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iTunes DRM-Free Tracks Now Same Price As DRM Tracks 250

Posted by Zonk
from the that's-called-competition dept.
jawtheshark writes "Apple has made the decision to revise the pricing of Plus songs on the iTunes Music store. Whereas previously the DRM-less tracks were more expensive than the 'normal' option (at $1.29 vs. $0.99), DRM-less tracks bought via ITMS will now be priced on the same level as DRM'd tracks. 'Apple plans to expand iTunes Plus to include certain indie music labels starting Wednesday, October 17 (or sometime this week, at least) ... This expansion won't include all independent music labels just yet, although we're optimistic that more will be included in the future. While we have no information on whether the iTunes Plus songs are selling well, we assume that the decision to drop the price is a response to the Amazon MP3 store. Amazon sells individual tracks for between 89 and 99 apiece, all without any DRM restrictions. With that in mind, it's kind of hard for Apple to compete at $1.29.'"
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iTunes DRM-Free Tracks Now Same Price As DRM Tracks

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  • by MobyDisk (75490) on Tuesday October 16, 2007 @09:27AM (#20994365) Homepage

    With that in mind, it's kind of hard for Apple to compete at $1.29
    Most iPod owners aren't going to bother downloading from Amazon and importing into iTunes. So Apple still could compete, but only by relying on users who don't know or care enough to switch to the alternative. Even so, this is still a good move.

    Now I have to figure out how to tell the DRM-tunes from the non-DRM tunes. It was easy when there was a price difference.
    • by XxtraLarGe (551297) on Tuesday October 16, 2007 @09:33AM (#20994439) Journal
      The Non-DRM songs are called "iTunes Plus", they show up in your play list with a "+" next to them. I've upgraded a few of my songs from the DRM to non-DRM versions for $.30, I wonder if they will be offering free upgrades for those who haven't upgraded already?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by aliquis (678370)
        Shouldn't the naming be the other way around? Normally companies brags about how the device supports extra security features as if that was a good thing ;D
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Galaga88 (148206) *
      It doesn't even take effort to import the tracks into iTunes. The Amazon downloader automagically opens up and handles all the importing for you (at least on Windows.)
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by LWATCDR (28044)
      Yep but it makes a big hole in the Apple/iPod ecosystem.
      Amazon has now made using a none iPod as easy or easier then an IPod.
      No DRM hoops to jump through. It just works. And it costs no more than iTunes. Add in that you can use them with you iPod it now gives Amazon a bigger potental market than Apple. Amazon can now sell to everybody that has a Music player.
      Now if the Networks will just jump on the no DRM bandwagon.
      • Hardly easier (Score:2, Informative)

        by stewbacca (1033764)

        Amazon has now made using a none iPod as easy or easier then an IPod.

        Unless, of course, your musical tastes include: Foo Fighters, Dave Matthews Band, Gov't Mule, The White Stripes, Jet, Pantera, Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen, Dixie Chicks, Green Day... How is it easier to put songs on your non-iPod from the Amazon store when they DON'T CARRY THE SONGS???

        Just for an unscientifc experiment, I randomized my iTunes playlist by artist and got the above sample. Not until "Fall Out Boy" in the 11th spot di

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward
          >How is it easier to put songs on your non-iPod from the Amazon store when they DON'T CARRY THE SONGS???

          Funny, people griped about iTunes for the same reason when it started... but it got better. Amazon's service is relatively new. It might just get better with time, too. Imagine that.

          Stop whining, please? It's tiresome.

        • by RocketJeff (46275)

          Unless they sign more labels, this model is DOA.

          While it is inconvenient, it isn't that hard to check both Amazon and the iTunes Store for a track before buying it online.

          Right now my process is:
          - Check Amazon to see if they have it - if so I buy it from them (and import it into iTunes).
          - If they don't, check iTunes Store and see if it's available without DRM - if so I buy it.
          - If I really want it now, buy the DRM'd track from iTunes (if available). If I can deal with not having it immediately, I don;t but

        • by LWATCDR (28044)
          And there is a some technical reason that that Amazon can not carry them? Unless they have signed some exclusive deal it will just be a matter of time.
          • Re:Hardly easier (Score:4, Interesting)

            by stewbacca (1033764) on Tuesday October 16, 2007 @11:17AM (#20996145)
            The reason Amazon gives on their website is:

            "Amazon MP3 does not yet offer the complete Dixie Chicks catalog. Not all record labels have approved all of their music for sale as MP3s, but we're working to expand selection. "

            Since these same labels haven't approved non-drm sales in the iTunes store either, what makes you think they will on the Amazon site? The same "matter of time" will never happen, given the current greedy culture of the labels.

