Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system


Forgot your password?
Music Businesses Media Media (Apple) Apple

Apple to Launch Music Service? 877

discstickers writes "The San Jose Mercury News is running an article about an Apple music service that might be ready to launch next month. $.99 a song with the ability to burn to CD doesn't sound too bad."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Apple to Launch Music Service?

Comments Filter:
  • At first glance... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by I'm a racist. ( 631537 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2003 @02:08PM (#5434145) Homepage Journal
    This seems to be the business model /.ers have been yelling at the RIAA to adopt. Let's see if it's actually viable...
    • by JHromadka ( 88188 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2003 @02:14PM (#5434211) Homepage
      This seems to be the business model /.ers have been yelling at the RIAA to adopt. Let's see if it's actually viable...

      I sure hope so. I buy pretty much 1-2 CDs a year now -- not because I pirate the songs, it's because I don't want to spend $15 on 2 songs. Being able to only buy the stuff I like could also allow independent labels to get some of the action. It would be great if an artist without a label could also hook into this service, so 5 million OS X users could have a shot at your song instead of the 30 people that go to the local bar.

      New slogan: Listen different. :)

      • by 11223 ( 201561 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2003 @07:53PM (#5437158)
        Perhaps you ought to listen to better music?

        No, seriously. If you're buying an entire CD for just two songs, it's a travesty. Furthermore, if (all other things being equal) we measure how good an artist is by the average strength of their songs, than an artist producing only two good songs per CD sucks, quantitatively speaking.

        Now, of course, those of us who buy mix CDs have an alternate problem - usually either the entire CD sucks, or the entire CD rocks. Thankfully, is there to save the day ;-)
    • by OMEGA Power ( 651936 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2003 @02:23PM (#5434331) Journal
      It is a viable model but the pricing is still too high. $0.99/track equal $15-20/album when CDs can often be found for $10-12 or even less. I would say services like this will be successful when prices reach $0.25-0.50/song assuming they have a good catalog, high quality files (with minimal, if any, DRM) and the service works well.
      • by Coz ( 178857 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2003 @02:29PM (#5434408) Homepage Journal
        when CDs can often be found for $10-12 or even less

        Not sure where you're shopping, but popular CDs are running $14.99 around here (DC area) - you have to go to the used CD stores or the bargain bins to get down into the $10 range - and the used stores are only $2 or so cheaper than the new ones around here.

        Besides, when was the last time you bought an album for the album and not just a couple of songs? Meatloaf? Pink Floyd? There aren't that manny artists producing thematic albums, instead of "compilations of 3-5 minute songs we just wrote."

        I'd pay $0.99 a track to create my own version of someone's Greatest Hits.
        • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 04, 2003 @02:38PM (#5434510)
          exactly. If i go to the vending machine and buy an individual soda, it cost more than the per can price if i go to the store and buy a 6-pack.

          If I want a full album, it should be less expensive to go to the store and buy it. But I don't mind paying a slight premium for just the one song I want to hear.

          Slashdot is full of cocksucking wankers who try to insist they want free speech when they really want free napster.

        • by Ponty ( 15710 ) <awc2&buyclamsonline,com> on Tuesday March 04, 2003 @03:31PM (#5435015) Homepage
          I fully support the idea, but when I buy CDs, it's usually for the whole album. If I like someone's music, I probably want to hear the whole album. Much of the time, I like the other songs more than the "headline" tracks.
      • ...this is for people who like to customize their musical experience (or not get a bunch of album filler). If you want the entire album, buy it, burn it, done.

        It's not like the album concept will disappear. This just gives more choice. I would gladly pay $20 for 20 great songs.

  • by jpellino ( 202698 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2003 @02:10PM (#5434156)
    Means I don't have to buy a whole album for one or two songs, the commpanies make just as much money so they're happy, aside from it's not free as in air, what's not to like?
    • by nomadic ( 141991 ) <nomadicworld@gmai l . c om> on Tuesday March 04, 2003 @02:11PM (#5434177) Homepage
      Actually they might make less. They like charging you for filler songs.
    • by MisterFancypants ( 615129 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2003 @02:29PM (#5434404)
      Means I don't have to buy a whole album for one or two songs, the commpanies make just as much money so they're happy, aside from it's not free as in air, what's not to like?

      While I agree that being able to pick song by song would be nice in the short term, I do think it would have some long term consequences that may not be so good.

      Imagine some future world where everyone gets their music via these services... you could easily wind up with a situation where every new song is overproduced (and possibly run by one of those 'AI' music-hit detectors mentioned here previously) to try to ensure it is a hit, since any time spent writing/recording it will be 'wasted' if not enough people pay for the song by itself. Right now you have an environment where artists can put some experimental tunes in between the sure-fire hits. Maybe these tracks hit the mark and become huge, maybe they tank, but at least they are trying something different. If everything is per-song I think we'll eventually see even less artist experimentation and artist growth than we do now, and that is scary.

