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Apple sells 1 million songs in first week
May 6, 2003 8:57 AM   Subscribe

Apple's iTunes Music Store sold over 1 million songs in its first week of operation, almost instantly making it the largest and most successful online music company in the world. Though we've already discussed at great length how it compares to free downloads here, my question is: how is this going to affect the traditional (legal) distribution channels? With an ever growing library (3,200 songs added today to the 200,000 they started with), incredible convenience ($1, 1 click, and ~1 minute download to get that song you've been dying to hear), and the ease of use we've come to expect from Apple, I think that they're no longer competing with Kazaa and Limewire, they're starting to pose a serious threat to Amazon, Tower, etc.
posted by rorycberger (60 comments total)

 
I'm impressed not by the million songs sold, but that a million songs were sold on a mac only platform. If they can get their Windows version up and running soon, we may see a real impact on other commercial music outlets.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 9:01 AM on May 6, 2003


Yay, Apple! A fast start out of the gate is always good, but with all this talk of "revolutionizing the music industry," salience will matter more. We'll see how those sales hold up over time.

I think it's weird that Apple has restricted some of their most revolutionary products from PC users (at least at first). I mean, I understand they want their primary business to be selling computers. But isn't that business really hard to make profitable? Odd that it holds back potentially huge like iPod, iTunes, etc...
posted by scarabic at 9:08 AM on May 6, 2003


Meanwhile, over at PressPlay, the sound of the board of directors soiling themselves can be heard from miles away.

I still think it's too expensive and too limiting, but compared to the crap that it will no doubt replace, it's some very nice crap.
posted by vraxoin at 9:10 AM on May 6, 2003


i think 1 million sales in the first week only proves that their PR worked. a bunch of people wanted to try it out. if they keep that up 4 months from now, then i'll be impressed.
posted by callicles at 9:11 AM on May 6, 2003


I agree that it's a threat to bricks and mortar stores, but I don't think it's a threat to Amazon. If Amazon decides to sell songs online, then its existing web sales experience, recommendation system and review system will take it a long way.
posted by bravada at 9:17 AM on May 6, 2003


As I understand it, Apple does make a substantial profit from hardware sales (most of its profit, in fact), and to increase their market share by even 1% of the market would result in huge windfalls for them. So that's why they hold out for a bit before launching Windows versions.

I've bought several songs from the iTunes store, and intend to keep doing so for a long while. I've also bought a CD or two and regretted it, as $9.99 is not that much lower than one can get at a reasonable music store. I would imagine, however, that this price will go down as the number of users increases (with Windows expansion). Also, if you don't live in NYC, and all you have is a Border's Books, you're paying nearly $18 a CD, so $10 is less of a hit. My vote would be that the iTunes store is obviously best-of-breed and will remain that way for a long time . . . . To most consumers who neither know nor care, or know AND don't care about the relatively non-restrictive DRM in iTunes, it's a great option.
posted by josh at 9:22 AM on May 6, 2003


I'm with callicles. Never underestimate the inexorable obsession of the Mac user, who, more often than not, doesn't realize that he's just one insignificant component of a mass demographic. iTunes will show a sharp drop in the next four months, once Apple unveils another accessory.

Personally, I would willingly pay $19.95 a month for a service like how Audiogalaxy was initially set up. Offer every tune under the sun at a fast download speed, MP3s without digital rights management or privacy-intrusive spyware/logs, 24 hours a day. Chances are that it could be like Netflix, where profit is established from those who don't return the DVDs frequently (in this case, those who don't use the bandwidth)

Of course, getting something like this launched would be damned near impossible to clear with the recording industry. But if iTunes represents a start, a universal, cross-platform service represents an ideal possibility. And everybody wins.
posted by ed at 9:31 AM on May 6, 2003


monju - i meant to mention that in the post, definitely a good point. they have promised windows support by year end, hopefully it will come a lot sooner.

scarabic - the reason they always build exclusively for apple at first is that it is much, much easier for them to do. In the case of this particular product, they are relying on iTunes (which will be heading to windows soon, as evidenced by this). It was much easier for them to do this through iTunes (and underneath it safari and quicktime) than it would have been to implement all of the previews, videos, secure downloads, etc. through IE.

