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Apple Negotiates For Unlimited iTunes Downloads

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the download-at-will dept.

Businesses 133

Hugh Pickens writes writes "Bloomberg reports that Apple is in talks with record companies including Vivendi SA (VIV)'s Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group Corp. (WMG) and EMI Group Ltd. to give iTunes music buyers easier access to their songs on multiple devices. The deal would provide iTunes customers with a permanent backup of music purchases if the originals are damaged or lost and would allow downloads to iPad, iPod and iPhone devices linked to the same iTunes account. The negotiations come as iTunes is facing competition from new Web-based services such as Spotify Ltd., Rdio Inc. and MOG Inc. that focus on letting customers listen to songs from anywhere with an online connection, instead of downloading tracks to a hard drive. 'Long-time iTunes users know that one of the more obnoxious differences between music and app downloads on the iTunes Store is the fact that apps can be re-downloaded a seemingly infinite number of times,' writes Jacqui Cheng. 'In contrast, users can only download music tracks once — if you find yourself without backups and your music disappears, you must beseech the iTunes gods to let you re-download all your music—a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, should they hear your prayers.""

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But what if... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35390002)

But can I still listen to my music after Apple, Spotify and Universal have gone out of business?

Re:But what if... (4, Informative)

autojive (560399) | more than 3 years ago | (#35390030)

Well, since the music you download from Apple is DRM free, I would say yes.

Re:But what if... (1)

tonywestonuk (261622) | more than 3 years ago | (#35390076)

And even the cheeper DRM tracks, will continue to work, as they are not dependent on an internet connection to work...

And, you can burn them all to cd anyhow.

Re:But what if... (3, Informative)

kevinmenzel (1403457) | more than 3 years ago | (#35390344)

What cheaper DRM tracks? NO TRACKS on the iTunes store have DRM on them at all. Back in the day they did, then there was a time where some of them didn't, now ALL of them do not.

Re:But what if... (4, Informative)

EdZ (755139) | more than 3 years ago | (#35390860)

I've regularly found tracks on the Japan ITMS that are only available in DRM form.

Re:But what if... (1)

tonywestonuk (261622) | more than 3 years ago | (#35391208)

I stand corrected.... I didn't know that. :-)

Re:But what if... (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 3 years ago | (#35390406)

The music industry has pretty much given up on DRM for copies of tracks they sell (as apposed to provide on subscription services etc)..New tracks bought from itunes, amazon etc are drm free and itunes DRM tracks could always be bunt to CD (which are DRM free though the quality loss and/or size increase that results from this method of drm removal is annoying). AAC isn't quite as common as mp3 but there are still loads of decoders and players out there for it.

It's other types of media that are getting locked down to the hilt.

Re:But what if... (1)

node 3 (115640) | more than 3 years ago | (#35393290)

DRM tracks could always be bunt to CD (which are DRM free though the quality loss and/or size increase that results from this method of drm removal is annoying)

No quality is lost in burning to a CD, and neither is it necessarily lost in re-ripping from a CD. Re-encoding the rip using a lossy codec (which is a reasonable expectation), does result in quality loss, but is not likely all that noticeable if you rip back to 256kbps AAC. iTunes has an options to transcode tracks to 128kbps AAC when songs are transferred to iPods/iPhones/iPads, and the quality difference is not generally apparent.

Re:But what if... (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 3 years ago | (#35390538)

Their music could always be burned to CD and is now DRM free. I'd post anonymous too if I was going to make totally uneducated comments about iTunes.

Re:But what if... (2)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 3 years ago | (#35391196)

Not on spotify. Spotify is essentially a net radio where you get to choose what songs you want it to play. But if it goes off the air, you don't get to keep anything just like with the radio.

Of course, it's also free with advertisements and cheap without. But it does require "always on" internet, and a fee if you want to use it on things other then PC, though fee is minimal. Of course, considering that a month of ad-free access with right to use on any device supported by the client costs about as much as one album on itunes... why should I care?
Honestly, the main reason why itunes has never taken off around here in Northern Europe is because no one buys their music anymore. You just listen to it on spotify.

And if you absolutely must, you can just record line-out. But generally speaking, pirating would probably be easier and faster.

I ripped all my music from CDs (1, Interesting)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 3 years ago | (#35390028)

I just got an iPhone 4. I really don't know why I waited so long. I suppose I was just happy with my previous phone.

But one of the key reasons I bought the iPhone was because of its MP3 capabilities. I have a lot of CDs and wanted to listen to them on the road, so I decided to burn all the CDs to the iTunes.

Anyway, what I'm getting at is that buying the CD gives me something that iTunes music downloaders don't get. That is unlimited access to my music without DRM and without having to pay some online service for it.

I really like the Genius automatic playlist generator. I use it to all the time. If you're buying an iPhone, I recommend you also buy CDs so that you don't have the DRM problem mentioned in the article.

Re:I ripped all my music from CDs (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35390062)

Nice try, bad analogy guy, but neither article mentioned DRM or in any way alluded to DRM.

Re:I ripped all my music from CDs (2)

BrianRoach (614397) | more than 3 years ago | (#35390084)

Anyway, what I'm getting at is that buying the CD gives me something that iTunes music downloaders don't get. That is unlimited access to my music without DRM and without having to pay some online service for it.

Erm, you seem to think iTunes has DRM. It doesn't.
And unless you're stealing your CDs from Walmart, one would assume you paid something for them.