      • by sebi ( 152185 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2003 @02:55PM (#5434652)

        I believe, that there are different kinds of music consumers. On the one side we have the Top-40 audience. They only want the hits. They buy CD-singles and compilations, download single songs from file-sharing services and listen to heavy-rotation radio stations. On the other side we have the album buyers. They buy the full album, adore soulseek, and hate most of the radio stations. I am sure that there are different in-between types of music listeners, but for the sake of simplicity let's just look at these two.

        If you only like hits then that is what you will keep buying. I would hope, that full albums will not be priced number of songs*$0.99. So album buyers will still listen to all songs an artist has to offer. A lot of artists will continue to make the music they want to and not only machine-selected hits.

      • by dbrutus ( 71639 )
        Or you might see chinese menu packs where you pay 0.99 for hit stuff and 0.50 for stuff that doesn't make it onto the radio. There's no reason that pricing has to be flat across an artists entire inventory of songs.

        Since electronic distribution makes changes easy to make, I can see a lot of experimentation done in terms of pricing. I can even see a lot more artists not going through record companies at all because they can make more money recording for on-line services like Apple's.
    • by iamacat ( 583406 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2003 @02:53PM (#5434637)
      Or for that matter, music selection. It only mentions that it will only be available to people with Mac AND iPOD, whatever that means. Where did the poster get this information? We really need to have a moderation system for articles, with karma influencing bonus @slashdot or something.
  • by FoxIVX ( 104861 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2003 @02:11PM (#5434172)

    99 cents a track.

    ~12 tracks on a disc.

    ~12 bucks for the music, and you have to provide the bandwith, physical media, and case. oh, and no liner notes.

    Thanks, but I'll go to my local indie store, where they have the media, case, and liner notes all for 12 bucks.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 04, 2003 @02:16PM (#5434248)
      sure, for 12 bucks you get media, a liner, 2 good tracks and 10 you didn't want anyway.

      so for my 12 bucks (and providing my own media at $0.35, liner if i want it), i get the equivalent of your buying 5-6 discs.

      hmmm. $12 vs. $60 doesn't sound so bad, does it?
    • by Anonvmous Coward ( 589068 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2003 @02:24PM (#5434341)
      "Thanks, but I'll go to my local indie store, where they have the media, case, and liner notes all for 12 bucks."

      And some songs you don't want...
    • where they have the media, case, and liner notes all for 12 bucks.

      1. Liner notes: I throw them away.
      2. Jewel case: I throw it away.
      3. Media: I encode the songs and then stuff it into a CD binder. A very, very dusty CD binder.
      4. Bandwidth: Not a problem...
      I guess I'll be using their service, if they can give me 160kbps VBR (High) files, or better.

      And you know, if they would hook into or AudioGalaxy ... this would really, really take off. Commercialized formula music over here, indie trash to sort through for the gems over here. Take yer pick: $0.99 per.

    • by King Babar ( 19862 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2003 @03:18PM (#5434896) Homepage

      99 cents a track.

      ~12 tracks on a disc.

      ~12 bucks for the music, and you have to provide the bandwith, physical media, and case. oh, and no liner notes.

      Thanks, but I'll go to my local indie store, where they have the media, case, and liner notes all for 12 bucks.

      Now, I'm not going to tell you *not* to got to your local indie store, of course, but there's some stuff you left out here.

      1. Unless they're *really* stupid, you will see discounts for pulling down all of the tracks. If I buy one apple (to use a grocery reference), and pick the one I want, I pay more than if I buy 'em by the pre-packaged bag.
      2. Bandwidth does cost, but so does hauling off to the store, and then finding out that they don't stock "Faux Realism" by Les Sans Culottes. That said, it's probably true that this Apple service won't, either, at least at first...
      3. They can keep the case; I have waaay too many of those to shuffle through these days.
      4. Getting the liner notes is an obvious and trivial no-brainer for them to provide. Heck, they could give you a nice PDF of the liner notes so you could actually read the thing rather than have to squint and/or damage the notes trying to get them out of the #$!@# case.

      Now, they *could* mess up and not provide any of this stuff, which would be lame, but Apple is the only outfit I can imagine that might possibly get this part basically right on the first try. We'll have to see.

      On a related note, the expected debut of this new service could well be what is holding up the introduction of the long-overdue updated iPod line.

    • Oh blah. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by EvilStein ( 414640 )
      I get sick of hearing about "oh, no liner notes." Half of the local artists around here never bothered to spend the money on anything more than a 1 page liner note/j-card anyway. They just slapped lame artwork and a band photo on a j-card and called it good.

      Somehow, I really don't see the big value..

      Also, your "indie store" might not be so "indie" after all... check into it.
  • Verified details? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by masonbrown ( 208074 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2003 @02:11PM (#5434178) Homepage
    I find it interesting that the information comes from an unnamed source at an unnamed company, and no one will comment on it. Perfect food for the rumor sites, but the LA Times and San Jose Mercury?
  • Apple DRM... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MosesJones ( 55544 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2003 @02:12PM (#5434185) Homepage
    The new service would only be available to users of Apple's Macintosh line computers and iPod portable music players

    Which indicates there is something in it that stops the rest of us using it. This would further indicate either a closed format with codecs only for these two. Or DRM on top of something that exists.

