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Sony Connect Online Music Download Store Launches

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the live-the-sony-life dept.

Music 373

securitas writes "USA Today's Jefferson Graham reports that today Sony launched its online music download store, Sony Connect, to compete with Apple's leading iTunes service. The tracks use the MagicGate DRM copy-protection scheme and will work only with Sony Memory Stick-compatible devices including VAIO computers, CLIE PDAs, MiniDisc, CD and Walkman products. Sony will also launch a new line of 1-gigabyte Hi-MD disc players that support the service. Sony Connect's catalog sports 500,000 tracks from independent and major labels and songs sell for 99 cents each or $10 per album. The service uses Sony's SonicStage software and works with Windows 98SE-XP PCs only. It is only available in the USA until the planned European launch in June. That's a whole lot of restrictions in an already-fragmented market. More at The Register and The Age."

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The real story, you /. chumps (1)

Donald Trump (764369) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053624)

Nah, that'd be more of a Farker thing. /. fanboys (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9053691)

would need something involving several unwashed, tubby geek guys trying to install Gentoo on a 386SX in record time. During the wait, they play Magic: The Gathering and stuffing their faces with Cheetos.

Re:The real story, you /. chumps (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9053923)

Mac Zealot Translator-o-matic

Apple have come up with some innovative products, but their market share remains tiny. Sadly, though, many buyers have been mislead by the marketing and eye-candy, and desperately try to justify their overpriced purchases to themselves on forums around the Net. Let's see what they really mean...

"MacOS X is everything Linux wants to be."
"Despite the fact that Linux is just code and can't WANT to be anything, I truly believe that it'd love to be a single-vendor, single-platform, sluggish half-proprietary OS with dwindling market share. Linux would love to throw away its impressively growing corporate takeup for that."

"Apple hardware is for real computer lovers."
"It's no hassle to use a plethora of keyboard combos to make up for the patronising one-button mouse. Despite the fact that my hands have FIVE fingers, and multiple-buttons make Web browsing so much more pleasant, I prefer my computer to be treat me like a special-needs child."

"Aqua makes me so much more productive!"
"My non-techie friends drool over the transparency and scaling effects, even though UI research has shown that they add practically nothing to getting real work done. It feels like KDE 2 on a Pentium 200, and I can't change to a light and fast WM, but those drop-shadows must make me work so quickly!"

"OSX shows that Apple is committed to open source."
" and its community of about 27 is surely not just a token gesture by Apple. Pretty much nobody uses pure Darwin, and all the crucial components of the system are closed and require me to spend money just to get major OS updates, but they're really helping the community somehow."

"You get what you pay for with Apple hardware."
"My iBook was made by in Taiwan by AlphaTop and has design and build quality flaws (needing foam sheets jammed in to stop the common problem of the keyboard scratching the screen). But it's silvery and cost far more than an x86 laptop of better spec, so it must be much higher quality!"

"...blah blah MHz myth blah..."
"Although there's truth in PPC being more elegant than x86, it's crushing that the top-of-the-range 1.5 GHz chip is slaughtered by the equivalent 3 GHz Pentium 4. However, Steve Jobs showed some vague Photoshop filter benchmarks at the last MacWorld, so being a leprotard, I'm convinced."

Loss leader? (5, Insightful)

bcmm (768152) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053627)

Is this just a way to sell the devices?

So basically, Sony copied Apple . . . (5, Insightful)

base3 (539820) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053634)

. . . even right down to the vendor lock-in part. Wonderful. Wake me when I can buy, rather than rent, music.

Re:So basically, Sony copied Apple . . . (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9053705)

Yes, but Apple was innovative in spearheading the vendor lock-in. But we can't say bad things about Apple here at /., only other companies who do the same exact thing.

Sounds a whole hell of a lot less restrictive than Apple to me.

iTunes is a kludge (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9053762)

ITunes is a kludge. In order to get a useful file, you have to burn to a CD and then rip it into a standard format. Does Sony require this?

Re:So basically, Sony copied Apple . . . (4, Funny)

Glonoinha (587375) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053758)

DRM'ed out the ass, doesn't work on anything besides Sony players, doesn't work on any of the players people already own.

Yet another wonderful idea from the Sales Prevention Team at Sony!

Re:So basically, Sony copied Apple . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9053896)

....just like Apple.

Now do you get that DRM is wrong, even when Apple does it?

But can you burn CDs with the sony store?? (4, Informative)

acomj (20611) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053977)

I use the itunes store. Burn Cds which seem to work anywhere I have access to a cd player (ie on my work computer).

Re:But can you burn CDs with the sony store?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9054061)

Where else are you playing your DRMd AAC files but on your iPod or your PC/Mac?

Uuh... (5, Funny)

PatrickThomson (712694) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053635)

Sony Connect Online? What an unfortunate acronym. What are they going to do, sue iTMS for selling music, the concept which they apparently own?'s sony (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9053637)

Sony has never been one to use open this really a surprise?

Kiss Apple Goodbye! (3, Interesting)

callipygian-showsyst (631222) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053640)

Much as I like iTunes, Sony has several advantages:

1. They're a major record label AND a major PC vendor

2. They can get into the Japanese market easier

I think they'll be able to clobber Apple.

Re:Kiss Apple Goodbye! (4, Insightful)

Txiasaeia (581598) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053704)

Sorry, but are you kidding? Time has proven over and over again that market penetration > brand recognition. Apple has a year's head start on Sony -- what makes you think Sony can catch up now?

