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Spare Any Loose Change For An Innovator?
November 7, 2003 12:32 PM   Subscribe

The hugely popular iTunes is a success story. But not for Apple, which makes virtually no revenue from the online download service. "When that 99 cents leaves your wallet, the RIAA monopoly swallows most of it, and the credit card companies swallow the rest. As the supplicant in this relationship, Apple is left holding the can." Steve Jobs - "We would like to break even/make a little bit of money but it's not a money maker,"
posted by Blue Stone (57 comments total)

 
My heart breaks. Let's pass around the hat and raise a little money for the supplicant Mr. Jobs. He's clearly suffering . . .

While I bear no love for the RIAA, bear in mind that everyone who wishes to play a track purchased from the ITMS must either download iTunes, or purchase an iPod. Not too shabby for Apple's bottom line, if you ask me.
posted by aladfar at 12:47 PM on November 7, 2003


So it's a loss leader. So what? Grocery stores do this all the time -- keep a commodity item at a low, often money-losing price in order to get you in the door.

My local supermarket began selling large one-item pizzas for $5 on Fridays. I stopped in for one a couple weeks ago, and ended up walking out with $40 in other purchases, too. This is how it works.

Apple has also admitted that most iTunes users don't buy much music -- a couple dozen tracks on average or something like that. Seems like breaking even on something that people have to buy a $299-$499 product in order to use is a pretty good deal for Apple.
posted by me3dia at 12:50 PM on November 7, 2003


Wow, this article is way off. iTunes charges $.99/song. The majority of the money paid goes to the label for Master and mechanical rights. The RIAA is not involved in any of this. The amount Apple pays labels is almost the same proportion that retail chains pay their distributors.

Oh, and Apple pays the exact same rates to all labels, major or indie.
posted by remlapm at 1:08 PM on November 7, 2003


There are so many fallacies and strawmen arguments surrounding digital music and Apple that it makes my head spin.

I've heard from people that say that they ipod is too expensive, but have never used one. I've heard from people that say that 99 cents a song is too expensive, but haven't experienced the store's ease of use. I've heard from people that complain about the DRM aspects of Apple's AAC format, which is generally code for "the cat's out of the bag and it should all be free." I've heard Microsoft bad mouth Apple because the iPod doesn't support the "choice" of playing WMA files. I've heard of people uninstalling iTunes for Windows because it doesn't look exactly like Winamp. I've heard from people that complain about the amount of money going to the artist, who had no such morality during the Napster heyday. I've heard enough.

Figure out what your time is worth to you, whether you want to steal music and how important good design is to your life, and go buy the right damn product. Meanwhile, I'm in the middle of backing up my xserve to my iPod.
posted by machaus at 1:17 PM on November 7, 2003


Well Wal-Mart sells CDs as a loss leader too. The real question is how does Napster, MusicMatch, etc. stay above water without selling iPods and iMacs?
posted by rschroed at 1:18 PM on November 7, 2003


This is yet another stupid article calling for the imminent death of Apple. Yawn!

Let's see, the last hard number I saw for downloads was 10 million in four months.

That's $9.9 million dollars in revenue that Apple's gotten very little of. But I'm sure they have sold a large number of iPods specifically so that they can take their now legal music with them anywhere.

I don't think its a losing deal although I'm not all that thrilled that the assholes that are the RIAA (does that stand for Rich Ignorant Attorney-Mad Assholes?).

Have I bought any songs from iTunes? Nope.
Do I plan to? Nope.
Why? Because much of the music I'm interested in downloading is live. I buy cd's of bands I really like and then rip them myself, for my own use.
But I will be upgrading my 10 gig iPod to one of the new 30 or 40 gig models so Apple wins in the end with me anyway.