What you are getting with your CDs is the full chunk of data that you can compress to the level of your choice before putting it on your portable player. And of course a physical "backup". I used to buy used CDs for this reason, but for the most part I now am willing to trade that for convenience and lower cost in most cases, so I buy from iTunes and Amazon.

Older iTS purchases still have DRM (3, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#35390166)

Erm, you seem to think iTunes has DRM. It doesn't.

You are correct about CD rips, Amazon MP3 purchases, and newer iTunes Store music purchases. But older iTunes Store music has DRM, and the iTunes Plus deal with the record labels doesn't include converting existing m4p files to m4a. Movies on iTunes Store still have DRM because of the six major movie distributors' wishes. Applications on iTunes Store still have DRM despite some developers' wishes.

Re:Older iTS purchases still have DRM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35390622)

Erm, you seem to think iTunes has DRM. It doesn't.

You are correct about CD rips, Amazon MP3 purchases, and newer iTunes Store music purchases. But older iTunes Store music has DRM, and the iTunes Plus deal with the record labels doesn't include converting existing m4p files to m4a.

Yes it does, but it costs $.30 per file. Worth it, probably, if you've already sunk your money into downloads, but annoying.

Re:Older iTS purchases still have DRM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35393956)

Since you can burn your iTunes to a CD and then rip the CD to get a DRM free mp3 file, older iTunes music is also yours to do with what you like. I'm not an Apple fan, but that particular feature was one of Jobs better ideas.

Re:I ripped all my music from CDs (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35390228)

Did they finally eliminate the DRM tracks? Last I'd heard about that was that DRM free tracks were introduced alongside the DRM encumbered ones and could be had for a small premium. I could be wrong, but I think you had to pay an upgrade fee to trade up the DRM encumbered ones for the DRM free tracks if you'd already purchased them with DRM.

Re:I ripped all my music from CDs (2)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 3 years ago | (#35390454)

They introduced the DRM free tracks alongside the protected ones and then some time later they stopped offering the DRM protected ones. Music sold with drm will still have it unless the user upgrades it and while the price for upgrading was fairly reasonable (IIRC it was the same as the price difference at the time they were selling both) they made upgrading an all or nothing thing (I can see credit card fees would make them not want to upgrade one track at a time but still all or nothing seems over the top to me). Also IIRC tracks given away in promotions could not be upgraded.

Re:I ripped all my music from CDs (1)

kevinmenzel (1403457) | more than 3 years ago | (#35390456)

You had to pay an upgrade fee, yes, but every track sold NOW has no DRM. And there are plenty of tools which will remove that legacy DRM for you on your old files, if you so desire. Those files were also 128kpbs AAC, now all files are 256kpbs AAC... so they sound better too. So the upgrade fee isn't really just for removing DRM, you're also getting a better quality file with that no DRM. Still, early adopters got bit, and people who bought CDs didn't, and are still better off.

Re:I ripped all my music from CDs (1)

Dr. Hellno (1159307) | more than 3 years ago | (#35390590)

It's even worse than you suggest for those early adopters. If you bought itunes music back when the tracks had DRM, and you lose it, it's gone forever- itunes won't let you download re-download albums that have been changed in the interim, under any circumstances.

Re:I ripped all my music from CDs (1)

node 3 (115640) | more than 3 years ago | (#35393332)

And if you lose your CD, you do not get a free replacement either.

Re:I ripped all my music from CDs (1)

spheric_harlot (2004896) | more than 3 years ago | (#35390832)

It used to 160 kbps AAC, not 128.

Re:I ripped all my music from CDs (1)

morari (1080535) | more than 3 years ago | (#35390348)

Who would steal their CDs from Wal-Mart? All of their discs are censored.

Why not Android? (0)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#35390176)

I just got an iPhone 4. [...] one of the key reasons I bought the iPhone was because of its MP3 capabilities. [...] I really like the Genius automatic playlist generator. I use it to all the time.

I was under the impression that all Android-powered phones could play MP3 music as well. So of all the advantages that Android has over iOS, it appears you gave them up for Genius playlists. I acknowledge that you may have found it worth it, but my priorities happen to differ.

Re:Why not Android? (2, Interesting)

grapeape (137008) | more than 3 years ago | (#35390506)

Even if you dismiss the app store as being completely due to the iphones head start, Androids advantages are all subjective and nearly all are trade offs. Androids interface can be very nice and very configurable but isn't nearly as simple to use for the non technical. With iOS you dont have to depend on the phone manufacturer to feel generous and give updates, unless the hardware simply cannot support the new features with apple you just get them. With an apple device you know exactly what your going to get there is no consistent experience across android every phone manufacturer seems to do just do their own thing. As last week showed the "openness" of the platform makes it a target for malicious apps, I saw a quote last week that sums it up...Apple has a walled garden but its a nice garden with lots of pretty plants and no snakes.

Re:Why not Android? (1)

TrancePhreak (576593) | more than 3 years ago | (#35390936)

My wife who is very non-technical finds Android easier to use than the iPhone. I can't really get her to explain it though. A pity that, I'm truly interested in why. That knowledge could help me and others when making interfaces on phones.

She's humoring you. (1)

Brannon (221550) | more than 3 years ago | (#35392788)

Also, she's having an affair...with an iPhone-owner.

Re:Why not Android? (1)

node 3 (115640) | more than 3 years ago | (#35393444)

No matter what the interface, as long as it's sufficiently reasonable, there will always be some people from each broad category (like "geeks" and "non-technical", etc.) who like each interface. The question isn't whether there is one non-techie who finds Android easier. What matters is that category in aggregate.

