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Music Businesses Media Apple

Record Labels Push for iTunes Price Hike 971

csteinle writes "Looks like the major labels are getting their own way again. The New York Post reports that the price per track may be going up to $1.25, while the per album price for some albums could go as high as $16.99. The Register has its own take on this, too. Aren't you glad you starting paying for downloaded music?" Update: 05/07 19:15 GMT by M : Apple says their prices won't increase.
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Record Labels Push for iTunes Price Hike

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  • by strictnein ( 318940 ) * <strictfoo-slashdotNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:35PM (#9085606) Homepage Journal
    Ok... I understand why the RIAA wants to make more money off each track. There are only two or three good tracks on each CD. But to jack some prices up over what most new CDs are sold for in stores? How does that make any sense at all?

    It's so fucking stupid that I want to rip my nuts off, cook them, and then eat them. Note to RIAA: YOU ARE A BUNCH OF FUCKING IDIOTS. God... I just can't stand it. They're begging for us to pay for music. Some people do. Now they want more money from those people while giving them less than they would by buying the CD in the store.
    • In response to myself:

      From the register
      At the 99-cent price, only about 10 cents from each song sale goes to Apple's bottom line, with about 70 cents going to the record labels and the other 20 cents paying for credit-card fees and distribution costs, sources say.


      they're making a $0.70 profit on each song sold and doing absolutely no work to get it! kill me now! Armageddon has come! Jesus fuck this drives me insane. So now they need $0.95 per song?
      • by phats garage ( 760661 ) on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:47PM (#9085800) Homepage Journal
        It does suck. As everybody has pointed out already, this price is for any song irregardless if its new or old, and the old songs have like zero costs to them, they've made their promotion costs, theres no media costs, this is simple pricing in reaction to rising demand. Apple should in reality get bigger cuts of the pie for older stuff, they're the one taking the risk of the online music venture.

        Pricing for new music should be high, older stuff could be much lower. If older stuff would be priced less (in any format), I'd buy a ton of music, but right now I don't bother.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:57PM (#9086850)
          RIAA members make money by casting nets throughout the distribution networks they control utterly through means of their cartel.

          New methods of distribution are a grave threat (literally) to their necessity, which in both business and nature is a swift road to extinction - unless those streams either emerge under strict controls, or are addressable through business or legal tactics.

          Internet music distribution is a bear of a problem to these people. There is no specific competitor to be bought out or sued, or specific technology to buy into; the fight against Napster underscored this point clearly.

          Furthermore, their entire livelihood - marketing and distribution of music - has morphed over the past decade into obsolesence. "Push" marketing - the only kind RIAA members know about - never fails to fail on the net, and "distribution management" is something that software can handle with far less overhead than RIAA is demanding from artists in meatspace.

          RIAA supporting music downloads is like Bush campaigning for Kerry. If legal music downloads take off, RIAA dies. It isn't any more complex than that. The net undermines all of their profit schemes.

          Notice how popular legal music downloads are getting? If they get too popular, who'll need RIAA? RIAA has been pushing against illegal alternatives, so they can't very well opt out without validating most every argument put against them as to their motive. So what other option do they have to curb the burgeoning frenzy? If legal downloads make overall music sales go up, what reason will they have to petition Congress or judges?

          IMO they're trying to make downloads so unattractive an option that most people either go back to illegal downloads or CD buying. In the case that it fails to stop legal downloads or increase CD sales, they still make a lot of money. It's a no-lose plan.
          • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 07, 2004 @04:01PM (#9088364)
            IMO they're trying to make downloads so unattractive an option that most people either go back to illegal downloads or CD buying. In the case that it fails to stop legal downloads or increase CD sales, they still make a lot of money. It's a no-lose plan.

            Remember, they've been harping about the decline in CD sales for a few years now (while releasing less records). As music downloading continues to climb, both legal and illegal, they will see CD sales slip even further.

            Once CD sales slip further, they get to go Congress and bitch/whine/moan about 'pirates' and push through more DMCA-style laws (mandatory DRM laws come to mind). Congress will bend over backwards because of all the bribes^Wcampaign contributions.

            Part of this whole system is making sure legal Internet downloads don't get too popular. If they do, that can be used as an explination for a decline in CD sales. This is the LAST thing they want.
        • by AKnightCowboy ( 608632 ) on Friday May 07, 2004 @02:33PM (#9087294)
          Pricing for new music should be high, older stuff could be much lower. If older stuff would be priced less (in any format), I'd buy a ton of music, but right now I don't bother.

          That's actually a really good idea. Charge $2.50 per song for the newest tracks and gradually scale it back to $0.25 if it's more than 5 years old (or some other arbitrary number) or less popular. Then the newest, most hyped garbage bears the cost of the system which is how it really works these days anyway. I'd be fine with sticking to 15 year old music legally downloaded for a quarter a piece while dumbass teenagers get their newest pop boy band sensation crap with their mom's credit card for $2.50 per track.

        • by ThosLives ( 686517 ) on Friday May 07, 2004 @04:21PM (#9088596) Journal
          ...theres no media costs, this is simple pricing in reaction to rising demand.
          While this would be the case in classical systems, this makes no sense for the RIAA based on the following observations:

          1. There is already lots of pirating because people think that the store prices for CDs are too high.

          2. My guess is that the slope of the demand curve for purchased online music is really high and quite nonlinear; my guess is that any price increase will dramatically lower the demand for purchased music (because it's just as simple to download a clandestine copy) while lowering prices will increase demand at some more measured pace. (This is opposed to gasoline, where huge changes in price have little effect on demand, at least in the current range of prices. In the US.)

          These observations lead me to believe that folks need to do some updated thinking about economic theory and products/services which have basically no implementation cost. There has to be a reason for someone to pay for something, and when you have (effectively) instantaneously delivery of digital content at potentially zero price, it's quite difficult to build a business distributing music (I would argue there is still a lot of room to create music - the RIAA has never been in the business of creating music though, which is why they are upset. Their entire business model of music distribution is falling apart).

          Anyway, I suppose that if they raised prices they would quickly find out that demand would plummet. In this instance, what would happen is that they would probably kill iTunes rather than rake in more money; my guess is that even if they forced *every* provider to raise prices they'd just lose volume. (This is because if there is any one provider with a lower cost, the lack of barriers on the internet would quickly shift all business to the lowest-cost source. The one hiccup here is, of course, the iPod, which definitely complicates the analysis.)

          That's about all for today on this, I think...I'm sure I didn't cover every facet, but we're still in the early stages of the Intellectual Property Revolution.

        • Dynamic Pricing (Score:4, Interesting)

          by jinxidoru ( 743428 ) on Friday May 07, 2004 @05:35PM (#9089389) Homepage
          Pricing for new music should be high, older stuff could be much lower. If older stuff would be priced less (in any format), I'd buy a ton of music, but right now I don't bother.

