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Comparing Online Music Offerings 603

Posted by michael
from the now-with-less-gouging dept.
hype7 writes "The Wall Street Journal has just posted a comparison of the three main legal music download services: Apple's iTunes Music Store, MusicMatch and Napster v2. The review covers the pros and cons of each of the services, and concludes with: "I'm sure all three services will evolve and get better, and others will enter the fray. But, for now, iTunes is the best choice on Windows.""
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Comparing Online Music Offerings

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  • by corebreech (469871) on Thursday October 23, 2003 @11:16AM (#7291497) Journal
    To my mind this is by far the superior service. I get to listen to anything I want as often as I want for ten bucks a month ('cept for the Beatles, AC/DC, Led Zeppelin and Elton John's Blue Moves.)

    The only downside appearas to be that I can't take the music on the go, unless I pay 70(?) cents to burn a track, but since I'm a shut-in who's always sitting in front of his computer anyways, what's the diff?
    • If you have no real reason to burn tracks to a CD why don't you use iTunes to listen to one of the many free radio stations, and save yourself $10 a month?
      • because, for example, last night, when I went to bed, I wanted to hear Christoper O'Rielly's True Love Waits CD. Then, when I got up, I decided to play the entire new Outkast CD set, then a few Slick Rick songs. All on demand, almost no buffering time (2-3 seconds, tops) and higher quality than 99% of Kazaa downloads (I have compared) and the iTunes radio stations (which are lower quality and not on-demand).

        How much would it cost me to listen to high quality full song versions of Nora Jone's CD on iTunes
    • by illumin8 (148082) on Thursday October 23, 2003 @11:48AM (#7291867) Journal
      To my mind this is by far the superior service. I get to listen to anything I want as often as I want for ten bucks a month ('cept for the Beatles, AC/DC, Led Zeppelin and Elton John's Blue Moves.)

      What about the 99.99% of people that want to own their music and not "rent" it? I don't want to worry that the music I've paid $10 a month for 10 years will all of a sudden be gone if Rhapsody goes belly up. Over time those monthly fees add up and most people want to keep their music.

      You can have your "music rental" service. I'll stick with a service like Apple's that lets me own the music I buy.
  • by KludgeGrrl (630396) on Thursday October 23, 2003 @11:18AM (#7291510) Homepage
    Yet this discussion completely sidesteps one of the aspects of Napster (1) and the like -- that they were international. From almost anywhere in the world (assuming internet access) you could get music, that was itself from all over the world.
    • "Were" international.

      Now? I honestly have no clue - so I'd say "current" Napster and current iTunes/Musicmatch are all on the same footing that way.

      Though I read that Apple is working on Canada.
    • Yet this discussion completely sidesteps one of the aspects of Napster (1) and the like -- that they were international. From almost anywhere in the world (assuming internet access) you could get music, that was itself from all over the world.

      When Napster 2.0 is released I'm sure you'll find that it is only available to people in the US. There are way too many small record companies that have exclusive distribution rights in foreign countries to negotiate contracts with. It will be quite some time (year

    • And for those inside the US ... these pay systems just localize music.

      I used Napster to listen to things we don't get here. It was fun trying to search out music from the rest of the world. Sometimes I found really interesting music I would NEVER have heard on the radio, or found in even the most ecclectic music stores here.

      The problem with the current music downloading incarnations, is that they take the ability to share ideas and place control right back into the hands of the people that are producin
  • 134 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by computerme (655703) on Thursday October 23, 2003 @11:18AM (#7291511)
    I've purchased 134 songs so far from itunes. Every time I have purchased songs from them the download has been fast(i am on a DSL) and the quality is amazing..Selection is great but i wish they more stuff from the 80's.

    Now with books and personal playlists and gift certs, they have made it even better...

    the best part is that the artists get their share...whether you agree its a fair share is a different matter since apple did not write the contracts between the record companies and the artists...

