MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
54,124
15,931
Sony launched their music download service today -- "Connect".

The service, however, appears to be built around supporting Sony's own MiniDisc format, which has not seen significant commercial success over the past several years. Sony is expected to introduce high capacity MiniDisc devices later this year.

While songs are similarly priced to the rest of the industry ($.99/song), Sony will be using the ATRAC song format, making it incompatible with most MP3 players and the iPod.
 

ZildjianKX

macrumors 68000
May 18, 2003
1,610
0
If you're a crazy mac-zealot, vote "negative"... J/K.

Anyone know anything about the DRM that will be used (or is it security by obscurity)... or the bitrates of the music?
 
Comment

Daschund

macrumors member
Sep 16, 2003
98
0
New York Citeeeeeeyyyy!
So, they're launching a music download service that works only with new players and new discs? Doesn't look very promising to me...

"Hey, look! Get your songs here for .99 and then buy a new MiniDisc player and some new discs, otherwise you won't be able to listen to your song!"
 
Comment

PlaceofDis

macrumors Core
Jan 6, 2004
19,241
5
the only way people are going to use this is if they have a minidisc player because of the ATRAC format, which sucks anyways because the compression is so high that you lose a lot of quality, i dont thing this service will last if it keeps this format, iTunes works because of the popularity of the iPod, but the minidiscs are not all that popular as far as i know

oh yeah i forgot, the minidiscs wont work with macs - big surprise and the new connect service says this:

We're sorry.

We know you are interested in using the Connect music store. Unfortunately SonicStage only works on Windows 98SE and above.

We have no immediate plans to support other operating systems at this time. However, we believe this is an important user base and we hope to support it in the future.

Thank you for your interest.

big surprise there too right?
 
Comment

JereIC

macrumors newbie
Jul 17, 2001
29
1
ZildjianKX said:
If you're a crazy mac-zealot, vote "negative"... J/K.

Anyone know anything about the DRM that will be used (or is it security by obscurity)... or the bitrates of the music?

I believe the DRM is called "MagicGate". It's pretty standard restrictions, unlimited copying to players, five burns to audio CD, five to MP3 CD (which I guess would be without restrictions), and sharing between three computers. The format is ATRAC, and is encoded at 132 kbs. I don't know how the auido quality compares to AAC or WMA (that is, does 132 kbs sound better or worse than 128 kbs AAC).

My major beef is that Sony, being a record company itself, doesn't try to cut music prices and drum up business. Since they make pretty much total profit from the sales, they could stand to reduce their price down to 75c or even 49c and sell a lot more music, which would drive up demand for their high capacity media players, and might convince the other record companies to slash their royalties as well.
 
Comment

greg75

macrumors member
Apr 5, 2004
70
0
While songs are similarly priced to the rest of the industry ($.99/song), Sony will be using the ATRAC song format, making it incompatible with most MP3 players and the iPod.
If Sony had used AAC instead of ATRAC it would not have made any difference. The underlying format doesn't matter once you lock it up with DRM. Since Apple refuses to license FairPlay, there's no way Sony could have made their service iPod compatible (Sony selling MP3 without DRM is not very realistic).
 
Comment

dongmin

macrumors 68000
Jan 3, 2002
1,708
0
PlaceofDis said:
the only way people are going to use this is if they have a minidisc player because of the ATRAC format, which sucks anyways because the compression is so high that you lose a lot of quality, i dont thing this service will last if it keeps this format, iTunes works because of the popularity of the iPod, but the minidiscs are not all that popular as far as i know.

The Minidisc has its advantages. Their players DO support multiple formats, including mp3 and wma, and not just ATRAC. Minidisc also has WAY better battery life than most mp3 players, including one model that claims 58 hours of playback. And minidisc is skip-free.

The downsides are that the ATRAC format is not that great, definitely worse than AAC 128kbps. And if you end up listening to mp3s and wmas, the minidisc can't hold that much. Finally, sony products usually carry a premium.

Can't figure out what the music service is gonna do for Sony's bottom line. Do they really think that the music service will somehow popularize the ATRAC format? What are those people smoking?
 
