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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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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 01, 2003 @01:31PM (#5853876)
    Can't wait for no DRM? That is like saying you can't wait until Best Buy gets rid of those pesky cashiers. Why don't they just trust me to leave an appropriate amount of money for the goods that I walk out of the store with?? They are treating me like a criminal. Wah.
  • This is just a shift to a more 'service' oriented model of Apple. Don't expect them to sell more PC's, but expect them to sell more. Apple is actually doing what we've been saying MS was going to do, become a service provider.
  • by chef_raekwon (411401) on Thursday May 01, 2003 @01:34PM (#5853909) Homepage
    Now all that needs to happen is for Apple to go out and get a massive catalog of Indy music they can represent, give profits to the artists and kill the big record labels.

    this is funny AND true. ever stepped into the huge conglomerate music stores of late? same music they were selling last year, just with different band names, and song titles......

    The state of music today would certainly allow Indy to take over, just because of creativity alone. Apple would be wise to catalog Indy music. (and those profits of 100,000 would be ten fold.)
  • by sunbeam60 (653344) on Thursday May 01, 2003 @01:37PM (#5853946) Homepage
    Why is this the real question? With 2% of the marketshare, Apple has to find revenue streams anywhere they can.

    It's is only relevant if Apple isn't willing to change to make money. If they live off the music store in 10 years and hardly sell any Macs, who cares? (I mean, besides all the people who likes Mac) The shareholders sure won't, as long as their shares pay off, they are happy.
  • Internet Crack (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Cheap Imitation (575717) on Thursday May 01, 2003 @01:38PM (#5853955)
    At 99cents a track, this is a quick, easy impulse purchase for most people, with instant gratification. Far easier than heading down to the store and buying a CD... or ordering one and waiting for it to ship.

    Once they roll this out for Windows or Linux, I'll have a hard time fighting the impulses. It's only 99 cents, right? Cheap! 15 or 20 tracks later, I'll realize I just dropped $20.

    Apple may very well succeed because of the low investment necessary... and because at only 99 cents, the instant gratification may get addictive. Smart move on their part.

  • by EccentricAnomaly (451326) on Thursday May 01, 2003 @01:39PM (#5853972) Homepage
    According to Fortune [fortune.com]: "The iTunes Music Store will initially offer 200,000 tunes, paying the record companies an average of 65 cents for each track it sells."

    Apple gets $.99 for singles, but less for albums (I bought a 20 track album fo $9.99)... and I'm sure that they need to pay the credit card companies some percentage, and then pay Akamai for the servers, and Amazon for the one-click patents... so I doubt they make more that 15 cents per song on average... but that's still a good margin... but more like $40,000 than El Reg's $100,000 estimate
  • by Dylan Zimmerman (607218) <Bob_Zimmerman AT myrealbox DOT com> on Thursday May 01, 2003 @01:40PM (#5853988)
    Well, from what I've heard (I can't use the store since I'm stuck with Windows), you can recommend artists. So, go recomend all of your favorite independant bands. Hopefully, Apple will decide to pick some of them up.

    If Apple starts selling Indy music, then they can either do it at a lower price, higher profit, or both. Without the record labels in the way, set Apple's cut at $.33, the musicians' cut at another $.33, and that makes for a $.66 song. Pretty good competition for the RIAA, really.

    Of course, then they'd have $6.66 albums.
  • by sweetooth (21075) * on Thursday May 01, 2003 @01:42PM (#5854016) Homepage
    Also, we've been over this 47,000 times now, but the DRM imposed on the Apple store tracks isn't restrictive to a user at all. The only time it gets in the way is if you want to do something less than legal with your purchased goods.

    And even then it is extremely simple to circumvent. I think the lower quality audio and small selection are the only things really holding this back. I think Apple worked out the perfect amount of DRM for this type of service.
  • by zfractal (170078) on Thursday May 01, 2003 @01:43PM (#5854022)
    Yes, it will take some time before we see some real numbers. Still, it's just the Mac part of the market (and just the U.S. part of the Mac market at that) - iTunes for Windows will be released later this year, and I would hope that Apple would expand beyond the U.S. market. With these additions this could add some serious gross revenues to Apple's bottom line.
  • by pressman (182919) on Thursday May 01, 2003 @01:43PM (#5854025) Homepage
    Or, you burn a CD of the music you purchase... the disc is a normal CD and you rip the music to MP3. Pretty simple actually.
  • by lpp (115405) on Thursday May 01, 2003 @01:44PM (#5854034) Homepage Journal
    First, a disclaimer. I am 100% opposed to illegal song swapping (ala Napster, Limewire and friends).

    That said, I want to point something out. I don't own an iPod. If I owned, instead, an Archos Jukebox, I would be unable to listen to my music on my own hardware.

    This is, as far as I know, a completely legal action, but something that is currently impossible due to DRM constraints.

    _lpp
  • by gmhowell (26755) <gmhowell@gmail.com> on Thursday May 01, 2003 @01:48PM (#5854082) Homepage Journal
    This is a big story outside the 'geekosphere'. How do I know this? The other day, my father said 'So, what do you think of this new music thing that Apple is doing?'

    !?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 01, 2003 @01:48PM (#5854085)
    Why you would need a MAC to get music quickly over the net either means A) You are an idiot, B) You are an APPLE SHILL or C) You are likely both

    How about D) He actually likes the idea of some money going to the artists, rather than stealing the music.
  • by zsmooth (12005) on Thursday May 01, 2003 @01:49PM (#5854093)

    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...

    ... so far. Surely they're waiting to see how successful the current version is. Also the Windows one probably won't be out for awhile, so there's still time for everyone to get on board. (And I predict they will).

  • by siberian (14177) * on Thursday May 01, 2003 @01:50PM (#5854116)
    [Tracks drop to $0.49]

    'Yea its cool and all but I want DRM free music for $0.19'

    [Tracks drop to $0.19, DRM free]

    'Sure, thats cool and all but I want to be able to buy multiple tracks with a complex pricing algorithm that determines how mcuh to charge be based on my average usage across a limited period of time, plus the moon phase'

    [Tracks do the above]

    'Ok ok, I give up, I am just shooting holes in anything that is out there because its easier then admitting that someone MAY have gotten something right.'

