means, or why it's important.

I don't think that for the vast majority of consumers DRM is an issue. Am I wrong here? iTunes is so pervasive and well known that it will continue to dominate simply because it is the dominant brand. The iPhone is just another way for Apple to dominate the music distribution business -- you'll be using iTunes to buy your music over the air on your iPhone, won't you?

As far as "backlash" at Apple, it must be coming from a very select few people because Apple's numbers are constantly up, their market share is ever growing, and the crowds at the Apple store are getting bigger and bigger. There is no "backlash" that I can see, unless you are talking about a handful of die-hard Apple fans who do not represent the majority of consumers.

I have a Mac Book Pro, I have a Power Mac G5, I have two Apple Cinema Displays, an iMac, an iPod, had a Powerbook, had an Apple LaserWriter and a IIci many years ago... I have never EVER had any quality issues with any of my Apple purchases, and the only Apple product that disappointed me was the iPhone because it is limited to a horrible carrier that won't provide a data-only plan for deaf consumers -- but the quality of the device is tremendous.

I think we need to take a step back and stop looking at things with tunnel vision.

redfirebird08
Sep 25, 2007, 06:53 PM
In iTunes, you can drag and drop the song you like from the store to a playlist on the sidebar. That works much better than bookmarking a website.

As for the sales tax issue, write to your representatives. Apple has no choice in that matter.

Apparently Amazon has a choice in the matter. :rolleyes: And this goes for iPods too or Mac computers. You can buy from Apple and get charged sales tax or buy from Amazon and avoid sales tax. Why is that? Is it really because Apple has no choice? I don't think so. When I used Rhapsody, they charged 89 cents for songs if you were a subscriber. No sales tax. And you could re-download your songs if you wanted to.

theBB
Sep 25, 2007, 06:54 PM
By the way, according to Wired, Universal tracks on Amazon has watermarking.

Apparently Amazon has a choice in the matter. :rolleyes: And this goes for iPods too or Mac computers. You can buy from Apple and get charged sales tax or buy from Amazon and avoid sales tax. Why is that? Is it really because Apple has no choice? I don't think so.
OK, you're right Apple has a choice. They can close all Apple stores in states that require sales tax and move their headquarters and all of the employees from California to Oregon. :rolleyes:

redfirebird08
Sep 25, 2007, 06:59 PM
By the way, according to Wired, Universal tracks on Amazon has watermarking.

Not surprising at all. Universal is not as bad as Sony, but they are very much against non-DRM stuff. I think them going to Amazon was mainly based on trying to stick it to Apple because they probably feel that Apple has a monopoly. One thing I'm curious about. They supposedly pulled their music from iTunes but both Kanye and 50 Cent's new albums are on there. They are both part of labels that can be found within the Universal Music Group conglomerate. I'm confused by this, unless of course there's a separate Universal label within the conglomerate? :confused:

jettredmont
Sep 25, 2007, 07:01 PM
Apparently Amazon has a choice in the matter. :rolleyes: And this goes for iPods too or Mac computers. You can buy from Apple and get charged sales tax or buy from Amazon and avoid sales tax. Why is that? Is it really because Apple has no choice? I don't think so. When I used Rhapsody, they charged 89 cents for songs if you were a subscriber. No sales tax. And you could re-download your songs if you wanted to.

Amazon doesn't physically do business in your state. Apple has a national chain of retail stores.

Again: Apple has no choice in the matter. If they physically have a retail presence in a state, they are legally obligated to collect sales tax. Amazon operates as a mail-order company: as long as you are ordering from outside their operating state, you are responsible for tracking, reporting, and paying the sales tax.

You are, of course, tracking your Amazon.com purchases and reporting them on your state tax return. Right?

JGowan
Sep 25, 2007, 07:02 PM
I thought this was pretty appropriate to this topic.

iTunes 4: AAC and MP3 Codecs Compared

This document explains differences in the AAC and MP3 codecs that can be used in iTunes 4.

AAC-encoded files sound as good as or better than MP3 files encoded at the same or even a higher bit rate.

For example, a 128-kilobit-per-second (kbit/s) AAC file should sound as good as or better than a 160 kbit/s MP3 file. Because the bit rate is lower, the AAC file will also be smaller than the MP3 file. AAC files allow you to store the most music on your hard disk or iPod. The High Quality AAC setting creates files that are usually less than 1 MB for each minute of music.

Note: AAC files encoded from a source other than the iTunes Music Store (such as an audio CD) work the same as an MP3 file encoded from the same source. No authorization required to play or burn them. So, AAC files you encode yourself in iTunes 4 can be burned as many times as you want and the songs do not require authorization to play on multiple computers.

Link (http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=93013)

redfirebird08
Sep 25, 2007, 07:03 PM
OK, you're right Apple has a choice. They can close all Apple stores in states that require sales tax and move their headquarters and all of the employees from California to Oregon. :rolleyes:

Amazon.com is located in Washington, so is Real Networks. Washington has a 6.5% sales tax. I get charged for the sales tax rate in Texas at 8.25%. Sorry, but that is a lot when Apple is claiming to only charge $10 for an album.

redfirebird08
Sep 25, 2007, 07:04 PM
Amazon doesn't physically do business in your state. Apple has a national chain of retail stores.

Again: Apple has no choice in the matter. If they physically have a retail presence in a state, they are legally obligated to collect sales tax. Amazon operates as a mail-order company: as long as you are ordering from outside their operating state, you are responsible for tracking, reporting, and paying the sales tax.

You are, of course, tracking your Amazon.com purchases and reporting them on your state tax return. Right?

Thanks for the explanation. Cheers.

To answer your question, I'm in college and do not make enough money for it to matter, nor do I buy very many things from Amazon. I've bought like 5 things total in the last 5 years from them, including my download purchase today from them.

Loge
Sep 25, 2007, 07:07 PM
By the way, according to Wired, Universal tracks on Amazon has watermarking.