          This is a great idea. Something that would work great is something I saw in a video arcade once. The games were modified coin-ops so that you swiped a card, which you could put money on at the counter. Each game varied in price, in such a way that the price was based upon the frequency of play. So the older games were cheaper because people didn't play them as often, but if you started playing it a lot, the price might increase 1 or 2 cents per play. It made sure the price was right for every game.

          Apple should do something similar. The price of a track would start at a predetermined amount. As more people purchased the track, the price would slowly increase based on some formula. The price would eventually level off at a fair price. The other great thing is that lesser known tracks would drop in price and more people would be willing to buy them. So how about it Steve? Are you going to hire me now?
      • by Adriax ( 746043 ) on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:51PM (#9085874)
        They're trying to kill legit online music so they can go back to CD sales in stores, their favorite way of doing business. Then they can work on squishing file trading online, and go back to their tried and true anal ra... business model.
        • by Q2Serpent ( 216415 ) on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:21PM (#9086351)
          and go back to their tried and true anal ra... business model

          I think you meant "anal rape^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hbusiness model". Try changing your TERM environment variable; it may be set incorrectly.
        • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:53PM (#9086782)
          They're trying to get people used to paying CD prices for downloaded music so they can phase out CD sales all together, thereby significantly curtailing the trade in mp3s, reducing their distribution costs to nil, and gradually moving people to a pay-per-use model for content consumption. It's the Entertainment Industry's Holy Grail. The IRS taught us long ago you don't hit people up for a ton of money up front, you take it from them bit by bit.
      • by w3weasel ( 656289 ) on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:07PM (#9086126) Homepage
        This raises and interesting option for Apple.
        they should've done it long ago, but now is the time that they finally buy Apple Records outright, and end the occasional lawsuits, and long established contract that prevents Apple Computer from entering the Music Recording Industry.

        They should buy Apple Records, which would grant them the right to sign any and all free-agent and upcoming bands to the Apple label, distribute their music on ITMS, and they would sweep the industry because they could pay the artists ~50% royalties as opposed to the .2% - 12% the RIAA offers these artists. Apple would clean up, the musicians would clean up, and the RIAA would either be forced to reform and compete, or (I wish, I wish, I wish) finally die.

        • by SoTuA ( 683507 ) on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:17PM (#9086297)
          Yes! Terrific idea! After all, how expensive can it be to buy the record label that distributes "The Beatles"?
        • by dcavanaugh ( 248349 ) on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:30PM (#9086495) Homepage
          Apple is the most successful of the online retailers. Without Apple, essentially ALL downloading would be free P2P. If Apple says, "We will pay what we choose to pay. If you don't like it, we won't distribute your product.", what can the recording companies do about it? Their only real alternative is to lose even more money. Somehow I doubt the I-Tunes users are going to flock to competitors, certainly not the competitors who pay royalties.

          Apple must have known about the sleazy tactics of the recording industry before going into this business, surely they would have had a plan to deal with problems like this.
        • by StevenMaurer ( 115071 ) on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:42PM (#9086651) Homepage
          The reason why iTunes has been so successful is because of Jobs's ability to cajole all of the labels to participate. As soon as he indicated that he wanted to compete with them, this cooperation would instantly disappear, and iTunes would become yet another service with a tiny library. Too tiny to be interesting.

          A much better solution would be for Apple to drop the one-price fits all aspect of the store. Simplicity is good, but frankly, some songs are simply worth more than others.

          In fact, if he wanted to subtly discourage overcharging by the labels, he could increase his margins on the higher end stuff. In other words: 99 cents a regular song, 4 dollars for a "premium" song. And if Labels found that these "premium" songs tended to get pirated in the P2Ps more, well, they always have the option to price them at the more reasonable lower tier.

        • by lavaface ( 685630 ) on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:42PM (#9086652) Homepage
          I agree somewhat. If the record companies jack up prices, Apple should promote the independent artists already on iTMS through CDbaby [cdbaby.com]. Getting into the record business directly may not be the best move for Apple. However, I could see them partnering with lesser-known labels. I've also wished there was a regional function to iTMS; buy local bands music from your city or whatever area strikes your fancy. If the latest Britney or Santana or whatever is too expensive, push the great music promoted by labels that aren't dicks.
      • by daveo0331 ( 469843 ) * on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:08PM (#9086151) Homepage Journal
        At the 99-cent price, only about 10 cents from each song sale goes to Apple's bottom line, with about 70 cents going to the record labels and the other 20 cents paying for credit-card fees and distribution costs, sources say.

        Really? Funny how no one even mentions how much money the ARTISTS are getting out of the deal.

        Price of song 0.99
        Record label gets -0.70
        Credit card fees -0.20
        Apple's cut -0.10
        Artist royalty (0.01)
      • by nahdude812 ( 88157 ) on Friday May 07, 2004 @02:04PM (#9086942) Homepage
        Don't you see where this is going? Downloadable albums are more expensive in the stores and restricted with DRM. So people buy their albums in the stores anyhow.

        Now the RIAA can say, "You see, all this time people have been saying that it's the convenience of an electronic format they want" (which has not been our argument), "and when we offer it to them, electronic purchases are only 5% of the physical sales. These Internet music buyers are just pirates who are not happy to pay for music even when we give it to them the way they want," (which they're not).

        Good show RIAA. Red herrings for everyone.
    • by dewke ( 44893 )
      Since when has anything that the RIAA done made any sense? Now that the prices are going up, there will be a drop in online sales, and the RIAA can blame itunes for lower album sales.

      Either that, or they want to push apple out of the business so they can establish their own stranglehold on music.
    • I know! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Simon Carr ( 1788 ) <slashdot.org@simoncarr.com> on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:48PM (#9085816) Homepage
      And it's not just dumb because they're making the price higher, but they're making the EASILY COPYABLE audio CD format competetive again!

      I mean what the crap? On one hand they're trying to secure their intellectual property, and on the other they're deterring people from a format that secures their intellectual property with out-of-whack pricing?

      Dumbasses! This is a strategic blunder, how do they not see it? In a weird turn of the tables, I'm mad about it because they're so obviously proliferating a problem they're trying to solve.

      I should be happy, because it means the long life of easily "shareable" audio CDs, but somehow I'm not..
    • by MoonBuggy ( 611105 ) on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:49PM (#9085829) Journal
      The industry execs truly need to be slammed in the head repeatedly with a clue-by-four. They haven't just shot themselves in the foot, they've dived onto a landmine.

      Let's face it, the RIAA member companies are approaching if not already at redundancy. They are the ones depriving artists of their fair share of what they created, they are little more than middlemen. If they got out of the way artists could make more money while selling their music considerably cheaper than it is now.

