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An iTunes For The Rest Of Us?
November 18, 2005 12:39 PM   Subscribe

An iTunes For The Rest Of Us? Just for laughs I often flip through my (free subscription!) Stereophile magazine. You know, the one with the ads for the $12000 speaker wire and $5000 CD players. Imagine my surprise when I saw a preview of a new music service, MusicGiants, that is offering lossless music downloads for $1.29 each. Targeted to "audiophiles", MusicGiants is also selling its "SoundVault", which seems like some kind of Windows Media Center PC, albeit with a $10,000 price tag, and an ability to download the lossless tracks to some portable media players, with the notable exception of the iPod. Oh, and there's a $50 annual fee (!). Ho hum so far, but then I noticed that the service has significant buy in from most of the major labels, indicating that they seem to have developed some faith in the ability of Microsoft's DRM to shield their "top quality" downloads from pirates. My thinking on this is that if successful, it should prompt Apple to offer lossless downloads from the iTMS Service, if only because Apple likes to present a "high end" image, and having a competitor actively dissing iTMS by lumping it in, quality-wise, with "pirated music from p2p networks" has got to hurt.
posted by meehawl (63 comments total)

 
< snark>
They'd better have Mannheim Steamroller.
< / snark>

I dunno, I find the DRM restrictions much more of a turn-off than the lossy nature of the files. Going to stick with CDs for the moment.
posted by selfnoise at 12:48 PM on November 18, 2005


Apple won't be affected by this in the slightest. They're appealing to the higher percentage of customers, not the audiophiles. MusicGiants can diss them all they want but I think Apple's 100 million (or whatever) downloads is uncatchable by a service that offers strict DRM on files that won't play on the most popular MP3 player in the world.
posted by dobbs at 12:51 PM on November 18, 2005


Apple has strict DRM as well, dobbs, and none of their songs play on any other players...
posted by delmoi at 12:53 PM on November 18, 2005


"Downloads cost as
little as $1.29 per track or $15.29"

There, it's the thing that doesn't make sense to me about any pay download service. You can already buy an album on cd for that price...
posted by funambulist at 12:53 PM on November 18, 2005


bleep offers non-DRM FLAC on a lot of artists.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 12:54 PM on November 18, 2005


I thought the greatest barrier to the widespread availability of higher quality audio was storage capacity -- I mean, that's why MP3 is the dominant format and not FLAC or Lossless AAC. Seems like this service won't be very relevant for another few years, and by that time everyone else will have scaled up as well.
posted by VulcanMike at 12:54 PM on November 18, 2005


Apple has strict DRM as well, dobbs, and none of their songs play on any other players...
posted by delmoi at 12:53 PM PST on November 18 [!]


Does hymn work with iTunes 6?
posted by The Jesse Helms at 12:58 PM on November 18, 2005


Real audiophiles would be embarrassed to pay so little for a download.
posted by fenriq at 1:00 PM on November 18, 2005


TJH - No, it doesn't.

(If Microsoft could find a hardware vendor that made a DAP which challenged the Ipod on a software quality and design basis, and then advertise the heck out of it, it... uh... would be good. But instead we get 100 playskool MP3 players with terrible PC software.)
posted by selfnoise at 1:00 PM on November 18, 2005


(If Microsoft could find a hardware vendor that made a DAP which challenged the Ipod on a software quality and design basis, and then advertise the heck out of it, it... uh... would be good. But instead we get 100 playskool MP3 players with terrible PC software.)

durrrrrrrrrrrrrr.....
posted by delmoi at 1:03 PM on November 18, 2005


allofmp3 already sells audio in wav format.
posted by MillMan at 1:04 PM on November 18, 2005


You're assuming that "the rest of us" care about audio quality more than they do price. On the contrary, iTunes has shown that people have been more than willing to trade off audio quality for convenience, platform versatility, the ability to select songs, etc., etc. And yes, price.

