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Universal Offers iPod-Resistant Music 323

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the that-wont-last-long dept.
dprovine writes "Universal is now offering music through Spiral Frog as free downloads supported by advertising revenue. But according to Daily Tech, the files being offered won't work on iPods. 'The move to not allow its content to be played on iPod's appears to be a clear snub by the Universal Music Group, similar to NBC's recent move of its television content from iTunes to Amazon.com. Apple has not commented on this development. For many, though, SpiralFrog.com presents an intriguing new business model that may present a legal alternative to file sharing or spending large amounts of money on CDs or paid download services, such as iTunes.'"
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Universal Offers iPod-Resistant Music

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  • 24 hours (Score:4, Insightful)

    by set (19875) on Monday September 17, 2007 @03:43PM (#20641575) Homepage
    or less.

    come on. let's get real here.

    universal is gonna get owned.
  • by zerocool^ (112121) on Monday September 17, 2007 @03:43PM (#20641581) Homepage Journal

    How can it not work on an iPod?

    MP3 is a clearly defined standard. These files either are, or they aren't, mp3's. If they are, iPods will play them. If they aren't, then they shouldn't be sold as MP3's.

    • not MP3 - WMA (Score:5, Informative)

      by Animaether (411575) on Monday September 17, 2007 @03:45PM (#20641609) Journal
      as noted in the comments to the DailyTech article itself. Slashdot editors ftw.
      • Re:not MP3 - WMA (Score:4, Insightful)

        by purpledinoz (573045) on Monday September 17, 2007 @05:19PM (#20643191)
        The music industry really baffles me. First of all, what average consumer really knows which label their favorite bands are with? I'm sure most people are like me, and really don't care which band is with who. And when these labels start fragmenting how consumers are able to get music, it will just confuse the consumer, and just push them towards piracy.
        • Re:not MP3 - WMA (Score:5, Insightful)

          by TheGeneration (228855) on Monday September 17, 2007 @06:13PM (#20643953) Journal
          The music industry really baffles me. First of all, what average consumer really knows which label their favorite bands are with? I'm sure most people are like me, and really don't care which band is with who. And when these labels start fragmenting how consumers are able to get music, it will just confuse the consumer, and just push them towards piracy.

          I once dated a guy who worked for Universal in their licensing department. I guarantee you Universal doesn't understand that the average consumer has no idea what label an artist is on. When you work for a company like Universal you hear these entertainment names constantly, and it gets hard to separate that constant work related input from what you know about an entertainer from the non-work world.

          In the end Universal is crippling itself. This isn't new for Universal. They were one of the last studios to begin moving their film archive onto DVD, they also just released DVD's with out even so much as a menu (ie, zero special features) you put the disk in, watched a couple previews you didn't want to watch, and then the movie started.

          Universal is a company that has consistently put out the absolute minimum in frills, done the least possible it could in order to sell the item, all the while charging a premium for the DVD. This goes for Movies, and now more recently for Music. In the end they want to charge the CD price premium without providing the CD level quality. Apple won't let them screw their customers like that and so Universal is cutting off it's own nose to spite it's own face.

          In the end we can live without the labels, and unfortunately Universal hasn't learned that fact yet. There'll always be great music out there, with or without them.

          According to this article [pcadvisor.co.uk] iTunes now is the third largest music retailer with 10% of the market (Wal-mart at #1 has 15% of the market.) Considering that Apple has nearly 90% of the digital music players market, Universal's attempt to move it's catalog onto Amazon (which is ranked #4 in the US for music retail) may have been an ill thought out strategic move when matched with the fact that the files only coming in (non-iPod supported) WMA format. In this case it appears that Universal has overestimated audience demand for their music library. Screwing yourself out of 10% total music sales in the US could easily result in Universal not seeing another artist enter the top 10 sales lists until the iTunes boycott ends. Most of todays generic corporate created artists lack any sort of long term market draw or memorability without the corporate backed marketing and chart positions generated by sales. That is the significance of Universal's ill thought out strategy to force Apple's hand.

