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Vivendi Offering MP3 Song for Sale 371

pmorelli writes: "Maybe there's hope for the media dinosaurs yet: According to, Vivendi is teaming up with Maverick Records,,, and to offer a remix of a Meshell Ndegeocello track, 'Earth,' for $0.99 online. No restrictions, just a plain old MP3. Even though I'm not the biggest fan of her stuff, I just may pony up a whole buck to economically encourage this sort of behavior."
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Vivendi Offering MP3 Song for Sale

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  • 'bout time... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by davmoo ( 63521 )
    I'm not a big fan either, but I'll gladly fork up a buck to offer support of the idea, in the hopes of encouraging more for the future. I'd like to see a million purchases of this one track for just that reason. Its about time some of the "biggies" got their heads out of their asses.
    • Re:'bout time... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by jpmkm ( 160526 )
      I'm sure quite a few people will buy this, even though they're not necessarily interested in the music. Yeah, this will show the big companies that people are willing to pay for their music. But how long will it last? They will always want it for cheaper than it is. I agree that CD prices are way to high, but people have been buying them for years. Then they started downloading songs because it's cheaper(read: free). 99 cents for a song isn't bad, but once that catches on people will want 5 songs for 99 cents. Then they will complain that 4 of the songs suck and they would only pay for one song if they could but they can't so they resort to getting it for free somewhere. It's going to happen. People are cheap.
  • Who? (Score:3, Funny)

    by JanusFury ( 452699 ) <kevin,gadd&gmail,com> on Thursday May 23, 2002 @09:41PM (#3576468) Homepage Journal
    Forgive my ignorance, but would someone mind enlightening the stupid as to who she is? What genre, how good is her music, etc? I might just buy the song if it's any good.
    • Re:Who? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Jonny 290 ( 260890 )
      Remember "Wild Night" by John Mellencamp? She was a guest singer/performer on that. And yes, that is her claim to fame, as far as I can tell. Well, that, and being a scary-looking bald lesbian.

      • Well, that, and being a scary-looking bald lesbian.

        Her music sounds a little like Sinead O'Connor's. So, you're pretty accurate with that last quip :)

      • Re:Who? (Score:3, Informative)

        Meshell has three prior studio albums to her credit, all on Maverick.

        Her debut release, "Plantation Lullabies" is a mostly funk/hip-hop crossover album, featuring her playing bass on most of the tracks in addition to singing. She is, without a doubt, one of the most solid funk bass players that no one has ever heard of. Prior to this release, she cut her teeth playing bass in the DC area for such progressive jazz luminaries as Steve Coleman.

        Her second record, "Peace Beyond Passion" is more of the same, although many fans were a bit put-off by the heavy spiritual bent to some of the tracks. The album is seen as a bit preachy by some.

        Her third album, "Bitter", is a very different animal. Somewhat less of a funk album, most of these tracks are slower, more organic, and feature primarily live musicians and less programming.

        Several things to consider:
        -the song is a REMIX. Those of you judging her by this track are missing the point entirely.
        -like her or don't like her, but be wise enough to recognize that she most definitely is NOT part of the "sound-alike" herd that the major labels have been shoving down our throats for the last few years. As a writer (and more importantly a PLAYER - you really need to hear her play bass) she's already worlds beyond the rest of the pop crowd.

        But to really appreciate her, you need to see a live show. For her last three tours she's assembled one of the most ridiculous bands I've ever seen on any stage in any genre. Her drummer of choice, Oliver Gene Lake, is one of those skilled funk drummers on the planet. Her live shows are consistently some of the best musical experiences I've ever had, and her small crowd base means that she always plays intimate club venues.

        If you like funk, you owe it to yourself to check out Meshell. She's one of a kind.
    • Re:Who? (Score:2, Informative)

      by pmorelli ( 42134 ) has a preview stream, if you'd like to listen to it first...
    • Re:Who? (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Forgive my ignorance, but would someone mind enlightening the stupid as to who she is? What genre, how good is her music, etc? I might just buy the song if it's any good.

      Why don't you just get the mp3 from one of the file sharing networks? Then, if you like the song, go ahead and buy the mp3... oh, wait a minute...

    • Forgive my ignorance, but would someone mind enlightening the stupid as to who she is? What genre, how good is her music, etc? I might just buy the song if it's any good.

      Is it really that difficult to do a Google search [] ?

  • Who? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by discstickers ( 547062 ) <(moc.srekcitscsid) (ta) (sirhc)> on Thursday May 23, 2002 @09:41PM (#3576472) Homepage
    I have not heard of this artist and I'm assuming that most people haven't either.

