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Apple Music Service goes Live!
April 28, 2003 11:06 AM   Subscribe

It's official - Apple today launched its' music service So now that it's 'beyond hype', the rumors of Apple's buyout of Universal Music unfounded (instead, sealing deals with each of the big five music firms), what does everyone think of this rather slick, easy to use and somewhat inexpensive alternative to illegal music swapping? $.99 per song seems pretty fair to me, not to mention the very generous licensing terms provided.
posted by tgrundke (164 comments total)

 
$1/track seems pretty expensive to me.

I'll keep pirating for free, thanks.
posted by delmoi at 11:09 AM on April 28, 2003


It ain't free, and it ain't open. Not interested.
posted by Mars Saxman at 11:10 AM on April 28, 2003


Free
One Dollar
Free
One Dollar

Ummmmm, I'll choose free?
posted by Outlawyr at 11:14 AM on April 28, 2003


Considering that most people only want a few tracks off of each CD, I think the pricing to be quite fair. And Mars, unless your comment was intended to be a sarcastic smack upon the general sentiment of pirateers out there, I'm worried.

It's aint supposed to be free - that's the beauty of the market system: if you want it, buy it. If not...keep moving along. But for cryin' out loud - don't steal it.
posted by tgrundke at 11:15 AM on April 28, 2003


.99 is fine for music, if it is in mp3 format and not Audible's grotesque-ity. I'd gladly pay $1 per mp3.
posted by cachilders at 11:15 AM on April 28, 2003


i too, think $.99 is a lot for an mp3. 50 cents, though, would sway me.
posted by bluno at 11:21 AM on April 28, 2003


For me to even consider this, they'd have to lower the price to $0.49 per mp3 or so. MP3's (no matter what bitrate) are still not as good quality-wise as a CD's .wav files and therefore shouldn't be as expensive, IMHO.
posted by fishbulb at 11:21 AM on April 28, 2003


Mac only? Please.

Also, I'm not sure about the $.99 flat fee. There needs to be different levels for different songs. Maybe a buck for the latest and greatest (?) and a bit less for some older songs.

For now I'll stick with free. When a service offers me ANY song, at ANY time, with no limits on personal copying, consistant quality, standard ID tags all at a reasonable price I'll trade in my Kazaa.

I'd also like a service that gives more to the artist and less to the GIANT EVIL CORPORATIONS. Aint gonna happen though.
posted by bondcliff at 11:23 AM on April 28, 2003


If there are artists that I want to support through the iTunes Music Store, I'll gladly pay .99 for the songs I want. I like how Apple made it easy to browse for songs through the application.
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 11:24 AM on April 28, 2003


FWIW, the format is AAC not MP3, and there are some restrictions... you can only put the track on 3 computers. You can burn as many CDs as you want, though, as long as you change the track listing every 10 burns. Curious to see how this'll work.
posted by thebigpoop at 11:25 AM on April 28, 2003


Here comes some flame-bait, but it's how I feel:

1. Music = copyrighted material.

2. Music != free.

3. $0.99 = good deal, since I don't have to pay another 9 bucks (being generous) for 10 other songs (again being generous) I may not want.

4. MP3 = one of many music file formats.

5. AAC format = smaller, just as good quality. Why not give it a try?
posted by o2b at 11:25 AM on April 28, 2003


If I'm not mistaken, this isn't MP3, it's a proprietary format called AAC (?), that has digital rights management built in, just as Audible does. If that is true, there are some questions I have, such as what the sound quality is like, if there's a client for Windows and Linux, and if I can download anything from the Big 5 and not just what they want me to download (i.e. can I dip into their entire catalog, or just the latest Britney Spears crap?). If the sound quality is good, if the interface isn't horrible, if the catalog is open, and if it's cross-platform, $0.99 per track sounds fair to me.

Then again, this is Apple, who have a celebrated history of producing fantastic products and then getting about 3% market share against extremely mediocre rival products.
posted by RylandDotNet at 11:26 AM on April 28, 2003


It's typical of Apple; mostly hype, little substance.

No one has answered the main question, how will the dinosaur record companies make money fighting a war that they can't possibly win?

Most kids today don't think it's a moral problem to steal from big corporations if they can get away with it. The increasingly Draconian tactics of the DoJ and the RIAA aren't winning any sympathy with me either, though I'm not much of a music downloader.
posted by mark13 at 11:26 AM on April 28, 2003


Well, I've downloaded my share of free music, but there seems to be too much crap on the P2P networks now. Download a MP3 and it's just a loop or mis-titled or other bullshit. I'd pay $.99 to get what I want instead of looking around for hours...My time is worth more than that.
posted by mkelley at 11:26 AM on April 28, 2003


I think people will pay for convenience and quality. I think that generally speaking people do want to pay for what they consume. How else can you explain tipping waiters and waitresses when there is no requirement to do that?

At this point I should mention that if I could actively steal money out of the pockets of the labels and cause them to colapse further so they'll get out of our way and stop trying to steal and lock up our culture, it would...

That said, $1 seems like an OK price if you're only buying a song. If I'm buying the entire album (which is the way I tend to buy), then $.50 seems closer to what I'd be looking to pay.

I don't understand the built in limitations of AAC (I'm assuming they have those files loaded with Disabling and Restricting Mechanisms) I'm unwilling to support crippled files at any price.
posted by willnot at 11:27 AM on April 28, 2003


As far as quality goes, AAC is used for the encoding of audio for DVDs.
posted by thebigpoop at 11:27 AM on April 28, 2003


Yeah, at $1 a song, we're talking ~$10 for a CD's worth of music, combined with almost zero distribution costs which results in huge margins for this service.

Also, they're using the "AAC" file format. I mean, what am I going to play those on?

Maybe if the songs were cheaper, and available as MP3s then this service would have a chance, but for now Kazaa is still a better deal.
posted by bshort at 11:28 AM on April 28, 2003


If you read the description of the service you'll notice that the files are 128kbps AAC (advanced audio coding) files and not standard MP3 files. The new iPods support the format, on the Mac at least, and updates to iTunes allow it to burn the format to CD. AAC is generally a higher quality format than standard MP3 at the same bitrate. AAC was originally introduced with the audio companies in mind, since it was linked to digital rights management systems. Just a bit of checking turned up several AAC Winamp plugins, so this format might not be as proprietary as I originally thought.
posted by cnx at 11:30 AM on April 28, 2003


The dock is cool. How long before you can dock your ipod in your car? And I've wanted an mp3 alarm clock for a while now. I wouldn't pay $300 for one but I want an ipod anyway. I'm going to try and find pricing for extra docks.
posted by Wood at 11:31 AM on April 28, 2003


I think willnot is right, this may tap into the convenience niche.

I mean I see grated cheese sold in bags in my local Co-op superstore. And it must sell. And it's more expensive than a plain ol' normal block o' cheese... ergo, people with more money than sense will pay for someone to make things even easier for them... and what could be easier than grating a bit of cheese???

One question, though.

What's to stop someone burning the track to a cd, and then ripping it to mp3?

(Did that question violate the DMCA?)
posted by Blue Stone at 11:34 AM on April 28, 2003


40$, duh. And they have a car kit but it's not a dock. I wouldn't expect it to take long before that gets rectified.
posted by Wood at 11:34 AM on April 28, 2003


If I'm buying the music, I want it available loss-less (and not lossless on terms of audible artifacts). I can tell the difference between any (VBR, lame w/ --r3mix, whatever) MP3 and a CD quality 44.1khz source.

And it bugs me.
posted by shadow45 at 11:35 AM on April 28, 2003


first, they're not mp3 fiiles, they're AAC (mpeg4) audio which is supposed to be better quality while smaller in filesize than mp3. i'm not sure if i'll actually buy any tracks while pirating is still so easy, plus its going to be interesting to see how a few AAC files will work with my 24 gigs of mp3 data. i dont know that much about them. are they easy to convert to wav and burn onto cd?...
while i probably wont end up buying any tracks, i cant help but marvel at the seamless integration into itunes. people say itunes is bloated and prefer not to use it, but i think it works amazingly well, especially with the extent of the uses (internet radio streaming, and now pay-per-song service)
along with the music service and new version of itunes to support it, apple also unveiled the new ipods with some tweaked design modifications and now up to 30GB of storage.
now if you'll excuse me, i'm going to drool some more.
posted by sixtwenty3dc at 11:36 AM on April 28, 2003


This is a terrible idea. "To get running all you need is a Mac with Mac OS . . ." In other words, we've created a system that has no legitimate reason to be platform dependent and built platform dependency into it.

How outrageously stupid to create a service that 9/10 of the Internet community cannot use!
posted by vraxoin at 11:37 AM on April 28, 2003


The new iPod isn't all that great. And they won't let me get songs for my Windows iPod. :)
posted by riffola at 11:38 AM on April 28, 2003


At $1 a song, you're still paying $15 an album, which is still grossly exorbitant to me, considering the almost complete lack of reproduction/distribution costs, not to mention the fact that the music is currently free. I know numerous people with 3,000+ songs in their collections. Under this scheme, that's $3,000 worth of music, which to my crowd of young, Napster-weaned, under-employed children of the recession is still a hunk of money that they would never have laid down had they actually been required to pay it. Had some enterprising music company taken the initiative to introduce a comprehensive, guaranteed, high-speed service charging, say, $0.20 per download, however, I'm sure they would have made $600 off each of those people.
posted by grrarrgh00 at 11:38 AM on April 28, 2003


in the time it took me to write all that, the rest of you beat me to most of my major points :P
posted by sixtwenty3dc at 11:39 AM on April 28, 2003


free or 99 cents?
nearly unlimited, or limited selection?
mp3 format that nearly all my digital devices play, or.. what's it called? aac?
winamp or itunes?

what an easy decision....
posted by lotsofno at 11:42 AM on April 28, 2003


To summarize: "Waaaaaaaah."

Considering you can reliably get an entire high quality album (not just the MTV hits) for 10 bucks, burn it, ipod it, and transfer it to 3 other computers, this is a pretty good deal. No, it's not free. But yes, it's the best opton unless you're a whiny thief.

And it'll be out for Windows soon enough, so let's not get our panties in a bunch.
posted by jragon at 11:43 AM on April 28, 2003


It's interesting, my first reaction is that $1.00 per song seems high. A CD costs around 15 bucks for about 10 songs. For that I get a physical CD, plus cover art and I can rip an mp3 from it if I want and play it on my iPod anyway.

As I think about this a bit longer maybe $1.00 per song isn't a bad deal if the CD in question is on the high side of $15.00. For older CDs usually the cost is lower though and I'd expect the same to happen with the AAC version as well.