      • Meh. It doesn't really cause problems for Apple. The general consensus is that iTMS is a bit of a loss-leader for Apple, and that the main purpose is to make sure people have a wealth of content to fill their iPods with. Adding more sources of content to fill your iPod with won't be much trouble for Apple, so long as people are putting that content on their iPods. iPod sales is where Apple's bread is buttered.
  • ...but for now, I'm not terribly impressed. Apple:

    - still has only EMI (and the independents) at this new rate (compared to Amazon, which also has Universal)
    - still embeds buyer information inside the files
    - is still more expensive (ten cents, granted, but still...), and
    - chose to react rather than innovate

    It's the fourth bullet point that dismays me the most.
    • ...but for now, I'm not terribly impressed. Apple:

      - still has only EMI (and the independents) at this new rate (compared to Amazon, which also has Universal)
      ... - chose to react rather than innovate

      It's the fourth bullet point that dismays me the most.

      I'm not sure that's entirely a fair analysis of the situation. Many labels appear to be either hesitant to sign or left Apple because they would not give them the pricing or the DRM they wanted. [nytimes.com]
      As I see it, Apple did innovate in pushing the digital market a heck of a lot harder than anyone else, and by pushing the price to a fairly reasonable level that people are actually buying songs at. Because they were first, they're getting shat on for it, or so it seems.

    • - chose to react rather than innovate

      It's the fourth bullet point that dismays me the most.
      You must have a short memory then. Apple was offering DRM free songs well before Amazon's DRM free songs. Offering the songs for only $.30 more at twice the bit rate quality wasn't innovative, but they were doing it before Amazon.
    • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Tuesday October 16, 2007 @09:50AM (#20994675)

      - still has only EMI (and the independents) at this new rate (compared to Amazon, which also has Universal)

      Maybe I'm a bit naive but I thought it usually took time, work, and negotiation to reverse the practices of an entire industry. Apple did it first with EMI. EMI is sticking to their strategy hoping that they will survive and has started to offer it to Amazon. Universal is not happy with Apple right now so this is a bit of revenge on their part. Other than that, what is the major complaint here?

      - still embeds buyer information inside the files

      Information that is not hidden and can easily be removed. Information that reveals nothing more than the owner of the file. Information that has been embedded in every track Apple has sold (DRM or not) since the begining of iTunes. It's Apple's way of trying to track if someone buys a DRM free track and puts it on a P2P. When you buy anything (especially with a loyalty card), don't you think more information is gathered about you and sold to third parties?

      - chose to react rather than innovate
      It's the fourth bullet point that dismays me the most.

      Company 1 offers new product or service.
      Company 2 offers more or better features than Company 1 months later.
      Company 1 matches Company 2's offer a few months later.

      In your scenario, you've called out Company 1 for failure to innovate. Wasn't Apple the first of the two to offer DRM free tracks? Didn't Apple convince EMI to do so? In my world, the two are just competing.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by stewbacca (1033764)
        Apple invented this juggernaut knows as online music stores. A billion or more song sales don't happen due to lack of innovation.
      • "Maybe I'm a bit naive..."

        Certainly not, but I don't think you've understood my point. Of course Apple has set in motion a great thing: the re-invention of an industry whose practices and ethics have always been suspect. But is what I said, at face value, not true?

        "Information that is not hidden and can easily be removed..."

        That's beside the point. Amazon doesn't do it. While this was to be expected in files containing DRM, why can't Apple now do the same?

        "Wasn't Apple the first of the two to offer DRM free
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by GaryPatterson (852699)
      ...but for now, I'm not terribly impressed. Apple ... still embeds buyer information inside the files

      What precisely is the problem here? It's not as though you're sharing those files around is it? And it's only your name, in an easily removable tag. I'm yet to hear a serious reason why this is so bad that uses actual logic. At the absolute worst and most cynical, it could be described only as a "minor inconvenience."

      Apple ... still has only EMI (and the independents) at this new rate (compared to Amazon, wh
    • by aliquis (678370)
      How is the first one Apples fault? Except pricing or something.

