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Costly Music Store Coming to Cellphones

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the weird-marketing dept.

Music 294

Carl Bialik from the WSJ writes "The new Sprint Music Store is the first legal music downloading service you can access right from a cellphone, and Wall Street Journal tech columnist Walt Mossberg gives high marks to the interface, download speed and playback quality. But he criticizes the 'stratospheric new price for the legal download of a single song: $2.50.' Sprint justifies the price because of the convenience and usability of its store. Mossberg responds, 'I believe something else is at work here: a lethal combination of two industries many consumers believe typically charge too much. One is the bumbling record industry, which has been seeking to raise prices in the fledgling legal downloading market even as it continues to bleed from free, illegal downloading. The other is the cellphone carriers, or, as I like to call them, "the Soviet ministries," which too often treat their customers as captive and refuse to allow open competition for services they offer over their networks.'"

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Carl Bialik from the WSJ? (3, Insightful)

jrockway (229604) | more than 8 years ago | (#14077544)

Does this line mean that Zonk went to the WSJ and cut-n-pasted this article into slashdot as though someone submitted it, or did someone from the WSJ actually submit this to slashdot?

Either way, I'm not sure I like the precedent. (Seeing as how WSJ is subscription-based.)

Re:Carl Bialik from the WSJ? (1)

varmittang (849469) | more than 8 years ago | (#14077572)

I guess Carl Bialik emailed Zonk about it, and Zonk posted it.

Re:Carl Bialik from the WSJ? (3, Interesting)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 8 years ago | (#14077988)

This is exploitation of drunk people, plain and simple. Just like the 10c/joke services. No one in their right mind would pay for any of these services, and I strongly believe that no one in their right mind actually does.

These people make their money off drunk young people who find they blew hundreds of dollars on stupid inane crap when they were bored. It might not be criminal, but it's exploitative as hell.

Re:Carl Bialik from the WSJ? (1)

Soko (17987) | more than 8 years ago | (#14077596)

Zonk was at least up front about the origin of the article. Take that as you will.

Soko

Re:Carl Bialik from the WSJ? (3, Informative)

hunterx11 (778171) | more than 8 years ago | (#14077712)

Carl Bialik has actually submitted quite a few articles to /. in the past.

Compared to ringtones, not so bad (4, Interesting)

intmainvoid (109559) | more than 8 years ago | (#14077549)

When you think about the ridiculous prices people pay for ringtones it's not that crazy. So maybe it'll work for the songs that you just HAVE to have right now, but otherwise why wouldn't you save a few dollars and just wait till you're home and get onto the iTunes store?

Re:Compared to ringtones, not so bad (4, Informative)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 8 years ago | (#14077643)

I've never understood the deal with ringtones. Apart from the fact that they're usually obnoxiously irritating, on most modern phones you can just bluetooth any old MP3 to the handset and use it as a tone anyway, yet the ringtone market makes millions. I just don't get why people do it when they have a perfectly good CD collection they could use.

Re:Compared to ringtones, not so bad (1)

Trigun (685027) | more than 8 years ago | (#14077648)

Because then they'd have to learn how to do it, and maybe actually have to think.

Re:Compared to ringtones, not so bad (2, Insightful)

pomo monster (873962) | more than 8 years ago | (#14077689)

Because it's less hassle just to pay $3.99 than to trial-and-error their way through transcoding files into the appropriate format and then transferring them over via Bluetooth or USB. That's the fault of the UI designers and engineers, not the end users, and your patronizing attitude isn't helping things.

Re:Compared to ringtones, not so bad (1)

ottothecow (600101) | more than 8 years ago | (#14077942)

My phone accepts straight mp3 files but unfortunately a full song is much too long for a ring tone and to use USB, you have to buy software from motorola (or pirate it or use the PST drivers which are just as illegal).

When you buy a ring tone straight off your phone, you get the "best" part of the song all done up and ready for ring tone usage as well as sent directly to your phone. For the price of software you could easily get 15-20 ringtones in an easier manner.

Not to say it isnt a complete ripoff...especially when your provider not only charges you tons for the tone but then proceeds to charge you for data transmission when you are shopping in their store. Come on guys...I am in your store, give me that data for free (it only costs me a few cents...and it costs you less).

Re:Compared to ringtones, not so bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14078023)

My phone accepts straight mp3 files but unfortunately a full song is much too long for a ring tone

You know, most people don't let their phone right for 3-5 minutes. It's perfectly reasonable to require the ring tone to be a little shorter.

Re:Compared to ringtones, not so bad (1)

EnronHaliburton2004 (815366) | more than 8 years ago | (#14077707)

You much be rich. Most low-end mobile phones don't have bluetooth yet, nor do most computers. It's expensive.

Re:Compared to ringtones, not so bad (3, Informative)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 8 years ago | (#14077747)

All I have to go on is my experience in the UK, but I'd have some trouble finding a current 'average' handset without bluetooth. Pretty much all Sony Ericssons and Motorolas have it, as do newer Nokias. Samsung is lagging a little, but it seems to be in all their new models. Basically anything that would come free with a standard contract will have bluetooth, and most of the Nokias seem to come with USB cables as standard now too.