The restrictions on the AAC do not bother me at all. As a user they wouldn't interfere with me. I can play it on unlimited iPods or up to 3 computers. So as a consumer they don't interfere with me but as a distributor they would. The requirement that you remix a playlist every 10 CDs is a bit silly I think. If I burn to an ISO rather than a CD I can then make unlimited copies of that ISO. This part sounds more like making the media companies happy, which I suppose they have to do.
posted by substrate at 11:44 AM on April 28, 2003


And if you're into shitty punk bands, as I am, then we're talkin' upwards of $20 for a CD that would be $10 in about any store. (And I'm one of those freaks who insists on owning an entire album instead of a just a few tracks... What can I say? Real artistry is rarely apparent in the radio single, but can sometimes be found in spades on the rest of the album.)

That said, I'd definitely be willing to pay ~$5-$8 for a downloadable album, though it would have to be high-quality (192kbps) mp3 (so I can play it on my nifty mp3-cd player). It would be awesome if some of these companies started reprinting the out-of-print catalogues in mp3 format; I think a lot of people would rejoice. Wizards of the Coast took up this model, publishing the old out of print D&D books for $3-5 in pdf format, and seem to be doing decently with it. Their model is commendable, too: they put a good deal of stuff up for free (D&D has a HUGE number of out-of-print books, adventures, everything), and keep the real gold in the vaults. I ended up buying a copy of one of my friend's favorite books and hand-binding it for him, as after some ten years of use, his copy was ready to disintegrate. Imagine being able to get your favorite band's out-of-print rare LP-only albums like this...
posted by kaibutsu at 11:45 AM on April 28, 2003


free or 99 cents?
nearly unlimited, or limited selection?
mp3 format that nearly all my digital devices play, or.. what's it called? aac?
winamp or itunes?

what an easy decision....


legal or illegal?
guaranteed set of quality or unknown quality?
compensate my favorite artists or rip them off?

what an easy decision
posted by gyc at 11:47 AM on April 28, 2003


To clarify my earlier comment: you can buy any CD for 10 bucks. It's 99 cents/song, then 10 bucks/CD.
posted by jragon at 11:50 AM on April 28, 2003


To summarize: "Waaaaaaaah."

Considering you can reliably get an entire high quality album (not just the MTV hits) for 10 bucks, burn it, ipod it, and transfer it to 3 other computers, this is a pretty good deal. No, it's not free. But yes, it's the best opton unless you're a whiny thief.


i can get an entire high quality album as well for free on my PC, burn it, play it on any player i choose that isn't mac-centric or costing 300+, and transfer it to an unlimited amount of computers.. better deal.

believe me, i'm not whining about my thievery.
posted by lotsofno at 11:51 AM on April 28, 2003


It needs to be cheaper because although I don't steal (or rarely) music, I find amazon to be extremely convenient. Ripping a CD to mp3 is hardly a struggle and then I get to control my format/quality and furthermore I have no restrictions on the music that I BOUGHT.
posted by Wood at 11:55 AM on April 28, 2003


Lotsofno, I could break into your house and steal your computer, too. Only punks actually buy computer equipment.

Listen, get past the Mac-centric side (the service will be Windows-friendly by end of year, apparently) and you've got a pretty good deal. That full album you can by is 1) stealing 2) much harder to get your hands on than just loading it up and clicking a button in this Apple Music Store thing.
posted by jragon at 11:55 AM on April 28, 2003


free or 99 cents?
nearly unlimited, or limited selection?
mp3 format that nearly all my digital devices play, or.. what's it called? aac?
winamp or itunes?

what an easy decision


An easy decision for you. But I doubt you're an average computer user (PC or Mac). This is geared toward people who want an easy way to shop (as in buy) for music online.
1. This is a new service provided by a computer manufacturer that is built into the software to make it easy for people to buy the songs they want.
2. It is not a proprietary format (as others have pointed out)
3. It is a way for Apple to position themselves ahead of the other computer manufacturers in this respect (look at the iPod--Dell was even selling it).
4. Of course it's not available for Windows right away. Remember Switch? That's now the Music tab at Apple's site. They hope that some people who are considering buying a personal computer will look at this new cool music service and buy a Mac instead of a PC.

It's not about free vs. buying music. People who steal music will just continue stealing music. But people who want to buy music want an easy way to do it. Apple came up with it.
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 11:57 AM on April 28, 2003


"what could be easier than grating a bit of cheese???"
Not grating a bit of cheese.
See also, downloading an mp3 via Kazaa.
posted by Outlawyr at 11:59 AM on April 28, 2003


Let's get this straight: there is a huge difference between being a whiny thief and opposing DRM. Give me one good reason the music industry should be able to dictate how I use a product I pay for as long as I'm not ripping anyone off.

Would you buy a DVD if you could only ever watch it in 3 DVD players? How about a shirt you could only wear with 3 pairs of pants?

This isn't about whether or not it's ok to steal music -- it's about whether or not content providers should be able to tell you what you can and can't do even if you aren't breaking the law.
posted by amery at 12:02 PM on April 28, 2003


jragon: No, it's not free. But yes, it's the best opton(sic) unless you're a whiny thief.

Um, that's a logical fallacy called a false dilemma. There are those of us who are thieves that are not whiny.

Also, just because I think an AAC-only service is doomed doesn't mean I'm either whiny or a thief. Until I can get music that I can play on my first-gen iPod, I'll keep taking music off of Kazaa.
posted by bshort at 12:05 PM on April 28, 2003


99cents is a fair price for a single song. after downloading nothing but shit lately from the p2p services. beats buying the whole cd just for one song.

now windows client is the deal killer for me. i play my mp3s through audiotron that wouldn't work.
posted by birdherder at 12:05 PM on April 28, 2003


I think I'll wait to see exactly what Apple did to make this palatable to the RIAA. I don't want to "upgrade" to a DRM-controlled environment.

Does anyone have a side-by-side comparison of MP3 and AAC?
posted by letitrain at 12:08 PM on April 28, 2003


Amery, your analogies suck. What if you copied the DVD and sent it to all your friends? What if you bought a shirt that ten people could wear at the same time?

It's no different than buying fonts or (some) software. It's copyrighted material and there are terms of use.

You can burn the songs you buy from Apple to CD and play those on any number of CD players (as in your DVD example). What's your point?
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 12:09 PM on April 28, 2003


Jragon: Lotsofno, I could break into your house and steal your computer, too. Only punks actually buy computer equipment.

Also, stealing your computer and downloading an mp3 are not the same thing. One is larceny, the other is copyright infringement.
posted by bshort at 12:09 PM on April 28, 2003


after downloading nothing but shit lately from the p2p services.

That's 3 or 4 people with that complaint-- what are you people downloading (and where) that you're getting spoofed stuff? I'm guessing KaZaa but I'd like to know. I can't remember the last time I got a bad file.
posted by yerfatma at 12:13 PM on April 28, 2003


bshort: Update your iPod software -- it adds AAC support to your first-gen iPod.
posted by o2b at 12:14 PM on April 28, 2003


Also, stealing your computer and downloading an mp3 are not the same thing. One is larceny, the other is copyright infringement.

No, it's still theft. If the song were free, and you downloaded it and distributed it w/o attribution, that's copyright infringement.

I'm kind of amazed (well, not really) at the obnoxious sense of entitlement y'all have in the face of a service that meets the majority of your needs. The argument that "it's not cheap enough, so I'll continue to download from Kazaa/LimeWire/whatever" is the same argument shoplifters make. You all give the movement toward viable digital music a bad name.

I haven't bought anything yet, but just from browsing, the service looks sweet. The price will definitely come down.
posted by mkultra at 12:21 PM on April 28, 2003


strangeleftydoublethink: Your interpretations of my analogies suck. I never said anything about lending my DVDs or shirts -- I'm talking about personal use.

Let me be super clear, ok? Why should anyone be able to tell me that I'm not allowed to play a DVD that I bought in three different DVD players I own? Sorry to be so pedantic, but I don't want you to parse me wrong a second time.

I don't get the train of thought that leads from opposing DRM --> supporting copyright infringement. It does not necessarily follow.
posted by amery at 12:24 PM on April 28, 2003


In defence of 'stealing' : Recently at a party I heard an album, Nighttimeworld 2, by Robert Hood. It's not an old album, and he has an extensive discography, so he's not totally underground. I resisted the offer of a CD/R copy; I liked the album and wanted to buy it. My two local stores, (Virgin & HMV), don't list it. Amazon doesn't list it, or e-bay. I don't know, and can't tell whether Apple has it, (since I'm a Wintel person).
35 minutes with SoulSeek later...
I would love to 'compensate the artist'. Any idea how I can, without jumping through unreasonable lines of hoops to do so? Sometimes, I don't just want to buy what record companies tell me I should like; what are my options?
posted by punilux at 12:24 PM on April 28, 2003


That's 3 or 4 people with that complaint-- what are you people downloading (and where) that you're getting spoofed stuff? I'm guessing KaZaa but I'd like to know. I can't remember the last time I got a bad file.

I don't know if I've ever gotten a spoofed file, but sometimes it's hard to find a particular obscure song, to download it before the person hosting it goes offline, to find a good quality rip of something.

The thing about Apple's music service that I find particularly cool, is that there is actually a somewhat decent selection of classical music. It's almost impossible to find any classical music on p2p networks. If you do, invariably it's only one movement of a piece and you don't know the orchestra/artist/etc. It's good that Steve Jobs is apparently somewhat of a classical music fan.
posted by gyc at 12:28 PM on April 28, 2003


Oh, my point is simply that content providers have no business dictating customer use so long as that customer isn't breaking the law. What's contentious about that?
posted by amery at 12:28 PM on April 28, 2003


Everybody likes to bitch about having to pay for music, but Apple's given their users a way to legally buy music instantly and for less than it would cost in the store.

I've already ripped all my CDs to MP3 and given the hardcopies away. I find this really valuable because I think record stores are a rip and Amazon takes a week with free shipping.

For the grousers:

If you're willing to pay for more than 10 songs on an album, then buy the album, otherwise, you're saving money. I spend more than 99 cents in time and frustration per song getting crappy files with messed up ID3 tags from Kazaa.

If Honda came out with a hybrid car, would you gripe that they're not selling it in Toyotas, Audis, and Volkswagons? C'mon. Even so, Apple's committed to having the iTunes Store for Windows by years end.

Finally, AAC is no more a 'proprietary format' than MP3. MP3 is MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3. AAC is MPEG-4 Audio Layer. It's just as free a standard as MP3, and you'll see it in a lot of products in the next year. It's already in your DVD player.

The DRM for the Apple Store is the most permissive that I've seen. Rip all the CDs you want, play it on three Macs, with the ability to remove rights from a mac you don't use any more and put it on another. Streaming to all the other macs (and TiVos) in your house. If you really want, you can burn a cd and rip it to MP3 for your pirating pleasure.