Re:Kiss Apple Goodbye! (3, Insightful)

jafomatic (738417) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053830)

Sony had 0% of the game console market back in.. er, 1995? Nintendo and Sega held almost 100% (I believe there was one other system, but I don't recall which one it was). Prior to the microsoft's XBOX launch, I'm fairly certain that Sony clobbered the living bejesus out of existing marketshare holders with a single console product.

Ask Nintendo or Sega how many years of head start they had over Sony, see what their answer is.

Note: this is not to say that Sony will conquer, but that the above reason is not proof against it.

Re:Kiss Apple Goodbye! (2, Insightful)

Gizzmonic (412910) | more than 10 years ago | (#9054014)

Sony was first to market over the N64 and Saturn (technically, the Saturn was first, but it was priced well out of reach and not available in most stores) and it won handily. So basically, you proved the guy's point.

Re:Kiss Apple Goodbye! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9053966)

Tell that to Netscape!

Re:Kiss Apple Goodbye! (3, Informative)

prockcore (543967) | more than 10 years ago | (#9054066)

Apple has a year's head start on Sony -- what makes you think Sony can catch up now?

Years and years of past experiences.

Re:Kiss Apple Goodbye! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9053710)

The also have a major disadvantage.

1. They are one of THE major evil labels.

I refuse to put money in their coffers. If I can't get major-label music used, then I download it off P2P or copy it from friends.

The only music I *PAY* for is stuff from independant bands and small labels.

Re:Kiss Apple Goodbye! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9053846)

yea but Apple Computers cant sell any music from Apple Records...

Re:Kiss Apple Goodbye! (2, Insightful)

tyleroar (614054) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053727)

You seem to forget one very important thing. Apple iTunes has 70% of the market share. Source [] Without pouring tons of money in to this, they will never be able to make up that defecit.

Re:Kiss Apple Goodbye! (1)

Paul Lamere (21149) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053813)

I agree with you .. but in 1981 people were saying the same thing ... the Apple ][ has 70% of the market share, there is no way that IBM with its 'PC' will be able to make up that deficit.

Sony has no angle like IBM did (4, Insightful)

danielsfca2 (696792) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053988)

But IBM did, just because they succeeded in selling their existing business customers on the concept of IBM being the "Standard For Business" in the PC market too. Once a few businesses signed on, it was all over for Apple in the business sector because you wanted to go with the standard. And that was the end of the PC wars.

So where's Sony's parallel advantage here? I think that analogy is a good thing to keep in mind in general, but very fallacious because Sony doesn't have a big captive audience that they can convince on a new standard.

For the record, MP3 is the Standard For Music, with all its faults (poor quality and no DRM from the label's POV) is the standard and will remain so for a while because of its ubiquity and freedom of use. The iPod has become the de-facto "Standard For MP3-Players" and it's not a personal thing--I'm just going by marketshare here.

Re:Kiss Apple Goodbye! (4, Insightful)

The I Shing (700142) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053755)

I believe that Sony might be able to clobber Apple, but that Apple's cachet and hipness might well carry the day for them.

Sony is a good, solid brand. I own and love a Sony digital camera and have had treasured Walkman units throughout the years, but Sony is not quite as hip of a brand as Apple.

But I might end up surprised. With enough artist support and advertising, Sony might do economically better with their store.

Re:Kiss Apple Goodbye! (1)

Have Blue (616) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053796)

Apple has an enormous chunk of the MP3 player market, and the iPod isn't compatible with Sony's store.

That's funny! (4, Insightful)

danielsfca2 (696792) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053800)

1. Sony's being one major label only gives other labels a disincentive to cooperate...and most artists fall into the "not on Sony" category. Sony has no majority of artists on its labels.

2. Yeah. Apple has no following in Japan at all. Give me a break! The Japanese can't keep their hands off sexy, stylish, hip little things. I predict it'll be even harder to get your hands on the iPod mini in Japan (upon its release there) as it has been in the US. Name a Sony product that's come out in the last three years that's got anywhere near the amount of buzz as the 3rd-gen. iPod and iPod mini.

I think the words [] of Seinfeld's Jackie Chiles will soon apply for Sony here: "This is the most public yet of my many humiliations."

Re:Kiss Apple Goodbye! (2, Funny)

wud (709053) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053879)

Much as I like iTunes, Sony has several advantages

That was only 2.

Re:Kiss Apple Goodbye! (1)

pluvia (774424) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053882)

Any idea how the Japanese generally feel about DRM? They seem to be at the forefront of all technology, apparently buying all the new gadgets that come out.

Come to think of it, with my perceptions being warped by /., I'm not even sure how the vast US or EU feel about DRM, albeit they are much larger and perhaps harder to characterize.

btw: Did they start in Japan like electronics companies often do, or did they start this service in the US?

Re:Kiss Apple Goodbye! (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9053901)

I'm laughing at your last statement about clobbering Apple. Apparently you've never owned, or used a Sony digital music player? I guess if you don't mind Sony playing big brother with all of your music, forcing you to use their format, having to check in and out your music and absolutely no HD digital music player, only their over priced tiny MS Pro then you'll be happy.

But for me, I found their music B.S. rather insulting and very limiting. Overall it just plain sucks. I know this from experience after thinking a Clié would be a good music player. I couldn't have been more wrong and if you like MP3s, well then you'll be screwed even more, since Sony makes MP3 managing, importing and playback a major pain.

