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Macworld UK: iPod partner IPO confirmed

“Wolfson Microelectronics has this morning confirmed plans to float on London’s Stock Exchange this year.

The company makes the digital audio chips used in Apple’s iPod products. Its technologies appear in products from other manufacturers, including Microsoft. You’ll find them in digital cameras, mobile phones, DVD players and games consoles.”

E-Commerce Times: Marching to a Different DRM

“Apple’s iTunes service does use DRM technology—for example, users may not e-mail downloaded music files to one another, although they may burn unlimited copies of files to CDs. Still, the company’s approach is far less restrictive than that of its competitors. Many of those rivals charge monthly subscription fees, restrict the number of times a downloaded file can be burned to CD, or make downloaded files inaccessible if a user’s subscription expires. Apple does none of those things.”

Forbes.com: Online Music: Download, Listen And Pay

“It’s still difficult to tell how much iTunes will boost Apple’s profits. But Charles Wolf, an analyst at Needham and Co., likes the early signs. For example, in the previous quarter Apple sold 304,000 iPods, up from Street estimates of 75,000. Wolf estimates iPods could account for $274 million in revenue in fiscal 2003, or 5% of sales. Apple’s iTunes service should also be helped by a new version of iTunes for Windows users, which should be available later in the year.”

BILLBOARD: Poll: 99 Cents Too Expensive For Downloads

“A single song download is too pricey at 99 cents, according to a Billboard.com poll. Of 9,034 voters, 61% said that the base price at such online outlets as Apple’s iTunes is too expensive for them.”

RollingStone.com: Stones Roll Out Online Tunes

“The Rolling Stones’ entire catalogue—more than 500 songs—is available, legally, on the Internet for the first time today.

The online service Rhapsody secured an exclusive deal with the band that stretches through the end of the month: All songs the Stones recorded since 1971 and released on EMI’s Virgin Records…”

ABC News: Best Buy to Sell Internet Music Service

“With Rhapsody - including the new Best Buy Rhapsody service - customers pay a $9.95 (U.S.) monthly fee to listen to songs from a vast library of music from the major record labels as well as independent producers. Rhapsody subscribers can also burn songs onto compact discs for 79 cents each.”

E-Commerce Times: RIAA Details Subpoena Strategy

“‘Although the [Digital Millennium Copyright Act] sets forth the minimum requirements for seeking a subpoena, RIAA is not seeking a subpoena as to everyone who is illegally distributing copyrighted recordings,’ the letter said. ‘Rather, at this time, RIAA is focusing on egregious infringers, those who are engaging in substantial amounts of illegal activity.’

An RIAA spokesperson could not quantify what the group means by ‘substantial amounts,’ but the group called its response ‘proportionate to the scope of a pervasive piracy problem today.’”

Reuters: Microsoft, OD2 Launch Europe Online Music Service

“Beginning today, music fans with Microsoft’s Windows Media Player version 9 can purchase individual music tracks for 0.99 euros or 75 pence from OD2’s library of over 200,000 songs,  representing a 25 percent discount from most other European subscription services, the companies said.

The move marks the first time European consumers can purchase song downloads off the Internet for under one euro ($1.13), and without requiring a monthly subscription, bringing the fee in line with the popular Apple Computer iTunes service,  which is not yet available in Europe.”

Also note, Australia’s National News reports songs downloaded from the new service will “allow consumers to burn CDs or copy tracks to portable players like Apple’s iPod.”

How BuyMusic really makes their money

BuyMusic’s ads are served by the infamous DoubleClick network.  In the past, Buy.com’s profit philosophy was to underprice products and make up for the loss in profits by advertising, and it’s very likely BuyMusic.com is doing the same thing.  The site’s privacy policy says that BuyMusic.com itself will not collect IP addresses and other personal information.  But that doesn’t keep them from doing so in a roundabout way:

“We use a third party to provide digital music download samples for our customers.  That service collects your IP address, browser type, ISP, platform, and a date/time stamp.”

The excerpt means that “third party” will sell your info (like the songs you’ve listed to) to many other third parties.  In essence, you buy one James Taylor CD, you’ll see James Taylor merchandise everywhere you go on the internet.

Forbes.com: RealNetworks Cues Up New Song

“The latest entrant is RealNetworks, which closed on its acquisition of Listen.com on Monday, and will now take control of the Rhapsody digital music subscription service. RealNetworks’ Chief Executive Rob Glaser clearly has Apple in his sights. 

While Rhapsody is still mostly a subscription site, where users pay a monthly fee ranging from $4.95 to $9.95 a month plus 79 cents per song to burn songs to CD, Glaser says he expects it to try the so-called “

BuyMusic.com not selling 300,000 songs

So, BuyMusic.com started out by saying they had 300,000 songs available for download the first day of business. IF that were true than their claim would also be true that they were “The Largest Online Music Store”. Well, Mr. Blum in the past has also stated that they were the first legal online music downloading service, which we all know to be false. So judging on BuyMusic’s track record I set out to find out how many songs BuyMusic really had ready for download. By clicking on every single category and then by clicking on “List all” I could get an accurate number. I added all the numbers together and came out with a nice figure of 200,069. Yup, that’s right, nowhere near the figure of 300,000.