          I could also go off onto a tangent regarding Malcolm McDowell's Tipping Point and how the "cool kids" likely to cause a tipping point effect for an artist are probably the "cool kids" who of course own iPods. An artist without the "cool kids" support is going to find him/herself increasingly less relevant to mainstream consumers. This of course is a harder idea to support with actual numbers, for me it's just a gut feeling that this decision is going to have that sort of anti-cool impact that could result in the wrong kind of "tipping point" (ie, people abandoning an artist.)
          • Re:not MP3 - WMA (Score:4, Informative)

            by QRDeNameland (873957) on Monday September 17, 2007 @06:45PM (#20644387)
            Excellent post...but I'd like to point out that The Tipping Point was written by Malcolm Gladwell. Malcolm McDowell is this guy [lazydork.com].
          • Simple DVDs good (Score:4, Interesting)

            by Roger W Moore (538166) on Monday September 17, 2007 @11:30PM (#20647099) Journal
            In the end Universal is crippling itself.... they also just released DVD's with out even so much as a menu (ie, zero special features) you put the disk in, watched a couple previews you didn't want to watch, and then the movie started.

            How is this bad? I would frankly really prefer a simple "movie only" DVD. Having to wait for the menu video intro to play and then shift the cursor around to "play" every time I stick the disk in is not as convenient as simply inserting the disc and having it play right away as it does for the DVDs I make from our camcorder.

            Having several hours of extra "documentary" footage on how wonderful it was to make the film really doesn't do much for me. I realize that some people might like it but does it really sell the DVD? Your comment seems to suggest that there are people out there who will base their decision on whether to purchase the DVD on whether it comes with these extra features and not on whether the film was any good.
            • by Hijacked Public (999535) * on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @09:28AM (#20650711)

              Having to wait for the menu video intro to play and then shift the cursor around to "play" every time I stick the disk in is not as convenient
              Yeah, you're telling me.

              The average movie is what, 2 hours or so? Figure if you went on a movie watching marathon you'd have to do this inconvenient cursor shuffling 12 times a day. That would have to be like 30, maybe as many as 40, remote button presses in a day. How on earth 'they' expect the average consumer to put up with that level of atrocity is beyond me.

              That is not even considering the wear and tear such a thing would put on my fingertips. And how much life it takes off my AAA batteries.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Andy Dodd (701)
      Clearly not MP3s. Almost surely they are DRMed WMA files.

      Result: SpiralFrog will still fail despite being free.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by rlp (11898)
        Clearly not MP3s. Almost surely they are DRMed WMA files.

        Result: SpiralFrog will still fail despite being free.


        Clearly, snubbing Apple is more important than financial success.
        • by daeg (828071)
          The music companies obviously aren't in tune with demands, or are in tune, but humming to a different beat than us.

          Maybe they need new ear buds to get the tune right.
      • ...how come all the iPod wannabes support WMA but not non-DRM AAC. Most iPod owners' collections consist primarily of AAC's ripped from CDs. Why on earth would the 2nd tier players not want to be able to play these, if only to lower that barrier to entry?

        Do they all think that hitching their wagons to Microsoft (and MS DRM) will magically win the day for them? Even now? I know Apple won't let them use the iPod's DRM, which I guess is pretty nasty. But that's no reason to snub Apple custo
    • by zerocool^ (112121)

      And now I see that the files have DRM and whatever-else included with them, and they're not MP3's at all.

      Nothing to see here.

      "Random file format that is not industry standard doesn't play on device designed for industry standard files". Next thing you know, they'll be telling you your petrol car won't run on diesel.

      ~Wx

    • by Coopjust (872796) on Monday September 17, 2007 @03:47PM (#20641659)
      Not really an MP3, the Slashdot summary (and the line in the article) are misleading. Quote the SpiralFrog website:

      Can I transfer the music I download to a portable device?
      SpiralFrog is compatible with portable music players and music phones that support Windows Digital Rights Management (DRM). Look out for devices that prominently display the "PlaysForSure" logo.


      So, they're not MP3s; they are WMA files with DRM. This is a nonstory.
    • by Horas (932560) on Monday September 17, 2007 @03:58PM (#20641873) Homepage
      They use OGG Vorbis!