Unless Sony get's off their arses and actually produces a HD device that's easy to use like the iPod, gives the same freedom of the iPod, where one format isn't prefered over another, Sony will sink like the Titanic.

Apple has the best service on the market, Sony can take several pointers from them, one being that MusicMatch is a horrible application compared to iTunes.

Why do they still push the memory stick (4, Interesting)

mpost4 (115369) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053642)

it such a small share, I only know of one company that uses it (correct me if I am wrong)

when I look for a divice that uses a flash card, I do not buy sony because I will not be able to use it on any other device I already own, right now I am looking at digital camras, and I sony is not even an option for me because I can not use it with any other device I use, I want one with an sd card because all my other devices accept an SD card.

I think it is not a good idea to only suppord devices that only use a memory stick for it, since, that limites your market right there.

Re:Why do they still push the memory stick (3, Interesting)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053775)

Unfortunately there are a few markets where Sony make the best products meaning that you have to be tied into their overpriced memory format or settle for a device with standard memory but fewer features. For the sake of a premium on the memory I'll go with the best device - however much it pains me to support proprietary formats like Memory Stick Duo it's not a big enough problem for me to compromise on my 450+ PDA. This is what Sony count on - I buy their PDA because it's better, I'm tied into giving them 20 extra for every memory stick I buy for said PDA.

Re:Why do they still push the memory stick (1)

cvd6262 (180823) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053857)


My father visited me in France, and brought his Cannon digital camera, which uses CF cards. I took one, popped it in my Sharp Zaurus, and viewed/copied/emailed the pics. I have an SMC CF WiFi that works on my IBM X20 as well. Two friends of mine have HP cameras, and they use SD cards. My Zaurus also has an SD slot, so I can see/exchange pics with them.

I was wondering why Sony continues to fight this battle as well, but don't forget who was behind beta video cassettes. (Yes, I know the story, and I have a DigiBeta in the office, but its a good example of closing your patents and loosing the lion's share of your market.)

Re:Why do they still push the memory stick (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053996)

I agree, except the use of DRM already limits the music to Sony players anyways, so how does the memory stick make things any worse?

AFAIK, there isn't any compatible DRM for music. Maybe CSS (the now-broken DVD restriction scheme) convinced the industry that if you let enough parties implement the technology somebody will mess up and let the cat out of the bag?

CowboyNeal confirms - Apple is dying (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9053652)

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Retarded (3, Insightful)

sseagle (715847) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053656)

Who really cares about sony's mp3 store solution, especially with the files being crippled. And it only works on the actual system it was compiled on apparently...

heh (5, Insightful)

no-arg constructor (775215) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053667)

i don't think steve jobs has anything to fear from sony considering you have an old, aging minidisc format, working on only win98-xp pcs, and really not offering up that much initial space, 1 gig? i'm not even an mp3 whore and i have more music than that.

Re:heh (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9054082)

working on only win98-xp pcs

Yeah, huh, jeez - what a small market segment.

This sounds like a joke, but it's not April 1. (5, Interesting)

danielsfca2 (696792) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053668)

...will work only with Sony Memory Stick-compatible devices... ...1-gigabyte Hi-MD disc players...
From the sonyconnect site [] : "What devices are compatible with Connect?
Any ATRAC-compatible device from Sony works with Connect."

Great! This will be a huge hit with the people who thought Apple's music store doesn't support enough players.

I wonder how many iPods there are out there in the public's hands for every Sony Memory-Stick and "Hi-MD" device. I'm guessing at least 4, and that's being generous to Sony.

And 1GB. Wow. That's sooo much music. Has anyone at Sony ever even heard of hard drives? C'mon, I was expecting some sort of competition here, but this is more like a joke.

Anyone know what restrictions the DRM imposes? They conveniently make no mention of it on their 5-page website (overview, features, download, customer support, independent label signup). I'd say that's pretty relevant information to put out front if you want to convince people to download your software.

-Daniel Pritchard []

Re:This sounds like a joke, but it's not April 1. (2, Insightful)

cscx (541332) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053791)

Sony's DRM is fucking ridiculous. Their own software imposes crazy restrictions even for your own MP3s! Mind you RealPlayer fixes this problem by circumventing the DRM altogether.

I guess there go my hopes of having a NetMD plugin for iTunes! I love the NetMD player... it's small and it runs for 50 hours on a single AA battery. That and it's cheap -- I can drop it and not worry!

What a coincidence! (4, Funny)

danielsfca2 (696792) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053841)

it's small and it runs for 50 hours on a single AA battery. That and it's cheap -- I can [destroy] it and not worry!

What a coincidence!

That's the same reason I drive a Yugo!

Re:This sounds like a joke, but it's not April 1. (1)

SilentChris (452960) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053820)

Some of us are avoiding an iPod like the plague because of its restrictions. I want to be able to play all kinds of music: Apple's protected AAC, MP3, Ogg, WM. But I can only do the first 2, and the third is probably only available through a hack.

The first thing I do when I purchase something from iTunes music store is burn it to CD and recode it in 256 mbps MP3s.

I'd mod the above as Flamebait. *Any* time competition enters the market it's good for the industry. I don't want Apple, or any other company, controlling what I can buy AND the hardware I play it on. Until I get a device that plays all those formats, I won't be sold.