I read the watermarking only identifies the song as being sold on amazon, not purchaser info, although it would be better if amazon were up front about this, since people should rightly be suspicious about such watermarking.

jettredmont
Sep 25, 2007, 07:10 PM
Amazon.com is located in Washington, so is Real Networks. Washington has a 6.5% sales tax. I get charged for the sales tax rate in Texas at 8.25%. Sorry, but that is a lot when Apple is claiming to only charge $10 for an album.

1. If the company (Amazon, Real) has no corporate presence in your state, they do not need to (currently; some states are attempting to get this changed) collect sales tax. Amazon and Real do not have corporate offices or retail outlets in Texas. That is why they do not charge sales tax there. Apple does; hence it must.

2. If the company (Amazon, Real) has no retail presence in a state, but does have a corporate presence (ie, as in Washington state), the laws are a little more spotty, but, generally the corporate presence means they have to collect sales tax in that state.

Apple charges sales tax because it has a retail presence nationally. Period. You do realize that the sales tax goes directly to the state, and not to Apple, right? Apple has absolutely NO incentive to over-charge state sales tax!

redfirebird08
Sep 25, 2007, 07:11 PM
I read the watermarking only identifies the song as being sold on amazon, not purchaser info, although it would be better if amazon were up front about this, since people should rightly be suspicious about such watermarking.

I just checked a song from The Wall in iTunes and it says "Amazon.com Song ID:" with what looks to be a 9-digit number. I'm not sure if this number is random for each song downloaded or if the same song downloaded by two different people is assigned the same number because it's cataloged in their database as a certain song. If it's random, then that is the same as purchaser info since they can trace that random number back to your purchase alone. But if it's the same number given to anyone who buys that song, then it's just a watermark.

redfirebird08
Sep 25, 2007, 07:12 PM
1. If the company (Amazon, Real) has no corporate presence in your state, they do not need to (currently; some states are attempting to get this changed) collect sales tax. Amazon and Real do not have corporate offices or retail outlets in Texas. That is why they do not charge sales tax there. Apple does; hence it must.

2. If the company (Amazon, Real) has no retail presence in a state, but does have a corporate presence (ie, as in Washington state), the laws are a little more spotty, but, generally the corporate presence means they have to collect sales tax in that state.

Apple charges sales tax because it has a retail presence nationally. Period. You do realize that the sales tax goes directly to the state, and not to Apple, right? Apple has absolutely NO incentive to over-charge state sales tax!

I already responded to your previous post on this and thanked you for the info. Again, cheers. :)

jettredmont
Sep 25, 2007, 07:13 PM
More options helps us consumers, so I'm all for it. I just bought an album, in addition to the free song that they give you for downloading the downloader (heh). We'll see how good it sounds (I'm in class so can't test it now), but I can't imagine anything but good. If they have sales on albums to make them cheaper than iTunes (the album I just bought was 10 songs, but only $8.99, so already a dollar less than iTunes), then they'll definitely make an impact.

jW

Do note, please, that iTunes has been offering full-length albums as low as $7.99 at least since the start of the Summer. Album prices on iTMS are fully variable. As such, to comparison-price you really will need to look at both music stores and compare the prices. An $8.99 album on Amazon is not necessarily a better price than the same album on iTMS!

That having been said, this is strictly theoretical. I haven't seen any cases where the iTMS price is less than the Amazon price. Today.

BWhaler
Sep 25, 2007, 07:14 PM
Apple has one option. Kill off DRM ENTIRELY on the iTunes music store and higher the bitrate of their music, otherwise they ain't getting a cent more of my money. Face the frickin competition or go home.

I agree.

The question is, will the record companies go along with Apple?

LizKat
Sep 25, 2007, 07:16 PM
I bought an MP3 album from Amazon, it plays fine but when i look at the info on any of the tracks it says Encoded by: Unknown which is, uh, different.

Also, using the the track info in iTunes, the Amazon stuff does not say who the label (copyright owner) is, which is, uh, WAY different.

The artist recorded for Universal in another of his albums that I had previously purchased as 128AAC tracks from the iTunes Store. I wonder if i happened to pick an Amazon offering that was an early (and really REALLY beta) upload by Amazon to its database...

At about the time of the first track coming down, i got some writes to my console

2007-09-25 17:48:38.970 Amazon MP3 Downloader[747] {
NSAppleScriptErrorBriefMessage = "Can't make some data into the expected type.";
NSAppleScriptErrorMessage = "iTunes got an error: Can't make some data into the expected type.";
NSAppleScriptErrorNumber = -1700;
NSAppleScriptErrorRange = <0000008f 00000037 >;
}


These were not repeated as the dl proceeded. I'll buy a different album or just a couple tracks of something else later on tonight and see if that happens again. The downloader for Mac seems to work fine, similarly to eMusic.

I'm happy enough with my purchase but it's funky to have the encoder "unknown."
===

later: OK, I bought another album, this one doesn't have the copyright holder identified in the get info either, but this time the encoder was identified (LAME3.97). No console errors this time around either. But the album was not cheap, the tracks were pegged at 99c each and the album of 12 tracks was 11.99 -- this was a Coldplay album, "Live in 2003." Perhaps this pricing has to do with the album also being available on iTunes Plus (at 1.29 a track but the album does go for 11.99 there as well). So maybe I should have gone with the iTunes version since it would have been 256AAC which I do prefer to the MP3. I will do more looking around in the future. If the price is the same, then getting it at iTunes in the unprotected high 256AAC would be my pick.

jettredmont
Sep 25, 2007, 07:16 PM
yes. for example, the free song is tagged "Amazon.com Song ID: 201470018" in the comments.

My free song was tagged with the same ID #. At least for the free song, the ID # does not appear to identify the downloader, just the song.

mambodancer
Sep 25, 2007, 07:17 PM
Apparently Amazon has a choice in the matter. :rolleyes: And this goes for iPods too or Mac computers. You can buy from Apple and get charged sales tax or buy from Amazon and avoid sales tax. Why is that? Is it really because Apple has no choice? I don't think so. When I used Rhapsody, they charged 89 cents for songs if you were a subscriber. No sales tax. And you could re-download your songs if you wanted to.