It's going to take off, whether you use it or not.
posted by kfury at 12:30 PM on April 28, 2003


Amery, Sorry, they still suck. Why? Because you're talking about a DVD, not a downloadable movie service. Apple's service does not infringe upon your right to copy the music you buy to CD and play that in as many CD players that you can get your hands on. You can copy the songs you buy to an unlimited number of iPods. You seem to be stuck on the part about having the songs you buy on 3 different Macs, which is not the same as buying a DVD and playing it on 3 different DVD players, unless you can play that DVD on three different players in different locations at the same time. Follow? The 3 Macs rule is similar to buying fonts, which is more similar to this music service than your sucky DVD analogy.
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 12:33 PM on April 28, 2003


.99 is too much and i don't think paying per song is a good idea. i qant a couple of tracks off of quasimoto's 'unseen'...some of these tracks are a minute and a half. i also want miles davis' 'bags groove'.....i think that's a 9 minute track. this service could be good for 4 track jazz albums that i always wanted but weren't ready to pay 12 bucks for.....at the same time i won't be buying quasimoto's 'unseen'. it's 10 bucks cheaper at best buy and it comes with all the nice artwork too.

it's concievable for me to have gone through 3 computers in the next 2 years, considering the current box i'm using is the 4th in the last 2 years.

i don't see how this is an upgrade from rhapsody or any of the other pay per download....it's almost the same thing.
posted by oliver_crunk at 12:36 PM on April 28, 2003


By the way, Amery, I agree with your point about DRM, and as kfury pointed out, Apple's service is not very limiting.
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 12:38 PM on April 28, 2003


Jesus, some of you people are talking completely out of your asses.

First, it's $10 for an entire album. Any album. That's a great deal. It's not 99 cents times however many songs are on the albums.

Second, it's not "Mac only" forever, just for the moment. The AAC decoder is built into Quicktime 6.2, also released today, which will be available for Windows and will permit other non-iTunes apps to play the format. Also, the iPod is a huge seller for Windows users, too. You think Apple would abandon that foothold? Can you invent more stupid reasons to complain? Is there no limit your willingness to be completely ignorant and obtuse? Bloody well read the news before you pipe up with your uninformed drivel.

Third, if you think downloading "free" music from the p2p services is cheaper, then you have a lot of available time. I don't have the bloody hours it takes to find a properly encoded track, with good ID3 tags, that doesn't have ten seconds of free space at the beginning, or isn't clipped at the end, or isn't a falsely labeled prank file, and isn't Shakira or Eminem or something else about as rare as air. The "free" p2p services are shit, and anybody who values their time knows them to be slow, inconsistent, badly managed and unresponsive. You know why people buy and pay tax on liquor at the store instead of buying cheaper white lightning made in someone's basement? Because it's better, they know what they're getting, and it's not illegal.

Fourth, as for MP3 vs. AAC, what are you on about? You have loyalty to a particular encoding and compression format? MP3 has been a good friend to you so you'll stand by it? God bless that codec, eh? What? Is this Slashdot? And for the fellow who can hear the diminished quality of MP3s, even with VBR: I've got a format for you. It's called "compact disc."

Fifth, it takes some rank and steamy balls to boldly say, "I prefer to steal music rather than pay for it." But I ask, where's your sense of compromise? This is the best attempt so far to meet the 20 or 30 million p2peers halfway, and you snub it. Great. You think the rest of us are chumps, while you, so clever, take the shortcut. We're the sheep, right? No, I'll tell you how it turns out: when you are finally caught for theft—because it is against the law—you'll get busted, and you'll whine, and the rest of us will laugh. Do you see what's happening in the movement to reform marijuana laws? You've got people working within the system to legalize it, and making some progress. Then you've got the street-level losers getting busted for buying a dime bag, who then complain, "This should be legal!" That's you, the street level loser. The rest of us are looking for a way to settle this fairly, reasonably, once and for all. That involves realizing that music is not a right, but a luxury, and you should expect to pay for it, or else make your own goddamned tunes.

I've got a truckload of clue-by-fours here I'll give you for free, if you'll just make a house out of them and live in it for a while.
posted by Mo Nickels at 12:44 PM on April 28, 2003 [1 favorite]


actually, if I could buy a shirt that ten people could wear at one time, we'd end up with some much happier third world nations, I think. 'Cause, like, they wouldn't need to make as many shirts, and stuff.

Meanwhile, tangentially related Cat and Girl.
posted by kaibutsu at 12:47 PM on April 28, 2003


strangelefty had it right.

This is an easy (and fairly cheap) way for non-techie Apple users (NOT MeFi users) to download music and burn it. You can sit here and bemoan AAC, and DRM, and non-comparable WAV quality, but I bet 90% of end users don't even have a clue it's not MP3, or at least don't care that it's not MP3. If they can burn it, or put it on their ipod and it works, they'll be fine with that.

Apple's going for convenience here. I think of my parents (or soon, myself), and my time will be much more valuable to me than a dollar for a song. If Kazaa gets more and more bloated with fake songs, the more and more people that will use this service.

Unfortunately, right now, it's Apple only, which is stupid from a marketshare standpoint, but apparently it'll migrate to Windows by the end of the year?

(on preview: what mo said.)
posted by gramcracker at 12:49 PM on April 28, 2003


Well said, Mo. Thank you.
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 12:51 PM on April 28, 2003


For reference, here is Apple's page on AAC. It's an official part of the MPEG-4 standard, and was developed by Dolby. I've seen both favorable and unfavorable tests in terms of quality, but for this particular task, at the given bitrate, I believe it looks like a very good format. Since it's part of QuickTime 6, there's no restrictions (as far as I can tell) on where you use an AAC file on your computer. In other words, any QuickTime-enabled product should be able to play your downloaded AAC files. iTunes' burning function lets you burn a regular Audio CD, so playing your AAC files on CD/DVD players, whether in your car or your living room, isn't a problem.

What I don't know is, will it burn MP3 CD's of AAC files? I've installed iTunes 4, and there's no option in the preferences to burn an AAC CD, but there is one to burn an MP3 CD. I also haven't been able to find out much info on the DRM aspects of AAC. As someone pointed out earlier, AAC is the codec used for DVD audio (is that DVD-Audio, or just the audio on DVD movies? That would certainly explain iTunes' new 'Record to DVD' feature!)

All in all, I see this new service as a Really Good Thing. I don't use Kazaa, though, so I won't miss it, and as has also been previously stated, pirates are going to continue to pirate, but normal computer users are going to use this. If it makes the record companies feel better, and makes them some money at the same time, maybe they'll lay off the lawsuits, and then even the pirates will praise Apple. ;)

Oh, and as for the question of indie artists, I believe the announcement indicated that the music library was "growing" -- it would only make sense that smaller labels would be able to, and even encouraged to join up. As far as inexpensive, reliable distribution for small labels goes, I can't think of anything better than this.
posted by fizgig at 12:55 PM on April 28, 2003


Two words. . . "Yo Mo" - give it to 'em Mr. Nickels.
posted by dhacker at 12:56 PM on April 28, 2003


But yes, it's the best opton unless you're a whiny thief.

Or live outside the USA, in which case you can look at iTunes, but you can't touch. Which is nice. (Same applies to lots of the Apple online services, which probably don't even extend to Alaska.) Mo Nickels is right, of course, that Americans have pretty much fuck-all to complain about.

Tangentially, I heard somewhere that the RIAA is being consulted by the US to re-write Iraq's copyright laws. How great is that? Fuck freedom and democracy, let's make sure that Iraqis can't download MP3s when they get their electricity and phone lines reconnected.
posted by riviera at 12:57 PM on April 28, 2003


99c per song? Well that's E2E4 for a buck, but $100 for a Napalm Death album...

...not that they're in the catalogue anyway. Ho hum.

OK, I'm assuming, since I don't have a Mac, and thus can't even check out the catalogue beyond the Sheryl Crow / U2 / Kiss stuff you can see in the screen grabs.

In summary, I'm way to cool for this. ;p

posted by inpHilltr8r at 12:59 PM on April 28, 2003


i'd love to see a comparison of apple's new service and listen.com's Rhapsody. i'm not a subscriber myself, but when my little bro was visiting not too long ago he brought it up on my computer and i'd have to say that i was impressed. you can't necessicarily download everything, but you have an enormous selection of streamable media, and you can access it from anywhere with rather decent sound quality. Rhapsody has the same 99cents a track for the songs that are 'burnable' which i'm guessing is some kind of DRM crippled has-to-be-burned-with-rhapsody file, but then you have the track(s) on cd to do with them whatever you'd like. personally, 9.99/mo for a nearly unlimited selection (of which i'd also love to see a comparison vs apples offerings) seems to be a better solution than having to worry about the whole buck a track thing. still leaves MP3 players a bit lonely, but that's what record stores are for i guess... any people who've used rhapsody care to comment?
posted by skatz at 1:00 PM on April 28, 2003


No riviera, let's make sure that Iraq doesn't turn into a haven for bootlegging CDs, software and video like many of the ex-Soviet countries and instead concentrates on legal and sustainable economic growth.
posted by pjgulliver at 1:00 PM on April 28, 2003


That involves realizing that music is not a right, but a luxury, and you should expect to pay for it, or else make your own goddamned tunes.

I've don't have any illegal mp3s or remember ever having any. I spend much, much money on music.

That said, I consider it my right to do whatever I want with the bits that are on my computer, and won't just cheerfully comply with any restrictions on that.

Maybe the majority of people will end up using a service like this, or maybe they will continue to download from unregulated sources.

I think that the market and technology will continue to move towards the abolition of copyright as we know it. I guess we'll all find out a little down the road.
posted by sonofsamiam at 1:01 PM on April 28, 2003


from a previous post: I would love to 'compensate the artist'. Any idea how I can, without jumping through unreasonable lines of hoops to do so?

If you want to support artists, attend their concerts. Buy their merchandise.

If supporting musical artists is a political issue for you, then vote with your feet. Stop supporting the majors. Get into independent music, where most labels split profits from record sales equitably with the artists, and where most artists retain full artistic control.

Most artists signed to major labels make their dough from touring, not from record sales. In fact, most artists do not retain artistic control over the product that is released in their name. Most artists signed to major labels never make much money from the albums they release.
posted by tomharpel at 1:01 PM on April 28, 2003


strangeleftydoublethink: I'm more inclined to think analogies in general suck, but at this point our divergent interpretations are getting in the way. Let's talk specifics.

I've just paid for and downloaded a copy of take_it_and_like_it.aac. I have four iBooks in my bedroom (play along here), all on my desk. I'm the only person in the room, and it's soundproofed so that my roommates can't freeload. Why shouldn't I be able to take the file I've paid for and downloaded and play it on those four computers? You can argue all you want that this situation is far-fetched, but that doesn't explain why content providers should have the ability to stop it. Neither does the difference between a DVD and an AAC file.

I'm not trying to be a shrill ideologue, but I think that DRM infringes upon consumer abilities in ways that it shouldn't. There must be better ways to structure the music industry so that both artists and consumers are treated well. What Apple proposes is certainly a step in the right direction, but I'd love to see flat fee access to whole catalogues without DRM.
posted by amery at 1:03 PM on April 28, 2003


free or 99 cents?
nearly unlimited, or limited selection?
mp3 format that nearly all my digital devices play, or.. what's it called? aac?
winamp or itunes?


