How expensive is it to legally fill an iPod? | iLounge News


How expensive is it to legally fill an iPod?

I don’t know how many other people have done the math on this one, but I was thinking about iTunes and the new iPod when I realized that to fill a 40GB iPod (legally) from iTunes would be rather expensive.  If you believe the 10,000 song capacity, it would run $9900 dollars, plus the cost of the iPod.  Assuming that an average CD album is $12.50 and has 15 tracks,  it would cost about $8,330 dollars to fill the iPod.  All this makes me wonder when a more affordable alternative is going to turn up.

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Don’t know about you all filling your Ipod with 40gb of music but there are other ways you can use that space. Recently Belkin came out with a device to store digital photos from a media card. Another way is to use the Ipod as storage, as when selecting use as harddisk. So eventhough you won’t be able to fill it with $40gb of music whether paid 4 or not, there are other options to be used, I guess as we move along in technology there will be other ways to use all that harddisk space.

Posted by Einstein on November 10, 2003 at 9:10 AM (CST)


You could easily fill your ipod leagally without paying anything.

I listen to a lot of electronic music (Drum & Bass, GOA, Ambient, etc) and get most of my music from sites such as and While there are a lot of crap on there, there’s some really good stuff, too, that you’ll never see in a record store or hear on the radio.

Posted by Deamer on November 10, 2003 at 9:27 AM (CST)


Is this site generally against illegal music?

just i download a fair bit illegally but i also buy a lot 2 so i dont feel morally wrong by it.

Posted by Whistler in Norwich, UK on November 10, 2003 at 9:55 AM (CST)


That’s kind of a insipid post. Why would there be “a cheaper way?” The price of a song is dictated by artist development (and greed)—period. As it is, consumer pressure and volume is what has kept the price down to $12.99—we all know that if the labels would charge $30 or $40 per album if they could.

Secondly, your calculation works out to be about 550 albums or so. Do you seriously buy 550 albums every year? Unless you’re a DJ or record collector I doubt it. Even if the number is closer to 55 a year, $8000 over 10 years isn’t unrealistic at all.

Thirdly, as other people have posted, not everybody stored at 128kbps. The very lowest I go is 160 kbps and the majority is over 192. ALSO, it’s a little short sighted to assume all users like pop music. The iPod is ideal for classical, and those lengths are much more than the 3 minutes per Christina Aguliara track.

And, although this is a little off-topic, HD size is important if you use your iPod to store DV, digital camera pictures or if you want to carry an emergency boot disk for your iBook.

Posted by damoncampagna on November 10, 2003 at 10:27 AM (CST)


I would turn that question on its head.  How much money does it take to produce 700 hours worth of high-quaility recorded music?

  Given that each hour of recorded music represents thousands of man-hours of labor and other expenses (everything from musician rehersal time, to marketing & promotion, to the cost of the studio, to ROI for whomever risked their money on the recording), how much should you expect to pay?

If you have a cheaper solution, you should start your own record company and undercut the majors.

Posted by Terry on November 10, 2003 at 11:47 AM (CST)


And of course, who says the whole ipod needs to be music? It’s not just an mp3 player, after all, it’s a portable hard drive.

My 15 gig isn’t even half filled with all the CDs I own *and* the hundreds of hours of audio books I downloaded from (which, yes, *is* legal)

Posted by JC on November 10, 2003 at 12:25 PM (CST)


I have a 1600 GB RAID-5 array of music and videos on the home media server. Probably 800 GB of music, 600 GB of movies, 200 GB of spoken word.

What can I say, I am a media packrat! But one drawback is trying to carry it all with you…

I wasn’t satisfied with my 15 GB iPod, I am barely satisfied with my 60 GB Archos. I thought about upgrading to the 80 GB drives, but I figure I’ll wait until January for the 100 GB 2.5” drives.

But beyond this personal storage, when are we going to get 3G phone networks that can stream our media to us? Once the bitrate becomes sufficient, I could just stream my media across the air from my home server to whatever device I was using.

