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MacRumors
Jan 4, 2008, 10:06 AM
http://www.macrumors.com/images/macrumorsthreadlogo.gif (http://www.macrumors.com)

Businessweek reports (http://businessweek.com/technology/content/jan2008/tc2008013_398775.htm?chan=top+news_top+news+index_businessweek+exclusives) that Sony BMG is the last of the four major record labels to agree to offer their music for sale without Digital Rights Management (DRM) restrictions. The news comes a week after Warner announced (http://www.macrumors.com/2007/12/27/amazon-adds-drm-free-warner-music/) it had added its catalog to Amazon's DRM-Free MP3 store.

This new DRM-free music agreement will be in place for the upcoming Pepsi/Amazon Superbowl (http://www.macrumors.com/2007/11/30/pepsi-to-team-up-with-amazon-for-superbowl-mp3-giveaway/) promo, in which 1 billion songs will be given away.

These unrestricted MP3s will work with Apple's iTunes and iPod, with added benefit for the record labels to take some power away from Apple's iTunes store which continues to hold the majority of digital music marketshare.

Article Link (http://www.macrumors.com/2008/01/04/sony-bmg-to-offer-drm-free-music/)



mainstreetmark
Jan 4, 2008, 10:08 AM
FINALLY!

The mine-mine-mine philosophy comes to an end.

cubbie5150
Jan 4, 2008, 10:09 AM
The same Sony BMG that installed spyware via their proprietary media player, wrecking numerous Windows machines a year or so ago?

yoman
Jan 4, 2008, 10:15 AM
For the industry as a whole this is good news...no DRM on music is what consumers want. Question is what price are they going to stabilize at. 99cents for old tracks? $2.49 for new ones?

I'm curious what would be the ultimate pricing structure....

Avatar74
Jan 4, 2008, 10:15 AM
The funny thing is, they're playing right into Apple's hands.

It's a logistical burden to manage the iTunes Music Store, and for little direct profit. With some competition out there, it allows Apple to reduce some of their operating expenditure of hosting such a large library but they'll still reap the profit.

How?

Well, unless competitors come out with more appealing hardware than iPod, and a more user-friendly, convenient integration system than iTunes for managing content between computer and Mp3 player, iPod will continue to dominate the market.

The beauty of Steve Jobs is not that he is a master marketer, but that he knows how to turn just about any situation to his advantage no matter what the competition does.

:D

Stike
Jan 4, 2008, 10:17 AM
So, does that mean iTunes Plus from Sony/BMG coming very soon?

sishaw
Jan 4, 2008, 10:18 AM
For the industry as a whole this is good news...no DRM on music is what consumers want.

Actually, most people don't even know what DRM is.

Yuppi
Jan 4, 2008, 10:18 AM
I would be interested if that automatically translates into ITMS being allowed to offer iTunes+. I would rather buy a 256kBits HE-AAC than a MP3.
Plus Amazon is not available in Germany :(

Eric Lewis
Jan 4, 2008, 10:19 AM
this sucks


there goes apple

now it will file bankrupt

lazyrighteye
Jan 4, 2008, 10:20 AM
It's like watching an infant try and make their first steps.
Only not as cute or fun.

trickytrev
Jan 4, 2008, 10:23 AM
I just don't get it.

I prefer iTunes (i don't care if it costs a bit more than others), and the only other online store I use for my DJing is beatport. The only quarm i have is i'd like longer previews.

So the labels that are not with iTunes are just missing out on my money.... I'm not the only one who thinks like this.

It's sad that record labels can be like they are.

GSMiller
Jan 4, 2008, 10:27 AM
Oh yes this is going to hurt Apple so much seeing as how these songs are compatible with the iPod :rolleyes:

Ha ze
Jan 4, 2008, 10:28 AM
So, does that mean iTunes Plus from Sony/BMG coming very soon?

More then likely not very quickly.
The companies seem to be going this route with Amazon in an attempt to reduce the market power iTunes has.
What I don't understand is, if you have consumers or customers, who are buying your products, and this seems to be the only way they are buying them now (digital v. physical) why try to make it more difficult then for the consumer? That's not even a technological question, its just plain smart business.

this sucks


there goes apple

now it will file bankrupt

/sarcasm?

notjustjay
Jan 4, 2008, 10:29 AM
Now all we need is for these guys to recognize that there is more to the world than just the United States.

soosy
Jan 4, 2008, 10:31 AM
In 5 years, DRM will be ancient history and we'll look back and wonder why anyone ever put up with it in the first place.

err404
Jan 4, 2008, 10:31 AM
...a more user-friendly, convenient integration system than iTunes for managing content between computer and Mp3 player...


The only problem is that iTunes isn't what it used to be in the Windows market. I like the interface, however it's just to fat. I actually bought my first MAC a year ago largely due to the horrible performance of iTunes for Windows. Don't underestimate how important the iTunes/iPod lock-in has been for Apple. The good news is that this might force Apple to step up their game on PC's.

While I agree that this is good thing in the short term (I refuse to buy DRM'ed music), this is just a first move in a long term strategy to increase the cost per song. If the recording industry was serious about removing DRM, they wouldn't be locking out iTMS.

overcast
Jan 4, 2008, 10:33 AM
Now all we need is for these guys to recognize that there is more to the world than just the United States.
Canada doesn't count.

hayesk
Jan 4, 2008, 10:35 AM
I don't understand why the labels want to take "power" away from the iTMS. Do they try to take power away from other retail outlets like WalMart, HMV, or Virgin?

The iTMS is just a store. It makes them money - it's in their best interests to support the iTMS - especially since that's where all the iPod users are going to end up shopping. They're not going to go to some random music web site that they don't even know where it is. In fact, most of my relatives can barely find Amazon - when they remember that it exists - and they do own iPods.

SFC Archer
Jan 4, 2008, 10:39 AM
I just don't get it.

I prefer iTunes (i don't care if it costs a bit more than others), and the only other online store I use for my DJing is beatport. The only quarm i have is i'd like longer previews.

So the labels that are not with iTunes are just missing out on my money.... I'm not the only one who thinks like this.

It's sad that record labels can be like they are.

The music labels have opened up and realized that the needs and desires of customers will continue doing the limewire thing until there is no need for it.

This is a major step in fixing the illegal sharing, however....and I totally agree with Trev....Opening up the DRM Free to only Amazon is really stupid and childish in the fact that they "think" they are sticking it to Apple when in all reality they are just hurting themselves and the artists with their childish "We can hurt Apple". What they fail to realize is that by opening their DRM free libraries they would double/triple their profits catering to those customers that buy the most music. Apple could really care less because their iPods and the like will continue being the number one PMP.

So...with that said: Great job and taking the DRM Free step Music Labels, now lets get over this child tantrum attitude and share with everyone...let the artists earn what they work for by expanding the market so that all can purchase where they want!!!

twoodcc
Jan 4, 2008, 10:41 AM
well i guess this is good for the people.

err404
Jan 4, 2008, 10:42 AM
I don't understand why the labels want to take "power" away from the iTMS.

Because iTMS doesn't allow for variable pricing. The labels feel that some songs are worth more than 99 cents.

chicagostars
Jan 4, 2008, 10:45 AM
For the industry as a whole this is good news...no DRM on music is what consumers want. Question is what price are they going to stabilize at. 99cents for old tracks? $2.49 for new ones?

I'm curious what would be the ultimate priscing structure....

I don't think the DRM issue is as big as many of us on message boards make it; most people in the general public aren't familiar and DRM encoded tracks fit their needs just fine. As long as they can easily access it in iTunes and get it on their iPod (not Zune, Sansa, et al.) they'll bop along on their merry way.

I do share in the curiosity about pricing. The big four definitely have issues with Apple's "one-size" pricing format, but I wonder what the ultimate consumer reaction will be to such a non-uniform, multi-tiered pricing format. Perhaps they're right in assuming that the desire to have the hot song of the moment will mean more than paying a higher price for that track -- some people already rack up hugh cell charges buying hot ringtones -- but I personally feel that in their ignorance, they overlook the fact that a lot of the success of iTunes is due to it's relative simplicity. Not only in structure, but possibly in pricing. Just one guy's opinion.

Any other thoughts on probable pricing setups?

Lone Deranger
Jan 4, 2008, 10:46 AM
And so, slowly, one by one they all come crawling back with their tails between their legs. :D

ChrisA
Jan 4, 2008, 10:50 AM
I wonder if Apple and Amazon couldn't parner on music sales. Amazon does this already with everything else they sell. They always point you to many other supliers even if they have the items. It turns out to be a good deal for everyone.

So, What if the iTunes store had the ability to sell a track from Amazon? When you buy it Apple passes the money on to Amazon.

Stevp1
Jan 4, 2008, 10:51 AM
Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't it these very same music companies in the beginning of all this that made Apple come up with a DRM scheme in the first place?

theBB
Jan 4, 2008, 10:53 AM
I don't think the DRM issue is as big as many of us on message boards make it; most people in the general public aren't familiar and DRM encoded tracks fit their needs just fine. As long as they can easily access it in iTunes and get it on their iPod (not Zune, Sansa, et al.) they'll bop along on their merry way.
I disagree. They notice as soon as they try to share their songs with their spouses or kids or when they try to use them as background music for a slideshow or home video.

Island Dog
Jan 4, 2008, 11:08 AM
I agree that DRM has been hyped up more than it actually affects people, but I'm still glad to see the companies moving in this direction.

Rychiar
Jan 4, 2008, 11:11 AM
i still don't understand why people use these services, just go buy a damn CD, then u get uncompressed music u can rip to whatever format u want. The only time i use itunes is for exclusives

vandlism
Jan 4, 2008, 11:13 AM
Here's what I am not getting. Apple was gung-ho about DRM free music and even started selling the songs at $1.29. Then the record companies decided to let other companies sell the same music at $.99 or less. Amazon and Wal-Mart come to mind. So now Apple sells the same music at $.99 but the record companies want higher prices? Why let some retailers sell for a low price then?

I have a hard time with all of this, personally. I mean, it's not exactly the biggest concern of mine, but it is whenever I go to buy music. I am perfectly content with iTMS songs at 256 kbps. But if a new album I want is not available then I will go buy the CD. Amazon is a good thing, don't get me wrong, but I don't want to be buying MP3s. It's had its day, but I am not getting good enough sound at 256 MP3 for the amount of space the songs take up on my MacBook's hard drive, I feel.

I imagine the record companies are experimenting still with DRM and don't want to go full force into letting iTunes go DRM free, as they probably believe it will lead to piracy of the songs. Personally, I disagree and would love to buy my music there....but I dunno.

Maybe Apple is sick of this industry, and that's why they are setting out to create their own label.

bdkennedy1
Jan 4, 2008, 11:13 AM
My... what a game is being played.

lewisg1212
Jan 4, 2008, 11:17 AM
bankruptcy!? what the...people who dont buy there music from itunes gets it from limewire, or some other P2P software. too little too late sony.

vandlism
Jan 4, 2008, 11:17 AM
i still don't understand why people use these services, just go buy a damn CD, then u get uncompressed music u can rip to whatever format u want. The only time i use itunes is for exclusives

CDs aren't going to be around forever. Besides, have you ever bought a song on an iPod or iPhone? Blows the concept of CDs away.

yoman
Jan 4, 2008, 11:18 AM
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU like Mac OS X; en) AppleWebKit/420.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.0 Mobile/3B48b Safari/419.3)

For the industry as a whole this is good news...no DRM on music is what consumers want.

Actually, most people don't even know what DRM is.

this is true. I should probably rephrase that Digital consumers tend to loathe DRM.

err404
Jan 4, 2008, 11:19 AM
I agree that DRM has been hyped up more than it actually affects people, but I'm still glad to see the companies moving in this direction.

It's a big deal in that different vendors refuse to use the same standards. I used to shrug it off until I tried to play songs from my iPod connected to an xBox360 (or any audio streaming receiver) and realized that I only had problems with songs I had paid for on iTMS.

DRM is fine in theory, but it can't be implemented transparently so long as hardware vendors have separate interests.

Mr. Zorg
Jan 4, 2008, 11:21 AM
So, does that mean iTunes Plus from Sony/BMG coming very soon?
Please, Sony/BMG, please??? Some of us like getting all our stuff from one central place.

jephrey
Jan 4, 2008, 11:25 AM
It'll be news when the files are lossless. It was only a matter of time for DRM-free to win out, but for myself and others like me (and it's not a snobby, elitist view, it's just a matter of hey, you stripped my audio file of data!) we feel that mp3, aac, or any lossy compression is only acceptable if that is all there is available. Unfortunately, that's the case a lot of times. Space saving is the only logical reason to compress something to a lossy codec but drives are getting bigger and and audio files (at least if you stay at 44.1/16) are staying the same size. In a few years, there will be no real reason to encode to a lossy codec.

But what's the lossless advantage if you can't audibly tell the difference? Call it the gene pool. cd>mp3>cd>mp3 even if both encodes were at 256k would probably sound like a 96k mp3, and anyone can hear that. Lossless is within a few bits of the original no matter the number of times it's burned/converted.

so re-import your collection lossless and give up this mess.

thanks,

Jeff

sonictonic
Jan 4, 2008, 11:25 AM
I love how this is announced and yet they do not tell you where the heck to purchase the DRM-free songs. WTF? :confused:

And for the people saying the companies are slowly crawling "back to Apple" can someone explain that? I don't see that at all. It seems to me that the companies are in fact "punishing" Apple by only making the DRM free stuff on Amazon, etc. I'm really hoping Sony BMG doesn't do this too. When will these jackass idiots realize that CONVENIENCE is important to their customers too!

Consultant
Jan 4, 2008, 11:25 AM
Because iTMS doesn't allow for variable pricing. The labels feel that some songs are worth more than 99 cents.

Well they think all songs are worth more than 99 cents, and they want to go back to the CD era where they "bundle" 2 hit songs and some average songs for $18.

These bonehead companies apparently can't remember that it is Apple that popularized the digital purchase of music with the ease of use of iTunes (when the option is FREE file sharing).

