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Music Businesses Media Apple

iTunes Music Store sells 275,000 Tracks in 18 Hours 1194

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the now-it-gets-interesting dept.
physicsnerd writes "According to this article on Billboard.com, Apple's iTunes Music store sold 275,000 tracks in its first 18 hours of operation. The Register.com estimates that this netted Apple just under $100,000! Not too bad for a 99 cents store." Impressive considering the connection problems people were having. Remains to be seen what usage will be after the hype settles down.
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iTunes Music Store sells 275,000 Tracks in 18 Hours

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  • eMusic ups the ante (Score:5, Informative)

    by gadwale (46632) on Thursday May 01, 2003 @01:34PM (#5853914) Homepage
    Just submitted this - but it might as well be a comment here:

    eMusic has increased the quality of songs available on their website from 128kbps to 192kbps VBR. The annoucement is available here [mp3.com].

    Currently, this is the only pay and play option available to iPod users without a Mac! For those that don't already know, eMusic offers all-you-can-eat downloads, song previews and has recently also added message boards [emusic.com] for each genre.

    This is pure, DRM-free music so sign up and support the business model! It is hard to find music so I hope they add streaming radio and collaborative filtering in the near future to make it easier.

    Don't wait for the non-Mac Apple music store - This [theregister.co.uk] article in the Register points out that only two labels have signed up for the Windows version of the music store.

    Adi Gadwale.
  • by VoyagerRadio (669156) <harold.johnson@gmail.com> on Thursday May 01, 2003 @01:38PM (#5853953) Homepage Journal
    I've tried using eMusic a few times using my Mac but I can't get much to download properly. The interface doesn't seem to work properly with Mac OS 9. It's too bad, but that's what happens when you don't pay attention to the lower 3%. :)
  • iTunes for Windows (Score:5, Informative)

    by Zathrus (232140) on Thursday May 01, 2003 @01:38PM (#5853954) Homepage
    According to CNet [com.com], Apple appears to be looking for a developer to help create iTunes for Windows. Seems like a smart move to me -- the Windows user base is clearly vastly larger than Mac, and Apple will still be getting a slice of online music sales -- plus they give another reason for Windows users to buy an iPod.

    I keep hearing great things about iTunes too, in that it's apparantly quite a bit better than most music database software. Personally I'm still looking for a good music db/organizing program for either Linux (preferred) or Windows (thank you samba) - I'm in the process of ripping ~1000 CDs to high bitrate MP3 for my TiVo and am in desperate need for some cataloging and playlist creation tools. From what little I've heard iTunes would fit the bill and do it well... but obviously I still need to find something until then (suggestions welcome).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 01, 2003 @01:38PM (#5853966)
    You still are paying fees to ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC (the recording artists' performance rights associations), right? Otherwise you're STILL stealing by re-broadcasting music without authorization.

    Remember, just because you think you can, not every Joe Blow can decide "Hey I'm gonna start a radio station today!"
  • by godawful (84526) on Thursday May 01, 2003 @01:39PM (#5853975)
    if you have a mac then you can use audio hijack [rogueamoeba.com] with that little baby, anything that comes out your speakers you can record
  • by zsmooth (12005) on Thursday May 01, 2003 @01:40PM (#5853985)

    From the TIME interview [time.com]:

    TIME: What about independent labels? Will they follow suit?

    Jobs: Yes. They've already been calling us like crazy. We've had to put most of them off until after launch just because the big five have most of the music, and we only had so many hours in the day. But now we're really going to have time to focus on a lot of the independents and that will be really great.

    So this should put to rest the people claiming that indies would never be allowed because the majors wouldn't allow it...

  • Independents (Score:3, Informative)

    by thenightfly42 (166359) on Thursday May 01, 2003 @01:40PM (#5853986)
    from TIME Magazine interview online with Steve Jobs:

    TIME: What about independent labels? Will they follow suit?