      (just kidding, but wouldn't it be nice?)
  • by hoggoth (414195) on Monday September 17, 2007 @03:44PM (#20641589) Journal
    This is a great service. Well, it's great as long as you only listen to music sitting in front of your computer. And don't use a Mac. Or Linux. And don't mind paying for music that may one day dissapear because the service has been discontinued or you move to a Mac or Linux.

    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by anagama (611277)
      Not only is it a great and convenient service, I'm impressed with the future prospects for wild success after cutting out 90% (or whatever it is) of the portable music player market. What's the stock symbol for this spiralfrog company? DMBF perhaps?
    • So much pessimism. Just because some people have the URGE to buy wma-encoded music doesn't mean that companies should have the URGE to take it away at some point. It's not like URGE ever could really explain the unified theory in any clear and concise.. .....URGE

    • by Bender0x7D1 (536254) on Monday September 17, 2007 @04:02PM (#20641949)

      I doubt this service will last since the majority of customers are going to be too busy downloading music to spend time clicking ads.

      Ads work well when people viewing those pages are interested in the topic, and might want more information, or details on how to buy the items, (or similar items), discussed on the page. With this scheme, they are interested in downloading music, which they are already doing. So how are the ads going to appeal to them? Especially considering that they are interested in free music.

    • by garcia (6573)
      This is a great service. Well, it's great as long as you only listen to music sitting in front of your computer.

      My portable media player has no problems playing PlaysForSure DRMd files (so it says in the specs, I don't support DRMd music.
      • by peragrin (659227)
        >>PlaysForSure DRMd files

        MSFT has discontinued Playsforsure and created a new stanard(they make so many) that is only playable on Zunes. anyone using older playsforsure players are screwed, or using older services.

        Make sure you buy th latest and greatest today!!!

        At least when you by an Apple DRM'd file you know it will still work on your older players.
    • by tppublic (899574) on Monday September 17, 2007 @04:19PM (#20642197)
      There is more than one way to skin a cat. I don't see why their model is the problem everyone posting here makes it out to be.

      If you don't like it, so what? You aren't in their target market.

      You see, you are presuming that everyone want to take the limited music with them and/or that one cares whether the music works after 30 days. I don't. Let me explain why:

      I'm not interested in renting music I already know about. I want to rent music I don't know about, so I can decide if I want to buy it.

      While the cost aspects (due to the ads) aren't a perfect analogy, think of this like test driving a car. I want to drive the car for a short period of time on reasonable terms, not only experience it under 25 MPH in some dealer lot. DRM gives me the ability to legally 'test drive' the music. I want to sample music - meaning the whole song (or close to it), not some maybe-but-perhaps-not-really-representative 30 second sound-byte that Apple provides. I already use AmieStreet.com (since the samples are much longer), and I'm open to other alternatives (yes, I know about Napster and Rhapsody, and no, I'm not shelling out $10 a month)

      Once I sample a song and decide I like it, I will go acquire the music elsewhere - either on a physical CD (if I like enough songs on an album) or though another source (iTunes, etc.). That will not possess DRM, since I have never paid for (and don't intend to pay for) DRMed music. [That's like buying the car you test drove, for those following the analogy]

      The purchased song will get placed on my iPod so that I can take it with me. I'm happy, I'm only transporting music I like, and their business model works in the process, because I can use them to explore. So I'm sorry, but I'm failing to see why their model isn't a good one.

      • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Monday September 17, 2007 @04:46PM (#20642651) Journal

        If you don't like it, so what? You aren't in their target market.
        But who is their target market? Go outside. Take a look at what people are using to listen to music. Last time I checked, it was something like 80% iPod, 20% mobile phone (mostly Nokia). These both support AAC, but don't support WMA. Take a look at what normal non-geeky people are using to play music. Mostly CD players. How many people listen to music only on a Windows PC of a PlaysIfYou'reLucky device? People laughed at the original iPod that only worked with a Mac, but I suspect it had a larger potential market than this service...
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jellomizer (103300) *
      Funny... Back in the early days of computer programmers were working very hard to try to get Files and Programs to run with each other....
      Today programmers are working very hard to make sure programs don't work or share with each other.