True audiophiles are a minority, compared to the vast seas of people who'll listen and dance to scratchy pop. And unfortunate or not, the tastes of the rest of us often dictate what survives in the market.

So my thinking is, no, MusicGiants isn't going to prompt Apple to do anything. It'll be a niche service, and one wonders whether it'll reach the same scale economies to survive.
posted by enakaja at 1:05 PM on November 18, 2005


Apple has strict DRM as well, dobbs, and none of their songs play on any other players...

The other players don't matter, though. iTMS tracks play on the iPod so the majority of people who buy online buy from them. I'm not saying DRM will kill this. I'm not saying not playing on the iPod will kill this. I'm saying those two things combined will kill this. As a music lover, I'd consider buying from them if it worked on my iPod. Or, if there were no DRM, I may consider another player. However, I won't switch to a worse (imo) player and put up with DRM.

I have about 48K MP3s at the moment, about 98% of them legally gotten by me via CD ripping or purchasing non-DRM files. I own an iPod. However, I've never downloaded a track from iTMS because of the DRM (and, a distant second, the price).

The target market for these files is too insignificant (audiophiles + non-iPod owner + willing to pay more than 99 cents a track (18 cents / track from emusic.com) + major labels only + etc.) to affect Apple.
posted by dobbs at 1:06 PM on November 18, 2005


I'm sorry, it's not audiophile quality. I don't even have to hear it to know that it's dross. In fact, were I to actually hear it I'd probably have to rupture my ear drums with a crochet hook to preserve my sanity.

Everybody knows that unless your bits are oriented at a 30 degree angle to your recording media they will sound tinny and objectionable. Intersymbol interference between bits will also be rampant unless they're isolated by at least 100 Anstroms. I won't even mention the problems with the Reed-Solomon encoding normally used on hard drives. The platters of the hard drive themselves need to be oxygen free as well as impregnated with gold ions to at least a concentration of 100/um^2.
posted by substrate at 1:07 PM on November 18, 2005


allofmp3 already sells audio in wav format

They do? That must be some pretty big downloads, unless you mean wmv format. Regardless, allofmp3 doesn't pay artists or labels so for many people, they're not a service to consider.
posted by dobbs at 1:09 PM on November 18, 2005


dobbs: hymn. except don't purchase with iTunes 6 or hymn will never work with your iTMS account again...
posted by joeblough at 1:13 PM on November 18, 2005


The other players don't matter, though.

Why? I find iRivers players preferable, by far, to the iPod line, particularly in regard to sound quality. Yes, they have a smaller marketshare, but does that mean they don't matter?
posted by juiceCake at 1:14 PM on November 18, 2005


allofmp3 offers downloads in at least 3 different lossless formats (wav, flac, shn), as well as mp3, ogg, and I think wma. You pay by the number of bits you've downloaded, not per song, so if you really want the quality, you can pay for it. If not, you can get the cheap 64kbp mp3.

As dobbs pointed out though, their artist payout is considered mythical, despite their protestations of legallity.
posted by nomisxid at 1:15 PM on November 18, 2005


Steve Miller! Duran Duran! Tina Turner!

P O I S O N ! ! !

Finally, a service that understands today's market.
posted by fleetmouse at 1:16 PM on November 18, 2005


But instead we get 100 playskool MP3 players with terrible PC software

IMHO a player that you cna treat as a drive and drag and drop stuff onto (and off of) beats any other "interface" hands down, including iTunes.
posted by Artw at 1:18 PM on November 18, 2005


Allofmp3 will indeed sell wav (on some titles) or flac or whatever bitrate MP3 or OGG or WMA you want.

I don't buy any DRM music, because I'm not going to play the "will it play on player X" game. And since a lot of WMP DRM is completely unusable on the Mac or Linux, I won't even have the option of considering this service.

I doubt it makes much of a dent in the market. Lossless is big. A majority of users won't be able to tell the difference between lossless and 128 Kbps mp3. Thus, to most, this service's only selling point will be that it turns you 1000 song player into a 50 song player.