Comment

dongmin

macrumors 68000
Jan 3, 2002
1,708
0
JereIC said:
My major beef is that Sony, being a record company itself, doesn't try to cut music prices and drum up business. Since they make pretty much total profit from the sales, they could stand to reduce their price down to 75c or even 49c and sell a lot more music, which would drive up demand for their high capacity media players, and might convince the other record companies to slash their royalties as well.
What is your beef exactly? It's not like Sony has a monopoly in any of the markets. They should be free to leverage their existing assets to promote new products. After all, isn't that what Apple does with its ipods and iTMS? I invite Sony to lower their prices. Maybe, although unlikely, it'll spur a market-wide reduction in download prices.
 
Comment

iBot

macrumors member
Jan 6, 2003
36
0
Betamax Redux?

Sometimes, Sony just loves its technology to death.
 
Comment

macridah

macrumors 6502a
Feb 18, 2004
868
0
Nor-Cal
Sony must be crazy if they think they could come into this game so late, and with a proprietory format.
 
Comment

coolfactor

macrumors 603
Jul 29, 2002
5,135
5,563
Vancouver, BC
Daschund said:
So, they're launching a music download service that works only with new players and new discs? Doesn't look very promising to me...

"Hey, look! Get your songs here for .99 and then buy a new MiniDisc player and some new discs, otherwise you won't be able to listen to your song!"

How is this any different than Apple's strategy?
 
Comment

Quixcube

macrumors member
Aug 22, 2002
55
0
Athens, GA
coolfactor said:
How is this any different than Apple's strategy?

*clap* *clap* *clap* Thank you.

The only difference is that Apple did it first, and that Apple has a rabidly faithful user base with which to drum up initial interest. Once the ball got rolling it rolled.
 
Comment

bertagert

macrumors 6502
Jan 13, 2003
326
0
Yeah, I don't see it being successful in the USA. The iPod has the crown for now and for the next few years. They should have used WMA instead if they wanted to play the game.
 
Comment

Trowaman

macrumors 6502a
Nov 3, 2003
598
0
CD: TX-14
Quixcube said:
*clap* *clap* *clap* Thank you.

The only difference is that Apple did it first, and that Apple has a rabidly faithful user base with which to drum up initial interest. Once the ball got rolling it rolled.

eh, we do what we can . . . :cool:
 
Comment

J-Squire

macrumors regular
Nov 10, 2003
208
0
Australia
acidrock said:
well for starters you don't have to have an iPod or disks to play them!

Well this raises the question - can u play these ATRAC songs on your PC like iTunes? If so, then this is the exact same model as Apple, as you have to buy an iPod if you want to take your music with you.
 
Comment

mac15

macrumors 68040
Dec 29, 2001
3,099
0
iPods are the rage down here, even my computer illiterate mates want em
 
Comment

jxyama

macrumors 68040
Apr 3, 2003
3,735
1
dongmin said:
And minidisc is skip-free.

The downsides are that the ATRAC format is not that great, definitely worse than AAC 128kbps. And if you end up listening to mp3s and wmas, the minidisc can't hold that much. Finally, sony products usually carry a premium.

MD is not skip free. it's very hard, much harder than CD for sure, but it's not skip free. it's a spinning optical disc read by laser - it will skip just like a CD if shaken enough.

i also believe ATRAC is not as bad as you make it sound. i have over 500 MD recorded, some of them using MDLP2, and they are just fine. i don't see obvious evidence that they are any worse than AAC for most music.

that said, as much as i like sony, they are definitely well on their way to failure. if anyone wants to beat iTMS, the first thing they need to do is beat iPod. make a sick arse portable player everybody wants - then you will be able to sell them music to fill those players. players are much more expensive than music - if you can sell the player, you will be able to sell the music. if you can't sell the player, offering music will not sell the player any better.
 
Comment

sushi

Moderator emeritus
Jul 19, 2002
15,639
3
キャンプスワ&#
Daschund said:
So, they're launching a music download service that works only with new players and new discs? Doesn't look very promising to me...

"Hey, look! Get your songs here for .99 and then buy a new MiniDisc player and some new discs, otherwise you won't be able to listen to your song!"
The new system will work with current MD Players as well. The new format brings about more storage space but is not required for this service to work.

This is outstanding for those who own and use a Minidisc system which is very popular here in Japan.

Sushi
 
Comment
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.