So iTunes wins when competing with free file sharing.
The question is would iTunes win when the competition is "variable (high) pricing" and "bundling" (inclusion of songs you do not want and making you pay for it)?

e-coli
Jan 4, 2008, 11:26 AM
I love how the record companies see iTunes and Apple as a competitor now. The company that actually made the working model and tools that changed the music distribution landscape. Sad.

Can't wait to see the new pricing for the DRM free music. My hunch is that it isn't going to be consumer friendly. Or artist friendly for that manner. Most bands are signed under contracts that don't include royalties on digital music sales.

But I could be wrong.

err404
Jan 4, 2008, 11:27 AM
i still don't understand why people use these services, just go buy a damn CD, then u get uncompressed music u can rip to whatever format u want. The only time i use itunes is for exclusives

The thing is, I DONT want a CD or the hassle of going out to buy one. For me a CD is unwanted packaging for the data that I do want. When I get a CD I rip it and throw it away. I don't want to have boxes is jewel cases taking up space in my apartment.

Peace
Jan 4, 2008, 11:31 AM
Oh yes this is going to hurt Apple so much seeing as how these songs are compatible with the iPod :rolleyes:


It's going to hurt AAPL..

More then likely not very quickly.
The companies seem to be going this route with Amazon in an attempt to reduce the market power iTunes has.
What I don't understand is, if you have consumers or customers, who are buying your products, and this seems to be the only way they are buying them now (digital v. physical) why try to make it more difficult then for the consumer? That's not even a technological question, its just plain smart
business.

/sarcasm?

These companies are teetering on the brink of collusion and price fixing imho.


In 5 years, DRM will be ancient history and we'll look back and wonder why anyone ever put up with it in the first place.

In 10 years we will wonder why we bought crappy mp3 files instead of lossless or WAV.

sonictonic
Jan 4, 2008, 11:31 AM
I love how the record companies see iTunes and Apple as a competitor now. The company that actually made the working model and tools that changed the music distribution landscape. Sad.



I totally agree.

SilentLoner
Jan 4, 2008, 11:31 AM
The record companies are panicking and scared that the major player in the industry is now apple and not the record companies themselves.

SFC Archer
Jan 4, 2008, 11:33 AM
The thing is, I DONT want a CD or the hassle of going out to buy one. For me a CD is unwanted packaging for the data that I do want. When I get a CD I rip it and throw it away. I don't want to have boxes is jewel cases taking up space in my apartment.

Gee...can I have your CD's before you throw them away?:D

I'll pay the postage:eek:

mrgreen4242
Jan 4, 2008, 11:35 AM
I wonder if Apple and Amazon couldn't parner on music sales. Amazon does this already with everything else they sell. They always point you to many other supliers even if they have the items. It turns out to be a good deal for everyone.

So, What if the iTunes store had the ability to sell a track from Amazon? When you buy it Apple passes the money on to Amazon.
Or at least some sort of plugin for iTunes that let's you browse the Amazon store and download music into your iTunes library automatic like...


i still don't understand why people use these services, just go buy a damn CD, then u get uncompressed music u can rip to whatever format u want. The only time i use itunes is for exclusives

Blech. You want me to buy 11 songs I don't want for 1 or 2 that I do? Then I have to drive to the store w/ $3/gal gas, and rip it, and store the CD somewhere, after I've thrown away the shrink wrap and shopping bag it came it. Basically, the convenience of buying single tracks at a reasonable price + practically 0 environmental impact are iTMS biggest strengths.

Also, stop calling CD's (and WAV's or other lossless codecs encoded from CDs) lossless. They lose audio data during the digitization process. They are merely higher perceived quality than other file types at lower bitrates. I've plenty of blind surveys done indicating that 80%+ of listeners can't hear the difference from 128k AAC to CD, and that number climbs with higher bitrates to practically 100% at over 256kbs.

ToneFREQ
Jan 4, 2008, 11:37 AM
Because iTMS doesn't allow for variable pricing. The labels feel that some songs are worth more than 99 cents.

I think that the greedy labels will get what they deserve eventually. Apple was the only online music retailer that was paying the artist a more than fair share of the purchase price. Now the labels are undercutting Apple's pricing and offering DRM free music as a means of getting consumers to defect from ITMS. Once that happens, 2 things will occur:

1. Apple will cave into allowing the labels to set their own pricing.
2. The labels will raise the pricing on all music sold online.

Once consumers see that new pricing structure and determine that they aren't willing to pay for it, there will be plenty of DRM free music for them to start stealing again. So in the end, the labels lose, the artists lose. Not very smart on the record label's part I'm afraid.

In the meantime, buying tracks at a reduced price from Amazon just means that the artist will be paid less of a share than through ITMS. I'm sure that the label isn't taking less of a cut from the sale price of songs. They will screw the artist over as a means to an end. It is unfortunate but mark my words, this will all happen.

Jeff Meredith
Jan 4, 2008, 11:38 AM
I think it is good that they are selling DRM free music. This is a good alternative for those who pirate music. However, it is very bad that they are not selling it on the iTunes Music store.

They are not only saying FU to Apple, they are also saying FU to all of Apple's iTunes customers including me. I'm sure they also don't want to let iTunes existing customers upgrade their content for free. Rather have them buy it again.

I'd love to buy iTunes Plus music for all of my catalog. I upgraded all of my content when the option was available. I'd do it again for .30 per track or something reasonable.

I don't want to go to another store to buy my music. I don't want to keep track of which artist is DRM Free and available on Amazon versus iTunes. It's not worth it.

Steve is a good businessman and has been the staunchest and highest profile advocate for removing DRM. He is also a music fan. I know where my loyalty lies. I know who wants me to enjoy music and profit from it and who wants to screw me or sue me at every opportunity. Thanks but no thanks.

And yes it will benefit the sales of MP3 players including iPhones and iPods especially.

1984
Jan 4, 2008, 11:38 AM
Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't it these very same music companies in the beginning of all this that made Apple come up with a DRM scheme in the first place?

Yes, and it was these very same companies that complained when Steve Jobs posted that manifesto of his stating the record companies should drop DRM all together. The CEO of Warner pretty much said he was crazy and should mind his own business. Now they are offering DRM free music themselves.

CWallace
Jan 4, 2008, 11:40 AM
Avatar74 nailed it.

Even if you can't buy the song using iTunes, you can still manage the song in iTunes.

So just download it from Amazon or Wal-Mart or whomever, drop it into your music folder, copy it into iTunes, and you're done.

I can understand folks who own no music other then what they bought from the iTunes Store having no idea how to copy music from other sources into iTunes, but how many folks are that, really?

err404
Jan 4, 2008, 11:42 AM
Well they think all songs are worth more than 99 cents, and they want to go back to the CD era where they "bundle" 2 hit songs and some average songs for $18.

These bonehead companies apparently can't remember that it is Apple that popularized the digital purchase of music with the ease of use of iTunes (when the option is FREE file sharing).

So iTunes wins when competing with free file sharing.
The question is would iTunes win when the competition is "variable (high) pricing", "bundling" of songs at a higher price?

Their wont be an iTMS with fixed pricing to compete with. They cant pull out of iTMS yet because there isn't a viable alternative. So first they have to build that alternative.

Step 1. Support resellers who allows for variable pricing by offering lower cost and DRM free.

Step 2. Over time consumers move to the "superior" value

Step 3. Labels pull out of iTMS saying that "iTMS is bad for the consumer"

Step 4. Raise the price.

or

Step 1. Support resellers who allows for variable pricing by offering lower cost and DRM free.

Step 2. Over time consumers move to the "superior" value

Step 3. Apple gives in and allows for variable pricing

Step 4. Raise the price.

EagerDragon
Jan 4, 2008, 11:43 AM
A mix news:

On the negative side lots of DRM free music will be available at vendors other than iTune store.

But even bigger and positive to Apple, is that the music will still play on the iPods, so it will still drive sales of the device.

Thataboy
Jan 4, 2008, 11:44 AM
You throw them out?! :eek:

If you can't give it to a friend or family member, do what I do. Wait until you have a handful of CD's, and then bring them to the wherehouse or other music store that buys used CD's! You can make a little money back, and sometimes they even give you more for them if you take store credit, so you can buy more music. Works pretty well IMO. :)

Or even better... join Lala.com -- awesome CD swapping website.

joemama
Jan 4, 2008, 11:49 AM
i still don't understand why people use these services, just go buy a damn CD, then u get uncompressed music u can rip to whatever format u want. The only time i use itunes is for exclusives

What's a CD?

Thataboy
Jan 4, 2008, 11:52 AM
I completely see why Jobs insisted on non-variable pricing in the first several years of iTMS. People had to get used to buying music legitimately online. Variable pricing would have been confusing and impede adoption of the business model.

That was then. iTMS is now a powerhouse. People are used to buying music online and there is finally a true competitor in Amazon. Therefore, I think it is time for Jobs to allow variable pricing in iTMS. If that is what is holding back the labels from going iTunes+, then that truly sucks. At this stage, would it be TRULY that confusing and upsetting to see an $0.89 or a $0.99 or a $1.09 in front of a track, and checking it before you click Buy? iTMS already allows variable pricing with albums. If anything, I bet it is MORE confusing to the average consumer that some tracks are + and some aren't.

Making the whole iTMS iTunes+ is way more important than non-variable pricing in 2008. And then we can talk about offering Apple Lossless for a small premium (please? PLEASE??) :)

EagerDragon
Jan 4, 2008, 11:54 AM
Actually, most people don't even know what DRM is.

Great point, as long as the music is available in iTunes, the large unwashed masses will purchase from iTunes since they don't know what DRM is and as such it would make no difference to them.

Love to hear numbers about percentages of users that know or care what DRM is (for music), and numbers of iPod users that also have other non-Apple devices they want to copy music to. (talking about unwash maseses, not you guys).

Stevp1
Jan 4, 2008, 11:57 AM
Yes, and it was these very same companies that complained when Steve Jobs posted that manifesto of his stating the record companies should drop DRM all together. The CEO of Warner pretty much said he was crazy and should mind his own business. Now they are offering DRM free music themselves.

Ok, as long as they're the crazy ones and not me!

nagromme
Jan 4, 2008, 12:00 PM
I wish Amazon used AAC/MP4, and the iTunes search and buying system can't be touched--but Amazon is iTunes-friendly, iPod-friendly AND Mac-friendly, and the MP3s are good quality. So I'll happily shop at Amazon too. Between Amazon and iTunes Plus, I like my options more and more.

SFC Archer
Jan 4, 2008, 12:03 PM
I think it is good that they are selling DRM free music. This is a good alternative for those who pirate music. However, it is very bad that they are not selling it on the iTunes Music store.

They are not only saying FU to Apple, they are also saying FU to all of Apple's iTunes customers including me. I'm sure they also don't want to let iTunes existing customers upgrade their content for free. Rather have them buy it again.

I'd love to buy iTunes Plus music for all of my catalog. I upgraded all of my content when the option was available. I'd do it again for .30 per track or something reasonable.

I don't want to go to another store to buy my music. I don't want to keep track of which artist is DRM Free and available on Amazon versus iTunes. It's not worth it.

Steve is a good businessman and has been the staunchest and highest profile advocate for removing DRM. He is also a music fan. I know where my loyalty lies. I know who wants me to enjoy music and profit from it and who wants to screw me or sue me at every opportunity. Thanks but no thanks.

And yes it will benefit the sales of MP3 players including iPhones and iPods especially.

Jeff...just so you know, the option is still available and is updated weekly. In the right hand box where you see "iTues Plus (NEW)" Click that button...it will check all of your old purchases before the DRM change and allow you to upgrade everyweek any new songs that have been updated. Check it weekly

Just infor for you!

EagerDragon
Jan 4, 2008, 12:06 PM
You throw them out?! :eek:

If you can't give it to a friend or family member, do what I do. Wait until you have a handful of CD's, and then bring them to the wherehouse or other music store that buys used CD's! You can make a little money back, and sometimes they even give you more for them if you take store credit, so you can buy more music. Works pretty well IMO. :)

That would be illigal, I do not believe the RIAA would like you to share your music with others in that way. I believe you can sell the CD but I believe you need to get rid of your copy first.

Then again acording to the RIAA, you are not suppoced to rip the CD to begin with, which I hope gets clarified in court soon. RIAA loves FUD.

antmeeks
Jan 4, 2008, 12:08 PM
Steve Jobs should capitalize on this development by going back to all the labels and saying "I'll let you price and package your music however you want, if you give me all the music DRM-free, and allow me to sell & rent all your movies through iTunes." Imagine any media in the world being available, ON-DEMAND, from your TV set-top and a remote. This would be a complete revolution where everyone wins. The entertainment companies open an exponentially growing revenue stream, Apple keeps selling the best software/hardware, and consumers are happy, happy, happy. I, for one, pledge that if this happens, my iPod, iPhone, and AppleTV will never again acquire content from any other source than iTunes.

err404
Jan 4, 2008, 12:09 PM
You throw them out?! :eek:

If you can't give it to a friend or family member, do what I do. Wait until you have a handful of CD's, and then bring them to the wherehouse or other music store that buys used CD's! You can make a little money back, and sometimes they even give you more for them if you take store credit, so you can buy more music. Works pretty well IMO. :)

I was moving at the time and wanted to reduce boxes. Some of my friends picked through them first. Since then I have largely avoided buying CD's and DRM.

And no, I don't download music illegally (the RIAA is to scary), I abstain where possible. The industry has really turned my off as a consumer. I listen to mainly older or free music.

I only buy what I really like and only if I can do so DRM free.

jholzner
Jan 4, 2008, 12:09 PM
i still don't understand why people use these services, just go buy a damn CD, then u get uncompressed music u can rip to whatever format u want. The only time i use itunes is for exclusives

Probably because people don't want the whole album. That's why I buy digitally.

PNW
Jan 4, 2008, 12:10 PM
Their wont be an iTMS with fixed pricing to compete with. They cant pull out of iTMS yet because there isn't a viable alternative. So first they have to build that alternative.

Step 1. Support resellers who allows for variable pricing by offering lower cost and DRM free.

Step 2. Over time consumers move to the "superior" value

Step 3. Labels pull out of iTMS saying that "iTMS is bad for the consumer"

Step 4. Raise the price.

or

Step 1. Support resellers who allows for variable pricing by offering lower cost and DRM free.

Step 2. Over time consumers move to the "superior" value

Step 3. Apple gives in and allows for variable pricing

Step 4. Raise the price.

Step 5. People who said "why steal what I can get legally for a buck", start saying "why pay three bucks for something I can get for free".

SFC Archer
Jan 4, 2008, 12:10 PM
That would be illigal, I do not believe the RIAA would like you to share your music with others in that way. I believe you can sell the CD but I believe you need to get rid of your copy first.

Then again acording to the RIAA, you are not suppoced to rip the CD to begin with, which I hope gets clarified in court soon. RIAA loves FUD.

The ones I have seen do not give money for them...They give in store credit to use on other CD's/DVD's.

They also do it for VHS. Its like a trade two for one type thing...no money leaves the store...only pawn shops do that. Again...this is for the ones I have seen, there may be others.

ooops...disregard...i see your intent, misread your statement. Still see alot of warehouses doing the 2 for 1 trade/in store credit thing and they haven't been sued...yet, but I think you are right in the "legal" side of things.

brewcitywi
Jan 4, 2008, 12:12 PM
I can finally stop worrying about germs when I order songs.

Do you know how many times, in the past year, that I have had to wipe down my keyboard, and run anti-virus software? After the Zeppelin boxed set download...I had to do a clean install after I got an ear infection. And you know that it's not covered under my health insurance!

Help!!! DRM quick!

I don't want to have to call the exterminator again!

-Music Lover

err404
Jan 4, 2008, 12:12 PM
Steve Jobs should capitalize on this development by going back to all the labels and saying "I'll let you price and package your music however you want, if you give me all the music DRM-free, and allow me to sell & rent all your movies through iTunes." Imagine any media in the world being available, ON-DEMAND, from your TV set-top and a remote. This would be a complete revolution where everyone wins. The entertainment companies open an exponentially growing revenue stream, Apple keeps selling the best software/hardware, and consumers are happy, happy, happy. I, for one, pledge that if this happens, my iPod, iPhone, and AppleTV will never again acquire content from any other source than iTunes.

and have 1/2 hour TV shows at $5 an episode? no thank you.

CWallace
Jan 4, 2008, 12:13 PM
I suppose if the RIAA and MPAA do re-define fair use to not allow you playing CDs except in CD players and DVDs except in DVD players and outlaws DVRs, folks will just read e-books. :p

EagerDragon
Jan 4, 2008, 12:16 PM
The ones I have seen do not give money for them...They give in store credit to use on other CD's/DVD's.

They also do it for VHS. Its like a trade two for one type thing...no money leaves the store...only pawn shops do that. Again...this is for the ones I have seen, there may be others.

While unlikely that the RIAA may go after you, they still can, and by posting already said that was guilty. So easy case, LOL.

SFC Archer
Jan 4, 2008, 12:18 PM
While unlikely that the RIAA may go after you, they still can, and by posting already said that was guilty. So easy case, LOL.

i agree...caught myself...see your previous post...i fixed my statement.

Sorry

LethalWolfe
Jan 4, 2008, 12:19 PM
I don't understand why the labels want to take "power" away from the iTMS. Do they try to take power away from other retail outlets like WalMart, HMV, or Virgin?
Wal-Mart, for example, is throwing it's weight around to hamstring online movie downloads because they are afraid those will undercut it's retail DVD sales. And since Wal-Mart is the number 1 DVD retailer it can use that power to leverage the movie studios to do what Wal-Mart wants. No company wants to be in a position where a retailer has enough leverage to dictate how that company runs it's business.

Of course a massive irony here is that Apple controls its retailers and resellers w/an iron fist and no one complains, but when, let's say, a record label wants similar control of how it's product is sold people bust out the pitchforks and torches.

Competition is good. I don't want Apple to be the only place to buy music and movies on line anymore than I don't want Apple to be the only place to buy computers or software.


Lethal

antmeeks
Jan 4, 2008, 12:25 PM
and have 1/2 hour TV shows at $5 an episode? no thank you. Uh, I don't think anyone would pay $5/episode. I never will. But I will rent them, buy entire seasons, and buy season passes..

SthrnCmfrtr
Jan 4, 2008, 12:30 PM
Also, stop calling CD's (and WAV's or other lossless codecs encoded from CDs) lossless. They lose audio data during the digitization process. They are merely higher perceived quality than other file types at lower bitrates. I've plenty of blind surveys done indicating that 80%+ of listeners can't hear the difference from 128k AAC to CD, and that number climbs with higher bitrates to practically 100% at over 256kbs.

Iit is called lossless because you can reconstruct the original information perfectly. No, I can't reconstruct Jimi Hendrix in my living room. I can't reconstruct Joni Mitchell either, not that I'd want to. Considering that data is lost in even an analog recording process, your definition of lossless is completely useless. The original, when a CD track or FLAC or ALAC file is being discussed, is the information on the CD -- so yes, a CD is a lossless copy of a CD. FLAC is a lossless copy of a CD. ALAC is a lossless copy of a CD.

The issue of perceived quality is one that comes up time and time again in these arguments. Personally, I can hear the difference between 128Kbps AAC and lossless. I sometimes hear the difference between 256Kbps AAC and lossless, depending on song and system. What I personally like to do is to keep an original in Apple Lossless and then re-encode the library in 128Kbps AAC for my iPod -- so I receive the benefits of improved sound quality for when I'm sitting around the house, and the benefit of increased storage capacity for when I'm jogging.

The catch is that, if I need to, I can re-encode my lossless library as lossy at any time and match the original lossy files. I cannot, however, reconstruct the lossless files from the lossy library. I burn CDs for my mom all the time -- and her car stereo only plays MP3 and WMA. Should I re-encode the 128Kbps AAC to MP3 of whatever bitrate? Obviously, the Lossless -> MP3 conversion would sound better. I used to have my entire library in MP3 -- should I have directly converted it to AAC? The storage requirement would have gone up and the sound quality would actually have been worse!

There are also some formats that must be stored as stereo lossless files because lossy compression will completely destroy the song -- DTS-encoded CDs, for instance, just sound like white noise when encoded lossily.

CWallace
Jan 4, 2008, 12:36 PM
The catch is that, if I need to, I can re-encode my lossless library as lossy at any time and match the original lossy files. I cannot, however, reconstruct the lossless files from the lossy library.

Bingo.

I rip my entire CD library to FLAC because I know it's as good (enough) as the original CD should I chose to re-encode it in a new format, it is easier to just make a copy of the FLACs to re-encode instead of re-ripping my entire CD library in the new format.

mklos
Jan 4, 2008, 12:41 PM
i still don't understand why people use these services, just go buy a damn CD, then u get uncompressed music u can rip to whatever format u want. The only time i use itunes is for exclusives

Because I'm not going to pay $13 for a CD and only use 2 or 3 songs off it. Thats just plain stupid. Also, I'd have to extract the songs off the CD, get the CD cover, and enter in the information into iTunes. If I buy off iTunes or Amazon, all of the above is done for me and I ONLY get the songs I want for the right price. I'm not concerned with the format ITMS songs come in or anything else. I'd put them into the same format anyways. Also, I don't want thousands of CDs kicking around my house either. And its illegal to just give the CD away and keep the songs I wanted on my Mac. Thats the same as just downloading the songs illegally.

theBB
Jan 4, 2008, 12:49 PM
At this stage, would it be TRULY that confusing and upsetting to see an $0.89 or a $0.99 or a $1.09 in front of a track, and checking it before you click Buy? iTMS already allows variable pricing with albums. If anything, I bet it is MORE confusing to the average consumer that some tracks are + and some aren't.
All CDs are not the same price, so it would not be unheard of to sell tracks at different prices. However, the labels are not trying to sell some songs at $1.09, they are trying to sell them at $2.50 or $5. In the end, it is their product to sell, but as a consumer I'd rather pay less, so I support Apple.

I think labels are probably gonna give Amazon a year or so to establish itself as a viable competitor. However, if iTunes still holds on to a large marketshare, they may give up and start selling all of their songs DRM-free on iTunes at 99c. If iTunes start losing too much money and marketshare, Apple probably will give in. I am curious, who will blink first?

surferfromuk
Jan 4, 2008, 12:54 PM
What I don't understand is how Amazon are any different to Apple?

They are just a distributor - who already have a near 'monopoly' on online CD sales and now the labels are going to help them become a dominate force in digital music sales.

Sounds like they've jumped out of the fire and into the frying pan to me.

Secondly, are they going to allow Apple to sell the same music DRM free - if not could that not be construed as deliberate and constructive anti-competitive collusion?

Talk about biting the hand that fed them.

CWallace
Jan 4, 2008, 01:02 PM
What I don't understand is how Amazon are any different to Apple?

They aren't, that I can see.

It's just another revenue stream driven by a new way to distribute the same content.

Also, Amazon sells a variety of PMPs (not just the iPod), so they no doubt hope that online music sales will help drive sales of their entire product category (some which may have better mark-ups the the iPod). Of course, if it also sells more iPods, I doubt they would lament that. :)

redfirebird08
Jan 4, 2008, 01:03 PM
Because iTMS doesn't allow for variable pricing. The labels feel that some songs are worth more than 99 cents.

And that some are worth less, like intros and such.

blehpunk
Jan 4, 2008, 01:06 PM
Gee...can I have your CD's before you throw them away?:D

I'll pay the postage:eek:


wish you said that before, i just threw away like 500 cds

LethalWolfe
Jan 4, 2008, 01:06 PM
Because I'm not going to pay $13 for a CD and only use 2 or 3 songs off it. Thats just plain stupid. Also, I'd have to extract the songs off the CD, get the CD cover, and enter in the information into iTunes.
Why do you enter the info by hand instead of letting iTunes download the info itself?


Lethal

CWallace
Jan 4, 2008, 01:09 PM
Why do you enter the info by hand instead of letting iTunes download the info itself?

Very new releases sometimes don't yet have their info entered.

Also, I buy a shedload of Japanese CDs and most of the data is in kanji/kana. I prefer to search via English, so I need to re-label them.

err404
Jan 4, 2008, 01:13 PM
What I don't understand is how Amazon are any different to Apple?


Apple dictates the pricing for the songs/albums. Amazon doesn't. The labels want to regain this control that was lost when iTMS began to dominate online music sales.

audioruckus
Jan 4, 2008, 01:23 PM
I wish Amazon used AAC/MP4, and the iTunes search and buying system can't be touched--but Amazon is iTunes-friendly, iPod-friendly AND Mac-friendly, and the MP3s are good quality. So I'll happily shop at Amazon too. Between Amazon and iTunes Plus, I like my options more and more.

I totally agree here.

I love itunes as a music store, and have probably bought over 800 songs from it over the past few years. The interface is so user friendly, and the layout helps me discover bands I've never heard of before with their suggestions.

HOWEVER..if Amazon has a bigger selection of DRM free 256kbps encoded mp3's...sorry thats where I'm shopping. I've used Amazon before and have no complaints and love how it intergrates with my itunes library.

Lately I've been browsing using itunes, and buying from Amazon.

dmelgar
Jan 4, 2008, 01:27 PM
Because iTMS doesn't allow for variable pricing. The labels feel that some songs are worth more than 99 cents.
I haven't seen higher priced songs on Amazon, just lower. Again it seems as if the labels are so mad at Apple that they're shooting themselves in the foot to spite Apple... but just hurting themselves.

LethalWolfe
Jan 4, 2008, 01:28 PM
Also, I buy a shedload of Japanese CDs and most of the data is in kanji/kana. I prefer to search via English, so I need to re-label them.
That makes sense.


Lethal

theBB
Jan 4, 2008, 01:30 PM
I love itunes as a music store, and have probably bought over 800 songs from it over the past few years. The interface is so user friendly, and the layout helps me discover bands I've never heard of before with their suggestions.
I like iTunes interface a lot, but eMusic helped me discover a lot more new music. It is not a replacement for iTunes, but for some reason eMusic's recommendations were more interesting. I don't have a subscription now, but the first couple of months was a lot of fun.

dmelgar
Jan 4, 2008, 01:32 PM
i still don't understand why people use these services, just go buy a damn CD, then u get uncompressed music u can rip to whatever format u want. The only time i use itunes is for exclusives

Why not? Because if you buy the CD you have to buy the whole album even if there's only one good song.

Because you have to drive to the store and pick up the CD, go through the effort of ripping etc., when you could have had instant gratification just buying it through iTunes.

And besides, the RIAA recently said that its stealing to rip your legally bought CD even for your own personal use!! So we're all criminals anyway, might as well get instant gratification for free from Limewire.

bozs13
Jan 4, 2008, 01:33 PM
Awesome....I love anything that gives me more freedom. Go non-drm!


Buuuuut, not being exclusive to Amazon is really pissing me off. It makes me want to NOT buy it on Amazon. Yep, I'm an apple fan, so what.

I really hope Apple starts their own pseudo-record company with Jay-Z or whoever like rumors are saying. The new business plan that has been rumored would totally obliterate these record companies that are being partial towards one media outlet.

Oh man, would I love to see the look on their faces as one by one, the artists' contracts are up and they join up with Apple which will in turn benefit them (the artists) as well. And then we can have lossless (or near lossless) :)

Well...I can dream...but it might not be that far-fetched.

dmelgar
Jan 4, 2008, 01:34 PM
Maybe Apple is sick of this industry, and that's why they are setting out to create their own label.
Maybe thats why the labels are so pissed at Apple. Maybe the rumor of Apple's own label is true after all. Why would they want to sell their songs through a store thats also a directly competitive label?

bozs13
Jan 4, 2008, 01:38 PM
Maybe thats why the labels are so pissed at Apple. Maybe the rumor of Apple's own label is true after all. Why would they want to sell their songs through a store thats also a directly competitive label?

Eg friggin xactly!

err404
Jan 4, 2008, 01:40 PM
I haven't seen higher priced songs on Amazon, just lower. Again it seems as if the labels are so mad at Apple that they're shooting themselves in the foot to spite Apple... but just hurting themselves.

Variable pricing is the reason why the Labels are mad at Apple in the first place. The labels need to draw market share away from iTSM to regain pricing control. The lower price and DRM free on Amazon are the means to this. Once iTMS is out of the way, the labels will be in a position to institute the pricing changes that they originally requested of Apple.

In the end, neither side is good or bad, but this is business motivation behind the move.

dmelgar
Jan 4, 2008, 01:43 PM
In 10 years we will wonder why we bought crappy mp3 files instead of lossless or WAV.
I don't think so. mp3 or aac is plenty good enough. Everything is moving that way. Ever seen a lossless DVD? Doesn't exist. DVDs are mpeg encoded video. HD-DVD, that must be lossless? Nope, still mpeg compression just at a higher video resolution.

HD-Radio? Compressed.

Everything will be compressed in the future.

Audiophiles talk about the days of tube amplifiers etc. Whatever. There comes a point where the majority of the public thinks the quality is good enough. The priority becomes something else. In this case the convenience of being able to download and move around an mp3/aac file greatly outweighs a minuscule audio difference that most people can't notice anyway.

err404
Jan 4, 2008, 01:50 PM
Maybe thats why the labels are so pissed at Apple. Maybe the rumor of Apple's own label is true after all. Why would they want to sell their songs through a store thats also a directly competitive label?

Their actions don't make sense from a business point of view with that explanation. Competing labels start all the time, why would they risk there own profits to stop the latest one? Especially in a way that would have no impact an Apple labels viability?

Besides, the labels have been pretty clear why they are mad, and it's pricing control.

bozs13
Jan 4, 2008, 01:53 PM
Their actions don't make sense from a business point of view with that explanation. Compeating labels start all the time, why would they risk there own profits to stop the latest one? Especially in a way that would have not impact an Apple labels viability?

Besides, the labels have been pretty clear why they are mad, and it's pricing control.

Because this is no normal record label. I could see thousands and thousands of artists "switching" when their contracts are over. It's a totally different business model (the rumored one, mind you) than the traditional. And if I were BMG whatever I'd be shakin in my boots.

chicagostars
Jan 4, 2008, 01:57 PM
I don't think the DRM issue is as big as many of us on message boards make it; most people in the general public aren't familiar and DRM encoded tracks fit their needs just fine. As long as they can easily access it in iTunes and get it on their iPod (not Zune, Sansa, et al.) they'll bop along on their merry way.

I disagree. They notice as soon as they try to share their songs with their spouses or kids or when they try to use them as background music for a slideshow or home video.

What? Sharing songs with a spouse or kids presumably won't push the vast majority of users over the Apple's DRM limit for number of machines. I'm sure that there are some that do, but most households don't have over five computers.

Also, the DRM doesn't prevent them from easily using the songs in iLife's programs beyond iTunes or in Final Cut.

audioruckus
Jan 4, 2008, 01:57 PM
Audiophiles talk about the days of tube amplifiers etc. Whatever. There comes a point where the majority of the public thinks the quality is good enough. The priority becomes something else. In this case the convenience of being able to download and move around an mp3/aac file greatly outweighs a minuscule audio difference that most people can't notice anyway.

I agree with this for the most part. I notice a huge difference between 128 encoding and 256 encoding, especially with high quality headphones, but as I start to listen up and up to lossless etc, I dont notice the difference as much..there is a difference, but just not as big to me. I write and record music so the quality of sound is very important to me, however the size of downloadable files is also important, as is whether the format is compatible with most media players.

The silent majority seems fine with 128 mp3's. I personally think 256 should be the minimum standard, especially given the price comparison between a physical CD and an downloadable album, where most of the time the prices are very close.

The vocal minority usually screams for FLAC or something. Listening is highly subjective though so to each his or her own.

hagjohn
Jan 4, 2008, 01:58 PM
If I have the choice, I will buy DRM free anything.


With the RIAA now claiming you can't rip CD's, I doubt I will be buying any CD's anymore.

err404
Jan 4, 2008, 02:00 PM
Because this is no normal record label. I could see thousands and thousands of artists "switching" when their contracts are over. It's a totally different business model (the rumored one, mind you) than the traditional. And if I were BMG whatever I'd be shakin in my boots.

I agree that they need to be worried, however I don't think that the DRM move is related.
The reason I say this is because even if the label succeed and kill iTMS in favor of Amazon, Apple can just turn around and make a deal with Amazon.

dmelgar
Jan 4, 2008, 02:02 PM
I agree with this for the most part. I notice a huge difference between 128 encoding and 256 encoding, especially with high quality headphones, but as I start to listen up and up to lossless etc, I dont notice the difference as much..there is a difference, but just not as big to me. I write and record music so the quality of sound is very important to me, however the size of downloadable files is also important, as is whether the format is compatible with most media players.

The silent majority seems fine with 128 mp3's. I personally think 256 should be the minimum standard, especially given the price comparison between a physical CD and an downloadable album, where most of the time the prices are very close.

The vocal minority usually screams for FLAC or something. Listening is highly subjective though so to each his or her own.
I agree. In my personal listening tests, 128 mp3s can sound pretty bad. I'd never voluntarily chose that. I've even heard problems with 256k mp3s.

I have never noticed an issue with a 128k aac, but I probably haven't recognized what to listen for. I'm therefore ecstatic with a 256k aac.

I know of one intro to one song that sounds really bad at 256k mp3 that might also have a problem with aac, but I haven't tried it. Its such a rare occurrence that its not worth worrying about. This particular intro sounds like rain hitting glass or metal causing fast rythmic high pitched yet very quiet sounds. 256k mp3 makes it all garbled and unintelligible.

mklos
Jan 4, 2008, 02:04 PM
Why do you enter the info by hand instead of letting iTunes download the info itself?


Lethal

If I rip a song of a CD, iTunes isn't going to know what the song, artist, genre, etc is unless it just happens to be on the CD and imports with the song. I haven't purchased a CD in about 8 years so maybe things have changed since then. Anyways...I'd still rather buy just the songs I want and now a CD of 13 songs and only use 2 or 3 of them.

Also, lets remember that Apple can easily survive without the music store. Yes, its nice that they have the store, but if it ever falls through it doesn't mean they're dusted. Apple doesn't make a heck of a lot of money off it, there are other stores that sell music that works with the iPod which wasn't true when the iTunes Store first started. I believe that was the whole reason why Apple started the store was to boost iPods sales because there were a viable source to get music to your iPod without stealing it. Now there are other ways to get music.

CWallace
Jan 4, 2008, 02:12 PM
The existing recording labels are more then just distributors. They are also producers and promoters. So Apple launching their own "label" to attract artists means they need to do more then just distribute the songs on the iTunes Music Store. They also need to produce them and promote them.

And those recording labels spend a great deal of money producing and promoting bands that go nowhere. Is Apple going to invest hundreds of millions supporting new artists and hope they strike gold enough times to cover the ones who are just dross? Or will they only label established artists?

And if Apple only labels established artists, where do the next generation of both new and established artists come from? The existing recording labels are not going to fund the production and promotion of a new artist into an established one just to watch them head over to Apple's label. If artists think existing contracts are onerous...

Apple wants cheap digital music so we will buy expensive digital iPods. All of the other PMP producers no doubt want the same, so I am not singling Apple out here.

The labels only charge us $1 a track for the CD, but we have to buy all 15 tracks even if we want just one. If every track is available for digital download for $1 and we are allowed to buy only that one track we want, the record label just lost $14. Now, I expect they wish they could charge us $13.60 for that track and $0.10 for every other track, but they are willing to settle for $2 or $3 since it's more then $1, but also cheap enough that they hope it is cheap enough to be worth buying vs. downloading (though one might want to hear what Trent Reznor (http://www.nin.com/) had to say) it instead of buying the CD and paying $15 for that song.

theBB
Jan 4, 2008, 02:15 PM
What? Sharing songs with a spouse or kids presumably won't push the vast majority of users over the Apple's DRM limit for number of machines. I'm sure that there are some that do, but most households don't have over five computers.
A lot of households have more than five computer accounts. Authorizing my account on our iMac does not authorize my wife's account on the same machine. Each one of use have laptops, ooops four out of five is already gone with no kids.

CWallace
Jan 4, 2008, 02:15 PM
If I have the choice, I will buy DRM free anything. With the RIAA now claiming you can't rip CD's, I doubt I will be buying any CD's anymore.

Yet if the RIAA is successful in legislating/adjudicating making a digital copy of your CD to play on your computer or PMP illegal, the next step would be to make it illegal to copy a purchased and downloaded song on your computer to your PMP or a purchased and downloaded song on your PMP (via the iTunes Store button on the iPod/iPhone) to your computer.

The goal is to make you pay every time you listen to a song, no matter where, when, or on what device. Perpetual revenue.

theBB
Jan 4, 2008, 02:23 PM
The labels only charge us $1 a track for the CD, but we have to buy all 15 tracks even if we want just one. If every track is available for digital download for $1 and we are allowed to buy only that one track we want, the record label just lost $14.
Well, what if they sell more of that same track as more people will be willing to spend $1 than $15. I could also buy more songs from different artists some of whom are bound to be from that same label, as my entertainment budget is not tied up to that CD. They also do not have to spend money producing the filler songs that nobody wants, so that saves them money as well. In the end, I don't think labels would much worse than with CDs.

jephrey
Jan 4, 2008, 02:23 PM
The only true lossless audio is analog audio... Fine. Digitized audio can be upwards of 192Hz/48bit but much audio wasn't recorded at that fidelity anyhow. It's my personal belief that the audio should be distributed in its initial digitized state, but that's just me. I have a "why not?" attitude about it. However, in general, we call everything 44.1kHz/16bit "lossless". I'll tell you one thing. Someone is more likely to tell the diff between a 256k Mp3 and a CD, than between a cd and a 48/24 recording. But whatever.

Today, if you use AAC or MP3 at 256K, your library is about 1/3 the size of the same in FLAC or ALAC. In how long will your HD space triple? It takes 3X the time do download... What was your DL speed a few years ago compared to now? In how long will your DL speed triple? What would it take? 3 minutes opposed to 1? Is that worth a file missing data that someday you may be able to hear? I can appreciate the argument today, but I think the proponents of lossy audio should look a few years into the future and see that there will really be no need to remove data if you have plenty of room and the download takes say 30 seconds instead of 10.

With advances in audio technology, home audio, car audio etc, how long will it be before a good amount of people can hear a difference - on their home system? On their quality headphones? In their car?

The argument for lossless is not of being able to hear the difference... now, but it might be later. The argument is for always having a minimum of a CD quality track available to yourself at the temporary and minimal sacrifice of a percentage of your HD space and 3x the time downloads.

I hear ya SthrnCmfrtr, I have about 100 tracks and 20 entire albums to replace and I'll be all lossless.

J

mr.666
Jan 4, 2008, 02:24 PM
While I agree that this is good thing in the short term (I refuse to buy DRM'ed music), this is just a first move in a long term strategy to increase the cost per song. If the recording industry was serious about removing DRM, they wouldn't be locking out iTMS.


EXACTLY!!!! the GREEEEEDDDDYYY fux are up in arms cuz apple is hardball on the 99¢ (a good thing). in 5 years when they think it's safe to raise the price the backlash will result in RAMPANT IllEagal downloading again (full circle) GREED is not a long term business model!

Pandaboots
Jan 4, 2008, 02:34 PM
Why are all the companies anti Apple? Apple is responsible for all of this. I mean, why can't Apple be the "big dog" in one market for a change? Microsoft has dominated with their OS and other applications, but I don't recall them having these issues with other companies turning their backs on them or "sticking it to them". As for pricing, $.99 is awesome, but $1.30 isn't going to change my mind much on music. I like the simplicity of $.99 though. Give me DRM free 256K AAC Quality on iTunes or I'll stick with Limewire. I'm not going to pay for 128K DRM music and I'm not going to pay $15 for the cd for 1 or 2 songs. Hmm let's see, Amazon sells books, the kindle, most every other retail item in the world, I believe they have auctions similar to ebay, downloadable music and videos and tv shows and have alliances with what seems to be every other online retailer. I'd say Amazon doesn't need any more preferential treatment. These music and movie execs better open their eyes and support iTunes....how do these idiots get into these high end positions?

Chris Welch
Jan 4, 2008, 02:36 PM
I just don't get it.

I prefer iTunes (i don't care if it costs a bit more than others), and the only other online store I use for my DJing is beatport. The only quarm i have is i'd like longer previews.

So the labels that are not with iTunes are just missing out on my money.... I'm not the only one who thinks like this.

It's sad that record labels can be like they are.

Have you even tried Amazon MP3?

They've got just about everything working in their favor.

1. Better quality throughout their entire selection. Sure, Apple has iTunes Plus, but ALL of Amazons catalog is in the ~256 kbps range.
2. Better pricing on popular songs and albums. Period.
3. And for Mac users, the Amazon MP3 downloader couldn't be much better than it is right now. It integrates the songs you buy with iTunes perfectly. What more do you want?

pdjudd
Jan 4, 2008, 02:38 PM
Why are all the companies anti Apple? Apple is responsible for all of this. I mean, why can't Apple be the "big dog" in one market for a change?

Because when you have power, you really tend not to want to give that power up. That goes double for perceived power loss.

mr.666
Jan 4, 2008, 02:39 PM
Their wont be an iTMS with fixed pricing to compete with. They cant pull out of iTMS yet because there isn't a viable alternative. So first they have to build that alternative.

Step 1. Support resellers who allows for variable pricing by offering lower cost and DRM free.

Step 2. Over time consumers move to the "superior" value

Step 3. Labels pull out of iTMS saying that "iTMS is bad for the consumer"

Step 4. Raise the price.

or

Step 1. Support resellers who allows for variable pricing by offering lower cost and DRM free.

Step 2. Over time consumers move to the "superior" value

Step 3. Apple gives in and allows for variable pricing

Step 4. Raise the price.



Step 5. People who said "why steal what I can get legally for a buck", start saying "why pay three bucks for something I can get for free".

ding, ding, ding!!! we have a WINNER!
I WILL NEVER BUY DIGITAL FROM AMAZON for this very reason. anyone of you who thinks supporting them is "good or compitition" is an ass.

LethalWolfe
Jan 4, 2008, 02:43 PM
If I rip a song of a CD, iTunes isn't going to know what the song, artist, genre, etc is unless it just happens to be on the CD and imports with the song. I haven't purchased a CD in about 8 years so maybe things have changed since then.
iTunes (as well as other MP3 proggies) can access an on-line database that has the info on dang nearly every CD ever published so you don't need to manually enter the CD info except in super rare cases.


Anyways...I'd still rather buy just the songs I want and now a CD of 13 songs and only use 2 or 3 of them.

That's fine 'cause there's really no right or wrong way to shop it's all personal preference. For me, personally, I'd typically rather have the whole album unless I know for sure that there are no songs on there that I'll never, ever grow to like (no hidden gems or diamonds in the rough). For this same reason I rarely buy "best of" albums 'cause lots of artists have good songs that never became "hits."


Lethal

w00master
Jan 4, 2008, 02:44 PM
It's amazing to see people on these forums criticizing a service/provider (Amazon) that benefits everyone. Amazing.

Also, to comments that most "normal people don't know/care about DRM." Guess what, they SHOULD. People should be aware about the issues and problems behind DRM. Being "comfortable with DRM," isn't the answer it's part of the problem.

w00master

audioruckus
Jan 4, 2008, 02:46 PM
The only true lossless audio is analog audio... Fine. Digitized audio can be upwards of 192Hz/48bit but much audio wasn't recorded at that fidelity anyhow. It's my personal belief that the audio should be distributed in its initial digitized state, but that's just me. I have a "why not?" attitude about it. However, in general, we call everything 44.1kHz/16bit "lossless". I'll tell you one thing. Someone is more likely to tell the diff between a 256k Mp3 and a CD, than between a cd and a 48/24 recording. But whatever.

I agree, however in my opinion, now and even in the future, there are far more "passive" listeners out there than "active" listeners when it comes to music. If you are an active listener, then lossless is absolutely where you want to be, because that is the best experience. Active listeners hear a song in layers, with each instrument and sound standing on their own apart from the whole. They appreciate every little detail, and that makes recording music that much more fun.

However I feel most people hear music as a wall of sound, with the vocals overwhelmingly the one thing they listen to the most since they usually stand out front. The intricate sonic details that recording geeks (like myself) really get off on..well they just arent appreciated by the majority. Hence why I believe encoding at 256 isn't all that bad.

Im PERSONALLY all for the highest quality possible...and agree with you...if its available, why not?

mr.666
Jan 4, 2008, 02:56 PM
It's amazing to see people on these forums criticizing a service/provider (Amazon) that benefits everyone. Amazing.

w00master

AMAZON is well aware of what the record co's will attempt to rape you with later if it all works out. DONT LET THEM FOOL YOU! They'll sell you the vasoline for the reamming and band-aids to patch you back up too.

LethalWolfe
Jan 4, 2008, 02:57 PM
Why are all the companies anti Apple? Apple is responsible for all of this. I mean, why can't Apple be the "big dog" in one market for a change? Microsoft has dominated with their OS and other applications, but I don't recall them having these issues with other companies turning their backs on them or "sticking it to them".
I don't want Apple to become a giant monopoly abusing it's power like MS and I'm not sure why anyone would want that. There are lots of companies that have to tolerate M$ because M$ is so powerful just like there are lots of companies that have to tolerate Wal-Mart because Wal-Mart is so powerful. Before MS got busted for anti-trust violations do you really think companies like Dell or HP liked MS telling them how to run aspects of their business? Do you really think the movie studios like having companies like Wal-Mart dictating how the movie studios can distribute their products?

Competition keeps the market moving forward which is a good thing.


Lethal

w00master
Jan 4, 2008, 03:01 PM
AMAZON is well aware of what the record co's will attempt to rape you with later if it all works out. DONT LET THEM FOOL YOU! They'll sell you the vasoline for the reamming and band-aids to patch you back up too.

Guess what, that's when I'll find ANOTHER provider then. That's what this is COMPETITION. I go where I can to find what I need. Apple doesn't and shouldn't provide me with everything.

Do you buy everything through Apple? I hope not. So, why should Apple be my ONLY source? Right now Amazon is cheaper, has more selection in terms of DRM-free music, and the sound quality is just as good as iTunes Plus. Guess what, I'm gonna go there to buy the music that I want.

Once they change something to screw me over, guess what, I'll go somewhere else.

w00master

audioruckus
Jan 4, 2008, 03:07 PM
Guess what, that's when I'll find ANOTHER provider then. That's what this is COMPETITION. I go where I can to find what I need. Apple doesn't and shouldn't provide me with everything.

Do you buy everything through Apple? I hope not. So, why should Apple be my ONLY source? Right now Amazon is cheaper, has more selection in terms of DRM-free music, and the sound quality is just as good as iTunes Plus. Guess what, I'm gonna go there to buy the music that I want.

Once they change something to screw me over, guess what, I'll go somewhere else.

w00master

Hells Yes. I love Apple, have a macbook pro, 3 ipods, do all my recording with Logic, and use itunes for my music management as well as ALL my digital downloads...up until Amazon jumped into the scene with their high quality DRM free offerings. Now, I'm all for Amazon because they give me what I want more than iTMS. It's nothing personal.

People need to relax on this whole "iTunes is the only way" stuff. Amazon has really impressed me. I also liek Aime Street for some newer indie artists not available at iTMS and Amazon. There is a whole world out there!

mr.666
Jan 4, 2008, 03:10 PM
Guess what, that's when I'll find ANOTHER provider then. That's what this is COMPETITION. I go where I can to find what I need. Apple doesn't and shouldn't provide me with everything.

Do you buy everything through Apple? I hope not. So, why should Apple be my ONLY source? Right now Amazon is cheaper, has more selection in terms of DRM-free music, and the sound quality is just as good as iTunes Plus. Guess what, I'm gonna go there to buy the music that I want.

Once they change something to screw me over, guess what, I'll go somewhere else.

w00master

wow dude you dont get it. another provider wont help you, it'll be too late. you'll be looking a maybe $3.00 a song by then. amazon is only tempoaraly cheaper... believe it! when CD's first came out they we're $17 with promises that when the "caught on" manuf and dup cost went down prices would too. no such luck. Big oil see's peeps paying $3.50 a gal. cuz of a "shortage" when supplies return, you think you'll see $1.20 again? THE PROBLEM IS AT THE SOURCE. the only way will be a return to illegal D/L's -mad max style!

LethalWolfe
Jan 4, 2008, 03:13 PM
wow dude you dont get it. another provider wont help you, it'll be too late. you'll be looking a maybe $3.00 a song by then. amazon is only tempoaraly cheaper... believe it!
And your proof for us to "believe it!" is what now?

when CD's first came out they we're $17 with promises that when the "caught on" manuf and dup cost went down prices would too. no such luck.
Where do you shop 'cause I typically pay 10-15 dollars a CD and have for as long as I can remember.

Big oil see's peeps paying $3.50 a gal. cuz of a "shortage" when supplies return, you think you'll see $1.20 again?
Adjusted for inflation oil is cheaper now than it was in the 70's.


Lethal

mr.666
Jan 4, 2008, 03:13 PM
Guess what, that's when I'll find ANOTHER provider then. That's what this is COMPETITION. I go where I can to find what I need. Apple doesn't and shouldn't provide me with everything.

Do you buy everything through Apple? I hope not. So, why should Apple be my ONLY source? Right now Amazon is cheaper, has more selection in terms of DRM-free music, and the sound quality is just as good as iTunes Plus. Guess what, I'm gonna go there to buy the music that I want.

Once they change something to screw me over, guess what, I'll go somewhere else.

w00master

oh and COMPETITION would be the rec co's provideng the SAME DRM free content on BOTH apple AND amazon and seeing who sells the most then!

It's not about Apple or iTunes... It's about $.99.

Jetson
Jan 4, 2008, 03:14 PM
Apple's AAC tracks sound better than Amazon's MP3 tracks.

The MP3 tracks aren't bad - but AAC sounds so much better to my ears.

AAC codecs produce a copy that most closely resembles the original signal.

MP3 and WMA distort the signal appreciably.

Here is a link to an article showing oscilloscope analysis of various codecs.

http://www.tomshardware.com/2002/07/12/mobile_music/page6.html

audioruckus
Jan 4, 2008, 03:15 PM
wow dude you dont get it. another provider wont help you, it'll be too late. you'll be looking a maybe $3.00 a song by then. amazon is only tempoaraly cheaper... believe it! when CD's first came out they we're $17 with promises that when the "caught on" manuf and dup cost went down prices would too. no such luck. Big oil see's peeps paying $3.50 a gal. cuz of a "shortage" when supplies return, you think you'll see $1.20 again? THE PROBLEM IS AT THE SOURCE. the only way will be a return to illegal D/L's -mad max style!

$3 a song? Thats a tad on the dramatic side isnt it? I'd like to see you back that up with paperwork...

w00master
Jan 4, 2008, 03:17 PM
wow dude you dont get it. another provider wont help you, it'll be too late. you'll be looking a maybe $3.00 a song by then. amazon is only tempoaraly cheaper... believe it! when CD's first came out they we're $17 with promises that when the "caught on" manuf and dup cost went down prices would too. no such luck. Big oil see's peeps paying $3.50 a gal. cuz of a "shortage" when supplies return, you think you'll see $1.20 again? THE PROBLEM IS AT THE SOURCE. the only way will be a return to illegal D/L's -mad max style!

No, I don't think you get it. There are *ALWAYS* other sources for where I can buy my music. Always. I think the problem is that someone BESIDES APPLE is bringing a service that is excellent and you just cannot accept that. Grow up. I'll go where it benefits me, the consumer, the most. Besides, I can always rummage the CD bins. I did it before. I have no problem doing it again if so need be.

Also, bringing up oil prices in a discussion about where people buy their music? Wow, just wow. Two ENTIRELY different models. Two ENTIRELY different points of discussion.

I love Apple, but Apple isn't "God" to me. Apple is a company I love because it has brought brilliant products to me that I love to use, but they are not the "end all be all" thing in my life. There are more important things to me than a Tech company.

If wal-mart, best buy, whoever offered me a better deal than Apple for a product(s) that I want. Guess what, I'm gonna go there.

w00master

mr.666
Jan 4, 2008, 03:19 PM
And your proof for us to "believe it!" is what now?


Where do you shop 'cause I typically pay 10-15 dollars a CD and have for as long as I can remember.


Adjusted for inflation oil is cheaper now than it was in the 70's.


Lethal

the point is the media is dirt cheap, the printing is (mostly) digital, and the process is even more automated. i dont shop there but most chains (virgin, fye, tower R.I.P) charge 17-18 bux.

and gas was $1.20 like 4 yrs a go not in the 70's it was like 79¢ back then

w00master
Jan 4, 2008, 03:20 PM
Apple's AAC tracks sound better than Amazon's MP3 tracks.

The MP3 tracks aren't bad - but AAC sounds so much better to my ears.

AAC codecs produce a copy that most closely resembles the original signal.

MP3 and WMA distort the signal appreciably.

Here is a link to an article showing oscilloscope analysis of various codecs.

http://www.tomshardware.com/2002/07/12/mobile_music/page6.html

*shurgs* I could care less. My ears can't tell the difference, and most people cannot tell the difference.

There have been MANY studies testing this so-called "bitrate" issue. Guess what, nearly every study showed that NO ONE COULD TELL THE DIFFERENCE.

Even if YOU can tell the difference, I can't and 256 mp3s are more than good enough for me.

w00master

w00master
Jan 4, 2008, 03:22 PM
oh and COMPETITION would be the rec co's provideng the SAME DRM free content on BOTH apple AND amazon and seeing who sells the most then!

It's not about Apple or iTunes... It's about $.99.

It's competition between two stores. What does Amazon offer that iTunes doesn't? What does iTunes offers that Amazon doesn't? What do they both offer?

It doesn't matter, it's still competition whether you like it or not. If Amazon has a DRM-free track that Apple offers but with DRM. Guess what, to me Amazon has the better offer to me. I'm gonna buy it at Amazon.

w00master

mr.666
Jan 4, 2008, 03:23 PM
$3 a song? Thats a tad on the dramatic side isnt it? I'd like to see you back that up with paperwork...

haha, i said "maybe"... yes' a bit extream i kno.


it's not about Apple or iTunes it's about the 99¢

audioruckus
Jan 4, 2008, 03:23 PM
Apple's AAC tracks sound better than Amazon's MP3 tracks.

The MP3 tracks aren't bad - but AAC sounds so much better to my ears.

AAC codecs produce a copy that most closely resembles the original signal.

MP3 and WMA distort the signal appreciably.

Here is a link to an article showing oscilloscope analysis of various codecs.

http://www.tomshardware.com/2002/07/12/mobile_music/page6.html

My brain uses a different oscilloscope....again, listening is VERY subjective..and from what I've read, when you do a blind listening test, and not many people can distinguish between the formats.

w00master
Jan 4, 2008, 03:27 PM
haha, i said "maybe"... yes' a bit extream i kno.


it's not about Apple or iTunes it's about the 99¢

Guess what. Most songs on Amazon are $0.89. Until that changes, I'll continue buying from Amazon. Hey, I could always go back to iTunes, ya know. So, go ahead and continue spending that extra $0.10.

w00master

Jetson
Jan 4, 2008, 03:30 PM
*shurgs* I could care less. My ears can't tell the difference, and most people cannot tell the difference.

There have been MANY studies testing this so-called "bitrate" issue. Guess what, nearly every study showed that NO ONE COULD TELL THE DIFFERENCE.

Even if YOU can tell the difference, I can't and 256 mp3s are more than good enough for me.

w00master
I suppose the average knuckle dragger just wants to blast his eardrums with the latest metal band at the highest volume possible.

But real music lovers enjoy listening to the subtleties of a classical orchestra performance, or whatever their musical tastes happen to be. After all, enjoying music implies actually listening to music.

The ear is a finely tuned instrument, and most people can tell the difference among sources. Most people prefer the sound quality of digital music, over say the ticks, pops and scratches of vinyl or the hiss of tape. If you "don't care", then why are you listening to digital music?

Also, this is not a bitrate issue. I'm referring to the frequency response of a codec compressed track when compared to the source signal.

mr.666
Jan 4, 2008, 03:31 PM
Guess what. Most songs on Amazon are $0.89. Until that changes, I'll continue buying from Amazon. Hey, I could always go back to iTunes, ya know. So, go ahead and continue spending that extra $0.10.

w00master

no dude, what you dont see if that your fueling the fire that will ultimately destroy apples fixed $.99. it wont be there to go back to.

SFC Archer
Jan 4, 2008, 03:33 PM
Guess what. Most songs on Amazon are $0.89. Until that changes, I'll continue buying from Amazon. Hey, I could always go back to iTunes, ya know. So, go ahead and continue spending that extra $0.10.

w00master

Kind of along the same line...Radiohead was free (donations) on their website...now for DRM Free Album: iTunes=$9.99 Amazon=$7.99 hmmm

Which one would anyone go to?

Sorry, got to agree with the w00master on this one.

mr.666
Jan 4, 2008, 03:46 PM
Kind of along the same line...Radiohead was free (donations) on their website...now for DRM Free Album: iTunes=$9.99 Amazon=$7.99 hmmm

Which one would anyone go to?

Sorry, got to agree with the w00master on this one.

I HOPE I AM WRONG and the prices remain low from whom ever. but WOW you guys seem IGNORANT to the fact that saving a 10 cents or buck or two now is just a shell game.

w00master
Jan 4, 2008, 04:00 PM
I HOPE I AM WRONG and the prices remain low from whom ever. but WOW you guys seem IGNORANT to the fact that saving a 10 cents or buck or two now is just a shell game.

I just think that you don't realize that there will still be a choice. Are you saying that iTunes will suddenly vanish the moment Amazon is forced to raise prices on the songs? Are you saying that CDs will suddenly disappear?

There are choices, and right now my choice for downloading is through Amazon which costs less than iTunes. If the RIAA cartel decides to start charging $1.25 a song, then I'll go to iTunes or CDs. Is that so hard to understand?

w00master

w00master
Jan 4, 2008, 04:02 PM
I suppose the average knuckle dragger just wants to blast his eardrums with the latest metal band at the highest volume possible.

But real music lovers enjoy listening to the subtleties of a classical orchestra performance, or whatever their musical tastes happen to be. After all, enjoying music implies actually listening to music.

The ear is a finely tuned instrument, and most people can tell the difference among sources. Most people prefer the sound quality of digital music, over say the ticks, pops and scratches of vinyl or the hiss of tape. If you "don't care", then why are you listening to digital music?

Also, this is not a bitrate issue. I'm referring to the frequency response of a codec compressed track when compared to the source signal.

*shurgs* again, to each their own. Personally, I cannot tell the difference between MP3 and AAC (at the appropriate bitrate level). So, I really don't care. Besides, the primary reason why I prefer MP3 over AAC is b/c MP3 is far more accepted that AAC is. As things change through time, I'm sure I'll start listening to more AAC, but for right now MP3 all the way for me.

w00master

err404
Jan 4, 2008, 04:04 PM
It's competition between two stores. What does Amazon offer that iTunes doesn't? What does iTunes offers that Amazon doesn't? What do they both offer?

It doesn't matter, it's still competition whether you like it or not. If Amazon has a DRM-free track that Apple offers but with DRM. Guess what, to me Amazon has the better offer to me. I'm gonna buy it at Amazon.

w00master

It's not competition between two stores, it's competition between iTMS and the labels. Amazon doesn't set the pricing.

For the record, I don't really care who comes out on top. The RIAA actions have resulted in a lost customer in either case. Frankly I think the labels are more justified than Apple. The content is created by the labels and they are justified in setting the price. However you are very naive if you don't think that this is a long term strategy to break the 99 cent wall imposed by Steve.

err404
Jan 4, 2008, 04:08 PM
I just think that you don't realize that there will still be a choice. Are you saying that iTunes will suddenly vanish the moment Amazon is forced to raise prices on the songs?..

What choice? The labels can just refuse to renew with iTMS right before the increase. Since the labels can set the prices for the remaining distributors, everyone raises their price.

LethalWolfe
Jan 4, 2008, 04:12 PM
I HOPE I AM WRONG and the prices remain low from whom ever. but WOW you guys seem IGNORANT to the fact that saving a 10 cents or buck or two now is just a shell game.

However you are very naive if you don't think that this is a long term strategy to break the 99 cent wall imposed by Steve.
And what happens when Steve changes his mind about the 99 cent wall? Apple, like any company, will do what's best for the company when it's best for the company so thinking that the structure of the iTMS will never, ever change is very presumptuous and naive.


Lethal

ph0rk
Jan 4, 2008, 04:14 PM
It'll be news when the files are lossless. It was only a matter of time for DRM-free to win out, but for myself and others like me (and it's not a snobby, elitist view, it's just a matter of hey, you stripped my audio file of data!)

No, it is probably still snobby and elitist. Bandwidth ain't free. You can have convenience or the full 16/44.1 files - pick one.

CWallace
Jan 4, 2008, 04:25 PM
The ear is a finely tuned instrument, and most people can tell the difference among sources. Most people prefer the sound quality of digital music, over say the ticks, pops and scratches of vinyl or the hiss of tape.

And yet there are many people who spent five figures on tube-based sound systems because they love that "warm" sound they can't get with "cold, clinical digital" - even though it is actually harmonic distortion. :p

But as w00master said, "to each their own". I don't begrudge folks who only listen to LPs, nor those who only listen to FLACs. Heck, for the longest time I would listen to CDs ripped as WAVs on my PC because I didn't think MP3s would really be "CD Quality". Nice to get those terabytes back, let me tell ya. :D

err404
Jan 4, 2008, 04:38 PM
And what happens when Steve changes his mind about the 99 cent wall? Apple, like any company, will do what's best for the company when it's best for the company so thinking that the structure of the iTMS will never, ever change is very presumptuous and naive.


Lethal

Of course you are right, iTMS "could" raise the price, but why would they?

Let me lay out two scenarios:
One: The labels raise there price. Any company that doesn't agree to the new price looses their contract and can not sell music. The labels have sole control over pricing in all distribution channels. Everybody pays more.

Two: Apple raises it price. Amazon is not tied to iTMS in any way and therefore continues to sell at the lower price. People continue to pay the same

The point is that Apple doesn't have the power to raise the price, only maintain it. The labels are currently trying to make the first scenario happen, but first they need to build up Amazon. If nothing takes the place of iTSM they will just lose customers to copyright infringement.

Like I said, I don't care who prevails. Franky 99 cents is an arbitrary number. But this number is the fighting ground between the sides.

jephrey
Jan 4, 2008, 04:52 PM
another lossy/lossles argument...

Let's say for the sake of argument that it's 100% proven that you can't tell the difference between lossy/lossless.

There is still only 1 reason to listen to/collect lossy encodings, and that's because they take up less space.

The justification is that you or your ears cannot hear the difference.

Are there any reasons to listen to/collect lossless? I think so. But the benefits may be small. Theres a smaller chance, if the gene pool is lossless from the get-go, for someone to encode as mp3, then re-encode. The other benefit is in trading with people (not condoning, just saying). You always know you can go to your preferred bit-rate/whatever without further removing data from the file.

So like your photo collection where there's a 640x480 or a 720x540. I bet you can't tell the difference when the 640x480 is stretched, but I'd also bet you'd grab the larger 720x540... Why? The size increase is insignificant when related to the size of hard drives these days. In 10 years, why wouldn't it be the same for audio? Now, maybe as you get into bigger and better monitors you would be able to tell the difference between the pictures, just as you "might" be able to tell the difference between lossless and lossy audio on a nice system. Now is the chance for your audio to beat the curve to a nice system.

When the single argument FOR lossy audio goes away or is at least minimized, you'll be re-importing your cds and going through another round of trading, while I sit back and enjoy my white russian with some quality tunes on my system.

chicagostars
Jan 4, 2008, 05:53 PM
A lot of households have more than five computer accounts. Authorizing my account on our iMac does not authorize my wife's account on the same machine. Each one of use have laptops, ooops four out of five is already gone with no kids.

Although your scenario has become more common, there are still a great many households in our society using a single computer, some for financial reasons and others who have scads of money but only feel the need for one machine. I'm not trying to be a jerk though, as I'm more like you: two laptops in the house and we're closing in on a desktop.

Not sure if this would help, but have you tried moving your files on your iMac to a central, shared location that both users can access?

LethalWolfe
Jan 4, 2008, 05:56 PM
Of course you are right, iTMS "could" raise the price, but why would they?
For the same reason they did business w/IBM, MS, and intel even though all three of those companies were "hated enemies" of Apple at various points in time. Things change due to unforeseeable events.

Why do you think everything will go to hell in a hand-basket if Apple isn't the only company serving up songs on-line?


Lethal

em500
Jan 4, 2008, 06:26 PM
I suppose the average knuckle dragger just wants to blast his eardrums with the latest metal band at the highest volume possible.

But real music lovers enjoy listening to the subtleties of a classical orchestra performance, or whatever their musical tastes happen to be. After all, enjoying music implies actually listening to music.

The ear is a finely tuned instrument, and most people can tell the difference among sources. Most people prefer the sound quality of digital music, over say the ticks, pops and scratches of vinyl or the hiss of tape. If you "don't care", then why are you listening to digital music?

Also, this is not a bitrate issue. I'm referring to the frequency response of a codec compressed track when compared to the source signal.
Oh it's very much a bitrate issue. Numerous tests show that at 64kbps AAC (or any of the other modern codecs like Ogg, WMAPro, etc) beats MP3 senseless. At 128kbps, it's almost a wash (http://www.rjamorim.com/test/multiformat128/results.html) for most people (http://www.ph.utexas.edu/~volsung/ct-test/ct-test.html). At 256kbps even seasoned pros using $15000 worth of audiophile equipment have a very hard time distinguishing MP3 from CD (http://www.geocities.com/altbinariessoundsmusicclassical/mp3test.html), let alone from AAC.

Listening tests are now often done at lower than 128kbps (because it's so hard to get statistically significant results at higher bitrates with modern encoders, including Lame-MP3). At lower bitrates, MP3 has very real technical weaknesses. But it's entirely inappropriate to extrapolate the results from low bitrate encodes to higher bitrates, i.e., to assume that AAC is much better than MP3 at 256kbps because tests show that it's much better at 64kbps.

pjarvi
Jan 4, 2008, 06:53 PM
The same Sony BMG that installed spyware via their proprietary media player, wrecking numerous Windows machines a year or so ago?

Exactly, after that fiasco I vowed never to buy their garbage again, and have not done so to this day.

ChrisA
Jan 4, 2008, 06:56 PM
Also, this is not a bitrate issue. I'm referring to the frequency response of a codec compressed track when compared to the source signal.

What you are leaving out is what is a called "psychoacoustics". And it is a "bitrate issue". Assume you can only save some fixed bit rate. Let's say 256 or 320. Now that the rate is fixed you are forced to leave off some of the information that was on the CD. So what do you leave off? All codecs have to throw away the same amount of information but they each decide which information to throw out. This is where the field of psychoacoustics comes in. The idea is that the human ear and brain only use a fraction of the information that hits the ears so if you can know what the brain ignores that is what you should throw away when you compress the data.

Some examples: Humans do not use low frequency to locate the source or direction of sounds. So it is OK to average the bass on the two stereo tracks, basically make in mono below 100 Hz.(This is way a subwoffer "works") Lot of other tricks. Like our ears hear pitch better in some ranges then others.

JPG compression works the same way on photos. The eye/brain doe not use all the information for example we can see fine detail in luminance but we can't see details in red. So JPG tosses some of this out.

The question is not which is "closer" when you look on a scope. Both codec have to remove the same amount of information the question is which does a better job of sorting ot which to keep and which to toss out.

The 'scope picture don't tell you anything. I can think of a many way to seriouly mess up sound in ways that you could not see on a scope.

Jetson
Jan 4, 2008, 07:11 PM
Oh it's very much a bitrate issue. Numerous tests show that at 64kbps AAC (or any of the other modern codecs like Ogg, WMAPro, etc) beats MP3 senseless. At 128kbps, it's almost a wash (http://www.rjamorim.com/test/multiformat128/results.html) for most people (http://www.ph.utexas.edu/~volsung/ct-test/ct-test.html). At 256kbps even seasoned pros using $15000 worth of audiophile equipment have a very hard time distinguishing MP3 from CD (http://www.geocities.com/altbinariessoundsmusicclassical/mp3test.html), let alone from AAC.

Listening tests are now often done at lower than 128kbps (because it's so hard to get statistically significant results at higher bitrates with modern encoders, including Lame-MP3). At lower bitrates, MP3 has very real technical weaknesses. But it's entirely inappropriate to extrapolate the results from low bitrate encodes to higher bitrates, i.e., to assume that AAC is much better than MP3 at 256kbps because tests show that it's much better at 64kbps.
That is a fascinating study of subjective listening preferences among the various codecs and "lossless" sources. I appreciate the fact that you actually provided references for your argument.

Still, the argument presents subjective tests, whereas my study provides an objective test of the actual waveforms produced by the AAC, MP3, and WMA codecs when compared with the "lossless" source signal regardless of bitrate.

The oscilloscope analysis doesn't lie.

How individuals perceive the codec output is most important I admit, but again this is quite subjective in nature and results can be colored by a myriad of factors such as the playback device, the reproduction devices (amplifier, receiver, speakers, room acoustics, mood), etc.

In my case, I listened to tracks from several identical albums on Amazon (MP3) and iTunes (AAC). The sources were of various dynamic quality ranging from rock, classical, jazz and vocal. I used 2 different headphone models: a Sennheiser HD 600 and a Sony MDR-V900. In each case I determined that the iTunes AAC track sounded significantly better than the corresponding MP3 track.

This wasn't a formal study so I don't have a white paper to reference. Nonetheless my opinion remains firm: based on the objective test (oscilloscope) and my own subjective test using high-end headphones, iTunes AAC beats Amazon MP3 easily.

Pandaboots
Jan 4, 2008, 07:54 PM
I don't want Apple to become a giant monopoly abusing it's power like MS and I'm not sure why anyone would want that. There are lots of companies that have to tolerate M$ because M$ is so powerful just like there are lots of companies that have to tolerate Wal-Mart because Wal-Mart is so powerful. Before MS got busted for anti-trust violations do you really think companies like Dell or HP liked MS telling them how to run aspects of their business? Do you really think the movie studios like having companies like Wal-Mart dictating how the movie studios can distribute their products?

Competition keeps the market moving forward which is a good thing.


Lethal

Let me clarify my position on this iTunes/Amazon thing. I'm all for competition. But competition in retail usually means that each store sells the same crap and the consumer chooses which experience he/she wants. Do you want to go to Wal*mart or Target to buy your stuff? I really don't want to have to shop at Walmart to get sony music and target to get another labels music...see what i mean? What gets my feathers ruffled is that it seems the record companies and movie companies, etc. are giving Amazon most of the DRM free stuff, which IMO will make Amazon even more of a Monopoly than Apple could ever dream of being. iTunes and Amazon need to have the same songs for sale and if Amazon sells em cheaper hooray for them. Being a stock owner of Apple I'd still use iTunes Store and I also like the integration with the iTunes software. Also, my experience with buying from Apple has been positive so I'm a happy customer. I don't want to be forced to choose Amazon for higher quality music and videos because some dumbass execs decided not to allow then to be for sale through iTunes. Every company has it's time in the sun to dominate a market. Someday, what Apple is doing with iPods and music will be overthrown by some other company with something better and hotter. But to not allow fair competition with a company that started it all is ludicrous. Bottom line is this. The music cos and movie cos need to just DRM free everything and allow the consumer to choose the device they want and the retailer they want to buy it from (like it's always been in every other media format in history). There will always be the one company whose name is synonymous with something (Walmart for retail, Xerox, FedEx ,etc) Apple's just happens to be the iPod and iTunes...everyone should look to the future and try to think up the next thing rather than try to play catch up with Apple and punish Apple for their ingenuity and foresight. That is all.

err404
Jan 4, 2008, 08:03 PM
For the same reason they did business w/IBM, MS, and intel even though all three of those companies were "hated enemies" of Apple at various points in time. Things change due to unforeseeable events.

Why do you think everything will go to hell in a hand-basket if Apple isn't the only company serving up songs on-line?


Lethal

That's Dramatic. ;)
Competition is a good thing. Unfortunately that's not what is going on here. The labels are providing a competitive advantage to resellers as compensation for accepting variable pricing as set by the labels, not the reseller.

As I said earlier in the thread, I think the labels are justified in their tactics. At the end of the day I could care less if iTMS exists since i don't use it. I'm just pointing out the motivation of the labels.

LethalWolfe
Jan 4, 2008, 08:29 PM
Let me clarify my position on this iTunes/Amazon thing. I'm all for competition. But competition in retail usually means that each store sells the same crap and the consumer chooses which experience he/she wants. Do you want to go to Wal*mart or Target to buy your stuff? I really don't want to have to shop at Walmart to get sony music and target to get another labels music...see what i mean?
.
.
.
That is all.
I agree that things are in a bit of a mess right now, but that's to be expected considering we are in the infancy of a major shift in the entertainment industry. IMO, on line music sales is not as big a clusterf*ck as the current HD-DVD/Blu-ray mess.


That's Dramatic. ;)
Hey, what's Friday w/o a little internet drama? :D


Lethal

VanNess
Jan 4, 2008, 09:42 PM
Imagine a world where every online store sells DRM-free music encoded in open licensable formats. In such a world, any player can play music purchased from any store, and any store can sell music which is playable on all players. This is clearly the best alternative for consumers, and Apple would embrace it in a heartbeat.

Steve Jobs
February 6, 2007

[W]e’re not going to broadly license our content for unprotected digital distribution.


A senior executive at one major label, who requested anonymity to avoid straining relations with Apple, quoted in the New York Times
February 7, 2007

[I]rresponsible, or at the very least naïve

Zune Marketing Director Jason Reindorp, responding to Steve Jobs call for abandoning DRM
February 7, 2007

Let me be clear: we advocate the continued use of DRM in the protection of our and of our artists’ intellectual property...We will not abandon DRM, nor will we disadvantage services that are successfully implementing DRM for both content and consumers.

Warner Music Group chief Edgar Bronfman Jr., responding to Steve Jobs call for abandoning DRM.
February 9th, 2007

We don't think that a wholesale abandonment of DRM is necessary

Mitch Bainwol, chairman and chief executive of the RIAA.
February 9, 2007

EMI Music’s entire digital catalog of music will be available for purchase DRM-free (without digital rights management) from the iTunes® Store worldwide in May.

Apple Press Release
April 2, 2007

Universal Music Group is committed to exploring new ways to expand the availability of our artists’ music online, while offering consumers the most choice in how and where they purchase and enjoy our music

Doug Morris, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of UMG announcing DRM-free downloads
August 10, 2007

By removing a barrier to the sale and enjoyment of audio downloads, we bring an energy-sapping debate to a close and allow ourselves to refocus on opportunities and products that will benefit not only WMG, but our artists and our consumers as well

Warner Music Group chief Edgar Bronfman Jr announcing DRM-free downloads
December 31, 2007

A lot of these tests have led people to believe that maybe this works

Unidentified Sony BMG executive quoted in Businessweek as Sony announces DRM-free downloads
January 4, 2008

em500
Jan 4, 2008, 09:59 PM
That is a fascinating study of subjective listening preferences among the various codecs and "lossless" sources. I appreciate the fact that you actually provided references for your argument.

Still, the argument presents subjective tests, whereas my study provides an objective test of the actual waveforms produced by the AAC, MP3, and WMA codecs when compared with the "lossless" source signal regardless of bitrate.

The oscilloscope analysis doesn't lie.

Spectrograms are not very useful to compare perceptual codecs, it akin to comparing JPEG compression by superimposing the picture bits on a waveform and trying to listen to the difference. Seriously, if you compare the spectrum of a properly compressed low-pass filtered file to the original, you'll see a lot of differences. If you look at the non filtered compressed file, it looks much closer to the original, but it will sound much worse, as it wastes lots of bits encoding parts that 99.9% of people can't hear, making parts that people do hear less accurate. But the inaccuracies of the second file on the spectrum are completely overwhelmed by the high-frequency differences which are much more visible.


How individuals perceive the codec output is most important I admit, but again this is quite subjective in nature and results can be colored by a myriad of factors such as the playback device, the reproduction devices (amplifier, receiver, speakers, room acoustics, mood), etc.

That's why tests whether a codec sounds better are only valid with very controlled settings or a large number of participants. And why the answer in general is only givin in statistical form (i.e., with an indication of the sampling error). But luckily individuals can also easily perform the test for themselves, to determine what works best for them.


In my case, I listened to tracks from several identical albums on Amazon (MP3) and iTunes (AAC). The sources were of various dynamic quality ranging from rock, classical, jazz and vocal. I used 2 different headphone models: a Sennheiser HD 600 and a Sony MDR-V900. In each case I determined that the iTunes AAC track sounded significantly better than the corresponding MP3 track.

This wasn't a formal study so I don't have a white paper to reference. Nonetheless my opinion remains firm: based on the objective test (oscilloscope) and my own subjective test using high-end headphones, iTunes AAC beats Amazon MP3 easily.
Again, forget the spectrum analysis. Any codec developer will tell you that they're almost worthless for perceptual codec evaluation.

If you've done a good sampling of iTunes vs Amazon tracks and you prefer the former, that's all you need. Be careful to control for (subconcious) biases though, and be sure to level the track volumes. And do recognize that that's not comparing AAC vs MP3 per se. To do a controlled experiment, it's best to rip and ABX your own CDs. I don't know of good Mac tools, but for Windows you can use this:
http://ff123.net/abchr/abchr.html
Very few people who've done this can distinguish Lame MP3 at around 192kbps VBR from the original CD. But it varies from person to person, and also depends on the tracks. A nice plus of doing an ABX yourself is that you can determine for yourself personally at which bitrate which codec is good enough, without biases or prejudices (either concious or subconcious).

alchemistmuffin
Jan 4, 2008, 11:21 PM
Another Macworld Prediction...

Apple announces more DRM-Free songs to iTunes store, and actually will team up with Sony BMG, and Warner....

The reason is that while the record company announced DRM free songs for Amazon, they might have decided to wait the announcement for iTunes store until Macworld Expo.....

sundoggy
Jan 4, 2008, 11:38 PM
Most people (like the 99% of iTunes customers that don't read this blog, or any other technology site) don't care about DRM one way or another as long as they can get their music onto their iPod and burn a CD.

What most people care about is a good selection (which iTunes has, though most of it may be DRM'd) and ease of use (where iTunes clearly still leads, though others are catching up).

However, even though many of the iTunes competitors may offer more non-DRM music or something close to iTunes simplicity and ease-of-use, they still don't offer something that the compeitors will never have--the built-in tie in to the iPod via the iTunes application.

So though in principle we can argue to death the issues of whether DRM is good or bad, for most people it just doesn't matter. Apple continues to win just because they've got the built in audience, because they still offer the best selection of music players (and whether any single device is the best is really up to the individual user preferences).

It will be a long time before anyone offers a serious threat to iTunes dominance. It took a long time before Sony lost its leadership with the original Walkman, and I'm sure we'll see the same thing happen with the iPod. And when it does happen, Apple will be focusing elsewhere (as they have already started the transition to video capable iPods and the iPhone).

hagjohn
Jan 5, 2008, 05:32 AM
I have.. Amazon is using 320kbps and it was a dime cheaper with no DRM.. can't lose, IMO.

Have you even tried Amazon MP3?

They've got just about everything working in their favor.

1. Better quality throughout their entire selection. Sure, Apple has iTunes Plus, but ALL of Amazons catalog is in the ~256 kbps range.
2. Better pricing on popular songs and albums. Period.
3. And for Mac users, the Amazon MP3 downloader couldn't be much better than it is right now. It integrates the songs you buy with iTunes perfectly. What more do you want?

hagjohn
Jan 5, 2008, 05:34 AM
That would be the last day I buy any music.

Yet if the RIAA is successful in legislating/adjudicating making a digital copy of your CD to play on your computer or PMP illegal, the next step would be to make it illegal to copy a purchased and downloaded song on your computer to your PMP or a purchased and downloaded song on your PMP (via the iTunes Store button on the iPod/iPhone) to your computer.

The goal is to make you pay every time you listen to a song, no matter where, when, or on what device. Perpetual revenue.

xnu
Jan 5, 2008, 01:23 PM
Its about the hardware. Sure DRM free music is great for us but in the long run it defeats what the Music industry is trying to do, they are short sighted. I think it just devalues the music and says its OK to steal in most peoples eyes. I think Apple's solution has a great balance and I easily purchase all my music through iTunes. In the end the iPod will rule because the market has changed, it is no longer just music which is desired it is also video and Hollywood is not going to release DRM free movies anytime soon.

People will still buy iPods because they will have the multimedia ability, and iTunes is still the greatest delivery and organizing system. There is a lot of news about nothing here but the music industry getting in the way of itself. Good for Amazon, Apple has sold what 3 billion songs in 5 years? 3 billion isn't a lot when you consider Apple is projected to do over 20 billion in 2008.

This will just let other Music stores establish a position and remain for more than a year or two not like most that we have seen fail. It actually reinforces the fact that any music store in order to survive has to be compatible with the iPod and I view that as the music industry throwing up the white flag.

Jetson
Jan 5, 2008, 01:48 PM
Have you even tried Amazon MP3?

They've got just about everything working in their favor.

1. Better quality throughout their entire selection. Sure, Apple has iTunes Plus, but ALL of Amazons catalog is in the ~256 kbps range.
2. Better pricing on popular songs and albums. Period.
3. And for Mac users, the Amazon MP3 downloader couldn't be much better than it is right now. It integrates the songs you buy with iTunes perfectly. What more do you want?
I want my tracks in the better sounding AAC format

:D

sal
Jan 5, 2008, 02:44 PM
Well, unless competitors come out with more appealing hardware than iPod, and a more user-friendly, convenient integration system than iTunes for managing content between computer and Mp3 player, iPod will continue to dominate the market.
there is no need to create a better product than the ipod. the beauty of this is as a consumer I have the choice to take my DRM free music to my ipod or any other musical device I want.

The same can't be said about drm protected music I have bought on itunes. That music is stuck with the ipod. Unless i choose to downgrade the quality further and burn it to cd and reimport.


In 5 years, DRM will be ancient history and we'll look back and wonder why anyone ever put up with it in the first place.
Probably. Except those who made a very large investments in itunes music. I think they'll be a little upset when they everyone around them is enjoying drm free music and they are locked into their ipod.

The only problem is that iTunes isn't what it used to be in the Windows market. I like the interface, however it's just to fat. I actually bought my first MAC a year ago largely due to the horrible performance of iTunes for Windows.
the itunes experience on windows is HORRENDOUS! Come to think about it, most apple software on windows is not good either(safari, quicktime)

I don't understand why the labels want to take "power" away from the iTMS. Do they try to take power away from other retail outlets like WalMart, HMV, or Virgin?
Control. It's all about control. Labels feel they don't have enough control on itunes, so they are going somewhere else.

I don't think the DRM issue is as big as many of us on message boards make it; most people in the general public aren't familiar and DRM encoded tracks fit their needs just fine. As long as they can easily access it in iTunes and get it on their iPod (not Zune, Sansa, et al.) they'll bop along on their merry way.
"As long as"?

that "as long as" statement has me worried. How will I know that I'll always want to use an ipod? Apple wants us to always use an ipod but how can you be sure you'll always want to use an ipod? or do you just do what apple tells you? :D

sure the ipod is great now but what if farther down the line, I want to play it somewhere else? not necessarily on another player but just another device(ex game system) I won't be able to, unless apple and/or labels removes the drm from the music.

i still don't understand why people use these services, just go buy a damn CD, then u get uncompressed music u can rip to whatever format u want. The only time i use itunes is for exclusives
convenience Why go to the store, when I could just buy it online? for many of us the extra cost is worth the convenience. Also why buy a $10-$20 album if I just want 2 or 3 songs off the cd?

Jetson
Jan 5, 2008, 02:56 PM
sure the ipod is great now but what if farther down the line, I want to play it somewhere else? not necessarily on another player but just another device(ex game system) I won't be able to, unless apple and/or labels removes the drm from the music.
I'm sure you realize this, but others don't seem to.

Apple is NOT interested in DRM - they only use it because the labels forced them to in order to get a deal for digital music.

Remember, Steve Jobs wrote that open letter to the industry back in February 2007 asking the labels to drop DRM.

Thoughts On Music (http://www.apple.com/hotnews/thoughtsonmusic/)

alchemistmuffin
Jan 5, 2008, 11:51 PM
Could it be possible that Apple will announce more DRM free songs on iTunes on Macworld?

It could be possible that records company like Warner and etc might have signed a deal with Apple already to sell DRM free songs on iTunes, but Apple could have told the record company to wait the announcment about making their songs on iTunes DRM free until Macworld, but allowed them to make the Amazon announcment early....

Also, record company will have better chance of earning more money on iTunes, since iTunes have higher price, 99 cents, compared to Amazon, which is 89 cents, meaning sale with iTunes is an oppertunity for record company to earn more profit....)

BWhaler
Jan 6, 2008, 04:19 AM
This is great news.

Now I just want them on the iTunes store.

What the labels need to understand is I have built my music library through:

1. Buying DVD's and ripping them
2. Buying from the iTunes store

If they were smart, they would give me the opportunity to upgrade the music I purchased in iTunes to iTunes plus. That's another 30% per song.

One day I may buy from Amazon--I like the store overall and spend a lot of money there--but iTunes is so tightly integrated, and it is so much easier for me to discover music on it. iMixes, celebrity playlists, etc.

The Amazon music store is OK for in-and-out shopping. But the iTunes store has more of a record store experience where I can get lost for hours exploring music and downloading new albums, songs, and even music videos now and then.

But I am done with DRM. And unless it is iTunes+, I don't buy. I have enough music at this point it is a nice-to-have purchase.

Anyway, I hope Apple and the other record companies come to terms. This whole thing is stupid and it's making me not buy more music from both of them.

surferfromuk
Jan 6, 2008, 04:37 AM
this news simply validates the digital music revolution. As long as Apple remain competitive with iTunes, which may mean allowing music labels to control content, then iTunes will be the best store available.
If Apple continue to strongarm the labels then they will ultimately lose first place. History will remember that Apple at least tried to give the consumer a fair deal, even if the labels ultimately regain control of their products and start price jacking again. Let's face it, until digital downloads are quality equivalent to cd's they really aren't in a position to demand top dollar.
All of this, however, doesn't change the fact that ipod is still far and away the best digitial music player ever made. Apple will continue to sell millions of them - another drm free music store simple enhances their appeal.

CWallace
Jan 6, 2008, 11:24 AM
Could it be possible that Apple will announce more DRM free songs on iTunes on Macworld?

It would be nice.


Also, record company will have better chance of earning more money on iTunes, since iTunes have higher price, 99 cents, compared to Amazon, which is 89 cents, meaning sale with iTunes is an oppertunity for record company to earn more profit....)

Depends on the deal. Amazon might be taking a smaller cut themselves then what Apple is taking from iTunes, allowing the label to make more money on each sale even with a lower sale price.

Amazon has the advantage of selling the content in physical form (CD and DVD) plus being new, they might have been willing to work a worse deal (for at least a time) to get the content and launch the service.

CWallace
Jan 6, 2008, 11:29 AM
History will remember that Apple at least tried to give the consumer a fair deal, even if the labels ultimately regain control of their products and start price jacking again.

Never forget Apple's goal is to push iPods, not music. Apple could have charged more for content sold through the iTunes store and made more money from each sale. Instead, they wanted cheap prices on content sold through the iTunes store because they wanted people to buy songs which required them to buy new and larger iPods to hold them. And they were willing to accept DRM on that content because it did not affect the sales of iPods - you could use the song on your Mac and your iPod.

Apple benefits from DRM-free Amazon.com and other stores because that music can be used on played on iPods which drives iPod sales. So they don't need to worry about matching prices as much.


Let's face it, until digital downloads are quality equivalent to cd's they really aren't in a position to demand top dollar.

Depending on the format and the listener, a CD and a digital file have identical quality.

PNW
Jan 6, 2008, 02:43 PM
Depending on the format and the listener, a CD and a digital file have identical quality.

Point in case, Robert Johnson still doesn't sound right to me unless he playing on my Dad's old turntable with all the crackle and hiss that only old vinyl can produce. Other artists and genres are a different matter.
Even on top dollar equipment people will hear different sounds, and those sounds will not appeal to them in a uniform manner.

The genius of Steve Jobs in all of this was in recognizing a price point where the vast majority of people would turn away from stealing via file sharing toward a legal commercial system where everyone gets paid. By screwing around with that price point, the record companies are in danger of killing that goose. That being said competition is always a good thing for the consumer and I hope to hear about all of these catalogs being offered on itunes.

Jetson
Jan 6, 2008, 08:14 PM
Sony/BMG will be selling digital music files without DRM, but they may include watermarks.

The inclusion of a potentially unique tracking identifier hidden in the song's audio -- remains cloudy.

According to Wired.com these unique identifier watermarks could be used by the RIAA to trace the origin of tracks found on a file sharing network.

Wired.com Sony's Watermark Article (http://blog.wired.com/music/2008/01/will-sonybmgs-r.html)

Project
Jan 7, 2008, 06:29 AM
No need to worry. Sony has shot themselves in the foot once again

NEW YORK — Sony BMG Music Entertainment on Jan. 15 becomes the last major record company to sell downloads without copy restrictions — but only to buyers who first visit a retail store.
The No. 2 record company after Universal Music will sell plastic cards, called Platinum MusicPass, for individual albums for a suggested price of $12.99. Buyers enter a code from the card at new Sony BMG (SNE) site MusicPass.com to download that card's album.

"The bigger picture is to make our music available in many different formats, through many different channels, in many different ways," says Thomas Hesse, president of Sony BMG's global digital business and U.S. sales.

Best Buy (BBY), Target (TGT) and Fred's (FRED) stores will be first to sell them. By Jan. 31, they'll be in Winn-Dixie, Coconuts, FYE, Spec's and Wherehouse. Like gift cards, MusicPass cards are activated at the store.

Sony BMG initially will offer cards for 37 albums by performers including Alicia Keys, Avril Lavigne, Bruce Springsteen, Chris Brown, Carrie Underwood, Daughtry, Jennifer Lopez and Santana.

FIND MORE STORIES IN: Sony | Music | CDS | BMG | Thomas Hesse
Buyers also can download a digital booklet like those with CDs and material such as bonus tracks and videos.

For a suggested $19.99, Sony BMG also will offer cards for Kenny Chesney's album Just Who I Am: Poets & Pirates and Celine Dion's Taking Chances that let users download a second album by the same artist.

"I'm excited that Taking Chances will be included in the launch of these new cards, and I hope that my fans will see it as a great Valentine's Day present," Dion said in an e-mail.

The cards come as music sales continue to fall. Sales of 584.9 million albums or their digital equivalents last year were off 9.5% from 2006, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The outlook remains cloudy as retailers cut space for CDs, and online piracy continues.

Other record companies have already thrown in the towel and sell music without copy restrictions online, where sales were up 45% last year. Lifting copy limits lets fans listen to their songs on any PC or player. Warner Music (WMG) joined the bandwagon in December with a deal to sell on Amazon's MP3 service.

While conventional download services, such as iTunes, (AAPL) make impulse music buying easier than the cards, Sony BMG feels "strongly that there's a group that will enjoy carrying the imagery of an artist they love around with them, or sharing it with their friends," Hesse says. Cards allow one download, though they have a provision for a backup.

He says that Sony BMG would like other music companies to offer album cards. It also expects to sell MusicPass cards in additional stores and possibly at concert venues.

http://i.usatoday.net/money/_photos/2008/01/07/musicx-large.jpg


Astoundingly bad move. Absurd.

mr.666
Jan 7, 2008, 10:29 AM
quote from a member on forbes.com:
Hmmm... Warner, and Universal, and Sony, all selling their DRM-free music through Amazon, while deliberately freezing out the iTunes Store? Can you say, "collusion?" I bet a federal grand jury can.

and can you belive that sony is thinking of selling you a plastic card for $12-19.99? wow, lets incease our profits by giving the consumer even less! you want a disc... buy one and burn it at your own (extra)expense. want an insert? print it yourself (it's your ink). etc. F THEM!!!!

why is it that they havent offered us anything new in years and still charge the same? 5 yrs ago a 10mp digital camera would have cost ya 10-15k... now you can fit one in your shirt pocket for $400. the labels havent passed any tech savings down to the buyer.

also for those who STILL dont believe that tis is all about appple holing to
$.99. Proof that the GREEDY labels are already on the move... NAPSTER just raised the price of a sub 30% to 12.99. hahahaha. 89¢ amazon will not last it's a shell game, SEE IT FOR WHAT IT IS!

CWallace
Jan 7, 2008, 11:25 AM
No need to worry. Sony has shot themselves in the foot once again...

Astoundingly bad move. Absurd.

Yeah, really. One of the major (if not the major) point of online music purchases is to bypass the trip to the "brick-and-mortar" retailer. :rolleyes:

If I have to go to the physical music store to buy the card to come home and download the music from the virtual music store, that costs me time and money and lessens the value of the service.

If I have to go to the physical store, I might as well buy the physical media and then rip it to my format of choice. Which may very well be the point - make the process pointless so nobody uses it.

solarguy17
Jan 7, 2008, 11:36 AM
Project -

I am glad I am not the only one that caught Sony;s dumb way of "selling" DRM-free songs.

They just dont get it. People dont want whole albums, they want the popular radio songs. And very few other songs off a cd, this is got to be the worst idea I have have ever heard for selling music.


Sony stock is gonna crap, some one buy some.

jim.arrows
Jan 7, 2008, 03:04 PM
No need to worry. Sony has shot themselves in the foot once again

Astoundingly bad move. Absurd.

That's hilarious, they truly are idiotic... thanks for the laugh!

Yuppi
Jan 7, 2008, 05:45 PM
Boy what a bad idea that is..
Having all disadvantages of an offline sell combined with all disadvantages of buying music online.. This card can easily serve as an intelligence test. If you buy such a card you can count yourself to the dumbest persons ever..
They MUST be kidding..

hokietoner
Jan 8, 2008, 08:17 AM
Why would I go to the store to buy a $13 card which lets me download the CD? I'll just buy the CD from the same store, possibly for less. Or more likely, I'll buy it online for less. Way to go Sony. Because whether or not they like to admit it, I'll be able to rip any music CD regardless of the "protection" they put on it.

jim.arrows
Jan 10, 2008, 06:00 PM
The other shoe just dropped...

http://www.engadget.com/2008/01/10/sony-bmg-to-add-drm-free-mp3s-to-amazon/

redfirebird08
Jan 10, 2008, 07:07 PM
I want my tracks in the better sounding AAC format

:D

OK, stick with DRMed, 128 kbps crap then. ;):D

iBS23
Jan 11, 2008, 12:51 PM
The other shoe just dropped...

http://www.engadget.com/2008/01/10/sony-bmg-to-add-drm-free-mp3s-to-amazon/

I sure hope Apple has a big announcement planned for MWSF on this. It seems like the ultimate catch-22 . . . I would love to buy DRM free music, but I really hate the amazon store (its so much easier to find things in iTunes). However, if I keep buying from iTunes the labels might declare the DRM-free music "experiment" to be a failure because amazon failed to take significant market share from iTunes.

I have to believe that the labels' agreements with Amazon allows the labels to set the price (that's their complaint about iTunes). Thus, if I support DRM-free music at amazon I am giving into the labels' determination that I should pay more $$$$ for new releases (and if I don't, then we end up in the situation we have above).

If I do that, I am now paying $15-$17 to download a new album. Since I wouldn't pay that for a CD (I can go to Best Buy and buy it for $11.99, or less), I go and buy the CD. Variety? I'll go to Atomic Records (http://www.atomic-records.com/), B-Side (http://www.b-sidemadison.com/home.html) or the Exclusive Company (Who'da thunk that Wisconsin would have some good music stores?). This all kills amazon, and puts us back in the same situation with iTunes.

So the record companies want us to pay the same thing they charge us for CDs . . . why exactly? There's no cost associated with stamping the CD, No transportation charges. Sure, there's storage and bandwidth issues, but those are equal to overhead costs in brick and mortar stores. Maybe Trent Reznor is right . . .

/end rant