You see, the problem is that Buy.com is privately owned by Scott Blum, that means that he can release no official word on how many downloads he has, how many songs available, or how many people have visited his store, etc.

So just a fair warning, every time you hear a figure come out of his mouth, take it with a very large grain of salt.

UK Guardian: iPod nail in the coffin for CDs

“First they killed off vinyl 45s. Now even the days of CD singles are numbered. In the future, laments Paul Morley, pop fans will collect nothing but lists in cyberspace. [...]

The iPod, at once a nail in the coffin and some kind of saviour, is an object that seems beautiful enough to honour the history of the popular song as a vast and varied art form, and to be the futuristic replacement to the vinyl single. It represents a brave new world in the way that the CD never did. The iPod, the place where storage becomes magic, now helps us say for sure: It’s all over.”

MacSlash: BuyMusic.com Ripping Off Artists

MacSlash reader and musician, Jody Whitesides has reported that BuyMusic.com is ripping off artists.

” Here’s what I’ve deduced… BuyMusic.com (which I will refer to as BM) got their “vast” music library of 300,000 plus songs from a company called the Orchard. The Orchard is a distribution company that has consistently shafted artists by not paying them for CD’s sold nor returning unsold CD’s or cancelling contracts. So, without the express consent of what is likely lots of the Orchards catalog, BM has put it up for sale at the bargain price of $.79 a song.”

Billboard: iTunes Headed To PC, Biz Mulls Download Prices

“In the afternoon keynote session yesterday (July 29) at the Jupiter Plug.In conference in New York, Peter Lowe, Apple’s director of marketing for applications and services, said the company intends to launch a PC service with broad content-usage rights similar to those enjoyed by iTunes consumers using Mac computers. [...]

Meanwhile, Plug.In attendees questioned whether the 99 cent download model employed by Apple and others will drive the digital music business going forward. “We still have a long way to go in terms of figuring out how everyone makes money in the space,” Yahoo! Inc. VP/GM of music David Goldberg told attendees in a Billboard-moderated roundtable discussion on the state of the digital music business.”

BusinessWeek: Why iTunes Has Bands on the Run

Byte of the Apple columnist Charles Haddad writes how iTunes has shifted control from artist to consumer when buying music.

“DISTANT WAILS.

iPod sound quality and AAC encoding tests

iLounge reader, Marc Heijligers has posted the results of his encoding tests for AAC using iTunes and QuickTime. You’ll also find reviews of several headphones and a comparison of the iPod’s sound quality to other audio digital devices.

“Although the AAC 224bit/sec shows some artifact, you have to compare it with the original and critical source material in order to recognize those artifacts. The AAC 320 kbit/sec encoding results in much larger files, for just a little bit more quality, which was my reason not to select it. For less critical material, I use the 192kbit/sec AAC encoding, just to save some space on my iPod.”

Stereophile: Downloading Increases

“Downloading audio files, whether through a paid music service or not, continues to grow as a means to accumulate music in the US.  According to a recent Ipsos-Insight study, as of April 2003, nearly one-third of the general US population aged 12 or older has downloaded a music or MP3 file from the Internet.  This translates into roughly 65 million downloaders.

The survey also notes that enthusiasm for downloading audio files has increased significantly in the past several months, with the proportion of Americans who have downloaded a music or MP3 file growing from 26% in December 2002 to 30% in April 2003.”

The Register UK: MusicMatch to offer subscription free downloads

“MusicMatch, which already offers a subscription-based service, the $7-a-month MusicMatch MX, said it has struck deals with nine big-name labels to offer a casual purchase-oriented download service for Windows PCs.

Among the labels are ‘big five’ players EMI, Universal and BMG, but both Warner and Sony are notable by their absence, which automatically puts MusicMatch’s service at a disadvantage to both Apple and BuyMusic.”

Cringely: One Possible Future for a Music Business

“I call my idea Son of Napster, or Snapster for short.

Napster failed because it was determined by the courts to violate intellectual property rights and because it did not have a successful business model, or any business model for that matter.

“BuyMusic.com blocks Mac access”

Macminute reports that BuyMusic.com has blocked access to Mac users. The page starts to load then it’s redirected to the following message; “Thank you for visiting BuyMusic.com. In order to take full advantage of BuyMusic.com’s offerings you must be on a Windows Operating System using Internet Explorer version 5.0 or higher.”

Also noted is a tutorial by MacMerc.com to enable the Safari browser to act like Windows MSIE6.

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