-free OR upwards of $15 for 12 songs?
-12 songs i want OR 3-4 songs i want and 8 songs of filler?
-available at my desk, downloaded while i'm "working" OR having to drive to a store, find what i'm looking for (if i'm lucky), wait in line between some guy with 37 facial piercings and some 12 year old trying to buy eminem for ten minutes all the while listening to britney spears on the loudspeaker?

and yet people still buy CDs...this service isn't targeted for the people who download 100 songs a day from kazzaa or whatever. they are competing with tower, amazon, etc. this is music buying for the rest of us. as soon as they offer windows support (by year-end), they are gonna start putting record stores out of business. you can burn yourself CDs, save the files on 3 computers, listen (via rendezvous) on ANY computer on your network, and put them on as many iPods as you want, which are the most popular mp3 player on the market.



Why should anyone be able to tell me that I'm not allowed to play a DVD that I bought in three different DVD players I own?

Well, if your three dvd players are in three different countries, then you're screwed already due to region codes, and yet you still buy them, right?
posted by rorycberger at 1:06 PM on April 28, 2003


I've just paid for and downloaded a copy of take_it_and_like_it.aac. I have four iBooks in my bedroom (play along here), all on my desk. I'm the only person in the room, and it's soundproofed so that my roommates can't freeload. Why shouldn't I be able to take the file I've paid for and downloaded and play it on those four computers?

you can. all you have to do is network them, and stream/share the music with rendezvous. from the itunes page on apple's site:

New Music Sharing feature
iTunes 4 has a Music Sharing feature that uses Rendezvous to give you remote streaming access to your personal music library from any room in your house. Let’s say, for instance, that you have thousands of AAC and MP3 music files stored on a Mac in your home office. With iTunes 4, you can stream that music to other Macintosh computers anywhere in your house. And you won’t have to manually configure anything, either: Rendezvous seeks out the other Macs on your local network and connects to them automatically.

posted by rorycberger at 1:15 PM on April 28, 2003


Amery,

I'm playing. You CAN play that song on all four of your iBooks in your room. You can copy the song to three of the iBooks and either stream it to the other one or burn a CD and play it in the other one.

The computer is the manager of the music, allowing you to burn CDs, stream your music to others, and download to personal players. The computer and the music file replace the hard copy CD that you used to buy. In this case, you're getting to use the file on up to three computers at a time. That's pretty permissive when you look at most copyrighted materials.
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 1:19 PM on April 28, 2003


This argument is endless and frustrating and I wish people would just realize what's really going on.

When you buy a CD you are not buying the music. You are buying the medium upon which it comes. Meaning that compact disc and the thing it came in. The music, according to present law, is still "theirs", meaning the big conglomerate company that contracted it from the artist. OR in some cases it's still technically the artist's property, and the record company has gotten the okay to distribute the music on CD (or other format) but ultimately the consumer, by present standard law, is getting SCREWED.

You are really buying NOTHING when you buy music in today's society. You buy a CD for $15 but you have no rights to what is contained therein. You are given the illusion that you can do what you want with it.

By present laws, IF they could be enforced, every time you play that music and someone else is in earshot, that other person who didn't pay anything to hear the music is stealing. Senator Orrin Hatch questioned this whole concept a few years ago during some congressional hearings. He asked if it was illegal for him to make a cassette copy of a CD his wife bought so he could listen to it in his car when she had the CD with her in her car. No one was able to give him a straight answer.

There is an unwritten contract (actually sometimes it's written in fine print on the CD cover but no one ever pays attention to it) which talks about how ALL RIGHTS ARE RESERVED. This means that any time you do something with a CD with music copyrighted, whoever owns the copyright could bitch you out in court if they disagreed with how you used their music. This contract is agreed upon by you the moment you buy the CD, whether you've seen the contract, or agree to it, or not. Your only alternative to disagreeing with the contract is to not buy the CD. There's no other alternative. This is known as captive consumerism. The music company makes decisions about the agreement between consumer and seller, without the consumer's consent. The law works with the music company by saying when you buy the product you automatically agree to these terms and conditions. Ignorance, or just buying it even though you don't agree with their terms or conditions is not a defense by present law. All this crap is wrong. It's unfair. It's captive consumerism.

And accusing people of 'stealing' when they share music is pathetic, because the system has been stealing from the consumer since the first phonograph record was produced. When you buy a record or tape or CD, you are basically buying nothing. You don't own what you possess. You don't own what you paid for. You bought that CD maybe to have ARTIST X's music, but it's not yours. You have no rights to do anything with it other than private listening. Any other perceived rights are illusions.

The reason this doesn't cause problems as often as perhaps it should is cuz usually it's so frivolous and small that no one bothers with it. It's not worth taking to court. The big companies only bother with court proceedings to protect their copyrights if they have proven to themselves that they're losing more money if they don't defend their copyright in court. However, technically, every time you make a copy of something, they want money for that new copy. You don't have a right to copy everything you want. The only reason why you get away with it is cuz it's too costly to enforce their will on everybody.

In other words, the law sucks. It's always sucked. It needs to be revamped entirely, because it's based on the concept that when you buy music from a record company which bought it (in theory) from the artist, it's not music that is trading hands. You never actually buy the music. You buy the product of the medium from which the music is transported into your hands.

It's like if you were asked to buy music every time you heard a song on the radio. The only difference is that a CD or cassette gives the illusion of physical ownership, whereas a radio just gives you air.

Now put that in your pipe and smoke it.
posted by ZachsMind at 1:20 PM on April 28, 2003


I just LOVE to see Windows people get in a tizzy when Apple does something cool.

You'll all be doing some cockamamie (read: Windows) version of this in a year or two.
posted by divrsional at 1:24 PM on April 28, 2003


Dead before it even got off the ground.

#1. Includes DRM. DRM of any type, no matter how simple, kills products dead in the US. Examples: MiniDisc, DAT, and DiVX.

#2. New wacky format that requires people to buy new hardware (In this case a new Apple PC for 90% of users, and a new iPod for [guessing] 95% of users). New hardware isn't even close to free, being much more in the $1500 minimum total.

#3. $0.99 a track? Consumers won't even pay $0.25 a track (witness RIAA owned services). A subscription fee is really the only way to go here -- pay-per-track is the opposite of what KaZaa, etc are so well liked for. It discourages "testing out" new music. Instead, pay-per-track encourages you to listen to the tried-and-tested bands, 'cause you don't want to waste your precious money. And that doesn't help sales at all.

#4. It says "Apple" on it. Look, I hate to sound nasty here, but there's a good reason why most people don't have a Mac at home, despite the fact that Apple has (arguably) the best hardware available. I'm still searching for that good reason, and I keep coming up with one word: "CHEAP".

#5. I'm supposed to carry an AAC player along with my files so they can be played on a windows Box? How inconvenient...

I'll stick with eMusic for now, even if they don't have a lot of pop stuff. It's been months since I violated copyright on music and I'm enjoying every minute of it.
posted by shepd at 1:27 PM on April 28, 2003


That said, I consider it my right to do whatever I want with the bits that are on my computer

Sorry, but that just isn't your right. If you design a page layout and use someone else's photographs, or a font you don't own, then you're breaking the law (not to mention the ethics involved, which don't seem to have a seat at the table these days...) If you install software that you paid for, you're still not allowed to install that software on your friend's machine.

I think the problem is that, for a very long time now, we have all been ABLE to do these things, technology-wise. So, it's become ingrained in our conciousness that whatever's on our computers is ours, to do with as we see fit.

So, now that technology and the market are trying to work together, we all have the opportunity to decide the best way for them to coexist, and we decide that with our dollars. I hate the RIAA as much as the next guy/girl, but I want to see artists get something for their hard work, and I know that pirating mp3's isn't the way to do that. I also can see that this service is a convenient, reasonable method to do that. Sure, it could use this or that feature, could be cheaper, could have a bigger selection, but it's only one day old, for crying out loud! Apple's been really good in the past few years when it comes to listening to their customers, give it a chance.

Just think, if people use this to buy stuff from lesser-known artists ($0.99 plus 30-second previews is a perfect mix to bring back experimental song purchases, giving smaller artists a fighting chance again) maybe record companies will start to realize that we don't actually want Britneys and Backstreet Boys.
posted by fizgig at 1:28 PM on April 28, 2003


as far as pirating goes, this is going to make very little difference to those of us who listen to incredibly obscure music and frequently must pirate. i can't buy (or sometimes even find) any of the artists i like anywhere online, and upon a random search: i found none of them in apple's store.

it has not a single thing to do with protecting artists rights; it has everything to do with protecting conglomerates' interests. i'll keep going to concerts and buying directly from the artists. not always my favorite way to get an album. but i have to, so be it.

as far as pricing goes, the itunes music store is a FAR shittier marketplace than tower records: you're paying the same price for a non-physical product with substantially lower cost for promotion (no physical printing/pressing) and a low bitrate (128k).

i'm sure the companies involved see this as a deal because they now must market and prepare songs across mutiple media, but i'm not gonna support their costs.
posted by patricking at 1:33 PM on April 28, 2003


When it comes to music sharing, ethics have become sociopathic.
posted by ZachsMind at 1:37 PM on April 28, 2003


WWJD? What would Jesus download?
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 1:42 PM on April 28, 2003


That said, I consider it my right to do whatever I want with the bits that are on my computer

Sorry, but that just isn't your right.


Well, maybe, but try and stop us. You are one and we are legion...
posted by bshort at 1:46 PM on April 28, 2003


Too expensive. Much too expensive. No artwork, no liner notes, no physical media, no license to share freely with friends (unlike a cd), and a lossy format.

The price should be <50% that the rational (not monopolistic) price of CDs. Which would be, what, about $10/cd, so songs should be <50cents.

And I'd want a guarantee that money is going to the artists. IIRC, the record companies already fucked 'em over on Internet radio, claiming it wasn't part of their payment contract.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:48 PM on April 28, 2003


#2. New wacky format that requires people to buy new hardware (In this case a new Apple PC for 90% of users, and a new iPod for [guessing] 95% of users). New hardware isn't even close to free, being much more in the $1500 minimum total.
as has been addressed repeatedly, it will be out for windows by the end of the year. and remember when apple made the ipod for windows? now it's the most popular mp3 player on the market (which means a lot less than 95% of users need to buy it)

#3. $0.99 a track? Consumers won't even pay $0.25 a track (witness RIAA owned services). A subscription fee is really the only way to go here -- pay-per-track is the opposite of what KaZaa, etc are so well liked for. It discourages "testing out" new music. Instead, pay-per-track encourages you to listen to the tried-and-tested bands, 'cause you don't want to waste your precious money. And that doesn't help sales at all.
exactly how does offering a 30 second preview of every song (not just the popular ones, a la amazon, et al.) discourage testing out new music?



