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MacRumors
Oct 17, 2007, 08:49 AM
http://www.macrumors.com/images/macrumorsthreadlogo.gif (http://www.macrumors.com)

Apple announced today the expansion of iTunes Plus to 2 million songs including artists from Sub Pop, Nettwerk, Beggars Group, IODA, The Orchard and many others, along with EMI’s digital catalog.

The announcement comes after Apple began lowering prices (http://www.macrumors.com/2007/10/15/apple-dropping-itunes-plus-drm-free-songs-to-99/) of its DRM-free songs to $.99, down from $1.29. Arstechnica had reported at the time that Apple was in the midst of expanding its catalog to include indie artists as well as EMI.

Raw Data: Apple Press Release (http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2007/10/17itunes.html)

Article Link (http://www.macrumors.com/2007/10/17/itunes-plus-expanded-becomes-largest-drm-free-catalog/)



mkrishnan
Oct 17, 2007, 08:51 AM
Bravo, Apple! :) Now that there's no price premium, I have to make sure my account is set to get iTunes+ versions when possible. :)

Adokimus
Oct 17, 2007, 08:51 AM
Good news.

tbobmccoy
Oct 17, 2007, 08:52 AM
I've never really used iTunes music store for much more than sampling songs that I may like, or finding out the names of songs stuck in my head. I rip all my music in Apple Lossless.... I don't even like the degradation in 256k encoding... I'll wait till they start selling Lossless music at 1.29 :D

sunfast
Oct 17, 2007, 08:54 AM
This is excellent news. DRM free is definitely the way forward

SheriffParker
Oct 17, 2007, 08:54 AM
Well that's great news! I'll definitely be buying more music from iTunes now. For me, the indie labels get most of my money, so this seals the deal, but for worldwide domination, more major labels are going to have to jump on.

P-Worm
Oct 17, 2007, 08:54 AM
I've never really used iTunes music store for much more than sampling songs that I may like, or finding out the names of songs stuck in my head. I rip all my music in Apple Lossless.... I don't even like the degradation in 256k encoding... I'll wait till they start selling Lossless music at 1.29 :D

Don't get your hopes up.

This is great. I hope that the other companies will pick up on this and understand that this is what people want.

P-Worm

Kitrik
Oct 17, 2007, 08:55 AM
Finally! Apple was starting to get shown up by Amazon... Since AAC > MP3 I will continue to stick with Apple. Now they just need to get Universal and Warner to sign on and world domination will be at hand!

saxman
Oct 17, 2007, 08:55 AM
Great news for consumers. Competition is a good thing in business

SciTeach
Oct 17, 2007, 08:56 AM
Must get more memory... feeling urge to buy more... trying to resist...;)

Really glad to hear this. More selections is always a plus.

Go :apple:

PDubNYC
Oct 17, 2007, 08:57 AM
Any way to upgrade old purchases at no cost like you could for .30 before?

illitrate23
Oct 17, 2007, 08:57 AM
so - will it still cost to enhance my previously bought itunes to itunes plus versions, now that they're the same price? i guess it will

but definately a good thing - i was waiting until next year when i get a bonus from work before upgrading all my tracks to itunes plus quality

Multimedia
Oct 17, 2007, 08:58 AM
Now we're really moving into the fully digital non-protected era that makes a lot more sense.

brepublican
Oct 17, 2007, 08:59 AM
Thank you Amazon

Thataboy
Oct 17, 2007, 09:00 AM
Don't get your hopes up.

P-Worm

In the near future, you're probably right, but Beatport sells WAV's for an extra $1 (for bandwith). I don't think it is totally unreasonable that Apple offer Apple Lossless for a premium... maybe $1.49 or so. Someday. Maybe.

Anyway, I agree with the above poster... I've given up lossy music too. More and more people are, so I think eventually (probably at least a few years) iTMS will have to respond to the demand for lossless files. Someday. Maybe.

Rustus Maximus
Oct 17, 2007, 09:00 AM
Now they just need to get Universal and Warner to sign on and world domination will be at hand!

But that's what THEY want as well...:eek:


Hmmm...we may at last get the answer to the question of what happens when the immovable object is struck by the unstoppable force...

'That's no moon...it's the iTunes music store.'

samh004
Oct 17, 2007, 09:05 AM
and the solo catalogs of all four Beatles

I'll bet they want to change that blurb at some point, hopefully soon.

KindredMAC
Oct 17, 2007, 09:05 AM
I've never really used iTunes music store for much more than sampling songs that I may like, or finding out the names of songs stuck in my head. I rip all my music in Apple Lossless.... I don't even like the degradation in 256k encoding... I'll wait till they start selling Lossless music at 1.29 :D

Do you hear dog whistles also? I can't tell the difference between 160 and 128 and that is with using noise cancelling in-ear buds. I wonder if your sense of 256 is psychosomatic, that you think you hear a difference.

I'm not calling you crazy, just that I would love to see if there is a research paper out there that determines what the human ear can really differeniate between.

It's kind of like when a new OS X update comes through the pipelines and people say they think Safari is snappier, at least those who aren't joking around now that that has become the catch phrase with "PowerBook G5's coming out this Tuesday".

overanalyzer
Oct 17, 2007, 09:06 AM
Any way to upgrade old purchases at no cost like you could for .30 before?

I was wondering what the deal with that is going to be, too. I just checked the "iTunes Plus Frequently Asked Questions" via iTunes, and it still lists iTunes plus songs as $1.29 along with the old upgrade prices. So I guess we'll see when they update that document if they change the update policy/pricing too.

mm1250
Oct 17, 2007, 09:08 AM
You guys really shouldn't be giving Apple all the credit. If it wasn't for Amazon selling DRM free music for .89cents Apple would have never lowered the price from 1.29. Its funny because it took Apple less than 1month to lower its price after Amazon annoucned it enetered into the music business and its pricing model. Amazon is cheaper and we owe it to them for really setting the standards.

Hopstretch
Oct 17, 2007, 09:10 AM
I was wondering what the deal with that is going to be, too. I just checked the "iTunes Plus Frequently Asked Questions" via iTunes, and it still lists iTunes plus songs as $1.29 along with the old upgrade prices. So I guess we'll see when they update that document if they change the update policy/pricing too.
Right now, iTunes still asks you to pay to upgrade if you try. Can't see that lasting. Think I'll wait.

Foxglove9
Oct 17, 2007, 09:13 AM
This is a step in the right direction for Apple. Competition is always good, as long as Apple stays on top :)

Now maybe it's time to redeem some iTunes gift cards I have lying around here.

mkrishnan
Oct 17, 2007, 09:13 AM
You guys really shouldn't be giving Apple all the credit. If it wasn't for Amazon selling DRM free music for .89cents Apple would have never lowered the price from 1.29. Its funny because it took Apple less than 1month to lower its price after Amazon annoucned it enetered into the music business and its pricing model. Amazon is cheaper and we owe it to them for really setting the standards.

That's a fair point. I've actually yet to try using the Amazon service, which is something I've been meaning to do.

uv23
Oct 17, 2007, 09:17 AM
Dammit, none of the indie stuff I want has been converted over yet. Guess I keep waiting.

Jodeo
Oct 17, 2007, 09:17 AM
WHA??? Apple dropping prices? NEVARRRRR!!!

I just spent $599 on "iTunes+" tracks, and now Apple drops the price! That amounts to me over-paying Apple $180!!!

I am going to sue Apple for.... Two BEEEEELYUN Dollars!!!

:)



</ just kidding>

Sauron's Master
Oct 17, 2007, 09:18 AM
You guys really shouldn't be giving Apple all the credit. If it wasn't for Amazon selling DRM free music for .89cents Apple would have never lowered the price from 1.29. Its funny because it took Apple less than 1month to lower its price after Amazon annoucned it enetered into the music business and its pricing model. Amazon is cheaper and we owe it to them for really setting the standards.

