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Real Cuts Prices for DRM-Restricted Music

michael posted about 10 years ago | from the gnutella-still-free-for-all dept.

Music 633

Flint Dragon writes "A story on MSNBC details RealNetworks' next step in converting iPod users from iTunes to their own online music store. Not only can you play music downloaded from their site on your iPod now, you can, for a limited time, purchase music for 50% cheaper (.49/song, 4.99/album)! This is the price that I'm willing to pay for. Too bad it won't last..."

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Still not enough (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9993523)

To get me to use Real. They'd have to start paying me, and even then it would take some convincing.

Re:Still not enough (5, Insightful)

blueZhift (652272) | about 10 years ago | (#9993714)

I hear you! With all of the spyware in Real's software and other annoying features, they've lost my trust and that of a lot of other people. As it stands, I only use Real Player when I absolutely have to. And since I'm pretty happy with my iPod and ITMS as it is, I won't be switching anytime soon.

Re:Still not enough (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9993722)

If you ever switch to Linux, give it a try. Realplayer is actually quite stable and doesn't really nag you at all. It used to ask you for your email address, but it doesn't even do that anymore.

That said, I still don't know if I'd touch the windows version with a 10 foot pole. Mainly because I'm sick of the file extension war from various applications.

For a LIMITED TIME only (-1, Flamebait)

neilb78 (557698) | about 10 years ago | (#9993524)

They should lower them for good instead of this ol' bait and switch routine.

Re:For a LIMITED TIME only (5, Informative)

SlamMan (221834) | about 10 years ago | (#9993553)

Bait and switch? It's called a "sale". A bait and switch ios when they're sell you sometihng more expensive than the advertised item.

Legality?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9993603)

I thought the Real/Ipod issue was still very murky legally.

If so, What the hell are they thinking, charging $.50/song for _illegal_ downloads. If you're doing illegal downloads anyway (and you shouldn't) why not use Kazaa and just send me the $0.50!?!

Re:Legality?!? (1)

SlamMan (221834) | about 10 years ago | (#9993632)

Th Real songs are perfectly legal to have and play. The issue is the possible infringment by Real's DRM changing. Change it to an MP3, and you're good to go by all counts.

Re:Legality?!? (2, Interesting)

seaniqua (796818) | about 10 years ago | (#9993710)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't there laws against "predatory pricing"? Deliberately selling your product at a loss in order to undercut the competition, then raising the prices once your market share is big enough?

Re:Legality?!? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9993633)

Because you posted as an AC and I don't have your address.

Re:For a LIMITED TIME only (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9993554)

Bait and switch, eh? I come from it's called a sale.

Re:For a LIMITED TIME only (1, Redundant)

boomgopher (627124) | about 10 years ago | (#9993574)

Amen, I personally feel that 10 to 25 cents a song is about what I'd pay for DRMed music.

Sounds too cheap? Well, that's a heck of a lot more than I'm paying for music now (hint: $0)

Re:For a LIMITED TIME only (4, Interesting)

AKAImBatman (238306) | about 10 years ago | (#9993616)

What the heck is wrong with $0.99 per song? You pay more than that for a bottle of soda, for crying out loud! If you want to be able to LEGALLY download music off the 'net, you need to support valid attempts to bring that to you. As more money flows into these companies from Internet distribution methods, the Internet supporters inside music companies will grow in power (potentially overshadowing those who are trying to stop it).

Once those supporters are in power, the reign of RIAA terror may finally end. Or at least reach an equilibrium similar to the one that existed prior to MP3s.

On a different note, best 99 cents, ever! []

Soda (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9993746)

What the heck is wrong with $0.99 per song? You pay more than that for a bottle of soda, for crying out loud!

$0.99 for a soda is way too high. Jolt wants to be free, people!

Re:For a LIMITED TIME only (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9993747)

And roses will spring from the ground wherever you walk, female nudity will become common in the workplace, and an honest, non-corrupt, black woman will be president.

And what equilibrium existed before? Before MP3s the music industry had everybody by the balls - the consumers, the artists, and the distributors. Why do you think they were convicted of price fixing?

Re:For a LIMITED TIME only (3, Insightful)

gcaseye6677 (694805) | about 10 years ago | (#9993751)

Like they say, you get what you pay for. I'd rather pay $.99 a song and get to keep it rather than paying $.50 for a crippled song that comes from a company with a dodgy past. Somehow I doubt this will cut into Apple's sales that much.