    I can not even count how many people, WITHOUT EVEN SEEING THE SERVICE, have sat around bitching about it. Its hilarious. Now, days later, they are all using it quietly.
  • by pauljlucas (529435) on Thursday May 01, 2003 @01:50PM (#5854118) Homepage Journal
    ... the DRM imposed on the Apple store tracks isn't restrictive to a user at all. The only time it gets in the way is if you want to do something less than legal with your purchased goods.
    I want to play purchased songs on both my Rio Receiver and my Neo Car Jukebox [ssiamerica.com]. These units play only MP3 files. I should therefore be able to convert the AAC file to an MP3 file. iTunes forbids this personal use even though it's perfectly legal for me to do.

    The iPod is a cool device, no question; but it's not for me. I don't listen to music while walking around or riding the train. I listen only through my home stereo and in my car, neither of which an iPod does easily or well.

    (Please don't reply telling me of solutions for this: I've already looked and, IMnsHO, they are all unsatisfactory. And I'm entitled to my opinion.)

  • by MrCode (466053) on Thursday May 01, 2003 @01:51PM (#5854128)
    This is a good thing. Someone had to take the risk of trying something like this, and now that we have this initial success the record labels really have to reconsider some of their decisions regarding internet distribution.

    Most of us may not agree with the use of DRM and AAC files, but progress is best made by a series of compromises. Considering what the music labels really want to shove down our throats, I think Apple has provided a pretty consumer-friendly compromise. Now that they have set this precedent, I think we can feel a little more secure that things can't get any worse, but hopefully better.

    Now they just need to begin the slow process of removing the big evil record labels from the picture by offering independent artists that are self-produced or produced by small labels. Of course since becoming redundant is the real fear held by the RIAA and their ilk, this "compromise" may be harder to achieve.
  • by aftk2 (556992) on Thursday May 01, 2003 @01:54PM (#5854170) Homepage Journal
    No, it's impossible because the formats are different. The Archos doesn't support AAC or WMA. You could rip your own CDs into the AAC format, have complete right to stream them to any number of computers, but you still wouldn't be able to take them on the Archos, because the Archos can't play AAC files!

    This is like bitching that BMG offers a music service through which you can only buy CDs, and you have a tape player. Even though it really sucks that you just bought a tape player, it's not the actions of DRM that are keeping the music from working on it.
  • Re:crazy (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pressman (182919) on Thursday May 01, 2003 @01:55PM (#5854172) Homepage
    Because some of us actually want to reward the artists for their hard work. How would you feel if your employer just stopped paying you? Would you feel appreciated and want to continue with your work? Are you that much of a samaritan?

    I didn't think so.
  • by meta-monkey (321000) on Thursday May 01, 2003 @01:55PM (#5854176) Journal
    Sigh, I know it's there for a reason, but I still hate it. These days, I buy a CD, pop it in my powerbook, rip all the tracks to mp3, and put it on my home linux server so I can listen to it on any of my computers. I get whatever bitrate I want, I have the original copy, and I can take it anywhere I want. It's also quick and painless. I don't share these files on any file sharing networks, nor with friends...but none of them have ever actually asked, as I have very different tastes in music from my friends.

    I guess I'll give the AMS a try, though I probably won't like it, because I'll feel like I'm paying for something I won't actually own, and I'm used to at least feeling like I "own" the music I buy. I hate the fact that my computer is actively working against me to do what I want to do. It's not that I can't do it because the technology doesn't exist or something...the computer is actively working against me. My own computer!

    DRM "technology" turns computing on its head. Always in the past, I buy new hardware or software so it'll let me do new things. Now, here's "new technology" to prevent me from doing things I could do before! No thank you.
  • by valkraider (611225) on Thursday May 01, 2003 @01:55PM (#5854181) Journal
    Geez, there is always one! They could price it at a penny, and someone would say - that's just too expensive, maybe at half a penny I'll buy!

    The point is that for $20 I can get the EXACT 20 songs I want. Not $15 for 3 songs I want and 10 I could care less about. A regular CD cost (street price) $12 - $17 new, usually $8 used. Even buying used, if you like less than 8 songs on the disk - you are paying more than Apple's service.

    I think they should increase their bitrate 1 notch - to better compete with CDs. But the price is pretty fair.
  • by PetWolverine (638111) on Thursday May 01, 2003 @01:55PM (#5854188) Journal
    We finally have a high-quality, inexpensive, pay-per-song online music service, and all you can do is badmouth it.

    Point by point:

    In a related article, recent studies show that Apple zealots will buy just about anything as long as it has a candy colored apple logo and some brushed metal interface.

    Candy coloring is far less likely to have an effect on an Apple zealot, who probably knows something about technology, than on a technophobe who bases his/her buying decision largely on the appearance of a product. And, incidentally, the brushed metal interface has been almost universally bashed from day 1. There's even a utility to change the brushed-metal interface of Safari to Aqua [versiontracker.com].

    As much as I'm against the DRM and the low bitrate itunes uses,...

    Apple hates DRM. Clearly, considering you can burn as many CDs as you want, use as many iPods as you want, and transfer the song files between up to three Macs, not to mention play them on any computer you wish over a network or the Internet, the little bit of DRM Apple included in these files is there to pacify the RIAA. I'm surprised they managed to get the Big Five on board with as little DRM as this, frankly.

    And the low bitrate comment is absurd. These are AACs, not MP3s. The quality of a 128 kbps AAC rivals [macrumors.com] that of the original uncompressed audio source. ..., I actually see this as a good thing.

    Wow! Music with practically no DRM, delivered cheaper than CDs in a digital format over the Internet, and compressed at a high enough bitrate to be of better quality than CDs...and you actually think this is a good thing? What low standards!

    The Indy music idea, on the other hand, is a good one...and it will probably happen [time.com].
  • by Michael_Burton (608237) <michaelburton@brainrow.com> on Thursday May 01, 2003 @01:58PM (#5854219) Homepage

    I think the significance of this it that major distributors have signed on to a service that isn't locked in to Microsoft-proprietary file formats. If the Apple store is successful, more distributors will be signing on to this, or looking into other ways to get online.

