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Music Media

New Online Music Push by EMI 330

Posted by timothy
from the joining-em-after-failure-to-beat dept.
akadruid writes "EMI has signed deals with 20 top European websites to sell its music online. According to Reuters, 'Consumers will be able to make permanent copies of songs and transfer them to recordable CDs, portable music players and their computer hard drives'. This represents a major shift in policy by EMI, who previously went to great lengths to protect their music from copying. Does this mark the beginning of a major change in the music industry?"
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New Online Music Push by EMI

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  • Adapt... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by brunson (91995) on Wednesday April 23, 2003 @02:36PM (#5792036) Homepage
    or Die
    • Re:Adapt... (Score:2, Insightful)

      Hopefully this is the year that online music really takes off.
      • Rhapsody (Score:3, Informative)

        by theedge318 (622114)
        I can't find it anywhere on their website, but Best Buy [bestbuy.com] has an advertisement for "Rhapsody" in their stores. I don't know who is promoting it. They are selling them ala Netflix, but I fear that their might be a real music company backing it. The service plan would be $19.95/mo.
    • Re:Adapt... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Bonker (243350)
      Mod parent up Insightful.

      EMI looks like it's the smart little rat running in and out between the toes of rapidly-starving dinosaurs.

      The old dinosaur food-chain will dry up. It will look like it's getting more powerful, but it will be because all you can see are the major predators at the top who've eaten all the rest of the food-chain out of desperation.

      Eventually, they too will starve and those who have evolved will eat their corpses.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 23, 2003 @03:28PM (#5792639)
      1. Reasonable prices (remember $60 for a new movie back in 1983?)
      2. Adopting new technology instead of fighting it (e.g., DAT audio decks, DVD+R vs DVD-R bs, mp3, etc)
      3. Selling old content at low low costs to drive sales of new hardware/playback mechanisms
      4. Enhancing the content/quality (e.g., an audio CD is unchanged since 1983 when it was introduced). At least DVD is much better than VHS
      5. Selling different quality level versions of the same product at different prices (192k mp3 should cost more than a 64k mp3, A recent movie DVD should cost $12, SVCD $9 and a VCD $6).
      6. Allowing flat rate pricing for content (e.g., $20 a month for all of the mp3 and all the VCD's you can download)
      7. Actually apreciating the customers by including extras in the product (e.g., including 1 or 2 extra tracks on an audio CD or including a mini-cd with a few mp3's of other bands).
      8. Packaging older material into collections at a reasonable price (e.g., a box set of all of the albums by a 1960's band should cost about $20 to $25). Same goes for TV shows (e.g., A complete collection of six million dollar man episodes should cost $50 max or no more than $1 an episode). Consider shows like Gunsmoke with 500+ episodes - would you pay $1000.00 for a complete collection?
      9. Selling new audio CD's and DVD's by online auction to actually see what people are willing to pay for the content and then pricing content accordingly.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Forgot to add:

        10. Burn audio CD's, print books, burn DVD;s on demand at the retail store (much lower distribution costs == lower retail prices).
      • 9. Selling new audio CD's and DVD's by online auction to actually see what people are willing to pay for the content and then pricing content accordingly.

        Wouldn't that determine the MOST that people would be willing to pay?
  • by HeelToe (615905) on Wednesday April 23, 2003 @02:36PM (#5792040) Homepage
    We need reasonable quality downloads. Lossless compression means big files, so watch out for the ISPs with restrictive download limits.

    It would sure be nice to pick and choose what I want to download in flac.
    • I often see people complaining about the use of compression, but I generally encode at 196Kbs, and that is almost always fine - even on a professional sound system where you would expect to be able to pick out any imperfections.

      Sure, sometimes it fails. I did a 196 encoding of a Dvorak piece and when the singer hit the really high notes the vibrato sounded like a fire alarm. But that was only once.
      • I use MD in the car. I used to use MP3 in the car. I have spent considerable time listening to both on headphones at the office. Unfortunately, I can hear the imperfections in that environment. In the car I can't, so I don't mind its use there, it's appropriate given the limited ability to discern detail, but on my home audio setup and on good headphones, I really get annoyed by the artifacts.
        • Your statement is just... empty. What are you comparing exactly ? MD with MP3s... what MP3s? Which bitrate, which encoder....

          I defy anyone to discern a 256kbps MP3 encoded with LAME from the original or even to tell there is a difference. Of course you need a true blind test for that.

          Now on the other hand, lossless compression would be better to download these files, I totally agree with that. MP3 is good for *listening* only. Even a basic filter as a High/Low button or a band equalizer can make diffences
          • by LionMage (318500) on Wednesday April 23, 2003 @03:34PM (#5792717) Homepage
            Others have responded to the assertion that one can't distinguish between a 256 kbps MP3 encoded using the LAME psychoacoustic algorithms. So I won't address that here, except to say that on a decent (read: expensive) stereo system, I can distinguish between subtle nuances of source materials. Any material that's been lossy-compressed (MP3, ATRAC on MiniDisc, etc.) is going to sound inferior for certain types of recordings. There's no one perfect psychoacoustic model that compresses all types of music equally well.