If it stops the RIAA from suing everyone then its a good thing. If it just gives them more names to decide to sue then what's the point?
posted by fenriq at 1:18 PM on November 7, 2003


How big is the market for a $300 music player?
posted by smackfu at 1:20 PM on November 7, 2003


the RIAA monopoly swallows most of it

I bet the artists see very little of it.
Maybe 20% (or less)
Can anyone confirm?
posted by Trik at 1:22 PM on November 7, 2003


I've heard from people that say that they ipod is too expensive, but have never used one. I've heard from people that say that 99 cents a song is too expensive, but haven't experienced the store's ease of use.

You say "but" as though these pairs contradict each other. How is it surprising that someone who thinks the iPod is too expensive would not have spent their money buying one? What difference does the store's ease of use make if the cost of its wares is too high?
posted by Mars Saxman at 1:24 PM on November 7, 2003


I bought an iPod to use with iTunes.
posted by the fire you left me at 1:28 PM on November 7, 2003


I've heard from people that say that they ipod is too expensive, but have never used one. I've heard from people that say that 99 cents a song is too expensive, but haven't experienced the store's ease of use.

So because the iPod / store is easy to use it justifies the price? That doesn't make any sense. Don't get me wrong. I own an iPod, i think it's cool (one of the most well designed gadgets I own), but I also understand that what I paid for it is typical for early adoption of technology.

I've heard of people uninstalling iTunes for Windows because it doesn't look exactly like Winamp.

Because it doesn't look like Winamp? How about because it takes 3X the memory space of Winamp 2.x and about double the processor power to run. I don't use iTunes for two reasons: it's as bloated a piece of crap as the Window Media Player and I've still not forgiven it for renaming every mp3 file on my system.

Meanwhile, I'm in the middle of backing up my xserve to my iPod.

Tell me how that sounds.
posted by eyeballkid at 1:31 PM on November 7, 2003


(actually, my wife uses iTunes to sync the iPod, on her PC.)
posted by eyeballkid at 1:35 PM on November 7, 2003


I read on a Mac site somewhere where it is though Apple keeps a dime of the 99 cents but that, of course, is consumed in paying for the infrastructure.


And Apple has always said that iTMS was launched to sell iPods. This is why it doesn't need to be trying to get people to subscribe like Rhapsody, MusicMatch, and Napster.

The real winners from iTMS are the evil record companies since they are at least getting me to pay for songs a la carte that I would have never bought as a CD. Sorry 50 Cent but I'm not going to pay $16.00 when I just want P-I-M-P.

On preview-- TRIK the artist will be next to nothing. That is between the label and the artist...

Our RCA stuff is on iTunes, but we'll never see a dime from that because bands don't see a dime from record companies anyway." - Lit on its decision to sell its new music on its own website.
posted by birdherder at 1:37 PM on November 7, 2003


Mars Saxman... he's my take : if you've never _used_ (not _owned_) an iPod, then it's impossible to accurately assess its value. It may be fair to say "it's out of my budget", or "I'm not willing to pay that kind of money", but saying X is too expensive assumes that one has a basis of comparison.

Likewise, if someone has never _used_ the iTunes music service, then there is no basis of comparison upon which to build an acceptable argument of something being too expensive.

I don't go around saying $100K is too much to pay for a (insert car brand here), because I have no basis from which to judge the value of such a device.
posted by silusGROK at 1:39 PM on November 7, 2003


I don't go around saying $100K is too much to pay for a (insert car brand here), because I have no basis from which to judge the value of such a device.

Insert Nissan Sentra and it's too much to pay. I understand your point about the iPod, but the iTunes service is selling the same thing I can buy in an indie record store for nearly the same price, minus preprinted packaging. So going around saying "$100k is too much to pay for a 1993 Honda Accord" would be a proper value judgement, even though I've never driven one.
posted by eyeballkid at 1:48 PM on November 7, 2003


I bet the artists see very little of it. Maybe 20% (or less)
Can anyone confirm?


It all depends on their artist contract. Most now have provisions for Digital Media, that lays out the royalty rate. However, keep in mind that the money the label sees is spread out just like the profit from a CD: overhead, production, artist royalties, publishing royalties.