The audiophile niche is too small.
posted by teece at 1:19 PM on November 18, 2005


substrate just blew my mind.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 1:27 PM on November 18, 2005


Why? I find iRivers players preferable, by far, to the iPod line,

I meant in regards to the argument at hand: that this company will affect Apple in any way. I meant nothing about the quality of the other players, just that they do not really matter in regards to the amount that are used vs. iPods used. In addition, I'd speculate that iPod buyers do most of the online music buying which again works against this company.
posted by dobbs at 1:43 PM on November 18, 2005


Those referring to allofmp3 might as well be talking about Usenet or Bittorrent, no? My understanding was that the site was operating outside of the law.
posted by VulcanMike at 1:43 PM on November 18, 2005


hymn

Thanks, joeblough. Hadn't heard of that before. Still, I find iTMS overpriced. I'd be broke if I bought from them. emusic's 18 cents a track when bought in bulk and they concentrate on the artists / labels that I like whereas that music is an afterthought to Apple.
posted by dobbs at 1:45 PM on November 18, 2005


Am I the only one who buys music on iTunes and burns it to CD-R, which eliminates any DRM issues?
One time I wanted to burn an iTunes-purchased song onto a new mix CD, but I had already burned it the maximum number of times allowed per iTunes, so I just stuck one of my previous CD-Rs in, ripped the track back to iTunes, and iTunes was none the wiser.
posted by Lord Kinbote at 1:56 PM on November 18, 2005


WMV files? No thanks.
posted by eustacescrubb at 2:03 PM on November 18, 2005


When listening through crappy ear buds who cares what quality the audio is. You won't likely be able to tell the difference. When listening through $12,000 speaker wire though...

Right now people with audiophile systems are often not the same people who download music. As the downloaders grow up and start wanting better sound then we might see demand take off. A serious audiophile is unlikely to consider a computer to be a reasonable source component. However, some new audio storage and playback devices are appearing which will store large quantities of lossless music and play it back at CD quality through a real stereo and that might be what pushes services like this forward.
posted by caddis at 2:05 PM on November 18, 2005


I do the same thing: Buy, Burn, Rip. Wow, that DRM is unbeatable.

I still prefer to buy a CD (direct from the artist, of course).

What planet is a Sterophile shopper from anyway? $12000 cables? Yeesh. The Emperor has no clothes.
posted by Crosius at 2:11 PM on November 18, 2005


"A serious audiophile is unlikely to consider a computer to be a reasonable source component."

Why?

Do the bits coming out of the optical out on a sound-card have some quantifiable difference from the bits coming out of the optical out of a "stereophile-approved,"Granite-chassis, power-conditioned, Wood Damped, vibrationally isolated CD-player?

Are they less smoothly polished?
Photons not quite as round?

Bits are bits. Digital source A and Digital source B are fungible.

Or do audiophiles eschew optical cable for some reason?
posted by Crosius at 2:22 PM on November 18, 2005


i) Optical cable doesn't allow for retransmission of corrupt packets, so you get either a blip or a made-up waveform.
ii) Computers don't guarantee to output the exact bits from the input file. At the very least, they'll do amplitude scaling without asking, and sometimes worse.
iii) Computers are digital, and thus irrelevant.

Something like that, anyway.
posted by cillit bang at 2:34 PM on November 18, 2005


great... an overpriced garbage computer that downloads large files for your listening enjoyment.

Wouldn't it be cheaper to purchase good drugs and/or booze than to purchase "audiophile" equipment?
posted by chibikeandy at 2:40 PM on November 18, 2005


cillit bang, I think you nailed it. :-)

Of course i) and ii) apply to analog systems too. (Shhh! We won't tell the audiophiles)

Those clicks and pops tell you its high-fidelity, man!
Smell the fidelity.
posted by Crosius at 2:45 PM on November 18, 2005


What planet is a Sterophile shopper from anyway?