      By Excluding yourself from the iPods you are automatically killing a huge potentional customer base. By including the iPods by doing less work... You have a larger customer base and if enough people find that your product is good or better then what Apple provides in terms o
    • TFA links to another article (from CNNMoney) that says

      The company [SpiralFrog] aroused interest last fall after it announced its licensing deals with Universal Music and performing rights organization Broadcast Music Inc. But the company missed its early 2007 launch and instead underwent an executive shuffle that ended with the ouster of then-CEO Robin Kent. [Joe Mohen, SpiralFrog's founder,] has attributed delays to the time-consuming process of obtaining rights from music publishers and other technical is

  • not mp3! (Score:5, Informative)

    by douthat (568842) on Monday September 17, 2007 @03:44PM (#20641599)
    The reason their "MP3"s don't work on iPods is because they're not MP3s. They're PlaysForSure DRMed WMAs. This is high quality journalism at work. Slashdot editors should be proud.
  • by Shoeler (180797) * on Monday September 17, 2007 @03:45PM (#20641607)
    Now Universal just look like idiots. One can easily argue the business sense of delivering content in a price-controllable way. Business 101 - when the demand increases, limit the supply and profit by increasing the prices, or changing the delivery mechanism to make more money on the same supply. Demand for downloadable music has increased while CD sales decreased, thus the allegory.

    The stupid part of this idea is removing 70-80% (the share of iPods in the portable music market) of the market for your product. Just try to buy a gas station and switch to only selling ethanol and see how well that works if you need an example. The phrase shooting one's self in the foot comes to mind, but the recording studios seem good at that.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by toddestan (632714)
      The stupid part of this idea is removing 70-80% (the share of iPods in the portable music market) of the market for your product.

      The problem for Universal is that they can't sell DRM'd music for the iPod even if they wanted to, as Apple won't license Fairplay to anyone. Their only options were to sell DRM-free music, or go with WMA. It would seem that they went with the DRM route, we'll just have to see if it works out for them.
  • by Prien715 (251944)
    According to TFA, "Files from SpiralFrog are digitally protected and can be played on mp3 players, but cannot be burned to CDs".

    I'm not aware of any way MP3 files can be "digitally protected" and not burned to CD.
    • According to TFA, "Files from SpiralFrog are digitally protected and can be played on mp3 players, but cannot be burned to CDs".

      I'm not aware of any way MP3 files can be "digitally protected" and not burned to CD.
      They work because they're not MP3 files, and the vast majority of national brand MP3 players other than iPod® are also WMA players.
      • by XenoPhage (242134)

        They work because they're not MP3 files, and the vast majority of national brand MP3 players other than iPod® are also WMA players.

        Ah, but WMA support and WMA DRM support are two different beasts. Linux even has WMA support, but can't play WMA DRMed files.. (At least, the last time I checked, anyway) ...

        From TFA (apologies in advance for actually reading it) : "legal avenue to download some free music"

        So, can someone please explain to me why the hell we need to use DRM on *FREE* music? Oh noes! They're going to distribute the *FREE* music!

        WTF?

  • Just render the mp3 to a wav file then encode it back to mp3. Presto, done.

    Wow.... that was just, like, sooooo hard....

    • by g-san (93038)
      I think you need to brush up on the difference between lossy and lossless encoders. Presto, your music would sound like crap after being compressed 4 times with different compressors.
      • by mark-t (151149)
        Decoding music and rencoding it sounds about as good compared to the first encoding as the first one does to the original. In other words, good enough.
        • Can you burn it to a cd? Then it's not ipod resistant, just ipod annoying. Just write it to a cdrom or virutal cd, then turn around, rip and encode to mp3. Yes, you do lose some quality but not enough that you would actually notice the first time around if you encode it with enought bits. IE above 128K.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Fred_A (10934)

        I think you need to brush up on the difference between lossy and lossless encoders. Presto, your music would sound like crap after being compressed 4 times with different compressors.
        Just download crap music and you won't be able to tell the difference anyway. Problem solved.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Just render the mp3 to a wav file then encode it back to mp3. Presto, done.