You disagree...why? (4, Insightful)

danielsfca2 (696792) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053895)

I'd mod the above as Flamebait. *Any* time competition enters the market it's good for the industry.

And you disagree with me here why? I didn't say it was bad for the industry!!
I'm criticizing SonyConnect because the Sony store and players are more restrictive than Apple. If you hate Apple, then fine. Don't buy an iPod or don't use iTMS. But do you think Sony is going to support OGG? Do you think they'll support AAC (DRM or no)? If you do you're dreaming. And if you hate Apple because of their "restrictions" you are going to hate Sony even more.

Sony makes Apple look like a bastion of free choice by comparison.

Re:You disagree...why? (2, Insightful)

SilentChris (452960) | more than 10 years ago | (#9054003)

First off, I don't think Sony's DRM has been made entirely clear yet.

Second, I know Sony isn't going to support AAC (although someone may figure out an iPod-like hack for Ogg). The point is that the more large competitors you get into the mix, the better the devices have to get. Your original post sounded like you were condemning Sony to failure because Apple's solution is so much better. It isn't.

Re:I want to be able to play all kinds of music... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9054050)

Um, your list is not a full list, and well, the argument is ass backwards...

" I want to be able to play all kinds of music: Apple's protected AAC, MP3, Ogg, WM. But I can only do the first 2, and the third is probably only available through a hack."

Can't say much on ogg, havn't tried it, havn't much want or need to .. but the rest...

The iPod can play:
2. Apple Lossless
3. AAC
4. Apple "fairplay" protected AAC
5. MP3
6. iTunes can convert your WMV files to MP3 for the iPod to play...(as long as they don't have DRM)

If that list is too short for you, then I'm sorry, but you need to get a life.

As far as Apple controling what you play the songs on? You said it yourself, burn a CD and rerip if you want to play the songs on something other than an iPod. What's the big deal? I mean, if you have the time and energy to mitch and bone about it, it can't be that it would take too much of your time to do that, right?

Re:This sounds like a joke, but it's not April 1. (2, Insightful)

Laxitive (10360) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053862)

I don't know. ATRAC support is in a lot of products - most notably sony minidisc players. I'm not sure how high the adoption rate for minidisc is as opposed to iPods, but they've been around for a lot longer than ipods have.

I'm curious about what kind of DRM is there as well. I know SonicStage is supposed to interact with windows DRM in some capacity, not sure why.

My main problem with this is SonicStage. Can't get it working under wine (because of aforementioned windows DRM integration). And even in windows it's a PIECE OF FUCKING ASS CRAP FUCKING SHIT software. I feel like blowing a hole in a sony executive's skull and urinating inside his brain cavity every time I use that piece of shit.

I own a NetMD.. the hardware is pretty well-engineered, but it doesn't come close to compensating for the pure hate that is SonicStage.

Fuck sonicstage. Fuck sony.


Re:This sounds like a joke, but it's not April 1. (1)

malraid (592373) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053884)

MD is quite good in my opinion. I own one of the normal MD and I find it quite good. I think it has several advantages:
- Cheap. Some asshole already stole my first one. I bought another one, that set me back like $130, but much less than an iPod, but for gym sessions, bike rides, plane trips, more than enough.
- Cheap media. Sure they don't hold much, but at $2 per 170MB disk, I can carry arround good amount of music. Not as much as an iPod
- Recordable. Optical and analog line-in. Live shows anyone? Many people use MD to record live shows, simply plug into the mixer. Direct digital recording.
- Quality. Sony hardware is good, reliable, in my opinion.
- Sound quality. ATRAC beats the pants off MP3, etc. Sony has long been an audio company, they know their stuff.

HI-Md? Count me in.

Re:This sounds like a joke, but it's not April 1. (1)

NeoPotato (444954) | more than 10 years ago | (#9054043)

Yeah, my MD is great and cheap and all, but I'll be damned if I'm going to let Sony tell me that I need to convert my entire music library into their DRM-encrusted format.

Fortunately, there's all sorts of workarounds to get my MP3's onto my MD player that avoid the MG system altogether.

As for ATRAC beating the pants off MP3 - I can't stand listening to an MD recorded at LP4 (lowest quality, but you can squeeze almost 4 hours on an MD). It sounds like an MP3 recorded at 96kbps. To top it off, the software for my NetMD won't let me natively record at SP (highest quality, but only 70 minutes).

Sony had a great idea with the NetMD, but their software was absolutely horrific.

Re:This sounds like a joke, but it's not April 1. (1)

proj_2501 (78149) | more than 10 years ago | (#9054046)

oops, portable MD records don't have digital inputs!

Re:This sounds like a joke, but it's not April 1. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9053921)

RTFA - "Sony says it has sold about 2.5 million Connect-compatible devices. By taking on industry leader Apple, Sony will compete with a company that has sold 3 million iPods"

So your 4-to-1 guess is NOT generous to Sony.

Re:This sounds like a joke, but it's not April 1. (1)

NeoPotato (444954) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053925)

SonicStage uses the same MagicGate DRM that their minidiscs do. I can't find a good FAQ on it anywhere, but from my minidisc manual, it sounds like one of the restrictions is having to "check in/check out" all your songs through the software, and only being able to have three checked-out copies. To make more, you have to check it back in (and remove it from the player).

So let's say I copy a file to my minidisc using SonicStage - I checked out a copy. If I lose that minidisc or erase the song on the player, I have one permanently checked out song that can't be recovered.