Stereophile routinely includes the ipod in its yearly best-of roundup. They say the lossless playback competes with cd players costing much more.
posted by StickyCarpet at 2:47 PM on November 18, 2005


They say the lossless playback competes with cd players costing much more.

Perhaps to sell to that target market more efficiently, Apple needs to launch a "tube" iPod that retails for around $8000.
posted by meehawl at 2:50 PM on November 18, 2005


"A serious audiophile is unlikely to consider a computer to be a reasonable source component."

Why?


Because it has a fan, and emits a lot of RF that gets picked up by nearby electronics.
posted by StickyCarpet at 2:53 PM on November 18, 2005


That was kind of my point (see above "Bits are bits")

Nice that they like the iPod, but:

Stereophile also says putting special ($1000) bricks under your preamp, replacing your plastic knobs with ($500) wooden ones and laying your cords over little ($600) ceramic stand-offs makes it sound better, in flagrant disregard of any sound electrical theory.

They don't conduct double-blind tests on equipment to verify exotic claims. (or, in fact, any claims at all)

They're not a good, objective source of information. They seem to believe in, and often endorse, audiophile voodoo.
posted by Crosius at 3:01 PM on November 18, 2005


When I buy from allofmp3, what I'm really doing is shopping around for the country with the most favorable copyright laws. If corporations can shop around for the lowest labor costs, why can't I do something similar with my financial interests?

Hopefully at some point we'll all be downloading directly from the artists and flick a couple of bucks at them per album download. allofmp3 must be raking in huge cash, but IMO they have the best product, for now.

Back on topic - for in home music, I have a stereo that cost a total of ~4k, and to me it sounds far superior to a stereo you throw together at best buy, and there IS a big difference between an mp3 at 128kbit and the original wav on such a system. The $10k speaker cables, sure, that's ridiculous. There is a steep curve of diminishing returns in the audio world. When I'm cruising around town, lossy mp3s are just fine - the environment is noisy, I'm generally not concentrating on the music anyway, and portable audio players are only so good at music reproduction to begin with.
posted by MillMan at 3:03 PM on November 18, 2005


StickyCarpet - Most surround receivers have fans these days.
posted by Crosius at 3:04 PM on November 18, 2005


unlikely to consider a computer

I have a $300 sound card in this computer. Run through my stereo, I hear a wispy squeak when I operate the scroll bar on this window.
posted by StickyCarpet at 3:18 PM on November 18, 2005


allofmp3 - Hand made in Warezistran...

Somehow that doesn't seem right.
posted by Artw at 3:21 PM on November 18, 2005


It is possible that some people do apreciate quality sound without being, you know, insane.
posted by delmoi at 3:23 PM on November 18, 2005


I hear a wispy squeak when I operate the scroll bar on this window.

What are your outputs?

I was impressed, personally, when I plonked a $10 after rebate "Mad Dog" 7.1 sound card into my PC and ran a $3 optical output into the amp (Onkyo). I can even run this "ASIO" thing that is all the rage, but to be honest I can't hear any difference between that and the regular Windows output.

Anyway, to my less-than-discriminating ears the sound is pristine - especially compared to the eternally-present ground hums I got from PC sound cards in the 90s. Getting a 24-bit, 192KHz sound source for so little seems to me like some kind of minor miracle. That's why I agree with Milman above about rapidly diminishing returns.
posted by meehawl at 3:29 PM on November 18, 2005


allofmp3.com is everything that digital music downloading should be:

no DRM
multiple download options and formats
many payment options including paypal
low-cost, and price variable by audio options

I have no compunction about using it because so far, I have only been using it to replace the part of my CD collection which was stolen from my car. Luckily it was the classic rock, jazz, and reggae section of which they can replace about 50%.

Their selection of new music doesn't interest me, but if it did it would be an ethical dilemma. On the one hand, the music industry isn't giving me an option which I can get behind, on the other hand, I would want to make sure that artists and companies are compensated fairly.
posted by cell divide at 3:48 PM on November 18, 2005


I see dobbs. Thanks for the clarification.