Re:For a LIMITED TIME only (2, Interesting)

ViolentGreen (704134) | about 10 years ago | (#9993759)

I agree with that completely. I have no problem whatsoever with paying 99 cents for a song and I do so when I hear a new song I like.

I'm suprised that the RIAA is allowing this. 4.99 an album is quite a bit less than the $12 or so that cds go for. If I am going to buy an entire album, I usually buy the cd. This might change that though.

Re:For a LIMITED TIME only (0, Redundant)

Jonny_eh (765306) | about 10 years ago | (#9993622)

Bait and switch would be if they promised 50 cents per song, but when you go to buy the song they say that they ran out of that song and you should buy a different song at a dollar. What Real is doing is called a sale. Every store does it (except Wal-Mart?). Sales are a way to increase awareness of your store. Real's latest sale seems to be working, they made it to the front of slashdot! If you were being sarcastic, I apologise.

Here's FULL TIME (2, Interesting)

swordboy (472941) | about 10 years ago | (#9993696)

Just go here [] and download songs for mere pennies. No limited time BS. No DRM.

Yeah (5, Insightful)

Aliencow (653119) | about 10 years ago | (#9993532)

Cause we all trust real enough to give them our money even though we don't trust them enough to install their crap.

Re:Yeah (4, Informative)

be-fan (61476) | about 10 years ago | (#9993577)

You should really try Real 10. It's a whole lot nicer than previous versions, and not "in your face" at all. They even have a pretty good Linux client.

Re:Yeah (2, Interesting)

Tsiangkun (746511) | about 10 years ago | (#9993775)

Pretty much what I was thinking. It doesn't matter how much better the new real software is, or how cheap they can sell DRM songs. The Real company pissed me off once with it's deceptive business practices, and I will never voluntarilly do business with them again.

hey i am first to reply (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9993537)

hey i am first to reply. swear i'll never do this again.

Step 3 (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9993540)

Hopefully step three is supporting Macs. For me, that's the ???? before step 4: Profit!!

Losing Money (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9993544)

I thought that these companie barely even made a profit at $1 per song. A limited time low, loss-inducing cost might attract customers for a while but the low switching cost between services means that they won't stay when prices going up, especially if your sound quality is not as good.

Re:Losing Money (4, Interesting)

daviddennis (10926) | about 10 years ago | (#9993674)

It's an intentional loss to promote their software. Right now they're losing about 3-4c a share and this is going to widen those losses by about 1c a share.

I don't think it was a very smart move, to tell the truth, but I suppose I could say it's gutsy.


ipod problems (5, Insightful)

TedCheshireAcad (311748) | about 10 years ago | (#9993545)

Some how I don't think their conversion-to-iPod feature is going to last, at least not once the new revision of iPod software comes out.

Re:ipod problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9993606)

Oh sure. Apple can try to lock Real out. It's not going to work. First, how will they distinguish between the old iTMS files and Real's files with Fairplay slapped on. Second, how many hours do you think it will be before somebody figures out what changes Apple made and Real can just release their own update?

I'm sure I'm in the minority... (4, Insightful)

Anita Coney (648748) | about 10 years ago | (#9993548)

But I'd refuse to take DRM music even if it were free. The Audio Home Recording Act gives me the right to make backups of my music, to make compilations of my music, and to share those compilations with as many friends as I'd like, as long as I don't charge anything.

ANY system that interferes with those rights is unacceptable to me.

Re:I'm sure I'm in the minority... (5, Insightful)

Mononoke (88668) | about 10 years ago | (#9993624)

But I'd refuse to take DRM music even if it were free. The Audio Home Recording Act gives me the right to make backups of my music, to make compilations of my music, and to share those compilations with as many friends as I'd like, as long as I don't charge anything.

ANY system that interferes with those rights is unacceptable to me.

You must like the iTunes Music Store, then, since their version of DRM allows all of that to be done. Right?

Not without jumping through hoops it doesn't. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9993698)

You must like the iTunes Music Store, then, since their version of DRM allows all of that to be done. Right?

If you jump through a whole lot of hoops, yes, it'll do those things. The point is to be able to easily do them. DRM, in any form, doesn't make it easy.

Re:I'm sure I'm in the minority... (5, Insightful)

farzadb82 (735100) | about 10 years ago | (#9993635)

The Audio Home Recording Act gives me the right to make backups of my music, to make compilations of my music, and to share those compilations with as many friends as I'd like, as long as I don't charge anything

IANAL, but sharing music, regardless of charging anything or not is still a copyright violation. you are, however, permitted to make backups of my music

Re:I'm sure I'm in the minority... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9993661)

Depends on your country.