      Here's an even easier way, download it from a P2P network in the first place.

      The RIAA still doesn't get it. People can already get this stuff for free. The question in the consumer's mind is would they rather make sure it is 100% legal, or would they rather the music was convenient, i.e. works everywhere on all devices and can be transferred between machines and will still work if you switch computers or reinstall your computer. WMA is too painful to use. Nice try though.

    • by xappax (876447)
      Just render the mp3 to a wav file then encode it back to mp3.

      That's lossy, analogous to making a photocopy of a photocopy.
  • How many times will it take the various media conglomerates to finally learn that any DRM they try to shove down the throats of their customers will be broken fairly quickly by those same customers? They create some digital lock to protect their content, but they have to provide the keys somehow to the end-user so that they can access the content, and there are plenty of very intelligent people all over the world willing to work on breaking those locks with the provided keys.
  • by cerberusss (660701) on Monday September 17, 2007 @03:46PM (#20641631) Homepage Journal
    Our Apologies. At this time, the SpiralFrog Web site is available only to residents of the United States of America and Canada.
    No problem guys, apologies accepted! I know some Russian sites that happily cater to the western European crowd :-)
  • WMA, not MP3...? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by riceboy50 (631755) on Monday September 17, 2007 @03:46PM (#20641647)
    This was found in the comments of TFA, so take it with a grain of salt:

    They're using Microsoft's proprietary .wma container files with streams decompressed using Microsoft proprietary WMA codecs. Even if the music is free, they're still bound to a player that supports a particular version of Microsoft's proprietary DRM.
  • And again... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Microlith (54737) on Monday September 17, 2007 @03:48PM (#20641673)
    We see the rise of another doomed business.

    Of course it won't work on iPods, they're using DRM-out-the-ass WMA files that won't work on any OS but windows and players made by companies that bought into the Plays for Sure nonsense that not even Microsoft themselves use.

    So it's free, so what. You get a combination of advertising and no control. I'll stick to my usual of buying CDs and ripping them to AAC, even if it means less music overall.
  • by Ydna (32354) * <andrew@sweg e r . net> on Monday September 17, 2007 @03:48PM (#20641675) Homepage

    Q: When will SpiralFrog be compatible with the Mac, so that I can download songs and video?

    A: Unfortunately, those running the Apple operating system on their computers will not be able to play preview clips, stream videos, or download songs and videos at SpiralFrog. We require you to be running Windows XP or Vista at SpiralFrog for the simple reason that Windows Digital Rights Management is the only standard available for independent music stores like us to protect the songs and videos as required by the record labels' licenses. Windows Digital Rights Management is not supported by Apple Macintosh computers. Macintosh supports the AAC Digital Rights Management, but it is closed to Apple's own use only. At this time, we're sorry to say that all you can do is browse our site, but it's a very good site, and you'll lots of information about all your favorite artists. So, please... enjoy!

    Ha Ha. So take that, Apple. We'll show you.

    (Yes, I'm being sarcastic. Anyone who believes the Windows DRM will make life easier for anyone is a damn fool.)

    • Well, this is Apple screwing itself and its customers over because they don't open up the Protected AAC format so other companies can use it in their stores. Good job Apple. I still won't buy anything in a compressed and DRM-encumbered format as long as I can still buy unencrypted CDs and DVDs. I'm patient and can wait a few days for my media to ship or just go to Best Buy or some other brick and mortar store.
      • by kherr (602366)
        Why hasn't Microsoft opened up WMA DRM? Same logic as applies to Apple's FairPlay. Microsoft, not making music player hardware, has been licensing their DRM technology all over the place in an attempt to push it into the marketplace. Apple, maker of the iPod and proprietor of the iTunes Store, has found no business reason to license FairPlay. What is interesting, however, is how Apple has decided to provide software for both Mac OS X and Windows to support FairPlay (iTunes/QuickTime), whereas Microsoft can'
      • by SpryGuy (206254)
        I'm with you on that. I still only buy physical media (so I 'own' it), and then rip to free and open formats for computer use.

