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Music Media Businesses

Technical Glitches Plague BuyMusic.com 691

Posted by timothy
from the thank-you-for-your-patience dept.
An anonymous reader submits: "Despite its much larger target market, BuyMusic.com does not seem to be the runaway success that Apple's iTunes Music Store was. USA Today is reporting that customers have experienced technical glitches that prevent them from playing their purchases. Another customer reports that the BuyMusic tech support does little more than say 'Sorry, but that's YOUR problem.' Finally, a musician whose music is for sale at BuyMusic questions the legality of BuyMusic's catalog." Scriptygoddess's account of her unhappy experience is mirrored here.
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Technical Glitches Plague BuyMusic.com

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  • by seanadams.com (463190) * on Wednesday July 30, 2003 @01:12AM (#6568009) Homepage
    DRM inconveniences ONLY the people who are paying.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 30, 2003 @01:27AM (#6568114)
      Funny, but TRUE.

      I just came back from a vacation, and I thought I was smart enough to bring a DVD player along (well, my XBOX, since I could watch movies and play games on that one machine), since I knew the hotel's TV would have at least a composite video jack in.

      Plug it in, sit down, and... ...MACROVISION.

      Yet another instance where I am attempting to play a legit product, and am stopped by "copy protection." I decided to fark the movie (and possibly return it out of spite) and just play KOTOR instead. :D

      The funny thing was, if I had ripped the DVD and burned it to a DVD-R, I could've enjoyed the movie I PAID FOR, as I obviously couldn't with the original.
      • by User 956 (568564) on Wednesday July 30, 2003 @03:36AM (#6568704) Homepage
        I just came back from a vacation, and I thought I was smart enough to bring a DVD player along (well, my XBOX, since I could watch movies and play games on that one machine), since I knew the hotel's TV would have at least a composite video jack in. Plug it in, sit down, and... ...MACROVISION. Yet another instance where I am attempting to play a legit product, and am stopped by "copy protection." I decided to fark the movie (and possibly return it out of spite) and just play KOTOR instead. :D

        Even better: xbox+modchip = no macrovision, no region protection, and you can even rip games and dvds to the hard drive for faster load times and instant access (no hunting down that disc that's under the pile of clothes in your game room)

        And when you upgrade the xbox hd to 120 gigs, you have the perfect media jukebox on the go. (for your situation, at least)
      • Same for me. I bought a CD. It was copy protected. Can't play on my linux boxes, plays very poorly on my mac, can't put it on my ipod, AND it does not play on my 1 year old hifi. I returned it and copied it from some p2p network. I don't like to do it, but I had no choice if I wanted to listen to it.
        copy protection -> p2p
      • "Plug it in, sit down, and... ...MACROVISION."

        I hear you.

        Firstly, for those who don't know (and yes there are many who don't know even on slashdot,) macrovision is a (very poorly implemented and easily bypassed with the right gear) anti-copying technology the causes the picture to get darker and brighter all the time. On analogue media they play around with the luminance signal and on DVD it's just a macrovision bit that they turn on. You can get macrovision filters to clean this sort of thing up.

        The last time I tried to use my iBook as a DVD player using the composite jack on an external TV, the same thing happenned. The Apple DVD player sent a macrovision signal out with the composite signal. Fortunately I happenned to have VLC [videolan.org] which allowed me to properly play the DVD that I had bought within my own rights.

        Alas, stories like this are considered by the industry to be collateral damage.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 30, 2003 @01:34AM (#6568153)
      I'm not sure what's "+1 Funny" about that post. The RIAA and its business partners are seriously fscked if they think that offering their product in a crippled format will keep them ahead.

      Look, the RIAA/MPAA would be long gone, had they not finally realized that audio and video casettes would be the greatest boon to their industry since the gramophone. It may take them some time, but unless they accept p2p as their biggest promoters, they are toast.

      I still remember listening to copied Michael Jackson tracks when I was 6 yrs old or so. And playing copied apple ][ games since I got my first system. Since then I've spent tens of thousands of dollars on software and music, and I'm sure I'd barely have spent a dime if I hadn't got a little "free taste".

      For Christ's sake, I'm sure this has been going on since the first time some cave man decided to copy his neighbor's clay pot design.
      • by whereiswaldo (459052) on Wednesday July 30, 2003 @02:46AM (#6568514) Journal
        This thread is right on. My solution is not to buy any music that's DRM'd. So far, that's all of it. Give me MP3s, that's all I care to have. Anything else puts *my* investment in jeopardy. That is not acceptable to me.
        • I agree. And don't think there's no way for us both to pay musicians motivated enough to ask for a tip (see www.radsfans.net for example).

          Imagine if the RIAA had spent half the money they've spent on lawyers by now pushing tipjar-advocacy instead. e-gold has been around since 1996 and musicians like Courtney Love sure TALK a good game about going around the RIAA quintopoly, but so far I've seen little action from her (she's in her binge-phase again?). Still, it's possible to get paid directly, with e-gold
    • So true (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Chuck Chunder (21021) on Wednesday July 30, 2003 @02:17AM (#6568405) Homepage Journal
      How many other industries compete by actively trying to make their product worth less to the buyer?
    • emusic.com DRM free (Score:5, Informative)

      by gad_zuki! (70830) * on Wednesday July 30, 2003 @04:59AM (#6568979)
      If you're into indie stuff, then emusic looks like quite a bargain. Something around $15 a month for unlimited MP3 downloads. This sounds like a win-win situation, at least for me. I'm planning on subscribing this week.