Federal law requires businesses to charge tax in all states they do business in esp. if they have a physical presence in that state.

Edit-Sorry, looks like others have already addressed this question.

redfirebird08
Sep 25, 2007, 07:20 PM
My free song was tagged with the same ID #. At least for the free song, the ID # does not appear to identify the downloader, just the song.

We need to find a purchased song that lots of people have downloaded and compare notes on it to see if the numbers are individualized for purchased songs. It'd be cool if there is just a song number and that's all there is to it.

Federal law requires businesses to charge tax in all states they do business in esp. if they have a physical presence in that state.

Edit-Sorry, looks like others have already addressed this question.

Yeah, someone else already explained it. Thanks though. In my opinion, there needs to be a federal statute that overrides the states, preventing them from charging sales tax on a non-physical product from the Internet like a song download. This does weigh on the minds of consumers and hurts businesses like Apple in the long run for having a physical business location in the state.


I'm happy enough with my purchase but it's funky to have the encoder "unknown."

I checked a Pink Floyd song from Amazon and iTunes says it was encoded by LAME 3.97.

TurboSC
Sep 25, 2007, 07:28 PM
uh oh... I know a lot of people at Apple are feeling a little uneasy today...

I love competition, it just means the consumer wins! fight fight fight!

re2st
Sep 25, 2007, 07:29 PM
Holy mother of God. Amazon has their ***** together! Their download program works on OSX and they're selling Pink Floyd's The Wall for $8.99. That's right, $17 on iTunes BEFORE tax and only $8.99 on Amazon with NO SALES TAX. Hell, surprisingly enough the songs were automatically added to iTunes and came with artwork. Amazing!

Looks like I've finally found a digital store that is worth my time, at least for things that I feel a need to purchase ripped versions like The Wall because it's a gapless album. Otherwise, I just use a Yahoo music subscription and record unlimited songs for "free" at $70 a year.

ugh.. there's FairUse4WM. you don't need to "record" music anymore.

redfirebird08
Sep 25, 2007, 07:34 PM
ugh.. there's FairUse4WM. you don't need to "record" music anymore.

I've been using SoundTaxi. It works good although it's not perfect, mainly when you do it in batches. I also have Replay Music which is a great recorder in my opinion. Only problem is that now that I use a Macbook, it means running this stuff through Parallels, which typically means tons of processor intensity and thus my fan gets really loud when running pretty much anything in Windows. :(

Mackie99
Sep 25, 2007, 08:01 PM
Amazon.com is located in Washington, so is Real Networks. Washington has a 6.5% sales tax. I get charged for the sales tax rate in Texas at 8.25%. Sorry, but that is a lot when Apple is claiming to only charge $10 for an album.

I live in CA and I am never charged sales tax for iTunes purchases. But, if I buy something from the Apple online store, I'm charged sales tax.

Apple has many stores in CA, but they don't charge sales tax on iTunes music here?

Someone did explain it once, but I don't remember what they said.
:apple:

Sandfleaz
Sep 25, 2007, 08:02 PM
Just installed the downloader from Amazon and got the free tune.
Coincidence that it's by the group "The Apples in Stereo"?

It worked well... this is good for consumers and i think good for Apple (more iPod sales)

redfirebird08
Sep 25, 2007, 08:05 PM
Just installed the downloader from Amazon and got the free tune.
Coincidence that it's by the group "The Apples in Stereo"?

It worked well... this is good for consumers and i think good for Apple (more iPod sales)

Agreed, although I think it's good for Apple because it's finally a solid competitor. We know Amazon has their stuff together. The fact that they had a Mac download client ready on the day they launched this service is impressive. In general, their shipping is top notch from the few purchases I have made from their regular store. They have a good reputation for satisfying their customers and without DRM, it prevents iPod users from avoiding it like the Plague. More competition for Apple means that they are going to get more creative and find a way to put out an even better product with iTunes. This means that in the end, the consumer is the biggest winner of all...and perhaps this kind of thing could save the music industry if they would drop prices enough. People will pay for downloaded music if it doesn't feel like a ripoff.

mduser63
Sep 25, 2007, 08:09 PM
Came home tonight and saw that there was a new Neil Young song on iTunes. I've had a bootleg of the song (same recording and all) for a long time, but figured now that it has been released, I'll pay for it and get a high quality copy. Got all ready to buy it on iTunes, and thought I should check to see if Amazon had it. Sure enough they did. Bought it, installed the Amazon MP3 Downloader, tried to download the song and Safari crashed. I called Amazon technical support and they reset the download count for me. Retried and got the same thing. So, I switched to Firefox, had them reset it yet again, and the download worked fine (although it never actually used the Downloader app...). Song sounds great, all in all I'm very impressed. I assume they'll get the bugs worked out of it, after all this is the first day. But I may switch to this as my primary music store, with iTunes only for songs they don't have.

BTW, the song was Walkin' To New Orleans and it's on Goin' Home: A Tribute to Fats Domino. Highly recommended.

Doctor Q
Sep 25, 2007, 08:10 PM
I guess we should all be switching to a meta-search site to shop for online music that we can purchase for our iPods. You don't want to have to check the iTunes and Amazon stores separately now, do you?

redfirebird08
Sep 25, 2007, 08:12 PM
I don't use Safari. Thank God for Firefox being open source. Loved it when I was a Windows user and still love it on Mac. The customization is awesome. :D Hopefully Amazon does get the kinks worked out for Safari users though. Good luck. :)

tarkeybear
Sep 25, 2007, 08:13 PM
I just checked out Don Mclean's song "American Pie" from the American Pie album at Amazon ($0.89/song); compare this against "album-only" availability from ITMS.

Will this force ITMS to move away from the "Album-Only" purchase restriction for popular songs?

uv23
Sep 25, 2007, 08:18 PM
God I hate 30 second samples. I was hoping this was one place where it would improve over iTunes. Bleep still does it the best: the song fades out after 30 seconds but you can press play to keep it going. That way it can't be stream ripped but you can still hear entire songs.

redfirebird08
Sep 25, 2007, 08:19 PM
I just checked out Don Mclean's song "American Pie" from the American Pie album at Amazon ($0.89/song); compare this against "album-only" availability from ITMS.