#4. It says "Apple" on it. Look, I hate to sound nasty here, but there's a good reason why most people don't have a Mac at home, despite the fact that Apple has (arguably) the best hardware available. I'm still searching for that good reason, and I keep coming up with one word: "CHEAP".
see above, re: ipod for windows


#5. I'm supposed to carry an AAC player along with my files so they can be played on a windows Box? How inconvenient...
ummm, you don't really "carry" an AAC player so much as download a negligibly small piece of software, not to mention i guarantee apple will have it integrated into the process, they aren't just going to give you a file without a way to play it.
posted by rorycberger at 1:54 PM on April 28, 2003


BShort is right. "You are one and we are legion..." It can't be stopped. It's insane to attempt. It's like trying to stop salmon from swimming upstream, or trying to stop the tide from coming in.

I can already hear the argument here: Does that make it right? If the rest of the world jumped off a cliff should you? Please. It's wrong to sell music the way they do in the first place. The argument is pointless. Right & wrong is sociopathic here. It's schizophrenic. It no longer applies or relates. That way lies evil carnival death.

It's why I say the law needs to be revamped. If you create a law that cannot be responsibly enforced, you're walking the path of absurdity. Perhaps we're all supposed to go by some honor system, but music sharing IS honorable. It is NOT stealing, and I for one am sick and tired of such accusations.
posted by ZachsMind at 2:00 PM on April 28, 2003


Too expensive. Much too expensive. No artwork, no liner notes, no physical media, no license to share freely with friends (unlike a cd), and a lossy format.

The price should be 5 0% that the rational (not monopolistic) price of cds. which would be, what, about $10/cd, so songs should be 50cents. and i'd want a guarantee that money is going to the artists. iirc, the record companies already fucked 'em over internet radio, claiming it wasn't part of their payment contract.


first of all, read this, then complain.

no, click it again, and actually read it.

fine, i'll give you the highlights:
-you do get the artwork
-you are given the license to burn as many cds as you want to freely share with your friends (unlike a physical cd). this sounds trivial, with how much we've grown accustomed to burning all of the cds we want, but technically it's still illegal, and this isn't. for the first time we actually DO have some limited amount of ownership of the material!
-they are $10 per cd, just like you suggested.
-you get no guarantee that the money is going to the artists when you buy a cd, why do you expect this to be so different? keep in mind we are talking about the same artists here, so don't spout of the whole independent record label thing. when one of them signs U2 i'll look into it. On the other hand, when you download from kazaa, you are guaranteeing that $0 goes to the artist.
posted by rorycberger at 2:06 PM on April 28, 2003


ZachsMind: Right & wrong is sociopathic here. It's schizophrenic. It no longer applies or relates. That way lies evil carnival death.

The only thing "sociopathic" is your feeble double-plus-ungood attempts to justify your illegal actions as somehow ennobling and, indeed, cosmically ordained. Say what you want, ZachsMind, but those who use P2P networks are in violation of current law and you most certainly are stealing. Granted that sometimes the law must be challenged or even broken to change it, but to pretend that what you are doing is not theft is just self-deluding; certainly, you're not fooling any of the rest of us.
posted by JollyWanker at 2:08 PM on April 28, 2003


WWJD? What would Jesus download?

:-)
posted by SpaceCadet at 2:09 PM on April 28, 2003


you're paying the same price for a non-physical product with substantially lower cost for promotion (no physical printing/pressing)

I think this annoying too, cause I like having the notes and stuff, but the manufacturing of most CDs costs almost nothing, so taking that out of the picture for the labels doesn't really save them any money.

no license to share freely with friends (unlike a cd)

That license doesn't come w/ a CD. It sort of does (see AHRA), but not really.
posted by jeb at 2:10 PM on April 28, 2003


I just realized something. In the time it took me to read this discussion i could have downloaded hundreds of free songs off Kazaa.
Or grate some cheese.
Damn.
posted by Outlawyr at 2:12 PM on April 28, 2003


BShort is right. "You are one and we are legion..." It can't be stopped. It's insane to attempt. It's like trying to stop salmon from swimming upstream, or trying to stop the tide from coming in.

I can already hear the argument here: Does that make it right? If the rest of the world jumped off a cliff should you? Please. It's wrong to sell music the way they do in the first place. The argument is pointless. Right & wrong is sociopathic here. It's schizophrenic. It no longer applies or relates. That way lies evil carnival death.


i agree with you 100%

i've downloaded as much illegal music as the next guy (i've got like 6 gigs of it now, just on this computer). right, wrong, whatever, it's irrelevant. that's not the issue here. the relevant number is that i still buy at least one or two cds a month, if not more. well, i should correct myself, i used to buy a cd or two a month, now i'm gonna be buying 20-30 bucks worth of songs from apple a month. granted, they don't have the obscure stuff, yet, but they've got a decent collection, and even with all of my free and paid for music (~300 cds) it didn't take me long to find a few songs i wanted to buy. and as i said before, if you are so determined to download for free, apple isn't judging you and neither am i, they were never expecting your business anyways. this is targeted towards people who actually PAY for music now. they're just making it a whole fuckload of a lot easier to do.
posted by rorycberger at 2:15 PM on April 28, 2003


"When it comes to music sharing, ethics have become sociopathic."

So... it's sociopathic to share, hmmm?

That's the strangest definition of sociopathy, I've ever heard! ;)
posted by Blue Stone at 2:19 PM on April 28, 2003


In the time it took me to read this discussion, I could have downloaded iTunes 4 and been browsing their music store.
But I'm stuck at work on my PC.
Damn.
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 2:19 PM on April 28, 2003


If Mac OS X is required, that eliminates most of us so why bother argueing. Moreover, it's just a way for Apple to boost iPod sales.

And even if I forked out the cash for an overpriced Apple music player, why would I want to limit myself to artists on the Universal label?

As for piracy, well, if artists want my money they should no better than to align with the RIAA under a big label. Call me an indy snob, but if it gets MTV play, chances are I'll pass. Most of my tunage comes from vinyl anyways.

On a sidenote, the last CD I purchased was online. I listened to the whole album stream from the artists site, which was linked by sputnik7 (which is like heavy). I enjoyed it. I knew the whole album was good cause I listened to the whole thing and I knew that the artist was a member of a small label so i bought it directly from the label.

In the mail they included a bunch of stickers and fliers for other bands on their label. Now, not only did I get a Zero 7 CD, i'm planning to get some Schneider TM.

and if you don't recognize those artists, use kazaa and check em out.
posted by Zebulun at 2:20 PM on April 28, 2003


Not that it would matter for Apple's music service, but AAC is supported by defaut in the most recent release of winamp 2.x. Does anyone know more about what kind of DRM AAC includes?
posted by Hackworth at 2:25 PM on April 28, 2003


Prerecorded performances will always be a gray area, law or no law.

If the artist wants to make money, go on the road.

Otherwise, the only one who wins is the record company, desperately clutching at a paradigm that has existed for less than 100 years and is now in danger of dying.
posted by linux at 2:39 PM on April 28, 2003


if anyone cares, i bought a song, here are the stats:

length: 4:16
size: 4 MB
my connection: university network, at least T1, but i don't know specifics, (although i do know that they block kazaa, limewire, etc.) run through an airport wireless network in my room.
download time: about 1:45

not bad, considering it's the first day and i'm sure their servers are getting slammed.

as soon as i get a playlist together i'll burn a cd and then see if i can rip back an mp3 from it.

i'm not enough of an audiophile to be able to distinguish between formats for the most part, but it sounds good to me.
posted by rorycberger at 2:39 PM on April 28, 2003


I will continue to sample things via real audio, mp3 or whatever format is available to me and then if I want the CD I will go out and buy it - used. Screw paying too much for CDs, screw buying copy-protected CDs that will not play on a lot of CD players and screw buying files that I have to then burn to CDR, proprietary format or not.

The only way I would ever go for a system like this is if it was through a band, not a company, and the money went directly to the band. And only then if it was reasonable, considering that a buck a track would cost me more than I ever pay for a used cd.
posted by bargle at 2:40 PM on April 28, 2003


One thing I'm sort of happy about: not only do they carry my favorite artist, Jack Johnson, but he also has an AppleMusic.com exclusive!

And even if I forked out the cash for an overpriced Apple music player, why would I want to limit myself to artists on the Universal label?

You wouldn't be limiting yourself to Universal. All five major labels signed on. And the number of songs will grow, it won't get smaller. Hopefully this will end up being a good thing for independent labels.
posted by premiumpolar at 2:42 PM on April 28, 2003


If Mac OS X is required, that eliminates most of us so why bother argueing. Moreover, it's just a way for Apple to boost iPod sales.

It doesn't require Mac OS X -- as has been said repeatedly, a Windows version will launch in the next few months. As for it being a way to boost iPod sales, well, duh. That doesn't mean it won't work with other players, of course. It just works better with Apple's player. Which is as it should be.

And even if I forked out the cash for an overpriced Apple music player, why would I want to limit myself to artists on the Universal label?

Huh? What makes you think it's only from the Universal label?

Most of my tunage comes from vinyl anyways.

So you're already buying your music in a non-portable niche format. I bet there are more people with Mac OS X than there are with turntables. Where would you even buy a turntable these days?
posted by kindall at 2:48 PM on April 28, 2003


If the artist wants to make money, go on the road.

In a way, that is up to the consumer to decide by not buying recordings. However, I think it's wrong to dictate what artists should and should not do by threatening to steal (ok... infringe their copyright). There are some very talented artists out there that make almost all of their money from recordings because either they don't like the life of a performer or are plain scared of performing in public (Glenn Gould comes to mind).
posted by gyc at 2:57 PM on April 28, 2003


Where would you even buy a turntable these days?

Well, I bought mine from Sony.
posted by bshort at 2:57 PM on April 28, 2003


Hi there, everyone.

Apparently some people still have a hard time diferentiating between theft and copyright infringement. Copyright infringement is not theft. Theft requires deprevation of property. If an identical copy of something is made, the owner is not deprived of property, therefore, they have not been robbed. Get it?

Well, aparently not. As it is getting increasingly frustrating to read this kind of ignorance, and respond to it individually, I'm just going to compile a list of those who don't understand the difference.

tgrundke, strangeleftydoublethink, jragon, mkultra, Mo Nickels and JollyWanker have made the list. Congrats!
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 2:57 PM on April 28, 2003


Well, I just bought like 15 songs! I love the service -- it is snappy on my machine, the downloads were very quick. I thought that I was going to dislike the AAC codec, but I have to admit that a 128kbs AAC file sounds pretty good. I downloaded a couple of My Bloody Valetine tracks and did an a/b test and they sounded like dead ringers for my 384kbs encodes.

It is dead easy to use and I burnt the tracks I downloaded to cd in almost no time. I give it high marks. I for one am very, very tired of the moral grey area that piracy puts me in. I want to buy all my music now. If this service were to grow and have a comprehensive library I could easily imagine using it excusively.