      Don't like indie? Get a Mac or just pay tower records the $18 they want for the new Britney.

      At least there are *some* choices today that weren't here just a year ago.
  • by Ty (15982) on Wednesday July 30, 2003 @01:12AM (#6568013)
    I am really torn over this. For one I'm happy that such a service that puts such annoying restrictions on how you can use the music is failing. Yet, the other half of me is sad that now the RIAA is gonna have something to run around screaming "OMG LOOK LOOK ONLINE SERVICE IS THE SUCK" with.
    • by EinarH (583836) on Wednesday July 30, 2003 @01:51AM (#6568263) Journal
      Yeah, that could happen. But for what I have read the product they (buymusic) are offering are crap.

      -IE req.
      -DRM-enabled WM9.
      -Real number of songs are closer to 100000 than 300000.
      -128Kpbs.
      -From their Cust. Agreem.:"all downloaded Content is sublicensed to End Users and not sold, notwithstanding use of the terms "sell," "purchase," "order," or "buy" on the Site or this Agreement. "
      You don't buy the music you just license them.
      -And now; bad customer support.

      So basically their offer is very unattractive when you can get a better offer from free. Illegal, but still much better if you look compare benefits and risk.

      Even the lowest of the low whitin P2P, Kazaa offers the following:
      -Any browser to download Kazaa.
      -No DRM, MP3 or some OGG.
      -Probably above 1 mill. songs
      -160-192Kpbs.
      -Copy-right enfringment with low probability of getting caught.
      -You can keeep the music as long as you want as long as RIAA don't sue you.
      -No support but the service is free.

      I doubt BuyMusic.com will succeed.

      • by eyeball (17206) on Wednesday July 30, 2003 @08:42AM (#6569675) Journal
        -IE req.

        -DRM-enabled WM9.


        You know it just occurred to me... Maybe this is obvious to everyone, but once you buy something tied to Microsoft's DRM, they now lock you into a cycle of upgrading your OS, and if you don't, you risk losing all "your" purchased music.
    • by thefinite (563510) on Wednesday July 30, 2003 @01:54AM (#6568276)
      I would agree completely, but for Apple's iTunes Music Store. Quite frankly it rocks. iTMS is an argument for *less* restrictions and *open* formats (i.e. AAC v. WMA). Look how well it has done with just the Mac user base, far better than BuyMusic did with millions more users. (I just bought an album today. Love new music Tuesday!)

      Rumor has it they are still pinning down the licensing for the Windows version. I hope that they can point to BuyMusic and say, "See how crappy it is when the licensing is messed up? Our simplicity, consistency, and method of delivery result in *many* more downloads."
  • by saden1 (581102) on Wednesday July 30, 2003 @01:14AM (#6568024)
    So there goes any chance of me using their service.
    • by dytin (517293) on Wednesday July 30, 2003 @02:02AM (#6568325) Homepage
      Well, don't just tell the slashdot crowd that. Let BuyMusic know that you can't use their service from your browser of choice. If they don't see any business lost from not supporting Moz, then they will see no reason to support Moz.
      • by Jester99 (23135) on Wednesday July 30, 2003 @11:09AM (#6570763) Homepage
        Let BuyMusic know that you can't use their service from your browser of choice. If they don't see any business lost from not supporting Moz, then they will see no reason to support Moz.


        Why should we?

        I get paid a lot for my technical opinions. I haven't seen a dime from BuyMusic.com. Apple's working hard to get a polished interface out for PCs. One that'll have their quality level that we're all used to seeing from them. I can wait til then.

        I don't owe BuyMusic.com anything, much less suggestions to keep it's crappy DRM-locked music business afloat. It's their MBAs that came up with this stuff. It didn't roll off of my desktop.
  • by MrEnigma (194020) on Wednesday July 30, 2003 @01:14AM (#6568027) Homepage
    We now see the real problem.

    When an artist signs with a distribution point, etc, they may lose their own music. As a musician that would seem horrible, but it happens to many different people (animators, etc).

    Maybe the contract with "The Orchard" had certain terms. We really would need to see that to get both sides of the story here...

    Maybe they "sold out" and now just don't want to look like "crap" music.
    • Agreed. Even if the label is selling music in breach of the contract terms, it's a label problem-- not a distributor problem. It would be no different if Virgin Records started selling Fugazi records to Best Buy. You can bitch at Best Buy, but they're just going to (correctly) pass the buck on to the label (and perhaps take the albums off the shelves if it is that obvious that the label is misbehaving). Is buymusic just supposed to take Jody Whitesides' word for it that she indeed wrote and performed the mu
      • by teamhasnoi (554944) * <teamhasnoi&yahoo,com> on Wednesday July 30, 2003 @02:11AM (#6568378) Homepage Journal
        Is buymusic just supposed to take Jody Whitesides' word for it that she indeed wrote and performed the music, and that its sale to buymusic was in breach of contract? Of course not; it's not even clear from her gripe whether it's even in breach to begin with!