Re:Compared to ringtones, not so bad (2, Insightful)

EnronHaliburton2004 (815366) | more than 8 years ago | (#14077848)

Ok, I stand corrected. Sorry for being US-centric-- that's what I get for posting off-the-cuff remarks.

Europe has a better market for mobile phones then the US. We're lucky if we can get a phone that has USB capability, and they usually only use proprietary cables.

Re:Compared to ringtones, not so bad (1)

ottothecow (600101) | more than 8 years ago | (#14078020)

The parent is probobly from the US and here...our mobile phone service sucks majorly. We get shitty phones and we get them later than everyone else and we have crazy companies like verizon which go so far as to disable features on phones if customers wont pay more...it sucks but its true and there are LOTS of phones here with no bluetooth or usb (without a custom data cable).

Now if the american public knew that whenever they start with a new phone/contract they should go to amazon.com or somewhere and get it there (with extra rebates), they would realize that they can actually earn money (I've seen up to $75) on the cheap crappy phones and they can get better phones for free. I got my black Motorola razr v3 for free by doing this (yes its a rebate and yes it sucks but its better than the terrible selection of phones that the phone company was offereing free when I started the plan). My phone has bluetooth and a standard usb port and by going to amazon it was as affordable as the crippled bluetooth/usb-less crap they want you to have. Now only if I could get it without a camera...

Re:Compared to ringtones, not so bad (1)

Heembo (916647) | more than 8 years ago | (#14078049)

The idea of downloading, managing, (backing up), and then transfering mp3 files via bluetooth (which often requires turning bluetooth ON for your phone, and installing proprietary (non standard) software on your PC for that phone to do the bluetooh transfer.... This idea is a daunting task for most consumers. Downloading a ringtone directly into you phone is quick, seemless, does not require a PC or much of any expertise.

Re:Compared to ringtones, not so bad (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14078119)

That's a fine plan, but the last phone I got was a SonyEriccson K700i from Vodafone. Vodafone had "improved" the interface to disable the ability to use an MP3 as a ringtone or alarm.

It seems this was done for my "protection" because if I ripped one of my own CDs to MP3 and used it as a ringtone then it might go off outdoors, causing an "unlicensed public performance".

Those quotes are from the guy at Vodafone customer complaints.

Re:Compared to ringtones, not so bad (4, Informative)

Sir Holo (531007) | more than 8 years ago | (#14077909)

And, as Dave Barry pointed out a week or so ago: You can't use the songs you purchase from Sprint(TM) as ringtones. Those you must purchase separately, for about $2.50. Yes, you can buy the same song twice for a single device!!! Nuts.

Why cell phones suck (5, Interesting)

typical (886006) | more than 8 years ago | (#14077928)

When you think about the ridiculous prices people pay for ringtones it's not that crazy.

They pay this because cell phones are set up to be a closed platform, so that people can't transfer ring tones onto them. If people could just copy audio to them as easily as they do with a computer, there'd be no market -- there are *masses* of excellent, free, downloadable alert sounds for computers.

The cell phone providers don't want to be *data transfer providers*, as ISPs are -- you pay us $N, you get M amount of data each month, and your software can do whatever you want. That's a competitive market, and much less money is involved.

I'd love to see regulation out there that requires cell providers to allow *any* device (open platforms, maybe something running Linux, whatever) to connect to their network on a flat service rate, or metered based *only* on data provided. The current system is reminicent of the Bell hardwired telephone monopoly back before Bell was made to open up their phone system to any phone devices, as long as those devices didn't disrupt the network.

The fact that SMSes are more expensive than voice data on a typical US plan, for example, is absurd. This kind of screwball valuation only happens in the presence of a seriously non-free market. The incentive should be to use the loose-latency-requirements, low-bandwidth-required SMSes.

I'm one of a tiny handful of people that just won't buy a cell phone because of the fact that cells are magic black boxes run by a monopoly -- I want to be able to write (and download) my *own* alarm clock/scheduler/voicemail/etc stuff, without paying "application-level fees" to the cell provider.

What the market will bear. (1)

FlimFlamboyant (804293) | more than 8 years ago | (#14078080)

Unfortunately, it seems there are always a sufficient number of suckers out there to keep "services" like this profitable, even if they're getting hosed. Eventually, people will wise up, but I guess the cell phone market hasn't quite reached that point yet. What I find especially amusing/sickening is how you have to pay extra to send text messages, even though they consume a mere fraction of the bandwidth that voice does. If this were about the industry saving money, they'd encourage text messaging by making it more economical for the consumer. Obviously, it's not about that.

SonyEricsson will include iTunes (5, Interesting)

network23 (802733) | more than 8 years ago | (#14077551)

First: Mossberg is almost right.

The other is the cellphone carriers, or, as I like to call them, "the Soviet ministries," which too often treat their customers as captive and refuse to allow open competition for services they offer over their networks."

Should be The other is the U.S. cellphone carriers... since competition works and takes care of this in all other markets.

In Sweden downloadable music for cellphones is 9 cents (0.69 Swedish Crona) per song from ComvIQ [tele2.se] .