Will this force ITMS to move away from the "Album-Only" purchase restriction for popular songs?

That's always possible, although I've found some quirks on Amazon as well. Pink's Floyd's "Wish You Were Here" album has only 5 tracks but because they want to charge $7.80 for the album, some of the longer tracks are $1.94. That's basically the same as an "album only" restriction, and I think iTunes does in fact have an album only restriction on some of the longer songs from "Wish You Were Here." One of the songs is a total ripoff. They're charging $1.94 for "Welcome To The Machine," which is 7 minutes and 26 seconds long. The other two are 12+ minutes long so it's understandable.

http://www.amazon.com/Wish-You-Were-Here/dp/B000SX6JUO/ref=pd_sim_dm_hp_nav_lk_1/103-1977721-6474202

sonictonic
Sep 25, 2007, 08:31 PM
I think this is great but I don't understand how Amazon has so much more DRM free music than iTunes! How the hell did they get record companies to say yes to this and Apple had trouble? What's the deal here? :confused:

Specifically, one of the top selling albums on the new service right now, by Feist, is DRM free on amazon and yet restricted on iTunes with 128kbps. They had a deal for the 1, 2, 3, 4 song with Apple, and yet Apple couldn't secure a deal with them to sell that album DRM free?

I'm confused about this. Can someone explain?

genshi
Sep 25, 2007, 08:33 PM
Unless my iTunes has suddenly stopped showing DRM-free choices, there seem to be quite a few artists that Amazon's got that iTunes doesn't.

Feist is one, Caribou is another.

Haven't found any examples of iTunes having stuff that Amazon doesn't.

You haven't been looking very hard then as most of the stuff I listen to is NOT on Amazon but I can find it on iTunes. Most of the bleep.com artists are on iTunes as well but haven't found many of them on Amazon. And being an independent label myself, none of my artists are on Amazon nor have I found a way to get them on there (but they are selling well on iTunes, eMusic and Rhapsody.)

My favorite online music store, Warp Records' bleep.com, has been selling DRM-free VBR MP3s since its inception. It's awesome, especially as they distribute tons of electronica labels other than Warp through the site. Generally works well, the pricing is fair, and I am happy with the quality of recordings (they also sell FLAC files at a slightly higher price.)

Yes, I agree, love bleep.com

CIrawI3riCIge
Sep 25, 2007, 08:41 PM
Although I'd rather see these as 256 AAC, I'd bet you couldn't pick out 256 mp3 versus cd in a blind test.

Please be kidding. I've already done blind tests between 320 AAC, 320 MP3, and 1411 AIFF; the differences are blatantly obvious on my equipment. I envy you if you can't discern between 256 MP3 and uncompressed PCM. If I had your ears I could save a lot of money.

My point was that it would be nice for uncompressed PCM and allow us to encode at our discretion. The bandwidth is there. MP3 is going backwards in terms of quality.

CalCanuck
Sep 25, 2007, 08:44 PM
Just downloaded a track, and to my surprise, they used LAME 3.97 to encode it. So not only are they selling music in the open MP3 format, but they're using an open source encoder to make them!

LAME is one of the better encoders, *period*, even when compared to commercial ones. So we get to have our cake (DRM free files) and eat it too (that sound good)! Sweet.

I have 'Sound Check' checked in my iTunes and I've noticed files encoded using LAME are unaffected by 'Sound Check'. I have to re-encode them using iTunes before they will adjust to match my other songs. Otherwise, no complaints having another source for downloads.

uv23
Sep 25, 2007, 08:46 PM
Maybe I'm missing something but it seems I can't use this from Canada. &*^@3876@&^@*&^@# Gimme a break. Even though I have an amazon.com account, it prompts me for a new billing address and will only accept a US address. Lame.

7racer
Sep 25, 2007, 08:47 PM
Your speculation about future events with your clouded vision doesn't interest me in the least. Right now, Amazon is selling 89 cent DRM free tracks. You find Universal's move an "About face" because you live in Apple fanboy land where somehow Apple was the victim of the "evil" record companies. I, on the other hand, think that Apple was trying to screw us over with over priced markups on DRM free music, and Amazon seems to do just fine charging far less.

that's the problem. You're short sighted.

genshi
Sep 25, 2007, 08:48 PM
You haven't been looking very hard then as most of the stuff I listen to is NOT on Amazon but I can find it on iTunes. Most of the bleep.com artists are on iTunes as well but haven't found many of them on Amazon. And being an independent label myself, none of my artists are on Amazon nor have I found a way to get them on there (but they are selling well on iTunes, eMusic and Rhapsody.)



One other thing I noticed, why would Amazon have certain CDs for sale but not have them available for download? Especially of a popular artist. For example, I've had Peter Gabriel's "OVO: Millennium Show" on my wish list for quite awhile (the CD is $45!) yet they don't have it for download... oh well. Unfortunately it's not available on iTunes either.

statikcat
Sep 25, 2007, 09:05 PM
256 is not bad. I rip all my cds at 320 though. Quality over space imo. Are these downloads going to be VBR? That would make more sense for space.. and Amazon server bandwidth.

Maccus Aurelius
Sep 25, 2007, 09:06 PM
Seems as though paypal is a no-go. I guess I'll have to pass :(

Although, my order kept failing to process, so it makes no difference.

brepublican
Sep 25, 2007, 09:15 PM
This is really a win-win for all. Especially consumers. Oh wait, who else? But I wonder why some people are voting negative on this one??

Competition is always nice, and I'm really feeling Amazon on this one, and their catalog is massive for a beta (eMusic is *****)! Hopefully, this will shake up Apple and make them revisit some of their ****** policies (album only, I'm talking to you). Amazon is being real aggressive too (that 89c price tag is awful attractive).

Your move Apple.

