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Music Match Downloads Announced

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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USA Today notes that Music Match launched their new music download service today.

The new service called "Music Match Downloads" is notable in that it has obtained consistent licensing across record labels (similiar to iTunes Music Store), allowing their users to burn songs as well as transfer songs between players with less restrictions.

These looser restrictions will apparently be also given to existing services, including BuyMusic.com.

MusicMatch plans on offering their service under the Windows Media format. These files are not compatible with the iPod player at this time.
 

arn

macrumors god
Staff member
Apr 9, 2001
15,515
4,031
Good:

Looser restrictions, so that means Apple will get the same deal.

Unclear:

Apple is the only major player not using WMA. The iPod -- while it has a large market share -- does not play these files. This is either an advantage... in that if people want an iPod they will have to use the iTunes Music Service... or a drawback, in that they will appear to be proprietary and exclusive.

arn
 
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Laslo Panaflex

macrumors 65816
May 1, 2003
1,291
0
Tokyo
Sorry not for me, ITMS is just so well put together and integrated, plus macs are way better.

Waiting for my G5 to come due in tomorrow!
 
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CrackedButter

macrumors 68040
Jan 15, 2003
3,221
0
51st State of America
But AAC isn't proprietary and exclusive because it allows mp3's to run on it as well. But i think it is a mistake to have these services in only .wma and cater for everybody without an ipod for other players that support .wma.

Maybe Apple will be forced to use it and add it to the other formats it supports that way they are not left out. But it depends on how strong the iPod is.

Its pretty silly to lock out the biggest and best mp3 out there as well because all it will do is turn people off these other services thus hurting themselves. If i was a windows users still and i had an ipod, i would simply wait for Apple's music store to come out...no biggy anyway. I still buy my music the old fashioned way and rip them.

[off topic] But strange thing is, i am a mac user and i wouldn't buy any songs anyway off itunes because i cannot get them at the desired bitrate i want. Plus i prefer the original CD. If apple sold them as well alongside the digital albums then i will bite.
 
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snahabed

macrumors regular
Sep 14, 2002
165
0
New York, NY
This is what puzzles me... I mean I just assumed that work on iTunes for Windows was largely, or at least partly done, back when iTMS was launched, and that delays were the result of stricter Windows licensing.

But now that's not the case? I don't think this bodes well.... tons of Windows people already use MusicMatch, and it is coming to market first. What will be the incentive to download Apple software now that the iTMS is not unique? We could brush away BuyMusic, but MM seems to be just like iTMS.

I guess they can focus on wma vs. aac, but I don't see all that being persuasive to lay people.

I am looking at MM, and it is just so UGLY. I can't understand how Windows people use low rent software like this :)
 
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igordi

macrumors newbie
Jul 14, 2001
26
0
Not Good...

I don't think this is good news for apple and the music store. I think that a big part of what made the store a success was the lack of restrictions on the downloads. If all the windows services are now going to receive the same deal then no one from that world will bother giving apple a chance...as usual.

Of course we all know what else they'll be missing but they won't. This is the biggest problem with the battle between Macs and PC's. Almost all Mac users it seems have used PC's and switched at some point for some reason but most PC users have never used a Mac and just don't know whta they're missing. This service now looks like it may have the same problem.
 
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neilw

macrumors regular
Aug 4, 2003
243
160
New Jersey
My first reaction was the "good" point Arn mentions above: this should remove any doubt that Apple will be able to get the same restrictions on it's Windows-based service as the current.

I can't figure out how the whole WMA vs. AAC thing is going to play out. I mean, people clearly want iPods, and that isn't going to change in the near future. And Apple has good reason not to support WMA, to push people towards their own service. So it seems to me that as long as Apple can do a good enough job implementing ITMS on Windows, the iPod users will go there en masse. Users of other MP3 players will probably use the other services.

I wonder how the quality of the competitive download services compares to Apple's 128kbps AAC?
 
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macrumors12345

macrumors 6502
Mar 1, 2003
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0
Originally posted by arn
Apple is the only major player not using WMA. The iPod -- while it has a large market share -- does not play these files. This is either an advantage... in that if people want an iPod they will have to use the iTunes Music Service... or a drawback, in that they will appear to be proprietary and exclusive.

The key word there being "appear", of course. In reality, AAC is an international standard developed and endorsed by the Motion Picture Experts Group. In contrast, WMA is just Microsoft's own proprietary format.
 
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MasonMcD

macrumors newbie
Jun 3, 2003
20
0
Seattle, WA
Burning CDs?

And if anyone wants to burn a mix to take to a party or something, will the WM9 CD play on a regular CD player?