Funny thing is, I remember reading somewhere that if you lock yourself out of a song (by making 3 copies and losing them all), then you should just delete your master copy and make a new one (re-rip your CD, re-convert your MP3, etc). I guess with this online service, you'll just have to buy another copy.

Re:This sounds like a joke, but it's not April 1. (1)

PatientZero (25929) | more than 10 years ago | (#9054062)

Has anyone at Sony ever even heard of hard drives?

Yes. They're behind (as with the music store itself), but you only have to wait until this fall.

Why i will never buy sony again. (5, Informative)

conner_bw (120497) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053677)

Sony is a plague that never ends. I bought a minidisc from them specifically to be able to digitally record my own music performances. I was falsely led to believe (by the sales person and the box) that this was possible. It has a USB cable after all.

Turns out this was utter bullshit. The only thing i could digitally import into the mini disc was encrypted data from a crappy windows program named NetMD made by Sony that i could work around [] archaically with Nero. I couldn't output digitally either. I would have had better results using a cassette walkman.

I was stuck with this piece of shit for a new year's set that has double generation loss via input and output. I used it with regrets and then sold it on ebay.

Yeah, people don't care. Sony has brand recognition, blah blah blah, go back to sleep. But Sony makes products that are very locked down and cost much more than their competition. Why people like them is beyond me.

Lesson learned: never buy Sony again.

Re:Why i will never buy sony again. (2, Informative)

cscx (541332) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053733)

Too bad you sold it. I got a package deal brand new for $70 at the local electronics store.

I didn't install Sony's software (just the drivers and the OpenMG encoder) -- I use RealPlayer 10 which is surprisingly a decent product... Real cleaned up their act. The RealPlayer plugin for NetMD doesn't have DRM... although it takes a bit of work to get my iTMS purchased files onto my NetMD.

Also if you purchased a more expensive model it would have had a SPDIF input.

Re:Why i will never buy sony again. (2)

Prince Vegeta SSJ4 (718736) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053748)

Sony does make Good TV's and DVD players, however, that's the extent to which I like there products. Anything that is just proprietary BS, I just leave alone - hopefully this won't creep into the TV DVD market, though I hear they are making TV's that use memory sticks.

Re:Why i will never buy sony again. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9053777)

I havent followed the minidisc scene in a while, but the older sony models were pretty useful and DID have s/pdif recording and output. then again back then the models had a full complement of jacks, mic in, line in, line out, while new ones don't it seems.

so yes it probably sucks now, but it used to be pretty useful

Re:Why i will never buy sony again. (4, Insightful)

Beautyon (214567) | more than 10 years ago | (#9054090)

Sony is a plague that never ends.

It cannot be denied that SONY was once one of the greatest companies on earth. Take a look [] if you have not already seen this gallery of Walkmen. They got it right lots of times, in many areas.

In this one area, digital music, they have got it completely wrong. This is unusual for SONY. Their portable digital music players have completely flopped, their proprietary encoder is a failure, and they are being left out in the cold in an area where they should be numnber one.

They were in a position to set the rules. They own Columbia and its huge back catalogue. They have the technical expertise to build the most seductive portables. They have software developers. What they were/are missing is the foresight.

They should have:

Released open players instead of crappy crippled portable DRM factorys

Released the entire Columbia music catalogue for free via a web site.

Watched tens of millions buy their shiny players and split the money with their Columbia artists.

Watch their CD sales increase.

They would have owned the portable music player space, created the number one destination for music online, demonstrated that MP3s are the new radio, short circuted all the RIAA lawsuits, and....acted more like SONY.

Talk about limiting your options (2, Interesting)

Doesn't_Comment_Code (692510) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053680)

That's a whole lot of restrictions in an already-fragmented market.

The trendy people and the first-out-of-the-gate people have already gone to Apple. And people interested in their own personaly freedom and fair use will be using one of the services that doesn't include all this hand-tying. So I think Sony might get 10 or 20 people to use this.

Re:Talk about limiting your options (1)

reverendG (602408) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053943)

It doesn't help that it will only play on Sony devices, where iTMS songs can be downloaded in MP3 and played anywhere.

"Loss" - what do they mean? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9053695)

The owners of copyrighted material often say they suffer "harm" and "economic loss" resulting from illegal copying. Like most arguments put forth by copyright enthusiasts, it holds little water - for several reasons:

The claim is mostly inaccurate because it presupposes that the friend would otherwise have bought a copy from the publisher. That is occasionally true, but more often false; and when it is false, the claimed loss does not occur.

The claim is partly misleading because the word "loss" suggests events of a very different nature--events in which something they have is taken away from them. For example, if the bookstore's stock of books were burned, or if the money in the register got torn up, that would really be a "loss." We generally agree it is wrong to do these things to other people. But when your friend avoids the need to buy a copy of a book, the bookstore and the publisher do not lose anything they had. A more fitting description would be that the bookstore and publisher get less income than they might have got. The same consequence can result if your friend decides to play bridge instead of reading a book. In a free market system, no business is entitled to cry "foul" just because a potential customer chooses not to deal with them.

The claim is begging the question because the idea of "loss" is based on the assumption that the publisher "should have" got paid. That is based on the assumption that copyright exists and prohibits individual copying. But that is just the issue at hand: what should copyright cover? If the public decides it can share copies, then the publisher is not entitled to expect to be paid for each copy, and so cannot claim there is a "loss" when it is not. In other words, the "loss" comes from the copyright system; it is not an inherent part of copying. Copying in itself hurts no one.