I don't really understand all this advocacy of theft. Theft is so '98, you know. We've all seen what happens when people rape an industry until the bubble breaks -- maybe we could give a shot at not doing this to the music industry?
posted by n9 at 2:58 PM on April 28, 2003


And I'm sorry Civil_D, but as a copyright holder for some of my musical recordings I believe that I am very well informed in thinking that someone's making and distruibuting copies of my music for charge or for free is illegal, even if it does not comply to your personal definition of what ought to be illegal. And I believe that this is good.

Personally I open-license all my music, but that is a choice that I have made and I respect the choice that others have made to charge for thier work.
posted by n9 at 3:02 PM on April 28, 2003


Theft requires deprevation of property

Theft is taking something that doesn't belong to you without permission. Whether anyone is deprived of their property is completely and utterly irrelevant to the ethics of the situation.
posted by kindall at 3:05 PM on April 28, 2003


Perspective people. Back 'in the day' (I'll say 1977) you could buy a 45 with one hit track and some b-side for about a dollar. Adjust for inflation (using 2001 index) and your $1 single would cost $2.99.

With this service you get to choose the A side and the B side. And at a price cheaper than 'the good old days'.

Now how's about we let Canadians in on this action?
posted by mazola at 3:32 PM on April 28, 2003


No, kindall, you are wrong. Sorry.

theft

\Theft\, n. [OE. thefte, AS. [thorn]i['e]f[eth]e, [thorn][=y]f[eth]e, [thorn]e['o]f[eth]e. See Thief.] 1. (Law) The act of stealing; specifically, the felonious taking and removing of personal property, with an intent to deprive the rightful owner of the same; larceny.

Note: To constitute theft there must be a taking without the owner's consent, and it must be unlawful or felonious; every part of the property stolen must be removed, however slightly, from its former position; and it must be, at least momentarily, in the complete possession of the thief. See Larceny, and the Note under Robbery.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:37 PM on April 28, 2003


ooops! Looks like you're cooking the dictionary Civil_D:

you forgot the B. definition:

b : an unlawful taking (as by embezzlement or burglary) of property.

embezzlement: to appropriate property fraudulently to one's own use.

Now, if you are thinking that you don't think that media can be called property you can prolly make that argument, but just cool it on the duplication is not theft issue. Even Richard Stallman readily agrees that unwarranted duplication of copyrighted works is illegal.
posted by n9 at 3:52 PM on April 28, 2003


Don't quote dictionary definitions.

It's not technically theft, but the intent and result are the same. What is being removed? Future revenues is the argument. My view is a little skewed, I usually download then buy, but I doubt many people do the same.

I'd use this if I had an Apple; as is, I'll wait for a PC version.
posted by j.edwards at 3:53 PM on April 28, 2003


Anyone know what it would cost / what's involved with getting an apple music distribution deal? How easy is it for the smaller companies to say to Apple that they want to use Apple for distribution? If it's easy enough, then I see this as being a GREAT thing for music. If independent publishers can put there music alongside The Beatles, Shakira, etc then surely this is going to open up the industry.
posted by seanyboy at 3:56 PM on April 28, 2003


arguing semantics is pointless, call it theft, call it copyright infringement, call it jay-walking if you want to, the point is that it's illegal. whether the laws are well designed, poorly enforced, trivial, etc. is an entirely different story, but no matter what you call it you are breaking them. if you are ok with that (as i said above, i definitely am), then do it. are you justifying it for us, or trying to justify it to yourself?
posted by rorycberger at 3:57 PM on April 28, 2003


the more interesting thing is that the subsequent CD that you burn can be put in another machine and ripped as a MP3 file. Not that I'd do anything like that. Really.

The other nice thing is that you can share your music with others on the same network, and I think that you can specify an IP for someone out of your network. And because of Rendevous they all just show up. No dragging and dropping yet, but some kid will come along with something soon enough.
posted by grimley at 3:59 PM on April 28, 2003


The discussion about the new service and the ethics of filesharing is really pissing me off. (FWIW, I've already ponied up $1.98 for 2 exclusive Sting songs. New ones! Hadn't heard 'em before!)

Anyone want to talk about the new hardware? :)

the new iPods look like they rock. I just wish the new features (games, notes, etc) were going to be available on my old iPod (at least, the update I just got doesn't have them).

I'm not so sure about the touch sensitive buttons. they must be heat activated or they would go nuts all the time.

And the new backlight? I can't wait to actually see how it looks...

Oh one more thing (service-related): Has anyone else wondered how they can afford to handle 99 cent purchases via credit cards (considering the service charges the credit card companies demand)? Do they save up your purchases for one charge later in the month?
posted by o2b at 3:59 PM on April 28, 2003


Wow, now I don't need to read the slashdot thread. Thanks uninformed platform advocate MetaFiltarians! Or what Mo Nickels said.
posted by machaus at 4:01 PM on April 28, 2003


btw, i tested it and you can burn their AAC file to a cd, then rip it from the cd into an mp3 all right in itunes. so basically all of those goofy restrictions are irellevant, provided you are willing to burn it to a cd once.
posted by rorycberger at 4:03 PM on April 28, 2003


o2b: does the new firmware update have queueable playlists? It's on the sidebar on the main iPod page, but not sure if it's in the firmware as well, or just on the new iPods.
posted by mfli at 4:18 PM on April 28, 2003


rorycberger : arguing semantics is pointless, call it theft, call it copyright infringement, call it jay-walking if you want to, the point is that it's illegal.

Well, we should be correct in our language and call things by their proper names.

Confucius said it best:
“If language is not correct, then what is said is not what is meant; if what is said is not what is meant, then what must be done remains undone; if this remains undone, morals and art will deteriorate; if justice goes astray, the people will stand about in helpless confusion. Hence there must be no arbitrariness in what is said. This matters above everything.”

posted by bshort at 4:21 PM on April 28, 2003


mfli: The 1.3 update does not have queueable playlists. However, indications from Apple and some slip ups suggest that that a 2.0 update will be coming out relatively soon with the playlists and maybe other good stuff like the new games (e.g. on an online feedback form, they mention a 2.0 version of iPod software).

o2b: The buttons are based on skin conductance, they're not pressure sensitive.
posted by adrianhon at 4:23 PM on April 28, 2003


fine, i'll say what is meant: downloading copyrighted music without paying for it is illegal.
posted by rorycberger at 4:26 PM on April 28, 2003


all of those goofy restrictions are irellevant

Except that you've decompressed a compressed file, then recompressed it using a different protocol, leaving you several steps (and quite a few bits) removed from the original file.

<paranoia>I wonder if there's anything embedded in the file itself -- like a signature that tells where the MP3 was ripped from.</paranoia>
posted by joaquim at 4:27 PM on April 28, 2003


No, kindall, you are wrong. Sorry.

I'm a native English speaker. I trump dictionaries all day long.
posted by kindall at 4:27 PM on April 28, 2003


People, I have seen the light: I love this new Music Store thang. I've been playing with it for over 2 hours now. They have tons and tons of stuff and sometimes there are great deals like (and forgive me for this, I'm a big theater nerd) Mandy Patinkin (oh God, I'm sorry, this is totally gonna get made fun of) sings Sondheim (see, I can feel your eyes rolling already), but point is: the album has 34 tracks and you can buy it for $9.99. At Best Buy I saw it yesterday for $24.00. Do you see how that's a good deal? And I'm sure there's great deals on non-theatery music too.
posted by adrober at 4:29 PM on April 28, 2003


www.aac-audio.com is one of those industry sites that's pretty hard to use. Anyone have a better link talking about the format? I'm curious whether it suppors ID3 flags, and whether it's a pure cross platform mpeg4 thing or if the file format itself is something apple rolled up. (If I recall correctly the jpeg files we all know and love are a defacto file format standard based-jfif- on the underlying jpeg standard.)
posted by Wood at 4:37 PM on April 28, 2003


JollyWanker, you argue that what I'm doing is wrong based on the letter of the law. I'm arguing that the letter of the law is what is wrong. It is geared to benefit big business at the expense of the rights and freedoms of the individual artist and his/her audience. The entire music industry is underhanded trickery and your perpetuating present law as valid just cuz its there is more laughable than your accusations that I'm rationalizing. It's quite the opposite. The RIAA rationalizes its self-invented relevance, and people like you help them perpetuate the lie.

You can't blame the house falling down on the plumber, when the foundation of the house was eroded long before the plumber came along.
posted by ZachsMind at 4:46 PM on April 28, 2003


Me: "When it comes to music sharing, ethics have become sociopathic."
BlueStone: "So... it's sociopathic to share, hmmm? That's the strangest definition of sociopathy, I've ever heard! ;)"

Quit putting words in my mouth.

For Pete's sake. I was saying the concept of trying to apply ethics to this debate is sociopathic. Actually I was originally gonna say "schizophrenic" but sociopathic sounded funnier at the time.

Recently I read somewhere that there was a country some place which recently had (alleged) free democratic elections among the people. The people elected these other people to run the gov't, but the gov't STILL had a king (!?). The king reprimanded these elected officials, dismissed them, and then APPOINTED his own puppet government in their place, thus completely dismissing the whole electoral process while pretending the illusion that the People were getting fair treatment. That's insane. That's anti-social behavior.

That's what I mean by saying attempting to apply ethics to this debate about music sharing is insane and asocial. I'm NOT saying music sharing is insane & asocial. I'm saying this debate is crazy, and doesn't offer any positive, productive movement forward for the human race.

Music sharing is not and has never been theft. Any debate that accepts that as a given, is taking two plus two and coming up with five.
posted by ZachsMind at 4:57 PM on April 28, 2003


I wonder if the $1/track price is maybe the lowest possible fee the CC companies will tolerate. Maybe this is more revolutionary as a step towards true micropayments, than anything else.

I will probably keep emusic as my principle mp3 shop for non-classical. I wonder what they think about Apple's new service. I am curious how good a deal (and how extensive the catalog) is for classical works. And how they name/tag the tracks. Trying to catalog my own CD rips is a real bitch when I have composer/conductor/orchestra/soloist to think about.
posted by Sangre Azul at 5:02 PM on April 28, 2003


actually, this eMusic thing looks brilliant, like exactly what I was describing as an ideal music service above. Now as soon as I find some money, I think I'll be joining the thing...
posted by kaibutsu at 5:07 PM on April 28, 2003


"In the network of my music you are imprisoned, love mine,
and my networks of music are wide like the sky."
- from En Mi Cielo Al Crepúsculo, Pablo Neruda (translation mangled by Wordlingo)
posted by eddydamascene at 5:17 PM on April 28, 2003


Where would you even buy a turntable these days?

The number of consumer (non-DJ) turntables being sold nowadays is actually on the rise. One place to buy a turntable is Restoration Hardware, where you can buy a crappy quality turntable and even some overpriced 45s.

Retro record players turn the tables on fading into history
The Tables Turn on Vinyl
posted by gluechunk at 5:37 PM on April 28, 2003


n9>Now, if you are thinking that you don't think that media can be called property you can prolly make that argument, but just cool it on the duplication is not theft issue. Even Richard Stallman readily agrees that unwarranted duplication of copyrighted works is illegal.

