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Napster CEO slams iTunes, AAC

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By Dennis Lloyd

Publisher, iLounge
Published: Tuesday, March 9, 2004
News Categories: iTunes

“‘Napster is a Windows Media Audio house designed around that digital rights management,’ Gorog [Napster CEO] says. ‘We are a believer in the technology and we believe it’s going to be, and basically is, the ubiquitous platform. Companies pushing a propriety agenda are consumer-unfriendly experiences because they’re cloistering them in an experience that they can’t leave and eliminating choice.’

Gorog believes pressure from iPod owners will force Apple to reconsider its stance: ‘The iPod is great if you’re happy to only shop at one record store. It’s like buying a car and finding you can only drive down one road. I think consumers, when they understand that, will be kind of pissed off,’ he says.”

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Comments

21

Haha, Microsoft bamboozled the Napster/Roxio exec’s into thinking WMA is the future of music. 

One year later they realize “hey, there’s millions of hardcore iPod owners out there who love to buy music…and we can’t sell them any!”  Now I guess you can’t bash Microsoft because you’re locked into their technology, so I guess you have to vent with iTunes.

Posted by Ryan on March 9, 2004 at 9:36 AM (PDT)

22

“We want users to get pissed off and bail out from Apple’s ubiquitous, proprietary format and switch to OUR ubiquitous, proprietary format!”

Posted by dfd on March 9, 2004 at 10:00 AM (PDT)

23

“e size of a 64k .wma has *got* to be bigger than a 128k MP3”

“64K” means 64 Kbps, 64 thousand bits per second.

A 64 Kbps WMA is *exactly* the same size as a 64Kbps MP3, or a 64Kbps AAC. Well, except for a tiny amount of wrapper logic, and any extra file tag info.

But you get my point.

And 64Kbps WMA sounds “okay”. At lower bitrates it beats old MP3, it’s even with MP3Pro, and AAC. YMMV.

Posted by basic math on March 9, 2004 at 10:02 AM (PDT)

24

I should say, a 64Kbps WMA file is the same size as a 64Kbps MP3 *of the same duration”.

Posted by math revision on March 9, 2004 at 10:03 AM (PDT)

25

i just think they are bitter because they started all this online music stuff and got in trouble—
and while they were wandering in and out of court all whiny-like, Apple figured out a way to make that idea legal and launched it—

And you have a great point Starboard—if there thing is SO great—where is the MAC platform??

Posted by badkitty on March 9, 2004 at 10:08 AM (PDT)

26

Am I the only one who thinks that you’re getting screwed either way?

Posted by JetPropelledKid in New York on March 9, 2004 at 10:11 AM (PDT)

27

I think Mr. Napster is going to be pissed off when he realizes all the devices that work with his store are clunky, uninspired and user-unfriendly. Whats the market share of ipods again??

Posted by utsava on March 9, 2004 at 10:25 AM (PDT)

28

Apple has done much more than introduce a new music device. Apple has pioneered a music service in which people can browse, purchase and upload music into their device in one seamless, easy to use browser window. They have raised the electronic lifestyle standard! I don’t see a problem with them trying to introduce their own proprietary standard. Wintel has been shoving standards down everybody’s throat for years! When you purchase a song through iTunes, please take note of the ease of use and seamless flow of your purchase right down to the upload on your device! Napster’s service doesn’t even come close!

Posted by Stylescraper on March 9, 2004 at 10:34 AM (PDT)

29

utsava, if you really think every other mp3 player is clunky, uninspired, or “user-unfriendly,” you’re either:

a.) trolling
b.) completely bought over by Apple’s marketing teams, or
c.) someone who didn’t do any research at all when looking for an mp3 player

Posted by eric on March 9, 2004 at 10:39 AM (PDT)

30

badkitty.
Napster in it’s current form invented nothing! Formerly Roxio’s Pressplay service, Napster purchased their name from a defunct company owned by BMG that had (in another previous incarnation) invented peer-to-peer file sharing, which itself has very little to do with how today’s online music stores operate.
Pressplay and other services were a very poor imitation of apple’s iTMS that were rushed to market in order to compete. Most of these services featured a monthly subscription fee along with an additional fee to burn cds or copy to an MP3 player. Apple invented the sucessful buisness model that these stores are beginning to adopt.