    I will tell you this though... whatever they are getting from itunes is way more then they are getting from Kazaa downloads...
    • I will tell you this though... whatever they are getting from itunes is way more then they are getting from Kazaa downloads...
      Maybe... RIAA fleeces the artists with all sorts of "even if you sell 2 million copies, you still owe us your souls" deals, and I see no reason why they couldn't extend that to the Internet. Note that I don't say that they should, but merely that they could. Under that case, since the distro costs online are set by the number sold, it is plausible to think that the artists may be ge
    • Re:134 (Score:3, Informative)

      by larry bagina (561269)
      This is slashdot, where being accused of violating the GPL is punishable by death, but violating the microsoft EULA is your civic duty, so it's the justification of p2p file sharing services isn't surprising.

      Ignoring the legal issues, iTunes (and the other services) do have advantages. iTMS provides a large selection of music, consistent quality, fast downloads, and 30-second previews. p2p is generally a wasteland of mislabled files, corrupted downloads, poor encoding, audio glitches, and slow download

    • Re:134 (Score:3, Interesting)

      by poot_rootbeer (188613)
      the best part is that the artists get their share...whether you agree its a fair share is a different matter since apple did not write the contracts between the record companies and the artists...

      IANA music industry contract L, but I would guess few if any extant artist/label contracts specify that income from on-line digital music sales channels is to be distributed to the artists.

      Keep in mind, artists who get 5 cents per album when you buy their CD at Sam Goody get zero cents when you get the same albu
  • I don't know about anyone else, but personally, I'm not using one of these things until they stop putting restrictions on the file usage. As far as I'm concerned, once I buy something, it is *mine*, and I won't pay money for a production which the ex-owners are still attempting to control by proxy.

    Yes, I know the restrictions can be gotten around by burning, and then ripping that, but that's not the point. It's a matter of principle. Companies everywhere keep trying to put restrictions on what we do wi

    • Whoops. That should say "and I won't pay money for a product which the ex-owners are still attempting to control by proxy."

      Stupid silly typo...

    • I agree 100%

      They are charging $1 per song. This is without manufacturing costs (albumn art, case and cd) and smaller distribution costs than a regular CD. This is with a lossy format instead of the higher quality original. And on top of this they are sticking DRM on there? Get real.

      I want MP3's. That's what my SliMP3 understands and what I will use. I don't want to pay $1 for an inferior product either. Until songs hit 50 cents, and the DRM is gone, they are not going to see a real market explosion.

      For s
      • Absolutely. At $1 per song, you're paying roughly the same price for an album as you would for it to be on CD, except that the audio quality is degraded and you don't (theoretically) have your copying\reuse rights you would from a physical disc.

        Remember, while they may not enforce it, dumping a DRM'ed tune to CD, and then ripping the CD to MP3, constitutes a DMCA violation.

        For some reason, corporations in this country seem to believe that they can tell the customer what to do, rather than the other way a

        • Remember, while they may not enforce it, dumping a DRM'ed tune to CD, and then ripping the CD to MP3, constitutes a DMCA violation.
          Not with the iTunes music store, it doesn't. In this case, Apple negotiated explicitly so you would have the right to burn the track to CD an unlimited number of times and then treat it like you would any other CD. With iTMS, this is not a DMCA violation, it's more like a right you're explicitly granted.
          • Ah, OK, that's slightly different. But it's annoying that now they have deign to grant you the rights which, legally, you already possess.

            But still, w00t to Apple for being mildly progressive.

        • At $1 per song, you're paying roughly the same price for an album...

          Entire albums are, for the most part, $9.99 on iTMS. There are some exceptions due to number of tracks/partial albums, but on the whole, it's a great deal.

          • by JayBlalock (635935) on Thursday October 23, 2003 @11:56AM (#7291966)
            but on the whole, it's a great deal.

            No it's not. You only say that because it's cheaper than the massively inflated price of most retail CDs. And even that's changing - Universal's new pricing virtually destroys any cost benefit to downloading, outside of the price of gas to drive to Best Buy.