The artists are compensated fairly (or not fairly, depending on your view of the record industry). If the artist is the sole songwriter, they get a non-negotiable $.08 for each download, though this is changing as controlled writers might soon get a controlled rate (set per their artist contract) instead of the statutory $.08.

I read on a Mac site somewhere where it is though Apple keeps a dime of the 99 cents but that, of course, is consumed in paying for the infrastructure.

Actually, it hovers around $.25 depending on the negotiated deal with each label ( indie and major )

The real winners from iTMS are the evil record companies since they are at least getting me to pay for songs a la carte that I would have never bought as a CD. Sorry 50 Cent but I'm not going to pay $16.00 when I just want P-I-M-P.


Right, because we want the entire music industry to be single-skewed. If artists can sell individual songs, where is the incentive to record ( and pay for ) a non-commercial song? Artists will only care about selling songs, not albums, and that quite frankly would suck. No more random noise, or quirky experimental tracks. I personally think that singles chosen by the band/label should be available in stores and online, but if you want the other tracks, you have to buy/download the album.
posted by remlapm at 1:55 PM on November 7, 2003


that is just about the worst abuse of analogy I've ever seen delivered without irony.

Here's a better one: Why spend $2900 for that 1967 vintage Fender Jazzmaster guitar with the perfect neck when I can buy a cheap Strat copy for $99? Why pay $1200 for that Bianchi roadbike when you could get a Huffy? Well the answer is "for a thousands reasons." the answer is also: "If you don't know it is only because you don't get it yet." Quality matters! It is really the only thing that matters. If something is going to be used every day for years, then it is worth it to me to make an investment in getting something that is easy to use, that is well designed and that has been made with fantasatic attention to detail. In the portable music world the iPod is the clear winner. Me and everyone that has seriously looked at the competition can see that the other machines are either too big, too fiddley, too ugly, too limited or all of the above.
posted by n9 at 2:08 PM on November 7, 2003


I've heard from people that complain about the DRM aspects of Apple's AAC format, which is generally code for "the cat's out of the bag and it should all be free."

That's such BS unless by free you mean free to use it on the device of my choosing. I bought some script writing software several years ago. It allowed me to authorize up to 3 computers. I had a hard drive go out. I upgraded a computer. I upgraded to a larger drive and formatted my drive without thinking. That's 3 authorizations gone into the wind.

I can't run the software anymore which means I can't accesses my own original creative output. If I was determined, I'm sure I could get the company to unlock their software for me (assuming they're still around). In practice though, my stuff is locked behind their shitty DRM.

Yeah, I think I should be free to get to my own writing, and I think I should be free to play a song I purchase on the device of my choice.

DRM sucks donkey nuts. It won't stop people who are determined to violate copyright. It won't even slow those people down. It does get in the way of normal law abiding citizens and reduces the value and longevity of the products they purchase. The people renting music from Apple's iTunes Music Store (and others) may not realize that yet. Eventually they will though.
posted by willnot at 2:11 PM on November 7, 2003


How about because it takes 3X the memory space of Winamp 2.x and about double the processor power to run.

So it's still leaner than Winamp 3 then?
posted by inpHilltr8r at 2:14 PM on November 7, 2003


Everything is leaner than Winamp 3. If that was my only other option, I'd use iTunes.
posted by eyeballkid at 2:19 PM on November 7, 2003


I can 't wait for the day when Apple simply states that they have no interest in pandering to th "if it's more expensive than free I'll just pireate it" segment of the market, so we can cut down on about 75% of the apple discussions.
posted by Space Coyote at 2:19 PM on November 7, 2003


n9 : I'm guessing that was aimed at me... and you're right, I'm normally better at analogies... and yes, that is a better analogy.

eyeballkid : no, they're not selling the same thing as the indie record store... they add considerable value, namely with regards to convenience.