      Yeah, Apple is just copying amazons music store! Without drm and all! Bad Apple bad! ...
    • by aliquis (678370)
      Btw, exactly WHAT do you want them to "innovate" in the music area? Or where have they copied someone? What's your point really?
    • -still embeds buyer information inside the files
      Oh noes! The horror! Something I own has my name on it!!
  • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Tuesday October 16, 2007 @09:28AM (#20994375)
    Maybe Amazon had something to do with it, but Amazon was only trying to compete with iTunes Store. Personally I think consumers win there is competition like this.
    • by fermion (181285)
      I first check amazon for all my music needs. Probably if I were buying an album I would go to itunes, since I burn albums to CD anyone, but singles I will bur from amazon, if available. Plus the fact that so many songs are $.89.

      Itunes imports the music when the file is clicked, so that is not a problem. I anticipate iTunes sales to plummet, and the iPod to slowly lose market share as the coupling becomes much less. Another point is that, for me, the itunes store is much slower than the amazon store. T

  • All tracks to be 99 (Score:5, Informative)

    by Chris Pimlott (16212) on Tuesday October 16, 2007 @09:30AM (#20994403)
    I know it's nothing novel to complain about the quality of Slashdot summaries, but it really would have been nice to mention that the new price for all songs is 99. The last line in the current summary gives the impression that they were all going to be $1.29...
  • Huh (Score:4, Funny)

    by BlowHole666 (1152399) on Tuesday October 16, 2007 @09:31AM (#20994411)
    Why are they selling DRM and non-DRM for the same price? Is that sort of like:

    "If you want to ride the roller coster you have to get corn holed first, or you can just get on the ride."
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Vokkyt (739289)
      Leverage really. If they talk to a label and say that DRM doesn't sell while the label says DRM is necessary and consumers don't care, Apple can pull out comparison charts of new releases that had both DRM and DRM-free copies, and show [what I'm hoping will be] the staggering difference between the two.
      • Re:Huh (Score:4, Insightful)

        by BlowHole666 (1152399) on Tuesday October 16, 2007 @09:43AM (#20994551)
        Yes but this does not make up for the STUPID user. Most people on Slashdot know what DRM is. The 15 year old girl who wants her hip-hop for her pink ipod will not. I think itunes needs a big ass message that pops up explaining what DRM is and have a "Yes I Want This" button and a "No Thanks" button and let people pick that way.
        • by LWATCDR (28044)
          Sort of like how the Atlanta Bread next to my office puts the warning "Hot drinks served hot" on their cups?
          Yea it is up to a cooperation to educate people. That will work well. I can see the message now.
          "This song has DRM protection so that it can not be stolen."
          "This song lacks protection" Do you want this free protection on your download y/n.
    • Because not all of their music is DRM free. I'd assume that now they only sell the + versions of the songs that have the option.
    • Pricing is probably in the contract with the music labels. While I agree its kinda stupid to sell the DRMed and non-DRMed music at the same price, they probably don't have a choice in the long term.

      Ignoring the DRM for a moment, I think 128Bit music should cost less than $0.50 a song anyway. Full CD quality costs about $1.50 a track when you buy a CD; depending on tracks of course.

      Back to DRM, I think this is great for the user. It give Apple more leverage to push down prices for DRM'ed music simply becau
    • Positives are negatives!
      Up is down!
      In is out!
      Left is right!
      Black is white!

      I love the variety of Slashdot, where you'll always get someone popping up to describe how a new and beneficial development is actually a bad thing.

      Choice is bad!
      Options are wrong!
      Change is evil!
      Better is worse!
    • Maybe some people want to get corn holed. Are you judging people for making alternative lifestyle choices?
  • by Trelane (16124) on Tuesday October 16, 2007 @09:32AM (#20994419) Journal

    Amazon and Magnatune work on Linux. Or just about any OS, for that matter. And they work with any MP3 player ('cause they're, you know, MP3s).

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by allcar (1111567)
      Amazon does not work well on Linux, though they do promise that a linux version of there MP3 downloader is coming. At the moment, linux users can only get single tracks, which is more costly than the whole album. I am struggling to understand the need for a specific piece of software for albums. Why not just sell albums as an archive (Zip perhaps, to be Windows friendly) of all the MP3 files? That's what Radiohead did. Also, the Amazon service is still (at least nominally) available to people with US addre
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Trelane (16124)

        At the moment, linux users can only get single tracks, which is more costly than the whole album.