Re:"Loss" - what do they mean? (1)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 10 years ago | (#9054076)

Let us assume there is at some point in time unrestricted redistribution. Anyone can copy and redistribute (share) anything they want. Let's assume this "sharing" takes place on the Internet.

I claim that this sets up a situation whereby there are two classes of people: those that have fast Internet connections with the knowledge to use them, and those that do not. The "Internet savvy" folks get everything they want for free, the others have to pay.

Is this a tax on ignorance? On lack of tech skills? Is this fair?

Similarly, with unrestricted redistribution there is nothing to stop a large company with extensive distribution channels from picking up anything and reselling it. They get it for free - no annoying artist contracts - and they publish it for the folks that don't use the Internet. OK, so their market is only 60% of what it is today. But the counterbalance is that they pay nothing for the music, books or anything else they pick up off the Internet to republish.

How could a corporation do this? Simple - by out-distributing smaller competitors, even when those competitors are distributing a free product.

good thing you're anonymous (-1, Redundant)

proj_2501 (78149) | more than 10 years ago | (#9054081)


go ahead and misinterpret economic terminology to make a weak argument.

So Then (2, Interesting)

Prince Vegeta SSJ4 (718736) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053700)

DRM copy-protection scheme and will work only with Sony Memory Stick-compatible devices including VAIO computers

DRM and proprietary memory stick, that just doubles my reasons not to subscribe to it.

Buh-bye! (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9053701)

...will work only with Sony Memory Stick-compatible devices including VAIO computers, CLIE PDAs, MiniDisc, CD and Walkman products...

Buh-bye, thanks for playing!

Re:Buh-bye! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9053767)

First off, I don't care if you like or listen to apple iTunes.

But doesn't Apple's music have the same restrictions?

Why no Linux support? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9053702)

Is it because we are less then 10% of the OS market? Figures.

S.C.O (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9053718)

Yeah, Sony Connect Online. Only 699 US dollars per song.

Steve Jobs calls Sony Connect a "bag of shit" (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9053734)

All of MP3 already outcompetes this (5, Informative)

paulproteus (112149) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053738)

I've been buying music lately from, covered lately in Slashdot. A review of it can be found here [] .

It's cheap (1 cent per megabyte), great quality (offers me lossless FLAC files), and legal (royalties paid to ROMS, the relevant group in Russia). And the files are unencumbered

All the problems of iTunes (summarized excellently at Downhill Battle [] ) still apply. Why go for something restricted, too expensive, and too controlled by the media monopoly, when you can get cheap legal music from Allofmp3 or similar services?

Re:All of MP3 already outcompetes this (1)

cscx (541332) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053847)

Write me when you start getting those rogue charges on your credit card!

Re:All of MP3 already outcompetes this (1)

All Names Have Been (629775) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053872)

Excuse me if I don't go handing my credit card to some random Russian MP3 site. Yeah.

I did work for these guys (-1, Troll)

Jack Wagner (444727) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053757)

I'm generally not a tin-foil-hat kinda guy, but I'm starting to connect the dots here.

I did some consulting work for a company called "One Eyed Jack" which it turns out is a subsidary of Sony, although I didn't know it at the time. They were looking for a method for embedding information into ipV6 packets in the unused header fields. Since I've done this sort of work for the BSD folks which implementing hidden backdoors using the Leibnitz algorithim for Olog(n) packet encryption for them on several projects, this sort of thing was right up my alley.

Well, after being well paid, almost too well paid, for a couple monts work I signed off on the code and went on my way. Then, when I say they were launching this music service I started to put one and one together. Well, bottom line here, if you think running a packet sniffer will protect you from spyware with the new Sony music service you better thing again.

Warmest regards,

Re:I did work for these guys (4, Insightful)

hamsterboy (218246) | more than 10 years ago | (#9054035)

Perhaps moderators should check sources as well. goes nowhere. Hidden backdoors in BSD? One Eyed Jack? His journal claims that he's charging Rusty six figures for work on's back-end code, and his other entries are almost as amusing.

Sir, your fiction borders on the believable, in a Clancy-esque way. I congratulate you.

Hamster, Jack (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9054048)


Spyware isn't the main concern with these things; the DRM would prevent me from giving it to a friend, and so any kind of spyware would only be applicable if the DRM is cracked. But its pretty trivial to take two cracked files, DIFF them, and find out what's DIFFERENT.

On the other hand, if the DRM is uncrackable, then spyware doesn't really seem to matter.

So I guess I'm thinking you're either bullshitting (no offense), or mistaken, because spyware doesn't do Sony any good. On the other hand, some exec might've gotten it up their ass that somehow spyware will help them track things on P2P, so perhaps you're telling the truth.

In either event, you're only arguing that we should buy physical CD's for two reasons:

1) Unemcumbered
2) Cheaper (BMGMusic sells CD's for $7-8 SHIPPED)

So many restrictions.... (2, Funny)

jkabbe (631234) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053773)

Can blonde people use it or only brunettes?

Deja Vu (5, Insightful)

shr1n1 (263515) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053785)

Sony still doesn't get it.

Betamax : Tried to push its own standard. Failed even though it was superior.

Minidisc : See above

Memory Stick : Again persists on going it alone even though other standards are more popular and widespread (CF and SD)

Sony connect : Lauches its own spin when other established players are already in the market.