bravada - I agree that amazon could start this up pretty easily too, although I wonder if apple has exclusive contracts with any of the labels, at least for certain content. Also, I wonder if amazon would be hesitant to compete against their own existing CD store. After all, who would want to pay 15 bucks plus shipping for a cd when they can just download it for ten?
posted by rorycberger at 9:33 AM on May 6, 2003


Here's a question - there's such a lack of indie labels on the apple music store right now. Does anyone know if there is any contact infor or somesuch for labels to get in touch with apple and ask to be carried?
posted by jearbear at 9:39 AM on May 6, 2003


Just sign up for emusic. It will be way cheaper and it's 192k VBR mp3 now.
posted by smackfu at 9:53 AM on May 6, 2003


i think 1 million sales in the first week only proves that their PR worked. a bunch of people wanted to try it out. if they keep that up 4 months from now, then i'll be impressed.

I think the people of the music industry will be impressed already: this is 1 million bucks of revenue (okay, 0.99 million) in one week that would otherwise have been lost completely, due to downloading on p2p networks.

This shows that it pays off to trust people, instead of a priori labeling them as thieves. I think that basically, if they feel it's fair, people want to do the right thing.
posted by NekulturnY at 9:57 AM on May 6, 2003


Here's a question - there's such a lack of indie labels on the apple music store right now. Does anyone know if there is any contact infor or somesuch for labels to get in touch with apple and ask to be carried?

I'm curious about this as well. My guess would be that they are focusing on the big labels for the moment, because, frankly, that's what sells and they want to establish themselves. On the other hand, independent labels do "think different" and I think that once apple gets a decent base of popular stuff available, they'll start opening their doors more to the little guys.
posted by rorycberger at 9:59 AM on May 6, 2003


I'm not big on conspiracy theories, but what if it's a scam?

Suppose they didn't sell that many songs. Suppose they are just trying to create the illusion that the vast majority of people want to pay for music. Until recently the general consensus has been "why pay for it when it's free" and "John doesn't buy cds, so why should I be made to feel like the sucker shelling out $XX.00" whereas Apple is now trying (successfully) to create an atmosphere of "People want to pay for music" and "Paying for music is the right thing to do, and it's easy."

Leveraging your loyal user base to sway public opinion and capitalize on a new market would be a brilliant business move.

Something else to think about, I believe someone touched on this previously, is that Apple users in general are "trained" to pay extra. Apple hardware has always cost more and this is something their users have become accustom to.

$.99 a track to an Apple customer is a markup (from free) that is perfectly logical and in line with their expectations.

I'm not doubting the viability of the service or model, just curious how it will translate to other platforms and how it will perform down the road.
posted by shoepal at 10:03 AM on May 6, 2003


If Apple continues to add 3,200 new songs a day, they'll have doubled the total number of available tracks within two months (400,000+). I wonder at what point their catalog will be larger than that of the free services?
posted by gwint at 10:04 AM on May 6, 2003


One thing that I'd be interested in knowing aqbout is how artist contracts are affected/have changed, if at all.

I used to run a tiny record label & from memory, with vinyl the artist rates on sales were calculated as a %age of the amount left after 10% had been deducted for 'breakages' -- vinyl/shellac was fragile in the old days. With the coming of CDs, the breakage rate went up to 25%...the record co.s had a chance to reduce artist payments & used the fact that in the early days a high %age of pressed CDs were duds.

So with this new distribution format, has anything changed? I seem to remember that a lot of contracts were redrawn to include 'electronic' formats. My memory on all the above is slightly hazy and based on UK contracts BTW.
posted by i_cola at 10:14 AM on May 6, 2003


I bought 7 of the million. I bet we could figure out where a couple hundred of them went with Metafilter membership alone.

My firewall at work is preventing me from dealing with the Apple music store, which has been kind of a drag. The purchased songs will not play on my work machine, even when they are located on the iPod drive. It wants to authenticate them, and it cannot, so I cannot authorize this machine to play them. I mostly listen when I am away from my machine, so this is not much of a problem, but it did surprise me.
posted by thirteen at 10:14 AM on May 6, 2003


I'm impressed not by the million songs sold, but that a million songs were sold on a US-only platform. If they can get their international version up and running soon, we may see a real impact on other commercial music outlets.
posted by timeistight at 10:19 AM on May 6, 2003


I've also bought a CD or two and regretted it, as $9.99 is not that much lower than one can get at a reasonable music store.