    Now is that bad ? Maybe not, but I was pretty sure that the Slashdot perfect model was

    Download for .99c and then burn to CD or email to your friends

    • Re:Apple DRM... (Score:5, Informative)

      by pi radians ( 170660 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2003 @02:15PM (#5434236)
      From other reports on the net, it sounds like the files will be AAC.

      From the LA Times:
      Sources said Apple will make the songs available for sale through a new version of iTunes, its software for managing music files on Macs. Users will be able to buy and download songs with a single click and transfer them automatically to any iPod they've registered with Apple....Rather than make the songs available in the popular MP3 format, Apple plans to use a higher fidelity technology known as Advanced Audio Codec.
    • by aardvarkjoe ( 156801 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2003 @02:17PM (#5434262)
      You forgot step 3:

      Bitch that you had to pay 99 cents for the song.
    • Re:Apple DRM... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by imadork ( 226897 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2003 @02:38PM (#5434511) Homepage
      I have an iPod, and I like Apple's approach to DRM there: iTunes won't let you copy songs out of the iPod, but leaves the MP3's on your hard drive alone. It's very unobtrusive, and generally doesn't get in the way of my listenting experience. I can still use my MP3's with other players and on other platforms.

      I've heard that you can buy books from using iTunes. Supposedly, the download is encrypted, but you can move it to your iPod at will, and you can make MP3 CD's through iTunes that will play in any MP3 CD player (and, by extension, copied to any other medium). I imagine any Apple Music initiative would work in a similar manner.

      If any company is going to make a DRM scheme that protects my rights as well as the copyright holders', I'd bet money it will be Apple.

  • $.99 for a song?! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by EnVisiCrypt ( 178985 ) <> on Tuesday March 04, 2003 @02:12PM (#5434192)
    Cripes! Where do these people get their pricing ideas?

    For a typical 12 song CD, that would cost as much as the meatspace equivalent. And when I purchase it for $12 at Target, or where ever else, I get to keep a physical token.

    I could, however, see using this for hard to find CD's, like the bad plus []. A dollar per song would be worth it when I can't find it in stores, or wait for Amazon to special order it.

    But for everything else, if they charged $.25 per song, they couldn't upload them fast enough for me. As long as they're a dollar, I'll think long and hard about downloading anything.
    • by Zathrus ( 232140 )
      At least now that 12 song, $12 CD is filled with 12 songs you actually like and not 2-6 good or decent ones and 6-10 pieces of crap.

      But, hey, why am I surprised that people are still finding this too expensive? Hell, if they offered them at $.01/song then people would still bitch.

      Excepting that this service doesn't apply to me (since I own neither a Mac nor an iPod), it sounds pretty damn good. I'd be happy to pay $.99/track for songs I like as long as they were high quality and readily available. I'd certainly buy more music than I do now.
    • by imadork ( 226897 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2003 @02:30PM (#5434416) Homepage
      Don't you get it?

      In order for it to be an Apple product, it has to be an Insanely Great idea that is overpriced enough to make you think twice before buying it.

      This qualifies.

    • by Watts Martin ( 3616 ) <> on Tuesday March 04, 2003 @02:30PM (#5434420) Homepage

      Well, yes and no.

      For one, you hear a lot of complaints which run "Why should I pay [$12-20] for a CD when I only like two or three songs on it?" If that's true, that means you're only paying $2 or $3 with this pricing scheme, so it suddenly becomes less goofy.

      For another, $12 is the exception, not the rule, for pricing--if you can find everything you want on CD at Target, more power to you. I can't. Best Buy charges $13-16 for CDs, generally, and they have about the best price to selection ratio of any place that I've found. The actual list price for CDs seems to be $18.99--and you may think people never pay that, but if they find the CD they've been looking for at the Virgin Megastore and nowhere else, you can bet they grit their teeth and pony up the cash.

      Sure, there are going to be people for whom $0.99 a song is too much, and I think it'd be a good idea to have something like a "10% off when you buy the whole CD" promotion (and maybe to let you buy the physical CD for another $3-5 or some such). But I don't think it's going to be that big a deal.

    • Not unreasonable! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by artemis67 ( 93453 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2003 @02:44PM (#5434566)
      First off, CD manufacturing is less than $1/ea. (some have said as low as 25/ea.) Taking the "plastic token" out of the equation does not represent a significant reduction in cost.

      Secondly, it's common practice that when manufacturers break out single units that they charge more. Ever buy a Coke from a vending machine? How much did you pay for it, 65? And what is the cost per unit when you buy a 12 pack from Food Lion? 40/ea.? Nothing new here.