And that's where my argument hinges : saying something is too expensive without regard to the added value is inaccurate. And it's my contention that unless you've used something, it is impossible to gage added value.
posted by silusGROK at 2:19 PM on November 7, 2003


I am surprised that no one yet has pointed out the ramifications of Jobs' revelation: a loss leader is an anti-competitive practice --it's actually illegal in a few countries, although nowhere in the US AFAIK. The fact that Apple can afford to sell songs for 99c/song because they make up their operating profits on iPod sales means two things:
  1. No company that does not sell hardware can afford to compete with those that do in the online music store business (i.e. Apple, Dell, Samsung kinda).
  2. The prices of the aforementioned units that subsidize the stores are artificially inflated by the amortized costs of the online music store operations, or expected growth. I.e. the iPods are indeed too expensive.
Either way, this does suck. And it sucks because the magic price-point of 99c is made too-costly by artificial barriers-to-entry imposed by the RIAA. They are simply idiots.
posted by costas at 2:39 PM on November 7, 2003


How big is the market for a $300 music player?

Um... 1 million + me = $300.0003 million.
posted by damclean2 at 2:40 PM on November 7, 2003


If you bring the loss leader thing into the picture you're going to have to fine every single company that's ever released a piece of free software with a paid upgrade.
posted by Space Coyote at 2:45 PM on November 7, 2003


"I've heard of people uninstalling iTunes for Windows because it doesn't look exactly like Winamp."

Hmm. I uninstalled iTunes because it wouldn't play an Ogg Vorbis file, of which a decent section of my music collection -- primarily ripped from my CD collection -- is comprised. I'm not going to re-rip several gigs just to please some johnny-come-lately media player and/or audio hardware.
posted by majick at 2:53 PM on November 7, 2003


Space Coyote: that's a bit different: that's a promotion; you're discounting your product to get it out there. Apple is not giving away free songs on ITMS to get people hooked; they are using their muscle/expertise in one market to make money in another. It's very similar to Wal-Mart's practices which usually don't pass MeFi muster; however, Apple is cool, so no one complains about that...
posted by costas at 2:53 PM on November 7, 2003


Oh, and also because it insisted on installing all manner of useless services (such as some CDRW driver or other on a box which doesn't even have a burner) and background "helper" processes. The thing generally seems pretty shoddy and certainly if that's indicative of the current state of Apple quality, I'm not going to spring for an iPod, either. In fact, seeing iTunes/Win32 also made me reconsider a future purchase of a Powerbook.
posted by majick at 2:56 PM on November 7, 2003


A lil off topic, but for those who hate winamp 3, want more then winamp 2, think itunes and MediaPlayer are bloated, check out ....

WINAMP 5! (the best of 2 and 3 = 5 )

I'm LOVING it, and it can use skins from either player.
posted by madmanz123 at 3:19 PM on November 7, 2003


I had a hard drive go out. I upgraded a computer. I upgraded to a larger drive and formatted my drive without thinking. That's 3 authorizations gone into the wind.

iTMS allows you to de-authorize your old hardware when upgrading or switching machines. User screw-ups don't make for good arguments. If you let a CD melt on your dashboard does that mean you're entitled to another free one?

Yeah, I think I should be free to get to my own writing, and I think I should be free to play a song I purchase on the device of my choice.

This is what backups are for. iTMS is far more lenient in their DRM regarding burning CD copies than many software companies, Pro Tools being the first example that comes to mind. You can play a CD on the device of your choice- but don't expect it to work in a tape deck, too.
posted by obloquy at 3:20 PM on November 7, 2003


Losing money now (especially as their probably paying down development costs) does not mean losing money perpetually... so I would say that the anti-competitive slant on the story doesn't hold.

Sure, they may have different motives for launching ITMS than making money on ITMS... but breaking even or even making a very small profit isn't the same thing as losing money.
posted by silusGROK at 3:23 PM on November 7, 2003


How big is the market for a $300 music player?

Well, they're the number one player, so pretty big.