    But my question is, if this sells poorly will they point to it as proof that straight mp3 sales don't work?
    • Vivendi is teaming up with Maverick Records,,, and to offer a remix of a Meshell Ndegeocello track [...]

      So, how many different companies does it take to change a lightbu^W^W^Wsell a single MP3 online? (Or, equivalently, how many man-hours were wasted on high-level executive meetings to sell a single MP3?) Yea, there's hope for them, but just how much hope remains an open question.

  • by dlek ( 324832 ) on Thursday May 23, 2002 @09:43PM (#3576483) can download an mp3 pronouncing her name.
  • by geoffsmith ( 161376 ) on Thursday May 23, 2002 @09:43PM (#3576486) Homepage
    Anyone with some knowledge of online transactions knows that offering something for $1 is generally not profitable. First, you've got fees from the credit cards, and then you've got the the whole chargeback thing. One song gets charged back, and you've wiped out any profit from at least 100 sales. The only thing they've got on their side is that an mp3 is not a very good target for credit card fraud, and most people will not bother to chargeback $1.

    Websurfing done right! StumbleUpon []
    • Yes, but you get a good read on marketability. Remember who the first band to release a CD? Neither do I. The studio execs deliberately chose a band that wasn't yet commercially viable in order to get a read on the viability of the medium. I think that's happening here, too... And they're doing it at a "break-even" price, to boot.

      Just my .02
    • A buck for an mp3? That makes the average 20 song CD cost $20. Wow, I get all that digital goodness and? Nothing. Tell me the MP3 (now crushed) quality is as good or better than the usual CD format. Tell me that this is somehow better than that used to let artists give their music away for free to promote themselves and sell their CDs with normal audio files and MP3s and a nice little box and cover art. I suppose I could burn my mp3s onto a CD and put it in a box for safe keeping and draw a picture on it and then it would be as nice. Nope.

      I feel like a kid who had all his toys stolen by a bully, who was told he was a bad person for protesting, and now I should be happy to get that toy back, all mangled beat and ruined. Yeah.

      • It's better because on a larger scale it lets you pick and choose what you want, instead of paying for every track on an album, even if you think half of them suck. It's not about payng $20 for a 20 song CD. Instead, it's about saying, "I only like 5 songs on this CD" and paying $5 for them. Or do you like every single song on the CDs you buy?
      • A buck for an mp3? That makes the average 20 song CD cost $20. Wow, I get all that digital goodness and? Nothing

        It's not about getting music cheaper you idiot. It's about the artist getting more of the money, and not paying for a $20 cd when you only like 4 of the tracks.

    • Anyone with some knowledge of online transactions knows that offering something for $1 is generally not profitable.

      I'm guessing that they're going to work towards some sort of portfolio or account system were you buy multiple song credits at a time, making the transaction costs less significant.

      If they've any brains, all the music companies will eventually get together and create universal song credits that can be spent on any song. If that happens, people will be more than happy to spend, say $15 at a time. A smart marketing move would be to package these 15-credit packages as an opportunity for consumers to create their "very own compilations".

  • "Sure, there is always a concern of piracy; there's always the concern of people illegally transferring things. But we feel the best way to combat that is by giving people a legitimate alternative, and this is a test to make that alternative available to them," I couldn't have said it better myself. This could be a viable alternative, although the price might be a little high. A 15 track CD at this price is just as expensive as a store bought version, without the extra goodies and higher quality. Still, if I were interested in the music, I would consider spending the buck just to support this practice.
    • While it is true that, for a 15 track CD, it could be just as expensive, you won't be buying the whole CD. You will be buying those tracks that you actually want to listen to. As for quality issues, I see people argue for lossless quality, I see the rampant popularity of the MP3 format, and I draw my own conclusion.

  • I still wont pay for sh*ty music. There's more to it than just offering it online in mp3 format folks.
    Heck most of what the recording industry puts out these days isn't even worth stealing.
  • then the music industry will deploy this on a larger basis....we can all afford $1...even us po' ass university' on every one...lets /. the shopcart software!!!!
  • by dweezle ( 200818 ) on Thursday May 23, 2002 @09:48PM (#3576512)
    OK the price is a little high and she's not a big, big name, but you get an unprotected download to do with as you please.
    So buy it and show support for the concept, check out the quality and if you're happy with that then send nice feedback
    as a customer(lower price, different artist, etc) and give them a chance.
    • Hey guys/gals! If I post a song on the Internet will you all pay me $1.00 to show support for the concept? Wow, that'd be really cool!

      Before you all go out and send your hard-earned dollars to large music labels, why don't you stop and think what they're going to use those dollars for... paying their lawyers to strip you of your fair use and reverse engineering rights. Just because you support one tiny thing that a company does, don't give them the knife to stab you in the back.