We owe them for them acting completely in their own corporate, profit-motivated self-interest?

shoelessone
Oct 17, 2007, 09:19 AM
I'm very happy about this. WHen the day soon comes that I buy more music, I'll only be purchasing non-DRM tracks, so this makes things easier.

asrai
Oct 17, 2007, 09:22 AM
Bravo, Apple! :) Now that there's no price premium, I have to make sure my account is set to get iTunes+ versions when possible. :)

K, I'll bite, where is this setting exactly? I looked around and haven't come across it.

Thanks.

mkrishnan
Oct 17, 2007, 09:23 AM
</ just kidding>

Love it! :D

Just don't make the emo students from the student discount thread start cutting again! :p

http://myskitch.com/mkrishnan/skitched-20070920-170308.jpg

JPark
Oct 17, 2007, 09:26 AM
Great news...but too late. I already bought all the albums I was interested in buying this year... from Amazon. :(

BrianAllen
Oct 17, 2007, 09:27 AM
The interesting thing is that you can still "upgrade" from the 99¢ with DRM to the 99¢ higher quality without DRM for 30¢.

- Brian Allen (http://www.brianallen.com/)

johnmcboston
Oct 17, 2007, 09:27 AM
Glad to hear this. But I believe Apple was the hold-out on these, not the labels. For example, Nettwerk songs have been DRM free on emusic, amiestreet and other places for some time. Am I expected to believe that Nettwerk has been demanding DRM on Apple but plain old mp3 elsewhere???

It almost sounds like Apple went from "Everyone gets DRM unless you negotiate otherwise" to "No DRM unless you specifically request it"

happylittlemac
Oct 17, 2007, 09:28 AM
Great news another step in the right direction, Amazon's music shop is interesting but rough on the edges. However I don't see Universal signing up to a DRM-free system from iTunes.

Snowy_River
Oct 17, 2007, 09:37 AM
Any way to upgrade old purchases at no cost like you could for .30 before?


This has been discussed in other threads, but I'll mention it here. Do you think that bandwidth is free? If you know that it's not, why do you expect that Apple will spend the money on the bandwidth for you to download the unlocked version of the song, and not expect you to pay anything for it? Sure they locked and unlocked versions are the same price, but if you already bought a locked version and now want to buy an unlocked version, the bandwidth from both downloads still needs to be paid for.

$.30 is hardly exorbitant. And I doubt it will ever be free to upgrade. It might, possibly, drop to something like $.15, but I wouldn't necessarily hold my breath for that.

blehpunk
Oct 17, 2007, 09:38 AM
ok now i want to upgrade for free or cheaper or at least select what i want to upgrade. and not all albums are .99 the gorillaz album that steve likes so much still has all the songs at 1.29.

SthrnCmfrtr
Oct 17, 2007, 09:39 AM
Do you hear dog whistles also? I can't tell the difference between 160 and 128 and that is with using noise cancelling in-ear buds. I wonder if your sense of 256 is psychosomatic, that you think you hear a difference.

I'm not calling you crazy, just that I would love to see if there is a research paper out there that determines what the human ear can really differeniate between.

The particular setup is of great importance. If you're listening to Bose equipment or worse, you might not be able to tell a difference, and I might not either.

But on my cheap system (Apple TV -optical-> Logitech Z-5450 speakers), I can definitely tell the difference between 256kbps and Lossless. Moreso on some songs than others. Songs with applause (I like live albums, particularly by the Doors) or decently-miked cymbals translate terribly to mp3 (you get this wonderful "phasing" [sorta] distortion). I've heard that AAC is superior to mp3 for a given bitrate, but I honestly haven't tried it.

Also, what works for stereo might not necessarily work all that well if you're listening to your music in surround, like I always do. The rear speakers playing an mp3 sound terrible -- more distortion and general cold/dead sound, whereas they sound perfect with a lossless file.

There was a thread around here sometime back where someone posted soundfiles of what various lossy compression schemes take out of the song. It might surprise you.

Disclaimer: I'm hardly an audiophile. *points at his Logitech speakers* And not all of my music is lossless. But I can genuinely tell a difference. That's why I upgraded to lossless in the first place -- because I was unsatisfied with the sound quality of mp3s.

RichP
Oct 17, 2007, 09:39 AM
Great news another step in the right direction, Amazon's music shop is interesting but rough on the edges. However I don't see Universal signing up to a DRM-free system from iTunes.

The end goal of all of this for Apple is to have independent studios, using Apple production products (MacPro, Soundtrack, Final Cut, Motion etc) to produce audio and video from artists, upload it right to iTunes and into our ipods. Probably 10 years out.

And I welcome it, most of what the major labels put out these days is garbage, and the processing power and tools are available now to more people than ever.

Djspice
Oct 17, 2007, 09:40 AM
Great news...but too late. I already bought all the albums I was interested in buying this year... from Amazon. :(

You only buy albums once a year? You know they put out new ones every Tuesday, right? And some of them are pretty good.

Well, 160 GB Classic...here I come!

milo
Oct 17, 2007, 09:44 AM
Why are many tracks still showing up as $1.29? Shouldn't they have had it all prepped before making the announcment?

irbdavid
Oct 17, 2007, 09:45 AM
This has been discussed in other threads, but I'll mention it here. Do you think that bandwidth is free? If you know that it's not, why do you expect that Apple will spend the money on the bandwidth for you to download the unlocked version of the song, and not expect you to pay anything for it? Sure they locked and unlocked versions are the same price, but if you already bought a locked version and now want to buy an unlocked version, the bandwidth from both downloads still needs to be paid for.

$.30 is hardly exorbitant. And I doubt it will ever be free to upgrade. It might, possibly, drop to something like $.15, but I wouldn't necessarily hold my breath for that.

Are you suggesting that Apple has to cough up anything like $0.30 for 2.5MB of bandwidth? I think that decimal place needs to move about 4 digits to the right. The point is, if Apple wants to keep the iTunes store competitive with Amazon, it needs to lower the price of the track itself. If they want to keep a loyal customer base, they need to do that _and_ keep existing customers happy.

Now, if only the Amazon store existed in the UK...

Drumjim85
Oct 17, 2007, 09:46 AM
Now they just need to get Universal and Warner to sign on and world domination will be at hand!

You forgot BMG

Whiskerdreams
Oct 17, 2007, 09:46 AM
Great news another step in the right direction, Amazon's music shop is interesting but rough on the edges. However I don't see Universal signing up to a DRM-free system from iTunes.

They will as their artists stop resigning their contracts...

Virgil-TB2
Oct 17, 2007, 09:47 AM
I've never really used iTunes music store for much more than sampling songs that I may like, or finding out the names of songs stuck in my head. I rip all my music in Apple Lossless.... I don't even like the degradation in 256k encoding... I'll wait till they start selling Lossless music at 1.29 :DI also prefer to actually purchase in lossless format as it seems a rip-off to do otherwise, (by that I mean I purchase the CD's and rip them.)

However, to rip the CD's in Lossless format is a waste of time if you already have the CD. You are not getting any higher quality sound and you are increasing your storage requirements dramatically. A single run-of-the-mill song in Apple Lossless can be 30 Megs or so, the same song in high quality AAC might be less than 5 Megs. :eek:

This means that you have to carry around some gigantic brick of a music player to even have a reasonable selection of music at your fingertips. Needless to say this detracts from the entire concept of a portable digital music player.

It's been proven again and again that the average ear cannot tell the difference between an *mp.3 and the original file and that even audiophiles have a hard time if the bit rate is high enough. With AAC, I don't believe there has ever been anyone who has reliably been able to tell the difference between the original and a 256 AAC copy.