    Jobs: Yes. They've already been calling us like crazy. We've had to put most of them off until after launch just because the big five have most of the music, and we only had so many hours in the day. But now we're really going to have time to focus on a lot of the independents and that will be really great.
  • Yes, it will keep up (Score:5, Informative)

    by Have Blue (616) on Thursday May 01, 2003 @01:41PM (#5853992) Homepage
    Anyone who has not used iTunes does not understand just how convenient the store is. It's an entry right in your playlist collection (with a different icon). One click on it, and you're at the intro/overview page (or the last page you visited without quitting iTunes). iTunes' built-in search box works on the online catalog in this mode, type something in and it pops right up. Or you can switch to the categorized column-view browse mode (same button to switch any other playlist to browse mode), which is indistinguishable from browsing your local library except for network lag and the Buy button. Find a song you like, and one more click makes it download directly into your library and start playing. It's seamlessly integrated and completely oriented around impulse buying. I'm sure (I *hope*) for most people, one dollar per song is worth the removal of the time and aggravation cost of using P2P (aside from the time spent downloading on my modem, I can find music in the store faster than it would take to find Limewire on my HD and wait for it to gather a server list).
  • by frodo from middle ea (602941) on Thursday May 01, 2003 @01:41PM (#5854002) Homepage
    For linux i find yammi [sourceforge.net] very very useful.

    It integrats with xmms, noatun. Can build playlists, extendable via plug-ins.

    And Did i mention, extremly fast and accurate search engine. This is the feature that's most imp. to me. Just start tying in the search window, and it does an incremental search.

  • Emusic (Score:2, Informative)

    by jetkust (596906) on Thursday May 01, 2003 @01:43PM (#5854029)
    Dont have mac hardware etc, but I have tried this emusic [emusic.com] which I liked. Unlimited downloads for 9.99 a month (for 1 year) or 14.99 a month (for 3 months). It has streaming samples so you can see what they have beforehand (mostly rare stuff moreso than mainstream), Plus a 50 mp3 free trial.
  • by VoyagerRadio (669156) <harold.johnson@gmail.com> on Thursday May 01, 2003 @01:47PM (#5854075) Homepage Journal
    By covering all copyright fees, Live365 [live365.com] provides a service which allows you to legally webcast.
  • by freeweed (309734) on Thursday May 01, 2003 @01:49PM (#5854097)
    Sorry for the harsh subject line, but I find it difficult to believe that a person can make it more than a few years in life without noticing that virtually every consumer product is priced this way.

    $9.99, $99.99, $17,995 (for say, a car). We've had this as long as I've been alive, and from looking into older catalogues it's been standard practice in the retail industry since at least the 60's. EVERYONE rounds their price down slightly, so it appears cheaper when you quickly look at it. In fact, in the past decade many stores have successfully gone to a '95 cents' model, where $9.95 somehow looks more appealing to the shopper than $9.99. A whopping 4 cents less profit, but an amazing increase in sales.

    Psychologists have known about this for eons, and marketing types do this routinely. 99 cents just looks cheaper than an even buck, to most people. In fact, it's so bad that if I'm in a store with someone, see something for say $395, I'll comment "wow, four hundred dollars for that?". Almost invariably, the person I'm with will say "no, it's only three ninety five". People are so used to this that rounding up prices just seems wrong, somehow.
  • Meanwhile (Score:4, Informative)

    by ramzak2k (596734) * on Thursday May 01, 2003 @01:57PM (#5854209)
    Someone else that we know [kazaa.com]has been getting behind the action of it all. Microsoft has been distributing content with their own DRM through ALTnet on Kazaa.

    PressPlay [pressplay.com] is already on the same path using Microsoft DRM.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 01, 2003 @01:59PM (#5854231)
    Not exactly, DRM affects me after I've paid for something, a cashier doesn't.
  • by Van Halen (31671) on Thursday May 01, 2003 @02:03PM (#5854289) Homepage Journal
    My biggest concern with the new music store is the quality of the tracks. To put it simply, I don't want to be able to tell any difference whatsoever between the downloaded tracks and the same off of a retail CD. Under any listening conditions.