        Good point. I'd not realized the price discrepancy.

        Also, apparently you cannot re-download without the magic software. (can't find my source for this anymore. It was either Ars Technica or a Planet that I read.)

        Regardless, at least it works to some degree, in contrast to iTunes. And Magnatune Just Works Better. :)

        Regarding US-only: I did find this [venturecake.com].

        • by allcar (1111567) on Tuesday October 16, 2007 @10:23AM (#20995187)
          I just tried a new purchase on Amazon and was rejected with the following message:

          We are sorry...
          We could not process your order because of geographical restrictions on the product which you were attempting to purchase. Please refer to the terms of use for this product to determine the geographical restrictions.
          We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you.
          This, in spite of the fact that I have previously made purchases with a false address in CA 90210! They've obviously tightened up the rules. How depressing! No doubt, downloads will cost 1GBP, rather than 1USD, when they finally make it to the UK.
    • by dal20402 (895630) *

      Is there any OS, software, or music player left that can't handle DRM-free AACs? Anywhere? DRM-free AACs are what iTunes Plus is selling.

      It amazes me after all this time that people still think AAC is a proprietary format, or that iTunes somehow contaminates DRM-free files with DRM. Sometimes I think it's willful ignorance.

      • by Trelane (16124)
        I dunno about what proportion of MP3 players play AAC (I'm guessing that it's less than the number that play MP3), but I think you miss the point: iTMS requires, erm, iT.
      • It amazes me after all this time that people still think AAC is a proprietary format, or that iTunes somehow contaminates DRM-free files with DRM. Sometimes I think it's willful ignorance.

        No, it's not. AAC *is* a proprietary, patented technology. While there is no requirement to have a license for distribution of AAC content, but a license *is* required fo anyone making hardware or developing software that encodes/decodes to/from AAC. Don't confuse "possible to be free of DRM" with "non-proprietary". Th

    • by aztektum (170569)
      But torrents work on ALL OS's! >:)
  • Boiling RIAA (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TaoPhoenix (980487) <TaoPhoenix@yahoo.com> on Tuesday October 16, 2007 @09:33AM (#20994433) Journal
    Brilliant.

    Announce the "intermediate" step of "no DRM, we'll pacify you by raising the price. X months later we'll do what we really wanted to."

  • by dj42 (765300) on Tuesday October 16, 2007 @09:34AM (#20994451) Journal
    I'm curious if Radiohead's Name-Your-Price album prompted the announcement, Apple thinking they could catch a bit of positive press while the anti-RIAA/DRM sentiments are flowing.

    Who knows.
  • by FieroEtnl (773481) on Tuesday October 16, 2007 @09:37AM (#20994493)
    They're dropping the prices of DRM-free music? But what about us early adopters who've already bought music from them? Are they going to give us a refund since they clearly scammed us of our hard-earned money? Maybe I'll just sue Apple...
    • by Thyamine (531612)
      This will come out harshly but, 'So what?'. I bought some as well. This is how competition and markets should work. Come out with something 'new' that people want and you can charge more for it. Then later on you can bring the price down as competition demands. This is good for us in the future when we go to buy more DRM-less music. All prices come down eventually, so there's no reason to complain, or act surprised about it.

      It's like the whole iPhone thing. People went out and bought it at a know
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by aliquis (678370)
      Sue for that? For paying more for music? Ok, that's a good case!

      I'll sue my grossery store next time the lowers the price on apples, damn morons! How can they do that when I bought apples the other day!?

      Bad luck for you thought, but I guess the companies which went DRM-free wanted more money, or Apple thought they needed more money to convince them, but once Amazon used the lower price they had something to tell companies to convince them that a lower price was necessary.

      Bad luck and sad for you but clearly
  • by wvmarle (1070040) on Tuesday October 16, 2007 @09:41AM (#20994535)

    It seems to me that DRM is digging it's own grave, thanks to the immense popularity of the iPod (I heard in the US like 80% market share).

    The iPod uses DRM, but only Apple's DRM. And it can of course play unprotected songs.

    Apple does not license it's DRM to other vendor: in effect becoming the only vendor selling DRM'ed songs to 80% of the market of digital music players. The rest of the players can fight of the left-overs.