And as obloquy pointed out, you can deauthorize machines. In fact, when I upgraded my work machine, that's exactly what I did and it worked great. CD burning works fine, and I can transfer the files to any iPod. Renting music is more of what Rhapsody (which is pretty neat) does.

As for the price being too high, I agree, but I think this is a good first step. Apple probably would have loved to get the prices down to 50 cents a song, but there are more politics to it than what one company wants.

If any sells tracks for 50 cents each, they'll either be losing money or the recording industry will have lowered their prices. It's almost not even worth debating -- if you want free music, or ogg vorbis, you'll get it. If you want what iTunes offers, you'll get that.
posted by jragon at 4:35 PM on November 7, 2003


The thing generally seems pretty shoddy and certainly if that's indicative of the current state of Apple quality, I'm not going to spring for an iPod, either. In fact, seeing iTunes/Win32 also made me reconsider a future purchase of a Powerbook.

Yeah, 'cause the iPod is just a piece of trash.

Hey, if you base your entire purchasing decisions on one piece of software that's your business. Now... where is that good ol' Windows Media Player version 1 I had that I used to justify never buying a Wintel box.

False logic. Whatever yo...
posted by damclean2 at 4:46 PM on November 7, 2003


iTMS allows you to de-authorize your old hardware as long as Apple continues to offer the service.

User screw-ups don't make for good arguments.

If you accept that the user must conform their actions to the whims of content providers then that may be true. However, I can imagine lots of ways that users can "screw-up", and the least of those is not considering the impact to infrequently used software or music purchases when they upgrade hardware (or worse when their hardware fails).

DRM delivers no value to consumers and substantially detracts from value. I don't believe it offers any value to content providers either when it comes to that. I merely offered one specific example of where I found this to be true.

DRM gets in the way for honest consumers. To say that a hurdle isn't a problem because all you have to do is remember and be able to jump over it using proper form misses the point. The consumer wouldn't have to worry about jumping over the hurdle if the stupid hurdle wasn't there in the first place. To say that at least Apple uses very low hurdles also misses the point. There is no reason to have any hurdle to begin with, and I can guarantee you that if you put any hurdle out there, a lot of people are eventually going to trip over it and hurt themselves.
posted by willnot at 4:52 PM on November 7, 2003


willnot - you are right there is no benefit to users from DRM, but compared to terrible implementations that I've experienced with Sony [where I had to apply DRM to MP3s I burned in order to get them on my MP3 player] and Microsoft WMV [via MovieLink] the iTunes method is the least painful [at least on the Mac]. I've been able to seemlessly share my music between my two macs and my ipod.

I think that DRM is here to stay but what will make it work is not getting in the way of a user. A nice standard that would be interoperable between hardware and software platforms would be nice. In the mean time, I'm sticking with Apple's solution over Microsoft's.
posted by birdherder at 5:12 PM on November 7, 2003


That's certainly your choice birdherder. I'm sticking with CDs that I can purchase from non RIAA affiliated artists and free and unencumbered MP3 files that I can download from those artists sites and other sources.

I don't believe it is here to stay. Consumers can reject it as easily as they rejected Divx. Right now, to many consumers the convenience of on-line purchase outweighs the inconvenience of the DRM. That's probably because a lot of them haven't had their music collections wiped out yet by one of their "screw-ups", and they haven't had to jump through onerous hoops to get that music back (assuming at the time it happens they are able to get that music back).

I think a lot of people are agreeing to a cost without really understanding the full cost. It's your and their choice to make. I think it's a mistake.
posted by willnot at 5:19 PM on November 7, 2003


IMHO, $300 is too much to pay for a portable music player. I guess I don't "get it." Nor do I really want to.
posted by moonbiter at 5:46 PM on November 7, 2003


There's an angle here that no one has considered yet. Steve Jobs is being very vocal about the fact that Apple is making virtually no money from the iTMS. Every chance he gets, he says that they'll be happy to break even, and it's really just a way for them to make money off iPods. Why is Steve Jobs doing this? Is he doing it just out of the goodness of his heart to share information?