            No, what I wanted to really respond to was this:
            Now on the other hand, lossless compression would be better to download these files, I totally agree with that. MP3 is good for *listening* only. Even a basic filter as a High/Low button or a band equalizer can make diffences audible.

            Excuse me? The whole point of MP3 (and other lossy-compressed audio formats) is to reduce storage requirements for the data, and to reduce bandwidth requirements for its transmission over a network or broadcast medium. Your statement runs completely contrary to the spirit of that engineering design goal for MP3 audio. MP3 is obviously inferior to uncompressed (or losslessly compressed) source material for critical listening; where MP3 shines is in streaming applications and applications where storage space is at a premium. Of course you can jack the bitrate up to 256 kbps, but if you're going to do that with MP3, why not use a better codec that's engineered for musical reproduction, instead of using MP3, which was engineered for digital television broadcast and network streaming? ATRAC seems to get some things right that MP3 doesn't, especially at more modest bitrates. I've been hearing good things about AAC as well, although the patent restrictions may hinder its adoption.
            I mean, seriously, would you rather listen to an uncompressed CD or DVD-A or SACD on your high end home stereo, or an MP3 compressed copy of the original source material? I don't even think there's a contest here! No, the MP3 copies are good for putting ten hours worth of music on a CD-R that you can play on a portable player or in a car's deck. When you're in a car, or flying cross-country on a plane, or stuck in a hotel room somewhere, or visiting family, or when you're camping somewhere -- these are non-critical listening environments, and highly compressed audio is not a problem.
          • Why does it even have to be compressed when sold from EMI?

            Why not just let us download a full format file and decide to compress it on our own if we want to save space/sacrifice quality?

  • of course (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Oculus Habent (562837) <oculus.habent @ g m a i l.com> on Wednesday April 23, 2003 @02:36PM (#5792041) Journal
    EMI realizes that the Internet isn't just an avenue for music theft, it's rapidly becoming the most significant way to make money with little unneccesary investment.

    They provide the music, other people handle the packaging, shipping and shelfspace, if you will and they collect the money.

    They don't even have to pay to have the CDs pressed or the cover art printed.
    • They provide the music, other people handle the packaging, shipping and shelfspace, if you will and they collect the money.

      They don't even have to pay to have the CDs pressed or the cover art printed.


      True, but it costs less to make a CD than it does to make a cassette tape... yet CDs are more expensive.

      I wouldn't be surprised if they slapped a "convenience fee" on the downloads.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Unless it's Free as in Free as in No Patents, No Nothing, I ain't buying! POWER TO THE PEOPLE!
    • Re:OGG or NOTHING! (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Clipper (547339)

      Although this comment is kind of fundamentalist (essentially, Ogg or Bust), it does raise an interesting question: How will EMI distribute the music online? The article doesn't get into this at all. There's been talk about lossless vs. lossy compression so far in here, but even amongst these there are choices. If EMI chooses lossless, will they go for WAV, FLAC or some other encoding. For lossy compression, there's a plethora of options: Ogg, MP3, Real Player, Windows Media, etc.

      Although I am a fan of O

  • Apple? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by BWJones (18351) on Wednesday April 23, 2003 @02:37PM (#5792047) Homepage Journal
    Do you think we might have Apple to thank for this? No, seriously. Perhaps they got wind of what Universal was going to hook up and made a press announcement before the 28th.

    I mean, this sort of thing should have been embraced five years ago by all of the labels.

  • What I want... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Is a music service charging between 10-50p for each song I download...

    New songs - 50p, old catalog titles - 10p

    HOW FUCKING HARD CAN THAT BE?!?!?!??!
    • Re:What I want... (Score:3, Informative)

      by MushMouth (5650)
      US Mechanical royaltys are at least 8.1 cents a song. Paid to the song writer with 3% cut going to the Harry Fox Agency for overhead of collecting the royalty. You aren't going to get such prices.
  • EMI 1. Apple 0 (Score:2, Interesting)

    by sensate_mass (171138)
    If, as rumored, Apple's new music service has significant DRM involved in it (can't copy tunes to hd, cd, etc.), this business model will completely torpedo it.
    • I don't know if Apple would go this way.

      Just look at iTunes - Rip, Mix, Burn. Admittedly, this was designed for CDs that you had purchased, but anything you download from an Apple-run music service would be music you have purchased.

      If there's going to be any DRM it will be like that of the iPod. Or it will be Rendezvous style streaming (not copying) if you connect to other people's Macs on the network.

      Just like the iPod though, it's easy to copy if you so want, but Apple aren't going to make it into a fe
    • Where did you hear that Apple has "significant DRM"? I've been keeping up with all the rumor sites and haven't seen anything like that... there was a mention of not making it seemless to copy files from computer to computer.....
    • Funny, all the other rumor sites I'm reading say that Apple's resisting putting DRM into their music service, because they want customers to be able to burn music they purchase to CDs, or copy to their iPods, or whatever.

