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Music Media The Almighty Buck

MP3.com Removes "High-Bandwidth" Streams 154

Posted by Hemos
from the what's-the-future dept.
mshiltonj writes "I noticed today that mp3.com no longer offers high-bandwidth streams for its genres or stations, although it looks like artists' playlists and individual songs are available in high bandwidth. mp3.com has lots and lots of free music that was free and legal to listen to online, and a good number of my "music bookmarks" were on mp3.com. I'll live (I've still got my favorite stream), but I don't think it's a good sign. Is streaming music doomed to die, not because of RIAA litigation, but because of expensive bandwidth costs?" I don't think bandwidth will be the determining cost - that's a price that has been falling and will continue to fall. But are things like iTunes store the future, or is it streaming?
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MP3.com Removes "High-Bandwidth" Streams

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  • Summary: (Score:3, Funny)

    by swordboy (472941) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @07:01AM (#6338095) Journal
    Company cuts cost in down economy.

    Wow!
    • really, the whole thing with MP3s for free (not) and the RIAA suits (dumb) and the reality that any service needs to have a balance on the cost to revenue side is a great way to SHOW kids what a business is all about. my solution to offer things 'almost-free' is person to person... not peer to peer... i suggest kids just find a group of their buds and decide who will buy which CDs... each person buys a few, but no purchases are duplicated... each person is responsible for ripping the CDs they have and they
    • Re:Summary: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Here's a quick little heads-up.

      * Look at how parent Company Vivendi Universal is doing. Not well, right? They've lost billions and have made clear in the press that they are selling off parts of their business.

      * Mp3.com was the red-headed stepchild that was being sued before being bought. Is it profitable? As with most Internet companies, Not Yet.

      * Mp3.com, emusic, mp4.com and rollingstone.com are all the same group - vivendi. Who's going to get the axe? All of them? One of them? Who knows.

      My th
  • by rusty spoon (564695) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @07:03AM (#6338103) Homepage
    Of course bandwidth has a cost and sometimes it's just too much for a site to bear. A popular service can be punished by it's bandwidth costs. How many times do we see/hear of a site going down due to the /. effect...and probably a lot of them are due to bandwidth caps rather than fancy content delivery systems hogging CPU/drive.

    Of course it's not a problem if they have a *real* revenue stream for their service as they should then be able to *pay* for their bandwidth needs.

    I just think it's a sign of the times.
    • by DeadSea (69598) * on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @07:33AM (#6338272) Homepage Journal
      In my experience served bandwidth costs about $.30 per GB of transfer (depending on volumes of course). If you have 128kb/s (57MB/hour) stream of music that means that it costs the radio station 2 cents for you to listen for an hour.

      While that may not be super expensive, it can add up.

      • I'd be interested to know why bandwidth is so expensive. Anyone here have any concrete answers? Surely with more and more of the world being connected, the cost should go down slowly, as there is just maintainance costs to deal with. Are we still paying for the initial road digging, satellite launches etc?
      • That is only for large sites as well. Most smaller sites and server renters usually pay around $.50 to $1 per gb. Also most sites don't make more then 1 CPM nowadays which is $.001 per hit.
  • by garcia (6573) * on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @07:04AM (#6338109) Homepage
    I have recently been listening to Shoutcasts at work (of mostly live, allowed, recordings). The three major ones I listen to are at 128k. 1 of the shoutcasts boasts a # in the 100s at 128k. They also offer a bunch of live shows for shoutcast at 128k in addition to their random one.

    I find that the server is CONSTANTLY having me rebuffer the stream making it increasingly difficult to listen to (I have a broadband connection at home and at work).

    I switched to a shoutcast stream that has only 10-15 people at 128k and it seems to handle it much better.

    Radio doesn't sound like 128k to me, what's the difference if MP3.com isn't offering that to it's listeners?
    • Linking that to the RIAA-hates-file-sharing, no one at RIAA bitched when people were trading tapes, but they get their panties in a wad over trading high-quality rips and copies. Maybe if everyone swapped 96k MP3s they wouldn't bitch as much... or maybe they would anyway.

      Are we just greedy about quality? I think the mindset is something like "why shouldn't I have 128K stream?" I guess the spread of broadband is the answer. More multiple simultanious streams causes the server to split bandwidth down to
      • "no one at RIAA bitched when people were trading tapes"

        The recording industry did their best to fight against dual cassette boom-boxes, if i recall correctly..
        • Maybe it was Metallica that didn't bitch over tapes but did over swapping. They seem, oh, so related in my mind.