No, he's doing it to talk down the prospects of his competitors and to hurt their valuations. I'd take it all with that grain of salt.
posted by alms at 6:15 PM on November 7, 2003


I bought 2 $400 iPods, (10GB gen 2 & 15GB gen 3), and I have yet to use iTunes. So that's extra money in Steve's pocket.
posted by riffola at 6:19 PM on November 7, 2003


Here's a better one: Why spend $2900 for that 1967 vintage Fender Jazzmaster guitar with the perfect neck when I can buy a cheap Strat copy for $99? Why pay $1200 for that Bianchi roadbike when you could get a Huffy?

instead of a sweet Bianchi roadbike (which i would love) that costs upwards of $1,000, i decided to buy a 20-year-old Nishiki for $75 (after which i've spent about $100 fixing it). i've used it for the past year and a half, quite effectively, every day to work and most days for fun and errands on the weekends. of course, i'm an idiot. i should be drowning in a grand of credit-card debt (yes, $1,000 would be drowning for me) for the sacred ideal of "quality" - it's *all* that matters, you know. bah.

to further your analogy, why own any abstract art at all, if it's not an original from Picasso, Pollock, Kandinsky, or Klee? if you can't have the best, why bother? (oh, maybe it's b/c only 0.05% of us can afford the best).

i've never used an iPod, but i can tell you they're too expensive, based on what else is available. also, their batteries are too short (six hours?) and they aren't replaceable, so have fun getting another one in a couple of years. speaking with no authority as someone who's never used one (ok, i've used one briefly) , i'd say that their popularity has little to do with *quality* and much more to do with commodity fetish.
posted by mrgrimm at 6:25 PM on November 7, 2003


"Yeah, 'cause the iPod is just a piece of trash."

Clearly, yes, if the showcase client software for it is a piece of junk. If iTunes/ITMS is the loss leader to get profitable iPod buyers in the door, it's not going to work for the thing to be crummy. If Apple's sales angle here is to get me to say "ooo, iTunes!" followed by "ooo, iPod!" they've failed miserably.

"...if you base your entire purchasing decisions on one piece of software that's your business."

Perhaps my point wasn't clear, here: it's not just "one piece of software." We're not talking about a shoddy printer driver that I'm basing my opinion on. It's "one piece of flagship, attention-grabbing, customer-attracting software." Big difference there.
posted by majick at 6:42 PM on November 7, 2003


i think the ipod is a wonderful device, and actually plan on buying one in the next couple of months... i've used itunes on my girlfriends imac, and it seemed pretty decent.

itunes for windows however, is just trash. Trash. Trashy trash trash trash.

winamp five is live, though.
posted by lotsofno at 6:58 PM on November 7, 2003


Small comment on the FPP: "virtually no revenue" should read "virtually no profit". They make plenty of revenue.
posted by MarkO at 6:58 PM on November 7, 2003


How big is the market for a $300 music player?

Presumably Sony was asking themselves the same thing before they introduced the Walkman way back when. They got their answer.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:19 PM on November 7, 2003


Speaking of Sony, they've recently claimed that their PSP will go after the iPod, and it's only going to cost $60.
posted by riffola at 9:04 PM on November 7, 2003


well, just so you know, itunes uses quicktime to play MP3 and ACC, so to play ogg you need an ogg quicktime plugin, which is available, and free.

ports of software, especially by companies that are used to also making the OS are always a little overpowering i think. i remember installing office on my mac around mac os 8.0, and the installer pretty much added another operating system... and for you people that think MS does a better job, MS media player for mac is no gem.
posted by rhyax at 10:27 PM on November 7, 2003


MarkO, well Jobs was saying that he hopes they'll break even, which means they're pouring money into the operation, which isn't making enough revenue at the moment to cover costs.

The "RIAA" are the ones making the revenue out of the venture. That's what I meant, Mr. Nitpick. :)
posted by Blue Stone at 10:34 PM on November 7, 2003


Presumably Sony was asking themselves the same thing before they introduced the Walkman way back when. They got their answer.