Interoperability means nothing to these guys.

Re:Deja Vu (2, Interesting)

Doesn't_Comment_Code (692510) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053985)

I completely agree.

Some companies (Sony et al) get so wrapped up in themselves that they can't understand why anyone would want to do anything their own way, or without purchasing something. It all comes down to the mindset of the company. On one hand you have people who think

"What do my customers want? How can I make them happy and make them want to do business with me?"

Hooray for them! But they are a dying breed. Now you are more likely to find companies that think

"This is what you want to do, and this is the product you need to do it. Do not insert any of your own thought or creativity into your activities, as that would not fit with our business model and thus will cause problems. If you take issue with this, feel free to wait on hold at our customer service number for a couple hours only to listen to a prerecorded menu that does not include the option you want."

This my friends is the problem. These companies are too self absorbed. They can't image you as anything other than a bleeding wallet, so they can't possibly understand what you want.

Beta was *not* superior (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9054078)

"Failed even though it was superior."

No. It was inferior in terms of recording length (corrected, but too late).

The myth of "superior picture" was just that. Oh... it might've been marginally superior, but certainly not enough that mattered. The professional beta recorders were clearly superior, but this had no relationship to the consumer beta other than similar tape packaging.

So please. Enough with the "Beta was superior myth". Its boring and marks you as uneducated.

Re:Deja Vu (1)

Arcaeris (311424) | more than 10 years ago | (#9054079)

I hate to tell you, but the minidisc format is very popular outside of the US, especially in Europe. You can get albums on MD like you can on CD and everything.

It just never really caught on here in the states.

Re:Deja Vu (1)

pubjames (468013) | more than 10 years ago | (#9054086)

Playstation: Tried to push its own standard and, er, made billions of dollars!

Furthermore, I don't think the minidisc is a failure. Nor the memory stick. They might not have dominated the market, but that doesn't mean they are failures.

Re:Deja Vu (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9054112)

Then there is PlayStation.

And let's just forget about all the other Sony products that do use common standards, shall we?

- Sony Trinitron TVs: some of the best, and later copied by others.

- Sony walkman: see above.

- Sony mini-stereos.

Interoperability does mean a lot to these guys, and as a modern corporation you can't blame them for trying out new things, some of which will be proprietary.

On the other hand, selective memory seems to be the only thing you have.

No thanks, Sony or other DRM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9053794)

I will continue to get my music the old fashion way, rip it into MP3s and I(i.e., Me, Moi, NOT YOU) will decide what I want to do with it!

Playstation (4, Interesting)

athakur999 (44340) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053798)

It'd be interesting if Sony added some features to the upcoming PS3 to included support for their music store. With game consoles gradually veering towards becoming "home media centers" (or whatever the buzz word is today), this seems like a possible move.

Me Too! Me Too! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9053818)

Just what we need, another "Me Too!" offering. Nothing new, no compelling features, just a very limited Sony version of the same thing offered by others.

At least you can use Apple's stuff.... (3, Interesting)

imidazole2 (776413) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053821)

Sony's stuff is restricted to Sony's patforms. At least Apple's iTunes software is multiplatform, openly usable (there are cgi scripts that will query the database and get songs for you) - I dont think Sony will get very far with their online music store.

Opensource needs to embrace DRM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9053853)

Let's face the facts. DRM is coming, it's going to be here no matter how much kicking and screaming people do it's going to be here. Many of the Slashdot crowd have been wringing their hands concerned with Linux/BSD/other being squeezed out of being able to view movies, listen to MP3's, etc. All they have been saying is M$ is bad because of DRM they are going to screw *US*. Well they are going to screw non MS users if we don't do something about it.

Content providers want DRM, MS probably doesn't care a bit about DRM but they realized that providers want it before they'll release their product. So they fill the niche because opensource has only been against it instead of offering their alternative. If opensource, etc doesn't want to be completely squeezed out of this market they need to offer an alternative. An alternative that can be used on any platform without cost. Content providers don't want to pay a M$ license, they just want a warm fuzzy. If we can give them a warm fuzzy without cost; it'll still be DRM but it'll be *our* DRM that won't prevent *my* OS from being able to view their content. We need to get an acceptable alternative out there before we non-M$ users completely lose any use (even a crippled DRM use) because we let M$ control the market completely.

Rob Enderle speaks (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9053856)

"Walk into a store," he says. "You don't see MiniDisc players promoted or people talking about them. Its time was three years ago, and it didn't make it."

Since everything he says is wrong, can we assume that Sony actually has a chance?

DOA (4, Interesting)

Ars-Fartsica (166957) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053870)

The tracks use the MagicGate DRM copy-protection scheme and will work only with Sony Memory Stick-compatible devices

You would think the Betamaxalicious success of MiniDisc (yeah yeah, its big in Japan, whatever) would have taught Sony a lesson here. Its amazing, Sony has gone from being one of the smartest companies in consumer electronics to one of the dumbest in a very short period of time.

Their financials are in the crapper and they can't seem to bring anything to market to dissaude iPod buyers.

Who designed their site? (4, Interesting)

telstar (236404) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053876)

So they've got their featured artist featured on the right side of the homepage. You'd think maybe you could click on the graphic and access those tracks? Nah! That'd be too logical. Usability. Start there, then add the fluffy stuff later.