Second: No-one outside the U.S. will ever buy music just for their cell phones. Everyone over here uses SonyEricssons excellent K750 [sonyericsson.com] or W800i [sonyericsson.com] , syncing them with iTunes and MacOSX using scripts like iTMW [fidisk.fi] or apps like Dreamsicle [kaisakura.com] .

Third: I bet a case of beer that SonyEricsson [sonyericsson.com] will include iTunes [apple.com] in their cell phones during 2006. The demand is huge and they know they will have to do it, sooner or later. Nokia will also include iTunes as soon as they realize how Real sucks bigtime.

Re:SonyEricsson will include iTunes (1)

tehwebguy (860335) | more than 8 years ago | (#14077605)

sony ericson would include sony connect or rhapsody or whatever sony's shit service is, not itunes..

Re:SonyEricsson will include iTunes (3, Interesting)

MBCook (132727) | more than 8 years ago | (#14077610)

First: The WSJ is a US publication, so unless they specify otherwise, "cellphone carriers" refers to "US cellphone carriers". And yes, cell service is in the US is not open and as such all prices suck.

Second: No one inside the US should buy music for their phone. There are MP3 player phones out there (plus the ROKR). Of course, Sony is going to start selling Movies for cellphones; which continues to prove that the quantity of idiots in any country is always significantly greater than 0.

Third: SonyEricsson won't put iTunes on their phones. Other companies will, but not SonyEricsson. If Sony Music has any pull at all, they won't let it happen. Which is too bad. Sony is such a great company (if you don't count Sony Music and Sony Pictures).

Re:SonyEricsson will include iTunes (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 8 years ago | (#14077703)

Is the US that behind?

In the UK we've had video downloads for cellphones for a while, although they're only now starting to get popular (and live streaming of video, which was popular last year for a time but seems to have died off).

We also have video ringones... (see, there *is* one born every minute...).

I speculate that because of this the ipod video won't do too well here.. pure speculation though as it's not on sale yet (at least on the highstreet - possibly available through the apple store though).

Sony is such a great company

That's fightin' talk around here...

Re:SonyEricsson will include iTunes (1)

ip_fired (730445) | more than 8 years ago | (#14077864)

Is the US that behind?

In the UK we've had video downloads for cellphones for a while, although they're only now starting to get popular (and live streaming of video, which was popular last year for a time but seems to have died off).


Yes! The US *is* that far behind! It's lousy. They charge alot for data access through your phone. So that means that if you don't have a data plan (ie, $20-$30 per month in addition to your normal plan) you don't get to use any of the nifty features.

And we get to deal with terrible contracts, awful customer service, billing nightmares and locked phones! Yay for choice and freedom! They are all so greedy, that they all end up the same.

[/rant]
--A guy with no cell phone

Re:SonyEricsson will include iTunes (1)

boa13 (548222) | more than 8 years ago | (#14078099)

And we get to deal with terrible contracts, awful customer service, billing nightmares and locked phones! Yay for choice and freedom!

So, there's at least one thing on which France and the U.S. can agree! ;-)

Re:SonyEricsson will include iTunes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14077876)

In the UK we've had video downloads for cellphones for a while, although they're only now starting to get popular (and live streaming of video, which was popular last year for a time but seems to have died off).

Video capable phones started to come out in the US early this year, and actual video content is only barely starting to become available. Carriers have been very slow to roll out their high bandwidth networks. (then again, they have a lot of air to cover)

Re:SonyEricsson will include iTunes (4, Informative)

EnronHaliburton2004 (815366) | more than 8 years ago | (#14077686)

since competition works and takes care of this in all other markets.

The mobile providers are a cartel. They control the markets and do not allow fair and free competition. Cell phones are more expensive now then they were 5 years ago.

I just swiched my cell phone carrier after 5 years-- ATT/Cingular ended my old plan, and I wanted a new phone.

5 years ago, I paid a whopping $35 a month for Mobile service. This was the monthly service charge of $25, plus long distance surcharges, all taxes, additonal fees and 500 SMS messages. I use phone messaging as a pager service for my sysadmin job.

Today, for the same service and same number of minutes, I pay $45 a month. $30 for the plan, $10 a month in taxes and additional fees, and $5 for 500 SMS messages.

I searched for 3 months and couldn't find a better deal. The base charge is exactly the same dollar amount for the same number of minutes. Most of the increase is in the stupid fees-- "Long Distance Charge", "Verizon Wireless Surcharge", etc.

Re:SonyEricsson will include iTunes (1)

ediron2 (246908) | more than 8 years ago | (#14077906)

The only 'cheap' phone plan nowadays is a per-minute subscription with a craptabulous phone. Virgin Mobile, in particular, has had some cool plans: $20 per quarter plus a $40 phone will get you a phone 'for emergencies only'... $7 per month and the minutes rollover/accumulate (so lax months could roll into busy ones).

At 10c per message, it'd probably not work for you personally. And between 10 and 25c per phone minute gets expensive fast for anything more than minimal usage. Still, I keep staring at that and my $80-for-two-phones package and muttering to myself that there has to be a better way.