    Apple gets a lot of market power: the labels want to sell music, but only music with DRM. To reach the majority of the market, they must play together with Apple. And Apple has proven not to be very easy a business partner.

    Thus the only way the music labels can tap into that 80% of the market, without going through Apple, is by selling non-DRM'ed songs. And there is a good reason for a music label to have multiple resellers for your product: then the resellers have to compete with each other to buy their music. Which likely gives rise to higher prices for the labels.

    This way I see DRM having dug it's own grave: one DRM scheme became very popular, giving one player a very powerful virtual monopoly over online music sales. The label-mandated DRM now locks everyone in to that one player: Apple with their iTunes Music Store. And the only way to break this monopoly is to drop DRM, and that is exactly what is happening now.

    And already we see the fruits of this development: iTunes forced to lower their prices, other stores offering flexible pricing options ('priced between 89 and 99 cents' - not much of a difference but there is flexibility), and certainly this will start opening the market for more online music resellers. This can not be a bad thing.

    Getting even more off-topic: here in Hong Kong recently retail chain HMV started to sell tracks through ATM-style kiosks. Digital sales, but not online. These kiosks are in their retail outlets, offering buyers a huge collection (about half a million tracks or so; that requires quite a large brick 'n mortar store to house), and instant downloads to their digital music player. Again they use DRM: in this case Microsoft's Plays For Sure scheme. Now without DRM I'm sure HMV would have a much bigger market. I have no idea on the market share of Plays For Sure devices, though it's for sure less than half. So DRM free can instantly double one's market. If PFS devices are only 20% of the market (just a guess), they could increase their market five times just by dropping the DRM.

    I doubt the record labels will ever agree that DRM limits their sales; confirming the R in DRM stands for Restrictions. Not Rights. Restricting not only what the user can do, but restricting your own market even more in the process.

    Wouter.

    • Wow, that is the most anti-apple skewed view of the issue I've ever seen. DRM exists because record labels insist it does. DRM is not going away because Apple has createad a monopoly of DRM files. DRM is going away because people don't like it, and Apple is smart enough to try and persuade as many studios as possible to get rid of it. People buy music IN SPITE of the iTunes DRM. Saying non-drm has forced Apple to lower their prices is stupid. APPLE has forced the industry to accept a set price of .99
    • by mdielmann (514750)

      ...the resellers have to compete with each other to buy their music. Which likely gives rise to higher prices for the labels.

      This is based on the law of supply and demand. Of course, given the supply is infinite, demand will have little impact on its value. Which is why prices are going down with more locations to purchase from - the artificial restrictions on supply are being removed. If this keeps up digital music will soon be sold at a value close to what the consumer thinks it's worth, which is about the last thing the music cartel wants. Things they want less include people not paying anything for music and being in a

      • by wvmarle (1070040)

        ...the resellers have to compete with each other to buy their music. Which likely gives rise to higher prices for the labels.

        This is based on the law of supply and demand. Of course, given the supply is infinite, demand will have little impact on its value.

        I do not agree that music supply is absolutely infinite. There is a limited number of suppliers (record labels), and a limited number of songs available. Admittedly each song comes in unlimited copies, but you will normally not buy more than one copy of the same song.

        So for example if you want to buy the product "Metallica songs", or "Britney Spears songs", then there is a limited number of songs from only single suppliers. If supply was truly infinite, then everyone could start producing "Britney Spears

  • by DannyO152 (544940) on Tuesday October 16, 2007 @09:42AM (#20994539)

    So the dinosaurs bellow in the night, pull their tracks, and now look at the shelf space for the independents: smaller, hungrier people who see opportunity in the new distribution technologies. The dinosaurs seem to have forgetten the door they left open during the three years they didn't get MTV.

    If I were Apple, I'd talk to the independents and help them start some internet radio channels and provide sponsorships so the new channels can afford the air talent and the short-term loan to Sound Exchange (who will be collecting all internet recording performance fees and then giving out to the record companies who hold the copyrights on the recordings.) People only buy what they hear and can find.