LordJohnWhorfin
Sep 25, 2007, 09:25 PM
And then I realized, how absurd is it to be paying the same price for a download when the same Amazon store sells the same CD, with artwork, liner notes, built-in backup, lossless compression, free shipping. Even at Amazon's market-competitive prices, downloads are still not an interesting proposition compared to buying the CD, unless either you want to buy on a song-by-song basis or you just have to have it RIGHT NOW.

synth3tik
Sep 25, 2007, 09:27 PM
I tried it out, downloaded an album. It works fairly well, it's still beta, but I think I am going to like it. I really don't like the amazon downloader app, but hey it beats paying $0.99 a song, getting all 15 songs for $6.99.

theBB
Sep 25, 2007, 09:30 PM
yet Apple couldn't secure a deal with them to sell that album DRM free?

I'm confused about this. Can someone explain?
Music labels are trying very hard to create a competitor for iTunes so that they don't get stuck with only one distributor or retailer. Thus, they are willing to sell at lower prices and without DRM in the short term. If iTunes ever goes out of business, I am pretty sure they would start raising prices and re-introduce DRM. If iTunes can withstand this assault, then they will probably let Apple sell songs without DRM as well.

redfirebird08
Sep 25, 2007, 09:30 PM
256 is not bad. I rip all my cds at 320 though. Quality over space imo. Are these downloads going to be VBR? That would make more sense for space.. and Amazon server bandwidth.

Yes, they are VBR. My Pink Floyd - The Wall download featured songs from 214 kbps to 245 kbps in bitrate.

And then I realized, how absurd is it to be paying the same price for a download when the same Amazon store sells the same CD, with artwork, liner notes, built-in backup, lossless compression, free shipping. Even at Amazon's market-competitive prices, downloads are still not an interesting proposition compared to buying the CD, unless either you want to buy on a song-by-song basis or you just have to have it RIGHT NOW.

Or if you buy something in the top 100 albums like The Wall. It's normally really expensive since it's a double album, but because people are downloading it like crazy, it is $8.99 on there with no tax and of course no shipping. Pretty sweet deal. I think Amazon said that we're saving $11 or something on it by downloading. That's a big savings. :)

ejrizo
Sep 25, 2007, 09:47 PM
so i tried it...

the experience is not bad but i have some issues with it...

1. first of all navigating the store is SOOOOO much better on itunes....

i typed in "The Game" and it gave me too many results that werent just "The Game" ... like The Game Ft. blah blagh... none of his acctual albums i had to really hunt for them.... anyway thats one thing... iTunes store is way easier and user friendly to navigate....

2. i have my safari set NOT to open/run any files automatically once it downloads from the net for both security (i think there was an exploit back sometime) and i just dont want anything running right away all the time... so when it downloads that file from amazon to run the download app i have to go and find it and open it so it can start downloading the song.... so i have to take a few extra steps which make the experience non "intuitive" for my case.

3. and last is that i have my iTunes set up to make a copy of a file when added to itunes, so it makes a copy and places it in my itunes music folder and in itunes but pretty much that means i keep a duplicate of the file and have to take yet another step in removing the original... not "intuitive" again....

i know this is because how i have my settings... but iTunes just works way better in these cases.... store is easier, no working with files to download a file, and no dealing with duplicate files....

so for me iTunes still holds the belt... but those amazon prices and quality is just about the only thing it has going for it besides both pc and mac integration....iTunes just has a better set up... but they are going to have to offer a little more to keep people from moving to amazon.

NightStorm
Sep 25, 2007, 09:56 PM
Just bought The Wall -- great price, quality, and a quick download. I'm happy.

njmac
Sep 25, 2007, 10:04 PM
Apple has always said that they don't make much money from selling songs through iTunes. They use iTunes to help sell hardware.

Why then do other companies even bother? It seems like a bad business model to sell songs online. :confused:

Mudo
Sep 25, 2007, 10:07 PM
"Richochet" by Tangerine Dream, for about $2 less than iTMS.

I'm fairly impressed with the initial offering.

applejilted
Sep 25, 2007, 10:10 PM
I think that Universal should pay a price for their outrageously anti-iTunes stance .... make no mistake about it this may cause ITMS irreparable harm and may even lead to their eventual demise, and that wouldn't be good for anyone as Apple has fought this anti DRM battle on behalf of consumers ( see: "Like Amazon's DRM-Free Music Downloads? Thank Apple" .... ) http://www.wired.com/entertainment/music/news/2007/09/drm_part_one and now they are unjustly left out of the marketplace for DRM-free music (if in fact UMG has struck a deal with Amazon which they wouldn't cut with Apple) .... this strikes me as unfair business practices bordering on the criminal (RICO anyone)....

What could Apple's response be ? Buy out Universal .... use some of the $12+ Billion in cash reserves and buy them out (or use their extremely valuable shares as currency for a possible buy-out) ... short of doing that sign away their biggest artists and show them you mean business ... Apple cannot take this lying down there is too much at stake .....

phytonix
Sep 25, 2007, 10:18 PM
Nice!

Amazon has Radiohead! Cheaper DRM-free! Yay!
Encoded by LAME 3.97, YAY!

Amazon now replace my iTMS.
Now emusic and Amazon are my best friends.

applejilted
Sep 25, 2007, 10:21 PM
Nice!

Amazon has Radiohead! Cheaper DRM-free! Yay!
Encoded by LAME 3.97, YAY!

Amazon now replace my iTMS.
Now emusic and Amazon are my best friends.


that is extremely short-sighted ... think long term my friend .... Am I paranoid or do I see Microsoft's hand in all this (they do after all pay Universal one dollar for every Zune sold ...who knows what the true hush hush agreement is) ... Remarkably similar to what they did with SCO in their Linux suits versus IBM and a few big corps using Linux .... The enemy of my enemy is my friend

redfirebird08
Sep 25, 2007, 10:28 PM
I think that Universal should pay a price for their outrageously anti-iTunes stance .... make no mistake about it this may cause ITMS irreparable harm and may even lead to their eventual demise, and that wouldn't be good for anyone as Apple has fought this anti DRM battle on behalf of consumers ( see: "Like Amazon's DRM-Free Music Downloads? Thank Apple" .... ) http://www.wired.com/entertainment/music/news/2007/09/drm_part_one and now they are unjustly left out of the marketplace for DRM-free music (if in fact UMG has struck a deal with Amazon which they wouldn't cut with Apple) .... this strikes me as unfair business practices bordering on the criminal (RICO anyone)....