If you are ripping music to Lossless and carrying it around, all you are doing is wasting space on your player. Keep the CD's on the shelf at home for safekeeping and rip into AAC and you can't go wrong. :)

network23
Oct 17, 2007, 09:50 AM
I'd personally love to show my appreciation by sampling/purchasing more of the DRM-free tracks, but would it be just by hit-or-miss?

Is there any way to filter songs on iTS to just see those DRM-free songs?

squirrellydw
Oct 17, 2007, 09:51 AM
Do you hear dog whistles also? I can't tell the difference between 160 and 128 and that is with using noise cancelling in-ear buds. I wonder if your sense of 256 is psychosomatic, that you think you hear a difference.

I'm not calling you crazy, just that I would love to see if there is a research paper out there that determines what the human ear can really differeniate between.

It's kind of like when a new OS X update comes through the pipelines and people say they think Safari is snappier, at least those who aren't joking around now that that has become the catch phrase with "PowerBook G5's coming out this Tuesday".

I agree, unless you hook it up to test equipment, most people can't tell the difference. Now 128 to 256 yes, 256 to loss-less not really

tallyho
Oct 17, 2007, 09:54 AM
I've just checked on the iTunes store. iTunes plus songs are still 99p (and a quick look at the currency converter widget in my dashboard tells me that is $1.96). How is this good value?:confused:

lazyrighteye
Oct 17, 2007, 09:54 AM
Do you hear dog whistles also? I can't tell the difference between 160 and 128 and that is with using noise cancelling in-ear buds. I wonder if your sense of 256 is psychosomatic, that you think you hear a difference.

I'm not calling you crazy, just that I would love to see if there is a research paper out there that determines what the human ear can really differeniate between.

It's kind of like when a new OS X update comes through the pipelines and people say they think Safari is snappier, at least those who aren't joking around now that that has become the catch phrase with "PowerBook G5's coming out this Tuesday".

I'm no professional, I have written no papers on the matter, I'm just a regular bloke. And I can hear the differences.
It's like trying to describe a color... impossible.
But, if you really listen, you can hear differences in the high and low frequencies. They sound less crisp (highs) or more muddy (lows) with each level of compression.

Crike .40
Oct 17, 2007, 09:54 AM
more songs with less DRM = always good imho.

Apple needs to continue this push to remain competitive and stay on top.

Phobophobia
Oct 17, 2007, 09:55 AM
Anyway, I agree with the above poster... I've given up lossy music too. More and more people are, so I think eventually (probably at least a few years) iTMS will have to respond to the demand for lossless files. Someday. Maybe.

128kb is good enough for most people, and 256kb is going to be good enough for even more people. I doubt Apple has even started to care about lossless at this point.

Thataboy
Oct 17, 2007, 09:57 AM
I also prefer to actually purchase in lossless format as it seems a rip-off to do otherwise, (by that I mean I purchase the CD's and rip them.)

However, to rip the CD's in Lossless format is a waste of time if you already have the CD. You are not getting any higher quality sound and you are increasing your storage requirements dramatically. A single run-of-the-mill song in Apple Lossless can be 30 Megs or so, the same song in high quality AAC might be less than 5 Megs. :eek:

This means that you have to carry around some gigantic brick of a music player to even have a reasonable selection of music at your fingertips. Needless to say this detracts from the entire concept of a portable digital music player.

It's been proven again and again that the average ear cannot tell the difference between an *mp.3 and the original file and that even audiophiles have a hard time if the bit rate is high enough. With AAC, I don't believe there has ever been anyone who has reliably been able to tell the difference between the original and a 256 AAC copy.

If you are ripping music to Lossless and carrying it around, all you are doing is wasting space on your player. Keep the CD's on the shelf at home for safekeeping and rip into AAC and you can't go wrong. :)

I will admit that my all-Lossless collection means I don't fit a lot on my iPhone... but as years go by, storage will increase. I am creating a master digital collection. I don't want to deal with CD's, I loathe physical media. I want everything digital and lossless at the press of a button on my Apple Remote.

Honestly though, Lossless on an iPhone just makes you become a smart playlists expert, which isn't so bad really :) Apple could help out by applying the shuffle's on-the-fly transcoding across the board, but god forbid.

Unspeaked
Oct 17, 2007, 09:58 AM
We owe them for them acting completely in their own corporate, profit-motivated self-interest?

Yes, I think that's the idea.

Or are you somehow implying that A) if Amazon hadn't set their price lower than Apple's, Apple would have dropped DRM-free tracks to 99 cents themselves B) Apple isn't a corporation and C) Apple isn't profit motivated?

If that's the case, you probably have some explaining to do to Apple's shareholders...


Glad to hear this. But I believe Apple was the hold-out on these, not the labels. For example, Nettwerk songs have been DRM free on emusic, amiestreet and other places for some time. Am I expected to believe that Nettwerk has been demanding DRM on Apple but plain old mp3 elsewhere???

You're right on track, and it's not just Nettwerk (though they're one of the more out-spoken DRM critics out there). Most of the indie labels quoted have offered DRM free downloads for some time...

milo
Oct 17, 2007, 10:00 AM
You guys really shouldn't be giving Apple all the credit. If it wasn't for Amazon selling DRM free music for .89cents Apple would have never lowered the price from 1.29. Its funny because it took Apple less than 1month to lower its price after Amazon annoucned it enetered into the music business and its pricing model. Amazon is cheaper and we owe it to them for really setting the standards.

We don't know the situation. It's possible that EMI insisted on getting more for tracks without DRM initially. If they gave Amazon a cut rate, that would have given leverage to Apple to insist on that pricing as well.

Are they still selling the regular versions of songs available as plus? At the same price, why would anyone want the lower quality, DRM version?

But on my cheap system (Apple TV -optical-> Logitech Z-5450 speakers), I can definitely tell the difference between 256kbps and Lossless. Moreso on some songs than others. Songs with applause (I like live albums, particularly by the Doors) or decently-miked cymbals translate terribly to mp3 (you get this wonderful "phasing" [sorta] distortion). I've heard that AAC is superior to mp3 for a given bitrate, but I honestly haven't tried it.

You should try it. AAC is a much better algorithm than mp3.

The point is, if Apple wants to keep the iTunes store competitive with Amazon, it needs to lower the price of the track itself.

It depends. Apple needs to keep the price close. But 256 AAC is better quality than 256 mp3. I'm willing to pay a bit more for that (especially depending on what it is) for higher quality at the same file size.

The end goal of all of this for Apple is to have independent studios, using Apple production products (MacPro, Soundtrack, Final Cut, Motion etc) to produce audio and video from artists, upload it right to iTunes and into our ipods. Probably 10 years out.

Along those lines, anyone have a recommendation for a resource with information about getting independent music carried on iTunes?

Thataboy
Oct 17, 2007, 10:00 AM
128kb is good enough for most people, and 256kb is going to be good enough for even more people. I doubt Apple has even started to care about lossless at this point.

Which is why I said someday, maybe. At least a few years. A lot can happen in a few years though (we have gone from iPod 1G to iPod touch in only 6 years!).

I agree that 256k is good enough for most people, but what's the harm in eventually offering iTunes Extreme for a premium price? They obviously have the infrastructure for this after the introduction of iTunes Plus.

milo
Oct 17, 2007, 10:04 AM
I'd personally love to show my appreciation by sampling/purchasing more of the DRM-free tracks, but would it be just by hit-or-miss?

Is there any way to filter songs on iTS to just see those DRM-free songs?

There is an iTunes plus page, you can access it from a link on the upper right of the main page.

I'm no professional, I have written no papers on the matter, I'm just a regular bloke. And I can hear the differences.
It's like trying to describe a color... impossible.
But, if you really listen, you can hear differences in the high and low frequencies. They sound less crisp (highs) or more muddy (lows) with each level of compression.