      Third, there are real savings here. Yeah, if you want the entire album, you may be better off just buying it from the store. However, if you just want one or two songs, then you have saved yourself $10 or more. I can think of a LOT of songs from the past 30 years that I'd like to buy, but I don't care to get the whole album. There's a lot of one-hit wonders out there, but very few artists that can pack out an album with great material.

      I think that the price is right. In fact, if I were doing it, I'd set the pricing as a range, from 75 for the "moldy oldies" to $1.25 for the latest stuff. Really, the only hitch I see so far is that they haven't answered the question of DRM. If there is DRM technology built into this, then yes, you're right that the cost is way too much. I wouldn't be willing to pay more than 25 for songs with DRM, if that.
  • by MrMiyagi ( 141580 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2003 @02:13PM (#5434201) Journal
    I seem to remember Apple having difficulties working as a media business when another older company, Apple Records [] (The Beatles), is still around. Perhaps they have worked something out.
  • by Elwood P Dowd ( 16933 ) <> on Tuesday March 04, 2003 @02:14PM (#5434214) Journal
    An anonymous slashdot post [] was the first good description of this whole rumor. No one thought it was reliable, but the fact that it didn't sound like it was written by a two year old helped its credibility.

    I'm just waiting for some electronic music distributor to realize that they'll make more money if they distribute MP3s and use social pressures to discourage piracy. If an album cost $4 online, and they'll let you do whatever you like with the music, why would you steal?
  • Apple Corps (Score:3, Funny)

    by Dylan2000 ( 592069 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2003 @02:14PM (#5434222) Homepage
    Do you think they'll be offering Beatles [] songs?
  • by sockit2me9000 ( 589601 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2003 @02:14PM (#5434224)
    I'm as big of a Mac Zealot as you can get, but I think this too is doomed to failure. $.99 a song? Ripoff. This means that the average CD will still cost $10-$12 to download, and you don't get a CD, a jewel case, or liner notes. Legal music swapping will not catch on until it is significantly cheaper, like around $.25 or less. THAT is a good business model. I assume that this hinges on the record labels and that Apple is just performing as the middle man with these prices. I, for one, will still use Aquisition until the record companies stop gouging me.
  • by Hawthorne01 ( 575586 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2003 @02:15PM (#5434232)
    1. No DRM, beyond that which is already in my iPod, meaning I am free to burn CD's as I please.
    2. Catalog choices. If the selection is limited to Top 40 hits of the past ten years, no way. But if the choices are wide and deep (and maybe even out of print songs as was suggested earlier [], and
    3. Previews, allowing me to edit out the album filler. $.99 is cheap, and most albums only have a max of 4 good tracks.
  • ~3% Not Bad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by skti ( 584238 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2003 @02:16PM (#5434247) Homepage
    I'd definitely check this out, I like to buy my music. The article talks about how it is kind of an odd decision for the record industry to work with Apple because of their low marketshare. The thing is, a significant number of that ~3% have iPods, and I would think that anyone with an iPod has an obvious interest in digital music, and would be more likely to use a service such as this than other consumers. We'll see what happens...
    • Re:~3% Not Bad (Score:3, Insightful)

      by 56 ( 527333 )
      I think it is a smart move on the part of the record industry to start with Apple.

      a) 3% marketshare is small, yes, but that's a good thing, as far as the record industry is concerned: if this is found to increase the levels of piracy, at least it won't spread to the other 97%.

      b) Apple consumers are, generally speaking, probably more likely to go for something like this; Apple's products cost more, therefore the odds of Apple customers having broadband and iPods is higher, plus they are less likely to be using p2p becuase it is free if they have more money than the average computer user.

      Then again, I could be talking out of my ass.

    • Re:~3% Not Bad (Score:3, Interesting)

      by raresilk ( 100418 )
      Likely that Apple thinks it will increase that dinky market share by becoming the first user-friendly download service actually supported by the content mafia. OK, so Apple won't wipe out the PC/Windows world on that basis. But let's say they go from 3% to 6% - a drop in the Windows bucket, but from Apple's perspective they've doubled their market share and that's good for shareholders.

      The question is, will the content mafia actually go for it? Many have already pointed out that the available info is suspiciously vague and inconsistent. (e.g., some stories are reporting "unlimited downloads for $10 mo. subscription, plus 99c per song if you want a burnable copy," other stories are just straight 99c per song, etc.) I doubt that in the end, Apple will be able to bring the content mafia around to the key user-friendliness points that are necessary to wean music lovers from P2P - most important among them, the ability to burn CDs.

      So I'll add mine to the growing chorus of predictions: Yes, if Apple actually does this, it will be quite popular. But it will never actually happen, because the content mafia will be unable to shake their ingrained stomp-on-the-customer mindset. At the last minute, they'll all gang together and insist on some kind of booby-trapped format that will make the downloaded music useless, and Apple will go back to chanting "rip, mix, burn" to the P2P masses. Summary - this will be yet another "greatest opportunity an obsolete, copyright-abusing, customer-despising industry ever missed."