        Sadly, an RIAA email to an ISP, eBay, or college is all it takes to have them remove 'infringing' material, and give up all your user info.

        "Assuming" copyright is an RIAA specialty. Unfortunately, it doesn't work the other way 'round.

    • I apologize for posting this is Code, but stupid Slashdot thought the original had "too many junk characters" even though it was almost all text!

      The full discussion is <a href="http://macslash.org/article.pl?sid=03/07/29 / 1510211&mode=thread">here</a> - which someone else linked to as well.

      There was an interesting post related to your question that noted the current Orchard terms:

      <b>You grant to us throughout the Territory during the Sales Period the NON-EXCLUSIVE rights to sell, c
  • by minion2 (531192) on Wednesday July 30, 2003 @01:15AM (#6568033)
    Wow, another attempt to copy an Apple product goes horribly, horribly wrong.

    I may not have a Doctorate with a thesis written on pattern recognitions, but even I can figure this one out...
  • MP3 is for pirates (Score:5, Insightful)

    by obsid1an (665888) <<moc.ishcm> <ta> <naidisbo>> on Wednesday July 30, 2003 @01:17AM (#6568046)
    This one line says it all: "The problem: Unlike MP3 music tracks plucked from the Net from pirate sites such as Kazaa, music on BuyMusic is encoded in Microsoft's Windows Media Audio format." I won't ever, pay to download anything in WMA format just like I won't install Real player no matter how many porn sites need it. When will these companies learn from what the "pirate sites" have done right and allow people to download the songs in the most popular and compatible format out there. Or even better, let them pick.
    • by Michael Hunt (585391) on Wednesday July 30, 2003 @01:38AM (#6568183) Homepage
      Could KaZaA/Sharman Networks/whoever have a potential Libel/Slander suit on their hands for buymusic.com referring to their service as a 'pirate site'?

      This has never been proven in court, and has the substantial potential to damage their reputation. The only way that bm.com would be able to get away with allegations such as these, as far as I know (albeit IANAL) would be for a judge to decree that the ONLY use for KaZaA is 'piracy'.

      Although, given the fact that probably 60-70% of the activity which takes place on KaZaA is 'piracy' by nature, they'd probably have a hard time making any libel/slander allegations stick.
  • by dprice (74762) <daprice.pobox@com> on Wednesday July 30, 2003 @01:20AM (#6568062) Homepage
    The day buymusic.com started, I tried to check it out. I was running Windows 2000 with IE5 and the latest Windows Media Player, and I could not get any of the music clips or videos to play. In a way, I'm glad the samples had problems because I would have been pissed if I had spent money there. I haven't been back since then, and I probably won't go back.
  • Apple, etc. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mrpuffypants (444598) * <mrpuffypants@gma3.14159il.com minus pi> on Wednesday July 30, 2003 @01:22AM (#6568069)
    I know it's been said before countless times but you really have to hand it to Apple for writing and backing up an elegant solution to this "dilemma" between the RIAA and consumers. By making it an all-in-one package through iTunes there isn't any questions about supporting Roxio drivers or downloading codecs and licenses for playback of your files.

    to quote the linked blog:
    After all the songs downloaded, I tried to play them. Second problem. Before each song plays - it has to download and verify your license. You can't mulitple select a bunch and do this. You need to do this before EACH SONG will play. [Edited to add: "Verifing your license" means another window pops up that asks for your buymusic login and password... you enter it... it thinks awhile... it thinks some more... Then it comes back and says click "play" to actually play the song...]

    This is just sloppy programming on their part. They are forced to make excuses for other people's software in the first week of release. Apple tossed out iTMS to their entire userbase and said "Now go use it. It works. Perfectly. Always."

    The simplicity of simply allowing 3 computers for playback through iTMS is great (albeit for some that have 13 computers and want to listen to music on ALL at the same time) Just authorize one computer and it will always be able to playback your music even if it's away from a 'net connection.

    BuyMusic.com was rushed and it's apparent in the first damn week. It doesn't hold a candle to iTMS. I can't wait to see it crumble.
    • Re:Apple, etc. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by geek (5680)
      I love iTMS don't get me wrong here. My problems with it tho are that the images hardly ever load making navigation a royal pain. And often times their system just takes a massive dump and wont let anyone purchase anything. Don't even get me started on all the "partial album" downloads they have and they are still skimping on the selection.

      The main difference between Apples bugs and everyone elses bugs is that Apple WILL NOT acknowledge the problem EVER. It took them 8 months to finally come out and say "Y
      • Re:Apple, etc. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Blondie-Wan (559212) on Wednesday July 30, 2003 @03:52AM (#6568760) Homepage
        I've seen Apple acknowledge glitches many times, even on occasions when they haven't become known by others yet. Have you contacted Apple yet with your image loading problem? If so, is there any indication they're working on it?