Re:I'm sure I'm in the minority... (2, Interesting)

Cylix (55374) | about 10 years ago | (#9993733)

Actually, if you read the act this is all fairly permissiable.

However, it is specicificallly talking about taped copies and doesn't deal with digital works.

The digital stuff is a whole different ball game.

However, I can legally tape some stuff and give it to you.

Re:I'm sure I'm in the minority... (4, Insightful)

daviddennis (10926) | about 10 years ago | (#9993636)

You may not be in the minority in Slashdot, but in the overall world, I'd say you are.

I will point out, though, that the DRM conditions of iTunes music are not as ardurous as you think. You can, in fact, burn a CD with your music on it and that CD is then free of restrictions. You can copy the music to any number of iPods. You can also play the music on up to five different computers, so making a backup of your music is not an issue at all.

I play my music on my home computer, work computer and laptop, and I'm happy as a clam.


Re:I'm sure I'm in the minority... (2, Insightful)

ziplux (261840) | about 10 years ago | (#9993694)

DRM can always be cracked, the real question is: are you willing to live with the horrible quality of the songs downloaded from any of these stores? You can't recover the quality that is lost in the conversion to AAC (or whatever Real uses). I refuse to pay for music that has been run through a lossy compression algorithm. Maybe if iTunes or Real started selling uncompressed (or losslessly compressed music) I might start buying online (regardless of the DRM, because that can and will be cracked.)

Re:I'm sure I'm in the minority... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9993721)

Furthermore, you can put a copy of your music on every single computer ever in existence. It can only play on five at any given time, but by de/reauthorizing, you can play on any given machine that supports iTunes. Regardless, you can back the music up anywhere, iTunes support or no.

Re:I'm sure I'm in the minority... (2, Interesting)

John Hurliman (152784) | about 10 years ago | (#9993669)

That's why I only started using iTunes after Hymn came out.

Re:I'm sure I'm in the minority... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9993776)

Mod parent +1, Civil Disobedience!

Re:I'm sure I'm in the minority... (1)

peteforsyth (730130) | about 10 years ago | (#9993685)

So, the challenge is to appeal to users like you, while preventing widespread abuse (like sharing a purchased song with 1000 of your closest friends.

Seems to me that Apple has done pretty well on that front: they DO let you make backups and compilations. Up to 4 computers, and unlimited burning.

So, is your argument really based on your usage habits, or are you sticking up for a principle? If it's a principle, what exactly is it?

Re:I'm sure I'm in the minority... (4, Informative)

SirStanley (95545) | about 10 years ago | (#9993702)

Could you please explain to me how you can't do this with DRM'ed music?

1. YOu can back it up as many times as you like. Right now i have 1 bought DRM song on 3 different computers.

2. YOu can make compilations. iTunes even provides a nifty little playlist generator

3. iTunes lets you also burn copies of your play lists TO CD!~!!! or you can hook up your stereo out to a tape deck and go old school with mixed tapes!!!! The DRM does not prevent you from doing this.

It does prevent you from sharing the raw source of the file with your friends. Since there is no digital compilation format you can't exactly send an mp3 digital compilation to people unless it was one giant file. But who wants to do that?

You're an idiot.

Re:I'm sure I'm in the minority... (2, Insightful)

merdark (550117) | about 10 years ago | (#9993711)

I totally agree with you. DRM music is totally useless. I rarely play music on my PC and when I do I usually stream sites anyways. To have my music locked to say my windows computer only... is absolutely useless for me. What about my mac laptop? What about my car stereo? What about potential mp3 type players I might use in the future? What about my Linux computer at work? What if I want to take some music on a CD into a friends car?

A non-copy protected CD allows me to do all this, plus the music is non-lossy. Believe me, often times it's easy to tell the quality difference with certain music and stereo systems. Hell, I can even distinguish well recorded 'CD's from poorly recorded ones.

Yeah but it's the smart minority (2, Insightful)

nanojath (265940) | about 10 years ago | (#9993732)

I'm right there with you. I can already buy cheaper music that can play on an iPod. No reverse engineering is needed: the format is called MP3, you may have heard of it. The prices range from free to whatever. Finding something I like involves a little extra digging, sampling, and detective work... but I actually find that more interesting than being spoonfed Very Popular Radio Hitz complete with useless yet encumbering software designed around the premise that I am a thief. I keep a few bucks in a Bitpass account, a few bucks in my Paypal account, it's all pretty easy.