What could Apple's response be ? Buy out Universal .... use some of the $12+ Billion in cash reserves and buy them out (or use their extremely valuable shares as currency for a possible buy-out) ... short of doing that sign away their biggest artists and show them you mean business ... Apple cannot take this lying down there is too much at stake .....

Wow, you're paranoid. There's a reason we have a free marketplace. I do NOT enjoy the idea of Apple having a stranglehold on the market. You know why? It prevents innovation and advances for the consumer, even if Jobs claims he is on the consumer's side (I do believe he is by the way). Competition is a good thing and I'm sure Apple will come out with something to blow this out of the water, for instance the Beatles exclusively on iTunes for a full year or something or a new label agrees to a DRM-free deal with iTunes. Competition helps no one but us in the end my friend.

applejilted
Sep 25, 2007, 10:32 PM
Wow, you're paranoid. There's a reason we have a free marketplace. I do NOT enjoy the idea of Apple having a stranglehold on the market. You know why? It prevents innovation and advances for the consumer, even if Jobs claims he is on the consumer's side (I do believe he is by the way). Competition is a good thing and I'm sure Apple will come out with something to blow this out of the water, for instance the Beatles exclusively on iTunes for a full year or something or a new label agrees to a DRM-free deal with iTunes. Competition helps no one but us in the end my friend.

They already have you in their back pocket ... short term gain for long term pain ... have you no idea how corrupt the music business is ... do you really believe they want competition and lower prices for consumers ? Get real ... this a naked ploy to drive Apple out of the music business ... pure and simple ... I for one will boycott Amazon for sleeping with the enemy (UMG) ... my choice, you're free to do what you like, but don't let short term savings delude you .... keep the bigger picture in mind

onionperson654
Sep 25, 2007, 10:36 PM
While I'm happy that Amazon's making the effort for higher quality at 256 (although I understand that for a small but significant portion of the population that is still not enough), it actually could be a disadvantage with the new ipod touch and its limited capacity.

Buying individual song won't be so much of a problem, but it takes away some of the advantage of DRM-free music when valuable space is lost, and recompressing takes time and, I imagine, further distorts sound quality (how much, I don't know).

redfirebird08
Sep 25, 2007, 10:36 PM
They already have you in their back pocket ... short term gain for long term pain ... have you no idea how corrupt the music business is ... do you really believe they want competition and lower prices for consumers ? Get real ... this a naked ploy to drive Apple out of business ... pure and simple ... I for one will boycott Amazon for sleeping with the enemy (UMG) ... my choice, you're free to do what you like, but don't let short term savings delude you .... keep the bigger picture in mind

Apple is too smart to get run out of the business. As I said, you are paranoid. Apple will come right back and have their own exclusive label on iTunes. Imagine if they strike a deal with Sony. Sony hates Microsoft and Universal due to the Xbox 360 and HD-DVD. Apple has already said they will use Blu Ray, so they already see eye to eye. Sony is the strictest of all the music companies, so if Apple could get them on their side it could be a permanent deal since Universal and Microsoft are on the other side of the fence.

How dare you chastise Amazon.com. It's the best retailer in the world for good reason. They give their customers good prices, good shipping packaging, and a great deal on the free $25 order shipping. As far as I'm concerned, Amazon.com is up there with Apple as one of my favorite companies.

While I'm happy that Amazon's making the effort for higher quality at 256 (although I understand that for a small but significant portion of the population that is still not enough), it actually could be a disadvantage with the new ipod touch and its limited capacity.

Buying individual song won't be so much of a problem, but it takes away some of the advantage of DRM-free music when valuable space is lost, and recompressing takes time and, I imagine, further distorts sound quality (how much, I don't know).

It's a pain in the rear, but you can convert to WAV in iTunes, then convert the WAV files to 128 kbps AAC. This is the only way I know of to losslessly convert between lossy formats. The other option: wait for a REAL iPod Touch to be released, meaning one with at least 60 gigs of storage.

applejilted
Sep 25, 2007, 10:45 PM
Apple is too smart to get run out of the business. As I said, you are paranoid. Apple will come right back and have their own exclusive label on iTunes. Imagine if they strike a deal with Sony. Sony hates Microsoft and Universal due to the Xbox 360 and HD-DVD. Apple has already said they will use Blu Ray, so they already see eye to eye. Sony is the strictest of all the music companies, so if Apple could get them on their side it could be a permanent deal since Universal and Microsoft are on the other side of the fence.

How dare you chastise Amazon.com. It's the best retailer in the world for good reason. They give their customers good prices, good shipping packaging, and a great deal on the free $25 order shipping. As far as I'm concerned, Amazon.com is up there with Apple as one of my favorite companies.

For the record Amazon, like Apple, are in business to make money ... and they are driven not by altruism but by their bottom line .... the formula you quote is fine and they make lots of money with it and it keeps them and their shareholders happy. I draw the line however, when they fall into the hands of a fox like UMG ... Up to now I've had nothing but admiration for Amazon .... but they should see this naked and abhorrent ploy to drive Apple out of the music business .... UMG have publicly gone on record stating that they want to control pricing and packaging (what does that tell you ?) and feeling that Apple wielded far too much power in the online retail music business...

redfirebird08
Sep 25, 2007, 10:48 PM
For the record Amazon, like Apple, are in business to make money ... and they are driven not by altruism but by their bottom line .... the formula you quote is fine and they make lots of money with it and it keeps them and their shareholders happy. I draw the line however, when they fall into the hands of a fox like UMG ... Up to now I've had nothing but admiration for Amazon .... but they should see this naked and abhorrent ploy to drive Apple out of the music business .... UMG have publicly gone on record stating that they want to control pricing and packaging (what does that tell you ?) and feeling that Apple wielded far too much power in the online retail music business...