I do trust you don't think that your wife is representative of this category as a whole. Simple observation of society outside of your immediate household does tend to show that your household is the anomaly here. In fact, I'm being overly reserved here, what I should say is that it's extremely rare to hear *anyone*, even a hard-core geek, claim that Android is easier to use than iOS. The closest you'll ever really hear is that, for the geek, Android offers flexibility that allows them to go beyond the confines of the interface (similar to how command-line jockeys will describe the CLI compared to the GUI. It's not that the CLI is generally easier, but that it's easier to do more advanced things).

If I were to make a completely wild guess, I would guess that it's the notifications system/lock screen information that your wife finds easier. I've not used Android much, but I can see that that is something that a lot of regular people would find compelling.

Re:Why not Android? (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 3 years ago | (#35391234)

Essentially any modern phone can play mp3s. Even nokia's S40 "dumbphones" that go for 50-ish without contract can play it. Often in better quality then iphone due to specialized DSP on board for cases when they're branded as "music phones".

Re:Why not Android? (1)

node 3 (115640) | more than 3 years ago | (#35393470)

What is this fascination with the cheapest possible device that can do some specific function? BadAnalogyGuy didn't say he bought an iPhone because it's the only phone that can play music, he said it bought it because it can. No matter which phone he chose (including a $50-ish Nokia), he would have had the same reasoning. It's not that he bought an iPhone specifically, but that he got a new phone in order to play music.

What bothers you so much about him buying an iPhone anyway? I never give people shit for buying a Droid or whatever. It's none of my business, and a silly thing to get worked up about.

Re:Why not Android? (1)

node 3 (115640) | more than 3 years ago | (#35393410)

I just got an iPhone 4. [...] one of the key reasons I bought the iPhone was because of its MP3 capabilities. [...] I really like the Genius automatic playlist generator. I use it to all the time.

I was under the impression that all Android-powered phones could play MP3 music as well. So of all the advantages that Android has over iOS, it appears you gave them up for Genius playlists. I acknowledge that you may have found it worth it, but my priorities happen to differ.

Any advantages you think Android has over iOS are 100% opinion, just as any advantages iOS has over Android are 100% opinion (even things that are objective, like "Android has WiFi tethering, iOS does not" (no longer true, but it was) or "iOS supports 'Retina' display resolutions, Android does not", are subjective in terms of whether they are an advantage and/or how important such an advantage is to each individual person)). What makes one thing an advantage, and to what extent, it relative. For most people, iOS is a far better solution. For some, *especially* a certain type of geek, iOS is entirely out of the question. Presumably, you are one of these people. That is completely fine. However, you must understand that there are other people who *aren't* like you.

It's not just one feature (like the Genius feature, which is fantastic btw). The fact that you think he chose an iPhone simply because of that one feature, in spite of "all the [other] advantages" you think Android has over iOS is extremely self-centered. You need to learn to realize that other people can have wildly different opinions about things, even things which are polarizing, like the App Store. Very, *very* few people actually care about the lock-in, many (who are even aware of this "issue"), find it a plus, and a few find it to be (their words) "evil" and "akin to slavery". I think the people in the last category are more than a bit mad, but I don't generally try to convince them otherwise, it's their life, let them live it how they want. To each his own. But I do try to point out that their opinion is nowhere near universal, and that most people feel quite the exact opposite. I point this out to them because far too often these people think Android is going to win out because of this one singular issue.

The really annoying thing, however, is if he said he bought an Android phone, you wouldn't find me questioning the choice *he* make for *his* phone with *his* money. It's none of my fucking business, and none of yours. Yet *I'm* the one that gets called the "fanboy".

Re:I ripped all my music from CDs (1)

DuctTape (101304) | more than 3 years ago | (#35390180)

Anyway, what I'm getting at is that buying the CD gives me something that iTunes music downloaders don't get. That is unlimited access to my music without DRM and without having to pay some online service for it.

I think a house fire trumps physical CDs.

DT

Re:I ripped all my music from CDs (2)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 3 years ago | (#35390488)

Yes house fires are nasty, lukilly they are rare and uncorrelated enough that insurance against them is affordable.

OTOH i've never heard of anyone insuring a media collection that requires online activation based DRM (as opposed to mere copy protection) against the provider going out of buisness and given that such an event would hit a load of people at once it would be difficult to insure against on a large scale without exposing the insurers to unacceptable risk.

Re:I ripped all my music from CDs (1)

node 3 (115640) | more than 3 years ago | (#35393506)

Yes house fires are nasty, lukilly they are rare and uncorrelated enough that insurance against them is affordable.

OTOH i've never heard of anyone insuring a media collection that requires online activation based DRM (as opposed to mere copy protection) against the provider going out of buisness and given that such an event would hit a load of people at once it would be difficult to insure against on a large scale without exposing the insurers to unacceptable risk.

Which has absolutely nothing to do with iTunes music, and is a somewhat unreasonable near-term fear with regards to Apple. Specifically, what are the odds, do you think, that Apple will shut down their authorization servers any time soon? By 2030, for example, do you think people will be unable to authorize their computer with Apple (for non-music purchases, music purchases won't require this, and perhaps by then, neither will any other media).

I expect internal optical drives to become a thing of the past, like the floppy, long before Apple shuts down their authorization servers.

Re:I ripped all my music from CDs (1)

smellotron (1039250) | more than 3 years ago | (#35392982)

I think a house fire trumps physical CDs.

I think homeowner's insurance trumps a house fire. In any case, CDs are the least of my worries at that point.