Another technologically advanced method I find usefull: I actually have the data in question mailed to me on a cunning media called a compact disc. It serves the same purpose as the download and acts as an archive to boot. Why it even plays on numerous standalone devices I happen to own. And since I again opt for the more unusual sources over the semidigested pablum that drecks all over the radio and tevee, I don't have any problems with DRM and usually pay around 50 cents a track anyway. It may be a minority but who's spending smarter money? I've had numerous opportunities to get free iTunes tracks. No interest. Why muddy up my collection?

Apple & Real (5, Interesting)

daviddennis (10926) | about 10 years ago | (#9993560)

Could someone tell me why Apple is so upset about Real being able to its music work in the iPod? Apple has said their Music Store is not meant as a profit center, so isn't it better for them (in the sense of selling more iPods) that the store's compatible with Real?

Of course this is of little interest to me since Real's not supporting Macs and I'm certainly not going to switch to Windows on their behalf.

I don't think Real stockholders are going to think much of the bleeding, and when prices go back to $ 0.99 each I doubt that most people will stay with Real, given their software's general level of obnoxiousness and hard-sell promotion. Apple, for all its faults, has a very classy and nicely done music store I think most people will prefer by a huge margin.


Re:Apple & Real (4, Insightful)

savagedome (742194) | about 10 years ago | (#9993600)

why Apple is so upset about Real being able to its music work in the iPod?

Because they have to *support* Real's format. When Real's shit breaks on iPod, the users will view it as Apple's fault.

Ummm.. maybe idiots would... (4, Insightful)

Otto (17870) | about 10 years ago | (#9993626)

Considering that in order to use Real's music you must transfer it using Real's Harmony software and any errors you get will be in that software... I think people would generally be more likely to blame Real rather than Apple.

Re:Apple & Real (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9993750)

Because they have to *support* Real's format.

Oh, no they don't!

Re:Apple & Real (-1, Troll)

stratjakt (596332) | about 10 years ago | (#9993659)

Umm, its competition, and Apple doesn't want any?

Apple has said their Music Store is not meant as a profit center

Heh, that's dopey marketting drivel and you fell for it. Of course it's meant as a profit center, at least eventually. Why else would they invest to set it up? Companies always say stuff like this, so dopey people will take the comment at face value, ie; "Apple set up iTunes to do a public service to the world out of the goodness of their hearts!"

iTunes is a business. Real wants to compete head to head with them. Apple doesn't want to see it happen. Apple doesn't like to compete head to head with anyone, because they will lose. Apple is a brand like Nike. An iPod will always cost more than comparable competitors products, Macs will always cost more than comparable PCs, and iTunes will always cost more than comparable services. They dont want it to be open. They don't want you to be able to use your status-symbol iPod to give money to someone other than them.

It really is as simple as that.

Re:Apple & Real (1)

FLAGGR (800770) | about 10 years ago | (#9993671)

No, because iTunes is like a constant advertisment for iPods and all those new iApps that have to do with media. They're trying to spread out, get more noticed by the public (70% of the people I know don't know about apple, and think macs were really old computers that don't exist anymore, or they think of those G3 laptops) It's just a big strategy.

Re:Apple & Real (4, Insightful)

FatRatBastard (7583) | about 10 years ago | (#9993700)

Probably because Apple see that in the future the store (more importantly FairPlay) *will* be the profit center. They want to leverage the best selling MP3 player (their iPod) into establishing FairPlay'ed ACC files as a standard. Set the standard, pocket a few cents from every tune sold. This is why Apple just did a deal with Moto. on iTunes and cell phones.

There's a much better article about this that was published a few weeks ago, but I'm too lazy to look it up.

Re:Apple & Real (4, Insightful)

clifyt (11768) | about 10 years ago | (#9993724)

"Apple has said their Music Store is not meant as a profit center"

No, but it is nice when it is...

And I believe last quarter, they actually made about a million on their iTMS division. Its chump change compared to everything else, and not much when you consider what they are spending, but its still nothing to sneeze at because it is profitable.

Past that, if you buy from Real, you can use any music player. If you buy from Apple, you can use the iPod alone unless you are willing to burn to CD first.

Personally, I don't see the problem with what Apple is doing. Apple gives anyone the right to put music on their machine in a number of different ways. If they want to protect their content, maybe they should build something into the iPod that doesn't require the use of Apple's intellectual properties. After all, its a bit hypocritical to steal someone elses IP to protect your own.

I've never seen Apple get pissed off at the Linux on iPod project...I know at least one Apple guy that has this running on one of his iPods and thinks its cool. So -- if you want to build your own OS for the device, Apple isn't stopping you...