So you have to take a computer around with you to play your burned CDs?
 
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arn

macrumors god
Staff member
Apr 9, 2001
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4,031





remind you of something? :)
 
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Sol

macrumors 68000
Jan 14, 2003
1,564
6
Australia
Competition is a good thing

Originally posted by macrumors12345
The key word there being "appear", of course. In reality, AAC is an international standard developed and endorsed by the Motion Picture Experts Group. In contrast, WMA is just Microsoft's own proprietary format.

If that is true then can Windows users should be able to play AAC files on their computers. Maybe someone can confirm or deny this for me since I do not use Windows.

I think that the competition is slowly but surely catching up to Apple with the online music stores. No service will work as well as the iTunes Music Store with the iPod but for PC users close enough is good enough.

The ball is now in Apple's court and the next move is theirs to make. Will Windows get its own iTunes before the end of the year? Will international users ever buy music online from Apple? Stay tuned and we'll see.
 
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crap freakboy

macrumors 6502a
Jul 17, 2002
866
0
nar in Gainsborough, me duck
well...apple typically announced the race but forgot to turn up...bless em. Its beyond me how they
a) havent launched the european version (yes, i know cross-boarder licensing issues)
b) didnt have a windows version ready to roll immediately after the mac version (yes, i know licensing issues)

But in all honesty i'll stick with either ITMS (whens its available in the UK of course) and good old fashioned carracho/limewire/poisoned ...erm ....i mean buying cd's and ripping them.

for me its always been a question of getting the balance between price and bitrate...oh and of course the music available.
 
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howard

macrumors 68020
Nov 18, 2002
2,017
2
i hate wmf...the sound quality is awful!!

i can't believe that people would even think about wanting that...

i can't believe people actually use music match..its really clunky and ugly...i used to use winamp when i had a pc...itunes beats the crap out of that...

hopefully itunes will do will!!

i think marketing is key to the success of the itms for windows
 
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irmongoose

macrumors 68030
Originally posted by arn

remind you of something? :)

That's what I was thinking... it is so disgustingly similar to iTMS. But with the ugly, Windows-like touch, of course.

Apple better get their gear going and release the Windows iTunes or they're going to be loosing some valuable customers.



irmongoose
 
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Stella

macrumors G3
Apr 21, 2003
8,499
5,366
Canada
Having anything in WMA totally sucks and is a threat to open standards.

Once WMA becomes dominant, Microsoft will pull a fast one and screw us all over.
 
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Laslo Panaflex

macrumors 65816
May 1, 2003
1,291
0
Tokyo
Originally posted by snahabed
What will be the incentive to download Apple software now that the iTMS is not unique?

Perhaps that is why apple is looking for people to develop new iPods. If Apple cannot hook people with thier software, they will do it with their hardware. The iPod is hands down the best portable MP3 player out there. It will be interesting to see how this unfolds.
 
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mainstreetmark

macrumors 68020
May 7, 2003
2,228
293
Saint Augustine, FL
There's something here that I don't think anyone has mentioned. Neither service is "exclusive". People who use MusicMatch would have no reason not to try iTMS when it becomes available, because doing so won't preclude them from using what they already know. This isn't like Switching, where you have to make a large financial commitment, and hope all the ads were right. With iTMS/MM, you just buy the song from whomever is selling it, and that's that.

So, iTMS may yet have another advantage: longer time in the field, which could mean more songs and more labels. For me iTMS still doesn't have what I want, but that's what i get for not listening to a ClearChannel radio station.

The big question is why Arn is looking for Christina Aguwhateva in Music Match. Hmm....
 
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macrumors12345

macrumors 6502
Mar 1, 2003
410
0
There is also an interesting economic angle here. The question is, will MusicMatch (and others) actually make any money?

Remember, after royalties (which are 70% of revenue), bandwidth/server costs, credit card transaction fees (these have to be big, for 99 cent purchases), and development/support costs, iTMS does not actually make much money at all. Steve admitted as much a few weeks ago, and conceded that its main function is to sell more iPods.

It's unclear why the math should be any different for MusicMatch, with the key exception that they do not get any revenue from selling portable music players. To put it another way, Apple could probably afford to lower prices to 89 cents/track if it wanted to. It might make a nominal loss on the iTMS, but that would be more than compensated for if it could attract more ppl to the service, which would sell more iPods. In contrast, if MusicMatch lowered prices to 89 cents/track, they would also be making a loss, but they wouldn't be selling any music players. They might attract more users, but that would actually be a bad thing, as it would simply increase their total losses!