There's a proven placebo effect listening to audio. Did you do your listening comparisons between 256 AAC and uncompressed double blind? If not, you may be tricking yourself into thinking you're hearing things that you can't actually perceive.

d_saum
Oct 17, 2007, 10:06 AM
128kb is good enough for most people, and 256kb is going to be good enough for even more people. I doubt Apple has even started to care about lossless at this point.

I wish I could find the article, but a few years ago I read an article in a PC magazine that had a pretty big test group compiled of both audiophiles and everyday joe schmo's and their results showed that the cutoff point was 196Kbps for sound quality in MP3 files. There was not one person that could tell the difference between 196 and 320.

I'll have to poke around for that article. It was a great read because up until that point I was ripping MP3's at 320, but afterwards I ripped at 196 and to this day I cannot tell the difference.

jimsowden
Oct 17, 2007, 10:09 AM
This is great, I really hope this is just another incrimental step toward getting rid of DRM on the store altogeather. I think that Apple sold the lower price and expansion of the DRM free music by showing that it sells more, and that people aren't abusing it by sending it to other possible customers. Bring it to Movies, TV Shows, and all the Music and Music Videos and they'll be sure to get more money from me!

SheriffParker
Oct 17, 2007, 10:13 AM
You guys really shouldn't be giving Apple all the credit. If it wasn't for Amazon selling DRM free music for .89cents Apple would have never lowered the price from 1.29.

.89 cents? Less than a penny? Amazon's model will be hard to compete with...

studiomusic
Oct 17, 2007, 10:14 AM
It almost sounds like Apple went from "Everyone gets DRM unless you negotiate otherwise" to "No DRM unless you specifically request it"

That sounds about right. We'll see if CDBaby artists finally get to be DRM free.

dopey220
Oct 17, 2007, 10:17 AM
Cool. If they can get more major labels on board, it'll be easier for Apple to compete with Amazon's new store.

hayesk
Oct 17, 2007, 10:17 AM
Anyway, I agree with the above poster... I've given up lossy music too. More and more people are, so I think eventually (probably at least a few years) iTMS will have to respond to the demand for lossless files. Someday. Maybe.

I doubt it - most people don't have the equipment to tell the difference. Remember most people are happy with the fashionable white iPod earbuds.

milo
Oct 17, 2007, 10:19 AM
Cool. If they can get more major labels on board, it'll be easier for Apple to compete with Amazon's new store.

Don't they already have the same major labels as Amazon? So far, it looks like Apple already has more DRM free tracks than Amazon.

hdasmith
Oct 17, 2007, 10:23 AM
However, to rip the CD's in Lossless format is a waste of time if you already have the CD. You are not getting any higher quality sound and you are increasing your storage requirements dramatically. A single run-of-the-mill song in Apple Lossless can be 30 Megs or so, the same song in high quality AAC might be less than 5 Megs. :eek:


I haven't used Apple Lossless, so I don't have any experience of the file sizes, but I though the hole point of Apple Lossless was that it was about half the size of CD formats.

For those that think they can hear a difference between 256kbps and lossless formats, are you listening to a lot of classical music or percussion instruments by any chance? That's about the only time the human ear is sensitive enough to notice the difference. And I can hear a dog whistle for what it's worth.

hayesk
Oct 17, 2007, 10:25 AM
I'm not calling you crazy, just that I would love to see if there is a research paper out there that determines what the human ear can really differeniate between.


Sure they can - but there are also other factors at play - environment where you listen, equipment, type of music, quality of original recording, etc.

Remember, there are CD players that range from $20 all the way up to $10000 - I've listened to players up to $2000 - and the difference is discernable.

Vinnie_vw
Oct 17, 2007, 10:28 AM
Great, let the "Who's got the biggest…?" contest begin. I get a feeling that this is a desperate move on Apple's part to compete with other media-stores. The sad part is that all Universal et al have to do now is cancel their contract with iTunes and it is left with millions of indy-songs… great! :rolleyes:

tallyho
Oct 17, 2007, 10:31 AM
Bravo, Apple! :) Now that there's no price premium, I have to make sure my account is set to get iTunes+ versions when possible. :)
There's still a premium on the UK store. DRM songs=79p, iTunes plus songs=99p. There's no point complaining, but maybe one day we'll get the same price as you!

Sauron's Master
Oct 17, 2007, 10:31 AM
Yes, I think that's the idea.

Or are you somehow implying that A) if Amazon hadn't set their price lower than Apple's, Apple would have dropped DRM-free tracks to 99 cents themselves B) Apple isn't a corporation and C) Apple isn't profit motivated?

If that's the case, you probably have some explaining to do to Apple's shareholders...


Or maybe I was implying you shouldn't be getting on your knees for receiving the peripheral effects of an action solely designed to extract the maximum amount of profit from you as the consumer.

Amazon is trying to steal market power from Apple so it can utilize that market power to utilize price discrimination and monopoly tactics in the future to shift consumer surplus to corporate profits.

Unless you think you should be thankful for eating the leftover bones after the steak is finished, I would suggest you evaluate motivation and the big picture when deciding what to be "thankful" for.

Yes, for the record, I am actually a capitalist and would have no hesitation in utilizing the same practices. I'm just not delusional as some people here are.

As for whether Apple would have lowered the price, yes, it's perfectly feasible that they would have lowered the price to .99 on their own without Amazon or some major competitor. The reality is that even monopolies respond to demand curves and Apple doesn't have perfect market power. Given a shift in consumer demand for DRM-free music, Apple wouldn't hesitate to shift prices if it maximized prices. If you also consider that Apple is going utilizing a time-tested dynamic pricing strategy to milk profits from the less price-conscious consumers and then milking the profits from people who will only pay .99 for music.

Drumjim85
Oct 17, 2007, 10:34 AM
Sure they can - but there are also other factors at play - environment where you listen, equipment, type of music, quality of original recording, etc.

Remember, there are CD players that range from $20 all the way up to $10000 - I've listened to players up to $2000 - and the difference is discernable.

Ya, converting audio from Digital to Analog or Analog to Digital is a HUGE step in how things sound.... usually the thing you're paying more for is a high quality converter ...

twoodcc
Oct 17, 2007, 10:40 AM
good news! so all of them will be $0.99?

crassusad44
Oct 17, 2007, 10:52 AM
Am I the only one having problems with the iTunes Plus section of the store (I'm in Norway)? I keep getting the error "Could not complete the iTunes Store request. The store may be busy." when I click the iTunes Plus link. It has been like this since late last night. Also, many albums (Fantômas - Suspended Animation for example) are listed as iTunes plus when I search for them, but are listed as ordinary DRM tracks when I click the link. I want to buy more music NOW!!! :(

pizzach
Oct 17, 2007, 11:02 AM
Glad to hear this. But I believe Apple was the hold-out on these, not the labels. For example, Nettwerk songs have been DRM free on emusic, amiestreet and other places for some time. Am I expected to believe that Nettwerk has been demanding DRM on Apple but plain old mp3 elsewhere???

It almost sounds like Apple went from "Everyone gets DRM unless you negotiate otherwise" to "No DRM unless you specifically request it"

Yes, Apple was being greedy. I heard it was supposed to be just a stop-gap measure to temporarily please the shareholders, which was probably more of an excuse than a reason. I do believe believe the Amazon store gave Apple the kick in the butt they needed, helping to realign Apple's focus. In the end, do you honestly believe that the store that negotiates venomously to have ALL of their songs priced at 99 cents would keep the awkward multi-tiered pricing?