      (and just for context, I own over 2,700 CDs, have owned and sold many more over the years, paid for them all, and at present have ripped about 3,000 high-quality MP3s onto my home server for use through portables and stereo. I don't share those files P2P, and have no inherent inclination to do so. But my new policy is - every time I buy a CD that turns out to be booby-trapped (turns out I have about 5 of them), I'll be cracking the encryption where possible and ripping the whole thing into a P2P share directory, plus 5 other CDs from that same label. When the content mafia started selling booby-trapped CDs that won't work on computers, and lobbying Washington to force more booby-traps into my computer, they made an enemy of one of their best customers. I hope they go down in flames, and artists start selling directly to the public. Maybe Apple can help facilitate that, after it realizes the content mafia is just dangling a fake carrot.)

  • Try before you buy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hafree ( 307412 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2003 @02:16PM (#5434252) Homepage
    So long as I can preview it before paying for the download, and don't have to pay to re-cownload it if my CD gets scratched... While the RIAA is bitching about piracy, I've bought the same damn Nine Inch Nails CD 3 times at $17 a pop since 1993. I should really stop losing my stuff every time I move...
  • by Trinity-Infinity ( 91335 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2003 @02:18PM (#5434270) Homepage
    I absolutely love the system to order prints of my digital pictures through iPhoto. Not only is it simple to order (just a few clicks, apple-style), but the prints arrive lightining quick!

    To order music through a similar system of Apple's would be a dream! I hope they're having success in offering a variety of services (.Mac, iphoto ordering, etc), and the addition of music seems a natural step for them to take.
  • by Biologist ( 625020 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2003 @02:19PM (#5434292)
    The article says nothing about a dollar per song. Let's get our rumors straight...
  • by da3dAlus ( 20553 ) <> on Tuesday March 04, 2003 @02:21PM (#5434304) Homepage Journal
    Case in point: Evenesence CD, out today.

    -11 tracks @ .99ea, that's $10.89 from this service, just for the music (no case, CD, or lyrics).

    -Alternately, the CD is 9.96 at my local Target.

    -With tax, that's $10.65 (with CD cover, notes, lyrics, etc).

    Can anyone then explain which is the better buy, especially after I pay for the DSL connection from home, and the blank CD?

    Oh, and if I may add, the cost of the music for taking my friend to the store to get the CD, then rip it and share it with me...$0. Of course, that's just so I can listen to it and decide if I want to spend my $10.65 on it as well ^_^
    • Case in point: Evenesence CD, out today.
      -11 tracks @ .99ea, that's $10.89 from this service, just for the music (no case, CD, or lyrics).
      -Alternately, the CD is 9.96 at my local Target.
      -With tax, that's $10.65 (with CD cover, notes, lyrics, etc).
      Can anyone then explain which is the better buy, especially after I pay for the DSL connection from home, and the blank CD?

      Do you like every song on the CD? Every song? If so, then true, you won't benefit from this service. But if you only bought it for 1-2 songs, then you've just saved $8. And can you seriously include the cost of DSL/Cable in there? Would you not have the high-speed connection otherwise?

  • LA Times (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Scrameustache ( 459504 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2003 @02:24PM (#5434339) Homepage Journal
    According to this (registration required...bleah) article from the L.A. Times [], "Users will be able to buy and download songs with a single click and transfer them automatically to any iPod they've registered with Apple....Rather than make the songs available in the popular MP3 format, Apple plans to use a higher fidelity technology known as Advanced Audio Codec."

    As seen on macslash []

    What gets me is the "registered iPod" bit...can't we do anything anonymously anymore? Geeze!
  • Apple Corps? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by devnullkac ( 223246 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2003 @02:25PM (#5434365) Homepage

    What ever happened to Apple's agreement with the Beatles? Way back in the early 80s (or so), the Beatles were concerned about trademark infringement against their "Apple Corps" music label, but the issue was settled when it was clear that Apple would not be in the music business. Things got dicey again when music processing became a normal everyday computer-based activity, but I could still see a clear distinction. A service like this, though, would be a likely trademark conflict.

    Anybody know what became of that agreement?

  • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2003 @02:28PM (#5434395) Journal
    5 years ago, this might have worked. Now? I doubt it.

    I recently asked a non-geek who gave up buying CDs a few years back if he would be willing to pay about $0.15 for this kind of service. He said no. This is the same person who spend $60+ on a concert ticket.

    The paying for recorded music meme is dying, and there's very little that can be done to prevent it. No law is enforcable when more than about 10% of the population are breaking it, and so they will have to either loosen copyright law, or not enforce it at all. Artists are worth money, and people will pay good money to see them. Recordings are just advertising, and most people object to paying for advertising.

  • by Midnight Thunder ( 17205 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2003 @02:28PM (#5434396) Homepage Journal
    There is another article [] at the LA Times. The service will be making use of a technology known as AAC or Advanced Audio Codec []. There is a project [] at Sourceforge with an implementation.
  • Emusic (Score:3, Informative)

    by _marshall ( 71584 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2003 @02:32PM (#5434444) Homepage
    Why not go make a subscription to emusic instead?