That, my friends, is the future.

Posted by trickydick on November 10, 2003 at 1:40 PM (CST)


hahah us guys. never happy with what we have…always want bigger bigger BIGGER!! hahahah…. have 3g 40gig all music is in 320kbps AAC. JUST LOVE IT!  Still enough room for HOME DV’s!

Posted by Yuri on November 10, 2003 at 2:45 PM (CST)


I think it’s a joke they charge usually $15.00 a CD and now, $1.00 a song?  Sure, it may be illegal, but listening to music shouldn’t be charged to that high of an extent. 

If people download your music, sure, i’d be a bit pissed too, but still, the people show up to all your concerts and such, which shows they do support you.

Posted by Umrath on November 10, 2003 at 3:10 PM (CST)


Umrath’s comment is a transparent attempt to justify theft. 

As I said above:
Given that each hour of recorded music represents thousands of man-hours of labor and other expenses (everything from musician rehersal time, to marketing & promotion, to the cost of the studio, to ROI for whomever risked their money on the recording), how much should you expect to pay?

Artists *lose* money on concert tours. They are part of the promotion costs of recordings. Stealing the music and attending the concerts isn’t exactly showing your support.  All of the major record companies lost money last year.  Who is ripping off whom?

Posted by terry on November 10, 2003 at 3:24 PM (CST)


artists do not *lose* money on concert tours, in fact, tours are the biggest revenue generator for the artists AND labels.

terry sounds like an RIAA rat…learn the intricacies of the big label/RIAA music biz, then start ranting and raving about the “real” cost of music.  independently produced albums is the way to go….at least give your hard earned $ to someone who deserves it.

Posted by lo on November 10, 2003 at 5:34 PM (CST)


You need to analyze your math. most albums with 15 or more songs can be purchased from iTunes music store for about $9.99 that equals $6659 to fill the 10,000 song iPod. also if you have never purchased a cd what the heck are you doing with an ipod or computer for that matter.

Posted by Mark Winters on November 10, 2003 at 5:44 PM (CST)


I do not now, nor have I ever, worked for the RIAA.  I have, however, worked as a musician.  I am somewhat familar with the “music biz” having gotten some procedes from the sale of recordings.

The only acts that can cover their tour expenses are those that draw large crowds and/or have corporate sponsors.  If you can fill 1000+ seat venues every night, you might be making money. 90% of working musicians do not make money on their tours after they cover their tour expenses.  The rolling stones make money hand over fist on their tours… while the Replacements lost money on every tour. The little guy makes money on the sale of music and needs to tour to promote those sales.

Again… if the major record labels are losing millions of dollars a year, who is ripping off whom?  What they pay to artists, producers, equip for studios, etc. exceeds what the are paid by the consumers buying their products. Where is the rip off? 

If you think you’ve got a method for getting the music people want recorded and distributed for less money, you should start your own label. You will find, like the thousands of independent labels who have failed before you, that it is very hard to make a living in the music business at the current prices for recordings. It is made even more difficult by the yahoos who steal from you while accusing you of being the thief, as if they are some sort of cyber-robin hood—stealing from the rich to “give” to themselves. I have little patience for those who steal music, particularly those who try to cloak their self-interest in self-righteousness.

Posted by terry on November 10, 2003 at 6:27 PM (CST)


Thanks to all of the posters for the wonderful debate on purchasing vs downloading music.  The purpose of my post was entirely fulfilled- I merely wanted to see how other users feel about these issues.
Mark-  You are right, I forgot about the entire album purchase feature on iTunes.  As for having an iPod without CDs, my idea is purely hypothetical.  My own collection is in the 400+ disc range, and of course I gathered it over time.  I do feel that IF music was to go directly to electronic form the cost of actually producing it could be lowered; as it stands, anything less than about $7 would be cheating the artists as well.  I do feel that perhaps the music industry needs to change the way it does things, and this seems to be a general consensus from the posts. 
Also, as an owner of a Gen 2 20GB iPod, I would love for apple to allow me to use AAC.  The fact that I am unable to use AAC (please, please correct me if I am wrong) is preventing me from using iTunes.  The same things goes for the storage devices, such as the Belkin media reader. 
trickydick-  I think that you have the best idea among all of the posters.  I have often wondered when I will be able to access a much larger amount of information through a portable device.  I think that music is an ideal candidate for this, as I dont really care if my music is transmitted securely.  A “mobile” iPod that connect to a remote storage center would be stunning.
    Once again, thanks for all the comments, I always appreciate it.

