Napster takes on iPod with portable service, ad campaign | iLounge News

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Napster takes on iPod with portable service, ad campaign

Napster today introduced a portable version of its digital music subscription service, backed by a $30 million print and broadcast ad campaign that takes aim at Apple’s iPod and iTunes Music Store.  Napster’s promotion will include a Super Bowl ad, called “Do the Math,” that argues it would cost up to $10,000 to fill up an iPod, while it would only be $14.95 a month to load up an alternative player through the new Napster To Go service. The ad campaign also includes strategic alliances with companies that make rival players to the iPod—Creative, Dell and iRiver.

“Napster To Go provides infinitely greater value and is much more exciting than the iTunes pay-per-download model,” said Napster CEO Chris Gorog.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs said he does not believe that there is a significant number of music fans willing to pay $180 a year to subscribe to a collection of tracks that they do not permanently own. “When you rent stuff, in the end you’re left with nothing,” Jobs said.

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Comments

1

I just went to the link for “Napster To Go.”  Am I reading this right?  I have to pay $14.95/month just to see and hear the songs in their library?  If I download a song to either an MP3 player or my computer it will still cost me $0.99/track?  Oh, but they do have discounts on 15, 25, and 50 track packs.  But I would need to buy 75 tracks per month, just to get back the $15 a month I’m spending to just use their service, before I start realizing any savings as opposed to using iTunes.  Am I reading this wrong, or is Napster using Al Gore mathematics?

Posted by mele on February 3, 2005 at 8:21 AM (CST)

2

Interesting comment Steve - does that mean we ACTUALLY own the song bought from the iTunes store? If so that would be contrary to what the license actually says. We don’t own jack, and only have limited rights to play it on 3 devices. And if we lose it somehow (yeah, computers crash ya know - even my top of the line G5-less PowerBook) - Apple doesn’t care.

I dunno the legal stuff about the Napster store, whether you actually ren the songs or not, but I can tell you for some people - the monthly pay model works for them. These are the type that do want whole albums and compilations.

I also dunno if Napster songs will play on iPods, but if not that kind of makes it useless for all those sheep that own iPods (i’m one of them).

What we need are more services like AllOfMP3.com that allow you to download in the format YOU WANT for a price that doesn’t hose you.

Posted by umijin on February 3, 2005 at 8:24 AM (CST)

3

mele—

The advantage of the system that just debuted is that you can now carry your subscribed music on your portable device… You apparently no longer have to purchase songs at the 99¢ price if it makes more sense for you to pay $15 to load as much as you’d like.  Keeping in mind, however, that you continue paying $15 a month to continue playing those songs. 

With iTunes, you pay for a song once forever.  With these subscription services, you keep paying, and paying, and paying (although the per-song price can be incredibly small).  Stop paying, and the music stops playing.  You don’t own it… you rent it.

—————————————
umijin—-

1)  Yes, you do own iTunes songs.
2)  Your purchased music will continue to play on 5 authorized computers forever.  You are free to burn it to a CD, where it will play in audio CD players forever.
3)  If you lose it somehow, Apple typically doesn’t care, correct.  However, what vendor/reseller/manufacturer does care when you lose something you purchased?  Backup your purchases.

Also, although they’re not obligated to, Apple has been known to reset download rights upon valid/polite request.
 
The Napster subscription is an interesting alternative pay style, but no—they won’t play on iPods.

AllofMP3 may be good for the consumer, but such foreign stores will never have the approval of the RIAA.  Apparently AllofMP3 is distributing music under a Russian blanket license for broadcast music:  Through a loophole, they apparently have the right to sell music as they are… but it surely has the RIAA banging their heads against the wall trying to think of a way to stop it.

Posted by Jerrod H. in TX on February 3, 2005 at 8:49 AM (CST)

4

Mele:  No, those are George W. Bush mathematics.  Al Gore is on Apple’s board of directors.