      All this talk of Apple pushing DRM sounds like FUD to me. Why don't we wait and see what Apple actually offers?
  • by reverendG (602408) on Wednesday April 23, 2003 @02:38PM (#5792065) Homepage
    Illegal online services, kick-started by the original maverick Napster, have brought the music industry to its knees in the past few years, forcing global music sales sharply lower.

    I wonder where they're getting their statistics about "global music sales sharply lower". Most of the statistics that I've seen say that the music industry is still an unbeatable juggernaut.

    I suppose that the RIAA pushing new "Super-DMCA" laws through state legislatures is just a symptom of them being on their knees.
  • Um... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by elixx (242653)
    Does this mark the beginning of a major change in the music industry?

    No.
  • You have just been PR'd.

    This is of course, nothing new. FIPR just ran this story, and from the headline it looked like EMI was going to release singles for free...now THAT would have been news!
  • by confused philosopher (666299) on Wednesday April 23, 2003 @02:39PM (#5792073) Homepage Journal
    "Does this mark the beginning of a major change in the music industry?"

    Confused Philospher says:
    NO.

    This is because we will have to wait years for other companies to follow suit, since few people will use the EMI service initially because of the ease of using Kazza for FREE [minus jail time and billion dollar law suits].

    The music industry missed the first boat when Napster sailed.
    • It will be a lot easier than Kazaa though, and more reliable. As long as they charge a reasonable rate I plan on using it.
    • by asscroft (610290) on Wednesday April 23, 2003 @02:51PM (#5792221)
      know what, kazaa is slow as shit and labor intensive if you're trying to get good quality. If someone would sell me a real unprotected mp3. (Not a windows only spyware-required piece of shit.) available for download on a fast connection with guaranteed quality and a simple search/purchase/download mechanism I'd pay.

      of course, then what's to stop somoene from uploading it to kazaa.

      But the fact remains, as long as I can share amongst all of MY computers and MP3 Players I have no real desire to share with the universe if the price is fair.

      Back when we had to buy a cd, rip, encode, and upload for 3 days on a crappy modem there was a cost that made it worth trading with others. I'll waste days of my life on artistA if you waste equal time on artisB and we'll swap. With quick high quality legal downloads for a fair price I'd rather say "go buy it yourself, here's the link".

      If they can tap into that me-first (leachers abound) mentality and call it honest consumerism, they'll be loving life again. They can do so without limiting our civil liberties and suing the fuck out of everyone too.

      Unfortunately, until a record company actually does something to repeal the evil fuckin dmca, I ain't buying shit from them, ever again. And I haven't since that piece of shit communist legislation was passed. FUCK YOU RIAA!!!
      • by Mikey-San (582838) on Wednesday April 23, 2003 @04:31PM (#5793271) Homepage Journal

        of course, then what's to stop somoene from uploading it to kazaa.



        This is going to sound dumb and naive, but listen for a second, my fellow Slashdotters:



        Honesty.



        Dishonest people will download the MP3s with/from their favourite p2p service and never buy the album. Honest people will either download the MP3s and buy the CD, or just buy the CD outright.



        The world is how it's always been, and the record companies don't understand that. An honest person will be honest; a dishonest person will be dishonest.



        No DRM or tricky license agreements--not even the DMCA--will ever change that. It takes only one person to rip a CD before it's available to every dishonest person out there.



        Perhaps one day, this will be realized by the content providers, and they'll stop screwing the people who were going to be honest in the first fucking place. If you're gonna steal it, you're gonna steal it. Simple. You will find a way around the restrictions.



        -/-

        Mikey-San
  • by phorm (591458) on Wednesday April 23, 2003 @02:39PM (#5792075) Journal
    Is how they're going to sort out whom has a legal copy of a song, and whom has an illegal copy of a song. I suppose that even if you "buy" a song online you still can't put it on kazaa, as that would be considered distribution?

    But what about if you're accused of piracy when you have a vast library of legal songs? Are they going to properly cross-reference their user-list, or just continue to send nastygrams to anyone whom they suspect of having Mp3's?

    IMHO, it seems terrible ironic and two-faced to be blatantly accusing mp3's etc of being piracy and profit-stealers, asking for (in Canada) huge taxation on mp3-capable storage devices, and then selling off music to run on those same devices
    • Well, it is even more insiduous than that. Canadians can buy the same devices and black CDs by mail order from the USA and circumvent the taxes. Also, not one penny of this tax actually reaches the music industry, so it is just another Federal tax grab...
    • by glitch! (57276) on Wednesday April 23, 2003 @02:55PM (#5792281)
      [What I don't understand] Is how they're going to sort out whom has a legal copy of a song, and whom has an illegal copy of a song....

      Maybe they will watermark the downloads individually. If they were really nasty (clever?), they would embed your credit card number into the watermark as as additional deterent from file sharing. (Nah, they aren't that evil...)