When the iTunes store first appeared, Apple supposedly barely broke even on all of the songs sold given bandwidth costs etc. A number of years have passed since then. Bandwidth costs MUST have come down. Eventually, Apple is going to have to do a full scale bit-rate quality upgrade or lower it's prices to stay competitive.

bilbo--baggins
Oct 17, 2007, 11:07 AM
There's still a premium on the UK store. DRM songs=79p, iTunes plus songs=99p. There's no point complaining, but maybe one day we'll get the same price as you!

If i search for music I know to be iTunes plus it comes up at 99p like you say. However, if you click on the iTunes Plus link on the store home, it says cannot connect, busy. I hope this means they haven't finish sorting it for the UK - it would be pretty bizzarre not to have the same pricing here.

IJ Reilly
Oct 17, 2007, 11:09 AM
We don't know the situation. It's possible that EMI insisted on getting more for tracks without DRM initially. If they gave Amazon a cut rate, that would have given leverage to Apple to insist on that pricing as well.

We do know that Apple makes only a few cents per song, so Apple could not have cut their prices by $0.30 per track unless they are now paying that much less to the labels. We know that Apple is not going to sell music at a loss. As always, the labels have far more influence on music pricing than the retailers.

Porchland
Oct 17, 2007, 11:10 AM
Must get more memory... feeling urge to buy more... trying to resist...;)


Would the increased file size of new tracks be the only reason not to do this? If it's $.99 either way, it seems like the choice is whether I want non-DRM, slightly higher quality tracks that take up twice the space or DRM'd, current quality, current sized tracks.

Frankly, I could care less about DRM and the increased "quality" is largely imaginary/indiscernible, so I will probably stick with the current scheme.

seashellz2
Oct 17, 2007, 11:26 AM
can you convert 44khz CDs to 48khz? (DVD spec, but higher quality CDs)
with the proper sound editing app?

Drumjim85
Oct 17, 2007, 11:30 AM
can you convert 44khz CDs to 48khz? (DVD spec, but higher quality CDs)
with the proper sound editing app?

yes you CAN.... but it won't sound any better...

tallyho
Oct 17, 2007, 11:32 AM
can you convert 44khz CDs to 48khz? (DVD spec, but higher quality CDs)
with the proper sound editing app?
You can, but you're not going to get any increase in quality as the algorithm to up the sample rate essentially has to interpolate some "missing" samples. So in fact, you could argue that you will decrease the quality (although to be honest you're unlikely to hear any difference with a decent app doing the conversion - in fact even the iapps like iMovie/iDVD do this kind of rate conversion pretty transparently.

benpatient
Oct 17, 2007, 11:34 AM
Windows coverts everything to 48000hz before it sends it out unless you go to great lengths to stop it.

os x doesn't do that, which is nice. 44.1khz stays 44.1khz

phatspider
Oct 17, 2007, 12:00 PM
There's still a premium on the UK store. DRM songs=79p, iTunes plus songs=99p. There's no point complaining, but maybe one day we'll get the same price as you!

Ive not been able to get into the itunes plus section on uk store all afternoon so maybe there updating it so there 79p for us :)

Mac OS X Ocelot
Oct 17, 2007, 12:02 PM
I've never really used iTunes music store for much more than sampling songs that I may like, or finding out the names of songs stuck in my head. I rip all my music in Apple Lossless.... I don't even like the degradation in 256k encoding... I'll wait till they start selling Lossless music at 1.29 :D

Does bitrate really matter? Not as much as you'd think (http://www.maximumpc.com/article/do_higher_mp3_bit_rates_pay_off). It's really just psychological. If you're an "audiophile" you're going to pretend you can hear the difference.

phatspider
Oct 17, 2007, 12:03 PM
good news for us brits :

http://www.apple.com/uk/pr/2007/10/171007_itunesplus.html

benpatient
Oct 17, 2007, 12:05 PM
isn't the title of this thread wrong?

how many songs does apple have without DRM?

because amazon has just a hair less than 2.4 million right now...

milo
Oct 17, 2007, 12:10 PM
Great, let the "Who's got the biggest…?" contest begin. I get a feeling that this is a desperate move on Apple's part to compete with other media-stores. The sad part is that all Universal et al have to do now is cancel their contract with iTunes and it is left with millions of indy-songs… great! :rolleyes:

The could do that...but would it really be smart for them to stop selling through the third biggest music seller in the country? It would hurt universal more than it would hurt apple.

isn't the title of this thread wrong?

how many songs does apple have without DRM?

because amazon has just a hair less than 2.4 million right now...

Apple doesn't give a specific number, just "over 2 million". They claim they have more than amazon, either they have over 2.4 or they're lying.

stcanard
Oct 17, 2007, 12:14 PM
I read the press release but couldn't determine the answer (and I'm not on an iTunes compatible system right now)

Is this US only? Or do the international stores get DRM free music as well?

I know specifically Nettwerk has no objections to it being DRM free everywhere.

johnmcboston
Oct 17, 2007, 12:17 PM
That sounds about right. We'll see if CDBaby artists finally get to be DRM free.(

??I picked up an MP3 album form them 2 odd weeks ago and it looked like a real mp3. What DRM do you think CDBaby has?

milo
Oct 17, 2007, 12:18 PM
??I picked up an MP3 album form them 2 odd weeks ago and it looked like a real mp3. What DRM do you think CDBaby has?

I assume he means DRM free on iTunes.

johnmcboston
Oct 17, 2007, 12:30 PM
When the iTunes store first appeared, Apple supposedly barely broke even on all of the songs sold given bandwidth costs etc. A number of years have passed since then. Bandwidth costs MUST have come down. Eventually, Apple is going to have to do a full scale bit-rate quality upgrade or lower it's prices to stay competitive.

Interesting thought. Just pondering that many of the new services (emusic, cdbaby, etc) are a "buy once, download forever" services, while itunes remains 'buy once, download once". I can see that policy if your thoughts on throughput were correct. Not sure if they've ever given thought to lifting the download restrictions on bought songs. Although the itunes store still drags some days, so probably not... (Amazon is also a download-once service...)

gnasher729
Oct 17, 2007, 12:35 PM
Are you suggesting that Apple has to cough up anything like $0.30 for 2.5MB of bandwidth? I think that decimal place needs to move about 4 digits to the right. The point is, if Apple wants to keep the iTunes store competitive with Amazon, it needs to lower the price of the track itself. If they want to keep a loyal customer base, they need to do that _and_ keep existing customers happy.

Apple has to cough up money to EMI for every upgrade. Do you think EMI allows them to give you a DRM free song for free?

jettredmont
Oct 17, 2007, 12:42 PM
Ya, converting audio from Digital to Analog or Analog to Digital is a HUGE step in how things sound.... usually the thing you're paying more for is a high quality converter ...

That and better disk-read error handling (CDs as a medium aren't really "lossless" in the strictest sense; even a fresh-from-the-factory disk will have many "incorrect" bits scattered throughout that need to be identified and "reconstructed" as best as possible by the hardware).

But, yes, the primary difference is the device used to translate discrete samples of waveforms into accurate and smooth waveforms again.

Question for those who know: does this same D/A processing happen (or similar processing) in the transition from PCM -> MP3 or AAC? Or, do the codecs work directly on sampled data without paying explicit attention to the represented waveforms?

Second question for those who know: how does the average Mac or PC, used to play a CD or other PCM audio source, compare to the 2k-10k CD players?

morespce54
Oct 17, 2007, 12:42 PM
I don't know but when I click on "iTunes Plus" link in the Canadian store, it tells me "It can't connect to the store, it's busy, try again later", although, I can click on any other links without any problem... strange...


I see people from UK having the same problem... feel better now! :)... Way much better!