But I agree with ya -- Apple's online service is much better than the competitors who all had much longer in the business of content delivery including paid content delivery and most of these companies were the 'big dogs' (how fucking hillbilly is that phrase) before Apple decided they were going to get into the system.

Apple didn't force their way to #1 -- they made the better product both in hardware and software.

Re:Apple & Real (1)

American AC in Paris (230456) | about 10 years ago | (#9993771)

Could someone tell me why Apple is so upset about Real being able to its music work in the iPod?

Well, one reason is that the iPod/iTunes combo for Windows is an excellent way to get more 'switchers'. iTMS may not in and of itself be a big revenue maker, but it certainly helps shape other Apple markets. Take away the iTMS interface, you've just taken a slice of Apple pie off some user's Windows box.

Another big thing is that Apple is all about integration. There are few computer companies out there that do such an excellent job of tying everything together, and it's something that Apple is (rightly) proud of and likes to tout. Real has, to put it lightly, a questionable history in the 'user friendliness' department; while they've been making progress lately, there are still a whole bunch of annoyances with their player (especially on Windows.) Once users start associating Real with the iPod, they start associating Real with Apple--and when Real starts mucking things up, it bounces right back on Apple. (Jeez, there's something seriously messed up with my iPod--it keeps crashing RealPlayer every time I try to add songs!)

Apple has little reason to team up with Real, and plenty of reasons to want Real to stay the hell away.

Re:Apple & Real (1)

stcanard (244581) | about 10 years ago | (#9993793)

It potentially destroys their ability to change their software.

If Apple makes a change that they have planned, and it accidentally breaks compabitibility with Real, you know Real is going to pound then in the press.

How would you like it if a competitor tries to put you in a position where you cannot change your own software?

how ironic (5, Insightful)

insomnyuk (467714) | about 10 years ago | (#9993565)

I find it exceedingly amusing, and telling, that RealNetworks, after years of pushing proprietary audio and video formats, is now fighting Apple's use of proprietary hardware. They have to market to iPod users because mp3 players using Real format music have been blown out of the water.

Its too bad their software was always ad-ridden garbage. They will have to do a lot more than a loss-leader sales ploy to get my trust back.

Oh no! (5, Funny)

rf600r (236081) | about 10 years ago | (#9993568)

You mean Apple might sell more iPods? That's terrible news for Apple, because we all know they really make their money selling $0.99 songs.

losing money? (4, Interesting)

vida (695022) | about 10 years ago | (#9993570)

so these people are *losing* quite a bit of money on this; or maybe the music industry is pitching in? I am sure they are not really happy w/ iTunes getting as big as it is.

MS conspiracy theorists will have a feast.

*somebody* has to be pitching in... isn't real a fairly small company?


Good Move (4, Insightful)

Hawkeye477 (163893) | about 10 years ago | (#9993571)

This is a great move by Real. I will definatly be a buyer since there are many albums that I have been on the fringe of buying but have now wanted to spend 12-15 bucks on, but would def be wiling to spend 5.

This move will help increase competition in the market and I think will be beneficial to the consumers in the long run. As much as I like Apple, I like good old competition more cause it means better products at lower prices! Gotta Love Capatalism!

So you buy it because it is cheap... (4, Insightful)

OS24Ever (245667) | about 10 years ago | (#9993581)

..then a new 'firmware' update comes out for the iPod and your new library quits working...

Until the dust settles I'd not buy anything from real in hopes of it working with my iPod. Not like they support my platform anyway (Mac)

Whatever. (4, Insightful)

wheany (460585) | about 10 years ago | (#9993582)

Real, have you looked at your player software?

And is there an easy way of downloading your free player without you trying to get me to download your non-free player every step of the way?

Re:Whatever. (2, Funny)

wheany (460585) | about 10 years ago | (#9993609)

Oh, I forgot one other thi...BUFFERING.

Re:Whatever. (4, Informative)

Keltan (800326) | about 10 years ago | (#9993663)

Sure there is. Go here, ve.htm [] Plays all the Real content that I have ever been interested in (which I can admit is very little.) (Additionally there are links to a Quicktime Alternative and Media Player Classic at that site as well.)

Re:Whatever. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9993794)

No. That is not Real's free player. That is a workaround, and a good one, but it doesn't mean what Real is offering isn't broken.

Capitalism works! (3, Insightful)

aelbric (145391) | about 10 years ago | (#9993583)

No matter if you as an individual have issues about either of these companies. This is a good example of the free market working as intended. Too bad all industries don't compete internally like this.