      At least this might cut down on the number of retards that keep claiming that "downloading copyrighted files is illegal" (So downloading a Redhat ISO is illegal then?)
    • by .com b4 .storm (581701) on Wednesday April 23, 2003 @03:15PM (#5792482)

      [...] Is how they're going to sort out whom has a legal copy of a song, and whom has an illegal copy of a song.

      They could do what EMusic does, which is keep a catalog of all the music you've ever downloaded with your account. This is supposedly for convenience so you can look back and grab songs you downloaded before, or something like that. But I bet it'd be a good way of proving that you have a legit copy of a song you got from the service.

      Don't believe that I have a legal right to that copy of "Hey Pachuco"? Check my EMusic history, bub. I got it fair and square.

  • by Dr. Bent (533421) <ben@nOSpAM.int.com> on Wednesday April 23, 2003 @02:43PM (#5792123) Homepage
    They've been backed into a corner. It's this, or go out of business in 10 years. Of course, that's the only way you get any company to do anything; Make it the only viable financial option.
    • Go out of business? Listen, the record companies aren't as poor as they want to make themselves out to be. Record sales are supposedly down but that can't be blamed entirely on internet piracy. CD prices are up and quality is down as well. Yet the RIAA is so sure that music piracy is why they're not selling as much of their shit as they used to. I don't believe it. I'd download music and violate copyright law, if there were any being produced that was worth the bandwidth.

      What is a lot more important than EM

      • They are also indiscriminantly calling their customers criminals and, despite complaints by virtually everyone, introducing DRM onto CDs which at best won't play and at worst screws up hardware. This sort of behavior simply does not fly in a market with easy entry, no matter what near-monopoly is currently gripping it.
      • Did I say anything about piracy? That's not the issue. The issue is that sales are down about 10%. Using the McM.B.A. portion of my brain, I figure that means they've got about 10 years left of doing what they're doing now before they go out of business. It doesn't matter if the drop in sales is due to piracy, crappy music, 9/11, the war in Iraq, or the phases of the fucking moon. The goal here is to increase sales (or, at least, lower costs) by moving to a new delivery system. Which is what they should hav
      • Record sales are supposedly down but that can't be blamed entirely on internet piracy. CD prices are up and quality is down as well.

        Not to mention the economy. I can't believe that nobody ever mentions this. So CD sales have sucked since about 09/11/2001... How have sales of everything else (especially non-necessities) been doing?
  • not MP3's.. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CySurflex (564206) on Wednesday April 23, 2003 @02:45PM (#5792145)
    At first I read this and I thought we're talking about downloading MP3's.

    I thought "wow someone finally gets it! They know they have no choice". I clicked on the article hoping to find a link to one of these sites selling the music, and actually thought I'd buy an album to check it out.

    After careful scrutiny, I noticed this line from the article:

    We are using new technology to benefit both artists and consumers by massively expanding the amount of music available securely online,"


    This is not MP3's nor is it Ogg, and I am not going to buy anything that limits me in any way.

    • Re:not MP3's.. (Score:4, Interesting)

      by splanky (598553) on Wednesday April 23, 2003 @02:52PM (#5792234)
      >I am not going to buy anything that limits me in any way.

      Have you ever bought a MS O/S? Talk about limiting! At least CDs you can play on a bunch of CD players... If MS ruled the music biz, you'd have to buy one CD for each CD player you had. And if you CD player broke, you'd need to buy a new one since your CD's license is attached to your now defunct CD player.
    • Re:not MP3's.. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by tuffy (10202) on Wednesday April 23, 2003 @02:53PM (#5792245) Homepage Journal
      We are using new technology to benefit both artists and consumers by massively expanding the amount of music available securely online,"

      This is not MP3's nor is it Ogg, and I am not going to buy anything that limits me in any way.

      What the word "securely" means in this context is difficult to determine. It might mean the music itself is somehow secure (Digital Restrictions Management, etc.) or it might simply mean the purchasing itself is secure (SSL). I'm going to wait to hear the nuts & bolts of this thing before jumping to conclusions.

      Though I'm not buying anything packaged in a closed format.

    • Huh? Limited? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by phorm (591458)
      Under the EMI deal, consumers will be able to make permanent copies of songs and transfer them to recordable CDs, portable music players and their computer hard drives. Consumers can also purchase singles online once they hit radio airwaves.

      You can burn it, you can put it on a portable (assumes this means you can get it as mp3 or a player-compatible format), and you can put it on your drive.

      I'm fairly sure the secure part means the billing/transaction system.
      • You're right - but when a press release has the word "new technology" and "secure" in the same sentence....it's a pretty good chance there's DRM involved.
        • I'm kinda split. On the one hand, if they were releasing it in a totally open format, you'd think they'd make a point of saying so, right? On the other hand, these are the same guys who think that DRM is a perfectly logical and completely practical system for widespread public usage and it honestly might not occur to them that saying "We aren't using this piece of shit at all" would actually be a good marketing strategy.
      • YOu mean like an Audible (.aa) file? They're more open than most, I agree - I can transfer a .aa to my iPod or listen to it on my computer. I can Burn it to a CD, but only once. That sucks, a bit, but still - not much of a problem for hour long radio programs, but it'd suck just a bit for 3 minutes songs and mix CDs. What I can't do is transfer the file itself - the host computer needs to be enabled with your account # and password for it to work and you're only allowed a small number of computers to do tha
        • I can Burn it to a CD, but only once.