It may turn out that this type of service is only profitable when offered by a company that also produces a compatible music player. However, even then there is a key difference. If Apple is the only major AAC service, then they know that people using iTMS are buying iPods (by far the most popular AAC player...well, it's the most popular portable music player period). If I am Creative Labs, and I offer music in WMA format, which is also what all the other crappy Windows MP3 players are supporting, then there is no guarantee that the people downloading my music are actually buying Creative players (as opposed to the myriad of other WMA players). But if I tweak the music format so that it only plays on Creative players, then I've locked out most of the market, and few people will want to use my service. Of course, the same is true of iTMS music only being able to play music on iPods, but we don't consider that a "restriction" because the iPod is the most popular player anyway. So having big marketshare in the portable player market may turn out to be pretty key.

Anyway, it will be interesting to see how this all plays out. For the moment, I think it is in Apple's advantage that they are the only big company, both on the store side and player side, fully supporting AAC (ironic, given that it is an actual standard, as opposed to WMA, which is entirely proprietary).
 
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miradu

macrumors member
Jun 21, 2003
39
0
ok, I've been trying it now for like 5 minutes.

The good: It is just like itunes music store, they have copied everything that they could.

Their Music Match (no pun?) service is their killer feature. They looked through my entire collection of mp3's, and suggested 25 songs I don't own yet. More than that, they have it as a radio feature, so that you can listen to your match'ed music (full songs), and while it's playing it makes a list of what played with buttons to buy.

The bad: The sound quality of the previews is crap. I would say good AM quality, bad FM. No where near a good FM quality preview. [Correction: I had the quality set on low, switched to CD and much better, stil lthe default shouldn't be low] Also, maybe because it's its first day, but the service is really slow. Also, It uses WMP.


I really like the new music match interface, it's jsut like itunes. Very nicely done. Overall it is the best windows music store, and I hope that apple can match it's quality.
 
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macrumors12345

macrumors 6502
Mar 1, 2003
410
0
Re: Competition is a good thing

Originally posted by Sol
If that is true then can Windows users should be able to play AAC files on their computers. Maybe someone can confirm or deny this for me since I do not use Windows.

Sure. Download Quicktime for Windows and install it. I guarantee you'll be able to play (non-protected) AAC files. Is there a iTunes-type app on Windows that supports AAC? I have no idea.
 
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macrumors12345

macrumors 6502
Mar 1, 2003
410
0
Originally posted by miradu
The bad: The sound quality of the previews is crap. I would say good AM quality, bad FM. No where near a good FM quality preview. [Correction: I had the quality set on low, switched to CD and much better, stil lthe default shouldn't be low]

Low quality previews as default? Sounds like they're already trying to save on bandwidth costs. That sounds like a pretty stupid way to do it though (not a good way to get ppl to want to buy the songs). As I hypothesized above, it appears as if their margins are pretty thin, and they are trying to cut corners wherever they can. Well, we'll see how it works out.
 
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miradu

macrumors member
Jun 21, 2003
39
0
Music match has always had their free shareware version, so I think that this will help make those users pay money to them, and thus make a profit.

Of note, not ALL thir albums are $9.99, infact while many are, a goold portion of popular ones are at $12.9 or $11.99 (nora jones, coldplay, the ataris... etc) So far all the songs have been 99 cents though.
 
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miradu

macrumors member
Jun 21, 2003
39
0
Unlike apple, they do not register a new TCP/IP protocal (itunes://blah), but use weird javascript to interface between websites and their music store... "javascript:%20gotoPageInUI('album',1417499)", (thats just the function call), IE it will be harder to integrate into websites music you like that you find on the various sites.
 
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Stella

macrumors G3
Apr 21, 2003
8,499
5,366
Canada
Competition is good. You really can't expect Apple to be the sole distributor of online music can you?!

Apart from the music selection, the winner will be the one with the best software to interface with the music store.

Apple should absolutely ensure iTunes for Windows is bug free as possible, and up to iTunes standards of the Mac Version. This is a critical element I think. A music store may have a really good selection of music but if buying music is a nightmare, who wants to use it?

Another threat is competitors using WMA ****e. More and more devices are able to use WMA - Apple can't.

This just may be a turnoff for Windows users - WMA - they know what it is, but few know what AAC is. If they can't put WMA music on their iPods, their going to be pissed.

I'm not saying Apple should use WMA, NOT AT ALL! Of course, iPod has the greatest market share, and people with iPods may not use the WMA services and use Apple instead.. plainly because of this - it works with their iPod. So its the iPod <-> iTMS tie in. However, this could be a theat to people considering their new mp3 player - if more online music stores support WMA more than AAC, they are going to go with the device that offers them more choice of music stores that is compatible with their chosen device - namely WMA. Unfortunately.
 
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