Posted by Ben Migliori on November 10, 2003 at 6:41 PM (CST)


Ben -

Ok, I’m correcting you.  The gen2 20GB iPod needs to be updated to the latest firmware (1.3.1 currently, as opposed to firmware 2.1 for the new docking-connector iPods) and it will then be able to sync and play AAC files that you rip yourself or purchase via the iTunes Music Store.

- JonYo

Posted by JonYo on November 10, 2003 at 6:51 PM (CST)


Sorry, I should have added that mine is an iPod for Windows… is there a way to do that on a PC?

Posted by Ben on November 10, 2003 at 6:52 PM (CST)


I believe this came up a while ago when a guy tried to sell a single 99-cent download to someone else.

What happens a couple years down the road when I have my iPod filled with, say, $3000 of legal AACs. And I want to sell that iPod PLUS music collection to someone else for fair market value.

Is there are way to sell the AAC files? If they were CDs or tapes I could certainly sell the media they are printed on. But currently it seems that there is no way to recoup any of my investment.

That is why I am not buying from the iTMS> I buy the CDs, make better, higher-quality versions of them onto my iPod, and always have the option of legally selling them later (and deleting the backup copies, of course!).

If there is no way to resell no-long-wanted music tracks, then we are being   s c r e w e d by Apple and the record companies. If the tracks are not resalable, then they are not “like” singles and should be priced at *much* less than 99 cents.

Maybe Rhapsody have the right idea? Pay for subscriptions? Because in the end, in the final analysis, without resale these AAC tracks are just a very expensive, very personal subscription with a one-off fee.

Posted by resale on November 10, 2003 at 7:38 PM (CST)


I dought that you’ll be able to fill your Ipod with 10,000 songs or 500 CD’s unless you collect MP3 as hobby. I mean really, how many songs can you listen in 1 day, unless that’s all you do all day and don’t have a life, if so get a radio station job. $.99 per song, great idea. I hate to pay for a CD that has just 3 good songs out of 15. Seriously not sure i’ll be spending $99,999 on music but who knows. Can you calculate how much toilet paper you’ve used since you were born?...I’d be a millionaire by now if I thought of saving the money and use palm trees for wiping. But, I read in an article that a guy went to Circuit City with his Ipod and transferred files from their display Mac including the program Photoshop. This shows the unlimited possibilities of carrying big harddisk space in your pocket for other than music. I use it sometimes to carry files to my buddies house when he needs it, or pictures when I travel to family house. Very useful for many things and great music tool.

Posted by MediaMan on November 10, 2003 at 9:29 PM (CST)


Fill 1 cup with water to midpiont.
Is the cup half full or half empty?

How expensive is it to legally fill an iPod?
How inexpensive is it to illegally fill an iPod?

And there grasshoppa, you find tha answer!!

Posted by Maniac on November 10, 2003 at 10:00 PM (CST)


theft of music happens, and i dont see it stopping. so even if you slashed the price of genuine downloadables people will still “steal” it because it completly free for and a very low risk

atm my 20gig Ipod is full of music i own but i could equally fill it with mp3’s ive downloaded without paying.

the question of filling it with legal or illegal music is purely a moral one atm and there is very little anyone can do about it, and I for one wont pay for all my music while the majority continue to do it for free. why should I?

Posted by Whistler in Norwich, UK on November 11, 2003 at 4:43 AM (CST)

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