      • So buy it and show support for the concept

      I would, but for a couple of points:

      1. I can only find it on or, which just links to, and they want me to provide an email address before I can buy it. Why? They've got my credit card number and IP address, what on earth would they need an email address for?
      2. They won't let me. Because, you see, I'm not a US resident, and it's only available to US residents.

      It's this second point that really sticks in my throat. Way to miss the point. Music is global now. They're promoting a track, they're offering to sell it, I'm ready to pay for it, but then they say I can't have it just because of where I live. Well, guess what: I can have it, I just won't be paying them a dollar to get it.

      As you say, it's important to show support for the concept. And the concept I'll support is a single-click, no-login, no DRM, globally accessible, no questions asked transaction. This is only half way there. Before you criticise me for being overly picky, understand that my argument is actually moot: they won't let me buy it anyway, so my only choice is to go away and shut up, or go away and bitch about it. I'll choose the latter, thanks.

      • A followup to my own post, regarding the signup.

        They demand to know:

        1. Country of residence
        2. Zip/postal code
        3. Gender

        A few points about that. What if I don't have a zip/postal code? I should just make one up, right? So what the hell is the point in requiring it? Why demand to know my gender, but not my age or other demographic data? It's invasive without being useful. But most of all, country of residence pisses me off. It should be clear that the most pragmatic answer to give is "United States" (which is conveniently the first on the "alphabetical" list). It should also be clear, with just a little further thought, how idiotic this would be, as it would just further skew the perception that the US market is the only one that matters, and the rest of the world can go screw itself. For example, I will not wait for English language region 2 DVD's, but instead buy region 1 DVD's online. I get them faster and usually cheaper than the (mostly identical) region 2's, but at the cost of artificially boosting region 1 sales and perpetuating the artificial segregation of the market.

        Believe me, it's pretty damn annoying to see content marketed and reviewed all over the internet that you know you'll generally have to wait at least three months to see (or years, or never), when you have the desire and the funds to buy it right now. If you're a US citizen, try it for yourself. Pretend that you're European for a month: try and find new US releases at subsidiaries, find out that that Europeans pay 40-60% more for most consumer items (£ price == $ price, but £ == 1.4x$), or shop at US .coms, then check out the international shipping rates and speeds. It might open your eyes.

    • Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit. I'm sorry, excuse me, but bullshit.

      you get an unprotected download to do with as you please

      Whoa, not so fast there, Tex. You get an unprotected download, sure... but don't think for a minute that you can do with this as you please. You better believe this song is still protected by the full force of the copyright and that it is still illegal to distribute it over the internet.

      But what's most offensive to me is the cost. At a buck for a song this is hardly a better deal than a CD - for a lossier format! That's a terrible deal and too much trouble for no physical product and no packaging.

      I'm mystified by these abortive forays into electronic content. Pay three bucks for a book that stops working after fifteen days! Pay a buck for an ephemeral, lower fidelity electronic impression of a song! Pay ten to twenty-five bucks a month for "Internet Radio Minus" - download limits, and when you quit the service you lose the ability to play everything. There are still plenty of unfettered CDs, used and new, for sale out there at ten times the bargain and usefulness. And I'm not even interested in file trading - I've never uploaded or downloaded an illicit MP3. I'm just concerned with the value and versatility of my own collection.

      Earth to the publishing and recording industries (and those who would seek to replace them): when the deal doesn't SUCK I'll "show support for the concept."

  • can you hop on gnutella and drop me an email with your IP? I love her stuff.

    Free(as in beer) > All(nonfree beer) People say they'll pay .99 for stuff, but really, how many people will when you can get it for free?

  • set-up (Score:4, Interesting)

    by asv108 ( 141455 ) <.asv. .at.> on Thursday May 23, 2002 @09:50PM (#3576521) Homepage Journal
    I really have no clue who the artist is but I can already hear what the RIAA will say. "We tried to sell MP3's on the Internet but nobody bought them because there was no digital rights management." "This is why we need the Hollings bill!"
  • Go for it! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sahrss ( 565657 ) on Thursday May 23, 2002 @09:53PM (#3576537)
    Make a statement.
    I'm DLing it right now, for $1 I don't even care *what* the song is. I just want to wave my dollar in the face of this company, to show them that I have dollars to spend on DLing songs! :)
    • Re:Go for it! (Score:2, Insightful)

      by elmegil ( 12001 )
      Sorry, but $1 is NOT a reasonable price for a single song. I refuse to reward the majors for only getting it halfway.
      • One dollar is perfectly reasonable considering if you like an entire album you pay $13 to download it. If you only like 8 songs pay 8 dollars. The music industry needs a fair price to justify pushing people away from CDs that sold for 15 bucks. I think paying by the song will result in more sales overall, as I'll now buy songs I'd never buy the album its from. RIAA isn't convinced though. If the big labels eventually try and charge two bucks a song, I won't pay, however, as that's just as bad as the CD prices now but I don't get a CD or cover art/notes.