    Yes, Apple's music comes with DRM. I don't think major distributors will sign up without it. Apple's model is less restrictive than many of the current online music sellers. Consumers haven't seemed willing to pay for music that's severely locked down. Apple's venture will show distributors whether we're willing to pay for greater freedom with our tunes.

    I really don't think we're going to get a DRM-free future. Sad but true. Unless Apple fully documents their DRM technology so that other companies can build devices that can play these modified AAC files, we may be trading Microsoft's proprietary lockdown for Apple's. I want open formats for everything--including DRM technology.

  • by hoggoth (414195) on Thursday May 01, 2003 @01:59PM (#5854229) Journal
    > I was a little surprised there was DRM. ...
    > [Steve Jobs said] had been researching DRM for a long time, and no matter what it can always be hacked
    > he never let on that apple had huge plans

    Isn't it obvious that Steve Jobs and Apple don't care a bit about DRM getting hacked? They care about getting DRM good enough to get the record labels to sign up to distribute music through Apple.

  • by stratjakt (596332) on Thursday May 01, 2003 @02:00PM (#5854238) Journal
    Whether you buy the music online or from Best Buy, so long as the producer makes the same amount of cash, they dont give a shit. Really.

    What slashbots keep saying, though, is that the RIAA should "wake up" and invest billions in a new eCommerce infrastructure that they must maintain, because it might be profitable. Why would they? Especially after the .com bust. You can fault them for a lot of things, but not for being pragmatic when it comes to doling out investors cash.

    Build it and they will come. Apple built it, and they came to the tune of $100,000. I'm sure setup costs were at least a magnitude of order greater than that, and they're still in the hole. But so long as it's Apples gamble, the RIAA could give a shit. They're out to make money. Whether they make it from online sales or from plastic spinning discs, they dont care.

  • by dfenstrate (202098) <dfenstrate@gmaQUOTEil.com minus punct> on Thursday May 01, 2003 @02:00PM (#5854249)
    Evidently you've missed out on the self-checkout lanes which are starting to become popular.

  • by dissy (172727) on Thursday May 01, 2003 @02:02PM (#5854283)
    > How about 'an open format' ?

    Concidering everyone else is still stuck on MP3, which is not open at all (and is even more expensive than AAC to use) you can hardly fault apple for this.
    Their option is no worse than what anyone else is using.

    Its amazing, apple offers many features that everyone conciders great, and on this one feature they do basically the same thing (use a closed format like everyone else), and thats the feature that gets bashed.

    MP3 is closed, and requires licencing to make encoders or decoders.
    redbook (audio CDs) are also closed format and requires licencing (Though i dont know about the costs for that one)
    AAC is closed.

    Seems to be you should be bitching at EVERYONE that isnt the 0.01% of the population that uses a computer and OGG, not just apple.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 01, 2003 @02:04PM (#5854312)
    Yeah big fuckin deal. NSync's "Celebrity" album sold 900,000 units on its first day. That doesn't make them or their product good, or say anything about their longevity in the marketplace.
  • by Xerithane (13482) <xerithane&nerdfarm,org> on Thursday May 01, 2003 @02:05PM (#5854323) Homepage Journal
    Wonder how many people will actually do this.

    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.

    This is just one more perk to owning a Mac, and I'm fully ready to start becoming a full-fledged, card carrying Mac whore.

    The only issue I have with Macs is their cost, but I think I can cope by having a pretty damn cool, commercially supported, end-user Unix system.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 01, 2003 @02:06PM (#5854329)
    I would also like to chime in on the comments people have made about low bitrate. If you are a true audiophile, this would be a disappointment, but consider how most people listen to music:

    1. In the car - wind/engine noise are going affect music quality more than the bitrate.

    2. From the computer - although you can buy high-quality speakers, most people don't buy the quality of speakers that would make a difference.

    3. Through headphones (exercising, in bed at night when your S/O is asleep, on an airplane, on a subway, etc. etc.) - increase bitrate over 128k is probably not going to be noticeable.

    Someone will no doubt point out obvious ways in which the 128k bitrate will be noticeable, but remember apple is trying to sell to the mass market. How many people who were downloading from napster were downloading above 128k? Yes it was free, but also illegal (disputable, but the courts did shut them down). With this service, its arguably reasonably priced, legal, and with minimal DRM restrictions.

    My 2 cents.
  • by gr (4059) on Thursday May 01, 2003 @02:06PM (#5854330) Journal
    this is funny AND true. ever stepped into the huge conglomerate music stores of late? same music they were selling last year, just with different band names, and song titles......

    The state of music today would certainly allow Indy to take over, just because of creativity alone.
    Um, you sure?

    Do you think the megastores would keep selling the same thing as last year with a fresh coat of varnish if it weren't, you know, selling?

    Are you sure this crap isn't exactly what the market wants, even if it's not what you and I want? That creativity doesn't actually make sales in the music biz?

    Because it sure looks that way to me...

    (Consider not just music stores, but also just what it was actually possible to find on Napster, for instance. Creative, new, indy music? Not really. The latest Eminem & Britney Spears collaboration piece? For sure!)
  • by nemesisj (305482) on Thursday May 01, 2003 @02:07PM (#5854343) Homepage
    Here's something that I'd like to know (I don't have a Mac and can't use the store) - does the ASM track which music you've bought in the past so that if your hard drive blows up/gets stolen/damaged/or anything else which causes your music that you bought and downloaded to be lost you can download the songs again?
  • Stye (Score:5, Insightful)

    by limekiller4 (451497) on Thursday May 01, 2003 @02:08PM (#5854351) Homepage
    I think this is going to be a major "stye in the eye" of all those who claim that Napster et al are nothing more than common theves. When people are clammoring to buy a product that can be stolen fairly safely, I think that's saying something (read; most people don't mind anteing up for what they use).

    Interestingly enough, this could VERY easily be viewed as a Very Good Thing by all the IP-based companies. Proof-positive that people will climb over each other to buy your product if you just let them but they'll obtain it by other means if you don't.