  • Does this mean that all iTunes Plus songs, which are currently DRM-free and 256kbps AAC, are now $0.99? Or just that DRM-free songs are now $0.99 but 256kbps are still $1.29?
  • Seems like iTunes PLUS should now be called iTunes, and the remaining stupid studios that still demand DRM should be put in iTunes PLUS. Afterall, you are getting MORE with a DRM laden file. They should also charge $1.29 for the extra stuff (drm) you get in those songs.
    • Seems like iTunes PLUS should now be called iTunes, and the remaining stupid studios that still demand DRM should be put in iTunes PLUS. Afterall, you are getting MORE with a DRM laden file. They should also charge $1.29 for the extra stuff (drm) you get in those songs.

      Or maybe they could call the DRM laden songs "iTunes Minus" as in "iTunes minus the freedom to do what you want with your music" :-D Still, iTunes's DRM is not as bad as some making it out to be. In fact, it's quite silly when you consider that you can burn the tunes to a CD and then rip them back. Pain in the neck? Yeah. Waste of time and resources? Yeah. But these things were put in place to appease the record companies, not out of any innate desire by Apple to limit your enjoyment of your music.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by stewbacca (1033764)
        I agree with you, but you must be new here. Slashdotters will tell you that ripping a CD causes irreparable file damage rendering the song unlistenable and DRM exists solely to lock consumers into having to buy iPods. I mean, nobody buys iPods because they are the best player on the market, they only buy them because they have to because of all their iTunes songs. And iTunes sucks so hard too, makes you wonder why people need iPods in the first place, since no true slashdotter would ever use such a debil
        • I agree with you, but you must be new here.
          I've been around Slashdot a lot longer than my user id # implies. I lurked here for years before registering. I'm not really sure what caused me to register but I think it was something to do with the 2000 presidential election.
  • The likely outcome (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Y-Crate (540566) on Tuesday October 16, 2007 @09:56AM (#20994751)
    If we look at the situation, we can see that there is a major problem with Amazon's service:

    Step 1 - Universal wants higher prices, but Apple refuses.

    Step 2 - Universal dumps Apple and goes to Amazon, and Amazon starts selling songs at prices lower than the iTunes Store.

    Step 3 - ?

    In Step 3, Universal needs to achieve the goals it set out with contract re-negotiations with Apple. The goals were higher prices, with a larger percentage going to Universal for sending over a digital copy of an album four years ago. (The artists, are, as you might imagine, quite irrelevant in their calculations).

    So why are they selling tracks at $0.89? To drive people away from the iTunes Store, knock it off its pedestal as the dominant online music retailer, and then jack up the prices once that has occurred and there is a new major player on the block who is more...accommodating...to the wants of the major labels.

    Am I suggesting that people abandon Amazon and start paying more of their hard-earned money to Apple? No. What I am suggesting, and what I have done, is to put a moratorium on my online music purchases until things settle down a bit, as I strongly believe Amazon is going to end up screwing us in the end. We have to keep in mind the only reason Universal went with Amazon was because Apple refused to let them dictate terms that would end up raising the price of online music to a point higher than physical CDs themselves.

    It's ridiculous to think that these prices are going to last, and that when the "correction" comes, that it will be anything but drastic. Giving Amazon a great deal of business, and thus, the big labels more leverage over operations that have fought for the end users, is detrimental to online music retailing as a whole.

    Let me reiterate, the problem is not that the music is being sold by a company other than Apple, but WHY that music is being sold by a company other than Apple at the prices currently asked.
    • Except in your step 2, Universal wins, because not all Amazon songs are .89 cents. I read that some of them can get up beyond $5 per track. This is EXACTLY what the record labels wanted, leading to Step 3 - Consumer loses, record labels get fatter. Step - 4, Record labels threaten to pull Amazon tracks unless Amazon starts selling them for $1.50 / track. Step - 5 Thousands of users go back to iTunes who still sell ALL tracks at .99 cents
    • It's ridiculous to think that these prices are going to last, and that when the "correction" comes, that it will be anything but drastic. Giving Amazon a great deal of business, and thus, the big labels more leverage over operations that have fought for the end users, is detrimental to online music retailing as a whole.

      It's ridiculous to think that these prices are not going to fall more, maybe even to a point that I will find reasonable. Universal essentially lost the war, and now they're just trying to pick up the pieces. This is how I interpreted the whole series of events:

      1. Universal and others start telling Apple that they want higher prices
      2. Apple realizes that the iTunes store helps sell iPods, so they want to keep the prices reasonable. In addition, since the iPod has a huge market share, they're fairly comfo
    • It's ridiculous to think that these prices are going to last, and that when the "correction" comes, that it will be anything but drastic.

