NY Times: Music labels considering unrestricted MP3s | iLounge News

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NY Times: Music labels considering unrestricted MP3s

Record labels are considering a move towards finally offering unrestricted MP3 music files, according to industry insiders. The New York Times reports that executives of technology companies, in attendance at the annual Midem global trade show for the music industry, are apparently aware of “at least one of the four major record companies [that] could move toward the sale of unrestricted digital files in the MP3 format within months.” Even with solid sales on the iTunes Store and other online music services, it is reported, digital sales of restricted music has seen slow growth. Physical CD sales have likewise continued to take a hit.

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Comments

1

The writing has been on the wall…they are just now reading it.

Posted by FahrenheiPod 451 on January 23, 2007 at 12:47 PM (PDT)

2

I see this as a way for the music industry to get out of the dominance of itunes - part of the problem with itunes is you can only play songs purchased on an ipod. The music industry is stuck behind the dominance of itunes and I’m sure they’re not all happy about that.

I’m sure they’re not going unrestricted out of the kindness of their hearts. I

Posted by Paul on January 23, 2007 at 1:37 PM (PDT)

3

Amazing progress if it can happen.  Just think, buying music could be about the quality of the product and the service then and not just what it can play on.

Posted by superape on January 23, 2007 at 3:17 PM (PDT)

4

So what? People will still buy iPods by the millions to play those same unrestricted mp3s, or ones thier friends copy for them. At least with Apple, they can make _some_ money.

Posted by Warren Piece on January 23, 2007 at 3:25 PM (PDT)

5

I would guess that an “unrestricted” download doesn’t necessarily mean it’s unidentifiable. Make a copy for a friend or put it on a file-sharing service, only to have it traced back to you should the RIAA go on one of their witch hunts.

As for Apple making the money for them…no one said that these labels won’t CHARGE for these MP3 files (...four major record companies [that] could move toward the sale of…). It just won’t be through Apple’s iTMS.

And since they WILL play on an iPod, they can jack up the prices to whatever they feel like charging—Steve Jobs’ name-calling about them being ‘greedy’ notwithstanding—and then turn around and NOT offer iTMS the same material in Apple’s exclusive .m4p format.

“Take that, Apple”, says the music companies. (it’s all about the power, after all…)

Posted by flatline response on January 23, 2007 at 3:58 PM (PDT)

6

i buy my music from allofmp3.com because I have choice of non-restricted 320kbps music, while the things i’m looking for aren’t readily available in stores.  Sell back catalogues for cheap too!

Posted by e on January 23, 2007 at 6:15 PM (PDT)

7

“....part of the problem with itunes is you can only play songs purchased on an ipod.”

Not true.  Besides burning to CD, as recommended by Apple, iTunes can be converted to mp3 very easily - just import the CD back as a mp3 - bingo, a playable mp3 file.

Posted by William on January 23, 2007 at 7:01 PM (PDT)

8

“Not true.  Besides burning to CD, as recommended by Apple, iTunes can be converted to mp3 very easily - just import the CD back as a mp3 - bingo, a playable mp3 file.”

True, but with an inherent loss of quality (ie. two compressions vs. one).

Posted by C on January 23, 2007 at 7:14 PM (PDT)

9

blah blah restricted mp3s blah blah blah itunes blah blah blah only on ipod blah blah blah loss of quality.

Blah.

Posted by unreal on January 23, 2007 at 10:23 PM (PDT)

10

“True, but with an inherent loss of quality (ie. two compressions vs. one).”

If you want music at its best quality, then stick to uncompressed PHYSICAL CDs. If you dont really care (like the rest of us) then this is MORE than an acceptable workaround.