    But will the RIAA & company view it as such? No. Why? Because what they want more than revenue is control. Because control, in their current model, is equivalent to a sustainable business. When they start loosing control of how the product can get to market, when they lose their status as the so-called gatekeepers of IP whose ass you must lick to be heard, they're screwed. You can't abuse people when you aren't the only game in town.

    Then it becomes a buyer's market. Which, trust me, is the last thing these people want.
  • by ilsie (227381) on Thursday May 01, 2003 @02:09PM (#5854365)
    I notice a lot of people who haven't used it are complaining about the low bitrate .aac's. Well, I actually bought a Live Phish track today that I have also ripped at 192k mp3 and level 6 ogg. I listened to all three with my MDR-EX70 neodymium driver earbuds, and guess what? They all sounded pretty much the same.
  • by ThatWeasel (113982) on Thursday May 01, 2003 @02:11PM (#5854386) Homepage
    Apple owns a portion of Akamai, doesn't it? If anything, them using their servers is probably a lot less of a cost factor than one thinks.

    And the Amazon 1 Click charge also gets factored into their Online Store sales as well and hopefully its not a Per-Click Charge.

    It will seem like pennies but 100 pennies equal a dollar and so forth.

    The iTunes Music Store is a nice service and something I've been waiting for and hoping someone developed.

    And just about anyone that says $.99 is too much, they're probably expecting to get everything for free. And if they're expecting that... they're probably pirating music.

    I'm probably going to get flamed for this... eck.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 01, 2003 @02:11PM (#5854392)
    ...of this conflict with the Kazster crowd.

    Somehow, if people don't make purchasing something as convenient and cheap as you expect it to be, you have the right to take it.

    In the case of utilities with true monopoly on the electric power coming into your home doubling their price in a two month period, I could see the justification in say altering your meter to cut the price back down to where it was. This wouldn't seem unjust to me.

    In the case of charging too much for music (not food, not power, not water, CDs), and not making it available online with massive bandwidth and high-bit rates for cheap, I can't really see how this entitles you to buy one copy and distribute it to 400 people, any more than waiting five minutes at the QuickMart entitles you to a free magazine.

    How does this work?
  • Re:Internet Crack (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Idarubicin (579475) <allsquiet@@@hotmail...com> on Thursday May 01, 2003 @02:15PM (#5854428) Journal
    It's only 99 cents, right? Cheap! 15 or 20 tracks later, I'll realize I just dropped $20.

    Yeah, but the difference is that now you've dropped twenty bucks to get the three or four good tracks from each of a half dozen different albums, rather than paying for all the filler on one CD. Not only that, you didn't have to get in your car and drive to the mall.

    You got value for your money, and you saved the planet. Feel warm and fuzzy? Reward yourself with another couple of songs. ;)

  • by Frank of Earth (126705) <frank@@@fperkins...com> on Thursday May 01, 2003 @02:15PM (#5854432) Homepage Journal
    True, it doesn't facilitate theft, but then you have to compare that against the 4 or so cashiers that you didn't have to hire.
  • This PROVES it. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dentar (6540) on Thursday May 01, 2003 @02:16PM (#5854437) Homepage Journal
    With this announcement, it has been unequivocally proven that RIAA missed the boat big time.

    This is what happens when an industry fails to innovate. They can play the blame game all they want, they lost because they didn't keep up with what consumers wanted.

    Apple did and is going to win this round.

  • Re:Selling out (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mritunjai (518932) on Thursday May 01, 2003 @02:16PM (#5854441) Homepage
    Call me devil's advocate, but for a business to succeed it has to do one thing - make money!

    Without DRM, you can't restrict free trading of files on P2P networks. What will prevent all those AAC files from iTunes appear on Kazaa... the business model will fail that day.

    Apple has taken a sensible approach to DRM. They allow you to burn the AAC files to CDs as data files and as audio CDs. The latter will play in ALL players.

    Now Michael Robertson (of mp3.com) is bitching that users won't be able to play it in MP3 players... fine enough. MP3 SHOULD CEASE to exist.
    Better formats like Vorbis are not picking up just because every Joe is making MP3 players.

    Apple, for one, will succeed in doing one thing - making those Joes realise that there is something *else* than MP3 too!! When the HW mfgrs will realise that, they will look for major alternatives... sure 8 out of 10 will go to AAC/WMA/RM route, but 2 will also do Vorbis, and there it will break the ice.

    Today every DVD/CD player comes with MP3 support just because they are oblivious to the fact that something else exists... they just don't want to go to desk and design a decoder chip for anything else... Apple is poking them and shouting "wake up"... This is a Good Thing (TM). In the process if Apple makes some money... well good for them. Things have to start somewhere.

    Finally... get over with that "mp3 is word of god" thing. Sure you don't want to give up your existing player... but some time down the line when you'd be seaching for your next player... you'd definitely want a choice besides MP3.
  • by NetCurl (54699) on Thursday May 01, 2003 @02:17PM (#5854449)
    If you haven't noticed, you can burn the AAC files to CD. Then, pop the CD back in and rip the MP3s off.

    AAC sounds fantastic. I usually rip MP3s at 160-192 kbps, using VBR. This makes very nice sounding MP3 files, and I can't tell the difference between the MP3 and the CD. The only draw back, is that they are kinda large, but with a 20 Gig iPod, I'm not too worried.

    AAC actually sounds as good, as far as I can tell, as my MP3s do. So all this talk of "low bit-rate" and "DRM-sUckS!" is ridiculous. If you don't like the DRM, burn a CD (or 10 before changing the playlist), and re-import it as MP3s and never think about AAC again.

  • Re:Selling out (Score:5, Insightful)

    by standards (461431) on Thursday May 01, 2003 @02:17PM (#5854455)
    Gee, this guy sounds like a sore loser.

    He has clearly mentioned the disadvantages of the service (as have many others). However, he completely failed to mention the major disadvantages of his own failed service, and how the Apple service attempts to form a balance.

    Clearly he has not learned from his own failures. Not a good businessman.

    There are consumers and there are copyright owners. The goal is to be fair and reasonable to both. MP3.com failed in this mission. Napster also failed. Gnutella fails.