          At any rate, I hadn't really heard of the RIAA before Napster (hence I didn't know they fought the dual cassette boom boxes...I guess I still don't know it). Perhaps that counts for something. Perhaps not.
      • by Blue Stone (582566) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @10:54AM (#6339701) Homepage Journal
        "...no one at RIAA bitched when people were trading tapes..."

        You mustn't have seen all the skull & crossbone symbols, on LP sleeves from the late 70's onwards, with the skull made out of a compact cassette, and bearing the legend, "Home taping is killing the music industry," then.

        The RIAA, or equivalent have bitched and whined, wailed and gnashed teeth at every single technological development that has had anything to do with their business.

      • Linking that to the RIAA-hates-file-sharing, no one at RIAA bitched when people were trading tapes, but they get their panties in a wad over trading high-quality rips and copies. Maybe if everyone swapped 96k MP3s they wouldn't bitch as much... or maybe they would anyway.

        hahaha, they bitched like lunatics man. Hillary Rosen was out there screeming (figuratively) that the music industry was going to die, etc. Eventualy, they got laws passed where you have to pay the record companies every time you buy a
  • by jkrise (535370) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @07:06AM (#6338115) Journal
    Here's mp3.com removing High-bandwidth streams, and now we go and slashdot it to oblivion! What next? We get 128kBps AAC from mp3.com??

  • Well, imagine that. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by binarytoaster (174681) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @07:06AM (#6338116)
    MP3.com discovered that legal fees and bandwidth costs couldn't be covered by the very very small amount of cash coming in from ads.

    Rather than go to a pay model they just decided to drop their higher streams... Maybe they should have had a system where you can pay some negligible fee (25 a year, perhaps) to hear the high bandwidth streams, and the low ones are free?
    • by Guttata (35478)
      Well, they do have a pay model of sorts - that is emusic [emusic.com]. Emusic charges $14.95/month, or $9.99/month, depending on the duration you sign up for (3 months / 12 months). MP3.com and Emusic are both owned by the same comapny (Universal, I believe).
      • Why are they keeping these separate? Maybe that's what they need to do - combine emusic and MP3.com ... a membership to one is a membership to the other. If you're subscribed to emusic you get high quality streams off MP3.com, and are able to download music straight from emusic... sounds like a nice deal to me.
      • Vivendi owns them, and the future of both services is very much in doubt with the impending sell off of Vivendi assets. I don't care about MP3.com, but I'll miss Emusic.
    • Advertisements aren't the only stream of revenue for mp3.com -- they've been doing their best since January to get artists to sign up for so-called "premium" services.

      Also, one of the major goals of mp3.com these days is to act as an advertisement for Vivendi-Universal's signed mainstream acts. Perhaps we should think of it as an advertising campaign that isn't working as well as they had hoped for.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @07:09AM (#6338129)

    Some tunes are available only if you pay, but you can stream in hi-fi quality (128 kbit/s). Now, why would anyone pay for the tune, when they can just capture the hi-fi quality stream into an .mp3 file??

    Before you call this stealing, think. It's just capitalism in action. Greedy agents acting on behalf of their own interests and agenda. If they can get something for free, they will. Morality has nothing to do with this.

    It's business. It's the same thing the companies have been pulling, but now consumers can actually leverage their greediness directly.

    Sucks to be the artist, though. But they would make peanuts with mp3.com in any case (been there, done that).

    • Thanks, I'm glad to know shoplifting isn't stealing either. I mean, if I can get it out of the store, then I deserve to have it for free, right?
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Your analogy sucks.

        It has nothing to do with shoplifting. A more relevant analogy would be the magazine stand in a store, where you can read the magazine (or the relevant parts of it) on the spot instead of buying it.

        • Your analogy sucks.

          It has nothing to do with shoplifting. A more relevant analogy would be the magazine stand in a store, where you can read the magazine (or the relevant parts of it) on the spot instead of buying it.

          I don't think you are right. The original Anonymous Coward (you?) stated:

          Now, why would anyone pay for the tune, when they can just

          capture the hi-fi quality stream into an .mp3 file?