Posted by ahMEmon on January 24, 2007 at 7:23 AM (PDT)

11

We all need to send a big thank you card to Steve Jobs for this one.  The only reason this is even being discussed is because iTunes is nearing monopoly status for digital music, and Steve has been completely inflexible when negotiating with the major labels.  Those execs don’t like somebody else telling them how and where they’ll sell the music.  This is all about wrestling the consumers from the tight grip of mr. apple.  It’s a desperation move, and one that I am absolutely thrilled to see.  I might actually start buying digital music to fill my iPod.

Posted by jeff on January 24, 2007 at 9:38 AM (PDT)

12

While it’s great that they’re considering music downloads that aren’t restricted to a specific playback device (iPod, Zune, etc.), don’t fool yourselves into thinking that the 99¢ price model will stay intact.

I’d rather pay 99¢ for a track that will *only* play in iTunes and my iPod than $2.49 for a track that will play anywhere.

The record companies hate the pricing at iTunes. The *first* thing they will do is raise their rates, and introduce variable pricing. Older songs that aren’t selling well might be available for 99¢, but everything else will cost more.

Posted by BJ Nemeth on January 24, 2007 at 10:08 AM (PDT)

13

All you need is emusic.com.  I signed up yesterday.  It is wonderful.  You get 50 free mp3 to boot.

Posted by AMEason52 on January 24, 2007 at 12:59 PM (PDT)

14

No way DRM is removed from music. Lack of DRM is really going to help sales? No.
This is a false article. I’ll believe it when I see it.

Posted by Bizarro Ballmer on January 24, 2007 at 3:13 PM (PDT)

15

“No way DRM is removed from music. Lack of DRM is really going to help sales? No.
This is a false article. I’ll believe it when I see it.”

It is not DRM in and of itself that prevents music sales, it is that DRM makes music, something that people inherently think of as an open standard, as proprietary and tied to a narrow subset of devices. I only buy CDs because I know they play on every CD player ever made and legacy devices will be available indefinitely. I only by downloadable FLAC music because I know they will play, or be easily converted to play, on ANY device that is ever conceived of.

By all means, if somebody can cook up some form of copy protection that lets the buyer use it ANY way they see fit, able to unlock it to play on a device 50 years from now long after the particular company who owned the DRM is dust, without necessarily losing fidelity to make it compatible, and that will still incinerate my eyeballs if I should let my friend make a copy, I am there. However, so long as they treat music as somehow platform dependent then most consumers will continue to stay away.

Since there is no DRM that will do those things, and there is absolutely not a shred of evidence that DRM has done anything more than slow sales during the same period that the downloading community got more and more sophisticated - with patience, you can not only get most music free through downloading, you can get it lossless, ripped perfectly, with logs to prove it.

Plus, I think Microsoft has put the final bullet in the scheme with their Zune DRM. Why would the music industry want to keep signing onto smaller and smaller slices of the same damn pie?

Posted by Code Monkey in Midstate New York on January 25, 2007 at 8:10 AM (PDT)

16

Charles: if you’re going to be insulting, perhaps you should invest in anger management classes. Or seek some of that divine intervention that you say that Apple deserves.

As for whether protected AAC is or is not a format, it’s all a question of semantics. Considering the locked out nature of FairPlay DRM, the .m4p filetype may as well be its own format. And your argument for translating music to CD is as spurious as your incessant defenses of Apple at any drop of a dime; taking FairPlay AAC files and converting them to audio CD then converting back to another file format introduces even more degradation of content. Considering how self-righteous you are on all other things, I’d thought such transparent knowledge would’ve been obvious to you.

Guess not.

Posted by flatline response on January 31, 2007 at 9:18 AM (PDT)

17

“taking FairPlay AAC files and converting them to audio CD then converting back to another file format”

Just out of curiosity: Am I really the only one who thinks this sounds like it would be pretty illegal?

If you have a contract where it says you are only allowed to use it on 5 computers, then why is this way around the system any different from cracking ones copy of Windows to install it on several PC’s?

To me, it just sounds paying to steal stuff, I don’t really see the point in it…

Posted by milan on February 1, 2007 at 2:45 PM (PDT)

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