Mac OS X Ocelot
Oct 17, 2007, 12:52 PM
Interesting thought. Just pondering that many of the new services (emusic, cdbaby, etc) are a "buy once, download forever" services, while itunes remains 'buy once, download once". I can see that policy if your thoughts on throughput were correct. Not sure if they've ever given thought to lifting the download restrictions on bought songs. Although the itunes store still drags some days, so probably not... (Amazon is also a download-once service...)

So if your hard drive gets wiped somehow you have to repay for all those songs? I've never used any online store, but I'd have figured the songs were tied to your account and it would know to let you download them again. I mean, if my music gets deleted for whatever reason I have the cds to rerip them.

morespce54
Oct 17, 2007, 01:07 PM
can you convert 44khz CDs to 48khz? (DVD spec, but higher quality CDs)
with the proper sound editing app?

Yes but it would be like converting a JPEG in a TIFF format... bigger size, same quality.
Or if you prefer, it's like converting a FLV (flash player) file in Quicktime to a HD QT movie... bigger size, same quality (as the original).

jettredmont
Oct 17, 2007, 01:19 PM
So if your hard drive gets wiped somehow you have to repay for all those songs? I've never used any online store, but I'd have figured the songs were tied to your account and it would know to let you download them again. I mean, if my music gets deleted for whatever reason I have the cds to rerip them.

If you didn't back up your CDs and they got stolen, you don't get a replacement disk from Best Buy.

If you don't back up materials which you buy online, you are treading on very thin ice. I backup everything I create, and I back up everything I purchase. The latter takes much less effort and backup media than the former.

eMusic will allow you to re-download songs you've purchased online; they are one of the very few with this policy. It's great. Still, if you're relying on that ability instead of backing it up yourself, what happens when eMusic changes its business model or gets bought or just plain fails? Do you really want the security of your purchased music tied forever to the solvency of a particular business (the same argument which is made against DRMed music purchases, although I'm a bit more confident in Apple's continued solvency than in eMusic's!)

In any case, it costs close to nothing to back up your data. You should be backing up your data anyway, or you have much more major concerns than if you'll be able to listen to last year's Kelly Clarkson single after your drive crashes. Adding purchased music to any reasonably organized backup system should cost you no more than 15 minutes. Apple's own Backup even has a preconfigured option just for this, which takes about thirty seconds to open, activate, and verify that it's set up correctly.

All that having been said, Apple has a non-public policy of allowing redownloads of purchased music. However, moreso than eMusic's public policy, this could change at any time, and is quite specifically not a part of the agreement you make when buying music from them. Don't rely on it. But, Apple's bent over backwards to help people out after a crash in the past.

milo
Oct 17, 2007, 01:20 PM
That and better disk-read error handling (CDs as a medium aren't really "lossless" in the strictest sense; even a fresh-from-the-factory disk will have many "incorrect" bits scattered throughout that need to be identified and "reconstructed" as best as possible by the hardware).

But, yes, the primary difference is the device used to translate discrete samples of waveforms into accurate and smooth waveforms again.

Question for those who know: does this same D/A processing happen (or similar processing) in the transition from PCM -> MP3 or AAC? Or, do the codecs work directly on sampled data without paying explicit attention to the represented waveforms?

Second question for those who know: how does the average Mac or PC, used to play a CD or other PCM audio source, compare to the 2k-10k CD players?

Error correction doesn't vary much between CD players, there's some pretty robust error correction included in the format itself. There's a huge amount of redundant data, and even big chunks of missing or incorrect bits can be completely corrected. A disk has to be in pretty bad shape to require anything beyond that standard error correction, so 99% of cds will end up reading the same numerical data to any CD player.

The D/A converters are the main difference between different players, and while there are differences, these days even cheaper converters are pretty darn good. Some of the really expensive players have extra things that will color the quality of the sound like tube amplifiers.

For compressed audio, the software sends a version similar to uncompressed audio to the D/A converter. The converter itself doesn't look at data that is still compressed.

Virgil-TB2
Oct 17, 2007, 01:21 PM
I will admit that my all-Lossless collection means I don't fit a lot on my iPhone... but as years go by, storage will increase. I am creating a master digital collection. I don't want to deal with CD's, I loathe physical media. I want everything digital and lossless at the press of a button on my Apple Remote.

Honestly though, Lossless on an iPhone just makes you become a smart playlists expert, which isn't so bad really :) Apple could help out by applying the shuffle's on-the-fly transcoding across the board, but god forbid.Sounds like you know what you are doing and have excellent reasons for doing it.

Apologies if I came across as overly chastising/critical of your choices. It's just that so many people don't seem to think rationally about this stuff at all.

benpatient
Oct 17, 2007, 02:11 PM
Question for those who know: does this same D/A processing happen (or similar processing) in the transition from PCM -> MP3 or AAC? Or, do the codecs work directly on sampled data without paying explicit attention to the represented waveforms?

Second question for those who know: how does the average Mac or PC, used to play a CD or other PCM audio source, compare to the 2k-10k CD players?

Answer to question #1: Let's use iTunes as an example. iTunes will take any audio format that it can read and spit out decompressed audio samples to the OS for processing. Essentially, everything gets taken and read as a PCM stream. AAC gets interpreted, mp3 gets interpreted. itunes then sends this information to the OS for output. the OS doesn't know that the original source material was compressed if it was. Everything essentially looks like a WAV file. If you output directly to speakers from your audio output jack, then your computer's D/A converter processes the waveforms from the PCM stream and does the D/A conversion.

If you use digital optical output, the PCM stream is thus sent to your audio processor for conversion from digital to analog. You can verify this by buying a DTS-encoded CD (there are quite a few of them) and importing a track to iTunes with Apple Lossless. If you connect to speakers directly, you'll get static. If you connect to a DTS-capable receiver through optical audio output, you'll get DTS-decoded goodness. The only possibly issues here are the quality decoding of the compressed audio source. So your MP3 or AAC audio quality is only as good as the codec that "converts" that information to waveforms. If you go lossless, it's easy to verify that you're getting 100% perfect sound by doing the DTS check. If it plays DTS, it's a bit-perfect representation of the original.

Answer 2: This question is actually partially answered by my last paragraph. The important thing here is to determine if you are getting the exact bits that are on the CD when you rip a disc with a computer-based player. I won't comment on on-the-fly playback (playing a disc that's not been ripped) as it is a contentious issue for some audiophile types. But in theory, if you get digital output to an audio processor/amp, then you're going to get the same experience whether that audio comes from a 10K stand-alone CD player or a macbook with iTunes.

If you use windows, then some problems are introduced because windows molests the audio signal on the way out the door...everything is converted to 48000hz. This allows things like discrete surround sound with analog outputs that you can't get in a Mac without a 3rd party card/software, but for people not interested in 3d sound effects in games, etc, it isn't really worth the trade-offs in sound. Vista introduced some new technologies that make it a little more appealing, but you still can't play DTS-encoded CDs through iTunes and hear anything but static.

at least not without doing some major low-level work on the system...look up kmixer and ASIO for some enlightening conversation.

studiomusic
Oct 17, 2007, 02:13 PM
??I picked up an MP3 album form them 2 odd weeks ago and it looked like a real mp3. What DRM do you think CDBaby has?

I was talking about CD Baby member songs up on itunes.

Mac OS X Ocelot
Oct 17, 2007, 02:32 PM
If you didn't back up your CDs and they got stolen, you don't get a replacement disk from Best Buy.

If you don't back up materials which you buy online, you are treading on very thin ice. I backup everything I create, and I back up everything I purchase. The latter takes much less effort and backup media than the former.

eMusic will allow you to re-download songs you've purchased online; they are one of the very few with this policy. It's great. Still, if you're relying on that ability instead of backing it up yourself, what happens when eMusic changes its business model or gets bought or just plain fails? Do you really want the security of your purchased music tied forever to the solvency of a particular business (the same argument which is made against DRMed music purchases, although I'm a bit more confident in Apple's continued solvency than in eMusic's!)