      Somehow their massive FUD campaigns have convinced people that the RIAA is the artist, and that the labels should be compensated for "their" creations. I'm not saying that the true creators shouldn't be compensated, but the RIAA member labels sure as hell aren't the creators of the music, it's the artists who do that.

      They should be breathing a sigh of relief that artists still want them, they should be thanking $diety that the public still have few other choices than to pay them for music and they should be grateful that people still think it acceptable to pay them for other people's creations. Finally a reasonable compromise with not-too-bad (although not too good either) DRM is implimented and becomes popular. The RIAA tries to destroy it rather than embracing what could be their last chance - if the RIAA take on Apple, they may win. If the RIAA take on online music, the artists will soon learn to bypass them and get a better deal.
    • by TheLoneDanger ( 611268 ) on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:55PM (#9085922)
      They're begging for us to pay for music.

      Since when does the RIAA beg? It commands, it guilts, it sues, it takes. The RIAA (and please remember which companies comprise it so they can't hide behind that acronym) believes that it has a right to your money, because they think they control music. Even if you only hear it in passing on someone else's radio, if you hear any music it must be theirs, and you have to pay something.

      They can't seem to understand that there is any use other use for P2P or CD-Rs than copying their music, so as a Canadian I pay money for CD-Rs that I've never used to copy (which is legal anyway) or distribute music. Of course, the CRIA now want it so that copying and sharing isn't legal, while also increasing the levy. I have to wonder if this price hike will be brought to Canadian music services, as we really are better off exercising the right to copy and share given to us by this damn levy.
    • by palutke ( 58340 ) * on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:56PM (#9085956)
      It's so fucking stupid that I want to rip my nuts off, cook them, and then eat them.

      Yeah! That'll show 'em!
    • by kimgh ( 600604 ) on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:16PM (#9086275)
      Hold off on the suicidal tendencies, here. Jobs was adamant in the conference call last week that the price would remain at 99 cents, regardless of the rumors that were floating around.

      I think Apple is in the driver's seat on this, so I bet the price will not be going up...

      • by Auckerman ( 223266 ) on Friday May 07, 2004 @02:19PM (#9087118)
        And our first question today will come from Steven Levy with Newsweek.
        Steven Levy: Hi, Steve.
        Steve Jobs: Hi, Steven. How are you doing?
        Steven Levy: Good. How are you? Congratulations for the year. A couple questions, related questions, about the negotiations with the labels there. One, was there any discussion from their point of view of changing the price? We've been hearing about how the labels might want to get more for online songs. And second, did they ask you to make the songs purchased on the iTunes store playable from other devices? In other words, ask you to license FairPlay to other third parties?
        Steve Jobs: Great. Let me answer those two things. First one is the price for songs in the iTunes store is remaining 99 cents per song, and we think that's what customers want and that's what we're delivering. So the prices will remain 99 cents per song and any rumors to the contrary are simply not true.
        And secondly, no, it never came up in our discussions with the labels that they would like songs purchased on the iTunes Music Store played on other portable music players other than the iPod. Possibly that's because the iPod is the most popular portable digital music player in the world with close to a 50 percent market share of all MP3 players on the market, including even $50 Flash based players. So, as you know, the iPod has grown into a billion dollar business in a little over two years and we ship more than three million iPods to date with more than 800,000 iPods sold last quarter alone. So you know, it's hard to even say who number two would be.
        Steven Levy: And the 99 cents, that didn't come up either? Basically that was something that was assumed it would not change?
        Steve Jobs: Well, I'm not going to go into details about our negotiations with music companies except to say that Apple and the music companies are offering these songs on the iTunes Music Store for 99 cents a piece, same as always.
        Steven Levy: OK. Thanks, Steve.
  • by garcia ( 6573 ) * on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:35PM (#9085607)
    Apple's willingness to allow some singles to be priced higher than 99 cents indicates the company feels empowered by its current success in the download market and sees a chance to boost profits from the sales of digital music.

    This does NOT mean anything of the sort. It means that if Apple wants to sell these songs on its online store it has to bow to the wishes of the music cartels. It's their music afterall.

    You know, I have downloaded less than 10 songs since the height of the Napster/Kazaa days (2000/2001?) and the rest have been songs that are legally available for free. Why the hell are we bothering to support the cartel's music? You realize that they are going to keep pushing and pushing (with bait-and-switch if necessary) to keep online downloads out so that they can reign supreme in the sales of music.

    Support only the artists that allow the free taping and distribution of their music! Do NOT let the cartels continue to dictate to you and your favorite artists how the music you love will be distributed and at what cost.
    • Oh, please (Score:5, Interesting)

      by glpierce ( 731733 ) on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:44PM (#9085740)
      "Support only the artists that allow the free taping and distribution of their music!"

      Should how do I stop liking good music? It's not all crap in the industry, and the independents have a long way to go (even those with talent usually don't have decent production). Should I boycott Led Zeppelin now? I only buy used CDs, but since I actually like good music I can't just pretend that everything I own is "bad" because the execs are greedy.
    • by weston ( 16146 )
      This is potentially great for independent artists -- offering downloads at $.99 or $.90 per song now will make you seem competetive. And all you have to do is make sure you don't suck (at least, less than stuff on the radio).
  • Sigh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mfh ( 56 ) on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:35PM (#9085614) Homepage Journal
    Every time I hear about record labels these days I'm forced to think about the indies, who create the best music and get paid the least. My only hope is that a site like mp3.com will learn from the mistakes of mp3.com and come up with a solution for indies to profit and truly compete against big labels with more even footing. Nobody likes a grudge match like I do. :-)

    Bait and switch concepts always fail business, and it looks like Apple will have to cave to the pressure from groups like the RIAA (who happen to be in love with shady business practices). Drug dealers do the same thing; $0.99 for the first hit and then you get gouged when you're hooked! Maybe taco was right after all [slashdot.org]?!?
  • Caveat emptor! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by seanadams.com ( 463190 ) * on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:36PM (#9085622) Homepage
    With the service agreement that they have for the iTMS, it seems already they can change the rules for the DRM (number of burns per playlist, number of computers, kinds of applications that will be allowed depending on available quicktime APIs, etc.

    It wouldn't surprise me in the least if they start charging you to "upgrade" the privileges you have for the music you've already bought.... perhaps even charging you just to continue your rental - even though it was never part of the original deal, it seems the contract allows them to change whatever they want at any time, and their copy protection, backed by law, gives them the tools to do it. Retroactive price hikes... now possible under the DMCA!
  • Uhm? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jawtheshark ( 198669 ) * <slashdot@j a w t h e s h ark.com> on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:36PM (#9085627) Homepage Journal
    as high as $16.99.

    For that price I'd rather go and buy the album and rip it myself. At least then I can choose the format I want. If an Audio CD is marked with a label that it might not play on anything else than my stereo, I won't buy it either. If this means I can't buy music anymore, well, fine with me, I'll keep listening to the CD's I already have.