One last thought: my current $960 per year bill is deductible and gets me a level of freedom and efficiency and away-from-work personal time that probably more than makes up the difference. That said, I bet $80 a year would get me half that freedom and flexibility and a pseudo-raise of nearly a grand.

Re:SonyEricsson will include iTunes (3, Insightful)

interiot (50685) | more than 8 years ago | (#14077937)

Mobile providers aren't a cartel per-se. In the US though, there are two things that make consumer choice with cell phones worse:

1) Cell phones have the same problem as broadband... somebody has to install all the last-mile equipment. It's a pretty big investment, so only a handful of companies do it. And ultimately those companies are able to throw their weight around, even when they resell their traffic to other carriers [wikipedia.org] .

2) In the US, consumers buy their cell phones from the carriers, instead of directly from the manufacturer. They do this because carriers give them a big discount in exchange for a longer service contract. However, this means that the relationship between the carrier and the manufacturer is very strong, so the carriers have a lot of influence over what features the manufactuers build into phones. It's kind of like what would happen if the cable company were able to tell the TV manufacturers what to do, or if broadband ISP's were able to tell computer manufacturers what to do.

Re:SonyEricsson will include iTunes (1)

Alex P Keaton in da (882660) | more than 8 years ago | (#14077731)

I am old enough (barely) to remember when you had to use phone company phones. You rented big, heavy, ugly phones from the phone company. You couldn't just buy one and use it with your service. That seems to me somewhat similar (sorry, sarcasm) to how cell phones are now. I use a cell service I have had since the mid 90s because they have the best coverage in my area, but they don't have any phones I really like. Does anyone in the know have any idea if cell service will end up like landline service where you can pick out whatever phone you want and then use it with your provider?
On a related note, 2.50 for a song download? That is awesome, you can buy a 20 song album for only $50! And you cant even play it over you car or home speakers! Awesome! Sign me up!

Re:SonyEricsson will include iTunes (1)

C_nemo (520601) | more than 8 years ago | (#14077851)

"Does anyone in the know have any idea if cell service will end up like landline service where you can pick out whatever phone you want and then use it with your provider?"

What contry/century do you live in? is it that bad in the US?
That sounds awful, I actually feel kinda sorry for you. In scandinavia you normaly just buy your cellphone and put whatever SIM card you got from your cellular service in it and just go ahead and use it. Some phone companies will sell/give you phones which are tied to their operating code on the SIM card, but depending on where you live, you'll generally find backally electronic shops or people on messagboards who will unlock your phone for about 10-15$

btw. Norway (at least, probably larger parts of the world as well) has law provided number portability. This means that your current carrier has to "give" your phone number to whatever carrier you choose to sign up with. Takes about 10 buissnes days at the most. And the carriers are forced to rent away calltime on their networks to competitors (we have two national physical networks but about 5-7 providers.. i thing they keep aquiering one another)

Re:SonyEricsson will include iTunes (1)

Alex P Keaton in da (882660) | more than 8 years ago | (#14077925)

I am in the US, and yes it is that bad. You have to buy your phone from the wireless company. We have number portability, but your phone only works with the phone company from which you bought it. So you can switch phone companies, but then you have to buy a new phone. (There are ways to strip your phone and somehow use it with another service, but it requires some technical know how and a cooperative phone company, and even then, many of the features on your phone won't work with the new company.)
I am not sure why our phones are this way. Maybe the phone cos. have a strong lobby. I look forward to the day when we can do what you do, i.e. buy whatever phone we want and use it with whatever company we want...

Re:SonyEricsson will include iTunes (2, Interesting)

damiam (409504) | more than 8 years ago | (#14077945)

The US has number portability as well, and unlocked phones are available if you want to pay for them. But 90% of service plans include free or heavily discounted phones that are locked to the carrier, with the condition that you must subscribe for at least x months/years.

Re:SonyEricsson will include iTunes (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 8 years ago | (#14077952)

It's not that bad, as long as you buy a phone that is compatable with your network(the US has both CDMA and GSM, as well as you have to have tri-band, where in Europe, IIRC, your cell phone uses dual band), you can use it. However, if you take a provider subsidy on your phone, they will lock it down so you cannot use it on other networks, but that is what you get for buying a locked down phone.
Also keep in mind that usage charges in the EU, even if you factor in the fact that you can receive calls for free, are still much higher than they are in the US. And the whole "You can get cell phone coverage anywhere in Europe" is also BS. I use vodafone and I don't get reception in my town in Bavaria, also had some problems in Nuremberg. Never had any problems when I was in the US with reception......

Re:SonyEricsson will include iTunes (1)

Slack3r78 (596506) | more than 8 years ago | (#14077904)

You can now to an extent, there are two problems though:
 
The first is different carriers use different network protocols. If the carriers you want to switch between are on the same type network, it'll work. For example, Cingular and T-Mobile are both on GSM networks, so an unlocked GSM phone will work with either service.
 
The word 'unlocked' in that last sentence leads to the other catch. The phones you get with service are rather heavily subsidized by the cell companies, and as such, are generally 'locked' to only work with their phone service. Some carriers (T-Mobile) will unlock the phone for you after your contract has expired. You can also buy unlocked phones, but they're generally very expensive still.