In any case, it costs close to nothing to back up your data. You should be backing up your data anyway, or you have much more major concerns than if you'll be able to listen to last year's Kelly Clarkson single after your drive crashes. Adding purchased music to any reasonably organized backup system should cost you no more than 15 minutes. Apple's own Backup even has a preconfigured option just for this, which takes about thirty seconds to open, activate, and verify that it's set up correctly.

All that having been said, Apple has a non-public policy of allowing redownloads of purchased music. However, moreso than eMusic's public policy, this could change at any time, and is quite specifically not a part of the agreement you make when buying music from them. Don't rely on it. But, Apple's bent over backwards to help people out after a crash in the past.

Losing cds is so ten years ago. With iTunes and iPod I can now import my entire catalog and safely store cds in my closet so that they cannot get lost or stolen easily, so they are only subject to a house fire. So technically importing my cds to iTunes is a form of backing them up, and is just as easy as backing up files, but with less hd space. Files are easier to lose than cds nowadays. If my hard drive crashes the music is the only thing I'll be concerned about. My computer doesn't contain any other files I really need need.

ingenious
Oct 17, 2007, 02:40 PM
In the near future, you're probably right, but Beatport sells WAV's for an extra $1 (for bandwith). I don't think it is totally unreasonable that Apple offer Apple Lossless for a premium... maybe $1.49 or so. Someday. Maybe.

Anyway, I agree with the above poster... I've given up lossy music too. More and more people are, so I think eventually (probably at least a few years) iTMS will have to respond to the demand for lossless files. Someday. Maybe.

What about the shuffle? Can it play Apple Lossless now?

BTW
Oct 17, 2007, 02:56 PM
Good news.

It would be even better if Apple dropped the DRM'd music to 89 cents, but one step at a time. ;)

milo
Oct 17, 2007, 02:58 PM
Losing cds is so ten years ago. With iTunes and iPod I can now import my entire catalog and safely store cds in my closet so that they cannot get lost or stolen easily, so they are only subject to a house fire. So technically importing my cds to iTunes is a form of backing them up, and is just as easy as backing up files, but with less hd space. Files are easier to lose than cds nowadays. If my hard drive crashes the music is the only thing I'll be concerned about. My computer doesn't contain any other files I really need need.

So back it up, I'd recommend doing that anyway even with ripped tunes. One dvd can hold hundreds if not thousands of songs.

What about the shuffle? Can it play Apple Lossless now?

No, but iTunes can convert on the fly to a compatible format when syncing the shuffle.

It would be even better if Apple dropped the DRM'd music to 89 cents, but one step at a time. ;)

It would also be better if Amazon switched to the better quality AAC format, but you can't have everything. I'd love it if Apple had better quality for the same price, but I'm willing to pay the extra ten cents for a better sounding track. I'm more concerned about album pricing, which has some much bigger pricing differences.

winterspan
Oct 17, 2007, 03:37 PM
Do you hear dog whistles also? I can't tell the difference between 160 and 128 and that is with using noise cancelling in-ear buds. I wonder if your sense of 256 is psychosomatic, that you think you hear a difference.

I'm not calling you crazy, just that I would love to see if there is a research paper out there that determines what the human ear can really differeniate between.

It's kind of like when a new OS X update comes through the pipelines and people say they think Safari is snappier, at least those who aren't joking around now that that has become the catch phrase with "PowerBook G5's coming out this Tuesday".


Not everyone listens to their music through an Ipod and ear-buds on the school bus.
Have you compared 128 AAC iTunes download to a CDROM WAV/FLAC Rip on a decent stereo? Apparently not. Go try it, then you'll stop making these sorts of comments. (psychosomatic? please...)

AlbinoPigeon
Oct 17, 2007, 03:42 PM
Do you hear dog whistles also? I can't tell the difference between 160 and 128 and that is with using noise cancelling in-ear buds. I wonder if your sense of 256 is psychosomatic, that you think you hear a difference.

I'm not calling you crazy, just that I would love to see if there is a research paper out there that determines what the human ear can really differeniate between.

It's kind of like when a new OS X update comes through the pipelines and people say they think Safari is snappier, at least those who aren't joking around now that that has become the catch phrase with "PowerBook G5's coming out this Tuesday".


First of all, while I believe that most people wouldn't be able to tell the difference between 256 and lossless when their music is playing off their ipod or in their cars, there still is a HUGE difference between 256 and 128. A big reason why you might not hear the difference may be because you have noise cancelling headphones. Noise cancelling produces a negative sound wave of what is outside and plays it inside to try and eliminate the outside noise. Only problem is that it isn't perfect and ALWAYS ends up distorting the music, even if only a little bit. The better play is to invest is buds that seal as tightly as possible like the line-up from Shure or invest in higher quality stereo headphones. Anyways, my point is just because you don’t hear the difference between 128 and 256 doesn't mean a lot of others don't as well. But when we start to demand lossless music from iTunes that may be a bit rich. Keep in mind if you are ripping CDs you've already started with lossy music. Just ask yourself where you'll be listening to your music. If it's from an ipod or similar, you don’t need lossless. If you are listening to it on a hifi, then just buy CDs...or better yet DVD-Audio or SACDs if you can. (Or...sigh...vinyl).

jettredmont
Oct 17, 2007, 04:58 PM
Losing cds is so ten years ago. With iTunes and iPod I can now import my entire catalog and safely store cds in my closet so that they cannot get lost or stolen easily, so they are only subject to a house fire. So technically importing my cds to iTunes is a form of backing them up, and is just as easy as backing up files, but with less hd space. Files are easier to lose than cds nowadays. If my hard drive crashes the music is the only thing I'll be concerned about. My computer doesn't contain any other files I really need need.

Exactly my point. Ripping your CDs to disk is backing them up. You back up your CDs. Why are you against backing up your digital music? Why, if you fail to do this simple thing and tragedy strikes, do you expect the retailer to replace your lost music?

Burning your AACs to CDs would be just as effective (and less space-consuming) a backup of your digital music. In the same time as ripping 5 or 6 CDs, instead you burn them all to a CD-R or two and keep the CD-Rs in two separate locations (home and office, for instance). Takes less time (even if your burn time is twice the read time, which is exceedingly rare on modern drives, you're well ahead), costs less, and you're more secure (not even subject to a house fire). Add to that the time you saved buying those disks in the first place, and it's a silly comparison.

Backing up digitally is just as easy, faster, cheaper, and more secure than what you're already doing.

mkrishnan
Oct 17, 2007, 06:26 PM
K, I'll bite, where is this setting exactly? I looked around and haven't come across it.

Actually, that's a good question. I don't see it either. There used to be a setting in the accounts page that asked you whether you would like to preferentially buy iTunes+ content when you can.

However, it looks like the feature is now gone -- my account was set up to purchase the DRM versions of the songs (since few songs at the time were even available sans DRM, and having one or two no-DRM songs didn't sound that useful to me). But now, when I look up a song that is available in iTunes+ (such as this excellent song (http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewAlbum?playlistId=201053881&s=143441&i=201053887)) I automatically see the "+" version only anyways.

So it looks like Apple is making this a no-brainer. :) (Although, of all the songs I had stewing in my shopping cart, that I was thinking about buying, only 10-15% are available in iTunes+ format).

Padriac
Oct 17, 2007, 08:14 PM
Not everyone listens to their music through an Ipod and ear-buds on the school bus.
Have you compared 128 AAC iTunes download to a CDROM WAV/FLAC Rip on a decent stereo? Apparently not. Go try it, then you'll stop making these sorts of comments. (psychosomatic? please...)