No Mac Client (2, Insightful)

larry2k (592744) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053880)

We're sorry.
We know you are interested in using the Connect music store. Unfortunately SonicStage only works on Windows 98SE and above.
We have no immediate plans to support other operating systems at this time. However, we believe this is an important user base and we hope to support it in the future.

This is so sad... i'll stick with iTunes

This could be good for Sony (1)

medley (714690) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053887)

While I don't have exact numbers for the amount of Playstations owned, I could see this as an added service for future Sony products (Playstation) as more and more companies are seemingly moving towards an appliance in your entertainment center that plays games, movies, music, you name it.

So while everyone thinks of this as another music store over the web, the inherit possibility of integrating this with future Sony products is perfectly legitimate, albeit speculative.

Wait....let me get this straight (1)

Lord_Dweomer (648696) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053910)

' The tracks use the MagicGate DRM copy-protection scheme and will work only with Sony Memory Stick-compatible devices including VAIO computers, CLIE PDAs, MiniDisc, CD and Walkman products."

So this thing will ONLY work with those devices? They qualified the statement with the term 'including' so that makes me wonder if other computers could use it besides VAIO's. If it is indeed limited to VAIOs for computers, well....Sony just shot itself in the foot with a BFG. Not only are they entering an already saturated segmented market, but Apple does everything that do, sometimes for cheaper, with less DRM, and it works on practically any device out there. Please explain to me how this service has ANY advantage over Apple.

I think I'm going to call up customer service for this service and ask why I should use their service, and for each bullet point they give me, I will explain how ITMS does it better, and then ask them to tell me why I should still consider their service. Honestly, I don't think they'll have a good answer.

$1 per track is far too expensive (4, Insightful)

pubjames (468013) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053911)

When will the music companies realise that $1 per track is far too expensive, and their profits would probably increase if they acutally decreased the prices. And they'd have much happier customers as a result.

If tracks were 10c each, I would quite happily buy whole albums without worrying if I might not like them after a couple of plays. I buy up whole genres of music - if it cost me $50 to buy up all the best punk tracks of the 70's (or whatever), I would do that, despite it being a genre I never normally listen to.

However, I spend very little on music. I just don't like to get ripped off and I don't think $1 a track is justifiable when they have virtually zero distribution costs. And don't give me all that crap about how expensive it is to promote a record, or how the cost has to be high to pay for the flops. That's just all bullshit, especially with the near zero distribution and manufacture costs that the internet allows.

Re:$1 per track is far too expensive (1)

pubjames (468013) | more than 10 years ago | (#9054038)

Should read "I would buy up whole genres of music..."

Nothing wrong with choice (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9053986)

I'm amazed at the tone of comments here. Everybody's saying since Apple's done it already then forget it. Aren't you folks for choice? Do you really want a monopoly by Apple, no matter how good it is? It's not "fragmentation" it's "more choice is good for the consumer."

OK, this one has DRM and vendor lock-in etc. But it's still a competition for Apple. And unless Sony and Apple get into a cartel, that's a good thing. Because at the very least, Sony can generate an environment where prices may even drop. Remember, you wouldn't see any sale prices on your favorite food if there was only one supermarket chain in existence.

Are you people really such sad, ignorant elitists?

Fragmented market (4, Interesting)

AndyChrist (161262) | more than 10 years ago | (#9053990)

All these services requiring their own software, or even their own devices...or at least strongly discouraging using anything else...

I'm sorry, but I can't help but say anything but "fuck you!" to all that.

If they can make their DRM work just fine with winamp, and not require me to have any special software to use their site, I might be able to deal with it.

You might try and compare it to online games, but most of those, you get the game and the rest is pretty much automatic. It's more like if Amazon and Barnes and Noble required you to use their own proprietary browsers to shop their web sites.

It might be MEANT to be a pain in the ass to make it harder to switch to a competitor...but the first site that can keep out of court and turn a profit while using nothing more than a web browser, will be the one who can REALLY take on Apple.

it wont fly to well... (3, Interesting)

ambienceman (721763) | more than 10 years ago | (#9054037)

If customers buy responsibly and if NetMD/OpenMG was any indication of how tight sony's DRM is, they shouldn't do so well against Apple. Apple has the advantage of the iPod and the fact that its players hold loads more music than an MD (which you have to burn) or a Memory Stick (which you burn your money buying). sony is just too restrictive when it comes to things. I couldn't even upload a recording I made via NetMD. I had to use a freaking optical out cable and manually record it. Who wants restrictions like that?

One Year From Now (1)

Doesn't_Comment_Code (692510) | more than 10 years ago | (#9054049)

I'm imagining the review meeting held one or two years from now where all the Sony execs sit down and try to figure out why their music store was such a dismal failure...

They'll probably talk for hours and never really figure out what happened. They probably don't even realize how badly they suck.

Memory Stick? MagicGate?! (4, Funny)

sulli (195030) | more than 10 years ago | (#9054068)

1998 called, they want their technology back. Do they really think the iPod generation will go back to Memory Stick for their tunes?

This service is dead dead dead dead DEAD . Toast. Kaputt. Stick a fork in it.

Betamax and VHS... (2, Interesting)

pluvia (774424) | more than 10 years ago | (#9054085)

...are what first sprung to mind. Perhaps the analogy isn't quite right, but I think Sony's making a somewhat similar mistake here. But then I realized that maybe Sony considered Betamax to be a success? ... and at the time, they didn't even control any content, like they do now.

It's interesting how Sony [] portrays their own history.
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