            • Universal's new pricing virtually destroys any cost benefit to downloading

              No it doesn't. If I want only one song from a CD I can either waste money and buy the whole CD or I can head over to iTMS and buy the single track for a buck. I can even buy just a few tracks and it's still cheaper than the whole CD. That's one of the great things about the service.

      • by MoneyT (548795) on Thursday October 23, 2003 @12:46PM (#7292592) Journal
        Hmm, do out the math a bit:

        Apple reported under the mac only service roughly 500,000 song downloads per week (according to a Cnet article from when the iTMS was released for windws)

        Assume an average download size of 2MB per song you get 1,000,000 MB per week or roughly 1000 GB of bandwidth per week. Would you care to guess how much 1,000 GB of bandwidth/week costs?

        Then keep in mind that you still need to pay the Artists, and the producers, and the record lables (as much as we hate them, they still get paid). Somehow, $1 a song does't quite seem like a rip off does it?
    • by mblase (200735) on Thursday October 23, 2003 @11:33AM (#7291686)
      I don't know about anyone else, but personally, I'm not using one of these things until they stop putting restrictions on the file usage.

      You know, when Steve Jobs announced that "Hell froze over" when iTunes for Windows was announced, he was just kidding.
    • Keep dreaming. You'll never get a completely open, downloadable music format. Besides, you don't own the rights to the music you purchase. The original copyright holder(s) do. You just purchase a license to listen to the music.
      • Wow. That's a remarkably defeatist attitude. So are you claiming that the multitude of small online labels who offer exactly that, don't exist? I linked to one myself, they seem to be real. Not sure where my Shiva in Chains album came from otherwise. Did I send my money down a black hole? A time-space rift? Wow. That's creepy. I just disappeared money.

        Or are you taking the attitude that the RIAA is going to rule forever, it will never fall, and music lovers everywhere will always be enslaved to

    • and that's just not right - economically...

      Actually, that's how it is right. Right now, online music sales are the cheapest (or nearly the cheapest) legal way to get most music. Part of the reason that the price is where it's at is the DRM, which helps alleviate the opportuniy cost of electronic downloads.

      Unless RIAA's various stockholders pass a resolution compelling it, I don't want the recording industry thinking in moral or social terms--I want them thinking of simple economics.

      If they start using
      • Part of the reason that the price is where it's at is the DRM, which helps alleviate the opportuniy cost of electronic downloads.

        Translation: Awwww, the poor RIAA is losing money to pirates! So I have a social obligation to accept restrictions on my Fair Use rights so that they can continue to enjoy the profits they've gotten all along!

        No.

        Piracy isn't my problem. It's theirs. If they're losing money because of a flawed business model, I don't care. I'm not going to buy crippled products because

      • Right now, online music sales are the cheapest (or nearly the cheapest) legal way to get most music

        Not even close. The cheapest method is, by far, going to one of the many used music stores around here (I live n NYC so this is easy) and buying the CD's I want for $5. I get lossless recordings, no DRM, and it costs less.

        The recording industry has to get their head out of their ass. Just like the movie industry when the VCR came out, DRM-less digital music will not kill them but likely save them. Their cus
    • Very noble, but ignores the reality of the situation. If you want access to the widest possible source of music, those people who will give you access to that source will be putting restrictions on what you can do with that stuff.

      Hey, I like Magnatune too but they are basically a fringe record label. No huge record label is EVER going to say "here, download this stuff of our pay-per-download site and do with it whatever you want." Because then there is nothing to stop you from setting up a site that com
    • As far as I'm concerned, once I buy something, it is *mine*, and I won't pay money for a production which the ex-owners are still attempting to control by proxy.

      But you don't own it. You are licensing the rights to use it (within limits), but you do not own it.

      Sorry, but a buck ain't enough money for full rights to do whatever you want with a music recording.