Yeah, after I bought a CD full of tunes from the Apple Music Store... I smacked myself in the head and said, "Half.com!" And promptly went and bought some of the CDs I was considering buying from Apple on physical media for $5-$6 apiece with shipping.

Some of them were actually cheaper new from Buy.com (free shipping on many selections and a $5 off $50 coupon currently in effect) so I also placed an order there.

Still, I'll probably continue to buy the occasional track from the Apple Music Store, as a quick and easy way to sample new artists and as a way to find songs I know I want but not enough to buy the entire CD.
posted by kindall at 10:30 AM on May 6, 2003


Just bought The Mollusk by Ween. It sounds good, and all I generally use jewel cases for is the gathering of dust, so I can't scoff at the two to five dollars in savings. I am disappointed by the selection, but less than I was by emusic. Right now its like shopping at target for music, convenient, but limited. It's also on the laughably family oriented side. Ween's song Piss Up a Rope, is listed as P**s Up a Rope. This seems a bit on the lame side of things. Most surprising for me, hoewever, was the absence of The White Stripes. I'm not sure who their label is, but aren't they on MTV?

Also, I'm burning a disk of the Mollusk, and it occurs to me that there should be no reason said disk could not be ripped into mp3s. Am I wrong on that?
posted by cachilders at 10:33 AM on May 6, 2003


shoepal, you have an excellent point. What PC users see as paying extra, Mac users see as buying more (or maybe "not being such a freaking cheap skate"). If I may make an overgeneralization, the people who won't consider paying more than $0.10 before heading off to KaZaA are PC users, at least in spirit. The consensus of shareware authors seems to be that Mac users are more likely to pay for software. I see this in my own behavior; back when I was a Windows diehard, I wouldn't in a million years pay for shareware, but two months ago I spent $20 for a graphical FTP program for my Mac when I could have just gone on using it for free, with no repercussions. The whole culture is different and pirating is much more likely to be frowned upon by Mac users.

Also, iTunes won't have the installed base on Windows that it does on Mac, so between these two things, Apple will probably get less than 1/10 per person in the Windows base as it does per person in the Mac base. (And even with these numbers pulled from my ass, profits from the Windows side would still be several times that from Mac!)
posted by Llama-Lime at 10:37 AM on May 6, 2003


I'm impressed by the RDF being run here. Mac-based and Linux-based DRM (digital restrictions management) seem to be swallowed whole by the Mac and Linux faithful (Linus has backed Linux DRM although I'm not aware of any shipping product with it), yet when MS or the RIAA mention it the music seekers protest loudly.

I'm avoiding the Apple service for several reasons:
1. Haven't seen anything I really want to buy
2. DRM. It seems relatively fair now, but the terms can change at any time according to the EULA.
3. I own no portable device. I don't have a portable MP3 player let alone one that plays AAC. I could burn to CD format, but I can already do that.

I'll keep buying CDs that allow me to do what I want with the content. I may not buy much, but it seems a much better trade than what Apple offers, even if it is better than Pressplay and similar bids by the RIAA.

If there's another million songs downloaded in the next month I'll be surprised.
posted by infowar at 10:40 AM on May 6, 2003


No, you're not wrong but you'd be ripping a mp3 from source material which has already been compressed.

Compressed track + Compressed track = LOUSY AUDIO

Or LOSSY AUDIO depending on your linguistic preference
posted by jeremias at 10:41 AM on May 6, 2003


Also, I'm burning a disk of the Mollusk, and it occurs to me that there should be no reason said disk could not be ripped into mp3s. Am I wrong on that?

Not at all, but it might be wiser to rip it back into unprotected AAC. Going from one codec to another can result in a loss of quality (though by some accounts, it hasn't been a problem). This is also a solution to the fellow who couldn't play his files at work.
posted by j.edwards at 10:42 AM on May 6, 2003


In regards to indie labels, Steve-o says:

TIME: What about independent labels? Will they follow suit?

Jobs: Yes. They've already been calling us like crazy. We've had to put most of them off until after launch just because the big five have most of the music, and we only had so many hours in the day. But now we're really going to have time to focus on a lot of the independents and that will be really great.

posted by O9scar at 10:50 AM on May 6, 2003


gwint: I believe the plan is to add new tracks to the store every Tuesday - not every day - so it will take much longer than two months to double the size of the store.