Congratulations! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35390250)

I just got an iPhone 4.

Congratulations! For being so brave!

Have you told your family yet?

Anyway, I applaud you for being so brave and coming out!

Re:I ripped all my music from CDs (1)

dgilzz (1929066) | more than 3 years ago | (#35390318)

You're so right, the best quality comes from ripped CD and very often at the cheapest price ! ;-) Most iTunes downloads are on 256kbps, ripping actual CDs in lossless will give you at least 600 kbps files, perfect for ipod, hifi, etc...

Re:I ripped all my music from CDs (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35391038)

Er... shutup.

Re:I ripped all my music from CDs (1)

node 3 (115640) | more than 3 years ago | (#35393318)

Anyway, what I'm getting at is that buying the CD gives me something that iTunes music downloaders don't get. That is unlimited access to my music without DRM and without having to pay some online service for it.

Unless you didn't phrase what you meant very well, iTunes downloads offer the exact same thing. Unlimited access to your music without DRM and without any further payment to an online service (you do have to pay initially, but you have to do the same thing with CDs).

I recommend you also buy CDs so that you don't have the DRM problem mentioned in the article.

This story is not about DRM, it's about redownloading music. This goes above and beyond the CD. If you lose your CD, you don't get a free replacement. That's what Apple is trying to get for people who buy their music online.

Hard Legit Vs Easy Not-so-Legit (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35390046)

a move in the right direction.
As long as they make it harder to be legit then not, I'll never be in the basket with the other apples...

Re:Hard Legit Vs Easy Not-so-Legit (1)

True Vox (841523) | more than 3 years ago | (#35390512)

How do you feel about Amazon's MP3 sales? DRM free, decent samples, easy one click buying... what's hard about that? Or are you just railing against Apple, but are in fact a legitimate Amazon music user?

What?! You can't redownload ITunes songs!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35390066)

I don't use iTunes and I did not know that. What a scam.

Re:What?! You can't redownload ITunes songs!? (0)

derfy (172944) | more than 3 years ago | (#35390130)

I actually tried out iTunes a few years ago; to try and 'come in from the cold' - so to speak - from my pirate status. I had purchased a few songs and some episodes of 30 Days. Then I found out about this little detail.

Never again, Apple.

Re:What?! You can't redownload ITunes songs!? (2)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 3 years ago | (#35390248)

So, I take it you don't have any backup system for any of your other data, either? That'll show 'em!

Re:What?! You can't redownload ITunes songs!? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35390262)

I've never used the ITMS largely because early on the DRM scheme was only available for iPod or iTunes and by the time they removed the DRM I was pretty angry for the bad behavior. But, this seems to be pretty bad, if they're advertising that you've bought these tracks, then you should be able to download them again it's not like CDs where they'd have to make and send you a new copy.

Re:What?! You can't redownload ITunes songs!? (4, Insightful)

DrgnDancer (137700) | more than 3 years ago | (#35390428)

I don't see what's "bad" about this. It's inconvenient, I'll grant you, it would be nice if the iTunes store acted as a backup for all my purchased music, but the idea makes sense when you consider the former paradigm. If you bought a CD in the past and lost, broke or damaged it, you went and bought a new CD. Was one of the ways the music companies kept making money on old stuff. This simply extended that concept to non-physical music purchases. If you "lose" them, you have to rebuy them. Since Apple's music has been DRM free for years and it's extremely trivial to backup the music, the risk of loss actually seems much lower to me that the risk of loss for a physical CD.

I'll be happy if they change this, it will be nice to know that I have yet another layer of backup in addition to the copies on my phone, computer, laptop, and backup disk, but realistically I'm not exactly worried as things are. Anything that wipes out every copy I have of most of my music has probably destroyed a lot more valuable things as well (not to mention the music I still do have on CD).

Re:What?! You can't redownload ITunes songs!? (2)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 3 years ago | (#35390580)

Since Apple's music has been DRM free for years and it's extremely trivial to backup the music, the risk of loss actually seems much lower to me that the risk of loss for a physical CD.

But ... I bought it on my iPod! How do I make a backup of it?
You sync it in iTunes.

What's iTunes?
The software that you have to install to use the device.

Where does that install?
On your computer.

But ... my computer broke down last month and I haven't gotten it fixed!
And?

And you have to get the music back for me!
No. Backup is your own responsibility.

But how?
Through your computer and possibly by copying it to an external hard drive as well

So why didn't I get a computer and hard drive with my iPod?
Because you didn't pay for it.

But YOU should provide it!
No.

Yes!
Why?

Because it's the law!
What law?

You have to!
Does Ford also have to provide you with every single tire your car will ever need, the gas it consumes, the oil it uses, the wiper fluid etc?

Well, don't be stupid, that's not the same thing!
Why not? Compared to the price of a new car, those things are minor. Compared to the cost of your iPod the computer and backup hard drive cost more than it does.

But you have to do it for me!

That is more or less the conversation I've had with a customer who was complaining about losing the two tracks he had bought from iTunes Store, nine months earlier and hadn't ever listened to since.

Personally I don't understand why the music execs are so greedy, but then again, they're not the ones having to tell customers that they have to handle their copies responsibly. Things might have a different tune, if every person who ever bought a scratched CD or LP had called the record company instead of returning to the store.

Unlimited download of music a logical next step (1)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 3 years ago | (#35393068)

... it would be nice if the iTunes store acted as a backup for all my purchased music, but the idea makes sense when you consider the former paradigm. If you bought a CD in the past and lost, broke or damaged it, you went and bought a new CD ... This simply extended that concept to non-physical music purchases ...