        • So why aren't you a member of then? You get pretty much unlimited downloads from them for less than $1 a song. sells whole albums (of more than 8 tracks) for $8 for a CD and $4 for a "netCD". That means this isn't such a revolution after all. And you'll note that there aren't huge numbers of people flocking to eMusic instead of Gnutella for their MP3's now that they're "reasonably priced".

          The market may bear $1 a song for uncompressed music, with artwork & liner notes but I really don't think it'll bear it for compressed bare songs.

  • by donutello ( 88309 ) on Thursday May 23, 2002 @09:57PM (#3576555) Homepage
    I've seen a few posts encouraging everyone on here to buy the song even if we don't care for the artist or the actual song.

    That will achieve nothing. Depending on the success of this pilot they will determine whether it is worth doing at all. Next, they will probably release a whole CD that way and see how that goes. That will be followed by release of another few - say 10%. Unless every Slashdotter is committing to buying every thing they ever release online, buying this song now is not going to serve any purpose.

    At this point they are probably trying to assess the extent of piracy/online fraud they are exposing themselves to as well as trying to figure out the logistics of every step of their operation. That's what pilots are for. I doubt they are going to say "ooh, we sold a million copies of this, let's release everything this way!"
    • by gilroy ( 155262 ) on Thursday May 23, 2002 @10:14PM (#3576613) Homepage Journal
      Blockquoth the poster:

      That will achieve nothing.

      I hate to be contrary, but you're wrong. Imagine 10,000 slashdotters download the song and buy it legitimately. What if some noticeable fraction discover that -- saints preserve us! -- they like her music. So now they might go buy more. And we might have some numerical data to demonstrate that filesharing might, in principle, actually serve to increase sales. At least it's a chance to show how a post-dinosaur world might work.

      On the other hand, the record companies are probably doing this so that they can point to how quickly the sales fall off as the MP3 is fileshared and people stop shelling out the $1. Then they can point to the experiment and say, "See? Everyone is a thief. Pass the CBDTPA!"

      So don't do that! Don't rip or copy the song; don't hunt it down on Kazaa or what have you. Resist the urge to "stick it to them", at least on this one.

      • You managed to completely miss the point of my post.

        There is no point spending $ to buy this track to prove a point if you wouldn't otherwise. Only an idiot would release one song, see positive results and take the plunge. Say whatever you want to about Vivendi but I doubt they are run by idiots.

        Instead, it will be a slow and drawn-out release. At some point, it's going to stop being "cool" and Slashdotters are going to stop putting in money that they wouldn't otherwise to sell the industry on this idea. At that point the true market support will become obvious. If that is there, this idea will succeed - otherwise it will die a slow death.

        If you're going to spend $ to buy music you wouldn't otherwise, all you're going to get is the loss of a $.
      • The RIAA members are interested in ways to cut out the record stores, media costs, shipping costs, return processing, and every other cost associated with selling CDs.

        If they can get people to buy online, they have no cost. will eat the cost of the bandwidth in order to get you to view their banner ads. The record companies will have gone to an essentially zero-cost model for distributing their music. Compared to the cost of a CD, printed liner notes, packaging, shipping, and splitting profits with the local record store, it's a lot better for them if you just PayPal them the money.

        End result: If you want music, you will get it online compressed at whatever rate the publisher wants to supply it. If you have invested in a high-end audio system, that's tough. You'll take the MP3s at 192K like everyone else.

  • has the words "little" and "late" and there was something else that sounds like the number 2. Now what was that phrase?

    Seriously, does this strike anyone as an excellent way for the RIAA to claim that this kind of system "just doesn't work". Just put out a no-name artists that nobody really likes or cares about, and when that fails to sell 500,000 copies, just throw up you hands in despair and tell congress, "Well, we tried. It just can't be done."

  • She's the one that played "Wild Night" with John Cougar Mellencamp (or whatever HE is called these days) several years ago.

    Decent bass player, she is.

    A full CD of remixes, with album art.

    Not my taste in music, but its nice to see Stipey and the bunch practicing what they've preached in interviews with me and others.

    In addition, REM did "pre leak" these songs on various peer-to-peer networks to see the rate of propagation.

    This is the second time REM's put free tracks online for fans. The first was Peter Buck putting some tracks he did for a play's soundtrack up. In an interview last year he said he wants to do this more frequently with the "leftover" tracks from recording sessions.

    This was covered in major media, but not as extensively as a one dollar MP3. Sad.