          Can't you just rip the CD you just burned? It would then be in .WAV, .MP3, or OGG format and you can do whatever you want with it.

    • Re:not MP3's.. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mblase (200735)
      This is not MP3's nor is it Ogg, and I am not going to buy anything that limits me in any way.

      I hope your DVD collection is standing at zero, then?
  • Now I might end my CD-buying boycott, but only for EMI. The rest of you's in that biz can suffer ...
  • The cds will probably still "cost" £10 to buy, and the same measly sum of cash will go to the artists. Something is being done, but it will still be the same scam the record industry currently is. Only when 75+% of the fees go to the artists will I but cds at current prices.
    • The only way to get 75% to the artists is to cut out the middlemen. I've recently gotten involved in the board game development industry. The numbers I've seen are that 50% of the retail price goes to the retailer, 25% goes to the wholesaler, the rest has to go into manufacturing, and possibly paying an agent. You're lucky to see a 5% royalty.

      If out of a $15 CD, 75% goes to the artist that means there's only $3.75 to cover the cost of manufacturing, and profits along the distribution channel. Even if
      • Actually, netting 5% would not be that bad. Lotsa businesses run on profit margins that low or even a few points lower. What is criminal about the recording industry schemes is that the artists are usually getting a fraction of a percent (pennies on the album) and are then expected to pay for many of the other expenses with their take. Just what are the RIAA members using their cut for if not to actually make, sell, and distribute the things? Lobbying and paying their legions of IP lawyers, evidently.
  • by T-Kir (597145) on Wednesday April 23, 2003 @02:50PM (#5792214) Homepage

    Well after the english singer Robbie Williams [bbc.co.uk] claimed that piracy was 'great', and his record company (EMI) went ballistic.... it is quite an interesting change of tact from them.

    Either that or they realised that expanding their online availability might be due to the new report [www.enn.ie] that online downloads of songs will impact on the national pop charts?

    Just my 0.02 downloaded songs (or cents/pence).

  • Grateful Dead (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LamerX (164968) on Wednesday April 23, 2003 @02:52PM (#5792228) Journal
    I don't know how many of you here have ever heard of this band called the Grateful Dead, but they didn't sell hardly any albums. Thier biggest hit was in the 80's, which was "Touch of Grey". During this time, they made thier money by working. That's right, they did work. They went out and toured, and performed for people, and managed to be the highest grossing band for years. They encouraged people to record thier music, and distribute is.

    CDs are nothing more than advertisements for bands. Bands should make thier money working (i.e. touring, concerts, etc), and not sitting down at one recording session and cranking out 10 bajillion CDs.

    People that want the cover art are going to be willing to pay for it anyways. But the rest of us who like to go to concerts and support the band by going to concerts should be able to do so, and even leave with a recording of the concert as a fond memory.
    • Re:Grateful Dead (Score:4, Informative)

      by splanky (598553) on Wednesday April 23, 2003 @03:03PM (#5792365)
      The idea of that sounds great, but unfortunately in reality, over 95% of bands do not make money touring. I work with tons of small localish bands, and can say here is how the current biz model works for small, medium, and large bands.

      Small (i.e. local bands)
      1. May break-even on their CD after recording costs. Some even make some decent cash on the CDs if they sell more than 2K of them.
      2. Unlikely to get any decent amount of ASCAP/BMI money.
      3. Lose money playing out. Lucky to get a beer for a show.

      Medium (i.e. developing artist - sales under 900K)
      1. Lose major cash on the CD. Label invents big dough in videos and stuff hoping to push them to Large sized act.
      2. Make a bit of dough from ASCAP/BMI if they get radio play.
      3. Band breaks even playing out generally because the label generally underwrites their shows (called a guarantee) in hopes that it will drive CD sales. If the label has given up on CD sales, the band loses big touring.

      Large Act (over 900k):
      1. Either make huge cash or no cash on their CDs. The no cash ones are like MJ where the label spent massive dough promoting and producing the album but saw sales that would make money with most artists, but because they poured so much dough into the album, they lose.
      2. Almost all large acts make good dough off of ASCAP/BMI.
      3. Only the acts who have a number of huge selling albums or extensive, extensive touring history make huge cash here. but when they do get to that level (i.e. rolling stones) they make massive, massive cash.
      • Mod this up. The standard /. line is that bands make money touring, but that thinking is based on seeing the year-end figures for the Rolling Stones and Paul McCartney. I'd always thought that a Medium sized act (which is mostly what I listen to) doesn't make that much money from touring.
      • "over 95% of bands do not make money touring"

        I find that hard to believe. If literally nobody made any money then they wouldn't do it. Artists may be falky but their not stupid. Sure maybe small time bands are not paid that much, but any band with name recognition can make money touring. The bottom line is if you can't make money touring your in the wrong business. If your good enough and "make the cut" then you'll make money. No one every said just because you want to be an artist you automatically get t
    • CDs are nothing more than advertisements for bands. Bands should make thier money working (i.e. touring, concerts, etc), and not sitting down at one recording session and cranking out 10 bajillion CDs.