    Apple states that the 128-kbps AAC "combines sound quality that rivals CDs with smaller files sizes (compared to MP3s)." Someone reported that Apple said during the original PR event that some of the tracks actually sound better than the original CD tracks because they went back to the original master recordings to encode. Ok, I'll buy all that. AAC offers better compression and higher quality at lower bitrates. Fine. If really true, I might even consider re-ripping my CDs to AAC and saving some disk space. IF it's really that good. But as I said, the proof is in whether I can hear a difference. All other technical mumbo jumbo is meaningless.

    I previewed a number of songs the first night it was operational and was fairly impressed. Definitely much better than 128 kbps MP3. Then I put my headphones on and started to notice possible compression artifacts. I wasn't sure if I was imagining these or whether I was really hearing something, so I started listening to the previews of tracks I already have, ripped from original CDs. I compared the preview tracks to my MP3 copies, which are high quality VBR averaging a little over 200 kbps. I went back and forth between the store preview and my copy numerous times, and always felt like I heard compression artifacts in the previews. I wanted to setup a true blind test to make absolutely sure I wasn't being biased by knowing which sample was which, but I haven't had time this week.

    Apple's Discussion board [apple.com] for iTunes has numerous topics debating the quality of the AACs. Some people swear that the previews are lower quality, and what you get when you buy is perfect. Others say just the opposite. Apple itself says of the previews, "You'll hear a 30-second sample that rivals CD quality sound." Doesn't exactly say that the preview is the same quality as the purchased track, but kind of implies it too. MacInTouch has tons of reader reports [macintouch.com] that are interesting as well.

    I suppose ultimately I'll have to spend $0.99 and see for myself what happens. I'll try to choose a track that I have, and whose preview sounds pretty bad. If the purchased track is indistinguishable from the CD, I'll be a happy camper. But if it's the same as the preview, I'll be severely disappointed. I'd so love for this to take off, as it is the future of music buying. I think Apple has done a good job of balancing consumers' fair use rights with the rights of the copyright holders. If this flops, it'll be more fodder for the RIAA to push legislation through that protects their dying business model. (sorry, had to get political for a second there)

    But mainly I'm excited about the prospect of buying music this way. Hopefully in the near future, they'll have liner notes, etc available as a PDF when you buy. And lots more artists, including any that are out of print. That would so rock. So many CDs on my wishlist now are so hard to find, and I'd buy them in a heartbeat if they were available this way now. So please, Apple, don't let us down on quality! And if the quality really is subpar, let's all send them feedback (link at the music store main page) until they listen!

  • by jo_ham (604554) <joham999@@@gmail...com> on Thursday May 01, 2003 @02:03PM (#5854292)
    This has been the big thing hasn't it? DRM isn't bad in itself (although it would be nice to be without it), it depends how it is implemented.

    The DRM on these files is about as fair as you're going to get - you can burn the files to CD in iTunes and make a real, genuine 100% shiny CD that will work in a CD player. You can also play it on your machine, and three others.

    I don't think that's an entirely unreasonable thing to ask from a $0.99 track. Apple have managed to protect your fair use rights while at the same time preventing you from sharing the files with all and sundry on a p2p network (unless you rip the audio CD you just made into mp3 format).

    You can back up your purchased music, make CDs for your car, and for your friends, and you can stream music from anyone with a copy of iTunes 4 and enough bandwidth to spare.

    There are some good uses for DRM, and some very bad ones, just like there are good ways and bad ways of implementing the same task. I think Apple has made a good start with two very different parties to satisfy; their customers buying the music and the Content Cartells supplying the raw product.
  • Independents (Score:5, Informative)

    by 90XDoubleSide (522791) <ninetyxdoubleside&hailmail,net> on Thursday May 01, 2003 @02:03PM (#5854297)

    The other big news yesterday was that Steve Jobs confirmed that Apple is going to start putting up independent music once they get all of the big label music they negotiated for uploaded:

    TIME: What about independent labels? Will they follow suit?

    Jobs: Yes. They've already been calling us like crazy. We've had to put most of them off until after launch just because the big five have most of the music, and we only had so many hours in the day. But now we're really going to have time to focus on a lot of the independents and that will be really great.

    from: http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,4 48048,00.html

  • by Frightened_Turtle (592418) on Thursday May 01, 2003 @02:08PM (#5854356)
    I can tell you that the AAC format sounds incredibly good -- and I only pushed the bit rate up slightly (to 160) over the 128 default. Granted, I may not have the most acutely sensitive ears on the planet, but I did rerip one of my CD tracks and compared it to the MP3 I did originally at the maximum 300-something bit rate, and it sounds just as good -- and takes up a much smaller chunk of memory. I am very positively impressed.

