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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

61

Neither AAC or WMA are Open Standards.  They are both proprietary standards.  They are both owned, patented and require licensing.  They are both Audio Codecs and neither incorporates DRM.

Apples DRM solution is called FairPlay and is also a proprietary standard, licensed by Apple.  Microsoft incorporates their own DRM technology in WMA.  Of course, you can produce and obtain AAC and WMA files with no DRM.  The DRM’ed files are what is sold in the online stores.

On a Mac, .m4a files are unprotected, an .m4p extension indicates a DRM file.

The choice comes down to which proprietary DRM system you choose from which evil megacorp.  But that’s the choice.  No (professional) musician (or association) is going to consistently give away the product of their work.  You wouldn’t.

Posted by mnilsen on March 10, 2004 at 9:28 AM (PDT)

62

What a load of… well… STUFF!

Has anyone actually looked at what Napster has to offer? They try to rip people off by “putting together a list of tracks” and saying it’s a specific album. I found 4 examples back when they were first starting out where when I compared the track list with Amazon.com, were no where near the same.

Plus, all the downloadable music stores out there seem to have the same list of songs. It’s not like one store get’s an exclusive, and if one did, I would put my money on iTMS getting the exclusive over any of the other stores. smile

Posted by Dave on March 10, 2004 at 9:41 AM (PDT)

63

The Napster CEO’s comments are ridiculous. WMA’s that use Digital Rights Management can be just as limiting as AAC. Wow MS lets use use digitall protected WMA’s however they can only be played on YOUR pc or YOUR device.

I love theirs twists on the statements.

Posted by Rez on March 10, 2004 at 10:48 AM (PDT)

64

I would like to correct some inaccuracies here.

1. First thing, WMA does not sound better than AAC at 128Kbps. This is a serious test, conducted using blind listening (the listener doesn’t know whether the music sample is AAC or WMA or another):

http://www.rjamorin.com/test/128extension/results.html

It shows that QuickTime AAC is the same quality as WMA PRO (which is itself better than standard WMA used in MP3 players) for the listeners that took the test.

We are far from the “same quality at half bitrate” claim. On the same site another test compares WMA 64Kbps to MP3 128Kbps if you need more to be convinced.

2. The AAC format is a standard, which you can purchase from ISO. But the Apple DRM’ed implementation, which is only available from the iTunes Music Store, is not a standard.

As far as I can tell, WMA is not a standard at all, and it is property of Microsoft. They embed it in Windows and license it to MP3 player manufacturers, which make it much of a prevalent format. So far Apple managed to contain it with the success of iPod and the iTMS.

Posted by jido on March 11, 2004 at 3:20 AM (PDT)

65

The really sad thing is that the newspapers publish this misinformative c r a p and people that read this (that aren’t tech savy like we are) start to believe it and fear that if they don’t buy a “microsoft” solution then they will be screwed.

Groog is an idiot that is trying to scare people into using Napster. What a sad way to try and increase your customer base.
I will NEVER even consider using Napster’s service solely based on the fact that the man in charge of the company is a LIAR!

And to the person that pointed out that most players are used for storing music you already own (and not buyng online) - THANK YOU!!!! I have a 20 gig and a Mini (which are both full) and I have only purchased 3 songs from iTunes.

Posted by Chris on March 11, 2004 at 2:35 PM (PDT)

66

“Companies pushing a propriety agenda are consumer-unfriendly…”

He must be talking about Microsoft.

So exactly what is Windows Media Format? It has M$ written all over it. Sounds like double talk to me.

My iPod works just fine with industry standard MP3’s, so what’s his problem?

Posted by blueridge on March 27, 2004 at 5:37 PM (PDT)

67

“MP3” “sounds” better raspberry

Posted by q on April 15, 2004 at 9:56 PM (PDT)

68

After reading this article, he sounds just like a cry baby.  He’s very upset about not being the one in the forefront of downloadable music sales.  Apple has a good product and I think it works well with iTMS (at least I haven’t had any problems with it). The Napster CEO, instead of whinning, should try to be more innovative, but I guess he can’t see past the tears and depression.

I’m an iPod owner and a PC user and I use iTMS and d/l’ed a little over 100 songs so far and my iPod has 4,786 on it in AAC & the majority are MP3 formats.

I also use Rhapsody ($9.99 a month subscription but worth it) because there I can listen to the whole song and CD and not just 30 seconds fo a song.  This way I can sample new artist without purchasing any songs and buy only the songs that I want. 

I have never used Napster and never will.  If I don’t d/l from iTMS, I buy the CD from Amazon.com or burn it in Rhapsody.  So between the three I can purchase enough music to satisfy my cravings for audio.

Posted by iPodite on April 16, 2004 at 1:34 PM (PDT)

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