    • Rip or Burn? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by simpl3x ( 238301 )
      Exactly, what do the music labels think they are going to get out of this? How about killing the legal download market? $10.00 is in my opinion too high, because if I really like something, I'll buy the CD rather than a copy of lesser sound quality. Talk about extortion.

      Hopefully, Apple will try to essentially become a label in the future, eliminating the trash that markets the likes of Britany. Friends of mine simply buy the CD, burn it in whatever way they choose, and sell it used. I'm going to start doi
    • Re:Uhm? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by THotze ( 5028 ) on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:51PM (#9085864) Homepage
      I think that's exactly what the music companies are hoping for. The argument that probably ''sold" the RIAA and its members on allowing companies like Apple to give legal downloads of music probably was that sales of the music companies' entire libraries would increase. This lies on the belief that there were some people that would pay for a song/an album, but currently didn't do so, probably for lack of convenience. As an example, I listen to a song on the radio that I like, and I think "hmm, I want it," but I'm not in/near a record store, so I just forget about it and don't buy anything, but if I could have just sat down and paid for it and downloaded it, I would've given the record company some money.

      The problem is that it is currently cheaper to download music than to buy it in a store - $9.99 per album for most albums online, compared with what, say $15-$20+ for most albums in a store? So what happens is some people (although, at this point, probably not a lot) figure, 'ok, so I'll just buy it for $10 on iTMS, spend $0.30 on a CD-R, and burn the album.'

      What's intereisting is that I'll bet that with retail mark up, the record companies don't see a helluva lot more money by selling albums in a bricks-and-mortar store. (I figure there's at least a 40% retail mark up, and a few pennies here and there for the physical media, including jewel case + transportation etc., compared with about $0.70 per song that the record companies currently get from iTMS). The record companies are betting that a FEW people will pay the SAME amont for online downloads as a actual purchase (those "hmm, this sounds good, I'll buy it now convenience purchasors), and the rest will go for a actual physical CD purchase.

      I don't think this is for the moeny, however, I think its because the record companies inhearantly distrust digital music on the Internet, thinking its 'dangerous'. They have more control over bricks and mortar in a number of ways, the most significant of which is that, on iTMS, its just as easy for me to download songs from an indie band as from a big record label, but, good luck finding much independent music in MegaMonolithic Music Store.

      Just my read on things.

  • Extra money? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hot_Karls_bad_cavern ( 759797 ) on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:37PM (#9085640) Journal
    If i *knew* that money was going to the artists, i'd be okay with it. Since i know it's not, fuck 'em; i won't buy. Free streams are doing just fine for me.
  • by danielrm26 ( 567852 ) * on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:37PM (#9085643) Homepage
    Fine -- they can have it their way. The $.99 model was working fairly well, and a decent number of people were actually entertaining the notion of paying for music. This development will prove, yet again, that greed is running this show -- not fairness.

    Until there is a "fair" alternative, meaning it's accepted as fair to the majority of open-minded and reasonable people, we will continue to see a well-defined, concerted effort to make music available for free.

    iTunes was a step forward, and this represents 3 steps backward. It's a slap in the face to those who were actually paying for what was available for free. Expect them to be punished severely, in the form of greatly increased P2P activity.
    • by garcia ( 6573 ) * on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:45PM (#9085760)
      it's called "bait and switch" and I was expecting it all along. They knew that they would suck you in with the idea of a song for less than a buck (and plenty of people posted here that they were willing to pay just that).

      So now they want more money (because it's actually working) and they want to basically make it stupid for you to buy an album from iTunes because they are more expensive than the $12.99 you can pay at Walmart.

      Ahh, the cartels... I won't repeat my suggestion for what everyone should do.

  • by gb506 ( 738638 ) on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:38PM (#9085667) Homepage
    When are the record labels going to understand that their product isn't worth what they want to charge?

    It's like the NBA - a big marketing scheme where the underlying product does not have the appeal nor the value their pushers would like us to assign...
  • Allofmp3.com (Score:5, Informative)

    by datan ( 659165 ) on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:38PM (#9085669) Homepage
    This was featured on slashdot a few weeks ago.

    It's a pretty cheap service, but some doubts were brought up whether Americans could legally use the service.

    It charges 1 cent per MB of downloading, and it works out to about 5-8 cents per song. You can choose your encoding (mp3, ogg etc.) and bitrate. Allofmp3.com [allofmp3.com]

    • by FreeUser ( 11483 ) on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:23PM (#9086388)
      It's a pretty cheap service, but some doubts were brought up whether Americans could legally use the service.

      Those doubts are quickly allayed here [museekster.com]. allofmp3.com is perfectly legal under US law. The RIAA doesn't like it, and will tell you otherwise, but they are being no more honest than the MPAA is when it flashes those FBI warnings at the beginning of each DVD telling you you have no right to make a backup copy for personal use ... knowing full well that the law and the courts consistently say otherwise.

      The short explaination for those too lazy to follow the above link.

      1) Under US law, anyone may import any music so long as they are licensed to do so under the copyright laws of their own country. If you buy a mailorder CD from Canada and the company is licensed by either the artist or the CIAA member company, it is legal to import the CD. If you buy a mailorder CD from the US and the US seller is licensed by the artist (or the RIAA member company), it is legal. Under Russian copyright law, which the US is bound by treaty to respect, allofmp3.com has a license to distribute all copyrighted music from the Russian equivelent of the RIAA, known as ROMS.

      The RIAA may hate the fact that you can buy $0.99 iTunes songs in whatever unencumbered format you like for around $0.04 per song, but the law throughout the developed world, including the USA, is quite clear that this is a perfectly legal service to use, yes, even in Once But No Longer Free America.
  • It was always a boggle as to why the Post Office didn't just go right up to 20 cents a stamp instead of the weird 19 cents. It would have increased revenues and forestalled, at a very small price to the consumer, the next price hike to 22 cents (22???).

    Same thing here. Instead of going up to a nice round number like 1.50, they choose a number right smack dab in the middle. While the price may be temporarily lower now, we can expect that the next price increase will happen faster than if they just brought the cost up to a nice round number.

    Something tells me that the marketing department is at work here. Nothing else could be so evil.
    • by Dun Malg ( 230075 ) on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:10PM (#9086170) Homepage
      It was always a boggle as to why the Post Office didn't just go right up to 20 cents a stamp instead of the weird 19 cents.

      The post office has to justify, with actual budget numbers, every penny of a rate increase. They are forbidden by law to collect more than they need and all propsed rate hikes have to go through a long, tedious review process to make sure they're not.

      Instead of going up to a nice round number like 1.50, they choose a number right smack dab in the middle.