The problem with your argument is that this old paradigm applied to both CDs with application software and CDs with music. The new paradigm of online purchase with unlimited download is being applied by Apple to applications, the logical next step is to apply this to music as well.

Re:What?! You can't redownload ITunes songs!? (3, Insightful)

Goaway (82658) | more than 3 years ago | (#35391936)

So you blame Apple for this... who are the people who are currently working on making the deals necessary to remove this limitation?

About time (1)

mewshi_nya (1394329) | more than 3 years ago | (#35390090)

This is why I stopped using iTunes completely a few years ago, other than to put podcasts on my (now defunct) iPod nano.

Re:About time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35390852)

You stopped using iTunes because you knew that, in a few years, they would renegotiate with the music labels to allow unlimited downloads of music that was purchased?

Re:About time (1)

darjen (879890) | more than 3 years ago | (#35391270)

I stopped using iTunes because it's so damn slow. Anything more than 10 songs there was major lag scrolling down. And that was on reasonably fast hardware with discrete video card.

Better service.. (4, Insightful)

cortesoft (1150075) | more than 3 years ago | (#35390116)

You know who lets you download your songs as many times as you want?

The Pirate Bay

Re:Better service.. (3, Informative)

SpooForBrains (771537) | more than 3 years ago | (#35390124)

So do 7 Digital, and have done for ages. I'm not sure why this has taken Apple so long.

Re:Better service.. (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 3 years ago | (#35390150)

Wow, if only there was an article that explained why.

Re:Better service.. (3, Insightful)

imamac (1083405) | more than 3 years ago | (#35390240)

I'm not sure why this has taken Apple so long.

Because it wasn't in their contract with the big 5 to be able to do so. (If you read the summary you would have been able to at least infer that much.) Any changes to the contract require concessions. It's give and take. I would bet they have been after this for a while but the big 5 were too greedy.

Re:Better service.. (4, Interesting)

Kjella (173770) | more than 3 years ago | (#35390588)

Because Apple's store is way too dominant for their liking and they'd rather have a bunch of stragglers fighting to sell their music at the lowest possible markup? The record companies wanted to raise prices, particularly on the one or two hits that'd otherwise sell an album but Apple refused. The only reason Amazon got to open an MP3 shop was because Apple was bullying them around.

For them it's not getting better, it's getting worse. On the iPod, Apple needed the big labels. Now many people will get an iPhone or iPad for the apps, selling music is secondary. That and digital sales have increased massively, they can't afford not to be on iTunes anymore. They don't like that Apple is becoming the gatekeeper and is fighting it, but I don't think they'll win this one.

This [fildelning.se] is a pretty good graph on where we're heading, the CD is dying and digital is taking over. The iTunes Store is looking to be the Wal-Mart of digital downloads and the big 5 the manufacturers being squeezed to the lowest possible margins. That's not a future they saw coming and are trying desperately to back out of.

Re:Better service.. (1)

lhunath (1280798) | more than 3 years ago | (#35390498)

Ignoring the copyright issues involved, you seem to think that torrent tracker and seed availability are somehow more reliable than DRM-free corporate-backed cloud solutions.

Re:Better service.. (2)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 3 years ago | (#35391266)

Considering the number of these "drm free corporate back cloud solutions" going belly-up being quite significant, while essentially all posted reasonably popular bands have their full discographies in reach of a simple search on TPB, and these have been seeded for longer then most of the companies have been in existence...

And considering how many users got a really nice finger from these companies when they went belly-up...

Yeah. You got that one right.

Re:Better service.. (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 3 years ago | (#35390522)

Do you know who doesn't have to support the infrastructure for those downloads, nor has to support the creation of the content of those downloads?

Yup, The Pirate Bay.

Its easy to be the best at competing when you don't have the same costs...

Re:Better service.. (1)

cortesoft (1150075) | more than 3 years ago | (#35390686)

Apple could have the same infrastructure cost if they use bittorrent to distribute their content. The Pirate Bay still has to pay for it's servers.

We could argue about the cost of producing music for ages. I will bet dollars to donuts, however, that a negligible fraction of your download price from apple goes to actual production costs.

Apple is Evil? (0)

tonywestonuk (261622) | more than 3 years ago | (#35390118)

...So, how come they want to negotiate with the music cartels?.... Whats in it for them, they're only after are hard earned money, with their rip off ipads/macs/music store... as we all know.

(/sarcasm!.... I'm actually an Apple lover... but, this is directed at all the haters that seem to frequent Slashdot these days).

Re:Apple is Evil? (-1, Troll)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35390286)

If I hadn't already posted I'd mod you flamebait for that.

The issue is that they used an iPod only format until the iPod was on top, then they decided that they'd like to be populist and make use their huge clout to make the tracks DRM free. In the process they severely damaged the already damaged album by encouraging people to only buy the good tracks, ripped off Creative for their innovative DB based interface and apparently gave the users a screw off in the form of only allowing 1 download per song.

Plus, do your homework, Apple blatantly ripped off Xerox's PARC designs for their paperless office and made it into their Lisa and Mac offerings.

Re:Apple is Evil? (3, Informative)

Stratoukos (1446161) | more than 3 years ago | (#35390586)

Plus, do your homework, Apple blatantly ripped off Xerox's PARC designs for their paperless office and made it into their Lisa and Mac offerings.

If by "blatantly ripped off" you mean "paid them good money to get access to" then you are absolutely correct.