Even at conventional record shops, new releases appear on Tuesdays. Anyone know why this is, or if it's a North America-only phenomenon?
posted by Monk at 11:00 AM on May 6, 2003


It takes several days for major distributors to consolidate shipments from multiple vendors. Because of this it was long ago set "in stone" that all dispursement of units would take place at one time. I am not sure why Tuesday exactly was chosen.
posted by filchyboy at 11:10 AM on May 6, 2003


Hey Monk,

Albums are released on Tuesdays in the US, and on Mondays in the UK. I know there is some logic to this, but I can't for the life of me remember why or find any info on the web regarding this archaic policy. Perhaps it has something to do with charting and sales or Mondays being really slow at record stores?

Also, it seems that Tuesdays are less sacrosanct these days as certain artists want to release their works on specific dates (01/01/01, etc) for whatever reasons.
posted by shoepal at 11:16 AM on May 6, 2003


back when I was a Windows diehard, I wouldn't in a million years pay for shareware, but two months ago I spent $20 for a graphical FTP program for my Mac when I could have just gone on using it for free, with no repercussions. The whole culture is different

Indeed, and bafflingly so. I simply cannot understand paying $20 for an FTP client. I can't understand paying for an FTP client at all. There are dozens of them, mostly crap, and it seems like every one wants your money, in spite of the fact that an FTP client is really not a very complicated program (and yes, I have written one, so I do know whereof I speak). All these people, reinventing the wheel, for pocket change... Mac-land is a crazy place. I hope that some Unix influences will start spilling in now that Mac OS X is mainstream, but I fear the cultural drift might work the other way.
posted by Mars Saxman at 11:32 AM on May 6, 2003


The thing that amazed me was that over half of the songs in their library sold at least one copy. That's huge breadth. A lot of artists will be seeing their first royalty checks from the online channel and that will, I hope, lead some of the holdbacks (Beatles, Grateful Dead, etc) to jump on board.

I think it's weird that Apple has restricted some of their most revolutionary products from PC users (at least at first).

In addition to all the obvious reasons (expertise, brand complement) there is talk in the press that the limited market rollout made the industry players more willing to go along. They saw it as an experient -- you want to do that in a puddle, not the ocean.

DRM. It seems relatively fair now, but the terms can change at any time according to the EULA.

Apple's publicity and sales pitch is very explicit about the fact that "you buy it. it's yours forever. you can do x, y, and z with it." If they tried to roll back the enduser rights based on the EULA I think there would be about a million customers lined up for the class action lawsuit. If there are any changes, it will be in details that 99% of the customers won't even notice.
posted by alms at 11:43 AM on May 6, 2003


disclaimer: I own stock in Apple.
gloat: it's up about 28% in the last week.

posted by alms at 11:48 AM on May 6, 2003


I'm on a Mac, but haven't made the switch yet to X... wish there was a way for folks who don't use X to atleast browser the selection. It would certainly make a believer out of more folks.

Anyone care to check and see if Andrew Bird's Bowl of Fire, or Dead Can Dance are in the mix?

: )
posted by silusGROK at 12:06 PM on May 6, 2003


I wonder at what point their catalog will be larger than that of the free services?

Well, for the music I listen to (classical), it's already much larger than Kazza/Gnutella/etc..

I've probably bought ~$35-$40 worth of music on it. They've set it up in a way that it becomes so addictive and it doesn't seem like you're spending that much, until you realize that you've bought 15 songs already.

Of course, I was never much of a pirate in the first place, and can't understand the people who pirate all their music from Kazza w/o care.
posted by gyc at 12:12 PM on May 6, 2003


obligatory emusic post. if you buy your music at sam goody, walmart, wherehouse, etc., don't bother. if you buy your music at small record stores, directly from labels, or online mailorder (insound, aquarius records, epitonic), you'll love it.
posted by hulette at 12:56 PM on May 6, 2003


infowar:

I'm impressed by the RDF being run here. Mac-based and Linux-based DRM (digital restrictions management) seem to be swallowed whole by the Mac and Linux faithful (Linus has backed Linux DRM although I'm not aware of any shipping product with it), yet when MS or the RIAA mention it the music seekers protest loudly.

contrary to what you claim, this article on os opinion states that "[t]o say that DRM initiatives tend to be viewed unfavorably by Linux developers is an understatement." another article on c|net goes into further detail on the discussion in linux circles regarding drm. a poll on macslash suggests that the "mac faithful" are somewhat divided.
posted by moz at 1:19 PM on May 6, 2003


Apple's publicity and sales pitch is very explicit about the fact that "you buy it. it's yours forever. you can do x, y, and z with it." If they tried to roll back the enduser rights based on the EULA I think there would be about a million customers lined up for the class action lawsuit. If there are any changes, it will be in details that 99% of the customers won't even notice.