      If you don't like the economics of the situation, then you've made a good decision to stay out of it. But don't stand on the sidelines and bitc

    • by valmont (3573) on Thursday October 23, 2003 @01:57PM (#7293496) Homepage Journal

      The fact is, once you buy music over iTunes, it *IS*, indeed YOURS. You are dismissing far too quickly the fact that you can burn it onto a CD and play it onto an unrestricted amount of devices. Many other "unlimited" services out there have DRM built-in stuff you download from them, but you can only play your music as long as you pay the monthly fee to listen to it. Apple lets you actually OWN it. And yes you can play your music on as many computers as you want, just not an infinite number of computers simultaneously. It does make perfect sense. Nobody controlls your iTMS-purchased music. It merely attempts to duplicate in a digital format hoops you would normally have to jump thru in the past to copy music you owned onto another medium, without the loss of quality. The only people this DRM model hurts are people who want to freely distribute their commercial (not freeware, not shareware) music to people who didn't pay for it.

      Unrestricted digital music formats simply cannot live as "for sale music". Such formats will always either apply to free, shareware (a-la Magnatune), or pirated music. THAT is the issue. Now, don't blame Apple for being the first company to bring the world (well, the U.S. in practicallity) the first and only online store to offer a business model that mostly sastisfies all parties involved, in a very friendly, convenient interface. If music is to legally be sold in a digital format, that digital format NEEDS to have some sort of digital rights management. I challenge you to prove otherwise. If you want to blame somebody, then blame your favorite artists for going to big record labels in the first place, versus recording music on their own and making their music available for free on the internet as mp3's. Blaming Apple is non-sensical. Apple has managed to curb the record labels' hegemony and make it play nice with the consumers. Not only that, but Apple's online store ALSO allows independent, smaller record labels (such as CDBABY) to play with the big guys, and Apple has even dedicated an entire portion of their online music store to surface indie music and raise awareness to it.

      Now if you stop and think about it, this is HUGE for indie music: It works this way: Big record labels promote their own music big time via the big AOL and PEPSI hooplah, and tell everyone to go buy music from the online music store. You suddenly get hoardes of average joe-blow consumers looking at the iTMS and wondering ... OoOOoo, what's that "indie music" thingamadoodle? Gee lemma check it out.

      I like the principle behind Magnatune, i think it is valiant and worthy effort which definitely shows what the Internet is all about. But face it, artists that want to make it big-time (and i do mean BIG) NEED record labels. why? because it's a whole package: Record labels get your music PROMOTED. Until your music is promoted, it ain't worth shit. It's sad, it's infuriating, but it's true. Because right now people spend more time in front of the TV, listening to the radio, going to the movies, walking and driving the streets while passing hundreds of billboards, all of this courtesy of ClearChannel, than surfing the web for cool, original, worthy artists that are different from what the mass media shoves at our face.

      There is a market for indie music, but the largest market still remains popular music owned by record labels. Apple will allow the first one to grow, and enable consumers to get what they want from the second one.

  • IMHO, the biggest con for all of them is that none of them (that I'm aware of) consolidates ALL music. Every song ever recorded. This is understandable considering that all music is owned by different companies and understandably, they aren't going to share. BUT, I think it'd be cool if there were a database that would tell me who has what songs/bands/artists/etc... That way I wouldn't have to search all of them individually for a particular song or artist. Or is there such a thing and I've been under a roc
    • Kazaa lets you search for any bands/songs/artists and find out who has it. And they *are* going to share. Perhaps you have been under a rock. =P

      [legal disclaimers]
      The poster of this comment does not endorse the trading/sharing of copyrighted material without the copyright holder's consent. Your milage may vary. Batteries not included. FDIC insured. EOE.]
    • IMHO, the biggest con for all of them is that none of them (that I'm aware of) consolidates ALL music. Every song ever recorded.

      Good luck finding anything that does that. Even with Gnutella or KaZaA, you're not going to find an archive that complete.
    • The reaspn that the download services don't have all music isn't the record companies, it's the artists. THe labels are doing deals for as much as they can as fast as they can; all of the major download services (iTMS, PressPlay, MusicMatch, BuyMusic.com, Liquid, etc.) have done deals with all of the majors, and some independents. But if the Beatles or Led Zeppelin don't want their music sold digitally, there's nothing a label can do about it.