I'd speculate that iPod buyers do most of the online music buying which again works against this company

I'm not so sure. Other markets can arise that the iPod doesn't address, like the one this company is trying to address.

Hopefully at some point we'll all be downloading directly from the artists and flick a couple of bucks at them per album download. allofmp3 must be raking in huge cash, but IMO they have the best product, for now.

Or collaborative sites like zunior, where you can download uncompressed versions if you wish.

Artists pay no fees to work with us - every cent you pay (less the administration cost of using PayPal) goes directly to the artist. All albums are $8.88 (Canadian funds).
posted by juiceCake at 4:04 PM on November 18, 2005


Apple could corner the audiophile market in one fell swoop by making an iPod with glowing vacuum tubes on it. Like moths to flame, my friend.
posted by Wolfdog at 4:09 PM on November 18, 2005 [1 favorite]


I'd speculate that iPod buyers do most of the online music buying which again works against this company.

I read a report in Businessweek that said that by the end of this year, Yahoo will be neck and neck with Apple in terms of total revenues from online music. And Yahoo only entered the market with its Yahoo Unlimited (or whatever) last April. or something.

So I guess it depends on what you define as "buying". As juiceCake mentioned just above, the market is dynamic and subject to disruption every few years.
posted by meehawl at 4:19 PM on November 18, 2005


I'll just, um, repeat my earlier post, since nobody responded and even more people are talking about allofmp3 as if it were a legitimate service. From what I've read, those talking about allofmp3 might as well be talking about Usenet or Bittorrent. My understanding was that the site was operating outside of the law, as the agency that supposedly gave them the rights to sell this music online is not authorized to provide such rights. In addition, even if it is legal in Russia, it's still not legal in the US and UK, as sales of music to those audiences are handled by different agencies. It's still piracy, even if it does have a nice user interface.
posted by VulcanMike at 4:44 PM on November 18, 2005


the site was operating outside of the law

Is AllOfMP3 legal?

In addition, even if it is legal in Russia, it's still not legal in the US and UK, as sales of music to those audiences are handled by different agencies

I've wondered about this. Does that mean that if I buy a legally pressed CD in Russia, it is not permissible under copyright law for me to listen to that CD in, say, the EU?

Further, if I use a shortwave or an internet radio station, and listen to a Russian (or other) station, is that illegal? What does the WTO have to say about import and export of IP?

Finally, I note that while AllOfMP3 has not been offocially charged with any crimes, certain member companies in the RIAA have been found guilty, repeatedly, of criminal conspiracies relating to price fixing, bribery, and other malfeasances.

Colour me amused.
posted by meehawl at 5:19 PM on November 18, 2005


A sound card in the computer is inherently noisy due to the noisy electrical environment inside. There are some great external DACs which can overcome this problem. One big problem is the clock. Most DACs rely on the signal itself to provide the clock. Disturbances are termed jitter which slightly alters the timing of the analog signal coming out and is quite noticeable if it is too high. This can also be compensated for and is one of the big differences between $50 CD players and $300 CD players. Bits are bits, but it is their translation from bits to analog where most of the issues occur. How that analog signal is processed also matters and quality components here make a huge difference. It's not that a computer can not be a great source, but just that most are not. I have an extremely old laptop which I have considered turning into a music server for my stereo. I would add a huge external hard drive, and an external DAC to feed my preamp. I just don't have any more space in the rack right now.
posted by caddis at 6:15 PM on November 18, 2005


First of all, substrate wins.

Second of all, comparing bitrates is pointless unless you're comparing compression techniques. A 128-bit AAC (which is not an Apple format, contrary to popular belief) is comparable to to 192-bit MP3. A bigger number does not always mean better.

Third, WMA files? Oh God I'd rather die.

