December 19, 2001 8:13 AM   Subscribe

pressplay launches today. The service will charge people a monthly subscription fee to download and stream digital music, launched through its Web distribution partnerships with Yahoo, MSN Music and Roxio. A free 14 day trial is available.
posted by riffola (28 comments total)
I signed up for it under the 14 day trial period. The interface reminds me of a Limewire/Napster meets Real One. Catalog contains selected albums from artists such as Def Leppard, Bon Jovi, U2, Whitesnake, Blur, Extreme, etc. If you search for bands like say Barenaked Ladies (not in the catalog), the result contains bands that fall in the same genre as BNL, which is a nice feature.

After spending 5 minutes searching and attempting to stream samples (a sample is 30 seconds of a track, it is not counted against your membership), I found out that the service doesn't work for me. I can't stream nor download any of the songs.
posted by riffola at 8:21 AM on December 19, 2001

Oh and the name reminds of me Aerosmith's album "Just Push Play"
posted by riffola at 8:25 AM on December 19, 2001

There isn't any bootleg, live, b-side, unreleased material on it is there?
posted by Qambient at 8:32 AM on December 19, 2001

no free trial for me. I wouldn't want to encourage them.
posted by jbelshaw at 8:33 AM on December 19, 2001 be honest, from what i've read of the site, it looks like they're going about this the right way.

i couldn't find any membership costs, though...and i still hate the riaa....but it looks like they're doing things the right way if they want to control their media.

can anybody verify whether or not you can copy songs from one directory to another? so far, it looks like they want you to use their sync/restore feature if you want to listen to the music from another computer, and the burn feature if you want to listen to it from anywhere else. can somebody find out if the songs are copyable?
posted by taumeson at 8:40 AM on December 19, 2001


* Operating System—Windows 98, Windows 2000, Windows Me, or Windows XP Note: pressplay is not supported on Windows 95, Windows NT, or Macintosh.

No macs?

Outside of that, I think this is going to go the way of divx.
posted by panopticon at 8:42 AM on December 19, 2001

Well the downloaded files are in Windows Media Audio (.wma) format encoded at 128kbps. I double clicked it and it loaded up fine in Media Player. Copied it to a different folder, again it worked in media player.

As for pricing, from Roxio's price plan page:

Basic plan:
Streams - 300
Download - 30
No Burns.

Silver plan:
$14.95/mo (special offer $9.95/mo for first 3 months)
Streams - 500
Download - 50
Burn - 10

Gold plan:
Streams - 750
Download - 75
Burn - 15

Streams - 1000
Download - 100
Burn - 20

The 14 day trial (included in all plans):
Streams- 200
Download - 20
posted by riffola at 8:56 AM on December 19, 2001

Someone download and play "Taps" for subscription music services.
posted by Hugh2d2 at 8:57 AM on December 19, 2001

Great timing -- I was just downloading the whole Barenaked Ladies catalogue on RealOne and marvelling at how easy it is.

Now I can compare and contrast experiences, I guess. I think I know who'll win.
posted by jragon at 8:58 AM on December 19, 2001

Ick. I can't get the trial without giving my credit card. So long, pressplay. Good luck with your small selection of songs.
posted by jragon at 9:00 AM on December 19, 2001

Blechh. Such a lame endeavor. I'm on a Mac, so I can't test-drive PressPlay. Is it true that if you cancel your subscription, the files you've already downloaded can no longer be played?

As for Mac-based file-sharing, the new version of MacSatellite for accessing Audiogalaxy has finally arrived.
posted by CosmicSlop at 9:11 AM on December 19, 2001

RealOne offers 100 streams and 100 downloads for $9.95/mo with music from Warner Brothers, BMG, EMI, Arista, Virgin, Jive/Zomba, etc. Pressplay gives you 30 downloads and 300 streams for $9.95/mo with music from artists on Sony, Universal (Island Def Jam), EMI, etc.
posted by riffola at 9:35 AM on December 19, 2001

Their pricing plan seems very poor to me. One thing is obvious, they don't want anyone burning.
posted by RobertLoch at 9:37 AM on December 19, 2001

And RealOne pricing plan is obviously worse. Where is the 'all you want' option? Who wants to play music whilst thinking, 'should I play this song or should I save my credits?'
posted by RobertLoch at 9:40 AM on December 19, 2001

If the artists pictured on the homepage are any indication, Pressplay is antithetical to the whole purpose of file-sharing in the first place. If I want to hear Jay-Z and Rage I can just turn on my radio or hang out at the mall record store for that matter.
What makes the file-sharing services so cool is that you can finally find those obscure gems and rare-bootlegs that you've been hearing about but can't find. Basically, what makes it cool are what one writer calls "record raccoons," the guys who used to spend afternoons pawing through racks at used record stores but who can now while away hours sifting through a fellow record geeks hard drive(in case your wondering, I count myself among them).
It's stuff like the White Stripes and the Sonics that keep the likes of WinMX alive not the Top 40.
And while I can understand charging for downloads or burns charging for streams is like asking a fee to flip through a book or being asked to put a quarter in your car radio every ten minutes. I could live with ad-filled streams easier than a per-play fee but maybe that's just me.
posted by jonmc at 9:43 AM on December 19, 2001

yech. yech. yech. They still don't get it do they?