Posted by theplate on February 3, 2005 at 8:55 AM (CST)

5

Ha, that was funny theplate.  I think Jobs said it best, why pay for something that you will never own.  I consider that I own a song after it is purchased via iTunes Music Store.  Though it has restrictions on it, like every song you purchase legally online.  I think it is stupid to purchase songs off the internet, I would rather buy the CD.  I think iTunes works for those artists that release a CD with one or two good tracks, then I would be more inclined to just download though.

Posted by kornchild2002 on February 3, 2005 at 9:03 AM (CST)

6

There’s a simple analogy to be drawn between these two services:

iTunes = CDs, Albums, Singles
Napster = Radio, Satellite Radio

They’re both interesting business models and despite Jobs’ rhetoric right now, I wouldn’t be surprised if iTunes started offering something similar in the future—perhaps undercutting Napster’s prices.  I’m sure Apple’s worried that a subscription service would undercut music sales, but I think they could find some ways around that…  Perhaps have individual songs “expire” after a certain play count?

Check this out:
http://www.napster.com/using_napster/ipod_and_napster.html
Pfft…  Brilliant strategy.  Let’s try to convert iPod users by trying to make them feel stupid.

HMM…  Perhaps I’ve already found Napster’s soft underbelly?
http://www.napster.com/tutorial/transferring_to_pd8.html
You can only download songs that aren’t listed as ‘Buy Only’?  Lame, bad move.  This is where Apple can beat them back, if they so desire.

Posted by SPThom on February 3, 2005 at 9:07 AM (CST)

7

I would almost be in favor of something simliar to what you suggest SPThom for iTunes.

Something I’ve been thinking of, is almost like a CD club for digital music.  With traditional CD clubs, your monthly CD is chosen based on which genre you told them you like most.  With the power of the internet, iTunes can select something that is highly recommended for you based on past purchases—just like Amazon or MusicMobs (which does it based on your whole library).  Now once a month, iTunes can notify you that you have a trial album—and the beauty part is that it could almost be a customized compiliation.  The DRM could be like 2 listens, no burning.  If you like some of what you heard, you buy it.  This way there is no monthly fee for subscriptions, you find out about new stuff, and you only pay for what you want. 

Now, I’m sure there are bunches of reasons why record companies might not want to do this—especially as its success would depend on the popularity of artists.  No one would be interested in this if you got Joe Schmo band.  But just a thought.

Posted by Gatsby003 in New York on February 3, 2005 at 9:21 AM (CST)

8

People seem to forget that Napster (and other Janus initiatives) aren’t forcing people to make a binary decision to own or rent; you can (AFAIK) do both.  Personally I’d love to rent about 20 GB of new/eclectic music and fill another 20 GB with a rotating selection of music I already own.

This is by far the best innovation to come from the ipod wannabees yet, and the only one to make me consider switching platforms.  The only thing tempering the thought is that I’m certain Apple will, sooner or later, copy Napster and offer a rental service of their own.

Posted by Gitzman in Chicago on February 3, 2005 at 9:30 AM (CST)

9

Back to the earlier post about owning songs purchased through iTunes… Apple is in grey territory here because they claim that this is both a sale and a licence, depending on who’s asking.

When the artist asks, its a sale.  Most artists contracts are designed so that they get a very small percentage of sales (traditionally albums) under the theory that the volume of sales will add up to nice chunk of change.

When a record company licenses the song, say to a movie or commercial, the artist gets 50% of that profit.

When the customer asks if this is a sale or a licence… Apple says licence.  Because if they SOLD me the song, then I would have the right of first-sale.  Meaning I can sell this purchase to someone else.  BUT APPLE’S LICENCE CLEARLY STATES THAT THIS IS NOT ALLOWED…. ergo… Licence.  If I can’t sell something that I BOUGHT then I didn’t buy it.

The artists can probably get together on a class-action suit and close the old record companies down for good.  They are robbing the artists and pillaging the industry and that’s why I don’t lose any sleep by getting my music from P2P services.