How much are they losing? (2, Interesting)

SynKKnyS (534257) | about 10 years ago | (#9993585)

How much is RealNetworks losing money from each song they sell? The article mentions an analyst saying they will be losing money. How much of the $0.99 does Apple pay out to the record industry?

So what happens when... (4, Interesting)

tao_of_biology (666898) | about 10 years ago | (#9993586)

Apple "updates" the iPod?

Real seems to be implying some kind of guarantee that their music will play on the iPod... Apple has already stated that won't be the case for much longer...

Will users with iPods who buy these cheapo songs be left holding the bag (a bag of useless songs), or will songs they buy and upload to their iPod now work no matter how Apple "updates" their iPod?

So? Real just fixes it. (1)

Otto (17870) | about 10 years ago | (#9993668)

It's like this.. Apple can break the iPod's compatibility with Real's Harmony software, certainly. Real then simply adjusts their software to make their songs more like Apple's songs are. At some point, Apple can't break compatibility without breaking compatibility with all their own songs as well.

Remember, Real is just converting from their format into the format the iTunes Music Store uses. If they get close enough to that format, there's nothing Apple can do to prevent them without shooting themselves in the foot too.

Re:So what happens when... (1)

DAldredge (2353) | about 10 years ago | (#9993728)

Why would I buy from apple if they are spending so much time trying to stop real when that time could be better spent of things that help the people they buy their products?

Re:So what happens when... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9993752)

They break all the old iPods?

10,000,000th Post! (1, Troll)

CreamOfWheat (593775) | about 10 years ago | (#9993591)

Elect Kerry 2004 we need a self-proclaimed war criminal in the White House!

I mean really (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9993595)

Apple should stop crying and learn that is how buiness operates. But don't get me wrong realnetworks is just as bad. Loose Loose situation.

gnutella-still-free-for-all dept? (3, Insightful)

TheFlyingGoat (161967) | about 10 years ago | (#9993596)

And still morally wrong and illegal to steal. How do we expect the RIAA, MPAA, etc to embrace technology when the most public geeks make comments like that? Sure music is overpriced and a lot is crap, but it's still stealing. At least iTunes and Real are going about this the right way.

That said, I'll NEVER install anything from Real on my system. It's as bad as Bonzi Buddy to get rid of.

Burn karma burn, slashdot inferno...

Re:gnutella-still-free-for-all dept? (3, Funny)

gilroy (155262) | about 10 years ago | (#9993697)

Blockquoth the poster:

Sure music is overpriced and a lot is crap, but it's still stealing.

That's right. And we should resist the efforts of the theives who write those contracts and suck all the value out of music...

Oh, wait. You meant that copying music was still stealing, not that music itself is stealing (in addition to being overpriced and largely crap). Oopsie. That's a different argument. :)

Re:gnutella-still-free-for-all dept? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9993715)

And still morally wrong and illegal to steal

Illegal, yes. Immoral? Maybe for you. Clearly, you and I are very different.

it's still stealing

Actually, it's copying. Nobody is being deprived of anything -- the person from whom I copied that MP3 still has, in their possession, that original MP3. Nobody's lost anything of value. You're equating "potential sale" with "actual sale".

How do we expect the RIAA, MPAA, etc to embrace technology when the most public geeks make comments like that?

That's funny, my browser must be truncating the departments because mine doesn't read "gnutella-still-free-for-all-so-download-all-you-c an dept". No, my department simply points out the fact that copies are floating about via a popular P2P network. Are you suggesting that the department bylines overlook what is currently happening?

It's not "stealing". (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9993763)

It's copyright infringement, not stealing or theft or any other damn thing.

I agree that it's a crime under the current laws, but at least get your terms correct.

Re:gnutella-still-free-for-all dept? (5, Funny)

AEton (654737) | about 10 years ago | (#9993769)

You're right - Gnutella is stealing. I'll give back everything I stole right now.


The most telling part of this story... (4, Interesting)

overbyj (696078) | about 10 years ago | (#9993607)

is the fact that Real has already announced that they will lose more money this quarter because of this stunt. (Here is the link to CBS Marketwatch: 0A42057C-77BB-4F6A-AA44-3BAF401EFEC9%7d&siteid=mkt w&dist=nbs)

Take a look at their stock price today too and see what investors are thinking about this. (see it on the MSNBC link page). While I like the idea of cheaper music, this really smacks of desperation.