Like my copy of Quark that I can't run on my new Mac because Quark doesn't play well in classic mode and the new Macs won't boot into 9?

I know, Quark isn't an Apple product and there's no implied promise to continue supporting it through platform and OS upgrades. But, let's look forward into the future. What happens if Apple decides that their music store isn't working for them or they decide to sell off their music store?

Right now Apple is willing to run the authentication servers that allows you to authenticate or deauthentic one of 3 computers. What if they no longer feel they're in a position to do that? Then your music is locked to those years old outdated machines gathering dust in the corner. Currently you can burn them to CDs, but I wouldn't count on that continuing if the labels can convince the public to buy copy-crippled CDs somewhere down the line. Apple will be "forced" to change that ability. They'll feel bad and all, but it's the price we have to pay to work with the labels.

What happens if your hard drive eats itself? Apple's kind of unclear on that, but they do say that formatting a drive doesn't de-authorize the computer. My assumption would be that you now can play your music on 2 computers not 3. Add to that a hard drive swap for an upgrade before you remember to deauthorize it, and selling one of your computers before you remember to deauthroize it, and now you can't play your music on any of your Macs. Maybe you'll be able to jump through some really onerous hoops to clear out some of the authentication spots, but maybe not. I sure wouldn't bet the farm on it if I were you.

DRM sucks, and the only power we as consumers have right now is to refuse to play their little reindeer games.
posted by willnot at 2:01 PM on May 6, 2003


I simply cannot understand paying $20 for an FTP client.

I suspect it's a particularly good FTP client. One that feels like it's a complementary part of the system, and that's been developed with love.

I used to code applications for the Mac, it truly is a different culture. I kinda miss it.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 2:21 PM on May 6, 2003


I agree with Llama - Lime, Mac users are saintly, law abiding types, and Windows users vicious piratical rapists. Those who think LL a stupid troll are obviously Bill Gates' zombies.
posted by Joeforking at 2:37 PM on May 6, 2003


Those who think LL a stupid troll are obviously Bill Gates' zombies.

Sure, we're thugs. But at least we know how to build computers and customize our hardware and software, as opposed to having hippie-aesthetic fortune hunters doing it for us. :)
posted by ed at 2:51 PM on May 6, 2003


I still do, inpHilltr8r, and while I enjoy my work I am sometimes baffled by the attitudes of the people who use the product I work on. I guess you can call it "entrepreneurial" if you like it and "money-grubbing" if you don't, but it often just seems petty. I enjoy my free-time hacks much more when I don't try to charge money for them, and I don't understand why more people haven't figured out how much fun it is to give stuff away.
posted by Mars Saxman at 2:52 PM on May 6, 2003


Suppose they didn't sell that many songs. Suppose they are just trying to create the illusion that the vast majority of people want to pay for music. Until recently the general consensus has been "why pay for it when it's free" and "John doesn't buy cds, so why should I be made to feel like the sucker shelling out $XX.00" whereas Apple is now trying (successfully) to create an atmosphere of "People want to pay for music" and "Paying for music is the right thing to do, and it's easy."

Hrm, I've avoided P2P in general because I've never been able to find what I want, and because I'm a bit paranoid and running P2P services such as Kaaza just seems like waving my naked ass out the window with a kick-me sign.

So previously, I relied on used CDs from Half.com. Basically, I would gladly pay $1.00 for a desired track if the provider can insure high quality and availability.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 3:14 PM on May 6, 2003


Mac users are saintly, law abiding types, and Windows users vicious piratical rapists

Aren't overgeneralizations fun? I had no idea that I could make such wonderful statements. Of course there are exceptions, but when we're talking about success in a market, the generalization is usually more important than the exception.