    I did feel that the catalog offering was a bit thin -- mostly mainstream acts. But this is to be expected for a new venture. They have to stock up on stuff they know will sell right off the bat. I hope if this proves to be successful for Apple, then they'll go out and add some of the obscure stuff to the offerings. For me, that's the key. I download MP3's for only two reasons: to determine if I like the song and to get stuff that can't be gotten through any other method.

    I think it's a safe call, that Apple will offer more indy labels and obscure, rare, or discontinued tracks if their music store is a financial success. Of course, we can be sure that anti-consumer/pro-trust groups such as RIAA will probably make it very difficult for Apple to offer indy stuff.

    All that being said, I still did find a few songs that I haven't heard for years, and haven't seen in stores for years, either.

    What's the next step? How about allow independent (no-labels) musicians to post their music for download? I know I'd be more than happy to part with 25% of my proceeds if I could get a song or two selling. $750 for 1,000 sales of a song won't pay the rent, but it can put food on my table for a while. That's a lot better than any recording label could ever do for me! Kraft dinner, anyone?
  • by Feyr (449684) * on Thursday May 01, 2003 @02:24PM (#5854547) Journal
    Emusic recently (this morning?) started offering VBR (variable bitrate) MP3s, as opposed to 128kbits. you might like to give it a shot!

    sure they don;t have britney spears. but i've found some gems of music hidden deep in there! well worth my 14$/month (unlimited download)
  • by gadwale (46632) on Thursday May 01, 2003 @02:25PM (#5854561) Homepage

    While reading Walter Mossberg in the Wall Street Journal I came upon this paragraph:

    "The standard cable still hooks into a FireWire, or 1394, a port many Macs have but few Windows PCs include. So, Apple offers an alternate cable for $19 that plugs into the USB 2.0 port that's standard equipment on new Windows PCs. It will also work, albeit much more slowly, with the older USB ports found on nearly every Windows PC in the past four years. This opens up many more Windows computers for working with the iPod."

    Went to the Apple website and sure enough - The new iPod dock can now connect to a USB 2.0 port on Windows machines [apple.com]. What is more - you can also use a USB 1.1 port for _really_ slow transfers!

    From Apple Website:
    "USB 2.0
    For PC users, the iPod will be able to sync files via USB 2.0*, which transfers data at up to 480 Mbps and comes standard on the latest Windows computers. USB 2.0 is also compatible with USB 1.1, although data transfer speeds are much slower."

    Looks like a smart move...

    Adi Gadwale.
  • by cnkeller (181482) <cnkeller&gmail,com> on Thursday May 01, 2003 @02:30PM (#5854635) Homepage
    I fully plan on buying a Mac for my next system. I now can safely say I have no reason to stick to Linux, because I can still operate just as well using the BSD tools. I'm not a desktop programmer, so I don't care about that.

    I'm glad to see I'm not the only one. After being a diehard linux fanatic (yes fanatic) for the last 8 years, I've started the switch to OS X.

    Yes, it rocks. Yes, Quicken is far simpler than Gnucash. Yes, Warcraft 3 is better than Kohan. Having to learn objective-C is a little bit of a downer, but I guess you can't have everything.

    As for the cost, I don't really see it. My powerbook was three grand which is comparable for the same setup in an Intel/AMD world. A 17" flat panel developer worstation is the same price at both Apple and Dell. Yes, you can get Intel boxes cheaper, but the similar components seem to cost the same whether it's from Apple, Dell, or IBM.

    I'm not quite ready to trade in my servers for Apples yet, but my desktops are next on the list to replace. I'm looking into the Oracle developers release for Jaguar..not bad. However, I'll stick to linux there for now.