Yeah, but since when was copyright infringement legal?

You're confusing the term illegal and theft. You don't have to steal to break the law. For example, I break the law daily when I drive to work, but I don't steal anything.

We don't say a handicapped space is "stolen" when a non-handicapped person parks in it, we just say he had a moving violation (or is an asshole, your pick). But, by your definition (that using something without the right to use it is theft), n9, the space was stolen. And it just sounds stupid.

Say pirated if you want a short word for copyright violation. At least the definition is in most dictionaries for that.

BTW: Richard Stallman's ideas about the word theft (note he doesn't condone using the word piracy either, but at least that definition is in the dictionary) show he's in favour of doing away with its fallacious redefinition.

A quote:

So it is pertinent to mention that the legal system--at least in the US--rejects the idea that copyright infringement is ``theft.'' Copyright apologists are making an appeal to authority...and misrepresenting what the authority says.

So, that's two strikes against theft == copyright violation. #1, the dictionary doesn't agree; #2, neither does the law.

Oh, and Richard Stallman only barely agrees piracy is illegal. He certainly doesn't consider it immoral.
posted by shepd at 6:08 PM on April 28, 2003


the more interesting thing is that the subsequent CD that you burn can be put in another machine and ripped as a MP3 file

Thus putting it through two lossy transformations. It's going to sound like shite. (Though, granted, if you're using a shite sound system, you just might not notice.)
posted by five fresh fish at 6:25 PM on April 28, 2003


This is great! I just spent a buck and got that Norah Jones song. I've been ripping CDs since 1991 (yes, you read that right), downloading music since 1997, and I stopped downloading music that I didn't have the license to in 1999. It's theft, and I don't want any part of it. Now I have a legal, impressively-cheap method of buying only the song or two that's worth buying from most albums, or I can get the whole album for $9, or ~75% of the cost of an album in the store. Better yet, I can listen to these songs on all three of my systems, burn CDs (though it's not often that I need to do that), and put the tracks on my iPod. The MP4 format sounds just great to me. What's not to love?
posted by waldo at 6:30 PM on April 28, 2003


ZachsMind: JollyWanker, you argue that what I'm doing is wrong based on the letter of the law. I'm arguing that the letter of the law is what is wrong. It is geared to benefit big business at the expense of the rights and freedoms of the individual artist and his/her audience.
[...]
You can't blame the house falling down on the plumber, when the foundation of the house was eroded long before the plumber came along.


And I never said the law was right - I'm saying the law is the law. You are free to work for a change in that law if you believe, as you clearly do, that the law is in error because it favors the companies that invest in artists and the recording of material over the profit making options of the individual artists. I'm not in the music business, but I know enough people who are to know that your position is widely held, and I respect your right to join that opinion.

Where we part company is in your apparent belief that you have the right - it almost sounds like, the obligation - to copy recordings that do not belong to you, and pass them on to as many others as possible. I do not believe you have the right to decide, on your own and to your own benefit, that the law does not apply to you. This is not some kind of glorified Boston Tea Party, as others here seem to want to argue; it's petty theivery, done from the relatively anonymous stronghold of your desk, incurring relatively no risk to yourself whatsoever.

Your analogy of the plumber and foundation makes no sense to me. You are not a plumber, you are a burglar who has brought the house down around himself when he was stalking around the basement, scoping out power tools and electronics equipment. No, I don't blame the burglar for bringing the house down, but I do expect him to be prosecuted for the crime he was committing while the house was tumbling down around him...
posted by JollyWanker at 6:36 PM on April 28, 2003


Damn! Me with my brand new imac and the music store is only for U.S. citizens!
posted by MiguelCardoso at 7:01 PM on April 28, 2003


I'll also stick with emusic.com. Though the Apple service does seem like a good way for people who like major label music to get their fix. I just pray that the smaller labels don't sign up for this.
posted by dobbs at 7:11 PM on April 28, 2003


Major label music? Ummm, did you not hear me?: MANDY PATINKIN.
(oh, and why can't you use both?)
posted by adrober at 7:41 PM on April 28, 2003


As a long time misApplethrope - at least in regards to the elitist attitudes and blind devotion spewed forth by *some* Apple lovers - I was prepared to despise this service.

But I don't. All in all, it seems a very fair deal, and the best effort at a workable comprimise for music distribution I have yet seen.

But unless it does set a niche for itself as a "pay for the convenience and certainty of a good file" service, I suspect it will soon go the way of the Dodo.

A few people have already noted - you can't hold back the tide. The entire framework of intellectual property law is crumbling; it is utterly unable to deal with the modern realities of the digital world where virtually anyone can make high quality copies of media and send them anywhere, all with a few clicks of a mouse and not much effort. I wonder if the music industry not been in such denial and had embraced the internet back in the days when Napster was just a gleam in Shawn Fanning's eye if the situation today might not be different. But it is a moot point. Pandora's box was opened (the lid all but ripped off its hinges!) and it will never be closed. People have gotten accustomed to freely sharing media. That it is illegal is just not a deterrent. I just don't see any way to make them want to stop. Maybe a police state could do it, by banning internet access to its citizens?

The ethics of filesharing, and copying in general, are convoluted enough to keep a team of philosophers shouting and flinging their feces at each other for the next few decades. Is it theft? Yes. You are taking something that does not belong to you, and you are not compensating the artist/owner. And no. Your copy has not deprived anyone else of the song (or movie or software, etc.). And the argument that you have deprived the artist/owner of compensation only holds IF your copy is in lieu of a purchase. How many of the people using Photoshop at home have paid $569.99 for it? How many who DO have a pirated copy would have bought it if they had not gotten it free from some friend or some warez board? My guess is: almost none would. So is Adobe deprived of the revenue that it never would have gotten anyway?
posted by John Smallberries at 7:42 PM on April 28, 2003


With all the talk about greedy record companies on this thread, it was interesting that I saw a summary of different studies that tried to break down where the money goes from every sold CD [pdf file] [found via The Volokh Conspiracy] Some people might be surprised at the results.
posted by gyc at 7:47 PM on April 28, 2003


How many of the people using Photoshop at home have paid $569.99 for it? How many who DO have a pirated copy would have bought it if they had not gotten it free from some friend or some warez board? My guess is: almost none would. So is Adobe deprived of the revenue that it never would have gotten anyway?

Well there's a difference between Photoshop and music that one could also argue about. I suspect most people that pirate photoshop cannot afford the software, not even the student version. Yet how many people cannot afford to pay $1 for a song instead of downloading it for free? Furthermore, the programmers at Adobe aren't compensated by each and every copy sold while artists generally are. Perhaps there's another moral question there besides the question of copyright infringement.
posted by gyc at 7:52 PM on April 28, 2003


an iTunes revelation: Nana Mouskouri is "Electronic"!
posted by marvin at 8:27 PM on April 28, 2003


Apparently Apple was supposed to revolutionize the music industry, give song and control copyrights back to the artists, funnel all past debts to artists from RIAA bigwigs' pockets, rewrite all copyright laws, rewrite all consumer fair use laws, AND make a really kick ass product using all available music file formats and also available within all other software packages in all operating systems available immediately??

Are you guys the same people who are still pissed about the popularity CD and refuse to buy anything but Vinyl because you have to retain the 'rich analog sound'?

Yeah, unfortunately this didn't change the music industry in one feel swoop - but it's a push in the right direction, I think.

No, I probably won't be using the service - unless they start adding Indie bands/labels.

Here's a rumor:

AOL is interested . . .
posted by cinderful at 8:57 PM on April 28, 2003


"This is not some kind of glorified Boston Tea Party, as others here seem to want to argue; it's petty theivery, done from the relatively anonymous stronghold of your desk, incurring relatively no risk to yourself whatsoever."

From the perspective of the tea buyers and sellers in the late 1700s, the Boston Tea Party WAS theft and vandalism on a horrific scale. It was also an act of rebellion against unfair treatment.

You see a difference. I do not.
posted by ZachsMind at 9:10 PM on April 28, 2003


I still think .Mac members should get a break. Or have the privilege of downloading higher-quality audio similar to the business model the band Phish uses. Their live download site offers both .mp3 and (more expensive) .shn files--.shn being a lossless compression format that, once converted to CD audio (.wav or .aiff) is identical to the source recordings. The 128 Kbps AAC files Apple offers definitely sound better to my ears than 128 Kbps mp3s do, but the downloaded tracks don't sound as good as my entire CD library ripped to 192 Kbps mp3s. 14.89 gigabytes and counting...
posted by emelenjr at 9:25 PM on April 28, 2003


it's a very monumental step in the right direction, imho .... but still 'not quite there'

record companies have continually griped that the difficulty in introducing a paid digital distribution service was that they were competing with something that was essentially illegal and free; ... however this is rather a blessing, as in order to make the decision a simpler one to make, all they'd really have to do is add just a LITTLE BIT of value to a system and people would buy it

... but rather than do that, they've continually proposed solutions so radically different from the methods through which people are now accustomed to getting music and it is hurting them until they figure this out; (ie: mp3, ogg on a p2p network) ... so essentially near every single official plan/service proposed such far has offered music only to ways in which people very clearly don't want it;

for me it's not so much about the $1 / song price (although i'd consider that a bit steep as any new price should include a radical change as to respect the savings in production and distribution costs from switching to a digital media from a physical one) ... it's the idea of a 'per song' basis for price in the first place ... but something that companies won't give up readily; a more practical means (from the user side) would probably be a monthly-unlimited fee for participation in/membership fees to the network; (reflecting the obvious nature that if a p2p network, the users are also the distributors)
posted by 11235813 at 10:11 PM on April 28, 2003


I'll cut you, bitch.
posted by solistrato at 10:56 PM on April 28, 2003


I've come around. I just don't think that they are going to sell a file that you can "Send To...Mail Recipient". That's just too easy. If they can get something that requires more along the same level as a CD, which is something that you can TRIVIALLY copy and give to your friend, then they can be happy.
posted by Wood at 1:11 AM on April 29, 2003


When people confuse, or rather accept the industry-toted definition of copyright infringment as theft, I am reminded of the great speech by Lawrence Lessig on Free Culture. It can get a bit pendantic at times, but there's a great bit of history for those who apparently have no concept of unregulated use. In a few more decades I fear even fair use will be a memory, but here's the relevent bit from the speech (loosly transcribed from the full audio, which can and should be listened to here) :
---
Before the Internet, think of this as a world of all possible uses of a copyrighted work. Most of them are unregulated. Talking about fair use, this is not fair use; this is unregulated use. To read is not a fair use; it's an unregulated use. To give it to someone is not a fair use; it's unregulated. To sell it, to sleep on top of it, to do any of these things with this text is unregulated. Now, in the center of this unregulated use, there is a small bit of stuff regulated by the copyright law; for example, publishing the book--that's regulated. And then within this small range of things regulated by copyright law, there's this tiny band before the Internet of stuff we call fair use: Uses that otherwise would be regulated but that the law says you can engage in without the permission of anybody else. For example, quoting a text in another text--that's a copy, but it's a still fair use. That means the world was divided into three camps, not two: Unregulated uses, regulated uses that were fair use, and the quintessential copyright world. Three categories.