  • by caferace ( 442 )
    I'll bet you a buck (ok, 99 cents) that they encode a simple identifier into the MP3. Something of course you and I could get rid of in a heartbeat, but that Joe-User P2P wouldn't plan on.

    Marked money, my friends. Something to think of....

    • You could test that hypothesis for $2. You buy one, and have a friend buy one. Compare the two files byte for byte. If they're the same, they aren't marking them. If they're different, they might be.

      I'd do it myself, but the thought of giving $2 to the DMCA-wielding assmasters at Vivendi is too much for my frail stomach to take, no matter how noble the cause of science.

      • There's Universal Music (i.e., Bronfman's mafia, with their hard line on banning anonymity and stamping out MP3s, and their copy-restricted pseudo-CDs), and then there's their new media division, which includes and

        This could be part of a power struggle between the two poles, the hardliners and the moderates. If enough people buy the MP3, the moderates will get more power in Vivendi, and the hardliners will be discredited. If this fails, the hardliners will just say "I told you so".
  • $.99 for one track? No linear notes or hard media copy? No option to rip it as .ogg or higher/lower bitrate? Many $12 CD's have 14+ tracks, obviously this breaks down to less than $.99/track. I think I might buy when they offer a download for $.05. Think of it like pay-per-view movie. They go for a couple bucks, vs the "hard copy" DVD going for $19.99. No one would pay for a pay-per-view movie if it cost the same as the DVD of the same movie.

  • Okay, if the music biz is finally waking up to reality, let's make sure that they set the terms of their initial toe-dipping at a realistic level. Having persuaded them of a general, provisional willingness on our part to pay for content, it's important that they don't develop overly high expectations, Stephen King-style, only to have them torn down by reality, causing them to retreat back into denial.

    As I see it, many people (certainly the same number of people who currently buy CDs) will eventually be willing to buy music online if it fulfills the following requirements:

    1. Reasonable cost. I always suspected that, for sound marketing reasons, we'd end up paying a dollar per song. It's a fair price and I've no doubt that music companies are about to make more money then their thieving little minds ever dreamt possible; at a $ a pop, there will be a massive increase in the casual purchase of music.

    2. (Convenience) Now that we, the consumers, are going to be covering the cost of the physical storage of music we've purchased, the industry needs to fully accept that they are in the business of marketing and selling rights, rather than physical products. Storing downloaded songs on our computers and portable devices, there's a high chance that we will loose them at some point and need to download them again. For that reason, songs we pay for must become part of an online, permanently accessible portfolio that we have permanent, eternal access to.

    3. (Convenience #2) No messing around with weird-ass propriety/encrypted formats. Take it as read that if people want to pirate music (and, of course, many will) they're going to find a way no matter what you do. That, however, is no reason to inflict inconvenience and device incompatible formats on your paying customers. Accept reality and move on.

    So, there you have it, follow the above, simple ingredients and the music industry enters a new Golden Age as the world's highest paid web hosts.

  • .... we sure are sending the wrong signal by slashdotting her site. shes gunna think shes the missing beattle or something.
  • by fmaxwell ( 249001 ) on Thursday May 23, 2002 @10:20PM (#3576632) Homepage Journal
    The beauty of MP3 for me is that I can elect to sample at 224k or 256k for my car CD/MP3 player or I can sample at 128K for my Rio 600. I can encode with LAME or whatever encoder I like best. I can set the options based on file size, encode speed, or sound quality. It's all my choice.

    I don't want the record companies to sell me some compromised, one-size-fits-all MP3 of their favorite song off of the album. I want the ability to rip and encode the CDs I own without legislation or copy protection to hinder me. I want the RIAA to recognize that I am a customer with hundreds of CDs and not their enemy. I want them to sell me a CD at a fair price and not cripple it in an attempt to prevent me from making a copy to play in whatever device I want.

    You feel free to give them $.99 to sell you an MP3 of a song you don't know by an artist you've never heard of. I'd rather just keep asking my Congressional representatives to sponsor legislation prohibiting copy prevention and guaranteeing consumers the right to copy and format-translate any music or movie that they buy.
    • "I don't want the record companies to sell me some compromised, one-size-fits-all MP3 of their favorite song off of the album."

      Why not? It seems to fit perfectly with the compromised, one-size-fits-all MUSIC that the RIAA sells.
    • Okay, I have a brilliant idea. I'm hoping the master copies of all CDs are today recorded at better-than-cd quality, such as DVD-A. Also recognizing the limitations of CDs, and considering that DRM formats exist offering better sound quality per megabyte. So why not offer songs for download at different qualities? Songs that have been compressed down to 512kbps from a 96K samples per second master. Offer a 225kbps and a 128kbps version as well, all compressed so well that the 128kbps sounds like a 192kbps mp3.