        Yes, the iTMS has many partial albums; if it bothers you, just think of them as songs, not albums. At any rate, when you see partials there, it's not Apple's doing, but the licensors (the labels). For whatever reason, they haven't authorized certain songs for release on the iTMS. From what I've seen of the iTMS and BuyMusic, there are a number of albums that are missing the same songs at both outlets, which seems to indicate the labels just don't want to sell certain tracks this way. Neither Apple nor Buy can force the labels to give them specific tracks. Also, FWIW, I've seen albums at the iTMS that had stuff added piecemeal - so that the debut week, for example, there were only three tracks from a particular album available, but a few weeks later, the complete album tracklist was there. I don't know why an album might be added a few tracks at a time, but it's happened; perhaps the later tracks weren't initially planned for availability, but were added in response to user requests, or something...

  • it's not anymore? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by johnny0101 (617627) on Wednesday July 30, 2003 @01:24AM (#6568080) Journal
    runaway success that Apple's iTunes Music Store was

    so do we have to drop the 'runaway' now?

    Seriously though, Apple knows how to make a good UI ( 10.3 not withstanding ;) ). They don't half a$$ what they do.
    Ease of use and meeting consumer demands wins this match (for once!).
  • by antdude (79039) on Wednesday July 30, 2003 @01:26AM (#6568101) Homepage Journal
    Go here [macslash.org].
  • by American AC in Paris (230456) on Wednesday July 30, 2003 @01:27AM (#6568111) Homepage
    iTunes Music Store:
    Emphasis on ease of use, customer experience, technical quality.
    Focal issue: adding value to Mac systems to attract switchers and sell iPods.
    Result: Pretty decent music service, all things considered.

    BuyMusic.com:
    Emphasis on Being Cheaper than iTMS, locking out non-approved systems, Looking an awful lot like iTMS.
    Focal issue: Establish self as competition for iTMS before Apple gets the Windows version out.
    Result: left as an exercise for the reader.

    • by BWJones (18351) on Wednesday July 30, 2003 @02:14AM (#6568387) Homepage Journal
      iTunes Music Store:
      Emphasis on ease of use, customer experience, technical quality.
      Focal issue: adding value to Mac systems to attract switchers and sell iPods.
      Result: Pretty decent music service, all things considered.


      I can't believe how easy iTMS is to access and set up, and allowing you to actually own the music you purchase is the selling point. I can play it on three computers including my workstation at the lab, my home workstation and the iTunes music server we have set up at the house. Apple has made a number of purchases of iPods and Macs simply from people coming over to parties at our house and seeing how cool the iTunes music server is. We have our entire music collection on that thing in a searchable, organizable database, and I never have to mess with another jewelcase again. The iTMS has made it possible for me never to have to drive down to the hateful mall music store again.

      BuyMusic.com:
      Emphasis on Being Cheaper than iTMS, locking out non-approved systems, Looking an awful lot like iTMS.


      It looks like iTMS even down to the commercials, but like most things in the computer industry that copy Apple, they copy Apple badly. Also, look at the wording of the sales bit. Songs from.79 cents. I have priced a number of albums, and if they are available, which often times they are not despite being listed, the albums end up being more expensive than iTMS. Also, as mentioned in the linked blog, DRM is a total pain in the ass with BuyMusics version.

      Focal issue: Establish self as competition for iTMS before Apple gets the Windows version out.

      I tried using BuyMusic.com on a Windows system here and it is a total farce. Songs listed are not actually available, things are expensive, I cannot figure out how to deauthorize the computer I used to attempt to purchase songs, etc...etc...etc... Apple is gonna waste these jokers if they can get iTMS available for Windows in a timely manner.

      Result: left as an exercise for the reader.

      I know what my experience has been, and I will be happily using iTMS on OS X, thankyou.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 30, 2003 @03:03AM (#6568600)
        Result: left as an exercise for the reader.

        Oooh! I know! Call on me! Call on me... BuyMusic wins because the first company to introduce a superior product (Apple) always finishes last in a marketplace where success is driven by saturation advertising, truth is defined by how often something is repeated, and cheap bad products triumph over carefully crafted and groundbreaking solutions!

        So Apple is toast.

        Do I get a little gold star to put on my name tag?

  • Rediculous (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MST3K (645613) on Wednesday July 30, 2003 @01:27AM (#6568116) Homepage
    After reading about Jody Whitesides' problem at MacSlash, I have to question why there isn't an organization that helps protect the rights of indie and small-time acts... They seem to be more deserving of protection than the big names anyway. Anyhow, from what I understand... it sounds like BuyMusic.com is using music from Orchard Records illegally, after Orchard supposedly "tanked". Apparently the bulk of BuyMusic's selection is from Orchard and artists are recieving little, if any recompense for it. I'm guessing BuyMusic won't last long. Just my two cents.
  • Let's review, shall we? BuyMusic.com's problems are:

    • They offer a shoddy, blatent ripoff of a manifestly superior Apple product.
    • Their system is buggy and crashes frequently.
    • They're hamstrung by a user-hostile DRM scheme.
    • Their technical support's response to complaints about the company's incompetence is to blame the user.