      This is Marketing 101. Low number sell better that round ones. The problem with nice, even round numbers is that they're too easy to manipulate mathematically. Two songs at $1.50 is $3.00 and everyone knows it. Two songs at $1.29 is less than that-- only $2.58-- but most people will mentally round the number to "two dollars and something". The idea is to play on people's difficulty in dealing with math and make it HARDER to figure out how much they're really spending.

  • Steve's take (Score:5, Informative)

    by Raindance ( 680694 ) * <johnsonmx&gmail,com> on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:40PM (#9085688) Homepage Journal
    I'd recommend reading the Register's take on the story rather than the Post's: it has more facts right and doesn't have a flashing Howard Stern advert. Anyway, Steve Jobs also mentioned the issue in a recent iTunes conference call- here's what he said (credit goes to www.macrumors.com):

    "But in any event, most of the albums on iTunes are priced at $9.99 and below and, no, they're not creeping up. There's always a few that are a little higher than you can go in and pull out, but they're very, very competitive and we see in the future the prices of the albums coming down, not going up, because that's what it's going to take to sell more albums and it's in everybody's best interest to do so."

    So, it's definitely a label vs apple thing. Anyone know who would get the extra money from the price hike, and in what proportions?

    p.s. The journalism in the Washington Post is just "great". I quote,
    "Apple's willingness to allow some singles to be priced higher than 99 cents indicates the company feels empowered by its current success in the download market and sees a chance to boost profits from the sales of digital music."

    Where'd they get this information, you may ask? Did they perhaps pull it out of thin air? Immediately preceeding this, "Spokespersons for the major record companies declined to comment. A spokesperson for iTunes was not available for comment."

  • So greedy (Score:3, Interesting)

    by thebra ( 707939 ) * on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:40PM (#9085692) Homepage Journal
    "The Wall Street Journal carries a story today on the higher prices customers are starting to face from online music stores. [macnn.com] Apple, for example, is charging $17 for N.E.R.D.'s new 12-track Fly or Die album, while Napster charges $14--both higher than the $13.50 Amazon is selling the physical CD for. All five major record labels are also reportedly discussing ways to raise the price of single downloads, from increasing the price anywhere from $1.25 to $2.50, to bundling hot singles with less desirable tracks or charging more for singles of tracks that have not yet been released in stores."

    From what I've read Apple only gets 10 cents from each track sold and RIAA get 70 cents.
  • by Maul ( 83993 ) on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:40PM (#9085696) Journal
    Apple created a service where people that people would be happy to pay for because it finally offered music at a decent price.

    So what does the RIAA do? They try to kill it by forcing Apple to increase the price until it is as expensive as a CD.

    Basically destroys the whole purpose of the service, doesn't it?
  • by mobiux ( 118006 ) on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:40PM (#9085702)
    As more people realize that iTunes is a viable option to the $18 cd, it will push the RIAA and its demon member companies to lower it's prices.

    Now if they raise the price, the RIAA can hold onto its CD monopoly for a little while longer.

  • Leave it to RIAA (Score:4, Interesting)

    by andyring ( 100627 ) on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:42PM (#9085725) Homepage
    Leave it to these bloodsucking bastards to take a shotgun to the latest non-RIAA success story in the music industry. Here we finally have a successful, and wildly so, online music purchasing and distribution system, 100 percent legal, and RIAA HATES it, and seems to be doing everything they can to stomp it out. Download a CD for $17? Holy friggin' crap! I can buy the (nearly) worthless piece of plastic at Best Buy for the same price! Are they just doing it for an excuse to ass rape us at the music store too? Sure as heck wouldn't surprise me.

    On a somewhat related side note, I am running for Congress in Nebraska. Conservative? Yes, I am. But, pro-technology, anti-RIAA/MPAA/DMCA? Darn right! Want real change? Vote Ringsmuth for Congress [andyring.com] May 11 in Nebraska. That is the only way things will happen. If elected, I will do everything in my power to bring down these cartels.

  • by themaddone ( 180841 ) on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:43PM (#9085731)
    So now, as retailers drive up the price, it's now going to be cheaper to by your non-DRM CD from Target or Wal*Mart or wherever than to get a DRM restricted album from iTunes et al? I'm sorry, I don't get it.

    Cheaper promotion + Cheaper distribution + Cheaper Capital costs is supposed to equal Lower Prices (tm).

    In order for online distribution to succeed, there has to be some sort of critical mass of consumers -- without them, the business won't be profitable, and it's locked in a death spiral of having to raise prices and losing more customers.

    At some point, the music industry just might have to accept that its no longer profitable to run business in this way. Music has been around a lot longer than the recording industry, and will be around a lot longer than when the industry disappears. The sooner they get that lesson through their heads, the sooner we can stop having the exact same discussions on /. all the time.
  • by christurkel ( 520220 ) on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:43PM (#9085732) Homepage Journal
    The download biz is finally taking off after eyars of trying and you want to raise prices? This strikes me as profoundly stupid but then again the RIAA isn't exactly a brain trust.
  • by linuxbaby ( 124641 ) * on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:43PM (#9085738)
    Worry not. There are many many MANY more to come that are being very competitive AND open. CD Baby is delivering over 250,000 songs to EACH of the companies below, and the norm for the smaller companies is to receive MP3 or even FLAC delivery.

    So instead of whining about how some big major-label Universal album (where the artist hardly gets paid anyway) is DRM'd or expensive, be an independent thinker and go try some of the smaller services.

    Emusic [emusic.com]
    Website for Mac, Windows, Linux where members can download up to 40 tracks per month of high-quality MP3 files. Has been around for YEARS doing both 99-cent downloads, and all-you-can-eat downloads for paid members. Has great catalog of indie label music - company is currently reforming.
    AudioLunchbox [audiolunchbox.com]
    One of the first all-independent music download sites. Tracks retail for 99 and albums retail for $9.99. ALB pays out 59 per song and $5.90 per album.
    NetMusic [netmusic.com]
    Digital download and streaming service. We get 65 cents per downloaded song. Entire-album downloads usually retail at $9.99.
    Emepe3.com [emepe3.com]
    Website that primarily targets Latin America, USA and Spain. Tracks sell for 99 cents. We get 65 cents. Entire-album downloads are usually $9.99.
    Etherstream [etherstream.com]
    Website that offers a la carte downloads. Tracks sell for 99 cents. We get 65 cents. Entire-album downloads are usually $9.99.
    Music4Cents [music4cents.com]
    Retails independent music at very reasonable prices. Pays 55 cents per download. Sells independent music - they will sell CD Baby songs at $.69.
    QTRnote [qtrnote.com]
    Artist gets about $.64.
    TriaSite [gimmemusic.net]
    TriaSite retails independent music downloads. Pays $.65 per download
    Puretracks [puretracks.com]
    Canada-only service that offers $.99 downloads. Website is currently available to Candian residents only. Puretracks is acting both as an online download retailer and a back-end service provider for other retailers. Downloads cost $.99 per track - artist gets about $.59 per track.
    CatchMusic [catchmusic.net]
    Download site focusing on independent music. CatchMusic sells a la carte downloads at $1 each. Songs retail at $1 - artist gets about $.55 per song.
    Viztas Digital Marketplace [viztas.com]
    Viztas Digital Marketplace will sell all kinds of digital media - not just music. Tracks retail for 99 and albums retail for $9.99. Vistaz pays out 60 per song and $6.10 per album. Viztas has not yet launched.
    DiscLogic [disclogic.com]
    A la carte downloads. Tracks sell for 99 cents. We get 65 cents. Entire-album downloads are usually $9.99.