First of all, while I believe that most people wouldn't be able to tell the difference between 256 and lossless when their music is playing off their ipod or in their cars, there still is a HUGE difference between 256 and 128. A big reason why you might not hear the difference may be because you have noise cancelling headphones. Noise cancelling produces a negative sound wave of what is outside and plays it inside to try and eliminate the outside noise. Only problem is that it isn't perfect and ALWAYS ends up distorting the music, even if only a little bit. The better play is to invest is buds that seal as tightly as possible like the line-up from Shure or invest in higher quality stereo headphones. Anyways, my point is just because you don’t hear the difference between 128 and 256 doesn't mean a lot of others don't as well. But when we start to demand lossless music from iTunes that may be a bit rich. Keep in mind if you are ripping CDs you've already started with lossy music. Just ask yourself where you'll be listening to your music. If it's from an ipod or similar, you don’t need lossless. If you are listening to it on a hifi, then just buy CDs...or better yet DVD-Audio or SACDs if you can. (Or...sigh...vinyl).

No, it seriously doesn't matter where or how you are listening to it. In blind comparisions you WILL not be able to spot the 256Kbps from the lossless. It's been tested by Maximum PC, and more thoroughly by some audio web site (forget which one).

The key points on the "high quality lossy vs. lossless debate"
1) their is virtually no perceptible difference.
2) Your equipment and the type of music you listen to does matter, but only slightly. If you are not in a silent room with high quality gear, it automatically doesn't matter either way. Even with the gear, it's only going to matter for certain types of sound characteristics.
3) If you are convinced you do hear a difference, and you already knew beforehand which was which, it is likely a *placebo effect*.
4) The lossy proponents are taking a ideological stance, not a perceptual one. They don't like the *idea* of lossy compression despte the fact that it's making no perceptual difference. It's about *potential* information loss to them, not sound quality.

And the biggie:
5) Jumping from lossy to lossless represents the absolute worst jump from a business angle. The quality gain is pretty much *nothing* yet the bandwidth costs more than *triple*. Compare with jumping from 128 to 256 kbps: there the quality gains were fairly noticable and the additional costs were minimal.

Business don't like paying triple for no reason. It's not like Apple could even advertise it as "better sound quality" because, strictly speaking, they would be lying.

Diatribe
Oct 17, 2007, 08:46 PM
Geez people. Can we stop with this self-righteous bull that just because you cannot hear a difference that other people can't either.
There is no scientific proof out there that you can't tell the difference. If you give people Apple earbuds no one is able to hear a difference but with normal speakers you most definitely can. Just tried this a month ago with Lossless and 256AAC and yes it was a blind test before anyone asks.

If you can't, be happy and enjoy the space you save.




No, but iTunes can convert on the fly to a compatible format when syncing the shuffle.


Which it should for all iPods not just the Shuffle. :(

asrai
Oct 18, 2007, 06:16 AM
Actually, that's a good question. I don't see it either. There used to be a setting in the accounts page that asked you whether you would like to preferentially buy iTunes+ content when you can.

However, it looks like the feature is now gone -- my account was set up to purchase the DRM versions of the songs (since few songs at the time were even available sans DRM, and having one or two no-DRM songs didn't sound that useful to me). But now, when I look up a song that is available in iTunes+ (such as this excellent song (http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewAlbum?playlistId=201053881&s=143441&i=201053887)) I automatically see the "+" version only anyways.

So it looks like Apple is making this a no-brainer. :) (Although, of all the songs I had stewing in my shopping cart, that I was thinking about buying, only 10-15% are available in iTunes+ format).

Yeah, now that you mention it, I do remember seeing something about this when they announced the iTunes+, but now, I think you're correct, Apple has made this "option" obsolete. As it were.

Thanks for the re:

Cheers

HTrig
Oct 18, 2007, 09:07 AM
If i search for music I know to be iTunes plus it comes up at 99p like you say. However, if you click on the iTunes Plus link on the store home, it says cannot connect, busy. I hope this means they haven't finish sorting it for the UK - it would be pretty bizzarre not to have the same pricing here.

Id just like to point out that the UK will not be getting the same price as the US even if the pricing is all 79p. At the current exchange rate (as found here (http://www.x-rates.com/)) 99 cents would be about 49p so we are really paying $1.61 per track about 60% more than the US :(

EDIT: as most of the tracks in iTunes plus are still 99p we are actually paying twice as much per track

WildCowboy
Oct 18, 2007, 01:45 PM
I'm kind of disappointed that they're still charging for the "Upgrade My Library" feature. I thought yesterday that maybe they just hadn't gotten around to changing it, but they've updated the iTunes Plus FAQ (http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=305567) to reflect the new pricing, but they still have the section about charges for upgrading. :(

thomasp
Oct 19, 2007, 07:30 AM
I haven't read all of this thread, but how come on the UK store the vast majority of iTunes+ tracks are 99p, when only a few are 79p (iTunes+ tracks, that is)?

Will they all be gradually coming down to 79p?

mooty
Oct 21, 2007, 08:19 AM
I haven't read all of this thread, but how come on the UK store the vast majority of iTunes+ tracks are 99p, when only a few are 79p (iTunes+ tracks, that is)?

Will they all be gradually coming down to 79p?

Exactly my question - Apple have lowered a few tracks to 79p, but the majority are still 99p... C'mon Apple!!! There are other customers out there other than the U.S.

thomasp
Oct 21, 2007, 08:24 AM
Exactly my question - Apple have lowered a few tracks to 79p, but the majority are still 99p... C'mon Apple!!! There are other customers out there other than the U.S.

Most of them now seem to be 79p - or at least the ones I looked at today that were 99p when I made my previous post.


Can anyone (worldwide) confirm if the "20p to upgrade" existing tracks from iTunes 'standard' to iTunes+ will be staying or going?

mooty
Oct 21, 2007, 03:30 PM
Most of them now seem to be 79p - or at least the ones I looked at today that were 99p when I made my previous post.


Can anyone (worldwide) confirm if the "20p to upgrade" existing tracks from iTunes 'standard' to iTunes+ will be staying or going?

You're right, they've changed this weekend...

bkea
Jan 25, 2008, 07:31 AM
If you didn't back up your CDs and they got stolen, you don't get a replacement disk from Best Buy.

If you don't back up materials which you buy online, you are treading on very thin ice. I backup everything I create, and I back up everything I purchase. The latter takes much less effort and backup media than the former.

eMusic will allow you to re-download songs you've purchased online; they are one of the very few with this policy. It's great. Still, if you're relying on that ability instead of backing it up yourself, what happens when eMusic changes its business model or gets bought or just plain fails? Do you really want the security of your purchased music tied forever to the solvency of a particular business (the same argument which is made against DRMed music purchases, although I'm a bit more confident in Apple's continued solvency than in eMusic's!)

In any case, it costs close to nothing to back up your data. You should be backing up your data anyway, or you have much more major concerns than if you'll be able to listen to last year's Kelly Clarkson single after your drive crashes. Adding purchased music to any reasonably organized backup system should cost you no more than 15 minutes. Apple's own Backup even has a preconfigured option just for this, which takes about thirty seconds to open, activate, and verify that it's set up correctly.

All that having been said, Apple has a non-public policy of allowing redownloads of purchased music. However, moreso than eMusic's public policy, this could change at any time, and is quite specifically not a part of the agreement you make when buying music from them. Don't rely on it. But, Apple's bent over backwards to help people out after a crash in the past.

Yay Kelly Clarkson:D lol

RRutter
Jan 25, 2008, 09:32 PM
Good
That's smart of Apple since they already have a DOLLAR each song, they wanted to add 25 cents more just for songs that may sound bettter?
:confused::confused::confused::confused::confused::confused::confused::confused::confused::confused:

:apple: