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MacRumors
Feb 19, 2004, 08:28 AM
Despite Napster's popularity (http://www.macrumors.com/pages/2004/02/20040204204644.shtml) at select colleges, it appears that the relauched Napster service is having some difficulties.

This Mercury News article (http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/business/7988684.htm) reports that besides losing money, several executives have left and a round of layoffs began on Wednesday.

According to record label sources, Napster only sells approximately 1/4 of the songs that iTunes does.

Of additional interest is that the surprise Apple-HP deal announced in January was originally Napster's partnership:

But in the days leading up to Napster's re-launch in late October, HP suddenly -- and without explanation -- returned Napster's $250,000 check and canceled the agreement to install a link to Napster's online music service on its computers.

Napster's chief executive Chris Gorog, however, remains upbeat about the company's prospects and points to retail partnerships, pre-paid cards, and their European launch.

gwuMACaddict
Feb 19, 2004, 08:29 AM
big surprise....:(

jholzner
Feb 19, 2004, 08:36 AM
I'm betting that it was the iPod that broke HP's deal with Napster. HP wanted to sell the iPod...or HPod and a deal with Napster would have buried that idea. Way to go Apple! Wonder which iTMS competitor will be the first to go under. Hope apple beats Napster to Europe.

iGav
Feb 19, 2004, 08:38 AM
Napster... kind of doesn't really have the same kudos now that it's legit does it... :eek: :p :p

sinisterdesign
Feb 19, 2004, 08:40 AM
it's not very often or for very long that we can say we OWN a market, so i have to admit i'm enjoying seeing Napster suffer (happy to admit there are quite a few oldskool Napster songs on my iPod).

and i was pretty shocked by the HP/Apple deal, but evidently not as shocked as Napster!!! :p

dukemeiser
Feb 19, 2004, 08:42 AM
I wonder how long it will be before they switch to AAC to stay alive? :D

hobbes3113
Feb 19, 2004, 08:46 AM
Did anyone actually think that Napster would survive? How long until it goes completely under...

Rincewind42
Feb 19, 2004, 08:48 AM
Originally posted by dukemeiser
I wonder how long it will be before they switch to AAC to stay alive? :D

Well, unless Fairplay is licensed to them it won't really matter if they do. And while I like that Apple is currently owning the legal market, in the long term I think they will need to allow others to sell Fairplay encoded AAC, and even further out to license other players to play it. Basically kill 1 or 2 of the major WMA services (Napster & some one else) and then allow themselves to make money on others who want to sell & play their DRM flavor.

Photorun
Feb 19, 2004, 08:50 AM
<Nelson> Hahh Hahhhh! </Nelson>

Rincewind42
Feb 19, 2004, 08:50 AM
Originally posted by hobbes3113
Did anyone actually think that Napster would survive? How long until it goes completely under...

I seriously doubt they will live to see their first anniversary - unless someone really wants to lose a bunch of cash on them :D

widesky
Feb 19, 2004, 08:59 AM
Cue the move to Microsoft-owned subsiduary

srobert
Feb 19, 2004, 09:02 AM
Is'nt that Chriss Gorog guy the same guy who last month was saying in conferences things like:

"Apple got it all wrong with it's iTMS model"

"Don't join the Apple bandwagon"

jxyama
Feb 19, 2004, 09:04 AM
some of the quotes in the article are hilarious.

``I think it's a very competitive market with very ugly economics and there's just no money in the download business''

nope, there's no money in the downloads and jobs made it abundantly clear that iTMS exists to sell iPods.

Gorog said he resists comparisons with other subscription services because of incongruities in the way subscriber numbers are reported. But he expects the business will mature as users realize it's cheaper to pay a flat fee for access to 500,000 tracks than to pay $1 a song.

that's $10/mo to access 500,000 songs or $1 a song to keep. has this guy learned anything from the success of iTMS and failures of other subscription services? :rolleyes:

johnnyjibbs
Feb 19, 2004, 09:05 AM
I always thought that Napster 2.0 was not coming to Europe (as in no plans). I guess they'll have to now, especially when iTunes may not arrive here until the end of the year...

Well, I hate seeing the downfall of a 'rival' being a good thing, but this does bode well for Apple.

johnnowak
Feb 19, 2004, 09:09 AM
BOOM! :cool:

crawdad62
Feb 19, 2004, 09:15 AM
Originally posted by widesky
Cue the move to Microsoft-owned subsiduary

Now that's an interesting possibility. Actually I'm surprised it did happen from the get-go. I guess MS is/was betting on its very own service but it seemed like a decent marriage.

Lancetx
Feb 19, 2004, 09:16 AM
Napster is having the same problems with breaking into the European market that Apple is, so you won't be seeing Napster in Europe any sooner than Apple gets there. At the rate things are going, Napster won't even survive long enough to get things started in Europe in the first place. I'll bet that one year from today they aren't even in business any more and they may just drag Roxio as a whole down with them.

nuckinfutz
Feb 19, 2004, 09:18 AM
And then Apple can swoop in ravage their caracass for anything worthwile. Perhaps Apple can turn Napster into a underground unsigned artist label instead.

srobert
Feb 19, 2004, 09:18 AM
Originally posted by Lancetx
I'll bet that one year from today they aren't even in business any more and they may just drag Roxio as a whole down with them.

Too bad. I like Roxio Toast Titanium.

But Gorog should make up his mind. He says that monthly fee is the way to go but he sells stuff like this, that can only be used in a per song model... thinking of it, the napster player is useless if you use the "good" monthly fee model. Or am I mising something?:

http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B00005ATMC.16._SCLZZZZZZZ_.jpg

MarcL
Feb 19, 2004, 09:26 AM
The author of the Mercury article writes about how Napster is getting a push from pre-paid cards at Target, but fails to note that Target is also selling iTunes pre-paid cards and iPods.

Lancetx
Feb 19, 2004, 09:31 AM
Originally posted by srobert
Too bad. I like Roxio Toast Titanium.

Me too. So let's hope that Apple can acquire the rights to the software in the aftermath. :)

billyboy
Feb 19, 2004, 09:33 AM
Sounds like Napster have money from a couple of sources and had too many cooks spoiling the broth. Seems that iTunes business plan really is going places.

jholzner
Feb 19, 2004, 09:33 AM
Originally posted by MarcL
The author of the Mercury article writes about how Napster is getting a push from pre-paid cards at Target, but fails to note that Target is also selling iTunes pre-paid cards and iPods.

Well, I stoped by my local target store last night. They had napster cards for sale but none for itms and NO ipods anywhere...and they haven't for months. I don't know what is going on.

CMYanko
Feb 19, 2004, 09:34 AM
The Napster layoffs showed up on F*ckedCompany yesterday.

Lightningwolf
Feb 19, 2004, 09:51 AM
Cheers to the imminent death of a WMA service. Does anyone actually use WMA encoded music files? I know all of my music is AAC and MP3's...

eric67
Feb 19, 2004, 09:56 AM
I think Napster has no chance to launch a online Music Store in europe before iTunes. We are all desesparately wanting for iTunesMusic Store...apple should speed up, because some online store already exist over there, based on iTMS system, but with more format compatibility, especially for Pc users.

virividox
Feb 19, 2004, 09:58 AM
i have 1 wma clip it was sent to me by a friend

that said i hope napster bites the big one soon

johnnyjibbs
Feb 19, 2004, 09:58 AM
The article mentions iTunes having a 56% market share. Didn't Steve say at MWSF that it had a 70% market share and, just after the iTunes for Windows annoucement, 80%? It may be by far the number one, but it seems to be falling fast. (Or I am comparing apples with potatoes?)

Just how many music download stores are there now in the US?

vitrector
Feb 19, 2004, 10:02 AM
A couple of comments:
1. IMHO, their Branding consultant should have realized that taking a brand that means "any music at your fingertips for free" to "pay for limited use or access or both for some music" had to be a failure. To me Napster still symbolizes the Internet revolution, the old Napster that is. Name recognition isn't everything, brand value is!

2. I wonder how they can claim that they will be doing better with the impending launch of Napster paid service in Europe, when there are so many hurdles according to Apple. Is Apple the only one that is being honest, and Napster is blowing hot air? Such BS can't be good for brand loyalty building...

3. While I share the optimism of the iTunes MS with the rest of the posters, I do think the Jury is still out. Eventually it will boil down to a standards war who is successful. Obviously Apple has a leg up on the competition, but the war has barely been started, and the Napster etc. deal are only first battles of what is yet to come (i.e. Microsoft etc.)

Anyway, hope the iTMS succeeds, I love buying stuff there, even though I think it is kind of a rip off compared to CDs (no resale value, lesser sound quality, and only a little cheaper compared to discounters like Best Buy), but it is just soooo convenient....

Awimoway
Feb 19, 2004, 10:19 AM
The iPod is killing Napster in two ways. People want to buy music online for their iPods, not some other POS. And of course, the new Napster was designed to make a profit, but iTMS is merely designed to break even and support the iPod.


How ironic that, for once, a sector of the tech industry is dominated by an integrated software-hardware combo, and who else but Apple would be the one marketing that model. :D

CraigS
Feb 19, 2004, 10:28 AM
SCHADENFREUDE

Silencio
Feb 19, 2004, 10:34 AM
Originally posted by CMYanko
The Napster layoffs showed up on F*ckedCompany yesterday.
What's really strange is that Apple showed up there yesterday too with the news item that they paid off the last of their corporate debt. Logically, that news item should have been listed as a "Luck" (i.e. a good thing to happen to a company), but it was instead listed as a mild "*****". Oh well, whoever said that anything on that site made any sense?

Silencio
Feb 19, 2004, 10:47 AM
So far, Steve Jobs is being proven right on this one. All the music services that predated iTMS (PressPlay, etc) were all predicated on monthly subscription fees to "rent" music, and all of those music services were disappointments or outright failures. Chris Gorog and Napster are clinging onto their subscription model like a life buoy, but that buoy has a big leak in it.

Again, Napster isn't really driving hardware sales. They kind of did the right thing by partnering with Samsung, but how many people actually went out and bought Samsung MP3 players? And how much money does Napster make on sales of the hardware? Probably none, or very little.

If people want to spend money on music, they want to have more ownership over it. They want the file to live on their hard drive and/or iPod and be playable without having to authenticate to some DRM server on the Internet first. One can find fault with aspects of Apple's DRM/authorization routines, but they're the most balanced and fair in the industry at this point.

The interesting question will be how many usage rights the general public is willing to give up for the music they purchase online. That will be one important determining factor in whether iTMS or one of the WMA-based services ends up being the market leader.

dashiel
Feb 19, 2004, 11:02 AM
Originally posted by Rincewind42
Well, unless Fairplay is licensed to them it won't really matter if they do. And while I like that Apple is currently owning the legal market, in the long term I think they will need to allow others to sell Fairplay encoded AAC, and even further out to license other players to play it. Basically kill 1 or 2 of the major WMA services (Napster & some one else) and then allow themselves to make money on others who want to sell & play their DRM flavor.

unless apple bought fairplay, then they don't have any say in who licenses fairplay and who doesn't. they licensed the tech from the circle group (http://64.244.235.240/explained_works.asp).

now that site hasn't been updated since 2001, their parent company just has a parked domain so maybe apple has purchased them. they may also have a special agreement with them, like apple did with toshiba's ipod hard drives, that gives them an exclusive license for X years.

omnivector
Feb 19, 2004, 11:04 AM
for those who are unaware, napster is not napster now. it's not even the same program. it's roxio's music store. the only thing similar about old napster and new napster is the name, that's it. roxio bought mindshare.

billyboy
Feb 19, 2004, 11:07 AM
People with their wma dl music from Napster may well be a little concerned that their investment in Napster may well turn out to be an expensive exercise in being proved right by the Steve Jobs vision of the best way to sell music on the internet. But rather than laughing at them with their wma library, which has become an expensive barrier to seeing the light of the iPod, it could be Apple to the rescue.

I don't know how well wma to mp3 convertors work on the Windows side, but I have been playing around with ffmpegx and after converting some classical music to MP3 from wma, the mp3 still sounded pretty damn good on my system. Get that installed into iTunes and welcome the Napster refugees to iTunes and iPod land.

wrldwzrd89
Feb 19, 2004, 11:07 AM
I never thought the new Napster would do very well. Like other posters mentioned, the subscription model is inherently flawed relative to consumers' expectations of a download service. I see this as meaning that none of the subscription models will survive long-term, but non-subscription services like the iTMS will survive and maybe even turn a profit (for Apple, at least).

ccuilla
Feb 19, 2004, 11:18 AM
Originally posted by crawdad62
Now that's an interesting possibility. Actually I'm surprised it did happen from the get-go. I guess MS is/was betting on its very own service but it seemed like a decent marriage.

Interesting, but a challenge for MS in a couple of ways.

First, Microsoft wants to try an lure the music companies to WMA by demonstrating that they are independent and not competing with the record companies. I think the record companies are a little worried about MS...and given their past, no wonder.

Second, Microsoft would have to finnesse the fact that they would suddenly be competing with all of the other WMA-base music download services. Ouch.

Third, if they are not careful, they could run afoul of the Justice Department. The Justice Department is already looking into TWO things with MS right now. First is whether they are actually living up to the wrist slap they received for the monopoly conviction. Second is whether or not they are pulling an IE with the music business right now.

eazyway
Feb 19, 2004, 11:25 AM
Originally posted by johnnyjibbs
The article mentions iTunes having a 56% market share. Didn't Steve say at MWSF that it had a 70% market share and, just after the iTunes for Windows annoucement, 80%? It may be by far the number one, but it seems to be falling fast. (Or I am comparing apples with potatoes?)

Just how many music download stores are there now in the US?

very likely that the % will fall to a more reasonable number as the competitors line up but when they fall the spoils goes to the survivors and iTMS could again rise to the early lofty status. As long as the download rate goes up there will be no problem with the iTMS. Even an end 30% market share would be very very nice.

eazyway
Feb 19, 2004, 11:28 AM
Originally posted by omnivector
for those who are unaware, napster is not napster now. it's not even the same program. it's roxio's music store. the only thing similar about old napster and new napster is the name, that's it. roxio bought mindshare.


Not quite. Also the software and the storage was moved to Roxio and the music as well as they did not have to work so hard at getting all the songs uploaded to the servers. They fixed up the store front but it was still the Napster service with more restrictions.

rjwill246
Feb 19, 2004, 11:28 AM
Chris Gorog, like Michael Dell and others who have not only just made digs at Apple- that's fair- but have vented overt hostility at public meetings- not fair and not very professional, for that matter- should learn a lesson about "foot in mouth disease." It can be lethal.
Steve Jobs' digs pale by comparison to the vitriol poured on Apple by these less stellar men. They should note that in many cases the words one utters in contempt may boomerang right back.
So now, Chris, tell us again, what was that directive advising the music industry to steer clear of Apple about? I lost something in the translation.

3-22
Feb 19, 2004, 11:35 AM
Kind of stupid to think you could stick the word "Napster" on a restrictive music service and have success. Consumers aren't that stupid...

Even with iTunes short comings it's still the best thing ever and the best use of digitial rights. Things I still don't know is... What will become of my AAC files after 5-10 years. My CDs (atleast the ones that aren't scracthed) still play fine today. Also the inability to transfer ownership to someone else if I no longer enjoy a song. (no resale value) I buy songs occasionaly on iTunes, but I'm still leary of purchasing hundreds of iTune tracks atleast until I see what the future holds for it... (not that I have hundreds of tracks i really want to buy)

I'd imagine Napster with it's limited song selection must suck. iTunes has really come a long way with it's catalog over the last few months but still many older or rare albums are either not there or only partial albums. It is getting better, and a search one week will give completly different results next week.

Looks like the other services are starting to drop like flies...

Blaaze
Feb 19, 2004, 11:50 AM
its about time

winmacguy
Feb 19, 2004, 11:50 AM
Originally posted by Lightningwolf
Cheers to the imminent death of a WMA service. Does anyone actually use WMA encoded music files? I know all of my music is AAC and MP3's...

Most PC magazines I buy (I own a PC with win XP running iTunes and it doesnt crash, I work on a Mac) dont actually mention AAC as a codec frormat when comapring MP3 players. They compare the "iPod killers" and then tell you at the end of the comparison that the iPod is the best one but they only mention .wma and MP3 as the codec and say how good it is along with the various PC music download stores with a brief mention about iTMS only being available in the US.
MY guess would be that the other 95% of the worlds computer owning PC using population out there do use Windows Media Player or Winamp or dbpoweramp which is probably the best of all PC MP3 players would definitenly use .wma

Good news about Napsters financial woes!

winmacguy
Feb 19, 2004, 11:53 AM
Originally posted by eric67
I think Napster has no chance to launch a online Music Store in europe before iTunes. We are all desesparately wanting for iTunesMusic Store...apple should speed up, because some online store already exist over there, based on iTMS system, but with more format compatibility, especially for Pc users.


This should explain it for you- quoted from NZMacguide.co.nz

I thought the problem with international distribution is that the rights aren't as easy as you might hope - I have a bad feeling it goes something like:

Taking an artist I know some of the distribution rights of -
Mushroom handled distribution of Split Enz music in Australia and New Zealand, but a different company (EMI I think?) had the rights in the US.
If that company agrees with Apple that Apple can distribute Split Enz songs in the US, then Apple can distribute Split Enz songs in the US.
However, Apple can't provide that service to a NZer, sitting in NZ, with a NZ Visa card, since the distribution rights in NZ belong to Mushroom, who haven't agreed to Apple distributing Split Enz songs anywhere.

Snowy_River
Feb 19, 2004, 12:09 PM
Originally posted by Rincewind42
Well, unless Fairplay is licensed to them it won't really matter if they do. And while I like that Apple is currently owning the legal market, in the long term I think they will need to allow others to sell Fairplay encoded AAC, and even further out to license other players to play it. Basically kill 1 or 2 of the major WMA services (Napster & some one else) and then allow themselves to make money on others who want to sell & play their DRM flavor.

Just a thought, but is any music service going to want to use pAAC? If they do, then the user will have to use iTunes to play their music, and as soon as they have iTunes, why would they want to use another music service when iTMS is right there, integrated? Yes, it's true that some music services have more niche music, but that'd hardly be enough to keep them afloat. I think that signing on for pAAC would be a nail in the coffin for any other music service.

wrldwzrd89
Feb 19, 2004, 12:13 PM
Originally posted by Snowy_River
Just a thought, but is any music service going to want to use pAAC? If they do, then the user will have to use iTunes to play their music, and as soon as they have iTunes, why would they want to use another music service when iTMS is right there, integrated? Yes, it's true that some music services have more niche music, but that'd hardly be enough to keep them afloat. I think that signing on for pAAC would be a nail in the coffin for any other music service.

What makes you think a pAAC licensee can't develop a pAAC decoder for their chosen media player and use that in their service? I don't see licensing of pAAC as a bad thing for other music services; rather, it's a good thing because it helps to spread AAC and increase compatibility between iTMS and other services. (It also better defends Apple against Microsoft's WMA format.)

Snowy_River
Feb 19, 2004, 12:23 PM
Originally posted by eric67
I think Napster has no chance to launch a online Music Store in europe before iTunes. We are all desesparately wanting for iTunesMusic Store...apple should speed up, because some online store already exist over there, based on iTMS system, but with more format compatibility, especially for Pc users.

Napster could get a Europe service up sooner, if they didn't want a universally consistent service across all of Europe. From what I've read, that's what's holding up the iTMS, Apple's insistence on having the rules consistent across all of Europe...

Snowy_River
Feb 19, 2004, 12:30 PM
Originally posted by billyboy
... it could be Apple to the rescue...

... converting ... to MP3 from wma... Get that installed into iTunes and welcome the Napster refugees to iTunes and iPod land.

I think that there are two flaws with your idea. First, I doubt that WMA to MP3 converters will work on DRM protected WMAs. Second, as MP3s aren't protected, I'd think that the record industry would be very unhappy with Apple for installing such a thing into iTunes, if it did work on pWMAs.

However, I agree that Apple could come to the rescue. They could offer something like pAAC replacements for WMA that have been downloaded from another service for a minimal fee. Say, $.25.

srobert
Feb 19, 2004, 12:32 PM
My idea for napster's logo, a year from now:

Snowy_River
Feb 19, 2004, 12:43 PM
Originally posted by wrldwzrd89
What makes you think a pAAC licensee can't develop a pAAC decoder for their chosen media player and use that in their service? I don't see licensing of pAAC as a bad thing for other music services; rather, it's a good thing because it helps to spread AAC and increase compatibility between iTMS and other services. (It also better defends Apple against Microsoft's WMA format.)

Granted.

jettredmont
Feb 19, 2004, 12:49 PM
Originally posted by eazyway
Not quite. Also the software and the storage was moved to Roxio and the music as well as they did not have to work so hard at getting all the songs uploaded to the servers. They fixed up the store front but it was still the Napster service with more restrictions.

Um, no.

1) The "software" of Napster is fairly thin, but generally revolving around P2P. While there are *some* P2P aspects remaining in the Napster client, the Music Store does NOT use it. You download your songs from Napster's servers, not from a "peer". The P2P aspects, last I heard, were limitted to playlist suggestions (the songs still coming from the central server, but the playlists sent around P2P IIRC).

2) The "songs uploaded to the servers" ... Napster 1.0 never had songs on its servers, just an index of which songs all its users had on their computers. The Napster software brokered the P2P connections; once brokered, the two computers talked with each other only.

3) Even if Napster *had* had songs on its servers, those were mixed-quality and illegal copies of songs. Roxio would still have had to re-rip them from RIAA sources to a common format (wma instead of mp3) with DRM and quality controls in place.

manu chao
Feb 19, 2004, 01:11 PM
How do you authorize and deauthorize your computers, when the company running the authorization server has gone bankrupt? (Supposing Napster uses a central server as iTMS does.)

singletrack
Feb 19, 2004, 01:20 PM
Originally posted by Snowy_River
Napster could get a Europe service up sooner, if they didn't want a universally consistent service across all of Europe. From what I've read, that's what's holding up the iTMS, Apple's insistence on having the rules consistent across all of Europe...

From The Register (so use the usual pinch of salt)...

Wippit CEO Paul Myers burst a few of the bubbles about online music services and cast some doubt over just why it is that Apple iTunes and Roxio are having trouble tying up European rights with their record labels.

"If I can do it, and get world-wide online rights, then I don't see what's holding them up. It's certainly not the red tape and bureaucracy of individual European countries, like they say it is."

http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/6/35646.html


I must say however, that visiting wippet.com shows quite a difference between what is mentioned in the Reg article and what is actually available on the site.

mrsebastian
Feb 19, 2004, 01:21 PM
i don't know how they expected to make any large profits?! when the most successful online music service (itms) doesn't make very much. it's a whole lot of effort and risk for not much profit.

AndrewMT
Feb 19, 2004, 01:27 PM
This last minute HP descision explains why they only had thay god-awful looking greyish blue iPod. They are probably working on a better design, as hp has been known to release some cool looking products (media center pcs, iPaq).

PretendPCuser
Feb 19, 2004, 01:37 PM
Originally posted by vitrector
A couple of comments:
1. IMHO, their Branding consultant should have realized that taking a brand that means "any music at your fingertips for free" to "pay for limited use or access or both for some music" had to be a failure. To me Napster still symbolizes the Internet revolution, the old Napster that is. Name recognition isn't everything, brand value is!


I'd be amazed that they even hired a brand consultant for the re-launch of Napster.

But hey, no one ever said that CEO's listen to branding experts anyway. So maybe they can't blame their branding agency.

I agree with you. It certainly is a tough position to go from "free" to "pay" and how to advertise that that is a good thing. Look at how many others have failed at that. (Like nearly every .bomb that gave it away, then expected brand loyalty. Um, hello?

Cheers!

winmacguy
Feb 19, 2004, 01:40 PM
Originally posted by AndrewMT
This last minute HP descision explains why they only had thay god-awful looking greyish blue iPod. They are probably working on a better design, as hp has been known to release some cool looking products (media center pcs, iPaq).

And roll on the month of April when all the HP/Compac PCs start hitting the shop shelves around the world (with HPs market share) with iTunes preinstalled.

Snowy_River
Feb 19, 2004, 02:40 PM
Originally posted by winmacguy
And roll on the month of April when all the HP/Compac PCs start hitting the shop shelves around the world (with HPs market share) with iTunes preinstalled.

An interesting question, why doesn't IBM have iTunes on all of their PCs? Wouldn't that make sense, given the alliance between Apple and IBM?

srobert
Feb 19, 2004, 02:49 PM
Originally posted by Snowy_River
Wouldn't that make sense, given the alliance between Apple and IBM?

I'm not sure if there is such thing as an Apple/IBM alliance. To me it looks more like Apple is simply one of IBM's client, a privileged one at most. I might be mistaken though, feel free to correct me.

simX
Feb 19, 2004, 02:56 PM
Originally posted by Snowy_River
Just a thought, but is any music service going to want to use pAAC? If they do, then the user will have to use iTunes to play their music, and as soon as they have iTunes, why would they want to use another music service when iTMS is right there, integrated? Yes, it's true that some music services have more niche music, but that'd hardly be enough to keep them afloat. I think that signing on for pAAC would be a nail in the coffin for any other music service.

RealPlayer is able to play protected AAC files... it seems that Apple has added hooks to QuickTime that allow other programs to play FairPlay-protected DRM.

See this article (http://news.com.com/2100-1027_3-5136275.html) for the information.

Jookbox
Feb 19, 2004, 03:22 PM
why all the positive rankings? this is bad news. itunes needs competition. you people are so shortsighted.

srobert
Feb 19, 2004, 03:29 PM
Competition is good but the technology is so new that we are not sure yet if AAC will fly. I see this report as a bit more of a head start for the AAC clan to establish themselves. We need all the head start we can get before MS come in the arena to add tremendous weight for WMA adoption as the gold standard.

P.S.: I'm one of the short-sighted peeps who voted positive on this ^_^

edited for typos

army_guy
Feb 19, 2004, 03:35 PM
I use LAME average VBR max quality settings @ 256kb/s , it sounds better than any other mp3 encoder and also AAC and WMA. Ask any experienced mp3 user and they will say the same.

Snowy_River
Feb 19, 2004, 04:17 PM
Originally posted by simX
RealPlayer is able to play protected AAC files... it seems that Apple has added hooks to QuickTime that allow other programs to play FairPlay-protected DRM.

See this article (http://news.com.com/2100-1027_3-5136275.html) for the information.

Well, the current version doesn't allow it. And, anyway, I'm not worried. Most of the Mac users I know (myself included) really dislike RealOne Player. I keep it around for the occasional must-have occasion, but I'd hate to have to use it on a regular basis.

I actually got my local public radio station to switch their default streaming format from .RM to .M3U. Also, they list iTunes as the cross platform player for the .M3U stream, at my suggestion... :D

Long Live iTunes! ;)

mabino
Feb 19, 2004, 05:44 PM
Napster's future lies somewhere under the yet to be implemented Music Mall option...

http://homepage.mac.com/mabino/.Pictures/napster.png

Rincewind42
Feb 19, 2004, 06:02 PM
Originally posted by simX
RealPlayer is able to play protected AAC files... it seems that Apple has added hooks to QuickTime that allow other programs to play FairPlay-protected DRM.

See this article (http://news.com.com/2100-1027_3-5136275.html) for the information.

Yes, Quicktime allows access to Protected AAC on Mac OS X only. Quicktime for Windows does not however.

the_mole1314
Feb 19, 2004, 08:29 PM
I'm not surprised. Many software companies have had let the tail wag the dog, where the advertising and spin docotors create a brand around a piece of polished turd. That's why I love Apple, they don't let that happen to them.

ratspg
Feb 19, 2004, 08:50 PM
i dislike napster, i am sooo happy for apple to be ahead with iTMS and soo far ahead of the game , its such a great thing to see them doing it right and profiting.

Nermal
Feb 19, 2004, 09:11 PM
Originally posted by simX
RealPlayer is able to play protected AAC files... it seems that Apple has added hooks to QuickTime that allow other programs to play FairPlay-protected DRM.

See this article (http://news.com.com/2100-1027_3-5136275.html) for the information.

The latest RealPlayer 10 on Windows uses AAC. However, it doesn't seem to be standards-compliant AAC, because QuickTime and iTunes won't play them, and neither will RealOne for Mac.

Rincewind42
Feb 19, 2004, 09:23 PM
Originally posted by Nermal
The latest RealPlayer 10 on Windows uses AAC. However, it doesn't seem to be standards-compliant AAC, because QuickTime and iTunes won't play them, and neither will RealOne for Mac.

Quicktime & iTunes creates AAC audio in an MPEG-4 container. It appears that Real encodes AAC audio (at least from their music store, possibly from other sources) in their own proprietary container. The audio data is the same, but since the container is different you would need some way to determine where the audio is in the file.

chrismarkcanada
Feb 19, 2004, 09:28 PM
Flip the bottle. Mygod get with the times. Why do I Have to read it on CNN I should read it here first. You are so behind the times.

Nermal
Feb 19, 2004, 09:45 PM
Originally posted by Rincewind42
Quicktime & iTunes creates AAC audio in an MPEG-4 container. It appears that Real encodes AAC audio (at least from their music store, possibly from other sources) in their own proprietary container. The audio data is the same, but since the container is different you would need some way to determine where the audio is in the file.

I thought it might be something like that, but didn't want to embarrass myself if I was wrong :)

singletrack
Feb 19, 2004, 09:59 PM
Originally posted by Rincewind42
Quicktime & iTunes creates AAC audio in an MPEG-4 container. It appears that Real encodes AAC audio (at least from their music store, possibly from other sources) in their own proprietary container. The audio data is the same, but since the container is different you would need some way to determine where the audio is in the file.

I thought it was because Real used their own 'Helix' DRM instead of FairPlay or do they also use a different format for non-DRMd AAC files?

That would be mad as then other players like WinAmp or QCD wouldn't play them.

Nermal
Feb 19, 2004, 10:46 PM
I've tried playing a regular (non-DRM) RealAudio AAC file on the Mac, and I couldn't get it working at all. I tried QuickTime, iTunes, RealOne, VLC, and MPlayer. The files have an .rm extension.

Rincewind42
Feb 19, 2004, 10:48 PM
Originally posted by singletrack
I thought it was because Real used their own 'Helix' DRM instead of FairPlay or do they also use a different format for non-DRMd AAC files?

That would be mad as then other players like WinAmp or QCD wouldn't play them.

Well, even if they did use a DRM that was compatible with Quicktime, they would have to embed it in an MPEG-4 container for Quicktime to understand it. From the Helix Producer manual (which doesn't address DRM'd AAC) they only support AAC audio in MPEG-4, 3GPP, and 3GPP-2 containers. So it is likely that DRM free AAC files from Real will play in Quicktime (since it supports all 3 of those formats). Of course, they could also port their file format and DRM to Quicktime and enable Mac users to use them. Of course they could be using an MPEG-4 container with a format codec that Quicktime doesn't understand (I haven't seen these particular files, so I can't tell you which it is...) but oddly somehow I doubt that...

I just wish it were easier to find stuff on Real's website. It's telling when you need to use Google to find useful information on a website...

Edit: Seems Nermal has discovered that even Real's documentation doesn't necessarily jive with reality :D. So it looks like Real will encode AAC into Real Media format containers.

Nermal
Feb 19, 2004, 10:51 PM
Here's what happens if you try to play an AAC:

iMeowbot
Feb 19, 2004, 10:54 PM
Originally posted by Snowy_River
An interesting question, why doesn't IBM have iTunes on all of their PCs? Wouldn't that make sense, given the alliance between Apple and IBM?

IBM still do SOHO, but they pretty much withdrew from the consumer space over the past few years. It was never a market they really fit very well anyway, and with the margins these days on home Wintel hardware I doubt they regret it very much.

Nermal
Feb 19, 2004, 11:04 PM
Speaking of IBM's home computers, a friend of mine got an IBM Aptiva in about 1996. It ran Windows 95, but was heavily customised for the home user, with plenty of games and home applications all preinstalled and preconfigured.

In 2000, she decided to get a new computer, and bought another Aptiva. Unlike the old one, her new Aptiva was completely different in that it seemed be more of a "bland box" than the customised home package she got with her old one. It wouldn't surprise me if MS had something to do with it, they probably thought IBM was "diluting the Windows brand" or something by customising it :rolleyes:

iKenny
Feb 19, 2004, 11:10 PM
It is a good question about why they list Apple with only 56% now. If Napster's only selling 1/4 of what Apple's selling, and Napster's number 2, then how can Apple only have 56%? Oh well, the more pressing question is what will happen when iPod isn't #1 (since I don't think it will be forever, great as it is).

macnews
Feb 19, 2004, 11:33 PM
Maybe it is wrong, but I do get some joy out of these copy cats who try think all they have to do is put up some songs on a website.

I would like to see some competition for iTunes, but after the ACC format (or whatever is next) becomes THE format. Screw WMA. Once that is settled, then bring on the competitors.

Snowy_River
Feb 20, 2004, 02:52 AM
Originally posted by iKenny
It is a good question about why they list Apple with only 56% now. If Napster's only selling 1/4 of what Apple's selling, and Napster's number 2, then how can Apple only have 56%? ...

And the most recent sales data reported to two of the major music labels shows Napster with an estimated 12 percent share of the download market, compared to Apple's 56 percent

They are only at 56% based on data from two of the five major labels. We don't know which two they're talking about, and we don't know how much of the overall music market those two represent. Apple could fairly easily be fifteen points higher including the other three labels...

BwanaZulia
Feb 20, 2004, 07:42 AM
So what about the others?

How is Walmart doing?

How is BuyMusic.com doing?

There are things that Apple gets right and there are things that Apple gets RIGHT! iTMS/iPod is just 100% right with me.

- I go every tuesday and at least buy a track or two (maybe an album)

- My wife and I will hear a song on the radio/TV (O.C.) and will head over to the Mac and buy it.

- I have 400+ CDs and that will probably be it. I never sell them or trade them and once they are all ripped (RevB G5 please) They will just go into storage.

- I have spent MORE on music in the last year then (iTMS) the previous two years (CDS) because of the convience, price, ability.

The one thing I would like to see in iTunes is an EASY way to get protected/bought music from one computer to another. Like when I am sharing my music from my desktop to my powerbook and they are bother authorized to play the music (cause they have to be) why can't I just right-click on a song/album/playlist and say "Add To Library" and it copies it over. Seems so simple, yet...

BZ

srobert
Feb 20, 2004, 07:45 AM
Originally posted by BwanaZulia
So what about the others?

How is Walmart doing?

How is BuyMusic.com doing?

Probably worst since Apple is #1 and Napster is #2. Unless they have a lower running cost.

Wendy_Rebecca
Feb 20, 2004, 10:13 AM
Originally posted by Snowy_River
However, I agree that Apple could come to the rescue. They could offer something like pAAC replacements for WMA that have been downloaded from another service for a minimal fee. Say, $.25.

Y'know...that's not a bad idea. But here's the thing: WMA is going to win this standards war; there's no question about it. Went shopping for a DVD player the other night, and the boxes all screamed, "Plays back DVD, DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+R, DVD+RW, CD Audio, MP3, WMA".

Not ONE played back AAC or Apple's Proprietary Protected AAC. NOT ONE.

Apple needs to support WMA playback on the iPod so that all those folks buying music elsewhere (the other 40%) can play that music back on the iPod. Simple as that.

Rincewind42
Feb 20, 2004, 10:21 AM
Originally posted by Wendy_Rebecca
Y'know...that's not a bad idea. But here's the thing: WMA is going to win this standards war; there's no question about it. Went shopping for a DVD player the other night, and the boxes all screamed, "Plays back DVD, DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+R, DVD+RW, CD Audio, MP3, WMA".

Not ONE played back AAC or Apple's Proprietary Protected AAC. NOT ONE.

That may be true, but how many people actually use any of those products to play back WMA? And how many of them actually play *Protected* WMA. Most don't. Thus the other 40% are damned either way.

Mac Dummy
Feb 20, 2004, 10:42 AM
The reason Napster is losing so bad to iTunes is that it requires users to download the Napster propetiary software. Users can't use iTunes to download songs. I do wish that iTunes supported asf file format though.

Mac Dummy
Feb 20, 2004, 10:45 AM
Originally posted by BwanaZulia
So what about the others?

How is Walmart doing?

How is BuyMusic.com doing?

There are things that Apple gets right and there are things that Apple gets RIGHT! iTMS/iPod is just 100% right with me.

- I go every tuesday and at least buy a track or two (maybe an album)

- My wife and I will hear a song on the radio/TV (O.C.) and will head over to the Mac and buy it.

- I have 400+ CDs and that will probably be it. I never sell them or trade them and once they are all ripped (RevB G5 please) They will just go into storage.

- I have spent MORE on music in the last year then (iTMS) the previous two years (CDS) because of the convience, price, ability.

The one thing I would like to see in iTunes is an EASY way to get protected/bought music from one computer to another. Like when I am sharing my music from my desktop to my powerbook and they are bother authorized to play the music (cause they have to be) why can't I just right-click on a song/album/playlist and say "Add To Library" and it copies it over. Seems so simple, yet...

BZ

I don't know how Walmart is doing. I know that you can buy songs for 88 cents, 10 cents less than all other service, however they only offer them in asf format, a format that iTunes doesn't support yet.:(

Mac Dummy
Feb 20, 2004, 10:53 AM
Originally posted by Silencio
So far, Steve Jobs is being proven right on this one. All the music services that predated iTMS (PressPlay, etc) were all predicated on monthly subscription fees to "rent" music, and all of those music services were disappointments or outright failures. Chris Gorog and Napster are clinging onto their subscription model like a life buoy, but that buoy has a big leak in it.

Again, Napster isn't really driving hardware sales. They kind of did the right thing by partnering with Samsung, but how many people actually went out and bought Samsung MP3 players? And how much money does Napster make on sales of the hardware? Probably none, or very little.