      So if you had a database of which artist was signed with which l
  • At the moment I'd gladly pay US$9.99 for an album of M4P tracks. Most CDs over here are between AUD$20 and AUD$30 while the equivalent CD in the iTMS is only about AUD$16.
  • I really don't dig those wonky formats. Makes it impossible for my pitiful Sony mp3 CD player to cooperate. And when you burn it to disc, and then re-rip to get it into mp3, hooboy. The sound quality is shittastic. (And while I'd very much like to buy one of those swank iPods - A geek I am, but moreso, a broke student geek)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Allofmp3.com [allofmp3.com] beats all those mentioned so far hands down. You get to choose your format (mp3, Ogg, aac, wma) and bitrates (from 128k up to 384k) and you pay based on the number of megs you d/l. Furthermore, there's no DRM on the files you d/l.
  • I recall a lot of folks ((in my circle of musician friends) with apple computers) saying that the music they downloaded from iTunes (when it first was launched) was kinda 'muddled' sounding, many blamed the copy-protection as doing it.

    Or is it just the encoding into an mp3 that does this? Any comparisons between the other `legal' music downloads and the end-quality of sound?

    Just curious. I personally buy CDs still, except for the old blues/british invasion stuff that's out of print or never made it past
    • All that the Apple DRM does is encrypt the actual AAC file, then stick the whole thing into a QuickTime wrapper. If people think that the iTunes files are muddy-sounding, it's AAC's fault, not the DRM's.
  • iTunes is the best choice on Windows.


    As you read this play an mp3 of Johnny Knoxville laughing hysterically.

  • Nope (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Sloppy (14984) * on Thursday October 23, 2003 @11:29AM (#7291627) Homepage Journal
    The best "online music service" is still to buy CDs online, wait for them to arrive, and then rip'n'encode on your home computer, into whatever format happens to work best with ytour playback equipment. I'm not going to buy proprietary formats, because I don't know if I'll be able to play them next year -- heck, I can't even play most of them right now.

    It's open or nothing. If you want the roughly $1k per year that I spend on music, then they way to get it is to sell me standard CDs, FLAC files, wav files, aiff files, or very high bitrate Vorbis files.

    This little piece of the market has spoken. Don't complain about lost revenue, if you're not selling.

  • by JSkills (69686) <jskills AT goofball DOT com> on Thursday October 23, 2003 @11:30AM (#7291634) Homepage Journal
    Ok, I can certainly appreciate the issues of copyright and the industry wanting to keep their chokehold on the river of money generated by the traditional sales of music, but this quote from the article leaves us with a fundamental problem.
    To hinder mass copying, songs you buy from the three stores are in special encrypted formats, not the open MP3 format. Each service also operates via its own special software, not via a Web browser. This software doubles as a music jukebox that can organize and play all the music on a PC, including your existing MP3 files.

    What does this really do? A "special encrypted format"? This is significant limitation. Again, I understand the issues, but is it really necessary to force people to (1) install some special software in the first place (2) use this special software to make purchases (3) use this special software to play music on their computers (4) use this special software to actually burn the music to a CD?

    A great deal of the music I have on CD (all 800 of them) is ripped to MP3 and sitting on my Archos jukebox [archos.com]. I guess these online music solutions care not about people like me.

    Not to be a big baby, but I also hate the idea of having to use some catch-all piece of software, rather than choosing my own applications to browse/purchase (web browser), listen (xmms, winamp), and burn CDs (groaster) etc. Never mind that I run a Linux desktop too of course. I could understand if this was the only way they could think of to prevent unlawful activities. But once the music's on the CD, couldn't it just be ripped to MP3? So is their system not putting up secure walls but rather presenting annoying hurdles?

    Please someone smack me down if I'm not thinking clearly (it wouldn't be the first time).