    15 bucks a month with unlimited downloading of mp3s that you can burn. A much better deal :)
    (shameless plug)
    if you want to use a GTK2 Emusic album downloader that I wrote, Hot Lead []
  • by cgenman ( 325138 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2003 @02:35PM (#5434474) Homepage
    The article says, in effect, that in exchange for reduced audio quality, providing your own CD's, a lack of liner notes, you too can make record company executives happy.

    If you really like music, you would never accept a lack of subsonic. You buy full albums of artists you like, and you Kazaa / live 365 to find new artists. If you don't really like music, you probably have never even heard of Kazaa. Maybe you will like this service, then.

    In a world where costs have been cut dramatically, you can't go on charging the same. Tapes were a step above records acoustically, and CD's were a premium above tapes (despite being cheaper to manufacture). What do MP3's offer? They're cheap. Charge a premium for a lower quality? Nuts.

    All you can eat 128k MP3's for 19.95 per month, with 180k MP3's available for 29.95, and lossless CD for 59.95. Why is supply, demand, and competition such a hard concept for record executives?

  • by wazzzup ( 172351 ) <astromac&fastmail,fm> on Tuesday March 04, 2003 @02:37PM (#5434494)
    If you think popular music is crap now, wait until this business model becomes successful. Artists will be pressured to have every song on thier album a hit to maximize downloads. We'll also face lables promoting even more Britney Spears and N'sync type groups. Perhaps labels will just use the hit-song detecting software and just hire a little T&A to sing it for them

    Well, then again maybe we'll not see a whole lot of change after all ;^)

    On a completely different note, if you download an entire CD, they should make available a printable version of the cover and liner notes.
    • by sporty ( 27564 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2003 @03:05PM (#5434752) Homepage
      If you think popular music is crap now, wait until this business model becomes successful. Artists will be pressured to have every song on thier album a hit to maximize downloads.

      Wait.. wait wait wait. If someone likes it, it must be good for something. Granted, we all grow older and wiser, to learn what "good music" really is. So if every song is good, whether it is because I liked it for the arist or because I'm naive is good!
      I liked greenday about 10 years ago. I still love 'em. Good stuff. And about 80% of their tracks, I'd say is definitely worth downloading.

      What if every artist was a greenday and not a one/two hit wonder.

    • by JimRay ( 6620 ) <jimray&gmail,com> on Tuesday March 04, 2003 @04:54PM (#5435824) Homepage
      Artists will be pressured to have every song on thier album a hit to maximize downloads. We'll also face lables promoting even more Britney Spears and N'sync type groups. Perhaps labels will just use the hit-song detecting software and just hire a little T&A to sing it for them

      Here's another perspective. Some kids in a band start getting pretty good, a little local press and some regional gigs. They even get a label scout to come check them out, but she says "I like your sound, it's just not what we're pushing in the industry right now. Sorry."

      Band flips a bird to the industry, spends a few thousands bucks on a used Mac and some really nice mics. They record an album and get the drummer's graphic designer girlfriend to design a fancy new logo and website. Then, they start distributing their tracks online at $.50 a pop. It gets picked up by a few indie music bloggers and then all of the sudden they're making enough money to upgrade their equipment and tour the east coast.

      Towards the end of the tour, the record scout is back, ready to talk about a deal. "Nah," the drummer says. "We're making plenty of money doing what we love, we don't have to sell out to you bastards and we're going back into the studio here in a few weeks to record our second album. Feel free to download it in a few weeks!"

      Every day, it's becoming cheaper and cheaper to record music. For $10,000, you can set yourself up with a near-professional quality setup. That $10,000 wouldn't even come close to the studio time required for an album. Online distribution is the last step towards breaking industry stranglehold on music.
  • sosumi (Score:3, Funny)

    by ruud ( 7631 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2003 @02:39PM (#5434520) Homepage
    will the first song they release be called sosumi?
  • Paid For? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Malicious ( 567158 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2003 @02:42PM (#5434553)
    So if i pay $.99/track, what about the tarrif I paid on my recordable Media?
    Does Apple plan to sell Recordable Media for these tracks, that comes tarrif free?
  • by The Bungi ( 221687 ) <> on Tuesday March 04, 2003 @02:44PM (#5434568) Homepage
    Lesse... hmmm. @ $0.99 per song... wait... hmmmm... [scribbles] darn...

    $4,571.82 for my music stash, not including taxes.

    So, letsee... hmmm... [scribbles] wait... hourly rate... [scribbles]...

    $9,354.23 searching for my music stash, not including connection costs.

    But wait... hmmm.... [scribbles] hmmm... broken marriage... [scribbles] hmmm... gray hairs... [scribbles] inane chats with "chics" from Argentina... [sobs] hmmm... downloading Pink Floyd and hearing some Iranian guy... [sobs]

    So yeah, I think I'll pay for it.