          Thus, the most relevant analogy would be going to a magazine stand with a protable copy machine or sc

    • Actually, you ARE paying, in the same way that you are paying when you listen to the radio, by being subjected to ADS. The advertisers are paying for your listening pleasure, in exchange for your listening to their inane ads. Streaming this to a MP3 file is really no different than saving a broadcast TV show to VHS. Now, if you DISTRIBUTE that saved copy then you have a problem. The artists are NOT getting shafted in this case, as far as my reasoning goes.
    • " Morality has nothing to do with this."

      Hate to burst your bubble, but morality has something to do with everything we do.

      I don't buy your justification of the action you detail, at all. You cite the action of the agents as "greedy" a distinctly moral term, and then also say that morality has no bearing on the matter.

      At least your post was moderated "interesting" rather than "insightful!"

    • No need to capture. Just save the playlist from a hi-fi stream as a *.m3u file and open it in a text editor. There you have the url of the 128 kb/s mp3. Copy and paste into your browser address bar and tell the dialog box where to save the file to. It's that easy.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @07:11AM (#6338134)
    Now that more people have broadband access, it seems nuts to me that people are now removing higher quality/higher bandwidth content for financial reasons, although I guess that broadband is there for the consumer, not the supplier - mp3.com don't have anything to gain by streaming high quality audio other than... well, more customers and more used bandwidth.

    So I guess this means one of two things will happen, either:

    a) Streaming will continue to be lower quality and more people will drop their high quality streams, or
    b) bandwidth prices will drop as more and more people get broadband, making streaming at high quality feasible.

    Either way, the provider has to recoup expenses or prices have to drop, so the action mp3.com has taken isn't really that surprising.
  • When I thought a bit about streaming audio, and when it came to be (i.e pre dot-com boom), it was an exciting technology, and the sky was the limit with regards to earning potential (as was every other idea to do with content delivery).

    Unfortunately, it never came to be, and I struggle to see where mp3.com can make revenue from this part of the business, since bandwidth indeed does cost $$. I'm impressed that they kept it going this long to be honest, and they probably did at some loss for some time, sole

  • by browman (191604)
    Couldn't something like bittorrent fill the gap?
  • Launchcast (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sparkhead (589134) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @07:13AM (#6338145)
    I've found Launchcast is much better than mp3.com for streaming stations, though if you listen to more than a certain number of songs per month (350? 400?) it goes into low quality mono for the remainder of the month.

    Highly customizable though.
  • And in related news (Score:4, Interesting)

    by thelandp (632129) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @07:16AM (#6338156)
    Rumor [fuckedcompany.com] has it MP3.com recently laid off 40 people, roughly 15%.
    When: May 08 2003
    Maybe people just find Kazaa to be so much better.
    • An even better way for mp3.com to save money would be to switch to the Ogg Vorbis format. That would have two advantages:

      1) better quality at the same bandwidth or equal quality at a lower bandwidth (therefore saving bandwidth costs without sacrificing any quality)

      2) no longer having to pay royaltees for MP3 patents

      On the other hand, it would be pretty bizarre (not to mention confusing for some people) if a site called 'mp3.com' only offered OGG files for download. ;)
  • by caffeinex36 (608768) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @07:17AM (#6338161)
    I'm sure it was either cut bandwidth...or people....or both.

    With RIAA breathing down everyones backs, I'm sure it would take a small lawsuit to put these guys in the negative earnings.

    Business.

    Rob
  • Um. Yeah. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by superdan2k (135614) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @07:18AM (#6338166) Homepage Journal
    But are things like iTunes store the future, or is it streaming?

    There's this really weird mindset that seems to take hold in techie circles that there's only one given solution to an issue...that aside, why is only one of these going to be the future? Christ, AM/FM survived alongside records, cassettes, and CDs...why's the Internet going to be any different?
    • There's this really weird mindset that seems to take hold in techie circles that there's only one given solution to an issue...that aside, why is only one of these going to be the future?

      Let's call it "wishful thinking". The fact that Windows, IE, etc. still exist is because we techies let the normal folk have more than one solution to given issues, worse ones at that.

      We're not naive, we're "hopeful".
  • by pubjames (468013) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @07:18AM (#6338167)

    This has got me thinking. Why isn't there such a thing as a subscription radio station?

    The annoying thing about radio is the adverts and the rubbish DJs. In Spain they have at least one radio station that just plays music with no breaks all day. It rocks. But I'm not sure how it pays for itself.