Fourth, only downloading lossless files? OK, I guess I can wait 30-40 minutes to get that Poison album over DSL. But then when I put it on my iRiver I find I can only carry a few hundred songs as opposed to the usual 5000. Boy I feel lucky.
posted by fungible at 7:07 PM on November 18, 2005


I would just like to add that almost nothing anyone said above about using a computer as a source applies when you use an optical digital output.
posted by PissOnYourParade at 8:00 PM on November 18, 2005


I read a report in Businessweek that said that by the end of this year, Yahoo will be neck and neck with Apple in terms of total revenues from online music.

Wha? You got a link for that? I find that *very* hard to believe. I had never even heard of Yahoo Unlimited until you mentioned it. In addition, checking their site, they only offer 1 million songs in their catalog. Last I heard Apple had sold 100 million tracks. This would mean that Yahoo on average have sold every track 100 times. I doubt it. In addition, iTMS is in Canada, Australia, Japan, the UK, and the USA. Yahoo's only in the USA. iTMS is on Mac and Window--Yahoo is Windows and IE 6+ only.

I'm not saying Yahoo hasn't sold a shit load of music--maybe they have, but I'm wondering what the exact language of the BW article was.

I'm not so sure. Other markets can arise that the iPod doesn't address, like the one this company is trying to address.

For sure. I'm not trying to say Apple has a permanent stronghold on the market. I made my posts in direct relation to what this company is doing, and, in my opinion, they have less opportunity to sell music because their tunes play on less players (not less devices) and cost more.

In order for a company to lap iTMS, they'd have to appeal to a larger market, not a smaller one.
posted by dobbs at 8:25 PM on November 18, 2005


Yahoo is Windows and IE 6+ only. ... This would mean that Yahoo on average have sold every track 100 times.

Although Yahoo sells downloads, I believe its main revenue growth comes from the "Yahoo Music Unlimited", which is a subscription service like XM/Sirius, Napster, or Rhapsody.

Like many of these companies, Yahoo is using Microsoft's Janus technology to deploy DRM-enabled downloads to multiple devices, primed to expire when the subscriber ceases paying for their service.

All these services are cagey about how many subscribers they have. I believe Napster is at 500K, which works out to $90 annually. Real claims 1.3m with Rhapsody, but many of them are low-value and teaser subscribers so the "real" number is probably around 800K, which works out to around $144m annually.

I am having some trouble locating this businessweek article. Their search engine is less than stellar. I believe the argument was something about the fact that Apple will realise about $775m from $1 download sales this year, while Yahoo was going to make about $700m from its music service. It also has all these regional deals with the telcos and the cable coimpanies so that when you buy a music service from, say, SBC or RCN, what you're getting is Yahoo's service, rebranded. And then there's the whole "College Tax" thing, where Napster et al basically sell their stuff to large campuses as a block deal to try to convince them that their students won;t have to download as much stuff and get busted.

The interesting thing over the next few years is that as fast as Apple is growing its download business, the subscriber numbers are growing faster. Even the strongest Apple boosters (such as, say, Piper Jaffray) say that market value of subscriptions overtaking downloads is just a matter of when, not if. Some say 2006, some push it out to 2009. I just can't see Apple not jumping in to this market.
posted by meehawl at 9:38 PM on November 18, 2005


Lord Kinbote: yes, converting to WAV/AIFF and back to mp3 or aac or whatever definitely strips the DRM. however, it also reencodes music which was already encoded with lossy compression, which is technically objectionable. it may not actually be audible, depending on the listener.

i suppose you could rip your CD as apple lossless or flac to avoid this, but then your files are 5x bigger than the .m4a/.mp3s.

also its kind of a hassle if you have hundreds of .m4p files.
posted by joeblough at 10:20 PM on November 18, 2005


Audiophiles are funny. Anyone who's taken an introductory signals class knows that audiophiles are "hearing" what they want to hear, not what they actually hear, and paying too much for their equipment to get some sort of holier-than-thou kick.
posted by oaf at 10:32 PM on November 18, 2005


Admission: Haven't read any of the thread or link. The post was very descriptive.