Re:The most telling part of this story... (1)

TopShelf (92521) | about 10 years ago | (#9993704)

That's why this is a short-term promotion, instead of a permanent pricing structure. They look at it as an investment in gaining a foothold in the marketplace, on the (dangerous) assumption that customers they attract will stay with Real after the price returns to normal.

Personally, I doubt it will meet with much success...

Offer won't last long... Music might not either (5, Insightful)

EvanKai (218260) | about 10 years ago | (#9993614)

Who is going to buy DMR'ed music from a company that is struggling financially with no guarantee that the RM part of the DRM will function in 6 months.

Their ads should say...

All of mp3 (2, Interesting)

LilMikey (615759) | about 10 years ago | (#9993618)

Bah! Still ~10x higher than And they give you the real non-DRM non-proprietary crap... Even lossless if you like.

And their legality is just 'questionable'.

Re:All of mp3 (1)

Professor S. Brown (780963) | about 10 years ago | (#9993768)

And best of all, they dont have any music I want!

Re:All of mp3 (2, Insightful)

clifyt (11768) | about 10 years ago | (#9993798)

"Bah! Still ~10x higher than "

Bah! The music companies are actually getting paid unlike the pirates at all of mp3 dot com. You REALLY don't think its legit do you? Seriously? Its out of the same country where you can buy adobe products for $5 each from sites that look just like this and claim they are all legit as well. You can get photoshop in lossless formats as well!

I work for musicians...they don't get paid anywhere near the amounts people think they do -- and they have to pay for people like me. Fucking slashdotters get pissed off that the mean ol' record companies are screwing over the artists -- of which, I've never heard ANY of them bitch except the superrich crack heads like Courtney Fucking Love that wasted all her money on smack and wonders where it went (rehab is a bitch, and costs a lot). Yet, the minute it becomes opportune to rip off the same artists, we do so in a heart beat.


or try this site (1)

cargopatch (806200) | about 10 years ago | (#9993628)

A penny a song, and perfectly legal, or so they claim.

Alternatives (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9993638)

Still costs $.49 more than Kazaa or Yawn.

Hypocrites (0, Insightful)

scorpioX (96322) | about 10 years ago | (#9993651)

Real's "Freedom of Choice" campaign is pure hypocrisy. What about my freedom of choice to use OS X or Linux? Where is Real's support for those operating systems? I guess they consider choice Windows 98, Windows 2000, or Windows XP.

Re:Hypocrites (1)

Planesdragon (210349) | about 10 years ago | (#9993744)

What about my freedom of choice to use OS X or Linux? Where is Real's support for those operating systems?

OS X []

Linux []

Scroll down to the bottom of "" and you'll see them, clear as day.

Re:Hypocrites (1)

belg4mit (152620) | about 10 years ago | (#9993772)

Maybe you should use the other 50 cents to buy a clue.

this is more on the right track (4, Interesting)

deviantonline (542095) | about 10 years ago | (#9993652)

paying $.99 to download a song that contains probably less than 10% of what the cd recording contains is something that i will never do. to me, paying for compressed music is a fools game.

lowering the price to $.49 or less per song seems more reasonable to me. people dont understand that by purchasing music online in mp3 (or equiv) format that they are ok with crap sounding music and if they are ok with that, what is going to keep record companies from spending less money on production when they know the music is headed for a compressed format anyway?

Haven't RTFa (1)

NanoGator (522640) | about 10 years ago | (#9993658)

"Real Cuts Prices for DRM-Restricted Music"

In a bit of a time crunch here, so sorry for not R'ing T F'n A. I just liked this headline. It put a picture in my mind like "Since the idea is to slow down piracy, we'll pre-emptively pass the savings on to you."

Can't comment on this particular article but I do wish that companies who do put in restrictive changes would consider lowering the price in order to make up for the cost of hte inconvenience. XP's licensing change, for example, would have been a lot easier to swallow. Instead, they (meaning everybody, not just MS)continue to claim piracy losses even though they've really tightened it down.

Almost makes sense (3, Insightful)

zeus_tfc (222250) | about 10 years ago | (#9993678)

After reading the headline, I thought, "Wow, for once this makes sense." What I mean is, they are selling an inferior product at a lower cost. This is standard business practice, and as long as they openly admit to the DRM, I've no problem with it.

Then I RTFA and changed my mind. This isn't giving the people a choice of an inferior product for a lower cost, this is a "sale" to try and win people away from iTunes. It's only supposed to last an undefined "limited amount of time." Probably until they feel they've won enough customers from apple. I guess it still makes sense business-wise, but I don't like it as much.

will Real music work in 5 years? (0)

Ex Machina (10710) | about 10 years ago | (#9993684)

when they're (possibly) out of business?

