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Dr. Mac: BuyMusic isn’t .com-parable to Mac’s iTunes

“BuyMusic.com’s big marketing push is songs for 79 cents. But it’s a bogus claim. For example, only one song in its Top 100 Downloads section cost 79 cents; all the others had prices from 99 cents to $1.29. [...]

Here’s another example: BuyMusic.com sets strict limits on what you can do with the songs you buy. Most are bound to a single PC, so you’re only allowed to listen on one computer, while every song you buy at iTMS can be played on up to three Macs. [...]

I can’t recommend BuyMusic.com to anyone on any platform. Mac users should avoid it. And Windows users will be better off waiting for iTunes for Windows, available later this year.”

NPR: Music Sharing on the Web

In a recent ‘All Things Considered’ radio show, host “Robert Siegel talks to Jason Freeman, a Columbia University doctoral student in music, who has created a software, called N.A.G.,  that makes music montages off music-sharing networks. It relies on the way music files are downloaded—some faster than others—and puts items together that come from a word-search. Freeman likes the random nature of his creation, but not all of the results.”

USATODAY: BuyMusic Not Compatible with iPod

“BuyMusic’s songs are fully portable, but there’s a catch: None can be moved to Apple’s iPod, which has 50% of the digital music player market, though they do work with players from Creative Labs, Rio, Lyra and others.”

USATODAY: Swap songs? You may be on record industry’s hit list

“Online swappers wondering whether their names are on the record industry’s hit list can check online to see if they’re among 871 whose identities were subpoenaed in the first step of unprecedented mass legal action to stem Net piracy. [...]

The U.S. District Court’s Web site (ecf.dcd.uscourts.gov) is searchable, though users must first apply for an account; confirmation comes a week later in the mail, and there are fees for documents. The Electronic Frontier Foundation may offer quicker action: The activist group hopes to soon let the public check the same information through www.eff.org.”

AP: New Music Download Service Launches

“A new Internet music download site for PCs debuting Tuesday boasts the cheapest per-song rates yet but many of the same restrictions on copying that have stymied wider use of other music services.

Although online retailer BuyMusic.com will offer a catalog of more than 300,000 songs from the five major record labels, users of the service will not necessarily have the freedom afforded customers of Apple Inc.‘s iTunes service to transfer the music purchased to multiple computers and portable devices, or to burn it to compact discs. [...]

BuyMusic is charging 70 cents for individual song downloads—9 cents lower than MusicNow, which previously had the lowest per song price. It’s also undercutting competitors’ price for a full album download at $7.95. The iTunes’ service charges $9.99 for most full albums.”

Digital Distribution for Indie Musicians

CD Baby, online retailer selling CDs by independent musicians has announced a digital distribution system to help musicians get their music sold on “popular legitimate download services” like iTunes, Listen.com, etc. There is a comprehensive outline describing the distribution system on their website.

“The Deal
You keep all the rights to your music.
You just lend us the right to be your digital distributor: to get your music to legitimate music services like Apple iTunes, Listen.com, and more.”

Stuff Magazine: The Future Of Music

In the August issue of Stuff magazine (UK) is a 6 page feature on how to make the most of the new Napster - the Apple iPod is featured as is the iTunes Music Service and various other options.

“Record sales are down, music piracy is up and the pop charts are at an all time low. When piracy threatened profits, the record industry destroyed Napster but created a void into which Kazaa has stepped with the ultimate weapon of mass distribution: peer-to-peer file-sharing.

Yet music is more important now than it has ever been.

Freed from the living room, it exists on your computer, in your car, in your pocket, at work, on TV, in shops, in bars, in clubs.

It’s everywhere. Music is not dying, it’s just going through the biggest revolution since Woodstock.
Do you have the kit to make the most of it?”

CNET: RIAA warns individual swappers

“The Recording Industry Association of America said it has sent cease-and-desist letters to five people whom it suspects of illegally offering massive amounts of copyrighted music through peer-to-peer networks. 

The RIAA learned of the swappers’ identities after a protracted legal battle with Verizon Communications, which unsuccessfully fought attempts to unmask its subscribers, citing concerns about privacy and legal liability.”

CNN: Music industry wins approval of 871 subpoenas

“The music industry has won at least 871 federal subpoenas against computer users suspected of illegally sharing music files on the Internet, with roughly 75 new subpoenas being approved each day, U.S. court officials said Friday.

The effort represents early steps in the music industry’s contentious plan to file civil lawsuits aimed at crippling online piracy.”

Wired: Upload a File, Go to Prison

“A new bill was proposed Wednesday that would send a person to jail for five years and fine them for $250,000 for uploading just one file to a peer-to-peer network.

The bill was introduced by representatives John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) and Howard Berman (D-Calif.).

The bill, called the Author, Consumer and Computer Owner Protection and Security Act of 2003 would allocate more money to the justice department to investigate copyright crimes and would also enable information sharing between countries to help in copyright enforcement abroad.

The bill states that uploading a single file of copyright content qualifies as a felony.”

NYTimes: Can an MP3 Glutton Savor a Tune?

Rogier Van Bakel writes an interesting article about the consumption of music, be it MP3 or CDs.