Good riddance to ill-mannered guests, I say.

Posted by MuzicTeef on February 3, 2005 at 9:53 AM (CST)

10

Back to the earlier post about owning songs purchased through iTunes… Apple is in grey territory here because they claim that this is both a sale and a licence, depending on who’s asking.

When the artist asks, its a sale.  Most artists contracts are designed so that they get a very small percentage of sales (traditionally albums) under the theory that the volume of sales will add up to nice chunk of change.

When a record company licenses the song, say to a movie or commercial, the artist gets 50% of that profit.

When the customer asks if this is a sale or a licence… Apple says licence.  Because if they SOLD me the song, then I would have the right of first-sale.  Meaning I can sell this purchase to someone else.  BUT APPLE’S LICENCE CLEARLY STATES THAT THIS IS NOT ALLOWED…. ergo… Licence.  If I can’t sell something that I BOUGHT then I didn’t buy it.

The artists can probably get together on a class-action suit and close the old record companies down for good.  They are robbing the artists and pillaging the industry and that’s why I don’t lose any sleep by getting my music from P2P services.

Good riddance to ill-mannered guests, I say.

Posted by MuzicTeef on February 3, 2005 at 9:54 AM (CST)

11

@MuzicTeef:

“When a record company licenses the song, say to a movie or commercial, the artist gets 50% of that profit.”

I’d like to see where written in stone.  Anyhow, you’re getting some of your facts mixed up, and what iTunes does really isn’t that different from what happens with CD sales.  When you purchase a CD, it is a “sale”, in that someone has sold the disc to you.  However, CDs are sold under an implicit license as well, limiting the “purchaser” as to how he/she can use the contents of the CD.

The only reason you can resell used CDs is because of legal precedence.  I’m sure the RIAA wouldn’t allow it if they had technological means to prevent it.

“The artists can probably get together on a class-action suit and close the old record companies down for good.”

A class-action lawsuit for…  making them sign contracts with crappy terms?  It might suck, but it’s legal.

Forget about lawsuits…  Musicians need to get out from under their contracts, let them expire or whatever, and start self-producing & form “co-ops” for self-distribution.  It’s so totally possible at this point.

Posted by SPThom on February 3, 2005 at 10:11 AM (CST)

12

I have over 8000 songs, over 90 percent from my own personal collection. I suppose over the 20 years I’ve spent putting my collection together I’ve spent a fair amount of money – long before iPods or MP3 even existed. My iTunes purchases are a fraction of that, and most of those are from the Free Pepsi promotion. The $10,000 to fill an iPod is an apple-to-oranges marketing ploy that Napster is using to perpetuate the myth that iPod owners are required to purchase music from the iTunes Music Store to use their iPods.

Posted by Chris VandeVenter in Bismarck, ND on February 3, 2005 at 10:18 AM (CST)

13

...and when napster raises the monthly fee to $19.95 in 6 months/year…all “your” songs suddenly get a bit more expensive to listen to…


i prefer apple’s strategy myself, BUT, i think its unfortunate apple doesn’t let you re-download the songs you have already purchased if your computer crashes or you lose them.

Posted by darth on February 3, 2005 at 10:21 AM (CST)

14

It says flat out somewhere on the website that you are required to back up anything on your computer.  My computer technician agrees, neither the manufacturer or iTunes is at fault when your computer crashed (perhaps we should make the spyware people pay up, since they are the ones causing computers to crash these days)

The Napster service automatically stops you from being able to pay for your music the second you stop paying the subscription. In my case, it is not a worthwile service since most of my music was either purchased in CD form or illegally downloaded and then copied to CD.  Of the 206 songs on my ipod mini, only 6 come from iTunes.  I was able to burn most of them to a CD on a different computer, and I can transfer them to a computer that has a CD burner and then burn them to CD—and whala, I have a hard copy, so that when my computer crashed I’m safe.  And I can authorize/deauthorize up to five computers.  It’s nicer than my copy of Adobe Photoshop CS, which only allows you to put the program on two computers. 