    So, in short, BuyMusic.com has only one viable business plan: get bought out by Microsoft! They'd fit right in...
    • you forgot one..

      they are offering illegally obtained music for sale.
      they are worse than Kazza users because those users are not profiting from the sale of IP theft from the copyright holder.

      see www.jodywhitesides.com for the details.

      here is the email i sent to the RIAA.
      __________________
      Subj: Information on copyright theft

      i wanted to let the RIAA know about a music pirate i have found out information on.

      their IP address is 209.67.181.11. They have on their website illegally obtained music from an arti
  • by MoThugz (560556) on Wednesday July 30, 2003 @01:38AM (#6568186) Homepage
    from a site which has no prior experience dealing with such technologies... wouldn't you just try to buy one (or two or three at most) songs just to see whether the thing works?

    The blogger obviously puts in too much trust on such experimental media (as opposed to established formats such as MP3 and Ogg, which many of us knows at least *works*) with a plethora of restrictions, and (legally) playable on one platform! All I can say to her is "Serves you right, ignorant casual user!".

    You need to know your stuff before engaging in things such as DRM-enabled "new" media. Perhaps now more people will see evil behind such implementations and the fallacy behind claims that it will make your life easier, add more purchasing power to your dollar, world peace, bla bla bla...
  • Me too.. Me too.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by -tji (139690) on Wednesday July 30, 2003 @01:44AM (#6568221) Journal
    What a blatant ripoff their TV ads are. They are embarassingly unoriginal. I am surprised that any legitimate business would stand behind such a weak "me too" effort. Their whole service is a copy of iTunes. They deserve to fail.

    But, it fits the whole windows environment of weak imitations of software and hardware features. It's not always copied from Apple, but it's not too rare. Remember all the fruit colored computers and components after the first iMac? And all the acrylic and cubish cases after the Mac cube?

    Neither my MacOS X cube nor my Linux box can access the service anyway. I'll gladly stick with iTunes. (Now, if only Apply would produce a Linux version of iTunes, I'd be all set.)
    • Re:Me too.. Me too.. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by geek (5680)
      If only they would release a linux version of ANYTHING. I'm sick of the hypocrisy from them. They want everyone to code to their OS with it's skimpy little marketshare but they wont do the same in kind for other OS's with skimpy little marketshares. Instead they port stuff half assed over to windows. If Apple would just form an alliance with other OS makers and form a strategy they could gang up on MS and make some headway, but noooooooooooo. Steve wants to have his cake and eat it too.
      • Re:Me too.. Me too.. (Score:5, Informative)

        by MalleusEBHC (597600) on Wednesday July 30, 2003 @04:01AM (#6568793)
        If only they would release a linux version of ANYTHING. I'm sick of the hypocrisy from them. They want everyone to code to their OS with it's skimpy little marketshare but they wont do the same in kind for other OS's with skimpy little marketshares. Instead they port stuff half assed over to windows. If Apple would just form an alliance with other OS makers and form a strategy they could gang up on MS and make some headway, but noooooooooooo. Steve wants to have his cake and eat it too.

        What hypocrisy? I never read a state from Apple claiming to be the champion of every small-marketshare OS out there. They are in the business of making money, most of which is made by them from selling Macs, not software. Of course they want people to code for OS X. Running OS X is a major selling point of Mac hardware. Compare the number of Linux Macs that Terrasoft sells to the total number of Macs sold. I'm sure the figures are statistically insignificant to Apple's bottom line.

        As for "half assed" Windows ports, what are you referring to? The only app I know ported to Windows is Quicktime. I have no idea how well it works on Windows, but I'm sure the reason Apple did it was to make sure that the Windows Media format didn't become a de facto standard like .doc from Word. Face it, Apple will only port stuff to a non-Apple OS when it makes business sense. Quicktime did, and now iTMS does. Once they have iTMS for Windows and Mac, that will cover pretty much anyone who would buy music online. I've met very few people that don't dual boot Linux, either on the x86 or the ppc side. I guess Apple just figures that such a small market isn't worth the dev time. Get over it.
      • by nitehorse (58425) <clee@c133.org> on Wednesday July 30, 2003 @04:23AM (#6568872)
        Oh. So, it's not like Apple has ever advanced the state of the art in autoconfiguration [apple.com] or given back to the community [apple.com] that gave them the code for their shiny new web browser.

        No, not at all.

        Just keep in mind, if you ever use Konqueror in KDE 3.2 (which will be the first release of KHTML with Safari's changes included), or if you ever notice that a few of those Linux programs start to get Rendezvous-enabled, you're using Apple's code. They've given back, and they're still doing so.
      • by dasmegabyte (267018) <das@OHNOWHATSTHISdasmegabyte.org> on Wednesday July 30, 2003 @10:59AM (#6570688) Homepage Journal
        Whoa. You're a company with limited development resources. How would you maximize your time:

        1 -- Rewrite your application for an operating system used by 96% of users, with a single API for burning, playing music, and displaying graphics.

        2 -- Rewrite your application for an operating system used by 3% of users, with several different APIs for burning, several different APIs for playing audio, and a half dozen graphics systems and toolkits, the majority of which are fundamentally at odds with your own tight look and feel.