“But with so much worthwhile music pouring into my computer and from there into my iPod, none of it seems quite as long-lasting or momentous as the old tunes. I’ll come across sets of MP3’s I have no recollection of having downloaded just weeks earlier. Such forgetfulness would surely turn into full-blown musical amnesia if I used free illicit services like Grokster, KaZaA or Morpheus, where the repertory is many times bigger than that of any fee-based MP3 site and where my musical greed would go dangerously unchecked.”

BusinessWeek: The Chili Peppers’ Sour Grapes Over iTunes

“These guys call themselves rock musicians? Where, I ask you, is their sense of storming the Establishment ramparts, of thumbing their noses at authority? Instead, by refusing to let Apple (AAPL ) sell their music online at the new iTunes Music Store, the Red Hot Chili Peppers are leading a vanguard in the wrong direction. They might as well put their clothes back on.

In truth, opposition makes little sense. Even some execs from the biggest labels have signed on to iTunes. Says Universal Music Group CEO Doug Morris, one of the album format’s inventors: ‘iTunes is pushing us into the future of how music is produced and consumed.’”

Mercury News: Buy.com to start music service

“Buy.com will unveil a new music download service next Tuesday with a $40 million promotional campaign and launch celebration in New York’s Times Square.

Like the iTunes Music Store, Buy.com will sell individual music tracks without collecting an up-front monthly subscription fee; even though it has yet to secure licensed music from all five major record labels, knowledgeable sources say.”

“Kazaa Derivatives Offer RIAA-Blocking Features”

“Both Kazaa K++ and Kazaa Lite, two very similar modifications to the Kazaa file-sharing system by Sharman Networks, now contain several features designed to foil scanning attempts by the RIAA. Both updates were published to the Web at the end of last week. [...]

Neither developer released any official statement explaining the addition of the new features designed to defeat the RIAA’s scanning efforts, which the agency reportedly began at the beginning of this month in an attempt to discover which users are illegally sharing copyrighted files. Once the IP addresses are matched to individual users, the agency will begin filing copyright infringement lawsuits this fall.”

BBC News: Q&A: Will I be sued for music-swapping?

As the articles’ title notes, an interesting Q&A has been published by BBC News regarding the possible suing of individuals by the RIAA and the state of digital music.

Could I be sued for swapping a few songs?

Theoretically, you could. But the RIAA says it is suing file swappers who have consistently trade large amounts. 

It recently took action against a college student in Michigan who ran a network offering more than 650,000 files - the equivalent of more than 43,000 albums. They have chased other users who have again uploaded thousands of files.”

BBC News: File swappers ‘buy more music’

“Market research company Music Programming Ltd (MPL) said 87% of its respondents who downloaded music admitted they bought albums after hearing tracks through the internet.

An MPL spokesperson said: ‘Downloading is actually a ‘try before you buy’ tool for a significant amount of people.’”

“Software finds tunes you want to hear”

Matthew Daneman of the Democrat and Chronicle writes about Mitsunori Ogihara’s software that will “‘listen’ to songs and categorize them into specific genres and by emotional content.” 

“The software categorizes musical genres and emotional content by analyzing signals and patterns in songs. The ultimate goal, Ogihara said, is to create personalized software that recognizes signals and learns its owner’s musical tastes. “You have only to tell the software, `This is what I think of as jazz; this is what I think of as rock,’ “ he said.”

“iTunes and the Technology Beyond MP3”

Phillip D. Long, senior strategist for the Academic Computing Enterprise at MIT writes about the iTunes Music Store and gives a beginner’s lesson on audio formats titled “Audio File Formats 101.” Also included is a list of websites for further reading about AAC, MP3, MPEG-2 and MPEG-4.

“Overall it looks like AAC is simply a better approach to digital sound encoding. MPEG formal listening tests have demonstrated that for 2 channel sound, that is, typical stereophonic listening, MPEG-2 AAC is able to provide slightly better audio quality at 96Kbps than MP3 at 128Kbps.”

ABC News: Music Labels Threaten to Sue Net Users

The Recording Industry Association of America, citing substantial sales declines, said it will begin Thursday to search Internet file-sharing networks to identify users who offer “substantial” collections of MP3 music files for downloading. It expects to file at least several hundred lawsuits seeking financial damages within eight to 10 weeks.

“The RIAA’s president, Carey Sherman, said tens of millions of Internet users of popular file-sharing software after Thursday will expose themselves to “the real risk of having to face the music.”

“It’s stealing. It’s both wrong and illegal,” Sherman said. Alluding to the court decisions, Sherman said Internet users who believe they can hide behind an alias online were mistaken. “You are not anonymous,” Sherman said. “We’re going to begin taking names.”“

Washington Post: Businesses Battle for Song Sharers

Staff writer, David McGuire writes about the state of digital downloading, P2P and music services vying for your business.

“Despite being well employed, with plenty of disposable cash, they feel little guilt or apprehension as they regularly use the Internet to violate copyright law. Millions of other Internet users worldwide have the same attitude, prompting a wave of music piracy that artists and recording companies say threatens their very existence.  “

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