Re:SonyEricsson will include iTunes (1)

frdmfghtr (603968) | more than 8 years ago | (#14078069)

I had a T-Mobile BlackBerry phone and was able to get it unlocked about three months after I got it. It helped that I told them I was overseas and wanted to unlock it to use an Australian prepaid SIM card (which was the truth.) At first they said that I would receive a text message that would unlock the phone within 72 hours, but they must have thought I was still in the US. After the deadline came and went, I called them back and demended the unlock code told to me over the phone. Two minutes later, I'm using a Vodafone prepaid SIM in my T-Mobile phone.

Ok, put all the Soviet Russia jokes here. (-1, Redundant)

varmittang (849469) | more than 8 years ago | (#14077552)

In Soviet Russia, cell phone purchases you.

Re:Ok, put all the Soviet Russia jokes here. (1, Offtopic)

jrockway (229604) | more than 8 years ago | (#14077578)

> -----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE-----
> 12345
> -----END PGP SIGNATURE-----

gpg: invalid armor header: 12345

:)

Only Old North Koreans need (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14077623)

Only Old North Koreans need a Soviet Ministry Of Cell Phone Music.

illegal downloading... (3, Insightful)

Travelsonic (870859) | more than 8 years ago | (#14077558)

One is the bumbling record industry, which has been seeking to raise prices in the fledgling legal downloading market even as it continues to bleed from free, illegal downloading...


Am I the only one who sees this statement as falsely implying that all free downloads are ilelgal as opposed to those not authorized by the copyright holder/on works in the public domain, or is it just me?

Re:illegal downloading... (1)

DoorFrame (22108) | more than 8 years ago | (#14077619)

They're not being bled by legal downloads. The legal downloads aren't costing them anything, only the illegal ones are. (I'm assuming a lot here, including that downloading free music from non-RIAA bands doesn't negatively impact sales of RIAA bands. This doesn't really matter though, becuase you're looking to pick a fight where one clearly was not intended.)

Possibly it's just you. (1)

RegularFry (137639) | more than 8 years ago | (#14077625)

The illegal downloading is what's making the industry bleed, not the fair use or public domain transfers.

Re:illegal downloading... (1)

The Amazing Fish Boy (863897) | more than 8 years ago | (#14077626)

Am I the only one who sees this statement as falsely implying that all free downloads are ilelgal as opposed to those not authorized by the copyright holder/on works in the public domain, or is it just me?

You're reading it wrong.

One is the bumbling record industry ... continues to bleed from free, illegal downloading...

The claim is that the record industry is bleeding from free, illegal downloading. They may ALSO be bleeding from free, legal downloading, but it doesn't claim that they aren't.

Pricing (5, Insightful)

rahulkool (927588) | more than 8 years ago | (#14077559)

This type of high pricing is increasing the copying of music and other illegal activities ..... if these songs are priced properly then i think it will help in stopping piracy.

The saddest part about it (2, Insightful)

Slashdiddly (917720) | more than 8 years ago | (#14077564)

is that the plan might actually work. I mean, on a per minute basis, it is actually a better deal than ring tones. Who is buying this stuff and why are they buying it I have no idea. Where's Darwin when you need him?

Re:The saddest part about it (1)

Meagermanx (768421) | more than 8 years ago | (#14077754)

Are you suggesting Charles Darwin would hunt down and kill or neuter every person on the planet who has ever paid for ringtones were he alive today?

Makes sense to me.

Re:The saddest part about it (2, Funny)

Cheapy (809643) | more than 8 years ago | (#14077817)

"Where's Darwin when you need him?"

Well, we can rule out Kansas.

Markets are efficient (4, Insightful)

thammoud (193905) | more than 8 years ago | (#14077567)

Consumers will determine if the 2.50 is a lot of money for a song. Many consumers decided that forking $2+ for a ringtone was well worth it.

Re:Markets are efficient (1)

SirChive (229195) | more than 8 years ago | (#14077595)

Yes, but a ringtone is a kind of personal identifier. People will stick with the same ringtone for ages and when it is heard in an office everybody knows who's phone is ringing. In other words one ringtone can have a very special meaning to someone.

Songs, on the other hand, are listened to in private and have no special association with the listener. I really doubt that there is any real connection between what people will pay for a ringtone and what they will pay for a song.

Re:Markets are efficient (1)

TCQuad (537187) | more than 8 years ago | (#14077760)

I really doubt that there is any real connection between what people will pay for a ringtone and what they will pay for a song.

But is it really a purchase if you don't need to give a credit card? That's, realistically, the major hurdle for iTMS: getting people's credit cards out of their wallets. Every time you go for the wallet (or purse), you have an extra barrier for determining whether or not something is worth buying. iTMS is already fighting a few of those. Let's take a simple scenario... You hear a song on the radio in the car. You want to download it.

With iTMS, you have to go to your computer (obstacle 1), remember that you went on-line to buy the song (obstacle 2), find the song (obstacle 3), enter your credit card number (obstacle 4) and then download the song (obstacle 5).

With the phone, that barrier to entry might be lower (ringtones analogy). You've eliminated barriers 1, 2 and 4 since you're immediately connecting to the service and it gets charged to your cell phone tab regardless. Is it worth it? For the companies, of course. For the consumer, of course not. It's the same as all impulse buys.