Apple DOES have too much power at the moment. A monopoly is NOT a good thing, and that's damn near what Apple has right now. I love Apple's products, but iTunes is a ripoff as far as I'm concerned. I've bought a few things from there that I felt were good deals, but in general it's a ripoff store, almost as bad as Best Buy. I will continue loving Apple's products, but balance is a good thing. When you get a monopoly, you get a crappy situation for the consumer: Microsoft should ring a bell. No innovation and an absolutely horrible operating system dominating the market.

applejilted
Sep 25, 2007, 10:53 PM
Apple DOES have too much power at the moment. A monopoly is NOT a good thing, and that's damn near what Apple has right now. I love Apple's products, but iTunes is a ripoff as far as I'm concerned. I've bought a few things from there that I felt were good deals, but in general it's a ripoff store, almost as bad as Best Buy. I will continue loving Apple's products, but balance is a good thing. When you get a monopoly, you get a crappy situation for the consumer: Microsoft should ring a bell. No innovation and an absolutely horrible operating system dominating the market.

Agreed, monopolies are bad..... that's not what I'm advocating .... I'm advocating that BOTH Apple and Amazon (or anyone else for that matter) should have access to the SAME thing (DRM free music catalogue from ALL major music companies) ... then we would truly be in a FREE market ... then they could compete on an equal footing

redfirebird08
Sep 25, 2007, 10:57 PM
Agreed, monopolies are bad..... that's not what I'm advocating .... I'm advocating that BOTH Apple and Amazon (or anyone else for that matter) should have access to the SAME thing (DRM free music catalogue from ALL major music companies) ... then we would truly be in a FREE market ... then they could compete on an equal footing

Oh, but it was okay for Apple to have exclusive deals for years while other music services got left out in the cold? Now the shoe's on the other foot and you're crying foul. Nice. :rolleyes:

I agree with your premise, but you are arguing FOR Apple, not from a neutral point of view. I think it should be equal, but then again I was a Rhapsody user and know EXACTLY the kind of exclusive stuff that Apple would get through being tough in their negotiations due to their market share. That wasn't fair, and neither is this. But since Apple is the one that started this type of stuff, I figure they will do just fine in getting their own exclusives. Eventually, ALL the labels will be in every online music store and hopefully it's all in open formats.

onionperson654
Sep 25, 2007, 11:06 PM
I just tested Amazon's service with a song (from 1971) and found one flaw (at least with this song). The preview didn't accurately reflect the song and when I bought it it had a large level of background static.

Just to compare, I shelled out $.99 for the itunes version, which was the same, but at least the itunes preview definitely had the static.


(on the other hand, maybe Amazon could just remaster the entire song...)

Silencio
Sep 25, 2007, 11:09 PM
For the record Amazon, like Apple, are in business to make money ... and they are driven not by altruism but by their bottom line .... the formula you quote is fine and they make lots of money with it and it keeps them and their shareholders happy. I draw the line however, when they fall into the hands of a fox like UMG ... Up to now I've had nothing but admiration for Amazon .... but they should see this naked and abhorrent ploy to drive Apple out of the music business .... UMG have publicly gone on record stating that they want to control pricing and packaging (what does that tell you ?) and feeling that Apple wielded far too much power in the online retail music business...

I have to agree. It's not really a "free market" contest between Amazon and iTMS if the majors are artificially giving Amazon a break on price and DRM. We'll see if Apple can negotiate something similar (I'd love to see it; lower prices and better deals for full albums will really drive sales through the roof), but I have a feeling it won't happen because the majors have a vested interest in seeing anyone other than iTunes succeed. And Universal is free to pull the plug on this "beta test" in a few short months, though at least you won't be left totally in the cold like Virgin Digital subscribers just were.

However, I disagree with your previous thought that Microsoft is somehow behind this. Like I said before, they're completely left out in the cold by this deal; the proprietary DRM and file formats they've tried to foist upon consumers and content providers left dead and broken by the roadside. Amazon will quickly shoot up to the #2 spot in online music sales, though I think they'll largely cannibalize the other non-iTMS stores' sales, e.g. the subscription services.

Apple is smart and knows how to compete on their own merits, but there's only so much they can do if the labels are giving Amazon that much of a better deal.

mrkramer
Sep 25, 2007, 11:09 PM
Federal law requires businesses to charge tax in all states they do business in esp. if they have a physical presence in that state.


After reading those posts about Apple charging sales tax I looked back at some of my receipts from iTunes and they all say that tax is $0.00. And I live in California.

iDave
Sep 25, 2007, 11:10 PM
Of course lets say hypothetically that amazon only sold AAC format. Maybe then I can understand that helping iPod sales becasue iPod is the only music player that plays that format.
Ridiculous. I don't have time to read the whole thread to see how many others have responded to this, but Microsoft Zune and Creative Zen, to name just two examples, play AACs. Perhaps you're thinking of Apple's protected Fairplay, but no one is licensed to sell that format anyway.

Please stop spreading false information. AAC is a superior format to MP3 and it's also an open format. MP3 is so 20th-century, it's a shame it still exists.

jettredmont
Sep 25, 2007, 11:12 PM
I just checked out Don Mclean's song "American Pie" from the American Pie album at Amazon ($0.89/song); compare this against "album-only" availability from ITMS.

Will this force ITMS to move away from the "Album-Only" purchase restriction for popular songs?

The iTMS "album-Only" restriction is not, in any example I've seen, based on popularity. It is based on song length. Their deal with the labels stipulates that all songs under a certain length would be $0.99 each, and that songs over that length would be "album only" unless the label makes an exception (which they have, at times, but most often not).

Amazon, most of the time, seems to sell these "double-length" songs at "double-length" prices - $1.29 to $1.49 so far as I've been able to find. Your example is the first too-long song I've seen on Amazon for "regular" price!