        I have never yet purchased music or video on-line that came encumbered with DRM or was in a non-open format. With any luck, I never will.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by WiseWeasel (92224)
        Wrong, Apple is choosing to NOT screw over their customers by refusing to license Fairplay. Apple apparently does not want Fairplay to succeed; they want to sell standard format content. Fairplay was just a kludge to pander to the labels' requirements for licensing, and Apple doesn't want to give it any more momentum than they have to. In effect, refusing to license Fairplay while owning the market for playback devices puts the labels in a position where they have little choice but to license their content
  • "iPod's" (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 17, 2007 @03:50PM (#20641713)
    The move to not allow its content to be played on iPod's appears to be a clear snub by the Universal Music Group

    Played on iPod's what?
  • Pathetic (Score:2, Interesting)

    by DogDude (805747)
    OK, now, I understand what the big music industry people are trying to accomplish. They're trying to keep from going the way of the buggy-whip makers. They're pulling out all the stops to keep from becoming irrelevant. That's understandable. But jeez, this is just pathetic.

    They're trying anything and everything to keep people from buying their music. They're putting up every kind of conceivable roadblock that they can come up with, as malicious and as pointless as they may be. These guys are really
  • by KiltedKnight (171132) * on Monday September 17, 2007 @03:51PM (#20641735) Homepage Journal
    Why would NBC no longer distribute video via iTunes? Duh... anyone hear of MSNBC?

    Well, there's probably a similar thing going on here... they're either working a deal or have a deal with another provider to try to exclude Apple's products. Aside from conversion to one format then to MP3, it won't be more than a day or two before someone has a standalone program or plug-in for an existing one that will do the conversion.

  • What other players won't support the files? I'm not sure my Archos Gmini 400 will play .WMA's.
  • by antifoidulus (807088) on Monday September 17, 2007 @03:53PM (#20641769) Homepage Journal
    since it seems to support "Plays for Sure" which doesn't play for sure on a Zune.....
  • by iamacat (583406)
    If it was MP3, it may not play on iPod due to some intentionally corrupted sequences. But it sure would be burnable to CD by some of hundreds of available tools. I say it's WMA and "MP3 player" in the article is a misnomer.
  • So not being playable on the most common portable music player is touted as a feature?
  • For $0 a month in cash, I can download a sizable selection of music to my Playsforsure (Creative Zen Vision M) music player, but I have to spend my rare and precious time watching advertisements. Right off the bat, the real economic cost of this service based upon my opportunity costs is over $50 per month without exaggeration.

    Or, I can pay $15 a month for Rhapsody or Napster and not have to spend my time being subjected to advertisements. $15 a month, which, and let's be honest, is not a lot of money to
  • Of course it won't work on iPods. According to TFA, the music can't be burned to CDs, meaning it's using DRM. The only DRM working on iPods is Apple's own FairPlay which they're not licensing. (According to their FAQ, they're using WMA DRM, which has never been compatible with iPods.) Basically, there's no legal and future-proof way to make their business model work with iPods without Apple's support, no matter how much they might want to do that. (And I guess they's jump at the chance, considering the iPod
  • Gee, those have worked so well in the past. Good luck with that, guys. Say hey to Urge and Sony Connect while you're decomposing.
  • Another tech crook got money from clueless managers to implement the impossible. Get a life, music execs! You are being cheated by all of your staff! This "protection" is simply impossible! It's enough for 1 (ONE) copy of the song to get into the wild, and it's game over. GAME OVER. Deal with it like men, and do whatever you can to survive. But don't waste your money on snake oil "copy protection" because IT NEVER WORKS, just like there's no philosopher's stone, perpetuum mobile or flying saucers. Don't bel
  • It seems to me that Universal et al see "downloading music for free" as the entire problem. They somehow don't understand that the biggest reason to download music for free is to put it on your mp3 player. They may have provided free music downloads, but DRM'd music is useless, and won't solve the problem.
  • no Zune support (Score:5, Informative)

    by ksheff (2406) on Monday September 17, 2007 @04:03PM (#20641971) Homepage
    looks like the million or so Zune owners won't be able to use these files.