    I guess the problem with subscription radio is that the receivers would need descramblers. But can anyone offer any insight as to why this has never happened? Or if it has in any part of the world?

    • XM Radio [xmradio.com] is a subscription-based "radio" service.

      I don't actually have it myself, but I have heard good things about it.
      • XM Radio is a subscription-based "radio" service.

        I was referring to standard broadcast radio. Of course it is easier to do subsciption "radio" with other technologies - easy to do with the web for instance, or satellite. I just wondered why it had never been done with ordinary radio.
        • Of course, there's public radio, which I guess qualifies as nagware. I'd buy XM or Sirius if it would let me turn off the NPR begging after I made my pledge...
        • So, if we did this as standard radio via subscription, will the RIAA sue me for listening but not paying? (Considering theres no technology limiting my access to the content, so it couldn't be a DMCA, but just the thought of, oh my, FREE music? RIAA would be after me)
    • by Anonymous Coward
      i live in england where we have the bbc if you have a TV you pay £100 a year the bbc then gives you 4 radio stations 2 tv channels and they put on mucis festivels (one big weekend etc) that any one can just turn up at free and the best part is there all totaly 100% add free and there are laws to ensure it stays that way all these things are avaidable to everyone only people with a tv pay the licence its kinda an institution dateing back to when tv first started some people complain about it but person
      • listen to a radio station with non stop music

        Erm, which Radio station are you referring to? Radio one? Isn't that the one with f***ing annoying DJs that talk rubbish all the time? I've never heard it play non-stop music. But you're right that it doesn't have adverts. The annoying DJs make up for that though.
    • The spanish radio you say is probably Radio3 [www.rne.es]. It's part of RNE, Radio Nacional de España (Spanish National Radio), and so it's paid by the state. There are 5 of these radios, each having its own realm: Radio5 (or was it Radio1?) is "only news", and Radio2 is only classical music, IIRC. There're also TVE1 and TVE2 (national TV channel 1 and 2, respectively; though TVE2 is usually called "La 2", "The 2nd [channel]"). TVE1 is your typical mass-media TV channel, with news reports, films and TV shows of var

  • by torpor (458)
    I run ampfea.org, a collective of thousands of musicians which, for the last 6 years, has been providing online archives and storage for individual artist mp3's.

    We're moving to bittorrent. That sorts out the entire problem.
  • Check This. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I'll tell you why mp3.com is going down the pan - because there is just no point to it whatsoever. You can get most music from kazaa/p2p, and unsigned acts can host their own music and promote their own sites as free webspace is widely available.

    I'm not actually trolling, this is the way I see it, and I would post under my username if my karma would allow it.
    • MP3.com is a convenient portal for finding the talent, by genre, location, or whatever. What do you suggest I do: Google for "unsigned ska band Houston?" No way. I've bought two CD's from mp3.com, and I guess it's time to pick up several more. Anything to keep the site going. We NEED this resource! P.S. And just where are the free web hosts that will let a band serve up anywhere near 1 GB a month (and that's only for ~250 downloads)?
  • by Lumpy (12016) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @07:24AM (#6338208) Homepage
    I U M A [iuma.org]

    This is what mp3.com used to be but a bit better.. if your signed. you CANT be there.

    so you get a nice untainted pool of real artists.

    mp3.com has sucked for over 3 years now. I haven't been back there cince mid 2000.
  • by daBass (56811) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @07:26AM (#6338227)
    I used to be CTO of a now defunct online radio service in the UK (puremix.com), way back in 2000/2001 and worked at various radio stations before that.

    We streamed 64K Real Audio and it sounded great. The secret to making it sound good is audio proecessing, just like an analog radio station does. I am not advocating New York style maximizing of loudness at all cost, but any signal needs some work.

    That work is missing on most not only amateur, but also professional streams or it is done by very bad software solutions. Online music services are often created by people who love and know their music and are geeks. Few of them are actualy audio wizards. (Even at radio stations, engineers are often under valued because the "creative" people don't understand what's involved) The result is that even peak signals are below maximum modulation and missing (multiband) compression and limiting makes sure there is no consintancy in quality and loudness between songs, which brings out encoding articfacts much more. And that is a real shame.
    • by gse (68728)
      We streamed 64K Real Audio and it sounded great. The secret to making it sound good is audio proecessing, just like an analog radio station does. I am not advocating New York style maximizing of loudness at all cost, but any signal needs some work.