On another note. the iPod’s chip, produced by Portal Player, does support WMA files, it has simply been disabled by apple - no doubt due to Microsoft’s licensing fees for the format.

Posted by andrew on March 9, 2004 at 10:53 AM (PDT)

31

You see it time and time again, everyone out there is comparing themselves to the iPod or iTunes, pointing the negative aspects and stating that their product is better. The bar has been set and nothing has even come close to raising it. In the article, he states that people associate themselves with the Napster name, yet the name of any product is not the only factor. Time to wake up, if you want to make a difference, then create something different…. sorry, Apple has already achieved that…..

Posted by ezflyer on March 9, 2004 at 10:57 AM (PDT)

32

Go into a local Target and you’ll see that they’ve begun stocking their stores with the Napster and Apple branded items on shelves right next to each other.

It’s gonna be a long battle for both sides.  I don’t see any other company immediately knocking Apple off their plateau, but eventually all the other players and stores will COLLECTIVELY overcome Apple’s market share.

When the sheer number of PC users, download services and players outnumber the iPod/iTMS, Apple has nowhere to go but downhill. 

Of course, they will always be a major, if not ‘the major’ player in the arena, but the Windows community will rally around a PC eqivalent of the iPod.

Apple did a smart thing by allying with HP to release an HP-branded iPod, but I dont know if that will simply be enough.  As beautiful as I think the iPod is, its still an Apple product and much of the PC community is ready to accept its style/aesthetic. 

Posted by BigSid in Los Angeles on March 9, 2004 at 11:25 AM (PDT)

33

Thanks for the info on sound quality of WMA files Pigpen. Have you yourself done a sound quality comparison? You say the things are “theoretically” equivalent, but I don’t listen to music in theory! I listen to it in reality, or at least what I think is reality. But that’s another discussion!

All I know is I did my own little test and I can clearly tell the difference between a WAV file and a 160 kbps MP3. But I can’t tell the difference once the MP3 is encoded at 256.

I’d be interested to test the WMA files but I won’t get the chance… I have an iPod and I’m perfectly happy with it.

But if Napster were selling files—in whatever format—that they claimed were CD quality, I’d be interested. That’s my point. And that’s what they’re not doing.

Posted by Paul D on March 9, 2004 at 11:34 AM (PDT)

34

yeah.. maybe you can shop at only one record store, but you can shoplift at any store (ie. kazaa…)

Posted by TOddMAN on March 9, 2004 at 11:44 AM (PDT)

35

ezflyer, I don’t understand your comment about a ‘PC’ equivalent of the ipod. Ipod’s run with PC’s, Itunes works with PC’s and the ITMS works with PC’s.

There is no reason why the Ipod/Itunes/AAC combination does not have the ability to set the standard for the long term. Put apple into Google news at the moment to see how much bullish talk re the above is in the mainstream media.

Posted by NZmac on March 9, 2004 at 11:49 AM (PDT)

36

my bad, above comment directed to bigsid.

Posted by NZMac on March 9, 2004 at 11:50 AM (PDT)

37

“Whats the market share of ipods again??”

Around 30%, last I heard. Equal to Rio.
Anyone got an update?

Posted by market share on March 9, 2004 at 12:32 PM (PDT)

38

WTF you guys doing, you guys are arguing which one is good. Why TF you guys using those store. It is set up by RIAA who are suing music fans. You support them, they get the funds from you to sue other thousand music fan. Both of them are evil. Just say no DRM. NO DRM AAC, NO DRM WMA. Period.

Posted by WoW on March 9, 2004 at 12:40 PM (PDT)

39

It’s simple:  WMA is proprietary, AAC is open.

You want to use WMA?  Better pay Microsoft in order to do so.  Oh, and you have to use Windows to play the file.  Yeah, that’s choice.  You can choose anything as long as it’s Microsoft.

Everything was so much simpler before all this DRM got into the mix.  MP3 can play on any platform.  I just fear the day that I cannot use the platform I choose to my play my own music.

Posted by Michael Sherman on March 9, 2004 at 12:51 PM (PDT)

40

Paul D,

That’s why i put “theoretically” in there. i agree with you, i think that AAC of the same bit rate as WMA or MP3 sounds better. That’s my opinion. The science (with all that algorithim stuff they do) says that WMA at the same bit rate should sound better.

Posted by Pigpen65 on March 9, 2004 at 1:16 PM (PDT)

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