If people want to spend money on music, they want to have more ownership over it. They want the file to live on their hard drive and/or iPod and be playable without having to authenticate to some DRM server on the Internet first. One can find fault with aspects of Apple's DRM/authorization routines, but they're the most balanced and fair in the industry at this point.

The interesting question will be how many usage rights the general public is willing to give up for the music they purchase online. That will be one important determining factor in whether iTMS or one of the WMA-based services ends up being the market leader.

It's rather easy to get around Apple's authorization rountines, if you wanted to play ITMS songs on more than 3 computers, rip a CD of those songs and then reimport into iTunes and voila! No more copy protection.:D

Snowy_River
Feb 20, 2004, 12:35 PM
Originally posted by Mac Dummy
It's rather easy to get around Apple's authorization rountines, if you wanted to play ITMS songs on more than 3 computers, rip a CD of those songs and then reimport into iTunes and voila! No more copy protection.:D

And voila, significantly degraded sound quality... ;)

Sabenth
Feb 20, 2004, 06:17 PM
digital audio files can be converted without to much loss if you really feel the need not to have the protection. so why buy the dam track in the first place and not use the p2p networks...


i am using no grammer for a reason

rdowns
Feb 20, 2004, 07:03 PM
Originally posted by winmacguy


Good news about Napsters financial woes!

Is it? If/when Napster fails, how many people will be totally turned off from buying music online when stories of those who purchased songs/albums from the defunct store can't use them? Buying music online is still in the early adopter stage IMO.

rdowns
Feb 20, 2004, 07:07 PM
Originally posted by Snowy_River
Napster could get a Europe service up sooner, if they didn't want a universally consistent service across all of Europe. From what I've read, that's what's holding up the iTMS, Apple's insistence on having the rules consistent across all of Europe...

A universal service across Europe would certainly be best from a cost and accounting point of view for Apple. I hope their stubborness doesn't cause them to lose the European market. Apple's stubborness has caused many a problem in their past.

rdowns
Feb 20, 2004, 07:13 PM
Originally posted by Snowy_River
An interesting question, why doesn't IBM have iTunes on all of their PCs? Wouldn't that make sense, given the alliance between Apple and IBM?

Hasn't IBM all but abandoned the consumer PC market? If they haven't, they likely have a lower market share than Apple. Apple is sure trying to help them with their anemic (read overpriced, under powered, older technology) consumer lineup.

rdowns
Feb 20, 2004, 07:20 PM
Originally posted by iKenny
It is a good question about why they list Apple with only 56% now. If Napster's only selling 1/4 of what Apple's selling, and Napster's number 2, then how can Apple only have 56%? Oh well, the more pressing question is what will happen when iPod isn't #1 (since I don't think it will be forever, great as it is).

I'd be more interested in online sales as a % of all music sales. I heard a radio report earlier in the week that stated that the record companies sold more CDs last week (post Grammy awards) than in any other week ever.

There's a marketing opportunity for Apple. Live commercials at the Grammy's touting the ability to download and buy now the previous song/album winner. "Congratulations to Crapmaster for winning Best Song of the Year. Download it now at iTMS and while you're there, check out the other 57 tracks by Crapmaster".

Snowy_River
Feb 20, 2004, 11:42 PM
Originally posted by rdowns
Hasn't IBM all but abandoned the consumer PC market? If they haven't, they likely have a lower market share than Apple. Apple is sure trying to help them with their anemic (read overpriced, under powered, older technology) consumer lineup.

All I know is that I'm taking a course from two adjunct professors here. One is a former Moto exec, and the other is a former IBM exec. The IBM exec gets Moto cell phones, and the Moto exec gets IBM PCs.

(An interesting aside: I asked the IBM exec if he thought that IBM would release PCs based on the PPC chips running Linux in the foreseeable future. He said he was sure that they would... ;) )

electric
Feb 21, 2004, 01:56 AM
Deja vu all over again,

Does the whole music downloading thing seem a little familiar to you or is it me? I might be showing my age but I remember about 4 or 5 years ago when it was totally cool to throw out business models and throw bunches of cash at any half baked idea of a web venture. Sounds like people are at it again. I have this brother in Law who has countless get rich schemes and it seems like other people do too.

I don't know if it's true what Steve says about Apple not making money from music sales and that it's only a means to justify the ends of selling more hardware and software but if it is true it is most certainly brilliant. Talk about finding a niche and having market dominance, It seems to me that nobody can touch this (props to MC Hammer)

As human beings, are we all stifled in our creativity? can we not think of the next big thing? or at least something originally cool? I bet that when Edison invented the light bulb, people in his close proximity said "well thats it! he's done it! there are no more inventions left."

I wonder what a world of no recordable devices and copyable abilities would be like. I think we would be a much more creative species, unlike those others out there.

T-Rubble

SiliconAddict
Feb 21, 2004, 04:21 AM
Originally posted by Mac Dummy
The reason Napster is losing so bad to iTunes is that it requires users to download the Napster propetiary software. Users can't use iTunes to download songs. I do wish that iTunes supported asf file format though.

Umm that's WAY flawed logic. It could be also said that you can't use Music Match to download iTunes songs so iTunes is just as proprietary as Napster. At least any WMA file works with any music software that plays WMA. (e.g. A song purchased on Napster will also play on Music Match, Windows Media Player, etc.) So in that regard it more open then iTunes is.

xelent
Jun 16, 2004, 04:26 AM
Has it occurred to Itunes that you could convert there files to CD then rip to MP3 again, solves the compatibility issues