Re:Apple is Evil? (-1, Troll)

Rinnon (1474161) | more than 3 years ago | (#35390598)

Let's not forget the fact that they attempt to maintain complete control over your device. There's an App we don't approve of? Too bad! You can't have it. You want to have songs on your iPod AND your iPhone? No deal! Buy it twice! You want to downgrade from our new firmware that slows your phone down because you don't have our latest and greatest iPhone 4? No way! You stick with our new firmware that is slow as molasses on your old phone, or you buy a new one! The list goes on.

Re:Apple is Evil? (1)

netsharc (195805) | more than 3 years ago | (#35390788)

and how about the "we want 30% off all the profit from content you sell on iDevices." bullshit. It's like a Junior Mafia Guy negotiating with the bighead Mafia chiefs, slowly scheming his way to be the Godfather...

Re:Apple is Evil? (2)

thechink (182419) | more than 3 years ago | (#35390876)

You want to have songs on your iPod AND your iPhone? No deal! Buy it twice!

Not true at all. 100% false. Truth this is not.

I've got my songs on 3 iDevices, paid once.

Re:Apple is Evil? (1)

CheerfulMacFanboy (1900788) | more than 3 years ago | (#35392348)

Let's not forget the fact that they attempt to maintain complete control over your device. There's an App we don't approve of? Too bad! You can't have it.

The Android way: There's an app we don't aprove of? Just download it from one of the other stores - where there is even more malware than on our store.

Re:Apple is Evil? (1)

narcc (412956) | more than 3 years ago | (#35393124)

The Android way: There's an app we don't aprove of? Just download it from one of the other stores - where there is even more malware than on our store.

You know that Android isn't the opposite of Apple, right?

(There are more than 2 big players in the smartphone market. For example, RIM, according to the most recent Nielsen report [cnet.com] , has as many post-paid subscribers as Apple!)

Additionally iOS isn't immune to malware -- and "apps" aren't the only attack vector smartphone users should be worried about.

Last August, for example, simply visiting a website was enough to jailbreak your iPhone. If that can be done by visiting a website, what can't be done?

The illusion of perfect security that Apple provides is really quite dangerous for their users. This becomes increasingly more important as Apple gains market share and becomes an larger/more attractive target for malware authors.

Re:Apple is Evil? (1)

CheerfulMacFanboy (1900788) | more than 3 years ago | (#35393732)

The Android way: There's an app we don't aprove of? Just download it from one of the other stores - where there is even more malware than on our store.

You know that Android isn't the opposite of Apple, right?

So your point is a platform is free as long as there is enough malware, and Apple isn't free enough.

Re:Apple is Evil? (1)

mr100percent (57156) | more than 3 years ago | (#35390896)

What mysterious flamebait are you spouting? You say Apple killed the album by allowing a la carte downloads of individual tracks. I say Apple finally allowed consumer freedom and choice since most people buy an album for only one song anyway. Ever listened to the awful filler on the rest of Britney Spears' albums after track 1 ends?

Licensed content (4, Insightful)

Xian97 (714198) | more than 3 years ago | (#35390128)

Since you only have a license for the content, then there is no reason why you should not be able to re-download it again. That license that you bought and paid for should not disappear just because you didn't perform a back up. If you have a physical copy such as a CD then there should be a replacement cost, but you can also sell and give away that CD, unlike a digital purchase which is tied to the account.

Re:Licensed content (2)

tonywestonuk (261622) | more than 3 years ago | (#35390158)

Obviously, the record companies disagree with you..... why else would Apple have to negotiate, rather than just flick a switch to allow multiple downloads.

I guess, their argument is, if you damage a CD, you have to rebuy. You should have to do the same for digital downloads

Re:Licensed content (0)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35390300)

And yet, quite a few other online stores allow for multiple downloads, and have for years. I'm sorry, but was Apple really that short sighted or is this another Steve Jobs blow job incoming? Er snow job.

Re:Licensed content (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35390384)

There was a time when many PC games and, if I remember correctly, even music CDs had a little blurb in the back of the booklet saying you could send in a damaged CD for a replacement at a very modest cost. It was like $5 or so. It makes sense.

Lucasarts still does this.
After 90 days from the date of purchase (or if the CD/documents/manual has been accidentally damaged) you must send in the defective item(s) plus a check or money order to cover the replacement costs. The fees are as follows:

        * Replacement CD's cost $5.00

Re:Licensed content (4, Informative)

trawg (308495) | more than 3 years ago | (#35393674)

There's no real COPYRIGHT LAW reason why you shouldn't be able to - but the cost of doing another download has other costs that need to be accounted for (the cost of the bandwidth, the cost of making a new connection to the download servers, etc, etc). It's easy to assume that cost is zero, but I can imagine it being something that people take seriously when it comes to capacity planning.

And before any gamers chime in and say "well, that's bullshit, because Steam lets you download things as many times as you want" - a significant proportion of the Steam Content Server Network is paid for by companies (ISPs) that are not Valve that maintain local mirrors (I manage two in Australia; we have several others because the cost of bandwidth is relatively high, and so there are several ISPs that are voluntarily running them for Valve as a benefit for their customers and to help reduce their bandwidth costs - so Valve get all that bandwidth for free).

You mean they aren't??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35390148)

I don't think I've ever bought music from iTunes. Free downloads from Starbucks cards, sure. Bought? Don't think so. I'm still conditioned that buying media digitally is pointless from when they had DRM on everything.