  • by jjh37997 (456473) on Thursday October 23, 2003 @11:31AM (#7291663) Homepage

    None of them are as good as just buying the damn(hopefully non-copy protected) CD's and ripping them yourself. (Hopefully with the good, sweet, cleanness of Ogg Vorbis). Fuck DRM

    Yeah because I love having to buy a whole CD when I just want one song for $12! I don't know about you but I'd prefer to spend that money on 12 individual songs that I actually want and burn those songs to a CD then buy 12 separate CD.

    • by zerocool^ (112121)
      I love having to buy a whole CD when I just want one song for $12!

      Just to make sure, does every one know why this is a problem?

      The big record lables, in conjunction with the RIAA, MTV, Clear Channel, et. al. etc, market a product which DOES NOT EXIST!

      They market the one or two good songs on the CD. However, they make no product by which you can purchase the one or two good songs. It's like marketing a wheel and requiring you to purchase a car in order to get it.

      I know that, technically, there are CD
  • by prostoalex (308614) * on Thursday October 23, 2003 @11:39AM (#7291757) Homepage Journal
    With everyone raving so much about iTunes being the "best app ever" for Windows users, it's been hard for me to see what the advantage is. I mean, iTunes is easy to use and nice and all, but it's hardly fundamentally different from a variety of services out there.

    I downloaded the application the first day it came out, and so far liked it, but come on, there's nothing super-duper-extra-spectacular about it. Furthermore, there are some minor technical and technological problems that I've experienced.

    1) Selection of radio genres is not that great. If all you wanted was to listen to some high-quality Internet radio, the genres and bitrates are okay, but MusicMatch and Live365 seem to be better.

    2) Some radios are just silent. Listed in the app, some radios just don't have any music on the air.

    3) All downloaded music is in AAC format. Great if you have iPod. Sucks for like 99% of the music players outthere that support MP3 and WMA. Yeah, there's always a way of burning a disk, then ripping that into MP3, but that's a hassle.

    Other than that iTunes seems to be a nice app to have around for a music lover, but come on, it's just one of many. With Napster and Microsoft getting into the arena the competition will be heated.
    • 1) Selection of radio genres is not that great. If all you wanted was to listen to some high-quality Internet radio, the genres and bitrates are okay, but MusicMatch and Live365 seem to be better.
      So add Live365 stations to your iTunes library. It's easy, works quite well, and you only have to do it once, saving you from searching every time for stations.

    • I downloaded [iTunes] the first day it came out, and so far liked it, but come on, there's nothing super-duper-extra-spectacular about it.

      Hello? Apple makes it.

      [Remember, this is Slashdot.]
  • It looks like Apple is poised to win the online digital music vending business. They right now have the best promotions to attract people to find out about their service, and I think the Pepsi promotion this February will bring a LOT of users to the service. iTunes is free and you get a free song. Heck, buying cases of Pepsi and getting a couple of free songs.

    I just installed iTunes for Windows the other day and was amazed at how easy it was to use... mirroring the thoughts of countless reviews of the s
  • by illumin8 (148082) on Thursday October 23, 2003 @11:42AM (#7291788) Journal
    Just so you all know I'm not an Apple hater, I own a 30GB iPod and I love it. I also use iTunes for Windows and I've already bought a couple of albums. I agree with the article that iTunes is the best jukebox and music store for Windows, but isn't this the same author that gives every single Apple product a favorable review? It would be nice to see reviews from an unbiased source.

    I like Apple products quite a bit and I'll probably buy a 15" G4 PowerBook in the next couple of weeks, but something that really bothers me about the Apple culture and the Steve Jobs Reality Distortion Field is that it seems like the Apple zealots love any product that Apple releases, regardless of how good or bad it is. Steve Jobs could shit in his hand and sell it as the iShit for $999 and Mac fanatics would be lining up around the block to buy it.