      Once one version is bought, allow the customer to buy another quality version of it for an additional fifty cents. Of course this format will only allow one, but preferrably two copies made, for both the laptop and portable player. If the customer wants to transfer a copy to another device, establish a connection between the portable and the computer. Securely delete the file from the portable and a copy is freed for use in another device. Sadly this format will only allow analog copies so making a CD will be tough, and because of special keys/licenses needed to play the file, it won't be simple to play a file sent over Kazaa. Yes I know all security systems are broken eventually, but that's why good security adapts and changes, preferrably automatically. In the interest of fairness and profitability to the artists and labels I do propose a non-mp3 audio format is a neccessity for this to succeed.

  • by saarbruck ( 314638 ) on Thursday May 23, 2002 @10:24PM (#3576647) Homepage
    You people!

    Over the last year I have read post after post where you all say "If only they'd offer unencrypted music downloads in a standard format for a reasonable price, where I could pick your songs one at a time instead of having to buy the a mostly bad album. I'd do that in a minute!"

    Well, ladies and gentlement, Maverick and Vivendi appear, at least, to be offering an olive branch, and is giving us exactly what we've been clamoring for.

    A few of you, like me, are going to go download this song and pony up a buck no matter who the hell the singer is, just to add credence to our point of view, but as I look through the responses to this story, what are the most prominent responses I've seen? (I am quoting you here:)

    "MP3 is a good start but I won't pay for lossy music."

    "I still won't pay for shitty music."

    "Great idea, but at 1 buck per song, a whole album would cost plus than 10 dollars, I think it is a little expensive." (NOTE: $10 per album is still half fucking price!)

    "Can you hop on gnutella and drop me an email with your IP?"

    Jiminy Christmas, people! Here's your chance to make a difference. Put your damn money where your mouths have been for the last year. After this, I can almost see things from the RIAA's point of view. Thanks a lot.

    (I apologise for generalising and lumping all Slashdot readers into a collective "you." I'm just really annoyed at some.)

    • Unless of course this is all a ruse by RIAA to get many many sales of this one file. Then RIAA can turn to Congress and declare it is going to offer single music tracks for sale online so there is no need to pass legislation forcing RIAA to. No I don't really think this is what RIAA is up to. I just like the conspiracy theorist angle.

    • At a buck per song, most albums I own would cost over $15, often around $20 or more. That's more than it would cost anywhere except the most expensive record shops.

      The "I still won't pay for shitty music" argument isn't so bad either. Making this test run with only a single track available almost smells of a deliberate lack of effort. Using ten or twenty tracks from a wide selection of genres would have made for much more realistic results; this way, few who aren't Meshell Ndegeocello fans will make the purchase.
  • Could someone who has downloaded the song please post a brief review? What kind of music is it? Similar to the works of what other artists?

    I know that US$1 isn't much, but I'm not going to spend that on every artist who chooses to sell this way without at least some idea what I'm buying.

    • It's similar to the works of Everything But the Girl (their Ben Watt produced this remix). Kinda Euro-dancy.

      There's a Real preview at the EMusic download site, and probably elsewhere.
  • So I guess I should download the song from kazaa first to see if I like it... Hmm, that would be pointless.
  • $1 for 1 MP3. A quick glance through my CD collection shows a range of 10-18 tracks per CD.

    Do the math, then consider that they aren't giving you a CD. Then consider that they are cutting the retail store out of delivery-chain. I think I saw a post elsewhere that said stores pay about $10 per CD.

    It is an interesting experiment with some interesting potential, and it's a step in the right direction, but it isn't worthy of a major celebration.

  • In what may be a first for the recording industry, Maverick Records and Vivendi Universal's online division are asking listeners to pay just under a dollar for an unprotected MP3 version of a new single.

    Yeah, you'd almost think they are ahead of their time. Music over the Internet? That's just crazy talk.
  • by dfenstrate ( 202098 ) <> on Thursday May 23, 2002 @10:35PM (#3576687)
    "Sure, there is always a concern of piracy; there's always the concern of people illegally transferring things. But we feel the best way to combat that is by giving people a legitimate alternative, and this is a test to make that alternative available to them," Grady said.

    He says it right there. They want to try what we've been bitching for. Let's all drop a buck and support this kind of behavior. (She's not half bad, btw)

    My grandma always told me you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. If this is what we want, then we should support it. end of story. Time to vote with your wallet, even if for the purposes of this experiment, you've never heard of the lady.