A "conditional download" means a Track that you may save to the hard drive of your personal computer and play back as many times as you want through the pressplay Client for so long as your subscription is current and active.

wonderful. So you can only play the music you've downloaded if you stay subscribed to their service.

It is possible that not all Tracks that are available for streaming and/or conditional downloading will be available for burning. You will only be able to burn two Tracks by any one particular artist in any given month.
posted by jnthnjng at 10:02 AM on December 19, 2001

More patronizing bullshit. Don't give us what you want us to have and pretend it's what we want.

Of course, the record industry has been doing that with their A&R for decades.
posted by jpoulos at 10:06 AM on December 19, 2001

It also doesn't work in Canada.

This service is currently only available for residents of the US and its territories.
posted by mw at 10:23 AM on December 19, 2001

Yeah jnthnjng this is a blatant attempt to tie users in for life. Imagine after a year of downloading and then they decide that it is time to double their prices. Your choice is either loose your collection or become their bitch. Because of this clause alone, I will never join their service even when they remove it.

If I cancel, do I get to keep my downloads?

'If you choose to cancel your pressplay membership, you will lose the ability to play the downloads that you acquired through pressplay at the end of the period you paid through. However, if you decide to come back to pressplay within six months, you can regain access to your download collection (using the Sync/Restore feature) after you sign up again using the same member name and password.'
posted by RobertLoch at 11:57 AM on December 19, 2001

Just cancelled my account, uninstalled the software, reboot. The songs that I downloaded still work in media player. I guess they will expire 14 days from now.
posted by riffola at 12:28 PM on December 19, 2001

What a load of crap. When will they accept that fact that we don't need the anymore and get the hell out of the way?
posted by donkeymon at 1:08 PM on December 19, 2001

The thing is, if this story is true, ultimately, we may not have a choice. I place my trust in ths skills of the hackers.
posted by fraying at 1:19 PM on December 19, 2001 has an untethered MP3 subscription service with unlimited monthly access and full usage (burn to disc, sync to your iPod-MP3 portable, copy to any backup directory), not to mention Mac compatibility. $9.99 or $14.99 per month, with a free 14 day, 50 track trial. Check out their new additions link, there have been a lot of good labels added.
posted by hulette at 3:29 PM on December 19, 2001

The preceding message was brought to you by
posted by jpoulos at 5:10 PM on December 19, 2001

Patrick Norton over at TechTV says he's cracked Universal's CD encryption.
posted by riffola at 5:10 PM on December 19, 2001

i downloaded some Saul Williams tracks the other day. Liked it. Bought it. Funny how that works. Download pirated tracks...go buy CD. Amazing. When will the record industry catch on? Never. not the big ones anyways.
posted by th3ph17 at 5:50 PM on December 19, 2001

"This service is currently only available for residents of the US and its territories."

Useless to me, as I'm Australian.

These services will only take off if they are easier than the current alternatives - that is, easier than Morpheus and AudioGalaxy.

Doesn't look like it is, so I think these services are doomed.
posted by helloboys at 7:12 PM on December 19, 2001


I've pretty much had it with this lame assed crap from the powers that be and especially Universal's latest "protected CD" salvo. I did my absolute best to work within the system. I ripped only my own CDs. If I downloaded anything I bought music to get the licenses to go with it.

Yes, that means the Dandy Warhols (3 CDs), Radiohead (4 CDs), and many others sold a bunch of music to me _because_ I was able to download substantial portions of their catalog to listen to. The radio only played a small portion of what they do and I never would have purchased if not for that. But I did my best to pay my way, to the artists, their agents, even the dicks at the RIAA. But no more. I've waited as long as I'm going to wait for them to get their acts together and start supporting ME, the loyal faithful consumer who has played by the rules and bought the music he listened to. F*CK THEM ALL. I asked for and got two CDs for my birthday and my son asked for one for Christmas. I'm going to punt on buying him the CD and download the whole damn thing and get him a MP3 player on which to enjoy it. Then we're going to sit down and have some instruction about "the man".
posted by johnmunsch at 11:08 AM on December 20, 2001

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