      What type of "work" are you talking about? I'm a competent audio engineer and I've spent some time trying to make RealAudio sound like anything but ass[tm], with little success.

      IMO mp3 has always sounded better than .ra, and at low bandwidths ogg is really im

    • by adolf (21054) <flodadolf@gmail.com> on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @06:24PM (#6344632) Journal
      I used to the the engineer of a now defunct online radio service in the US (epointradio.com), way back in 2000-2001, and worked in various studio enviroments before that.

      We streamed 24 and 56k MP3 and it sounded great. The secret to making it sound good was simplicity, just as with good home audio.

      I used very little signal processing on the music end of things; arguably, none at all. I simply selected a sound card with very pleasant input clipping characteristics (read: free emergency limiting) and accurate digital loopback (for the controlroom monitors), followed by 1 bit of software gain reduction (to preclude the listeners' sound cards from reacting inconsistantly to the sometimes-peaked audio). The resultant bits were fed to LAME, with very carefully-selected parameters, and presented to the world.

      Of course, we used REAL, COHERENT DJs instead of a mindless automatron playlist-spewer. It's non-trivial to select music sets which maintain consistancy, but by no means difficult. Even the "creative people" seemed to do a good job at it, and were able to handle manual gain management justfine with the live feedback they got from their 'phones or a pair of NS-10s.

      Automatic gain control is useful for uncontrollable situations. I used some rather complicated compression, limiting, gating, and sidechain filtering for the mics during the talking parts of the program in order to keep things quiet and consistant. But even then, it was as little processing as I could get away with. I was faced with between 6 and 12 shifty people in a room full of live mics, any (or all) of whom might start talking at any time. I don't have that many hands.

      On the other hand, modern music is generally already compressed and Fletcher-Munsenized to hell and back in the mastering process. It doesn't need any more "help." And that which still contains some element of dynamic content, such as Tool's Lateralus, uses it so artistically that it would be sinful to throw any of it away.

      An engineer (or likely, several of them) spent hours, days, or weeks tweaking -that- -one- song to perfection. By homogenizing it with your ill-concieved one-size-fits-all processing, you've not only destroyed their work, but done a disservice to your listeners.

      Compression was introduced to radio as a counter to road noise and static - admirable goals. Sometime later, it was used to keep levels somewhat consistant for lazy DJs, and kicked the processing up a notch. More recently, some marketing fucktard decided that it could be used to better compete with nearby stations, even to the point of modulating over them, and we ended up with the wall of multiband-limited pile of compressed shit that we get when we turn on the radio now.

      These issues do not exist in the world of Internet broadcasting, where instead of static we get nearly limitless dynamic range. People listen to unprocessed music all the time at their PC, and are accustomed to hearing it that way, dynamic and timbral nuances intact.

      And, unlike the stereo in your car, here the listener has control. If they want homogenized pre-processed shit, they can download (or merely enable) a plugin for it. Realplayer can do this, WMP can do this, along with Winamp and XMMS.

      Why fuck it up in advance when they've got such a diverse array of tools to make things sound more to their liking right at their fingertips, if that's what they're after?

      If you want consistancy, strive to make it sound the same from your stream as it does from the MP3 that they've got on their hard drive, put an ounce of effort into the mix, and keep your monitor setup appropriate to your audience.

      This ensures that the puritans are happy because the chain is clean. The QSound users are happy because their settings don't need tweaked to accomidate the pre-process massage. And the "what's a soundcard?" people are happy, because it's still consistant with the noise they're used to hearing from their PC.

      How do you improve on personal choice?

  • Dumb comparison (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jdreed1024 (443938) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @07:32AM (#6338265)
    But are things like iTunes store the future, or is it streaming?

    That's not a useful comparison. That's like saying "Is Stop & Shop (a supermarket, for those of you outside the northeast) the future, or is it farmstands on the side of the road?".

    They serve two different markets. Streaming is totally different from purchasing a song and burning it to CD. Also, I believe MP3.com did not cost money. So if you're talking in the short term, yes, for-profit business are the future compared to those losing money. However, comparing free streaming to the iTunes music store is like apples and oranges.

  • by richieb (3277) <richieb AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @07:33AM (#6338273) Homepage Journal
    To save on bandwith MP3.com should just index their MP3 files and distribute them using a Napster style client. Then the use of bandwidth is distributed among all the users.