    • by gosand ( 234100 ) on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:56PM (#9085952)
      Magnatune [magnatune.com]

      I have found Magnatune to be very good. Not a massive selection, but at least they are all of good quality. No "dork-in-the-basement-with-a-keyboard" like some other free music sites have. Some of these are really good. "Brad Sucks" is interesting, "Rocket City Riot" and "The Napolean Blown Aparts" are good ol' rock-n-roll. I am sure there is more there, I just haven't gotten through it all yet.

      Check it out.

  • Yes, I am. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RatBastard ( 949 ) on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:46PM (#9085785) Homepage
    Aren't you glad you starting paying for downloaded music?

    Yes I am, you smug little turd. I pay for my music, my videos, my software, my books, whathave you. I know that the artists involved are often getting ripped off by their record labels. But that doesn't mean I am going to screw them even furter.

  • by TechnoPope ( 516563 ) on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:48PM (#9085823) Homepage
    I get the feeling that Apple really didn't want this to happen. Raising the prices reduces the "deal" of downloading the album. As others have pointed out, why pay 16 bucks for an encrypted, DRM'd copy of an album that you have restricted rights to; when for 18 dollars you can have a CD that you can do what ever to. Steve Jobs and Co. probably only agreed to this out of fear of losing the rights to distribute music. While selling music online helps the RIAA, it does not do so enough for Apple to really leverage their position on the pricing. From the vantage point of Apple, they need the RIAA more than the RIAA needs them.
  • by deadmongrel ( 621467 ) <karthik@poobal.net> on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:49PM (#9085840) Homepage
    Alright here's a conspiracy theory. Sony could be the reason behind the hike. New player enters a market dominated by apple and apple's price per song increases? I bet sony would remain at 99c and isn't sony a major music label? Also Ipods were the main target of apple not pusing songs so i guess they won't care much now.
  • by Exocet ( 3998 ) on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:50PM (#9085844) Homepage Journal
    Frankly if I'm going to have to pay as much (or more) than the new physical CD costs, well, f-it. I'll go buy the CD. I'll have the actual media then and also be able to rip it and distribute it to as many computers as I wish.

    Either RIAA is absolutely blinded by greed (a distinct possibility) or they might just be blinded by their lust for power/control. Consider this: if people think like I do and don't want to pay as much for the restricted-ethereal-copy as they do for the free-as-a-bird physical media ...and RIAA secretly knows this... might they be simply trying to pressure Apple into raising their prices in order to have them eventually fail the iTunes business?

    At that point the RIAA could point to iTunes and say, "Hey, people and Congress, the people don't want legal stuff! Let us make evil non redbook-standard CD's that are laden with DRM! Protect our braindead ancient way of doing business!"

    I recently bought two (my first two) songs on iTunes and enjoyed the experience. But it's pushing it to ask me to spend 10-12 right now to get all the files that made up the original CD. If it goes up to $14-17, not a chance. I'll buy a used CD or I'll get it from Gnutella or I'll just listen to the damn radio. $.99/song is the LIMIT, not the start. Otherwise, I want the physical media and the dead tree art.
  • by lotsofno ( 733224 ) on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:51PM (#9085860)
    really, the best route for anyone wanting to listen to music is to stick to more independent material--there's enough good stuff out there to last you several lifetimes.

    that way, when you buy a song from Magnatune, Bleep, or Audiolunchbox, you WON'T be:

    1.) sending your cash to the RIAA
    2.) attributing to the success of a service that fronts the RIAA, supporting the operation of tyrannous record labels with your cash
    3.) supporting propietary DRM
    4.) locking yourself into using iTunes or an iPod as your portable player

    by opting for other services that aren't iTunes/Walmart/Sony/Rhapsody/etc.., you WILL be:

    1.) sending more cash to the musicians you like
    2.) attributing to the success of a service that better represents and compensates the musicians you like, without restricting how you listen to your music
    3.) free to listen to your music however you want, whether it be with winamp or foobar, linux or whatever OS you use, ipod or rio karma
    • by Infonaut ( 96956 ) <infonaut@gmail.com> on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:43PM (#9086668) Homepage Journal
      1.) sending more cash to the musicians you like

      You're making the assumption that because an artist is on an independent label, I'm going to like their music. While I do like a lot of independent music, like most people for better or worse my listening habits have been built around music distributed by major labels.

      Using a collection of smaller download services is time-consuming, because you have to go from one service to the next in order to find what you're looking for, and it still doesn't expose you to the breadth of music that iTunes does.

      Unfortunately for the indies, consumers like a very broad selection all in one place. There are thousands and thousands of Windows apps, most of them very crappy, but consumers like the fact that they can find any type of application under the sun for Windows. Apple has been fighting an uphill battle against this perception for years with the Macintosh, and they've learned a lot from it.

      It's also important to remember that most people aren't even aware of independent music. For every person who thinks Rhino Records is a bunch of sell-outs, there are 9 people who don't even know who Rhino is, much less No Idea Records.

      Don't get me wrong - supporting indie music is definitely a way to keep good music alive. But don't expect that the majority of people will ever get into indie music. Even in the heyday of punk, only a miniscule percentage of the population had even heard of the biggest names in the punk scene.

      Nibbling at the edges won't get the RIAA to mend its ways. It'll take an outfit with big-time commercial clout and a lot of money to get them to clue in, unfortunately.

  • iTunes feedback link (Score:5, Informative)

    by Monoman ( 8745 ) on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:51PM (#9085870) Homepage
    Tell them how you feel.

  • by iiioxx ( 610652 ) <iiioxx@gmail.com> on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:57PM (#9085968)
    RIAA wants to hike prices? Fine. Let them.

    It's real simple. iTMS just had a record sales week with 3.3M songs sold. They are averaging something like 2.5M songs per week. Let the RIAA hike the price. Let's watch the numbers.

    If consumers don't have a problem with the price hike, sales will be unaffected. If consumers don't like it, sales will drop. If sales drop by more than 26%, the RIAA starts loosing money. If that happens, they'll be forced to restore the $0.99 pricing.