Hey-O! Zing!
posted by The God Complex at 10:50 PM on November 7, 2003


Mm.
Well, yesterday I got bored with my current MP3 collection and in a fit of nostalgia I ripped 30-odd old grunge CDs I haven't listened to since the 90s.

If those had been DRM'd music files, would I have a chance in hell of hearing them again now (I've been through 6 computers since I've bought some of them)?

Maybe if the company who rented me the music is (a) still trading and (b) still using the same format/DRM and (c) players still exist that work with said format/DRM.

Doesn't seem likely to me.

I don't have a huge music collection - maybe 300 albums - but they're still worth more than, say, my current car. So I'd prefer to know that, when I buy music, I'll still be able to listen to it in 5-10 years.

Record Labels: If you want to sell me a product which is less convenient in the long-term than products I already buy, maybe you should offer it at a lower price. Even give it a published time limit on use (at least then we know what we're buying).


Sorry that was so off-topic, but there's really nothing to discuss about the linked article - Apple sells hardware, everything else is a sweetener. End of story.
posted by cell at 2:25 AM on November 8, 2003


"so to play ogg you need an ogg quicktime plugin, which is available..."

Before everyone rushes over to the link (thanks! I didn't come close to finding this when I was googling for "ogg itunes" for some reason) I should point out that the text should read "which is available for Mac OSX, but not Win32."
posted by majick at 4:39 AM on November 8, 2003


My friend ran the numbers on the iPod vs. some of it's current competion vs. a Sony Walkman circa 1985 (with 20 casette tapes, as that is at least as much as the iPod can hold) and his math concluded that the Walkman 15 years ago was less price-competitive than the iPod is today. If folks are interested in poring over the numbers I can post them tomorrow.
posted by gen at 8:38 AM on November 8, 2003


If those had been DRM'd music files, would I have a chance in hell of hearing them again now (I've been through 6 computers since I've bought some of them)?

No, you wouldn't have. And I am afraid of copy controlled CDs for the very same reason.
Piracy is a moral problem not a technical one.
posted by hoskala at 8:59 AM on November 8, 2003


Piracy is a maritime problem, not a music one.
posted by Nothing at 9:55 AM on November 8, 2003


If those had been DRM'd music files, would I have a chance in hell of hearing them again now (I've been through 6 computers since I've bought some of them)?

What about those poor bastards with a huge laserdisc collection? If those 20 year old Pioneer LaserDisc players break, they are screwed. Any technology will be made obsolete eventually and you have to adapt.

I have probably about 30 songs I've purchased from iTMS so far. They are sitting on an iPod and two macs [because thats where i want to listen to the songs]. Some of the songs I've burned to a CD as a backup and a put a copy of the m4p files on a firewire drive.

Over time all of my devices can fail. Apple could abandon the iTunes format. Or there might be some 12 year old working on cracking the DRM scheme right now and I'll be able to make unlimited copies in any format.

I still get CDs when I want an album's worth from an artist. I use iTunes mostly to get the guilty pleasures/one hit wonders songs that are worth a 99 cent investment.
posted by birdherder at 10:01 AM on November 8, 2003


*cough*
posted by machaus at 10:15 AM on November 8, 2003


Speaking of Sony, they've recently claimed that their PSP will go after the iPod, and it's only going to cost $60.

NB the $60 iPod beater, and the PSP are 2 seperate and distinct devices. The $60 iPod is almost certainly going to be either flash or optical disc based. Whereas the PSP is expected to be a ~$200 device. Also, those pictures of the PSP going around, are concepts, not final production.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 2:46 PM on November 8, 2003


Or there might be some 12 year old working on cracking the DRM scheme right now and I'll be able to make unlimited copies in any format.

Hopefully that 12 year old will have the sense to wait until AFTER we have one universal standard DRM mechanism.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 2:48 PM on November 8, 2003


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