Why would I pay $20 when I have no practical obligation to do so? Because I realized I had been appreciating the convenience of graphcial FTP (mget has it's limitations), I thought I should show my appreciation. I, too, could have written my own graphical client (aren't RFC's fun), but I didn't. At the risk of being a stupid troll a second time, the willingness to pay for "mere" conveniences is an often observed cultural difference between Mac users and the rest of the computer world, and I think that will play a role in the future of Apple's success in selling music to Windows users.
posted by Llama-Lime at 4:02 PM on May 6, 2003


Anyone care to check and see if Andrew Bird's Bowl of Fire, or Dead Can Dance are in the mix?

no such luck, sorry

Like my copy of Quark that I can't run on my new Mac because Quark doesn't play well in classic mode and the new Macs won't boot into 9?

I'm sorry, but that's Quark's fault. Virtually every other major application had been ported to OS X over a year ago. I heard it's coming soon, and I can't wait, but they're way behind the times.
posted by rorycberger at 4:31 PM on May 6, 2003


Here's a question - there's such a lack of indie labels on the apple music store right now. Does anyone know if there is any contact infor or somesuch for labels to get in touch with apple and ask to be carried?

emusic.com is where you should go. i pray the apple nonsense doesn't wipe them out.
posted by dobbs at 4:32 PM on May 6, 2003


I'm not convinced that paying for shareware is just a Mac thing. Winzip evidently has no problem making money on a shareware model.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 4:37 PM on May 6, 2003


Sure, we're thugs. But at least we know how to build computers and customize our hardware and software

I'm primarily a Mac user. I'm building a [Linux] computer this summer.

Maybe you'll be right next time.
posted by oaf at 4:46 PM on May 6, 2003


Thanks rorycberger... here's hoping that the indies hop on board soon.
posted by silusGROK at 4:56 PM on May 6, 2003


Nobody has addressed this yet, so I thought I'd chime in.

I've bought a few tunes from the iTunes store, and I've been very disappointed with the audio quality (128 kbps in the new flibberdygibbit format), which is essentially no better than 128 kbps MP3, in that there are pronounced artifacts around high-frequency transient sounds such as hi-hats, tambourines, and many vocals.

$1/song is actually quite dear for a poorly-encoded track. For the money, you really ought to get a 44.1KHz WAV file, or at least a well-encoded VBR MP3.

Also, no De La Soul! :)
posted by e.e. coli at 6:02 PM on May 6, 2003


I hope Apple decides to up the bitrate soon. My guess is that the record companies were skittish about letting them distribute something that sounded any better tahn 128kb/s aac. (FWIW, 192kb/s aac is a world of difference, and I only seem to notice any faults when I'm blatantly looking for them)

Perhaps receiving royalty cheques will change their minds.
posted by Space Coyote at 6:42 PM on May 6, 2003


I enjoy my free-time hacks much more when I don't try to charge money for them, and I don't understand why more people haven't figured out how much fun it is to give stuff away.

It's even more fun to eat, and pay the rent.

...

I'm currently a windows user (for my sins), yet I still pay for the occasional piece of shareware that enters my routine. If an application is good, why should I begrudge the author their dues?

Of course, I make my living writing shrink-wrapped software for embedded systems, so y'know, maybe I'm a little predisposed.

I don't rip-off music either anymore...
posted by inpHilltr8r at 7:09 PM on May 6, 2003


I'm sorry, but that's Quark's fault.

It is off topic, but I have never seen a company seem so hostile towards their own customers. I am stuck with Quark cause my users know it, and we run apps that are dependent on it. If that were not the case I would have been living in the heart of Adobe.

The rumor about a year ago was that Quark planned to NEVER go OS X native! Glad that changed.
posted by thirteen at 7:19 PM on May 6, 2003


I've bought a few tunes from the iTunes store, and I've been very disappointed with the audio quality

That's funny. 128Kbps AAC, in my listening tests (I bought a track from Apple's store that I already had in MP3 format, from CDs I ripped myself, and also re-ripped a few tracks I had previously ripped in MP3 in AAC) is easily as good as 192Kbps MP3. And this was listening closely on headphones.
posted by kindall at 7:25 PM on May 6, 2003


Not a Mac user, but when this is ported to PC I'll probably partake. Question though: what happens if your harddrive crashes and you didn't back up these files? Do you have to buy the songs all over again? That would stop me from using the service.
posted by tsumo at 7:37 PM on May 6, 2003