    I'm buying my copy. Are you?
  • by isaac ( 2852 ) on Thursday May 23, 2002 @10:39PM (#3576709)
    Damn, y'all. Emusic has been offering all-you-can-eat, unencumbered mp3 downloads for years now, for a modest fee ($10-$15/month depending on the plan), and not just sample tracks of no-name garage bands, but complete albums of real artists from Bad Religion and NOFX, to John Coltrane and Thelonius Monk, to Creedence Clearwater Revival to Belle and Sebastian, to Bob Marley, to Guided by Voices, to Yo La Tengo, to Pizzicato Five, to Pavement, to Willie Nelson, to Bush, to Isaac Hayes, to The Donnas, to Apples in Stereo, to Edith Piaf, to Otis Redding, to the Goo Goo Dolls, to George Carlin, etc. etc. ad nauseam. (and, yes, They Might Be Giants - blah)

    More often than not, they even have an entire artist's career, not just an album or two.

    I'll don't understand why people are lining up to pay Vivendi $1 for one lousy track. If you're going to pay a major label (VivendiUniversal bought emusic a while back) your hard-earned cash to support a business model based around unencumbered MP3's, emusic seems like a better deal.


    • I'll don't understand why people are lining up to pay Vivendi $1 for one lousy track. If you're going to pay a major label (VivendiUniversal bought emusic a while back) your hard-earned cash to support a business model based around unencumbered MP3's, emusic seems like a better deal.

      It sounds like you are supporting a business model you like. Excellant! As for me, I don't want a subscription. I prefer impulse purchasing.

      Heck, I think that's a significant portion of the beauty of online distribution that the dinosaurs are missing - lots of new opportunities for market differentiation. You buy a subscription, I buy on impulse - everyone buys the product in the way that is most agreeable to him or her.

      And as a legitimate owner of this track, let me say that yes, if you like dance, it's worth a buck. About my only complaint is that now I have a single solitary MP3 mixed in with all the Ogg I've ripped from my dance CDs.
      • It sounds like you are supporting a business model you like. Excellant! As for me, I don't want a subscription. I prefer impulse purchasing.

        I felt exactly the same way you do about eMusic, but decided to go with the free two week trial.

        I am still with the service and trust me, impulse downloads that turn out to be gems far outweigh the paltry $15/month cost.

        Not only that, it is FAST. At school I can download an entire album in under 45 seconds (over 800kb/sec)

        At the risk of sounding like an advertisement, I would encourage you to try it for free. If you hate it, you can opt out in 14 days and keep what you downloaded.
    • Yeah, I signed up for emusic. It's a great service at a reasonable price, but it doesn't offer enough options to suit most people.

      For a monthly fee, Emusic offers unlimited access to their regular non-digital right managed mp3 files at 128kbps. Their servers are reasonably fast. The drawbacks are: you can't buy just one or two songs--you have to sign up for at least 3 months. You can only get songs at 128kbps--that's fine for me with my crappy computer speakers, but anybody with a decent system needs better quality. And finally, they don't have a lot of good music to offer--I signed up because of They Might Be Giants, but besides their music I haven't found much that I like. Oh, except the Young Fresh Fellows.
      • 128K ??? If I'm paying for mp3's I expect at least 192 or 256K.

        Why would you buy something that sounds crappier than a CD ?

        And 'They Might be Giants' ? Yeah I remember them, they were big when I was at school - which was about 15 years ago.

  • Vivendi is teaming up with Maverick Records,,, and
    First thing I thought was why is it that Vivendi, one of the largest companies on the planet [], need to team up with a bunch of dotcoms to get this done? Surely a company like Vivendi with revenue in excess of $36 billion annually can manage this sort of thing themselves? Well it turns out that except for Maverick all those companies are owned by Vivendi. So I guess the next thing is why is a label with access to the likes of Alanis and Prodigy trying to sell this unknown artist's song? It's obviously just a publicity stunt.
    • Well, they wanted to put the track on Pressplay, but they couldn't figure out how to download it.

      Really, it would be a pretty dumb publicity stunt if it made their own pay-to-play service look bad in the process. I get the feeling that Meshell Ndegeocello may have lobbied for this one herself, seeing how much of a dud Pressplay is shaping up to be.
  • First of all: I bought it just because I wanted to support the "effort". I do want the music companies and musicians to think that this sort of distribution will work because this is how I would like to be able to buy music. As for the song itself. I have never ever heard of Marshall Mdegeacella, but I have heard of Ben Watt of Everything But The Girl fame. I like EBTG's music generally, but I'm not a huge fan. Earth, the tune in question, is good stuff. The mp3 is 8 minutes, 45 seconds long. The sound quality is good enough for my Altec Lansing ATP3 computer speakers. But for me, the tune is not compelling. It's a little funky, a little dancable, the vocals are nice, the music is fairly simple, and the rythm is groovy but basic. But I go for stuff that has a little more energy and this isn't it. I'll put it in my playlist and see how it grows on me and I suspect that I will like it more with more listens. But for now? For the creativity and quality of the music: 6/10 and for my personal taste: 5/10. Worth $0.99? Not really, but not a big disappointment either.
  • by agravaine ( 66629 ) on Thursday May 23, 2002 @11:16PM (#3576897)
    This track is already available free to emusic [] subscribers.