    Would they ever do that? I'm not holding my breath :)

    • > To save on bandwith MP3.com should just index their MP3 files and distribute them using a Napster style client. Then the use of bandwidth is distributed among all the users.

      MP3.com can't do that; their business model is presumably you seeing banner ads while there's some sort of network connection between you and them.

      But that brings me to the part about streaming I never understood: Why the hell bother?

      On one hand, you have "download, burn, play". Zero network bandwidth consumed. At 128, 1

      • Streaming gives you the worst of both worlds - the bandwidth wastage of P2P, with the DRMness of pay-per-view. Maybe I'm a Luddite around here, but when it comes to streaming, I Just Don't Get it.

        I agree with you. On internet streaming is stupid. Internet is not radio...

      • On one hand, you have "download, burn, play". Zero network bandwidth consumed.

        How do you do the downloading without using bandwidth?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    This touches a fundamental issue of RIAA and music economics.

    Music distribution bandwidth definitely HAS a cost: Hardware to be set up, administration, electricity. Closing one's eyes on this is living somewhere in immaterial space and not realistic.

    The music industry is supplying bandwidth in it's own way, they distribute CD's via shops and other distributors. Most of it's revenue goes to many people working in this industry, only little to the artists. Many people get paid.

    What happens with P2P is that
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @07:57AM (#6338408)
    DSL and cable make it look like bandwidth is cheap but it isn't. Try buying 1.5 MBytes from a major backbone and you'll see it cost between $500-750 per month including transport (that's what your ISP is paying, it would be $850-1200 if you tried it). Seven years ago the cost was $2000-2800. Seven years ago the average modem user used 500 b/s. Today the average DSL user uses 4000 b/s, but the average for P2P users on DSL is 128,000 b/s.

    I've been following the discussions on ISP-PLANET [isp-planet.com] and Internet providers are pretty concerned over this trend as it breaks the economic model the Internet grew-up on. Articles there are looking at changing pricing from the flat-rate structure we have now to everything from pay per MB to using dynamic bandwidth shapers to reduce the speed of large data transfers to kicking high bandwidth users off their networks entirely. The last is the most common remedy in use now.

    I admit I'm an ISP. Since only 10% of users use P2P or streaming, I kick P2P users off my network. My competitor didn't and I stole half his broadband customers because his network became too congested. Now he is madly trying to block P2P after telling his customers he doesn't restrict their usage - he had thought that would get him our customers and it did get some, namely, those I didn't want because I was losing money on them. Many of the P2P types switched to cable after Adelphia started offering it here six months ago and the throughput on Adelphia's local network has dropped to less than a dial-up modem because of the congestion.

    P2P and streaming (especially video or high-bandwith audio) is too expensive. About the only thing currently doable is multicast audio like Internet radio but unfortunately the RIAA want's 1.5 cents per listener per song (according to a local radio station ower who checked into it) making it infeasable for most radio stations.

    MP3.com is just facing economic reality and it is doubtfull bandwidth costs will fall fast enough to allow them to resume high-bandwidth streaming of free tunes.
  • Does MP3.com offer a membership? Maybe with this membership, high bandwidth streams are available.
  • by BuffPuff (685861)
    Multicast. When providers start running multicast protocols between them, the whole streaming\bandwidth issue will lessen dramatically.
  • by kaltkalt (620110) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @08:17AM (#6338532)
    Take a huge step back from all this, and realize the big issue is that, here in America, there is now music that is illegal to listen to. Fucked up, isn't it? "I killed my family... what are you in for?"
  • by Funksaw (636954) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @08:22AM (#6338555)
    Mp3.com was aquired by Vivendi Universal (RIAA member) in a lawsuit.

    Since then, Mp3.com's goal has gone from promoting individual (mostly unsigned) artists to promoting Vivendi artists.

    Which is why Vivendi won't reconcile the accounts of Mp3.com members who are owed less than $50 (most of them) and why Vivendi artists get top billing.

    Cutting the streams isn't new - Mp3.com also limited bands to uploading only one song recently, in a move that angered everyone but Vivendi Universal.

    See, I'm sure the bandwidth costs were a factor. But you have to understand, you only cut those expensive items that aren't critical to your business.

    Before Vivendi Universal bought Mp3.com, streams were a priority. They allowed new bands to be heard. Multiple songs were also a priority for Mp3.com, because their business was promoting new music.