I just did the OSX quicktime software update and it said something about improving performance with AAC, which is the new industry standard in high quality audio. Anyone else seeing that? I can't view it now because the install is finished, but does that statement seem right to anyone who knows something about the format?
posted by mblandi at 8:32 PM on May 6, 2003


AAC is the audio component of the mpeg4 standard, so it sounds about right. don't know what 'improving performance with aac' might mean wrt quicktime, but hey, it's an update, and we love those.
posted by Space Coyote at 8:41 PM on May 6, 2003


People who complain about the "poor quality" of 44.1khz 128kbps AAC are funny. I actually saw some guy on Slashdot say that he'd never download audio until he could get it at 360kbps.
posted by waldo at 8:48 PM on May 6, 2003


I think i heard emusic's heart skip a beat - 1,000,000 songs is something to really be proud of, good job, Apple!

Unfortunately, as a PC user I've not a chance to participate until Microsoft gets their ideas about DRM in line with the rest of the world. Windows Media Player 9's description and use of it is so clunky, I doubt they'll ever integrate it flawlessly. If I could just use iTunes, I could bypass Microsoft's seething crapfest of code and just worry about what I want to listen to.

I had been a member of Emusic.com for about two years. I quit the subscription when they changed their by-monthly option to trimonthly [or yearly]. In addition, the Emusic Download Manager didn't integrate correctly with my .mp3 player, causing it to crash every time I downloaded an album. But they do have a good selection of Underground Electronic and Industrial music, but I found that most of the music offered from some acts were offering on Emusic was also on mp3.com, making the $45 for three months much less a bargain than it first seems. The overall collection was pretty good for people with tastes like mine, but apparently Apple has the better deal in the minds of most - finding huge artists and albums on the first shot, paying for what you keep is a better model than emusic's system. People seem to want what they hear on the radio or see on MTV, Apple knows this.

Just another reason to consider buying a mac then? Is it really going to last?

Predictions, anyone?
posted by phylum sinter at 4:19 AM on May 7, 2003


Waldo says...

People who complain about the "poor quality" of 44.1khz 128kbps AAC are funny. I actually saw some guy on Slashdot say that he'd never download audio until he could get it at 360kbps.

People who make ad-hominem attacks in response to considered technical opinions are out of their depth!

The tracks sold on the Apple store sound crappy compared to the MP3s I create myself, which are VBR with a minimum bit rate of 192kbps. Considering that we're paying for a license for the use of these tracks, we ought to be given uncompressed audio, or at least audio without obvious compression artifacts.
posted by e.e. coli at 4:47 AM on May 7, 2003


Moz:
I have seen other bits and anecdotal evidence that point the other direction. Again, I think most users exhibit a strong dislike to the thought of MS-backed DRM. But I will agree to disagree on this.

My main concerns for DRM still stand. I'm all for fairness, but when profit is concerned and the law is behind you, you will maximize that profit even if it trammels upon pre-existing rights such as Fair Use. I don't want to hijack the thread anymore. :)
posted by infowar at 5:23 AM on May 7, 2003


KirkJobSluder:

Hrm, I've avoided P2P in general because I've never been able to find what I want, and because I'm a bit paranoid and running P2P services such as Kaaza just seems like waving my naked ass out the window with a kick-me sign.

Same here, but I've been amazed to see how many MP3s are quietly sitting on .edu servers, if you look just a bit. P2P to me just seems to be just for people looking for the latest disposable pop rubbish.

I still don't see how the RIAA, Apple or anyone else is going to get people to pay for tracks that they can steal for free. If CD costs are reduced to $5 or so, which is what they are worth, than I will have no problem buying all of my music in a record store.

Most of you kids are too young to remember this, but we used to have albums sold on "cassette tapes".

When CDs came out, the record companies doubled the price, even though that few old albums were digitally remastered and/or sounded any better than cassettes. Yes, we were pissed. It's not surprising that most listeners would rather pirate than pay record companies for ripping them off.
posted by mark13 at 6:26 PM on May 7, 2003


When CDs came out, the record companies doubled the price, even though that few old albums were digitally remastered and/or sounded any better than cassettes. Yes, we were pissed. It's not surprising that most listeners would rather pirate than pay record companies for ripping them off.

yeah, but now CDs are the standard. Is Apple's service going to become the standard soon as well?
posted by rorycberger at 6:55 AM on May 8, 2003


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