    OS X seems to be the perfect desktop blend of unix and open source functionality with a far superior user interface. When I was in college and then fresh out, tweaking linux to work with the latest hardware was fun and all, but I'm over it now. Things like this music service are just icing on the cake...

  • top downloads (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 01, 2003 @02:44PM (#5854864)
    >I'd like to see the stats on what songs were downloaded.

    you can see that in iTunes:

    Top Song Downloads
    1) Stick in a Moment (U2)
    2) Beautiful Day (U2)
    3) I will Follow (U2)
    4) Lose Yourself (Eminem)
    5) Soak Up the Sun (Sheryl Crow)
    6) Clocks (Coldplay)
    7) The Way I am (Eminem)
    8) Save and Sound (Sheryl Crow)
    9) January Stars (Sting)
    19) These Drugs (Eminem & D12)

    Top Album Downloads
    1) Sea Change (Beck)
    2) Thankful (Kelly Clarkson)
    3) C'Mon C'Mon (Sheryl Crow)
    4) Away from the Sun (3 Doors Down)
    5) Elvis 56 (Elvis)
    6) Greatest Hits (Fleetwood Mac)
    7) Eminem Show (Eminem)
    8) Get Rich or Die Tr... (50 Cents)
    9) All that you Can't leave behind (U2)
    10) The Joshua Tree (U2)

    You can see more in iTunes, but these are the two top ten lists. Pretty interesting.
  • by transient (232842) on Thursday May 01, 2003 @02:47PM (#5854904)
    Having to learn objective-C is a little bit of a downer

    You can use Java with the Cocoa frameworks too.

  • by Andy Dodd (701) <atd7@@@cornell...edu> on Thursday May 01, 2003 @02:49PM (#5854923) Homepage
    Note that full albums are MOSTLY 9.99, which is cheaper than in-store CDs.

    But the big thing is: These are CHEAP tracks. Keep in mind that the majority of CDs out there have 2-3 good tracks and the rest is crud.

    So if the CD is $12, you're paying $4-6 per track that you actually want. The other tracks are irrelevant in many cases. For example, I really like "Big Yellow Taxi" by Counting Crows, but I'm wary of buying the CD because I haven't heard anything else on it.

    If I had ITMS access, I would've bought that track days ago.
  • AAC is good! (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 01, 2003 @02:58PM (#5855035)
    After reading all of the comments about AAC vs. MP3, let me just say this: AAC is NOT MP3+DRM.

    I've been an audiophile for several years, and I have good experience with MP3 and MP3 bitrates. I listen to music on what I consider high-quality gear (Bose, Sony, Pioneer, Blapunkt, Yamaha). I can NOT listen to 128kbps MP3s. The quality loss annoys me to such a degree that I cannot enjoy the song. I can hear a little degredation in 160k mp3s, but I personally encode at MP3 VBR @ 192kbps. At this setting, I cannot tell the difference between the original source and the encoded file.

    I downloaded 13 songs from the iTunes service last night, and burned them to CD. I then took it with me in my car (where the sound system rivals the actual car in cost) and drove around for a while.

    I can say, for a fact, that 128k AAC rivals 192Kbps MP3s. I could not hear *ANY* artifacts or degredation in the songs I downloaded. NOTHING. They were *perfect*.

    From now on, i'm encoding in 128k AAC, and saving myself the hard drive space. I don't care if I can only use it on my Mac/iPod, but I'm sure as hell not using MP3 if I can use AAC.
  • by wyvern5 (565676) on Thursday May 01, 2003 @03:04PM (#5855122)
    iTunes is Carbon. Hence, the fact that it runs on OS X does not mean it will run with little modification on *NIX.
  • by SubtleNuance (184325) on Thursday May 01, 2003 @03:15PM (#5855222) Journal
    why would you pay for CDs when you already are LEGALLY able to copy AudioCDs? Because we pay a small levy on CDRs, Ottawa has negotiated the LEGAL RIGHT for us to make copies of any audio CD we please.

    Bring your burner down the the library and copy away! Have a "burn-my-discs" party and invite all your friends!