    If you're not hung up on top-40, check out - sign up for a year subscription at $10/month, or 3 months at $15/month; there's a 14-day free trial, and you can download:

    • as many songs as you want (max 50 tracks during the free trial period)
    • unencrypted
    • with no special DRM
    • and keep the tracks after you cancel your subscription. (They even tell you to keep the 50 tracks if you choose not to subscribe!)
    They claim they split the revenues 50/50 with the artists. (even if you allow for some exageration here, it'd almost have to be a better deal than the few pennies an artist gets per CD track sold through traditional outlets...

    The only restrictions are:

    • they ask that you not hog the system by mass-downloading everything; just grab what you plan to listen to now or in the near future
    • and you are on your honor not to "steal" from them by sharing those files elsewhere
    In other words, they are selling MP3's exactly the way we want to buy them, and trusting us not to rip them off, instead of imposing some clumsy technological constraints - just like any other honest business. (ok, I would prefer higher bitrate encodings, but so what? 128k sounds ok on my pc. I signed up, I sent them a long letter telling them what I liked about the service, and what I would like to see improved, including the option to pay a bit more to download better quality encodings. Who do you think they are going to listen to more - their existing, paying customer base, or people heckling them from the sidelines? [I got a personal response to my letter from their customer service. They didn't promise anything, but at least i know they heard me.])

    They don't have many huge names (probably the most famous contemporary group in their catalog is They Might Be Giants,) but they have an awesome collection of old jazz and blues collection, a good classical section, some really bizarro-but-intersting international stuff, and a bunch of small indie labels. (They claim over 200,000 MP3 tracks available, from over 900 different [mostly small] record labels) Oh, and some comedy too, like most of George Carlin's albums.

    Sorry if I sound like a commercial - I'm just a subscriber who loves this service, and I don't understand why more people haven't signed up yet...

  • pony up...
    fork over...
    shell out...

    Why is it the smaller the amount, the more often phrases like these are used? Does anyone *ever* "fork over" amounts more than $10?


  • Prove Him Wrong (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bob9113 ( 14996 ) on Friday May 24, 2002 @12:05AM (#3577066) Homepage
    But "I think you'll be able to count the number of sales on one hand," he added. "As soon as one person gets it, it's all over the (peer-to-peer) networks for free."

    OK - let's prove him wrong. I need five more people to go buy it. I just did, and if you like dance music, it's worth a buck.
  • As I recall Vivendi bought MP3 earlier this year. It was a big loss for the internet music when the original designers of MP3 burned up their investment capital in an absurd copyright lawsuit over their Beam-It CD technology.
  • I went there to get it, and admittedly, it's not as bad as some I could mention (and start a flame war ;-) ), but couldn't they offer up something good?
  • This song can be found as an "EMusic Exclusive" on this page [], for my fellow EMusic'ers.
  • I'm reading lots of posts saying people should get it even though they've never heard of the artist before; well, I for one would love to be able to get a good song legally for $0.99 but I am not rich enough to spend money without sampling the product first. Especially when it comes to something like music, where the quality of a song varies with the listener. (Ie, the same song is one person's jewel and another's garbage)

    Luckily, neither I nor you need shell out our $0.99 before having listened to a sample [], conveniently linked from the front page of [].

    Now even if you don't like the song, you should still consider shelling out for it as a sign of support for the business model. But if you're a cheapskate like me, try the sample first.
  • ... please post a review of it (genre, style, influences, quality). Just a wild thought, but shouldn't we be using the power of this big ol' inter-web thing to make informed decisions about mp3 purchasing, rather than just making the point that we'll buy any old junk as long as it's mp3?

  • "Currently available for United States residents only."

    It probably makes sense - credit card payment probably costs more for them when done from a non-US country. But that also means they are missing out on everybody in the rest of the world, which is a loss both for the record company and us international customers.
  • My guess is this song has been fingerprinted (md5 or something slightly more subtle) and they're going to watch the P2P networks to assess how quickly this will be "shared".

    That's the info they're looking for, in my opinion.

    Because if they really wanted to prove something, they'd choose a band or act that people have heard of.

To write good code is a worthy challenge, and a source of civilized delight. -- stolen and paraphrased from William Safire