    Appreciation of a good or well thought out product is one thing. Blind zealotry is quite another and I see entirely too much of that in the Apple world.
  • by fandelem (559908) on Thursday October 23, 2003 @11:43AM (#7291804) Homepage
    has there been any converter program written? like aac2mp3 or wmf2mp3 that will move through the encryption?

    also i would be curious to know what security each of these 'stores' have in place, seeing how you are using their app to go over the network.. would be interesting to see if any concerns arose from shortcuts to meet promo deadlines..
  • I find the MusicMatch Radio MX service to be much more suited to my listening habits than buying individual songs. I've blown lots of money on CDs that I only listened to for a few months. For $60/year I can listen to unlimited music from thousand of artists. I've tweaked my artist's match ed stations so I can listen to them for hours without a bad song. And if I get a hankering for an artist I just do the artist direct option and listen to music only from that performer. Saves me disk space too. I kn
  • Although [Emusic.com] [emusic.com] just got bought out and is significantly reducing the # of songs one can download, it has been an amazing value for lovers of non-pop genres, as well as contemporary indie pop stuff. I've been using it for 5-6 months and have mined their amazing jazz/blues/world catalog to my great satisfaction. I would guess I've paid a nickel a song at most, and that's about the right price. At their new rates, it is up to 30-40 cents per song, so you need to be pickier, but I'd still rather have a
    • I have unsubscribed from their service because of the change.

      There is an option to resubscribe, but unless I see a reason to stay, I won't.

      At the new limits, they are going to have to have more music I definitely want instead of music that I speculativey wish to try out.
  • by banky (9941) <gregg@ne u r o b ashing.com> on Thursday October 23, 2003 @12:11PM (#7292177) Homepage Journal
    Don't hate the playa, hate the game.

    You must look at this from a realistic perspective.

    1. The major record labels - meaning the people who control the content - will never release their "property" without DRM. If Apple wants to provide music online, it must do so at the whim of the content "owners". Hence, DRM. Otherwise iTMS is Napster v1, and we all know how that turned out.

    As a matter of opinion, I find 'Fairplay' or whatever it is Apple calls its DRM method to be quite fair, to me. I can play all my music on my computers (laptop, desktop, work desktop) and devices (rev1 iPod), burn CDs, and so forth. I've been using iTMS since its inception, and have no complaints.

    2. Apple has to balance their costs and resources, and the resources of their paying customers. Sure we all want uber-high-bitrate encodings. Remember that Apple has to push out all that data, and ensure the highest-possible success rate. I also assume they pay for their bandwidth, like everyone else. Moreover, many of their customers are probably still on dialup. In order to work, the experience has to be as close to instant as technologically possible. Like all things in technology, it's a balance. Until your uber-bitrate song fits in under a meg, it went with what it had that fit its requirements and needs.

    Again, as a matter of opinion: P2P blows, people lie, allow bad rips, disconnect halfway through (mom's coming! quick, disconnect!), whatever.

    3. The notion that one day this will all go away is a very fair criticism. So do the smart thing: burn to audio CD. You aren't prohibited (provided you don't try to turn that shiny G5 into a duplication studio). And getting around the DRM by re-encoding isn't all that hard (google it). iTunes enforces no DRM on user-ripped material, as WMP did at one point (could be turned off, IIRC). DRM applies only to content it re-sells.
  • by DeadBugs (546475) on Thursday October 23, 2003 @01:18PM (#7292990) Homepage
    Right now most new releases at Best Buy are $9.99. Most if not all of these CD's have at least 10 songs on them. So for .99 (or less) a song I get a full CD with a jewel case and album art work etc. & I can rip it to my hard drive or MP3 or Ogg or IPod.

    So why would I pay .99 for a song that has worse sound quality, will only play where they tell it to, comes with no liner notes or art and can not be converted to use on most of the audio devices I have?

    Let me know when I can download the CD Audio file for .50
    • It's the convenience factor, of course. Many things are a little cheaper if you're willing to get in your car and wear out a little shoe leather. The fact that it's often a pain to drive to the mall, the CD store, the florist, etc. is a major force that drives e-commerce.

      In my case specifically, I've bought lots of tracks from iTMS which are on albums that I would never spend the money to buy as a whole. So, for me, it's been a money saver.

The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not "Eureka!" (I found it!) but "That's funny ..." -- Isaac Asimov

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