    We all see the advantages and disadvantages. Now it's time to see if this is merely a step (or a leap) closer to a workable solution.
  • by Nijika (525558) on Thursday May 01, 2003 @02:22PM (#5854513) Homepage Journal
    Now all that needs to happen is for Apple to go out and get a massive catalog of Indy music they can represent, give profits to the artists and kill the big record labels.

    Doesn't or didn't (haven't been there in a while) mp3.com offer this, but without payment to the Indie bands? The only problem I forsee is the dilluting of all content with legitimately bad content.. Perhaps a rating system? Listen before you buy, and the more people buy, the higher your rating?

    I dunno, but I'd be very excited about this.

  • Quickly != P2P (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ianscot (591483) on Thursday May 01, 2003 @02:24PM (#5854534)
    ...Kazaa or Limewire or Gnutella or Morpheus... Why you would need a MAC to get music quickly over the net either means A) You are an idiot, B) You are an APPLE SHILL or C) You are likely both

    Even aside from your odd sentence structure, the word "quickly" must mean something really different to you than it does to the rest of us. Maybe it means "slow and frustrating"?

    You mention P2P stuff, but you don't seem to have looked for anything less common than Britney's latest hit... I had a little Limewire phase, but dang it if I have the time to hassle with that.

    But I agree, the parent was a Pollyanna post. I also gotta notice that a lot of people bought music on this service fast. Maybe you should be wondering why instead of flaming away, you know? Hint: the answer is not "Those Mac people will believe anything 'cause they're zealots." Maybe it has something to do with Apple seriously thinking about how to hit the sweet spot so they could satisfy the customers and the labels. You think?

  • by NetCurl (54699) on Thursday May 01, 2003 @02:24PM (#5854535)
    At the self-check out lane at my grocery store, the conveyor belt actually detects an object passing through (there is a scanner halfway down the belt). If you haven't scanned it, and it detects more objects than you scanned, it stops, backs up and calls an employee.

    Apple's DRM only makes it more difficult for the masses to share the music after purchase. What Apple and the Music industry is banking on is the impulse buy. They have priced these songs at such a level that people don't think twice before just purchasing a $.99 song. The impulse buy is the entire concept behind this store. It's just as easy now to acquire the song for "pennies" as it is to go download it over your favorite P2P.

    Apple is betting that they can watch the actions of the people who are using the service, and figure out how to make it even better. Right now they're tracking customer tendency, and with the customer data being completely real-time and digital, they can analyze and react. They're banking on making it easier and more attractive than P2P sources.

    I wouldn't be surprised to see AAC at 160kbps, a Windows version of iTunes 4 (it's already being worked on), and a slightly lower price per song, in the near future.

    This is a serious assault on the idea that you couldn't use online music distribution. Take it serious, stop judging it, and see if it works. Even if it fails, it's bound to show us the path to making it effective and viable.

  • by Demerara (256642) on Thursday May 01, 2003 @02:25PM (#5854549) Homepage
    I figured I would try to find some old Tears For Fears music


    This, IMHO, is the key to the success of online music. I have NO intention of ever buying a Tears For Fears CD. But I would pay 99cents each for a couple of their tracks.


    If everyone slowly builds up their personal "Greatest Hits of My Life", in this manner, the industry will continue to rake in the cash required to support the development of the next generation of Britney the like.

    ...oops

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 01, 2003 @02:26PM (#5854566)
    I don't know what took the music industry so long.

    Actually, what's STILL taking them so long?

    It wasn't the music companies that spurred this form of music sales, it was a unique mind from an entirely different industry! (i.e. Steve Jobs)

    Often, it takes someone outside the realm to figure out how to fix it's problems
  • Re:Well... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by rilister (316428) on Thursday May 01, 2003 @02:26PM (#5854570)
    How can PC users see the store - as in the contents? I'm thinking if I could browse the contents from a PC (I know I can't buy anything), they might have me running out and buying a tasty new Imac from the Mac Store down the road in minutes.

    However, until I see otherwise, I'm going to assume it's packed with Britney and the Dave Matthews Band and the like.
  • Re:Emusic (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Kwil (53679) on Thursday May 01, 2003 @02:28PM (#5854606)
    I guess I am a Corporate Rock Scumbag.
    There is no reason for it to exist other then 'Its not apple'.

    Think real hard on these two lines.. see if you can spot the flaw.
  • by Dan Ost (415913) on Thursday May 01, 2003 @02:36PM (#5854730)
    Get back, Troll!

    Apple has several products in the sub-$1000 range.
  • by Andy Dodd (701) <atd7@nOspaM.cornell.edu> on Thursday May 01, 2003 @02:40PM (#5854794) Homepage
    I believe the iPod was originally Mac-only, and still works BEST with the Mac, but it is now available in Mac and PC-specific versions.

    Why? While it would be nice to sell a Mac, Apple realizes that the iPod will only go so far to sell a Mac, and they might as well make more money on iPods from people that will never, EVER buy a Mac but might buy an iPod. (Like myself. Well, I might buy a Mac, but never a new one, and that doesn't make Apple money.)
  • by Clock Nova (549733) on Thursday May 01, 2003 @02:41PM (#5854806)
    The point is that without the paltry DRM that they did implement, the record lables would not have given them song one to sell at their store. This DRM implementation is about the fairest and most lenient compromise that you will ever find. I mean, come on! All it really does is add a few extra steps between the user and a totally DRM-free file. This is just to prevent casual copiers (which make up the vast majority of listeners) from making copies without thinking about it. And it prevents people from easily making thousands of CDs to sell.

    If you really want to remove the DRM then, as others have said, it is very easy to do. And you can burn as many damn CDs as you want with these files! DRM not fair? Please! About the only thing you cannot do is copy a file to more than three computers. That's it. And you can even do that if you burn then re-rip it. So quit yer whinin'!

    But if even this does not satisfy you, then by all means stick to Kazaa. I'll probably still use P2P services for those odd Pogues, Coil, or Webb Wilder tracks that I cannot get from the iStore. But if they ever get around to adding them, I'll pay for them.
  • by PhoenixK7 (244984) on Thursday May 01, 2003 @02:44PM (#5854872)
    You could use Audio Hijack. Its from the same developers as the original and most recent macamp (not macast).