I have, however, purchased apps. And I like the ability to easily re-download. And, if I had bought music, would have assumed I could do that too. And would have been EXTREMELY upset if I ended up finding out that they don't let you.

Re:You mean they aren't??? (1)

ciderVisor (1318765) | more than 3 years ago | (#35392350)

I must admit that I've bought (and downloaded free) apps from the App Store and had to re-download them later for free (due to reseting the hardware). On three iPod Touches connected to the same iTunes account. I just assumed that music tracks were like that, too (never bought one from ITMS). If this gets implemented, then it's a positive step forward.

CRIPS ALREADY !! IT'S FUCKING APPLE !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35390186)

A lot of new and interesting factoids appeared today regarding the battle between the smartphone operating systems. At this juncture, it appears as if the Google Android OS is beginning to move ahead of the competition while RIM has actually maintained pace with the Apple iPhone. Microsoft Phone 7 and Symbian are in the back of the pack. Way in the back. This is appropriate, since Nokia will be swapping Symbian for Windows Phone 7.

In older columns, I predicted that the scene will boil down to two players: probably Android and Apple. But I'm not surprised that the Blackberry hangs tough. Users love that phone.

Overlooked in the commotion, though, is the transformative nature of the entire market. The whole world is looking at these changes. Wherever you go, the hip, trendy phone users around the globe will most often be seen with one of these North American smartphones. And to be honest the hippest of the hip will have an iPhone.

I find this particularly amusing, because I recall a constant barrage of anti-American accusations during the late 1990s, whereby we were told that the mobile phone world has passed us by. When I was doing Silicon Spin, a cable show for TechTV, guests would often arrive having just visited Japan, carrying some dingbat phone, such as the Docomo, and singing its praises.

Whenever you read International tech media, you'd hear about all the great things going on with mobile technology everywhere in the world, except in the U.S.

You'd go to meetings and conferences and hear speakers lament about how the U.S. was so far behind in mobile phone technology. The common accusation was that we were pathetic laggards. Losers. This mocking and teasing continued right up until the announcement of the iPhone. Then everything changed.

The fact is we were never really that far behind, and most of the "great" phones around the world were gimmicky and often just plain dumb. The Docomo comes to mind. The first time I saw one its earmark seemed to be a lot of animated gifs for icons. All that was missing was the cat running back and forth at the bottom of the display.

Whatever the case, I can assure you that it was a little more than annoying to listen to what seemed like the entire universe deriding Americans about cell phonesâ"a technology we invented. We were the redhead stepchild of the tech world because our phones were not doing much more than making phone calls. How lame is that? Thus, we were world class losers.

Gee, I guess that's changed, eh? If you aren't using an iPhone in London, then you are probably using an Android phone. That's unless you are a loser, laggard, or slow-poke.

This particular leapfrog is because of American ingenuity and was led by the folks at Apple. It's kind of been overlooked, however, in all the confusion and classic fighting for market share. Most people seem to have forgotten the history and don't even realize that they witnessed one of the great tech come-from-behind victories ever.

To be honest about it, it even surprised me. It was like a sporting event where one whole team was replaced with another team to "show them how it's done." The new guys then decimate the competition.

It's expected that within just a few years the entire market will consist of varieties of smartphones, whose designs and operation were all invented in the U.S. and Canada. And we won't have to gloat about it.

DoCoMo, hah! Well, maybe gloat a little, el chupacabre.

Re:CRIPS ALREADY !! IT'S FUCKING APPLE !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35390442)

Deep breaths. Deep breaths.

Redownload and other pipe dreams (2)

pyalot (1197273) | more than 3 years ago | (#35390290)

Not gonna happen. I've seen people attempt to negotiate unlimited redownloads, the big four labels will balk at this like mad, and then they'll demand that this only be enabled on DRMed content, and only for a limited amount of redownloads (7 or so).

The big four labels will see this as an attempt to renegotiate the royalties, and they'll fight tooth and claw to let royalties drop further.

Re:Redownload and other pipe dreams (1)

White Flame (1074973) | more than 3 years ago | (#35390368)

It's interesting to see where the balance of the scale is. Is iTunes big enough that they can dictate terms to the labels, and that if the labels disagree they'd be hurt by non-inclusion into Apple's retail presence? Or is Apple hurt more by not having some of the labels available through their store?

Re:Redownload and other pipe dreams (1)

pyalot (1197273) | more than 3 years ago | (#35390412)

Well Apple's not gonna drop the music business and the big four know that. It'd be perfectly clear that if Apple throws that bargaining chip on the table that it's a bluff.

Re:Redownload and other pipe dreams (1)

mr100percent (57156) | more than 3 years ago | (#35390866)

That's not what is meant here. Apple is now the #1 vendor of Music, even more than Walmart. If Apple decided to remove one of the labels from the store, the label would take a substantial loss in profits. Remember when NBC decided to yank all their shows from iTunes, because Apple wouldn't sell more than $2 and episode, and then came back a few months later hat in hand?

Re:Redownload and other pipe dreams (1)

pyalot (1197273) | more than 3 years ago | (#35390948)

Yeah but the situation's different. It's Apple asking for something, not the labels yanking their stuff off. So it would have to be apple who throws a label out, and that's just what's not gonna happen.

SJ and Gaddafi are both called "mercurial." (1)

ethergear (1130483) | more than 3 years ago | (#35391368)

I remember, and I'll bet the record executives remember, a certain MacWorld keynote. If memory serves, an nVidia exec spilled the beans about the new Power Macs the night before the speech. When Steve got on the stage, those new Macs had ATI cards in them. It might not be a bluff, if they decide to kick one or more labels out of the iTunes store.