        Apple has proven they're not against open source. So if iTunes -- Windows takes off, EXPECT a linux version. But they're not fucking stupid.
  • No Refunds? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eMartin (210973) on Wednesday July 30, 2003 @01:44AM (#6568223)
    In addition, we are unable to credit you back for failed or damaged copies once you have successfully downloaded the music to your primary computer.

    I could understand why a local CD store or even Apple wouldn't offer refunds on purchased music, but why do these guys refuse to refund money if they can actually know whether you are still listening to the music or not?
  • by teamhasnoi (554944) * <teamhasnoi&yahoo,com> on Wednesday July 30, 2003 @01:48AM (#6568242) Homepage Journal
    I just happened to see a post [slashdot.org] earlier on /. mentioning this. I happened to look up my old band, The Lovejoys (from Mpls,MN - all others on the net are newer fakes :P )

    My record is on there [buymusic.com] It is also on CD NOW [amazon.com] but that was during the contract and all cool with us. I don't have the contract (another member of the band has it) and I don't remember what it says. I haven't spoken to the other guys yet, but I'm pretty sure that contract ran out awhile ago.

    Every song you buy off of buymusic.com is not paying the artists, that's for sure. And I don't know how Orchard [theorchard.com] could even have copies to sell, we sent it to them to distribute; they aren't manufacturers.

    We payed for that record out of pocket, and still have a zillion. :( If you like the samples here [amazon.com], let me know and I'll get you a CD. We still have boxes of the album, since the band went down right after releasing it. Ah, the sad stories of Minneapolis...

    • After looking at your listing on BMcom it reminds me of another idiotic error in their site: why the hell does EVERY song need a preview of the cover art? Have you ever seen an album with different cover art for every track? No? Thought so.

      Good luck on getting your royalties....hope things go well for you and the old band.
  • by TomHandy (578620) <`tomhandy' `at' `gmail.com'> on Wednesday July 30, 2003 @01:49AM (#6568250)
    As someone else pointed out, the fine print of the user agreement for buymusic.com makes it clear that the term "buy" is misleading at best. It seems that what you are doing is sublicensing the right to listen to the music from buymusic.com, and they seem to say that any use of the terms "buy", "purchase", etc. in regards to owning music on the site are essentially irrelevant.

    -Tom

  • by Bruha (412869) on Wednesday July 30, 2003 @01:59AM (#6568307) Homepage Journal
    In order to take full advantage of BuyMusic.com's offerings you must be on a Windows Operating System using Internet Explorer version 5.0 or higher.

    Hmm well I guess I'm not ever using their service.
    I use Mozilla

    If the service does not support MicroSoft alternatives then I wont be using them ever. I'm trying to get away from using a MS based OS not get trapped into it more and more.

    Any company that's forcing their users to rely on a operating system and certian products of that operating system are just asking for trouble.

    I'm sure if MS released it's code to these buymusic people then that poor girl would not of had that nightmare of the plugin crashing.
    • E-mail them and complain. I did just that. Make as much noise to any Windows/IE-only web services that you can. Be calm and reasonable in tone, but get your point across. It is necessary for everyone using software like Mozilla or Safari to do this, if we want anything to change.
  • Not Good for Apple (Score:4, Insightful)

    by clarencek (146670) on Wednesday July 30, 2003 @02:15AM (#6568388)
    Anyone taking a close look at Buymusic.com would realize that this was a fiasco in the making. My main concern is that enough newbies have tried it out to permantently sour their view on legally downloading music.

    If you are a burned buymusic.com customer, and Apple releases iTunes for Windows - what's the likelihood that you will give that a shot as well?

    Apple needs to get iTunes for Windows out ASAP before all these jokers - buymusic, napster 2, etc. ruin the legal music buying experience for everyone.

    In the end, people will pay for music - if it's done right.
    • They really need to get it out ASAP before one of these jokers actually gets it RIGHT. Remember, it doesn't have to be as good as iTunes, it just has to be good enough for the masses of Windows users to accept it.
  • the price (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dtfinch (661405) * on Wednesday July 30, 2003 @02:16AM (#6568395) Journal
    They advertise as low as 79 cents, but after after skimming through about a dozen prices, the lowest I fount was 99 cents, and many of the songs were $1.14.

    Example [buymusic.com]
  • by MichaelCrawford (610140) on Wednesday July 30, 2003 @02:18AM (#6568409) Homepage Journal
    You can enjoy free music downloads without getting in trouble by listening to the music that many artists make available on their own websites in hopes of attracting fans. You also won't be bothered by any of that pesky digital rights management.

    But there is the problem of finding the music, and weeding out the bad stuff without actually having to download and play it all.

    This problem is solved with iRATE radio's [sourceforge.net] collaborative filtering:

    iRATE radio is a collaborative filtering client/server mp3 player/downloader. The iRATE server has a large database of music. You rate the tracks and it uses your ratings and other peoples to guess what you'll like. The tracks are downloaded from Web sites which allow free downloads of their music.

    iRATE radio's server has 46,000 tracks registered in its database - so if you use iRATE, you don't need to go hunting for music anymore. All of these are legal downloads from websites like mine [geometricvisions.com]. (I compose for the piano.)