    Audio Hijack [rogueamoeba.com]

    Dump audio from any app before it gets sent out to the speakers.

    Ugly, but its still probably easier than running over to the store to buy CDs that, in general, will cost you more with tax. And its definately faster than burning and ripping.
  • by Clock Nova (549733) on Thursday May 01, 2003 @02:49PM (#5854930)
    ...and neither does Apple. You want to burn 1000 CDs of your new track? You can. You may have to make a slight alteration to your playlist every 10 burns, but you can do it.

    You want to copy your new file to 1000 computers? You can do it. Just burn it to a CD, then rip it off as an MP3, OGG, or unprotected ACC. The loss in quality is absolutely negligable. And you can then even more easily burn it to 1000 CDs.

    This DRM scheme amounts to little more than a gentle, one-time reminder that you shouldn't do those things. But it by no means prevents you from doing it. What more do you want?! Oh, yeah- free music.
  • by KirkH (148427) on Thursday May 01, 2003 @02:57PM (#5855019)
    Yeah, man. All those viruses and worms that have been written to hijack IE and buy random books over Amazon have really been a pain too...oh wait, no they haven't.

    Apple is doing nothing that Amazon hasn't been doing for years. There are no hooks in iTunes that allow scripted purchses, so I don't think you have anything to worry about.
  • by 0x0d0a (568518) on Thursday May 01, 2003 @02:59PM (#5855043) Journal
    I doubt it, since it costs them the download bandwidth.

    OTOH, if you buy a CD in meatspace and break it, you're similarly out of luck.
  • by PetWolverine (638111) on Thursday May 01, 2003 @03:06PM (#5855137) Journal
    Candy coloring is far less likely to have an effect on an Apple zealot, who probably knows something about technology, than on a technophobe who bases his/her buying decision largely on the appearance of a product.

    Nothing has an effect on Apple zealots. Any and all fluff or defects are seen as godsends from god himself, Steve Jobs.

    I admit it: I am an Apple zealot. I think the fact that my family owns seven Macintoshes is enough to support this in the face of everything I'm about to say.

    Current Macs are slow. Mac OS X is not a perfect operating system: it crashes; there are parts of the interface I don't like; the brushed metal interface, while okay in and of itself, clashes with Aqua and makes for an inconsistent experience; the list goes on. iTunes could be better: it often loses track of my some of my song files, it has a limit on my library size which I will probably hit this summer, and so on. My 15" Studio Display is very unsatisfactory, having a resolution of only 1024x768. I had a problem recently that disabled a certain feature because I removed an Ethernet card...which was unnecessary for that feature.

    Macs have their faults.

    Nonetheless, Windows and Linux also have their faults, which are much more numerous, in my opinion, than those of Mac OS X. Speed isn't too much of an issue to me, and in any case Macs have historically been faster than Wintels just about exactly as often as the opposite. iTunes may lose some files on occasion, making me point out to it again and again where on my hard drives those files are, but the interface is excellent, smart playlists are incredibly convenient, library sharing (which also works over the Internet, though less automatically than on a network) is amazing, and on and on. The display I criticized has been discontinued, and Apple's current lineup of displays is quite satisfactory, to say the least--never mind rumors of a 30" Cinema Display in the works.

    Every system has its faults. Apple's systems generally have fewer. They have made bad products (the Quicktake 200, anybody? The Performa 6400? I've owned and hated both), but the average quality of their products is much higher than that of most other computer companies.

    Apple hates DRM.

    So I'm sure Jobs wouldn't mind if, after I paid for my copy of OSX, I shared it with every Mac owner I know?

    No, that's not what I said. He's not in favor of you stealing, but he trusts you not to, and he doesn't like DRM because, as he has said repeatedly, it "treats the consumer like a criminal".

    And the low bitrate comment is absurd. These are AACs, not MP3s. The quality of a 128 kbps AAC rivals [macrumors.com] that of the original uncompressed audio source

    You cite a Mac fan site as a source, and you call his claim absurd?

    How's this [slashdot.org] for a better source? And that was the first to come up in a Google search [google.com]. I didn't even bother to look at the ones further down, since I got what I wanted so quickly, but there are probably a few (dozen, hundred, thousand?) more sources there.
  • Re:Quickly != P2P (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ianscot (591483) on Thursday May 01, 2003 @03:10PM (#5855172)
    You're a dialup user or you have a shitty broadband connection if you don't.

    Cable modem, not sure what the average speed would be. It's not bad -- streaming video is only a problem for the servers on the other end.

    Stupid example: I have 9-year-old twins who had to do a nature exhibit for a science fair. They chose to do this elaborate thing about muskrats -- actually showed a lot of initiative. Long story short, along the way they found out about the song "Muskrat Love" -- oh, man, my head hurts. So, they wanted "Muskrat Love" to burn to a CD and play in front of their exhibit as a little joke.

    We go out in the P2P world, looking for "Muskrat Love." I looked for it several times over the few days before the science fair thing. Saw it among the search results a few times. Got a lot of busy signals, one extremely slow aborted download (despite a supposed T1 connection on their end), and disappointment. No novelty music for their exhibit, sorry.

    Maybe that's a good thing -- maybe the world doesn't need more Captain and Tenille hits. But I'd have gladly paid the buck, and the song is available on Apple's store.

    For some people it's worth a buck to get what they want in a fast and convenient way. For a lot of people, a service like this is worth it next to the hassles of P2P -- and maybe if you were to be a little curious about that, you could figure out why.

  • by WhiteBandit (185659) on Thursday May 01, 2003 @03:19PM (#5855279) Homepage
    Yup, I own a PC and when the PC compatible iPods came out I plunked money down for one. I probably will never own a Mac (no need for it?), but the iPod is definitely nice.