Enter the Internet. Every act is a copy, which means all of these unregulated uses disappear. Presumptively, everything you do on your machine on the network is a regulated use. And now it forces us into this tiny little category of arguing about, "What about the fair uses? What about the fair uses?" I will say the word: To hell with the fair uses. What about the unregulated uses we had of culture before this massive expansion of control? Now, unregulated uses disappear, we argue about fair use, and they find a way to remove fair use, right? [talks about how DMCA is used against fair-use in Sony's Aibo-pet case]

Here's the point: Never has it been more controlled ever. Take the addition, the changes, the copyrights turn, take the changes to copyrights scope, put it against the background of an extraordinarily concentrated structure of media, and you produce the fact that never in our history have fewer people controlled more of the evolution of our culture. Never.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 2:35 AM on April 29, 2003


I would gladly pay an artist for access to their work, I don't know any artists that would not want people to have access to their work. Most would rather allow people free access than sign to a major label, making their money from live performance.
I don't know any artists who think that major record labels are a force for good in the arts, most hate the major labels with a passion.
CDs are a shite product in most ways, from my point of view. They have two features which I value, robustness and small size. The industry has not tried to take advantage of the small size of a CD, packaging them in cumbersome boxes, and their robustness is not actually that impressive, they are pretty far from unscratchable and tend to deteriorate over time. I would like to pay a reasonable amount for a CD, considering the low cost of production (US$1), I think US$5 is more than enough for everyone concerned to take their share (judging from gyc's link and excluding superfluous costs).
Accessing music online is in competition with this media, which should be easy to do - just make it cheaper. In this case, with little to no overheads, I think less than US10c a song would be acceptable.
Having access to music online should allow any artist exposure, which would destroy the monopoly that the major labels have enjoyed in distributing and controlling music, something that can only be good for music.

Repeating a previous poster's question: How easy would it be for an independent artist add their file to this AAC library?

That is the only thing that is important to me. If such systems remove some layers between me and the artist, great, otherwise it is a waste of time. And I do not support any form of DRM.

I am another person who spends the majority of their disposable income on music related things, but I feel no guilt in downloading files from artists, when that is the only access I have to them. It is just a pity that I cannot support them directly when I download, but I support them in spirit (and I make the effort to see them perform live, from which they will make 100x what they would have from a CD purchase).
I started off copying songs from the radio onto tape, then albums from friends, this encouraged my love of music, more than any other effect. More control of music and music reproduction is a bad thing, AFAIK.

Just in case I still have anyone onside:

Pablo Menendez (founding member of Mezcla) -
"We were reacting as a people living in a country where mass media was nationalized, where TV and radio and record production were all nationalized. We were the nation, so it was in our hands, from our perspective. We were free to transform our musical culture. We could define it ourselves. In other countries - namely those based on Anglo-Saxon and Amerian culture - musicians and the public were fighting against the dictatorship of the record monopolies. The monopolies told the people,'OK the latest musical thing in the United States is what we are going to produce. We are going to put it on the internet. It's going to invade your home. You are going to hear it every time you come out of your house, and that's what we are going to sell you and that's what you are going to buy'. But in Cuba and other places around the world, people were - and are - fighting to have their own national music be heard, not some corporate-dictated music'.

from 'Waking up in Cuba' Stephen Foehr
posted by asok at 5:31 AM on April 29, 2003


the new ipod is u g l y .

it should be titanium
up & down & all around.
look at it,
go on
have a good look at that spinning quicktime thingy they have on the apple site (sorry still can't build mefi links with safari): why does it have that white (plastic?) facade stuck onto the front?
u g l y , i say.
posted by n o i s e s at 7:18 AM on April 29, 2003


People have gotten accustomed to freely sharing media.

No, they haven't. The media (medium, actually) is not the song, but what the song is on.

Are people accustomed to loaning hard drives to friends? Are people accustomed shipping boxes of wire to their friends?

Gah, I've seen this ignorant blurring of medium and content at least three times in this thread. It's almost as ignorant as calling copying theft.
posted by NortonDC at 7:22 AM on April 29, 2003


I have no problem whatsoever paying $1 for the typical "great single" on a crappy album. As someone mentioned above, in 1977 (when I was first buying my own vinyl 45s) a single, two sides, was $0.99. It's been 25 years since then! (Seattle Mariners bleacher seats were $1.50 that year too. Face it, it's been a while.) Now I can get the one single for the same price -- and admit it, with a few exceptions, you usually didn't want the B-side anyway! If I do want two songs, $1.98 seems completely reasonable.

An entire album for less than $10 is fine with me as well, because for many years I refused to buy any CD I couldn't get for less than $10. (And this was in the late 80s-early 90s!) Complete albums are within the price range I set for my cds 15 years ago -- I can live with that. Most albums, sadly, don't include artwork or bonus items interesting enough to make me want to pay extra for them, and I am not enough of an audiophile to give a damn about the quality of the soundfile once it reaches a certain threshold. The files Apple is selling sound good to me. I certainly have mp3s that sound worse.

There are some flaws that I'd like to see tweaked, though:

1. Not enough songs yet. I hope they add more at an outrageous rate. (What is the deal with only having one or two songs from some albums, and often not even the famous one?)

2. I wish the 30 second samples were slightly longer. Maybe 45 or a minute? There were a couple of times while browsing that the sample was too short for me to hear something I needed to hear to know which version of a track I was listening to. (Did I say "to" enough times there?)

3. As some have mentioned, it would be nice for some albums to be cheaper -- for example, albums that are old and in low demand, the kind that are often $7.99 in the store. Will there be promotional sales, maybe? That would be kind of cool.

4. There are a bunch of typos in the ID3 tags, but nowhere near as many as I'd find in the average bunch of shared files. Some of the artist categorization is weird, too.

5. I'd rather not have any DRM, but, damn, this is pretty darned tolerable for DRM.

Basically, if they get more artists to choose from, this could be amazing. It's already scary because it is just so darned easy to say "oh, that's just a buck" and then suddenly you've bought $20 songs. I never wanted to pay a monthly membership to download music, and now I don't have to. I just go get the song and it is mine for a buck. No gas money, no waiting for the record store to open, instant gratification all the way.

Last night my husband and I were driving around and I was saying that I wanted to hear a Style Council song. When I got home, I downloaded the new iTunes, looked in the Apple Music Store, and there it was. 3 minutes later I had it.

Sure, free is better, cheaper is better. Duh. But I can live with this.
posted by litlnemo at 7:35 AM on April 29, 2003


"suddenly you've bought $20 songs"

Obviously, I meant "suddenly you've bought 20 songs." Or $20 worth. Whichever.
posted by litlnemo at 7:37 AM on April 29, 2003


Some albums are discounted to $7.99. I bought an old Green Day album in the iTunes Music Store for $7.99 last night.
posted by benjh at 7:54 AM on April 29, 2003


From the Register:
"If your hard disk becomes damaged or you lose any of the music you've purchased, you'll have to reimport all your songs and buy any purchased music again to rebuild your library."
Yeah, I'm going to stay the hell away from this service and any future services that want to sell me crippled DRM encumbered files. Thank you very much.
posted by willnot at 5:27 PM on April 29, 2003


Wouldn't you need to repurchase a CD that cracks?
posted by riffola at 5:37 PM on April 29, 2003


All of my CDs are backed up to about 4 different places, and I don't even really use the discs anymore, so no not really.

I take your point though, and I do have an insane investment in DVDs that have their shitty CSS built into them. As soon as I can figure out how to build a workable media server that can deal with terabytes of information and can strip the CSS out of my way, then I'll have all of that backed up and I won't be using those shiny discs either though.

And, I had an early copy of Final Draft that came with a disk that allowed you to run the software on up to 3 different machines (much like Apple's service), and, if you remembered in time, you could remove the key and move it to another computer (much like Apple's service).

I have things I've written that I can't access anymore because I never could manage to remember to get that key before formatting my drives or selling my computers. I was burned then. I'm not interested in being burned in exactly the same way again.
posted by willnot at 5:45 PM on April 29, 2003


"The iTunes Music Store is only available in the U.S."
posted by n o i s e s at 7:53 AM on April 30, 2003


Wouldn't you need to repurchase a CD that cracks?

Not if you backed it up when you bought it.

You know, there was a time when the first step in Microsoft's instructions for installing software was "make backup copies of the installation disks."

But really, you're much better off buying it all over again each time instead of spending 20 cents on a blank, right? Right.
posted by NortonDC at 1:01 PM on April 30, 2003


DRM + 128kbps + .99/ea = Keep tryin', Apple. Not this time.
posted by squirrel at 1:40 PM on April 30, 2003


NortonDC: Couldn't you just make a backup of the song you bought from iTMS? It can be burned unlimited times to a blank CD quite easily.
posted by benjh at 1:44 PM on April 30, 2003


the acceptance of Jobs' consumer gizmo is very american - white, tame, very doglike.

sit.

good dog!
posted by urbanrubbish at 5:45 AM on May 1, 2003


well, apparently people like it, according to this macworld uk article, 275,000 tracks were sold in the first 18 hours of operation.
posted by rorycberger at 8:53 AM on May 1, 2003


(snickering at Squirrel) What most of you don't realize is you're already out of the target demo. The DRM is light, but you won't accept any. 128k AAC is actually good quality, unlike 128 MP3, but you've already written it off. You'll never be convinced, no matter how fair the service.

But other people (many of them) were. According to Billboard, Apple sold 275,000 tracks in the first 18 hours alone. It'll take a week to hit a million. Welcome to the new (legal) way to get music.

[on preview, yeah. what rory said.]
posted by jragon at 8:55 AM on May 1, 2003


benjh, you can't get back to the original level of utility and quality. Getting it back onto a small compessed file from the disk you burned out means RE-compressing the audio. Each trip through the compressor worsens the audio quality.
posted by NortonDC at 9:21 AM on May 1, 2003


I downloaded iTunes 4.

I browsed the iTunes Music Store.

I found very little music that I'm interested in. Of all the genres I listen to, I already owned nearly all of the music available at iTMS. For the artists I'm interested in and currently exploring, virtually none of it was available.

If you ask me, this is not a service for savvy music fans.

Looks like I'll still be digging through the bins at my local independent record store.
posted by rocketman at 9:41 AM on May 1, 2003


rocketman- i had a similar experience to yours, but keep in mind that they are constantly expanding (3200 songs added today).

also, in case anyone didn't hear, they sold a million songs in the first week: http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2003/may/05musicstore.html
posted by rorycberger at 8:29 AM on May 6, 2003


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