    Q: Are files downloaded from SpiralFrog compatible with the iPod or Zune?

    A: Songs and video files that you download from SpiralFrog are not compatible with Apple's range of iPods or Microsoft's Zune.

  • by Stealth Dave (189726) on Monday September 17, 2007 @04:03PM (#20641973) Homepage
    For everyone jumping down Universal's throat for "snubbing Apple", it should be noted that this is no different than what Apple is doing when it restricts iTunes downloads to Apple-supported hardware. Yes, there is some DRM-free music available on iTunes, and I applaud them for it. But Universal is snubbing Apple about as much as Apple is snubbing Zune and every other music player out there that it refuses to license Fair-Play to, including the Linux operating system. There is absolutely no reason to believe that this had anything to do with their recent contract spat with Apple or that this wasn't coming out regardless of how their negotiations turned out.

    - Stealth dave
    • by XenoPhage (242134)
      While I agree that it doesn't look like a direct snubbing of Apple, especially since the Zune isn't supported either, I still question this whole thing. Why in the hell do we need DRM on free music? Wanting demographical information by forcing the user to sign up isn't a good reason either.

      I would be much more likely to sign up to a service that offered high quality DRM-free music, even if I had to pay for it. Personally, I don't much trust the music I can download from P2P apps. First, I don't feel lik
  • Spiral Frog will self destruct in 3...2...1... *hack released* *poof*

    yet more proof that these organizations are run largely by people with their heads partly up their asses (the technical part).
  • This is sorta dumb... They are, like many music stores, offering music in protected WMA format. I don't think this has much to do with Universal wanting to give Apple the finger, but a lot to do with the fact that Apple doesn't allow third parties to interoperate with FairPlay DRM. I think it's fine for Universal not to care -- Apple is being selfish, so why should Universal add value to the iPod with free music?

  • "Our Apologies.
    At this time, the SpiralFrog Web site is available only to residents of the United States of America and Canada."

    Oh grrrrrr!!!!. You deserve to be pirated just for that !

    I'm just tired of waiting 6 months to see the movie in a movie house when I can just go and download it for free... and it's actually of better quality since the audio is not fucked up with dubbing. As a matter of principle i never go and watch movies that are released more than two months after the US release.

    I never bought
  • It's called radio.

    Now everyone will talk about how great free music is, but then they'll complain about having to listen to advertisements. This, of course, will lead people to pine for some service where you could pay to listen to radio without advertisements.
  • NBC Uni may have just helped Apple more than hurt them. I'm sure this is going to come up in the impending anti-competitive lawsuit against iTunes that the EU is planning.
  • by CommandoCody (1154955) on Monday September 17, 2007 @04:29PM (#20642377)
    Okay. There is a very very simple reason why FairPlay will never work with anything but iPods. iTunes exists solely to sell iPods. It makes little to no money for Apple in the first place - some have said that it operates at a small loss for Apple, after the content suppliers' cut is removed. What possible reason could Apple have for letting anyone put that music on a Zune or any other mp3 player? Is the suggestion they should do this as a public service? Should they include free ponies, too? Once again, let's review. Apple is a HARDWARE company. Its OS and content exists to sell more HARDWARE. If there is no incentive for the customer to use that hardware, Apple would be a company of fools to give away everything else.
  • by mmeister (862972) on Monday September 17, 2007 @04:33PM (#20642449)
    Yes, cut out the millions of iPod users. That's how I would make something successful!!

    Let's see how great this thing really is in 6-12 months with ads, DRM and limiting the product to not work on the #1 portable players.

    I predict yet another failure in the pipeline. This product is about catering to the recording industry with the customer as an afterthought.

    Same story, different URL.
  • by PPH (736903) on Monday September 17, 2007 @04:34PM (#20642471)
    I'm going to release content that won't play on ANY platform and grab their market share.

    So there!!!

  • by snowwrestler (896305) on Monday September 17, 2007 @05:17PM (#20643149)
    BMG invented Discman-resistant CD's with a light sand-blasting just before packaging.

    But, many people claimed it was derivative of Geffen's efforts to create Walkman-resistant tapes using magnets.

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