    You can't blame them for hiking their prices, if the market will yield a profit by doing so. As buyers of music, we all get to vote on whether the price increase is reasonable. If we collectively say we won't pay $1.25/song, they will be forced to either drop prices or lose money.
  • by noewun ( 591275 ) on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:58PM (#9085975) Journal
    Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

    Fucking idiots. They deserve whatever they get,.

  • by gorbachev ( 512743 ) on Friday May 07, 2004 @12:59PM (#9086000) Homepage
    Sony's (one of the Big 5 record labels) Sony Connect music download service launched 5/5/2004. The price point is $.99 for singles and $9.99 for albums.

    The same week we get reports that the Big 5 has successfully managed to pressure Apple to raise their prices.

    Coincidence? I don't think so.

    Proletariat of the world, unite to kill RIAA
  • by swschrad ( 312009 ) on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:00PM (#9086012) Homepage Journal
    I would like to see a business justification for raising the prices 26 per cent, showing increased short-term costs in allowing apple to rip and post these things, or increased costs in referring the appropriate royalties to the artists involved.

    I bet I don't see one.

    Becaue I bet that this is just another fscking ripoff of the public, and they are trying to take control again by shutting down the economic benefits of online sales.

    I do not at this time maintain that they are trying to get some quick cash to pay off a court order that they start paying long-term old back royalties to artists exceeding 50 million dollars, royalty money owed by contract to artists, that was conveniently held back because they "could not find" artists of the demure stature of madonna.

    these bastards lie with every breath, have no direct impetus to reward the artist community that makes and fills their rice bowl, and doesn't give one half a shit about the public they sell to.

    RIAA, in short, is a band of thugs.
  • The RIAA loves the new Napster, or at least, part of it. For those who aren't quite familiar with how the service works, users pay a monthly fee to subscribe to Napster. Then, based on the preferences of the copyright holder, users can either stream or download tracks for a one-time fee. Once the fee is paid, the user can listen to the song as many times as they want, but only downloaded songs can be loaded onto mp3 players, etc. for use away from the computer.

    The rub, of course, is that if a subscriber stop paying Napster a monthly subscription fee, she loses access to the music streams she's already paid for. It's brilliant, because in the end, the consumer gets nothing for their dollar but instant gratification. No file, no archived recording, just the experience of having heard Outkast encouraging them to "shake it like a Polaroid picture" to file away in their memory.

    The RIAA adores this. It makes them happy like dogs rolling in some particularly nasty filth. They look out and see the incredible use statistics counting the users of p2p and iTunes, and they start multiplying subscription fees on top of those numbers. It's the best deal possible for them, because they manage to make money by selling us no real assets.

    But iTunes style stores, where users are given individual copies of songs to keep and own, and use in perpetuity for a one-time fee? The RIAA hates this. It makes them sad, like a pet owner discovering that his dog has rolled in some particularly nasty filth. Instead of a recurring revenue stream that's locked into continuing to pay for the RIAA's existing products for life, each consumer instead is a fair deal. They get songs for a low one-time fee, they're able to get their music a la carte without having to buy dozens of filler tracks, and they're still offered the instant gratification that is the only real selling point the streaming model has to offer. The RIAA, in turn, is forced to continue producing new product at a high enough quality that they can continue to sell it to customers.

    Once you understand this, it's easy to see what the RIAA is doing: They're trying to shut down iTunes.

    By raising the cost of songs to $1.25, they're breaking the magic $1 price point. Anything under a buck, well hell, that's just a candy bar. Why not buy it? But $1.25, that's a 20oz. bottle of soda, a purchase that must be considered a little more carefully. They've broken the psychological barrier to impulse purchases that $.99 magically hovers below.

    By raising the price of full albums on iTunes to be equivalent to the cost of a physical CD bought in the store, the RIAA looks on the surface like they're creating a financial incentive to go and buy the album at a music store. But we all know that's not how this will work out.

    What will happen is that iTunes' sales will drop, but they won't be met with a commeasurate increase in sales at music stores. The RIAA knows that people accustomed to the iTunes Music Store will return to illegal acquisition of music via filesharing before they'll go to the store and buy it.

    In fact, they're counting on it, because once the iTunes music store is dead, they can say, "See? We tried, we put our best foot forward, but it just didn't work. These pirates aren't interested in paying." Then the lawyers can go to town, until there is no technological nor legal recourse available to escape their stranglehold on recorded music.

    It's not only evil, it's fucking brilliant.
  • AllOfMp3.com? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Jtheletter ( 686279 ) on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:14PM (#9086241)
    So has anyone figured out the deal with allofmp3.com since it was posted on slashdot [slashdot.org] a little over a week ago?

    It's one of those sounds-too-good-to-be-true deals:
    Pay only for bandwidth (resonable $$ too)
    Choose your encoding format
    Choose your encoding bitrate

    I think the unlisted "feature" here is likely 'Fund the Russian mafia' but it's hard to tell from the site alone how legitimate it is, what their real distribution rights are, and if artists are even recieving money from them.

    Any slashdotters have experiences or insight on this service? I know someone must because we /.'d it in about 10 minutes after the article went up.

  • My letter to Apple (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gavinroy ( 94729 ) * on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:18PM (#9086306) Homepage
    Dear Apple,

    I am writing you due to the story that I read at the New York Post that you are considering raising the price for songs and albums at the iTunes Music Store (http://www.nypost.com/business/20309.htm). Let me first explain that I am what I would consider your average or target user. I own both a 10 gig and 40 gig iPod, both multiple pcs with iTunes and a G4 running OS/X. I bought my original 10 gig iPod *because* of the music store. I bought my 40 gig iPod yesterday because I ran out of room on the 10 gig and frankly iTunes doesn't make dealing with deselecting large amounts of music to be copied to the iPod easy. I have also purchased somewhere between five and ten albums at the music store, and even purchased an EP today. Granted that's not a huge amount but by my tally, I've spent over $1,000 on your music related offerings all together. I am also an Apple stock holder.

    My point in this email is to let you know that I will discontinue use of the Music Store should you raise the rates. The 0.99 price point and the $10 or under album prices is *what is appealing* despite the numerous disadvantages including only being able to download once. If I'm going to pay more than $10 for an album I will go to the store and buy it. That way I get the original artwork, album notes, and something tangible that I don't have to burn to cd to have a backup of. I also expect your sales volume to decrease steadily if you should raise the rates.

    From my perspective the music industry wants it both ways, a steady price for the consumption of music, regardless of production costs. Lets just assume that the price of CD's in the market today is not a product of collusion and price fixing. There are tangible costs beyond that of the artists, producers, and engineers. There is the cost to duplicate the media, provide the jewel case, the artwork, inserts, packaging, shipping, and distribution. Ideally iTunes Music Store provides a way for the fans to get what they want cheaper, and for the Music Industry to get more return on their money because of the lack of cost associated with the distribution of the content. Apple conceivably wins in this scenario also because of the overall brand imagine enhancement which entices iTunes Music Store users to buy iPods, macs, and OS/X upgrades.