People should always know that pirating will always occur, since there is always a point where the sound is transmitted untainted by DRM or whatever, and with an open enough system you can always intercept that signal and, if you want, distribute it. Same with video. The whole antipiracy debate can be saved for another thread, but those are simply the facts. So "security" should never be a selling point for software or media.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 10:47 PM on November 18, 2005


There are always those who will overdo things...
substrate, I think you'll find that the 30 degree angle simply sets up a standing compression that makes for artificial "hollow colour" but does not actually yield higher fidelity. You'll find 27.64 to be more optimal.
posted by YurikoKinje at 1:09 AM on November 19, 2005


Am I the only one who buys music on iTunes and burns it to CD-R, which eliminates any DRM issues?

I assume you burn a cd full, right? so it's at least $10 / €10 (thanks Apple for your very special dollar to euro exchange rate!) or in the UK £8 for the tracks, be it an album or your own mix of individual tracks, without counting the price of the cd-r which is basically negligible... Now unlike the US, in most of Europe regular CD prices in shops are ridiculous so iTunes would be a lot cheaper, even up to half as cheaper, but if I buy from Amazon UK when they have discounts, or better from 101cd.com or even better cdwow.com then I'm paying £6 to £9 for the cd included shipping (at least for cdwow) and I have cd quality and I don't have to back up the tracks again.

Not to mention places like netsounds or gemm or even ebay. Even a used CD is a lot more appealing to me than a legal download.

Sure if I just wanted a single track, then that wouldn't work and I guess I'd see the appeal of iTunes and similar. But I'm not usually interested in something where it's only one single track that I'd like to get.

So I'm not sure iTunes works because of the price. It's the appeal of buying individual tracks for those who don't want to get a whole album, and the convenience of getting it instantly rather than waiting for the mailman... and then the power of Apple marketing. Am I wrong?
posted by funambulist at 5:47 AM on November 19, 2005


(same applies to other legal downloads systems, just using iTunes as example)
posted by funambulist at 5:51 AM on November 19, 2005


fnambulist: You're not wrong- I use iTunes to buy individual songs from albums I would never buy in full. This is a much cooler model than the 20th century 45 rpm single: with iTunes, you can buy the most obscure "deep cut" for 99 cents.
Regarding albums: If iTunes has an album for $9.99, and my local record store has the identical CD for $14.99, am I going to pay $5 more for the disc, jewel case, and booklet?
Obviously there are lots of cases where I'd prefer the "hard copy" (box sets, special editions, etc), but for your average Coldplay or Kanye West, I bought it via iTunes (which gave me the booklet on PDF too).
posted by Lord Kinbote at 7:22 AM on November 21, 2005


Lord Kinbote: I understand, but see, even if I had a choice between $9.99 for downloading an album and $14.99 for the CD (rather than a choice between UK £7.99 - and that's already $13.73 - and, well, £7.99 or less, at least not in your megastore in the town centre but from those online places you can get cd's for cheaper), I'd still go for the CD, not for the disc or jewel case or artwork but for the CD quality and the convenience of not having to backup the files again.

So I don't think the kind of pricing system iTunes uses is that convenient in other currencies.

But yes, I understand it's different when you just want a single track or two rather than the whole thing.

(I admit I also still use file-sharing or torrents for that kind of thing especially, or stuff I'm not sure I want on cd. I'm not defending it and I don't have a political excuse of fighting against the music industry. It's just handy).
posted by funambulist at 2:31 AM on November 22, 2005


Is AllOfMP3 Legal?

I don't know, but I know they've been ripping off AllMusic.com's content since day one.

Styles like "C-86" and themes like "Cool & Cocky" are straight from AMG's data.

grumble grumble...
posted by .:DataWhat?:. at 6:13 AM on November 22, 2005


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