    Though now you can actually switch a PC iPod to a Mac version and vice versa by playing around with the firmware upgrades.
  • by SvnLyrBrto (62138) on Thursday May 01, 2003 @03:21PM (#5855301)
    > the Linux based MP3 player in my car?

    mpeg 4 is an open standard. I'd be genuinely suprised there wasn't something in beta on sourceforge ALREADY to add ACC support to Linux players. Knowing the Linux development community, I say give it a week, two at most, and the answer will be yes.

    > Does it seamlessly integrate into my Sun Workstation?

    Nope. If you have a Sun Workstation at home, then you're most likely NOT in Apple's target market. And Apple's hardly alone in not supporting every OS under the sun (no pun intended). Basiclly Netscape/Mozilla, RealPlayer, and gnu are the main ones who go for that strategy. Most everybody else supports only the "big two" or even only windows.

    > Can I burn the audio to CD?

    Yep. You have to change your playlist around after the 10th CD burn. But you can change it back later.

    cya,
    john
  • by zsmooth (12005) on Thursday May 01, 2003 @03:22PM (#5855317)
    Doubtful. They are opening it up to Windows to get at that 95% market share. You know the numbers as well as I - the Linux crowd isn't worth it. Plus Linux zealots would probably just whine and moan the whole time about the "lossy" format the music comes in. If I was Jobs I wouldn't even give it a second though.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 01, 2003 @03:48PM (#5855653)
    I run a house label out of chicago [Olive Records, Inc] [slashdot.org]
    What would it take to get apple to pick up independant labels? Vinly sales are really low lately and it would be nice if we could get another source of rev.
  • by asv108 (141455) * <alex@pha[ ]dio.org ['tau' in gap]> on Thursday May 01, 2003 @03:53PM (#5855701) Homepage Journal
    The arguement against OGG for compatibility can be used against ACC too. The only player that is compatible with the new service is the ipod, the ipod is perfectly capable of playing OGG, so there is no reason why Apple couldn't use OGG from a customer perspective. The real reason why they didn't use OGG is because it didn't have a DRM layer built in.
  • by joshsisk (161347) on Thursday May 01, 2003 @03:56PM (#5855733)
    However, it is ridiculous that there should be *any* loss at all; I've paid for the music, so I should be able to listen to it with any software I choose, without losing quality.

    I felt the same way about my vinyl. It's ridiculous that there was a quality loss when I taped them to cassette.

    Seriously, I'm not sure where this whole concept of "I am entitled to master-quality recordings that I can copy an infinite number of times" comes from. The fact that you can copy a digital version of a song with either zero or very little quality loss is actually quite new.

    Relax. Not that long ago, you wouldn't have been able to copy music without a very LARGE loss of quality. Right now we are in a flux where the companies and the market are tugging back and forth.

    Eventually the companies will provide what the market wants in a digital music product. This is just the first step.
  • not sensible DRM (Score:4, Insightful)

    by asv108 (141455) * <alex@pha[ ]dio.org ['tau' in gap]> on Thursday May 01, 2003 @04:03PM (#5855808) Homepage Journal
    I've seen a lot of posts that describe Apple's approach to DRM as sensible, which is what I thought too until you look at backups. Guess what happens if you hard drive crashes? You loose all your music! Even though Apple is well aware of what tracks you've purchased, you must pay to re-download any music.

    DRM is not sensible if ties you to one vendor or platform. You can only play purchased files on Apple computers and Apple players, unless you want to burn CD's. This is only a sensible approach if you live in a world where all your computing products and mp3 devices are made by Apple, for most of us this is not the case.

  • by TheCrazyFinn (539383) on Thursday May 01, 2003 @04:28PM (#5856139) Homepage
    The new iPod's are compatible with both Mac and PC, rather than having platform specific versions.

  • Re:Cost for music (Score:2, Insightful)

    by YllabianBitPipe (647462) on Thursday May 01, 2003 @04:32PM (#5856194)
    Not good arguments. If you really want a cd to carry around, burn your apple bought tracks to a cd. If you really want the liner notes, cd case, and album art, then hey be my guest and go buy yourself a cd. If you're old enough to remember though, when CDs first came out, people bitched that the covers were too small, nobody would buy tiny liner notes and cover art. My point is, what is more portable than a computer file. When you really get into mp3s you'll see how wasteful even a CD is. It's too damned big, heavy, and those cases are a hindrance!
  • Keep in mind... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by artemis67 (93453) on Thursday May 01, 2003 @04:45PM (#5856355)
    that this is only from Mac users, who are >5% of the total PC market. $100k in less than 18 hours from less than 5% of the market.

    Supposedly, Apple is already working on iTunes for Windows. Just imagine what that number is going to be when they roll the Windows version out.
  • by meehawl (73285) <meehawl.spam@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Thursday May 01, 2003 @04:53PM (#5856455) Homepage Journal
    Personally I'm still looking for a good music db/organizing program for either Linux (preferred) or Windows (thank you samba
    After 10 years of making and downloading MP3s I have amassed a few hundred GBs of stuff, all online and pretty messy. The collection had outgrown the abilities of every jukebox software that I'd tried (including, yes, iTunes, which is a pretty though slow mid-range jukebox choice) until I found Media Jukebox [musicex.com]. The free version is awesome, but I surprised myself by paying $25, basically for the tagging editor and the streaming capability.
  • Yep. One great thing about digital distribution is that an album can sell 500 copies and still be profitable! In the long term, this will be good for niches,

    For another example, check out CustomFlix, who does on-demand DVD replication and distibution. I've made a tidy bundle selling the DVD-R supplement for my book through them. It hasn't sold anywhere near the 500 copy minimum that a mass-market duplication would have required, but I started netting a profit from them after selling the first SIX copies.

    http://www.customflix.com
  • Re:Selling out (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anenga (529854) on Thursday May 01, 2003 @04:59PM (#5856534)
    Without DRM, you can't restrict free trading of files on P2P networks. What will prevent all those AAC files from iTunes appear on Kazaa... the business model will fail that day.
    Though I agree Apple is doing a wonderful service to music lovers everywhere, and this is pretty much what everyone has been dreaming and begging the RIAA for, I have to disgree with you about this.