Re:Markets are efficient (1)

damiam (409504) | more than 8 years ago | (#14077951)

With iTMS, you only enter your CC# once. After that, there are just two clicks standing between you and purchasing a song.

Re:Markets are efficient (1)

vought (160908) | more than 8 years ago | (#14078012)

With iTMS, you have to go to your computer (obstacle 1), remember that you went on-line to buy the song (obstacle 2), find the song (obstacle 3), enter your credit card number (obstacle 4) and then download the song (obstacle 5).

OK, I think you are wrong about the obstacles here. iTunes actually makes it pretty easy to save your CC# and other info. Let's go point-by-point.

you have to go to your computer (obstacle 1)

Well, you got me there. I only spend most of the day in front of my computer. If I hear something on today's corporate radio I want to buy, I'd likely be looking up the name and artist online anyway...

remember that you went on-line to buy the song (obstacle 2)

But...you scenario involves buying songs online. Of course I'm going to have to go online to buy a song online.

My computer is alsways connected to it's high speed network, as is my phone. This isn't a valid argument.

find the song (obstacle 3)

This takes only a few seconds with iTunes. Given cell-phone text interfaces, I'll bet that a full keyboard is an inherent and very significant advantage for finding music - and that using a cell-phone, no matter how good the interface, is going to be more difficult than using a computer for anyone trying to find a song title or artist.

The new search interface in iTunes 6 is a little different than previous versions, but after a couple-three weeks, I've found it makes finding exact songs a bit easier than previous versions. The screen real estate also makes managing long lists of songs far easier than a cell phone's display.

enter your credit card number (obstacle 4)

Have you ever used iTunes? You are familiar that it has a tiered buying structure, right? You can make it progressively more or less difficult to buy a song, from entering your CC# every time and stepping through the resultant dialogs to simply clicking "buy" and starting the dialog without any further intervention.

iTunes stores your credit card number after the first use. What appears to be your main argument is also the most specious.

download the song (obstacle 5)

This doesn't require user intervention. Clicking "Buy" starts the download process, which as I explained above can be set up to consist of simply waiting a few seconds for the download to complete, or can consist of entering information and answering dialogs.

I get the feeling you haven't used iTunes.

With the phone, that barrier to entry might be lower (ringtones analogy).

I don't buy ringtones on iTunes. Do you? Of course they're more convenient to buy from a phone - it's a product that can be used only with the phone. Music, on the other hand, can be enjoyed on a variety of devices unless you pay $2.50 a song and use Sprint's music store.

eliminated barriers 1, 2 and 4 since you're immediately connecting to the service and it gets charged to your cell phone tab regardless.

I explained above why those "barriers" don't exist with iTunes.

Is it worth it? For the companies, of course. For the consumer, of course not. It's the same as all impulse buys.

iTunes is far simpler to use for finding, managing, and purchasing music, has a larger library, and costs less. No, it doesn't work on a cell phone (yet), but given the relatively immature state of broadband on cell phone networks, I'd argue that downloading large files (and batches of large files, as with buying whole albums - a task that is far simpler on iTunes) works better on wired networks anyway.

I don't think your arguments hold up; buying a single song on a cell phone might be a little easier in some cases for the extremely impatient people with lots of disposable income, but if one has any common sense at all, buying music through iTunes is simpler and cheaper.

Re:Markets are efficient (1)

TCQuad (537187) | more than 8 years ago | (#14078146)

I explained above why those "barriers" don't exist for me with iTunes.

I corrected that statement for you.

Now, if you read my original comment, I was stating that if you hear a song in the car and wanted to download it, iTMS faces obstacles in being the venue that you download from. Your first objection doesn't apply to my argument, since I was assuming most people wouldn't download music while at their computer at work.

Your second statement assumes that you don't get distracted while on-line. IMs, e-mails and other errands might push music to the back of the list. Granted, less of an obstacle for the "always on" crowd (you've ignored dial-ups, which do still exist), but at the same time, everyone I've ever met has had times where they've gone to a computer with the intent of doing something, got distracted and forgot about it.

I stipulate that obstacles 3 and 5 exist in both environments. I don't have enough experience with cell-phone keyboards to comment on the relative ease of use.

I'm quite familiar with the tiered structure of iTunes. However, assuming that everyone chooses one-click is a bit over-simplistic. Some don't have their own computers (share with siblings, etc). Some don't want to accidentally click and download music they were just browsing. Some are just paranoid.

I don't think your arguments hold up; buying a single song on a cell phone might be a little easier in some cases for the extremely impatient people with lots of disposable income, but if one has any common sense at all, buying music through iTunes is simpler and cheaper.

Congratulations. You just discovered the teenage market.

Markets are inefficient... (3, Informative)

Errandboy of Doom (917941) | more than 8 years ago | (#14077836)

...when dealing with monopolies.

Copyright creates one such monopoly. Since marginal cost is nil, marginal revenue alone controls pricing [wikipedia.org] ; as opposed to the efficient pricing based on the intersection supply and demand [wikipedia.org] . This basically means that the prices will be whatever rich kids with the most disposable income will pay, and the rest of us can go to hell.