      Bands *DO* make their money by going out and working. What you described is how the record industry makes money, not the artist.

      What will break the RIAA is if a few artists go it alone, don't sign a deal with the devil, and make it big. If others see it is possible, they may follow suit. Of course, that

      • Ani Difranco has been pretty successful in her endeavors. She realized the RIAA wasn't interested in her music, so she made it all herself. So it is not totally impossible to exist outside the RIAA
        • Ani Difranco has been pretty successful in her endeavors. She realized the RIAA wasn't interested in her music, so she made it all herself. So it is not totally impossible to exist outside the RIAA

          True, and there are others. But I don't think anyone has made it BIG. You can exist outside the RIAA, but not very well. The system they have put in place makes sure of that. Radio stations, big record stores, MTV, etc. They all cater to the whims of the record industry. Rap actually had a chance to buck t

    • And then, if you are a cool Grateful Dead song writer, you can start the EFF, and become even cooler.
    • In a recent interview for Rolling Stone, Jon Fishman of Phish expressed the opinion that (I'm paraphrasing) if you're a musician who relies on album sales to make a living, you're doing something wrong.
      • Re:Grateful Dead (Score:3, Insightful)

        by TMB (70166)
        The problem with this line is that it fails miserably for some musical styles.

        For a good rock band, hell yeah they should be best when seen live. An orchestra might be good live, but is just as well enjoyed at home with a good stereo. Rhythmic ambient noise would awful live, but great at home late at night on an excellent stereo.

        And the thing is... I like all those. I want to support all those. And in some cases that means going to see them live, but in others it necessarily means buying the CD because th
  • by Eric_Cartman_South_P (594330) on Wednesday April 23, 2003 @02:54PM (#5792264)
    ..but not before we all get sued and laws mark us all as criminals.
    Here is the main reason why I think the Music Biz is scared of technology, especailly when downloading is the "normal" way to purchase music:

    *Large labels get web site and have music for download.
    *Indipendant artist also makes website, has music for download.

    And there you go... indi-artist and Brittney spears on the same equal footing. Suddenly the labels loose control of what gets distribution (downloads), what gets airtime (net radio), and that is where the money generation is reborn. The big money is not the few million off of an artist, but in the multiplication of said millions over MANY artists they can make "big" and push onto TRL and control. Oh, and if anyone actually thinks TRL (Total Request Live, a v-e-r-y popular MTV show here in the States) plays what you actualy vote for, you're an idiot. TRL is a marketing tool that plays mostly what you want, but is used to push no-names like P. Diddy's little boy-band on top very quickly. "Look everyone, B2K is #1 on TRL! You all love them!" And then little boys and girls run to the store because "everyone" who is "kewl" must be listenting to those dancing crackheads.

    Yes, you do detect some envy. Brilliant minds created TRL and I'm sure every artist that wants to push a CD pays payola to TRL in huge ways. Brilliant business. Wish I thought of it.

    • *Large labels get web site and have music for download.
      *Indipendant artist also makes website, has music for download.

      And how does the independent artist get his name out there? Mostly by word of mouth and hopefully some positive reviews. Britney still has MTV and the radio to pimp the hell out of her music.

    • I'm still waiting for an "objective" ratings house to help me with the selection of my music. While I am a TOTAL audiophile, I do not have the time to wade through mounds and mounds of crappy independent artists in order to find the 2-3 good songs I actually end up liking.

      Take hip hop, for example. Now, I don't like ALL hip-hop, but I do like the "dance" hip hop songs that make my feet move. Gangsta rap? No. RnB? No. Soul? Nope. Don't like any of those....just a few of the "dance" tracks (thin
  • by dAzED1 (33635) on Wednesday April 23, 2003 @02:54PM (#5792269) Homepage Journal
    I'm not much of a conspiracy theorist, but I'm going to make a tongue-in-cheek jab at a wild "what if" here...

    Is how they're going to sort out whom has a legal copy of a song, and whom has an illegal copy of a song. I suppose that even if you "buy" a song online you still can't put it on kazaa, as that would be considered distribution?

    What if they were just trying to track down the distributors? It would be SOO easy to put a signature on each track they allow someone to download. Then, they just connect to all the various file-sharing places, download songs, and analyze them. They find out who put their tracks out there. Then they prosecute those people.

    This would be SOO easy to do, too. I mean...geeze...ESPECIALLY if they ake the people play the downloaded tracks with a special codec they have to download, that has a private key in it...but even without that, you can still sign a file without encrypting it, and just wait and see who's files get shared. Then when you arrest those people and charge them $10,000 per shared song, you take care of the problem from the other end. When people have 100Gigs of MP3's, there's almost no chance they have even 10% of the cd's to back them up. Someone, somewhere, ripped those cd's and originally shared them. So don't just go after the people who continue to share things they've never had - those go on and on. Go after the ones who do the original ripping.