    The reason why this service is and is going to be popular is because it's easy. This is Apple's strong point. They can take something very confusing, an operating system for example, and make it simple, easy and even fun to use. When you compare iTunes/their Music Store/iPod etc. to a File Sharing servent, iTunes wins because it's easy and fast to do. Something you make not realize (since your probably a "geek" (no offense)) is that some people aren't good with computers, they don't want to learn how to use Kazaa or other complicated P2P proggies. Granted, there are some out there that are relativly easy to use, but iTunes pretty much wins there. It's another reason why people go and buy Albums in stores, because it's easier to do than start up Kazaa and sit infront of a computer all day with pop-ups, spyware etc. fighting to find the file you want and all the while frightened that the **AA might bust down your door and throw you into the slammer.

    So, to sum up, iTunes is strong because:
    • It's damn easy to use
    • There aren't fake files, low quality files, files with virus's, mislableled files
    • It's morally correct
    • It's addictive (impulse buys)
    Even if those files went into Kazaa, what would it matter? Do you seriously think everyone who is on iTunes would go on Kazaa if everything on there was on there for free? I doubt it.
  • $46 Million a Year (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jafiwam (310805) on Thursday May 01, 2003 @05:14PM (#5856661) Homepage Journal
    18 hours nets $100,000, after a year that's around $46 million (US).

    Of course it probably won't stay at that rate, but it's even money if it goes up or down.

    I'd call that a big success, and a big bullet in the back of the head of the argument "people won't download music and pay for it".

    Screw you RIAA. Get going on your server farm, we're waiting to DL from you too.
  • Re:heh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sjonke (457707) on Thursday May 01, 2003 @06:04PM (#5857114) Journal
    So where is the backup to data CD funtionality on iTunes? The only way you can do is manually.
    Um... try selecting "Data CD" as the type of CD to burn in the CD burning preferences of iTunes 4? Amazingly this "confusingly titled" option makes iTunes burn a - get this - data CD. Wow!
  • by Tide (8490) <chad@c[ ]sdomain.com ['had' in gap]> on Thursday May 01, 2003 @06:53PM (#5857603) Homepage
    Backups? iTunes has built in DVD-Archiving. What happens if your CD collection goes up in flames? Does that mean record companies owe you new CDs? Lets be serious, backups are YOUR responsibility, not Apples.

    Now having said that... I like eMusics previous backup approach that you could re-download 2 more times and if you needed it yet again, you could call customer service and get that flag reset.
  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Thursday May 01, 2003 @07:13PM (#5857809) Journal
    Most of us may not agree with the use of DRM and AAC files

    I don't think many people object to DRM, what we object to is restricting our right to resonable use. Being able to listen to the track on up to 3 computers, and as many iPods or CD players as I like sounds like a good definition of reasonable use to me. Only being able to use it on a Windows PC does not. That is the difference.

    As for AAC, I have some concerns about the reliability of the format (small errors in the file can be very noticable, and I don't trust hard disks) but the quality is very nice (although I tend to encode AAC at 256Kbps ABR)

  • by Jucius Maximus (229128) <zyrbmf5j4x AT snkmail DOT com> on Thursday May 01, 2003 @07:24PM (#5857948) Homepage Journal
    " How much do you value convenience? There are many people quite capable of paying through the tooth for convenience. For instance, a bus token costs (at least where I live) CAN$2.25 and can get you as far as you need to within Toronto. But I continue to see more and more cars being sold. Despite some of the restrictions a car places on these people over using the transit system, they find a car much more convenient and are willing to pay orders of magnitudes more for the convenience it brings."

    Absolutely. I also live in toronto (well, for 2 more days ... alas my job is ending.) By car, it takes me 9 minutes to get to work. No more, no less. If I take TTC, it takes me between 18 and 33 minutes to get to work. Yes, I have timed it.

    Convenience is only part of it. I am willing to pay more for the certainty of knowing things will turn out how I want them.

    This could explain how people would be willing to pay a small fee to get the song they want NOW with certainty that it is not cut off, the wrong thing, poor quality, a fake, etc.

    There is some quotation from a famous writer or something that says, "It seems to me that the only truly modern convenience is speed" or something to that effect. Who said that? (And no, a google did not instantly turn up the answer for me.

  • by jafac (1449) on Thursday May 01, 2003 @07:28PM (#5857994) Homepage
    So how does paying $18 for 18 songs at 99 cents a pop differ from paying $18 for 18 songs on a music CD?

    In the first case, if your hard drive crashes, you lose your music. The music is in a lower quality audio format. etc.

    99 cents a pop is way too much for this format.
    Try 25.

  • Re:Internet Crack (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Thorkytel Ant-Head (593092) on Thursday May 01, 2003 @07:44PM (#5858139)
    Not that low of an investmet at all, actually.

    I think he meant the low investment on the part of the buyer, not on the part of Apple.
  • by tupps (43964) on Thursday May 01, 2003 @07:46PM (#5858159) Homepage
    I read somewhere that Apple is working with the equivalent of the RIAA in each region to provide the iTunes service. As each country has an individual 'RIAA' to deal with all of us not in the US have to wait.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 01, 2003 @09:32PM (#5858836)
    Amazon's 1-Click patent is much-maligned because it is infact fairly broad and simple. It basically covers the act of storing your credit card number so that you don't have to enter it every time you want to buy something. It is possible to literally click once and have something purchased.

    You'll note that with every other online store, you have to re-enter your credit card information every time you buy, even if they store your name, address, etc.

    I think the music store is what Apple had in mind when they licensed 1-Click. I mean, obviously, few people can afford to impulse-buy Apple's hardware, or a lot of the accessories they sell, but they certainly can afford $1, and it's no doubt very convenient to not have to pull out your credit card info every time you want to buy one song.

    The convenience factor is definitely a big selling point, and I expect to see more convenient purchasing options built into Apple's software.
  • by Peer (137534) <rene@n[ ]ound.nl ['otf' in gap]> on Friday May 02, 2003 @04:44AM (#5860500) Homepage
    That's true, but you can convert a Windows (FAT32) iPod to a Mac-version, but not vice versa. So 'switchers' cannot switch back to Windows.

    Apple is hoping for people to think: "I need a new computer, I already have this iPod-thing (and I like it). Let's go for a Mac!"

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