Since D.I.Y. production is ever more feasible, and the joy of creating music negates any costs to making music, it's obvious that the efficient, market clearing price [wikipedia.org] for music is free.

Re:Markets are efficient (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14078033)

I'm sure the product will attract a small market, nothing extravagant or revolutionary. I mean, even iTunes hasn't really attracted a massive market, they've sold what.. a mere few hundred million. In comparison, there's roughly 40 - 50 million people on P2P networks at any given time, assuming that they all have an average of 200 - 1000 songs, that's gotta be nearly 1.8 billion songs illegally downloaded.

The only thing that iTunes has going for it is A) the idiocy of people who might actually think they might get caught B) moral hygiene and C) no viruses. Most people don't exactly see downloading music illegally immoral so I guess unless these corporations make real headway in offering cheap legal music, they're in a jiffy.

I myself have at least 2000 songs on my computer, if I had to buy those legally at the price of 2.50 each then I'd be $5000 in the hole (and that's American Dollars, in CAD that's oughtta be $6000-$7000) and as a highschool student with no job currently, I just can't afford that.

I don't see this happening (2, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 8 years ago | (#14077570)

Okay, the occasional ringtone someone has to have, I can see someone paying for.

But to listen to half-assed quality tunes on a device not made for that and probably sucks the batterylife of said device, I don't see this thing suceeding in pulling in regular customers to make decent revenue.

Who'd pay 1-1/2 times iTunes price? Which is already overpriced considering what I can get some used CDs for on amazon.com or ebay or half.com, etcetera.

Re:I don't see this happening (1)

Geeselegs (905363) | more than 8 years ago | (#14077606)

I'd happily pay 1/2 the iTunes price

Re:I don't see this happening (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14077878)

heh...what about the PSP? Who would buy all their movies all over again to watch them on a lower-resolution battery-sucking portable device? Lots of idiots.

Who would pay 99 cents a song, crippled with DRM and a lossy compression format? Lots of idiots.

Who would pay 2-3 times the price of an iTunes song for a 4 second ringtone? Lots of idiots.

If you ever find yourself saying "nobody would be stupid enough to pay for that," you've passed up an excellent opportunity to get in on the ground floor of a lucrative business. Many people _will_ descend into poverty to buy stuff like that.

another option (1)

b4stard (893180) | more than 8 years ago | (#14077579)

Are there any j2me bittorrent implementations out there and are they any good? Are there any competent trackers with wap support?
I was thinking of wether or not the piratebay [thepiratebay.org] (and it's equivalents) could be a less costly alternative.
Mobile warezing might just be the next big thing (tm).

$2.50 is a bargain! (1)

mrdaveb (239909) | more than 8 years ago | (#14077586)

When it comes to mobile phone downloads, $2.50 is surely a bargain. Contrast this with the prices some people (enough people) are prepared to pay for a 30 second clip of music as a ringtone or a postage stamp size image of their favourite sports star. As if that wasn't bad enough, think of all the people paying 0.50 a pop to enjoy quality content in the form of up to 160 bytes of text.

But you use ringtones for months! (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 8 years ago | (#14077717)

Calculate the cost-per-play of ringtones vs. songs. Ringtones would probably be in the thousands of plays over a few months, while most songs would not be played more than a hundred or so times.

So a full song might be larger, but it is also costing you an order of magnitude more in therms of use you get from it.

Waiting for RIAA to outlaw ... (1)

Lead Butthead (321013) | more than 8 years ago | (#14077594)

Watching for RIAA to pay off... contribute to their congress critters in exchange for law(s) banning tune uploading software for cellphones. Then the only way to get music into a cellphone is through inband download from these stores.

only 3 computers? (1)

tm1rules (444525) | more than 8 years ago | (#14077601)

The computer version of the songs can be played only on three PCs What exactly does this mean?

Re:only 3 computers? (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 8 years ago | (#14077667)

It means they'll provide licence keys that will allow you to play the song you downloaded on up to three computers of your choice.

Re:only 3 computers? (1)

karvind (833059) | more than 8 years ago | (#14077672)

If I have to guess it is similar to Napster deal with universities. We are allowed to download/play music from napster on upto 3 computers only. Since you need to download the napster client and log-in, it keeps track based on IP, mac address (I am not sure which one). So I am assuming you will have to download some software from Sprint to play the song. And yes you wouldn't be able to play the songs on winamp etc. Welcome to the world of DRMs.

Re:only 3 computers? (1)

damiam (409504) | more than 8 years ago | (#14077972)

They're probably DRM'd WMAs playable with Windows Media Player, some portable players and yes, Winamp. It would make very little sense for Sprint to create its own incompatible DRM format.

2.50 isn't exactly stratospheric. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14077602)

Compared to the old iTunes prices it looks like a ripoff, but a lot of CD singles cost up to twice that. It'd be easier to buy these than go to a bricks-and-mortar store for them.

On an equal playing field these downloads could take off like crazy and potentially kill those stores' sales. After all, many people are gullible enough to pay $3 for a MIDI ringtone that the sellers ripped from someone else's website...