    [scribbles] ...

  • by callipygian-showsyst ( 631222 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2003 @02:45PM (#5434572) Homepage
    One of the biggest problems with Napster, WinMX, etc. for the recording industry was that it was the EASIEST way to get music.

    Forget about it being free--it was just easier to go to Napster or WinMX and get the song you wanted. No funny players to install, no crazy licensing software, and all the songs were there.

    I believe that if the record companies got together and made millions of songs available for download at prices ranging from $.10 to $1.00 depending on the age of the song, and maybe a subscription that gives you a set number, they'd do well. But it has to be simple--type in the name of the song, click download, and get an MP3.

    Let's hope Apple gets it right. (Will this also cause the old lawsuit between Apple Records and Apple Computer to come up again?)

  • by SpamJunkie ( 557825 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2003 @02:55PM (#5434651)
    Here in Canada we can now make copies of CDs legally. I borrow my friends CD, copy it, and give it back to him. My copy is perfectly legal [] thanks to the blank media levy that was introduced. I'm not sure it's worth it, though.
  • Song Length?? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DonkeyJimmy ( 599788 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2003 @02:55PM (#5434659)
    Seems a little short sighted... I mean, when you buy a good $18 jazz CD you often get four 15 minute songs. When you buy a "best of" cd, you get more like twenty 3 minute songs. Seems like they should charge by length or at least have a ranged cost.
  • by transient ( 232842 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2003 @02:56PM (#5434668)
    $0.99 per song isn't too bad -- but who wants to bet this'll be a .Mac service?
  • by dasmegabyte ( 267018 ) <> on Tuesday March 04, 2003 @03:02PM (#5434718) Homepage Journal
    Think about it. Even if a $16 CD has 16 tracks on it, that doesn't mean each song is worth $.99. When you buy a CD, you're buying an "archival quality" medium with accompanying documentation and other tangibles such as disc art, case layout and the ubiquity of being able to play anywhere.

    Plus you're buying intangibles, such as the pride of ownership. Yeah, I said pride. Owning a CD means you're more of a fan than somebody who has an mp3, even if they paid for it. CD collections are important things that impact a person's perceived personality and lifestyle. First thing I do when I visit a person's place for the first time is check out their CD collection. And yes, having a collection of all burns does negatively impact my perception of them.

    This isn't to say I think it's necessarily a bad idea. I am a subscriber and an avid downloader from eMusic, and I don't feel their price is too expensive if you like what thy offer. My biggest complaints with the emusic model are the 128 kbit mp3s and the lack of major label catalogues, though they have a lot of great second tiers. If Apple does this right, they'll adopt a similar model, or at the very least offer volume discounts.

    I don't think I'd ever buy a _single_ song on mp3, mostly because I feel a lot of work and effort goes into making an album into an artform that transcends simply slapping a bunch of tracks on a disc. I'd DOWNLOAD a single song, if it wer popular, to see if I'd like the album, but after I've already got it I'm certainly not going to pay for it. Catch-22.

    Now maybe if they combined it with an "uncapturable" radio service, with the option to "purchase this song," they'd have a winner. Apple realizes the important of second string artists (as evidenced by the mp3s you get "gratis" on a new mac...fantastic stuff, without a Nelly or Britney track in site).
  • by thatguywhoiam ( 524290 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2003 @03:32PM (#5435016)
    Now this is an interesting idea. Apple in the music business. (Good thing they settled that other Apple Records thing a while back.)

    $1/track strikes me as a pretty good deal. I imagine the price is not imformed so much by Apple (while you may think their stuff is expensive, this scheme does nothing to directly contribute to their bottom line, i.e. hardware sales), as it is likely informed by whatever potential deals they want to strike with the existing content providers.

    The pieces are all there - Akamai's hooked up, hell, the whole QuickTime network must be in bed with several studios already with the movie trailer video streaming service (easily the best on the net). One wonders if they have already laid the groundwork for those music-based partnerships.

    And, lets not forget QuickTime. It's fantastically powerful and flexible, and they could package their media any way they wish. Some have mentioned the lack of liner notes, artwork etc. I would consider that moot if they provided, some real digital packaging. In Mac OS X, you can assign graphic files to the background of windows, you've got those 32bit 256x256 icons... if I could browse through my MP3 folder and have those icons sized nice and big with the appropriate artwork, fully tagged ID3-wise, and it's a high-quality file... yeah, I'd bite. Absolutely.

    On another note, there is DRM of a sort in the iPod, specifically for the Audible content, but I think that is unique to their format and not system wide.