    Decent conspiracy theory?

    • Yeah, but why is that a conspiracy?

      I mean, they are giving you a legal method of obtaining the file. If they insert something to track people who abuse that so what? That person has then broken the law. As long as it cannot be used to track your legal use/actions and invade your privacy good for them. (EMI)

    • If they are hiding IDs in digital watermarks, just download two copies of a song from two different accounts. Compare the two. Any bits that are different, write a program to randomly alter those bits. Bingo: no more watermark.

    • But if they allow you to burn a track to a normal audio CD, then you can just rip that CD and have a new file in the format of your choice. They can't track that. I guess you would call this CD laundering.
  • No! (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 23, 2003 @02:55PM (#5792279)
    An EMI representative has just released this statement: "Whoops, our bad. That was really a joke e-mail, you know, one of those 'this will never happen because it's so ha-ha funny' emails. No, we still embrace the 'you are thieves, not customers' philosophy."

  • possible reason (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tandr (108948) on Wednesday April 23, 2003 @02:57PM (#5792295)
    Does this mark the beginning of a major change in the music industry?
    Could be. As pure speculation for the possible reason: assuming that Apple will buy Universal, they are afraid of "next big move" -- Univapple (Appleversal?) will be selling music online just like that -- no protection, unlimited copy etc. So, my WAG is that we are witneses of the beginning of the new pricewar.
  • same old BS... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Connie_Lingus (317691) on Wednesday April 23, 2003 @03:00PM (#5792334) Homepage

    Illegal online services, kick-started by the original maverick Napster, have brought the music industry to its knees in the past few years, forcing global music sales sharply lower...


    How many more time is the RIAA gonna try to stuff this crap down our throats and have us burp up sympathy?? Here are just a few of the reasons why a drop of sales in not at all necessarily due to downloaded music...

    1. The most obvious of these is the drop in economy, with similar sales slumps in the last econo-drop of the early '90s.

    2. Secondly, the increase in games and DVD sales is a contributing factor. With DVD's being, in many cases, cheaper than a music CD, their is much more value in a DVD than a typical CD.

    3. Last, but not least, radio is highlighted as a problem due to its short play lists and the difficulty in getting playtime for new artists. Has anyone else noticed not that ClearChannel owns about everything, only about 20-30 bands ever get airplay??

    I suppose EMI is stepping in the right direction, but IMHO its too little, too late. The future of music will probably have something to do with corporate sponserships, where hit songs are considered a form of advertising and bands are reduced to touring ad billboards where huge multinationals will "own" popular acts.
    • Re:same old BS... (Score:4, Informative)

      by splanky (598553) on Wednesday April 23, 2003 @03:10PM (#5792435)
      As somebody working in the music biz, I feel a little bit like I work at a buggy whip manufacturer or something as we are perhaps a business destined for the history books...

      Anyway, I agree with your three points--- especially #2. At the store I work at, DVDs and games are going through the roof. Some in the music biz argues that that's because they can't be pirated, but I think it's simpler than that: customers like video games better than a CD and would rather spend 50 bucks on a game than buy 3 CDs.
  • The already can! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by use_compress (627082) on Wednesday April 23, 2003 @03:03PM (#5792361) Journal
    'Consumers will be able to make permanent copies of songs and transfer them to recordable CDs, portable music players and their computer hard drives'

    We already can-- it's called an analouge loop-back. Unless analouge sound cards are suddenly outlawed I don't see you ever won't be able to make copies of music on your computer.
  • Sounds like they got what they wanted... if this really works, it will make buying music a lot easier. i can buy 10 tracks, all from different artists, and burn them all to one cd. No more buying 10 cd's to get 10 hit songs... sounds like a smart move on their part. they'll save a ton of money on putting out whole albums vs. just releasing the hit online, which costs effectively nothing.
  • by iabervon (1971) on Wednesday April 23, 2003 @03:19PM (#5792530) Homepage Journal
    It's a number of European websites. One might think that they would do this in the US, since there are some people here who might want to get music online, but no. My guess is that they're trying to soften their stance in order to make DMCA-equivalents seem less bad in places that are considering them. Their position in backing copyright laws in the EU is currently sort of, "We have some music, which we don't bother to try to sell, and we try to make money by suing people. We need new laws to make this model viable." Actually selling something might make them look better.
  • There's unlimited supply
    and there is no reason why
    I tell you it was all a frame
    they onl1y did it 'cos of fame -
    Who? EMI
  • by lateralus (582425) <yoni-r@a[ ]om.com ['ctc' in gap]> on Wednesday April 23, 2003 @03:24PM (#5792584) Journal

    From the article: "...giving them access to most songs on today's top-selling charts.". "them" being the consumers.

    I could not care less about the top-selling quote artists unquote. I want EMI's back catalog. Unlike the material world the Internet does not entail the costs of reprinting, repackaging and redistributing out of print material.