In any case: anyone expecting apple to "react" to this tomorrow is just being silly. Apple's store is dictated by their record label contracts. They could no sooner lower their prices significantly (technically, they could probably lower their cut of the price per song) or offer everything DRM-free, than the labels could force them to sell all the songs for $1.49 a piece. That's what contracts are there for. If Apple "reacts" to this, then it will have been in the works for months, because record-label contracts aren't renegotiated overnight.

winterspan
Sep 25, 2007, 11:19 PM
I'd rather have DRM-free AAC at 256kbps... newer technology, smaller files.

256kbps is crap. 256kbps AAC is alot better, but why doesn't Apple start selling their DRM-free songs in Apple Lossless, MPEG-4 SLS, FLAC or WavPack? Any Lossless would do, I would even take FairPlay wrapped lossless as long as I can burn a CD. And the record companies would be happy because they could charge more e.g. $1.99/$15 album or something and they would only be selling the same thing that is on a CD. ***** just give me the PCM WAV file. They won't even have to re-encode anything.
I've decided to stop buying so much music in 128/256 AAC, it just sucks since I started listening on a nice stereo and not in headphones all day. Its makes such a difference! And it would be nice not to have to keep buying CDs, since that is so old school and you have to rip them anyways. Anyone know where you can purchase Lossless music on the net?

jettredmont
Sep 25, 2007, 11:19 PM
Wow, you're paranoid. There's a reason we have a free marketplace. I do NOT enjoy the idea of Apple having a stranglehold on the market. You know why? It prevents innovation and advances for the consumer, even if Jobs claims he is on the consumer's side (I do believe he is by the way). Competition is a good thing and I'm sure Apple will come out with something to blow this out of the water, for instance the Beatles exclusively on iTunes for a full year or something or a new label agrees to a DRM-free deal with iTunes. Competition helps no one but us in the end my friend.

You are absolutely right. I too long for the good old days when thousands of independent music retailers all sold CDs and prices just kept going down year after year because of the competition!

Oh .. yeah ...

The problem with the "free market rules all" argument is that one level above Apple in this market you have a colluding group of interests. One level above them you have the super-weak negotiating "recording artists", which feeds the power of the label. Without a counterbalancing force in the retail channel these labels end up with ultimate control over content and price of a relatively inelastic-demand product.

In other words: the free market does NOT work here.

The only thing which has brought lower consumer prices on music in the past 20 years has been Apple's entry into the digital download business.

redfirebird08
Sep 25, 2007, 11:23 PM
The iTMS "album-Only" restriction is not, in any example I've seen, based on popularity. It is based on song length. Their deal with the labels stipulates that all songs under a certain length would be $0.99 each, and that songs over that length would be "album only" unless the label makes an exception (which they have, at times, but most often not).

Amazon, most of the time, seems to sell these "double-length" songs at "double-length" prices - $1.29 to $1.49 so far as I've been able to find. Your example is the first too-long song I've seen on Amazon for "regular" price!


You are correct, although I have seen some songs going for $1.94 on Amazon as well. 3 of them are on Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here album. One of those songs isn't even that long, like 7 and a half minutes. The other two are over 12 minutes long so it's understandable. I guess for "American Pie," it's such a popular song that they realized people would not want to pay such a high price for it and that they were better off charging a lower price in order to get higher sales.



The only thing which has brought lower consumer prices on music in the past 20 years has been Apple's entry into the digital download business.

From what I can tell, even that has not helped much. We're still getting ripped off for the physical product and in many cases, the iTunes version is an even bigger ripoff than the physical product. The music industry is certainly in a free fall right now, and a big reason is because consumers finally have the choice to download a hit song from iTunes, other legal stores, or illegally. People aren't being forced to buy whole albums just to get one song. Prices are still ridiculous though and eventually they will realize that even with inflation, they are overcharging the consumer versus the 1960's and 1970's when there was a boom going on. They also need to realize that putting out good music will cause sales to go up. The labels are like Hollywood right now: out of ideas and out of creativity, at least as far as mainstream artists are concerned.

Chris Welch
Sep 25, 2007, 11:26 PM
256 kbps isn't crappy quality, you bunch of sheep.

You realize Amazon is encoding a lot of the music with variable bitrate LAME V0, right? It's basically the best balance possible between sound quality and file size.

jettredmont
Sep 25, 2007, 11:26 PM
It's a pain in the rear, but you can convert to WAV in iTunes, then convert the WAV files to 128 kbps AAC. This is the only way I know of to losslessly convert between lossy formats. The other option: wait for a REAL iPod Touch to be released, meaning one with at least 60 gigs of storage.

This doesn't give you ANY better quality than going directly from MP3 to AAC.

The process you quote does this:

<click>
Load MP3
Decode MP3 -> WAV (no quality lost)
Save WAV
<click>
Load WAV
Decode WAV -> AAC (quality lost)
Save MP3

The direct method skips the middle save/load:
<click>
Load MP3
Decode MP3 -> WAV (no quality lost)
Decode WAV -> AAC (quality lost)
Save MP3

Functionally, the two are identical. You just cut out the saved WAV-file middle man if you convert "directly" between the two compressed formats.

balamw
Sep 25, 2007, 11:27 PM
All of this the day after Vivendi called iTunes' terms indecent.

http://www.reuters.com/article/industryNews/idUSL2488079220070924

Really makes you wonder what Amazon's margins are on each track sold.

I am an Amazon customer and like to see that, for once, they seem to be doing the right thing (unlike Unbox, which is sub-par). I will likely check twice to see if I can buy a track I want from Amazon instead of iTunes, but it's not going to stop me buying most of my music on CD, plus the occasional track or album on iTunes...

B

jettredmont
Sep 25, 2007, 11:27 PM
However, I disagree with your previous thought that Microsoft is somehow behind this. Like I said before, they're completely left out in the cold by this deal; the proprietary DRM and file formats they've tried to foist upon consumers and content providers left dead and broken by the roadside.

You know as well as I: If there is evil to be done in the world, Microsoft is right behind it :)