    I hope that my letter is not falling on deaf ears, and Apple doesn't forget what made the iPod and iTunes Music store offering popular in the first place.


    Gavin M. Roy
  • Your local library (Score:5, Informative)

    by Danathar ( 267989 ) on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:21PM (#9086353) Journal

    a: Check the local library for your CD. If it's not there...go to step B.

    b: Buy used CD's

    c: When you are done "listening" to your used CD(s), donate them to their local library.

    Pretty soon the Library will have a decent collection for everybody!

  • by cgreuter ( 82182 ) on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:22PM (#9086364)

    And so, laughing maniacally, the music industry snatches the gun from Apple and begins frantically shooting the stumps at the ends of its legs.

  • Greed. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by amdg ( 614020 ) <amdgNO@SPAMmac.com> on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:22PM (#9086378) Homepage

    It's all about greed. How is it that RIAA wants $1.25 a compressed DRM song in the US but you can legally download an uncompressed no-DRM song from Russian for just $0.01 per MB?!? That means ~$0.35 per song. And if you decide to go for the compressed equivalent of what you find on the iTMS, you're talking about $0.04!! The same thing happens with the movie industry and DVD region codes. A legally purchased DVD that costs $20 in the US typically costs $2 elsewhere.

    If markets are going to normalize across borders in this new globalized "Internet age" where big businesses send our jobs overseas, they better accept that we are also going to send our dollars overseas too. That's if their lucky. I'm willing to bet that a lot of people are going to feel cheated by this new development and are going to go right back to the P2Ps that RIAA has worked so hard to get us to stop using.

  • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:25PM (#9086416) Homepage
    ...is because non-RIAA bands can get "shelf space" right next to theirs, with previews so you can listen to, not only see an unknown name. I think they've started to see what iTMS would become, should it become successful (i.e. make a dent in physical CD sales, not biggest online shop).

    The RIAA is working very hard to keep their customers "in the dark" about other bands. Sure, the odd person may go "indie" but they don't want a mass of people to make something "indie" into "mainstream". I.e. take the "impressionable teenager that listens to what other teenagers listen to" market.

    After all, I'm sure there's more than enough music out there for me to listen to it 24/7 for the rest of my life without hearing anything twice, most of them non-RIAA (a lot of crappy ones too, but many good I'm sure). The iTMS could show it all.

    It's not the distribution channel they fear. It's the exposure to all sorts of music you can get through the iTMS. Imagine word-of-mouth going around "Check you band X on iTMS, they're really good". With instant previews, instant satisfaction, instant spreading the word, instant fame.

    Suddenly a band that never would have reached "critical mass" without the RIAA before, could make it big. Get your music up on iTMS, hit the "hip" people, the trendsetters, and you don't need a huge record contract, retail stores or a media blitz to make people hear and buy your song.

    You've got no problem with a million people suddenly wanting your song, no scale-up problems, no production delays, no distribution bottlenecks. Nothing. World-wide (well, not yet but iTMS will get there).

    That is why the RIAA will hold the online stores in a chokehold. Killing them would make them seem bad "they won't deliver what the customers want", too loose could shatter their hold on the market. Expect the DRM to become more and more anal.

    Then blame the consumer for not wanting it. "We tried to sell it online". It's perfect. They get to keep their profitable CD sales, the consumers look like the bad guys and Apple the "friendly" that really only wants to sell iPods. Which btw is quite happy as long as they're the biggest *online* shop, making most people buy iPods.

  • extortion ? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by uucp ( 459917 ) on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:27PM (#9086443) Homepage
    Wait a fucking minute here. We've got 5 big media conglomerates coming together to discuss how to artificially increase the cost of their products. Exactly how is this not conspiracy and extortion? How does these actions allow for competitive market forces to drive the cost of their product to the peak price points according to the law of supply and demand? Why the fuck aren't these criminals in fucking jail where they fucking belong? Fucking anti-competitive un-American terrorist bastard dickheads. These scumbag assholes can fucking rot in hell.
  • Yeah, actually... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kitzilla ( 266382 ) <paperfrogNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday May 07, 2004 @02:04PM (#9086937) Homepage Journal
    Aren't you glad you starting paying for downloaded music?

    Yeah, actually. It means I can legally purchase music per-cut, rather than spending money on tracks I don't want. It's fun and convenient. I'm filling the holes in my library, and I don't worry about a Dear John from the RIAA.

    That doesn't mean I like the idea of a rate hike. But pricing is a separate issue from the bigger question of whether or not labels and artists have the right to expect payment for their work.

    I'd possibly pay $1.25 a cut, but it would likely cut down on the number of transactions I make. I buy few albums through iTunes. $16.99 is too much, given that one might find a new CD cheaper than that price. Better to shop around and be able to rip a superior copy if I want the whole album.

    It would be great if Apple begins to offer iTunes downloads in their new lossless codec. Would make me feel better about a price increase.

  • by beforewisdom ( 729725 ) on Friday May 07, 2004 @02:20PM (#9087130)
    By forcing Apple to raise its prices to be compatible with store bought CDs the RIAA plans to kill its competition and piracy.

    If downloading music costs the same as a store bought CD ( or more ) most people will let the record companies do the work and give them a nice
    "store bought" package.

    End of legal downloadable music.

    Additionally, by temporarily allowing legal downloadable music to flourish ( in combination with their lawsuits for illegal downloading ) they have moved many people away and out of the habit of stealing music over the internet.

    If more people start stealing music over the internet again the RIAA can play martyr with an improved public image. "Hey, we let legal downloads happen and these people insist on stealing anyway".

  • by xyankee ( 693587 ) on Friday May 07, 2004 @02:44PM (#9087424)
    Apple on Friday denied a report that the computer maker was planning to raise prices for songs bought on its popular iTunes online music store, according to Reuters. "'These rumors aren't true," said Apple spokeswoman Natalie Sequeira. 'We have multiyear agreements with the labels and our prices remain 99 cents a track.' Apple's statement came after the New York Post reported on Friday, citing one unnamed source, that music fans may have to start paying more for some songs on Apple's music store following contract renegotiations with the record labels ahead of the one-year anniversary of the store.

    - MacNN [macnn.com]
  • by Infonaut ( 96956 ) <infonaut@gmail.com> on Friday May 07, 2004 @03:13PM (#9087797) Homepage Journal
    This update from Yahoo [yahoo.com] says it all. Apple is flatly denying that there will be any price changes.

Think of it! With VLSI we can pack 100 ENIACs in 1 sq. cm.!