    Now their business is promoting Vivendi Universal music - and compared to returns (since Vivendi can afford to put their music on the radio) it's not that big a deal to them. So it - and the bands it promotes - gets shafted.

    • There's a lot of truth to the parent post. I'd want to take it somewhat broader and just stress that the days of mp3.com (and the other properties in Vivendi Univeral Net USA's portfolio) being anything beyond the usual abhorrent RIAA-loving media companies are well over.

      My own experience with emusic.com (which I won't get into, but feel free to help me burn down my buddy's condo with the partial account here [ulman.net]) suggests that VUNet as a whole is relatively desperate to avoid any kind of high-cost service de
    • ...Vivendi won't reconcile the accounts of Mp3.com members who are owed less than $50 (most of them)...

      IANAL, but many US states' laws would allow residents to sue Vivendi in Small Claims court to recover this money. In Oregon [osbar.org], neither side may bring an attorney into court, and the cost of filing is quite low ($45-$80) and recoverable from the defendant if you win. I would guess offhand that in this sort of case, Vivendi would fail to appear and just cut you a check to save costs...

      Small claims cour

    • by Anonymous Coward
      As an employee of Vivendi Universal Net USA/MP3.com, I can attest that most of this is true.

      The goals of our site changed radically a few years ago when after we released the Instant Listening service we got sued to oblivion on. Prior to launching that service, Michael Robertson made a decision to change focus away from the independant artist and try to commandeer the popular artists. The RIAA sued us and at the same time Napster took away most of the wind in our sails, to the point where most people tho
  • I could have sworn it's always been this way. How do you know they had hifi genre streams before?
  • by Kjella (173770) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @08:33AM (#6338618) Homepage
    But are things like iTunes store the future, or is it streaming?

    Long-term, I think the answer is streaming, but not the way a commercial company wants. Even on broadband, my upload cap 256kbit is too low for what I'm thinking of, but I know what has been happening on student campuses, student homes etc. 100mbut to the wall, and people use those around them as their "extended hard disk"... They stream music, video etc. from other people instead of actually downloading it. Ultimately, that's where I think the Internet is going too, but for now it's too slow to work out, it's send/recieve instead of stream.

    Of course, that all depends on how badly RIAA/MPAA/BSA will crack down on it, but even so it'll exist in a form of "friends" network.

    Kjella
  • I've been using this site [diysearch.com] for a lot of my searching for indy-music and what-not, and I guess recently they posted a poll about the possibility of setting up an MP3 service like mp3.com's for indy-bands and unsigned bands.

    It'll be interesting to see if a non-commercial site could pull something like this off, at least if they stick to unsigned bands they can get around the whole RIAA crap.

    The point is, that there are alternatives out there to mp3.com. Hell, a lot of the better independant labels out there
  • by JF (18696)
    > I've still got my favorite stream

    Great idea, post a link to a 150-listener station on /.

    Now I'll have to listen to crappy music until it goes off the front page and I can get the stream back! ;)

  • The high-bandwidth "streaming" was actually distributing m3u playlists that linked back to where they allow you to download these songs. I think the problem is not technically "streaming", where they only need enough bandwidth for one stream (each packet contains the ip address of all recipients and routers split it up into copies later) but because they don't use that kind of "stream" or radio station. They need enough bandwidth to allow everyone listening to the "stream" to download it every time.

    It wo
  • by Com2Kid (142006) <com2kidSPAMLESS@gmail.com> on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @09:22AM (#6338929) Homepage Journal
    After MP3.com started paying artists a mere fraction of what they paid them before, many artists fled from MP3.com, rightfuly noting that no longer was releasing their work onto MP3.com a profitable venture.

    Because of the lack of new artists signing up for MP3.com, MP3.com in general has been in decline. :`( *sigh* was once a great place for Indie artists to make some spare change.
  • are things like iTunes store the future, or is it streaming
    This is comparing apples and oranges. Music downloads won't replace streaming any more that CDs replace radios! They each have obvious pros and cons. That said, once the high-speed, global, mobile, ubiquitous network is in place, there'll be no need to download. =) Until then, I'll download what I want on the road, and stream when I have access and want somebody else to pick the music.
  • A few things... (Score:4, Informative)

    by bazmonkey (555276) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @09:48AM (#6339111)
    1) It's been like this for a few weeks if not a month. Old hi-fi playlists are still working, with the exception of some songs being removed from streaming.