Re:Redownload and other pipe dreams (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#35391450)

I dunno - most other digital content sold online can be re-downloaded these days, from what I've seen. Steam lets me re-download my games; Kindle Store lets me re-download my books; IIRC, Amazon VOD does it for videos; and all "app stores", including Apple's, do it for apps. Music has been the odd one so far (not just on iTunes; Amazon MP3 is also download-once).

My experience with Apple... (4, Informative)

CFTM (513264) | more than 3 years ago | (#35390500)

My experience represents just one customer but I have never had an issue getting Apple to reissue downloads to me after losing all my data. They happily obliged after a hard drive failure and after my computer was stolen. Shame on me for not having backups, but Apple has always been very accommodating.

Re:My experience with Apple... (2)

bushing (20804) | more than 3 years ago | (#35391574)

I think that the issue here is that Apple is required to "only allow one download per purchase, under normal circumstances" (or something to that effect). Emailing them and asking for them to make an exception and let you redownload the music may be within the terms of their license, but "automatic" redownloading apparently isn't.

Re:My experience with Apple... (1)

dachshund (300733) | more than 3 years ago | (#35391710)

They happily obliged after a hard drive failure and after my computer was stolen. Shame on me for not having backups, but Apple has always been very accommodating.

Better yet, tell them you lost your data during an upgrade to the latest version of OSX.

this is the day where i thank apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35390994)

Thank you Apple

And when those words come from me you better take them seriously, as i generally hate your very existence and [now only mostly] everything you stand for. HOWEVER this time a big and warm hearted thank you is in its place. No doubt about it.

This big thank you is not because i think what you are doing is anything special, quite the contrary. I think this should never even have been an issue. No, i thank you this much simply because you are the standard snobs of the trade.. thus, if Apple gets this deal home everyone wants to do exactly the same.

So on the bottom line we arrive at an army of macfags going "omfg doesn't your music site let you download your songs to all your devices?!? you should get a mac!", which will, despite being really annoying to listen to, over time create a better music downloading experience for everyone.

Again, thank you faggots - for once you contributed to the world... feels nice doesn't it?

Re:this is the day where i thank apple (1)

Torp (199297) | more than 3 years ago | (#35391374)

What do you mean, unlimited music downloads? You mean until now the tracks that you bought weren't available indefinitely?
Now i know why i never even looked at the iTunes store...

Mog (1)

darjen (879890) | more than 3 years ago | (#35391348)

I use Mog and couldn't be happer. I listen to a lot of new releases and it's a lot better to just download however much I want. I used to buy and rip CDs but that's kind of a waste of time IMO. I hate using iTunes to manage and sync files.

so in other words... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35391428)

...what zune has essentially been offering since it launched
on the assumption apple is going subscription model

also assuming what they actually mean by 'unlimited downloads' and 'allowing download to ipad, ipod, etc' is that it's the same as steam / zune in that there's a record (read drm license) of what you've downloaded (not purchased mind you) so that once those devices are loaded with your latest license it'll let you access your library.
or in semi-reverse, don't expect to be able to listen to your itunes music library on another device that hasn't been hooked up with your itunes account. think of it as a nice way to stay attached to the apple eco-system. for a monthly fee of course. stop paying the subscription and lose the library til you renew.

Buying spesific songs (1)

TyFoN (12980) | more than 3 years ago | (#35391534)

I never understood the appeal of buying one song. I'm much more comfortable with a subscription service like spotify (which i use) and wimp where you pay a sum each month and can listen to whatever song you want. I wish the movie and tv industry would go for this model as well and let you play anything as long as you subscribe on any device you want.

Thanks, Slashdot! (2)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 3 years ago | (#35391640)

I used to have to visit MacRumors.com [slashdot.org] separately - thank you for saving me time by cross-posting all the latest Apple scuttlebutt here!

Re:Thanks, Slashdot! (1)

thestudio_bob (894258) | more than 3 years ago | (#35391888)

I used to have to visit MacRumors.com [slashdot.org] separately - thank you for saving me time by cross-posting all the latest Apple scuttlebutt here!

I used to have to go to Engadget.com separately - thanks to your apple post, I can now get my daily dose of Apple haters in one place!

You mean like eMusic does? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35392342)

eMusic has been doing this forever and to be honest, it's one of the reasons I stay a subscriber. When I go into my account, I see a complete list of everything I've ever purchased there. Nice.

Wake up Apple, this isn't revolutionary, it's been done for years and years now. It's just the right thing to do.

Re:You mean like eMusic DID? (1)

68kmac (471061) | more than 3 years ago | (#35392428)

You mean "like eMusic did", unfortunately. They changed it recently - you are no longer able to re-download things.

Try going to one of those albums from your list. Notice how the button above the album now reads "re-purchase album".

No problem with Rhapsody (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35392656)

Another advantage of subscription services. If I get a new computer or a new player. I add it as an authorized device (you can have 3 computers AND 3 portable devices registered at a time). Plug it in and it copies down all of my playlists and songs which for me is currently 3 different players each with 16GB of songs on them.

If I am not sitting at "authorized computer", I can still listen to any of my playlists or any of what Rhapsody has available online by logging on with just about any web browser (works in Linux and even things like the N800 as well).

Sure, I don't "own" the music and if I stop paying $14/month I lose access to everything but that $14/month is well worth it to me for the convenience and the choice of what devices and where I can use them.

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