Audio Quality (5, Interesting)

Philosinfinity (726949) | about 10 years ago | (#9993688)

While better audio codecs have been advanced (MP3, ogg, FLAC...) it seems that the real audio format has maintained its position at the end of the pack. While I am not such an audiophile that I feel like researching expert information on audio quality, it seems that I notice a great difference when listening to an .ra file as opposed to an MP3. Getting half the quality for half the price seems like a wash to me. That is, unless they are either distributing music in another format or have advanced their own encoding process. However, even an advance in the Real Audio format seems negligible. While it is nice that the files are currently compatable with the iPod, it still seems Real is taking the "too propritary" road. Now before I get tossed into the flamebait category, I do understand that iTunes, MusicMatch, and the rest of the competition is fairly proprietary in their own right. But iTunes, and to a degree MusicMatch, are quite a bit less intrusive applications than RealPlayer. Further, does anyone remember the user privacy sagas that Real has been through? Does anyone really trust Real to safeguard your information? I don't know about the rest of you, but Real lost my trust a long time ago. They could give out $0.01 songs and $0.10 albums, and that alone would scare me away.

It's MPEG 4 AAC (4, Informative)

Otto (17870) | about 10 years ago | (#9993741)

Real sells 192kbit MPEG 4 AAC encoded music now. The new encoder/player/thingy defaults to that format. Looks like they're dumping the crappy ra format, finally.

Too bad Linux users seem to be left out... (1)

0x537461746943 (781157) | about 10 years ago | (#9993692)

"Sorry, Downloads are only available on PCs running Windows 98 and up and with: * Internet Explorer 5.5, or newer * Netscape 7.0, or newer" (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9993713)

I still use my ultra-cheap alternative: They operate using a Russian broadcast license...

Instead of 99 cents a song, you pay a penny per megabyte. Often you can pay as little as 5 cents for a 128 bit MP3. Other formats and bitrates are available.

Best part? Since it's a Russian "broadcast", the RIAA doesn't get any of it. Tasty!

Equipment Change (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9993738)

I've always wondered what is going to happen when someone has put a large amount of money and time into a DRM wrapped music library and the player is no longer supported.

If you migrate up to the latest and greatest player do you have to re-purchase your library?

What if Apple changes the iPod transfer format and lets owners who bought music from their site have free upgrades...

The question is what type of consumer protections do you have with this type of music purchase?


My music growth stopped in the 80's and I haven't heard much these days worth keeping.

...but they're compressed. why buy? (1)

filesiteguy (695431) | about 10 years ago | (#9993745)

I still can't understand why I'd want to pay even $.050 for a compressed version of the real song. It isn't the song, it's a snapshot. If I want the real version I get a CD.

I tried iTunes, and found it easy. I tried Real and thoght it nice as well, but can't get over the lack of fidelity on either format.

Adam Smith rolls in grave... (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 10 years ago | (#9993748)

Limit supply, and then have to lower your prices to sell it?

Hilarious.... (1)

RegalBegal (742288) | about 10 years ago | (#9993773)

Not only do I own an iPod, but REAL's products are quite possibly the worst I've used. In fact I haven't had REALPLayer on my machine for years. Horrible quality and resource eating.

What I find hilarious is on the site they set up for this stunt [] had a petition r4apple [] that was literally bombed by rabid apple/iPod fans. They took it down and now have the current petition link and it doesn't allow comments nor does it let you view the names which obviously disply that same messages as before just in one line.

I'm no Apple fanatic (WinXP junkie) but I love my iPod and I love this digital music fuster cluck that's been going on since it became the 'it' item.

Yuo Fail I7. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9993778)

they're gone Came as poosible? How

Questions.. (5, Interesting)

TheCeltic (102319) | about 10 years ago | (#9993780)

Ok, I'm sure this is all covered somewhere at the two sites but...

1. Can we copy the file we bought to different devices (i.e. PC/ipod/mp3 player)?
2. Will it allow us to modify the format to/from mp3/wma/ogg/etc?
3. What is the quality compared with "normal" downloads (from gnutella/limewire/etc)?
4. Can we "re-download" a song if our copy get destroyed/lost/mangled?
5. What other advantages/dis-advantages are there?

Reasonable.. (2)

Backdraft32 (806196) | about 10 years ago | (#9993788)

This is a reasonable price for downloadable music... They are saving the price of the media, the packaging, the shipping - all of the things that cost the real money and dont just line the recording companies pockets...
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