    • by 90XDoubleSide ( 522791 ) <ninetyxdoublesid ... t ['hai' in gap]> on Tuesday March 04, 2003 @04:12PM (#5435407)
      The Yahoo! article specifically mentions that the new service will use AAC, which will be great. If you have QuickTime Pro, you absolutely have to create a 128K AAC file; it is reference quality, and even a 64-bit file sounds much better than a 160K MP3 or a 128K OGG. As for DRM, remember that Apple doesn't oppose DRM, they only require that DRM not interfere or inconvenience the user's fair use rights. Thus, Audible's DRM was approved because it lets you transfer your Audible files to any number of Macs that you own, transfer them to your iPod, and transfer them onto CD. I would expect this service to use a very similar technology
  • by dcgaber ( 473400 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2003 @03:50PM (#5435179)
    I thought the record label apple (of beatles' albums) had a legal issue with apple computers using the apple name, but it was decided b/c they were two seperate markets, there would not be confusion. So if Apple (computers) starts selling music, will this get them in trouble with the Apple music publishing company?
  • by Chief Typist ( 110285 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2003 @04:36PM (#5435663) Homepage
    One thing that I've noticed about Mac users is that many of them are in the business of creating content (graphics, music, writing, etc.)

    This is the perfect market to test this pay-to-play scheme .. these users understand the costs of creating content and that someone's making a living doing it.

    If this scheme doesn't work with Mac users, it won't work with a larger audience...
  • by thedbp ( 443047 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2003 @04:59PM (#5435874)
    I'm sick of all this whining about 99 per song=$12-14 per album.

    The whole point it, YOU DON'T HAVE TO BUY THE WHOLE ALBUM! This isn't meant to replace gonig to the store and buying a CD. It is supposed to COMPLIMENT it. Buy one song. If you like it and feel comfortable buying the whole CD, why on earth WOULD you sit there downloading inferior quality files to burn to a generic CD-R without any liner notes? Look, wookies don't live on Endor, OK? IT JUST DOESN'T MAKE SENSE!

    The whole point is to let people choose a few songs here or there. Or to give a band who can't get the $ together to record a whole album a chance to have their music distributed AND receive some money from it. And do you think it'll just be major label music? Let me tell you this - if this whole thing DOES go through, you can rest assured you'll see a "featured .Mac members" or some such thing that highlights tracks recorded by Mac users, not just über-chic stars-of-the-moment.

    And as far as the whole "I can get it for free on KaZaa" argument - well, have it then. When the DOJ comes knocking on your door after the RIAA's spyware tracked u down after downloading a bugged file, let me know how that free prison food is. Besides, the kind of music I like generally isn't available on KaZaa, because KaZaa reflects, for the most part, a large portion of society that listens to really bad pop music. If I were to trust any company to make cool, obscure music available to the masses, its Apple.

    So before you start bitching and whining about price and convenience, please know what you're talking about. They're not trying to replace going to your local record shop to buy a new album. They're trying to offer a NEW service that will be easy to use, fun to explore, and relatively inexpensive considering the years of joy that a single song can bring.

  • by KFury ( 19522 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2003 @05:14PM (#5436007) Homepage
    If a dozen eggs cose $1.20, what basis do you have for saying $0.10 is too much to pay for an egg?

    If a single song cost less than 1/Nth the cost of an N-track album, then why wouldn't you just download all the songs individually, and save a little money?

    I challenge any of the whiners out there to present me with an example where you pay *more* for a set of something than you would buying them seperately.

    If you pay $12 (or more) for a 12-track CD, there is no way to say paying $0.99 a track is a rip-off, except for the hardcopy/liner-notes argument, which in my opinion is offset by not having to go to the store or wait days for Amazon.
  • Funny (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Cinematique ( 167333 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2003 @05:41PM (#5436258)
    It costs 50 to print a 4x6 image with iPhoto's Kodak printing service... a unique, PHYSICAL printout. Yet it's assumed that music from this service will be $1 per (EASILY REPLICATED) digital track.

    Does anyone else see the bullshit in this?
  • Phish (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Natalie's Hot Grits ( 241348 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2003 @06:07PM (#5436487) Homepage
    Phish has recently started selling their recordings online. They are the live show soundboard recordings. Very high quality, and you can download in SHN or MP3.

    the price is around $10-15 depending on which show you get and how many songs the download has in it. They average about 2-4 CD's per download set after it is decompressed from SHN and burned to audio CD.

    Apparently, they plan on releasing previous shows and all future shows in this format. It's a nice change from the $25 each for the live albums they had put out previously.

    Maybe some day, other bands will follow suit.

    For those of you who just want one song, and are willing to pay MORE than it would cost at the CD store just so you only pay for one song, you should probably start listening to better music that isn't on the top 40. top 40 is just a measurement of how much the CD stores were force fed that particular album by the record label, it isn't a measurement of quality or popularity by any means.

    If this new service has all the songs from all the labels, full length and in a reasonable format for both lossy and non-lossy compression (read: not encyrpted for DRM), it might be a decent thing. But at 99 cents a song, only lossy downloads, and probably not many artists signed up for it, add the fact that it will say DMCA and DRM all over the package, and I doubt this service will do any good.

"The number of Unix installations has grown to 10, with more expected." -- The Unix Programmer's Manual, 2nd Edition, June, 1972