    The way iRATE works is that it downloads a few tracks at random at first. It downloads them directly from the artists' Web sites after finding them in its database. (The author of iRATE is careful to register only legal downloads.) After you listen to and rate the tracks, your ratings are sent back to the server where it uses statistical analysis to correllate your ratings with the ratings given by other users. If you like the same kind of music I do, then iRATE will send you all the same music I like. Conversely, if you hate my music, iRATE won't send you the music I like.

    iRATE is a java program, known to work on Windows, Linux and Mac OS X. The client and server are both Free Software, licensed with the GPL.

    Here's some screen shots [sourceforge.net].

    While iRATE works on Mac OS X, it could stand some improvement. Apple provides a package which can give java programs a native Mac OS look and feel. The project is actively seeking Mac OS X java programmers

  • by KU_Fletch (678324) <bthomas1&ku,edu> on Wednesday July 30, 2003 @02:19AM (#6568414)
    So how much laughter do you think is running around the hallways over at Apple right now?
  • by DrLazer (228664) on Wednesday July 30, 2003 @02:20AM (#6568425)
    ...and I mean "funny" in the "does this milk taste funny?" sense. And maybe the other way, too.

    I noticed on a random search of favorite artists on their site that they had a complete version of The Beach Boys "Hawthorne, CA" 2 CD set. I looked up the listing, and the complete album download is $39.29. That struck me as kind of steep for some reason, so I double checked, and the CD set (with all the liner notes, packaging, etc.) lists for $26.98. That's a bit of a jump in price, considering you're getting LESS for your money from BuyMusic.

    FWIW, the individual tracks ARE available for 99c each, which can be a good thing, except when the price is also applied to link tracks that run as short as 15 seconds. Really thoughtful on their part.

    --DocL
    ---
  • by Xeo2 (301694) on Wednesday July 30, 2003 @02:21AM (#6568428) Homepage Journal
    "we may disclose, sell, trade, or rent your Personally Identifiable Information to others without your consent"

    Privacy? What Privacy?
  • by MrLint (519792) on Wednesday July 30, 2003 @02:51AM (#6568536) Journal
    Ok everyone I'm going to warn you ahead of time this is going to be a bit messy. I also want to pre-apologize for the sporadic bile spewing.

    What we have going on here (which I don't see anyone discussing this in depth) are the 2 heavily conflicting spiels coming out of the 2-mouthed double talkers of the media companies.

    OK when you go buy a DVD or a CD, or an electronic song, you are getting essentially 2 things, Media and a license.

    Now from all the claptrap that is going a reasonable person would think that the license if the big deal. Pay for the license and all is well. If this were the case then the media would be inconsequential. The format or type of the media would be irrelevant. Fair use could be exercised and all would be well. If this were true then you should able to reasonably get replacement media with reasonable verification of license and a modest replacement fee. (This is what Nintendo basically told me when i asked about if my gamecube games are damaged, I still have the email). Alas this is *FALSE*. There may be a few anecdotes on people who have managed to strong arm someone into doing it, usually right after the sale, but to the best my knowledge there is no such thing.

    What problem is this a different metaphor for? DVD regioning. Again if the license was the real issue, and you paid said license, then if you were to move to a new region you should reasonably be able to turn in your old media a reasonable service charge (80-100% is not reasonable, if it were then the license would be only 0-20% of the cost) and get media that will play in your new region.

    Now lets walk over to the other side of the fence. Let us say that instead of licensing you *bought* and actually *owned* that copy of the music. Well then you could do all the things you normally do with any other object you own. Use it until if falls apart, sell it, rent it, loan it, try it out in the store maybe? Once you own something its your responsibility to take care of it. If its a manufacturing defect its covered under warranty.

    The current state of affairs is neither. You pay for a license with all sorts of restrictions of use, you have media that won't be replaced. With DVDs its illegal to make legit backup copies to prevent damage. The media guys want to have it all their way. This kind of behavior of treating your 'customers' like the scum of the earth is unsustainable.

    Thank you for your indulgence.
    • Exactly. If you remember the RIAA goonimean lawyer debating Lessig a while ago, he tried to avoid that question with some hand waving [pbs.org], but it basically amounted to this:
      Q: When I buy music, am I buying a physical object which stores music, or am I buying a license to enjoy the music on that object?
      A: No.
      Which is why I try to avoid buying things from the entertainment industry- you don't really get anything (except maybe sued).
  • by Melibeus (94008) on Wednesday July 30, 2003 @03:01AM (#6568594)
    About Buy Services Founded in January of 2002, BuyServices is privately held and funded by Buy.com founder Scott Blum. The company develops and operates a cross platform capable, fully hosted e-commerce solution for media, retail and e-tail companies. With the combined talent of experienced e-commerce professionals, BuyServices? goal is to become the premier outsource e-commerce provider
    Cross platform capable? Talent? Professionals? Let me think for a millisecond...
  • Early Adopters... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by chickenwing (28429) on Wednesday July 30, 2003 @03:36AM (#6568703) Homepage
    don't usually take this kind of bs laying down.

    Companies should wise up and stop trying to blow people off. All it takes is one angry customer to write something in their blog, get linked from Slashdot, and its all over. Bad first impressions are the hardest to get over.