    I will not get exited and more importantly I will not open my wallet until I see that the record labels are making an effort. There are ways to make music better through Internet distribution. As long as I sense that the music labels take care of numero uno first, so will I!

    How can music be better? I'm glad you asked.

    Small artists can get published for free through major labels and the second they catch on they can start selling. It sure beats touring like Black Flag did. The overhead of publishing a number of small new bands with a couple of songs each on an EMI server farm will be negligible.

    If the user has bandwidth to spare uber-high fidelity downloads should be an option. We are not limited to CD quality on the net. High paying consumers can have custom stereo/mono/bitrate/hz files generated from the masters real time. These custom packages can be downloaded or burnt onto DVD and mailed. Will this allow you to get a perfect master and facilitate piracy? No more than high fidelity vinyl. 99.9% of the people that spend big bucks buying a custom remastered 60GB version of Jethro Tull's "Thick as a Brick" will not be disposed to spread it around until the technology allows them to.

    To reiterate, I want back catalogs and so do most serious music lovers. I cannot imagine people buying rare Hendrix, King Crimson and Brittney Spears in one group.

    Maybe "chart toppers" should be printed on disposable CDs? The music will be irrelevant in weeks anyway so why print them on the same material that you print real music?

  • have anything to do with this, what with her new hit 'FU fanboy' ?

  • I wonder if they'll offer compressed music (ie MP3) because if I'm gonna pay for a song, I want that song to be good quality. As a matter a fact, if I pay for it then I might as well get a CD (something tangible) and just rip it like I do now.
  • by Loosewire (628916) on Wednesday April 23, 2003 @03:31PM (#5792678) Homepage Journal
    I read Emi group's own press release and they said the resellers will all be using OD2's distribution platform. So i surfed on over to OD2's site and clicked on their page for "Copywright owners"
    http://www.ondemanddistribution.com/eng/s ervices/c opyright.asp
    It lists details of their DRM scheme and from elsewhere in the site i can see its MS DRM.
    I hope EMI have a special deal with them to use an open format (Gee i wonder what the chances are :-(
    i thaught EMI had finally got the message...
  • Another format (Score:4, Insightful)

    by simong (32944) on Wednesday April 23, 2003 @03:33PM (#5792695) Homepage
    Another way of exploiting repertoire and minimising new product. The excitement of having the Beatles on CD in the mid 80s lead to a generation refreshing their record collection and a hagiography based on the new sounds discovered with the new fidelity. Here in the UK the White Album sold for £19.99 when all other double LPs sold for £14-16 max. The Beatles in your pocket will probably sell at a pound a track and will not sell at the same rate as the CDs but will make more money, but the only money that will be seen by the Beatles will be the publishing (or whoever it's owned by now) as their deal didn't cover new formats, as will most of EMI's older repertoire. In other words it's pure profit. What's not to like?
  • Relevant Plug (Score:4, Informative)

    by 26199 (577806) on Wednesday April 23, 2003 @03:38PM (#5792765) Homepage

    If you haven't checked out emusic, give it a look:

    www.emusic.com [emusic.com]

    If nothing else, you can get 50 free MP3s*... but I've found a subscription to be very good value (I must have at least 4Gb of MP3s from the site)...

    [* they will ask for your credit card number; as far as I can tell they're secure and respectful of privacy]

  • Another Microsoft? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by stj (607714) on Wednesday April 23, 2003 @04:02PM (#5793003) Homepage Journal
    A quick look at HMV - one of the retailers mentioned in the article reveals that they are going to use Liquid Audio format. Player is free, but the format is as proprietary as it gets. Now, that smells like another software empire 5 years from now, doesn't it? The best M$ move now would be to simply buy LiquidAudio (if they haven't yet...). Of course, Liquid Audio player is only for Windows - I'm guessing why and I don't have to think hard. When will people learn?
  • by tohveli (668059) on Wednesday April 23, 2003 @04:50PM (#5793522)
    The press release today by EMI seems to have been but a PR move. The thing is, the 20 sites mentioned have been open for a while already, and although EMI's music is available on them, there is nothing EMI-specific about these services.

    The company that has been implementing the actual sites is (as someone already pointed out) OD2, or On Demand Distribution, founded by Peter Gabriel. OD2 has released music download services on about 20 European websites, including Tiscali's and MSN's. All of these services feature music from all of the major labels, and all of these services allow burning of songs & transfers to portable devices. (For a price of course.)

    OD2 also organized a promotion effort for these services called Digital Download Day; check it out [digitaldownloadday.com] if you want to see the complete list of sites the service is available on.

    Incidentally, OD2 uses WMA audio. If you check out the press release [emimusic.com], you'll also see that it doesn't mention MP3. I sincerely doubt that EMI would go for an unprotected format, although some news organizations have interpreted it as such.

    So you see, it's not just EMI that's doing all this. The only real news in the article is the amount of tracks available (200.000). The whole of the OD2 service includes ca. 150.000 tracks so far, so it could be that EMI has cleared a bunch of new songs for release.

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