I prefer Apple’s strategy because you can actually do a lot to the songs you purchase from iTunes.  It is literally like a legal form of Kazaa.  I don’t think that Napster is going to win any friends with the iPod owners because it says flat out in the iPod owners manuals that you can download your own CD collection to iTunes and are under no obligation to purchase music from iTunes.  In fact, you have to register for iTunes separately. 

Plus 65% of MP3 player owners own an iPod, and my experience with other iPOd players is that the iPod is the best of the lot.  So Napster is trying to drum up business for other companies that have been thus far uable to shake the iPod’s lead. 

In my opinion, it wonn’t work.  I don’t like renting things when I can own them for cheaper.  I’m sure that other people feel similar.  Plus the Media Player 10 program is a pain in the but.

Posted by STUMPY2 in LAYTON on February 3, 2005 at 11:28 AM (CST)

15

Hello people! Think about it. Lets agree on some things here. 1. Everyone wants an iPod, your mom, your grandma, your friends. they are the best and except maybe iRiver, are leaps and bounds above other players in every manner. 2. a 30 million dollar campaign that is a year too late will not change iTunes users minds, and if they do, the small percentage will not compete against iTunes already huge market share. 3. Who cares about a super bowl ad that says do the math, probably ten minutes before this ad, the Pepsi free song spot will run and everyone enjoys cola and free songs, so therefore apple will win on that anyway. Its a novel idea but why use a service that doesnt support ipods. none of the 10 million and growing ipod owners will use this service, and with the shuffle now, who needs more than 200 songs anyway. nice attempt, but too little, too late. o yeah, i have never purchased a song from either in my life, and really dont intend to. So i guess this whole post has been moot.

Posted by LupinIII in Illinois on February 3, 2005 at 11:36 AM (CST)

16

I forgot to mention that the Napster website strongly encourages you to buy an all-new MP3 player because Napster’s music is not in the right format for an iPod.

In other words, the Napster system does not work for iPods.

Posted by STUMPY2 in LAYTON on February 3, 2005 at 11:47 AM (CST)

17

i wouldn’t mind if Apple offers a similar service where you can rent out the song and put it on the iPod even if you don’t permenantly own the song.  My college offers free Napster subscription service, and I often use it just to sample different types of music.  Considering there’s no extra charge for downloading music for listening, I can just explore a whole lot of different genres.  IMO, if Apple employs a model like this, it will be extremely popular.  Some people simply want to download songs just to listen to it for the moment

Posted by VertigoLimit on February 3, 2005 at 12:03 PM (CST)

18

argg, tough times are ahead for the ipod. alot of comapnies are set to debut alot of really cool players this month, especially timed around the superbowl ads is the new Olympus player which has already become the tech mags darling before its even released. iriver as usual has some pretty cool offerings coming up.

Posted by b6662966 on February 3, 2005 at 12:16 PM (CST)

19

I’d buy a subscription tomorrow if I could for my ipod. Especially next year when I’m in university halls and won’t be able to use P2P. $15/month for unlimited access to a whole music library is fantastic value, although the idea that some songs are for buying only is a bad move. Subscriptions are the future and in less than 5 years people will be looking back at some of the comments expressed here and laughing.

Posted by pctuk in UK on February 3, 2005 at 1:08 PM (CST)

20

Different things for different people, if you only listen to music that you really like, and you want to own that music, then iTunes is for you.

If you want to listen to a variety of music and pay for it, get satellite radio. Napster only allows for limited variety that you don’t own. At least with satellite you can have a truer variety. I know that Napster will allow for more interaction. Ala next song browsing for songs ect. But thats not for you if this “variety” model is how you listen to music.

Posted by graphicgeek in Utica, NY on February 3, 2005 at 1:16 PM (CST)

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