    2) They're doing it because they have a membership service now, and hi-fi genre playlists are on the list of reasons to join. It's still not hard to get hi-fi songs from mp3.com, I doubt this changed their bandwidth usage very much. Besides, my reaction was to find the top ten artists on a genre, visit their page, load their hi-fi list, and compile them together in to one huge list. They sure as hell aren't saving money through me.
  • One solution to the bankwidth problem would be to stream a playlist, where the items are fetched with one or another p2p client. You could insert ads too and make money.


    Michael.

  • I can't speak to the whether MP3.com's moves are due to high bandwidth costs, but I think that we should address the larger issue of why streamed music/radio broadcasts are still unicast, with a per user increase in bandwidth consumption. Why isn't the world adopting multicasting? This would seem a win-win solution? Broadcasters could signifcantly reduce their bandwidth consumption while ensuring higher audio quality and reducing buffering due to server overload. ISPs could significantly reduce their IP t
  • Really, how long has it been since MP3.com has been relevant to the online music world? Since Michael Robertson sold out, MP3.com has been merely another web property floundering in the hands of some giant conglomerate that cares nothing for its customers. I'm surprised someone hasn't gone to VU with an offer for MP3.com or eMusic, given how little VU thinks of these sites anymore. Or are they simply refusing to sell off their online music properties separately from the total package?

    It would be nice i


  • Since mp3.com was bought by Vivendi, it has taken a nosedive into the shitter.

    mp3.com used to be a place where low-budget hobbyists could get their songs on the internet and heard. That was great. They put ads on it to cover some costs, fine. They added some "premiere" services for bands that wanted to make it big, ok. They instituted dubious "payback" schemes where you get money when people listen to your music, but only if you pay them money first. Recently they capped free users to 3 hosted songs, which
  • Oh crap, no! You just slashdotted my favorite stream >:E
  • "I don't think bandwidth will be the determining cost - that's a price that has been falling and will continue to fall."

    If their bandwidth prices fall, but their usage skyrockets you can sure bet that is a determining cost.

    Dirk
  • In June (2001?), MP3.com settled with Time Warner and BMG Entertainment. The companies get 1.5 cents each time a consumer stores a song using My.MP3.com and one-third of a cent each time the consumer listens to the song.
  • by Animats (122034) on Tuesday July 01, 2003 @12:16PM (#6340569) Homepage
    As I point out occasionally, music distribution bandwidth consumption is high only because of legal problems. If the problem were merely to distribute it, each day's new releases could just go out in newsgroups using NNTP. Total volume would probably be a few tens of megabytes per day, and the data would travel over each link no more than once. There really isn't very much new music every day, after all.

    What we have instead is a huge infrastructure to do the job with incredible inefficiency. It might pay for the network industry to buy the music industry and give the stuff away.

  • mp3.com has a legal license to stream or do whatever with all of the music on it's site. And you can still download the files and listen to them on your own computer.

    Sure, bandwidth price is going down (Thanks mr. Super genius Hemos) but if the price goes down faster then your revenue it doesn't help anything. Besides, it's still money in the whole. Would you rather send a file to someone a hundred times, each time they listen to it, or just once. Someone probably looked at where their bandwidth expe
  • Public mass streaming was and is a dumb idea. Not merely do zillions of people make huge downloads from your site, but they don't even get to hang onto what they downloaded, so they do it over and over again...

    The sensible solution would be to port something like bit-torrent to have a streaming mode, and make plug-ins for the ajor players so they can use it.
  • It has always sucked and it always will suck. It provides no advantages over existing, well-understood technologies. If I wanted to listen to the radio, I'd turn on the radio. Media that gets downloaded to my PC has significant advantages, like the ability to instantly reposition to any point, scan through for a point of interest, or what have you. The one and only reason why streaming has ever been popular is the lame attempt by media owners to control distribution and charge for the same media content ove
  • pretty soon a large website will come out with a p2p2p2p2p application for them to stream to 10 or so main users that will stream to 10 more that will stream to 5 more each and so on as the less bandwidth endowed users get in the mix.
  • Like several people have already said: mp3.com IS RIAA. They are the property of Vivendi International. Don't give them any money, and don't give them any attention- don't let your friends store music there (they're getting screwed, they agree legally to let Vivendi have their music forever with no compensation) and don't listen there.

    Do you understand how totally absurd it is to be complaining about not getting 128K streams NOW, after all else that has gone down? It was the artist agreement changes that d

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