      Do you do this with your gas also? "There's the gas-n-go cornering the market with $0.99 gasoline...I better not buy until they settle on a more reasonable price."

      Interesting logic...can I sign up for your newsletter?
    • by LWATCDR (28044)
      So the simple thing to do is.
      1. Buy used CDs
      2. Rip CDs.
      3. Store CDs as backup in a box under your bed.
      You can set the encoding quality to what every you want. You can pick the format that you want. And you are not giving your money to the record companies.
      And it is 100% legal.
    • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Tuesday October 16, 2007 @11:14AM (#20996063) Homepage

      I agree that the whole thing wit Amazon is kinda fishy, but I don't agree that it should stop people from buying from Amazon. The way I see it is this: People should buy cheap DRM-free music from whatever source they like, and avoid buying DRMed music.

      Because let's say people drop iTunes and move to Amazon, buying tons of MP3s. Well, the MP3s don't tie them to continuing to use Amazon's service. You can still use your iPod, or any other MP3 player you choose. Now let's imagine that, having won a lot of market share, the big labels force Amazon to raise prices and use DRM. Right then, stop using Amazon.

      Your years of using Amazon won't tie you to Amazon as long as it's all DRM-free. And if Amazon is a huge success with cheap DRM-free music, and their sales dry up when they increase price and add DRM, then it sends a clear message: consumers want cheap DRM-free music. Consumers are willing to pay for cheap DRM-free music. If you want to make money selling music, the music must be cheap and DRM-free.

      That's the message we all want to send, right?

  • I wish that the Amazon MP3 store was available in Canada. Why do we always get left out? *sigh* I want to buy legal DRM free music too!

    However, this can only be a good thing with Apple and Amazon competing. I'm sure it'll come to other countries eventually.
  • by Kartoffel (30238) on Tuesday October 16, 2007 @10:23AM (#20995165)
    Since DRM and DRM-free tracks cost the same, it proves that DRM is worthless!

    song_value + DRM_value = song_value
                  DRM_value = song_value - song_value
                  DRM_value = 0
    • by argent (18001)
      That's the same thing Jobs said in the Rolling Stone interview in 2003 [rollingstone.com] soon after the iTMS opened.

      What's new is this amazingly efficient distribution system for stolen property called the Internet -- and no one's gonna shut down the Internet. And it only takes one stolen copy to be on the Internet. And the way we expressed it to them is: Pick one lock -- open every door. It only takes one person to pick a lock. Worst case: Somebody just takes the analog outputs of their CD player and rerecords it -- puts it

  • to buy from it ? and does the mp3 work in all devices ? whereas $0.99 is still a tad bit expensive, i might consider acquiring some niche songs from over there.
    • by argent (18001)
      You don't need an iPod. These are completely unprotected files.

      The files are 256kbps MP4 files, somewhat better quality than comparable sized MP3s.

      You will need to transcode them to MP3 for most media players, because pretty much all music players only support MP3 and WMA... things like MP4 (AAC - Advanced Audio Codec), OGG, etc are pretty rare.
    • No iPod required. The music store has, since its inception, allowed the burning of purchases to CDs (action restricted by DRM, but the final product is a real, DRM-free CD). You could also listen to the tracks using the iTunes on your computer, stream it to other authorized computers using iTunes, and stream it to your home entertainment system with Airport Express or Apple TV.

      What's changed is that you now have even more flexibility. You can now stream it using anything that understands the (documented) AA
  • by Bemopolis (698691) on Tuesday October 16, 2007 @10:30AM (#20995281)
    Oh my God Apple dropped another price! It's just like the iPhone all over again. SUE!! SUE!!
  • I didn' buy any of the more expensive DRM-free tracks, but I think what Apple has done is reprehensible to potential early adopters like myself.

    I demand that Apple pay me, and others like me, ONE MILLION DOLLARS! Or I'll send in the sharks.
  • Allow me to recommend some great free music sites:

    - Your local public library. The URL depends on your location. You can get a search for the type of music that you like and get a list of titles that can be put on reserve. When the CDs are returned, they are shipped to your local library branch and an e-mail notice is sent to you. You go over and pick them up, rip them into any format and bitrate that you want, and transfer them to your digital music player. Take the CDs back to the lib

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