    Usually you have to get the more savvy early adopter type onboard before you start screwing people over. It is the masses who are rather blase when their personal information will be sold and are ripped off.
  • by bigberk (547360) <bigberk@users.pc9.org> on Wednesday July 30, 2003 @03:43AM (#6568727)
    • DRM can only further complicate the issue of media transfer; it can never simplify it
    • DRM takes the right-of-storage away from the user; people are not getting what they pay for
    • DRM, if it takes a hold, will make long term archival of media next to impossible (think long term: this is a significant problem)
    • DRM puts questionable authorities in control of media on your computer. In many cases your computer ceases to function as an independant entity.
    • DRM is erroneously pushed as a "security enhancement" for user. The reason for the lies is that DRM actually has no benefit for the user.
    The key point: DRM offers no benefit for the user.
  • by Angry Pixie (673895) on Wednesday July 30, 2003 @04:11AM (#6568822) Journal
    Granted, such problems are to be expected when you do a product launch for a new business model; but I for one am thrilled that the service is wrought with technical and, from the sounds of the it, service problems.

    What we need is more real world DRM failures like this where legitimate transactions are made riskier than illegal file-sharing.

    If more and more DRM implementations fail during real world consumption and not during lab testing, eventually the cost of developing improved DRM methodologies will become so staggering, the entire business model will collapse.

    The RIAA would not pull the strings on this model because of the profit potential. It's like a bating a mouse with cheese - any amount will do. There would be no alternative but to ease up on DRM all together or sell MP3s at a price that is comparable to ordinary purchases of CD singles in retail stores. Eventually, the price of CDs would drop, making my dollar go further ;)
  • by Rogerborg (306625) on Wednesday July 30, 2003 @05:41AM (#6569085) Homepage

    Rentals, not "purchases".

    Oh, and nice attitude. Once you've bought - sorry, rented - the music, you get one chance to download, and if they give you the wrong file, or a corrupt file, or it gets eaten by /dev/null, you can get screwed.

    Fuck them. Fuck them with every big stick you can think of. Fuck them with the Better Busines Beuro, fuck them with their local Attorney General, fuck them by telling your credit card issuer to issue a chargeback because you didn't receive the goods you paid for. Fuck them right in their stupid, DRM crippled, incompetent, evil, idiotic ear.

  • by Gryphon (28880) on Wednesday July 30, 2003 @07:40AM (#6569396)
    And my friend still asks me why I switched to Mac.

    Scriptygoddess's description of the BuyMusic.com "experience" is exactly why; it sounds typical of most software and / or services on the Wintel platform. One manufacturer blames another for problems, nothing works, et cetera.

    I know there are *a few* good applications and user experiences out there on the Windows platform. I used a Windows PC (with Linux installed on a second partition) for years.... but yeah... it just doesn't compare to the simplicity, consistency, and dependability of using a Mac running OS X.

    After programming a computer all day long at work, I really like coming home to one that doesn't piss me off. =)
  • by imadork (226897) on Wednesday July 30, 2003 @09:18AM (#6569903) Homepage
    Buy Music has no Weird Al (at least when I looked on my work PC this morning).

    iTunes didn't use to have any, but they recently added the album with the Amish rap song on it. Which I will be buying once I get a spare moment at home.

    What truer test of iTunes worth to society (and buymusic's worthlessness) can there possibly be?

  • by rimsky (106475) on Wednesday July 30, 2003 @10:43AM (#6570541)
    They're called buymusic, not playmusic...
  • All I Know... (Score:4, Informative)

    by All Names Have Been (629775) on Wednesday July 30, 2003 @11:08AM (#6570753)
    All I know is this:

    1. iTunes Music Service worked the first time and every time after this. Through an OS reinstallation, across three computers, and countless CD burns, it has *always* worked and never restricted me.

    2. BuyMusic.com failed the very first time I used it. I still can't play my song (who knows why?) After several suggested reinstalls of WMP9 and subsequent "re-authorizations" of the tune, it now says my maximum auth count was reached. Fortunately it was only $.79. But I'm never going back. What a piss-poor POS that thing is.
  • by SysKoll (48967) on Wednesday July 30, 2003 @02:03PM (#6572333)

    BuyMusic.com is getting bad reviews from multiple sources. So it's pretty obvious it might well fail from its appalling user interface and its smothering restrictions.

    Yet, you can bet that next year, all this will be summarized in a nice, Powerpoint presentation to RIAA execs:

    • BuyMusic.com opened July 2003
    • Huge choice: 300,000+ songs generously offered
    • Supported Windows (90% of PCs)
    • Service folded in [insert date not too far in future]
    • Accumulated losses of $[insert scary amount]
    • Conclusion: The Market Does Not Want Music Download.

    "See", an RIAA exec will pontificate, "we pamper 'em ungrateful Internet pirates and they don't want to use legal downloads. Let's just go back to serving them lawsuit papers."

    At which point Powerpoint will BSOD promptly, and the discussion will drift on to Britney's navel jewelry and its marketing tie-ins.

    -- SysKoll

"Irrationality is the square root of all evil" -- Douglas Hofstadter

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