  • by Beebos (564067) on Thursday May 01, 2003 @03:16PM (#5855235)
    Yes, you can copy it on to as many iPods as you like. I believe that you cannot copy it off of those iPods, at least not with the iTunes software. The songs will not play on an unauthorized Mac, again, at least not with iTunes
  • by SubtleNuance (184325) on Thursday May 01, 2003 @03:26PM (#5855381) Journal
    start here [neil.eton.ca]
  • by jherubin (165175) on Thursday May 01, 2003 @03:58PM (#5855767)
    I don't see how this applies to brick and mortar retail outlets. Once you include tax on any item ending with .95 your back in the same boat. That is unless the state sales tax is 5%.

    Only 11 states in the US have a 5% sale tax rate.
  • Re:not sensible DRM (Score:5, Informative)

    by pressman (182919) on Thursday May 01, 2003 @04:12PM (#5855903) Homepage
    nope nope nope nope nope

    This will be coming to the Wintel world by year's end. You can burn your stuff to as many CD's as you'd like... just change your playlist every ten burns.

    Burn 'em to CD re-rip as whatever freaking format you'd like... hell, run it off to tape if you want! Copy all of your music over to a data DVD, back it up to DAT or DLT. You have a ton of options with all of this. You aren't roped into the Apple proprietary system.

    This will all be coming to Windows soon enough. Be patient. We Mac users have to be patient all the time, so now it's your turn to wait!

    p.s. Several readers have posted that they have downloaded a song a second time and have not been charged.
  • by Doktor Memory (237313) on Thursday May 01, 2003 @04:29PM (#5856163) Journal
    Are you sure that the AAC files will play in any device that understands AAC? Since you're limited to three Macs for playback, my guess is that the file is encrypted and only Apple hardware will understand it.

    The "three macs for playback" restriction is a function of iTunes. The files are not encrypted, and once burned to CD can be played anywhere.

  • by cmason (53054) on Thursday May 01, 2003 @05:49PM (#5856935) Homepage
    After reading your post, I downloaded Audio Hijack, used it on an AAC I bought from Apple earlier in the day, and then re-encoded to MP3 VBR using iTunes.

    The result is usable, but is definitely inferior in quality to the original AAC. This isn't surprising, but I was hoping it wouldn't be so. I know this isn't a scientific test: it's only one song and it wasn't blinded. A truely useful comparison would use a variety of material, would compare the original source as well and would use A/B/X blinding.

    I'm probably in the "audiophile" category, as I often hear things in audio that other's don't. However, I would call the differences between the original AAC and the hijacked MP3 substantial and not nit-picky. In my subjective test I found high percussion to be particularly objectionable. This is often what suffers in low(er) bit rit MP3 encodings.

    Of course I could leave the file as the 45 mb AIFF that AudioHijack generated (which sounds great), but I don't have that kind of disk space.

    Details: Song: Charm Attack (Leona Naess) 4:24. 4.2MB protected AAC @ 128kpbs. Audio Hijacked to 44.2MB AIFF. Recompressed to 3.2MB MP3 using iTunes (VBR Highest Quality 102kpbs average). Listened to on Etymotic ER-4 headphones. (I've heard people complain that the iTunes MP3 encoder is inferior. I don't hear any artifacts in VBR MP3s created from original CDs, but its certainly possible that another encoder might do a better job of recompressing.)

  • by c13v3rm0nk3y (189767) on Thursday May 01, 2003 @06:05PM (#5857143) Homepage

    Canadians have had the right to copy media for personal use for decades now. I don't know if this is related to the manufacturers tax levied on recordable digital media.

    The ability to copy most any media (with some restrictions, natch) is a consumer right in Canada.

  • by odenshaw (471011) on Thursday May 01, 2003 @06:31PM (#5857413)
    check this out from a time article

    "TIME: What about independent labels? Will they follow suit?

    Jobs: Yes. They've already been calling us like crazy. We've had to put most of them off until after launch just because the big five have most of the music, and we only had so many hours in the day. But now we're really going to have time to focus on a lot of the independents and that will be really great. "

    here is the article.

    THE ARTICLE [time.com]

FORTUNE'S FUN FACTS TO KNOW AND TELL: #44 Zebras are colored with dark stripes on a light background.

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