That leaves the option that the downloads are infected with DRM. I'll let someone else pay for the privilege of finding out how this one violates fair use.

Re:2.50 isn't exactly stratospheric. (1)

Cerv (711134) | more than 8 years ago | (#14077894)

But the CD single price is for two or more often three tracks. The mobile phone download price is for one track only.

Most paid ringtones cost a lot more (1)

s0l3d4d (932623) | more than 8 years ago | (#14077612)

at least in Europe. If people pay up to £ 3 or 5 for ONE ringtone, having a full song for $ 2,50 is a better deal for them. Then again, once they will start to use iTMS enough, I think they will quit purchasing 5 ringtones... Cannot wait to have a Nokia N91. That will have sweet download programs... bye bye paid ringtones and music.

What a bargain! (2, Funny)

external400kdiskette (930221) | more than 8 years ago | (#14077644)

That's only half the price of a ringtone!!!!

In Soviet Russia.... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14077645)

In Soviet Russia music phoned you

Re:In Soviet Russia.... (1)

Bushido Hacks (788211) | more than 8 years ago | (#14077691)

Suddenly I just had a dredful though: SOVIET Poser Mobile. Scary.

Re:In Soviet Russia.... (2, Funny)

Anpheus (908711) | more than 8 years ago | (#14078098)

No, silly capitalist feminine weeny man. In Soviet Russia, music downloads you!

First.... err not by miles... (5, Informative)

MosesJones (55544) | more than 8 years ago | (#14077654)


This might be the first in the US... but its miles from being the first available elsewhere in the world. Usually the US is a mobile backwater that lags the rest of the world by around 2 years or so, in this case its around about that mark again.

Japan and Europe have had legal download services for a significant amount of time either via 3rd parties or more recently directly [silicon.com] , when it was being talked of as "what is next" in this market.

So like Sprint now do NFL, Europe has been doing Football (Soccer) goals for 3-4 years. TV on your mobile... yup got that... loads of crappy shit you never want... got that... and you'll be getting it soon.

Its expensive over in Europe too against iTunes et al, but that is down to the "convenience" factor (and normally lower quality) of the mobile downloads.

But "first"? Not by a long chalk.

Let's be honest here (5, Insightful)

Fear the Clam (230933) | more than 8 years ago | (#14077671)

People who use ringtones deserve to pay too much.

Re:Let's be honest here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14077757)

Agreed. I was rather shocked to hear that ringtones are a $3 billion dollar a year industry worldwide. I've never bought one, and never will; "vibrate" is more suited to my lifestyle, anyways...

  -- J

Re:Let's be honest here (1)

trudyscousin (258684) | more than 8 years ago | (#14077927)

"People who use ringtones deserve to pay too much."

Unless they make them themselves.

I have a Motorola RAZR V3 and a Mac. The Mac has QuickTime Pro on it, so I was able to isolate what I wanted from a track ripped off a CD using QT Player. Used iTunes to convert that to mp3. Used Bluetooth to transfer that to the phone. The result turned out great.

I know people will accuse me of being cheap, but I had a bit of fun making it myself, and it irrigates my heart with satisfaction to know that I bypassed my cellular provider. It's one thing to pay US$0.99 for an entire song (through iTMS, for example), but to be charged US$2.50 for a mere snippet of a song is criminal.

Re:Let's be honest here (2, Informative)

donnz (135658) | more than 8 years ago | (#14077980)

You miss the point. These are not ringtones. They are for phones that double up as music players.

Not to say your hypothesis is incorrect, simply misplaced.

The ultimate apple fanboy (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14077675)

This being Walt Mossberg if it's not from Apple it needs to be trashed. Mossberg column is the ultimate apple fan site--the only thing he ever said negative about Apple is that his nano scratched--but that was still ok because it looked so cool anyway.

In a recent column he suggested that using an iPod was a good substitute for a PDA--it does everything that a PDA does (calendar, contact list, play music) and was just as easy.

Although he claims that he doesn't get any promo swag from the vendors he writes about. Mr. Mossberg certainly protects his inside sources and previews from Apple. It's almost as journalistally unethical to only write positive reviews so you get invited to the "A-list" parties and product announcements.

They can get away with it too. (3, Insightful)

max born (739948) | more than 8 years ago | (#14077706)

In the context of Doc Searls' interesting essay [slashdot.org] about communications carriers in general, this is called bundling and it's a classic example of vendor-lockin.

Sprint couldn't just give you decent Internet access and have you go out onto a competitive net and find your own music vendor. They have to try to tie you to their own over priced service. To many carriers, a free and openly competitive Internet puts puts them out of the game by reducing them to what they really are -- nothing more than carriers. Expect more of this in the future.

The problem is here is (lack of) ease of access (1)

suitepotato (863945) | more than 8 years ago | (#14077751)

I have Sprint, four lines, and about 1100 minutes a month, with web, etc. The whole shebang. Covers the family very very well. Ringtones, games, and so forth? Next to impossible to get decent content outside of the official site of Sprint and their partners. From them, expensive and much of it ongoing in cost. Very limited collection. I really don't need to listen to Brittney or Fifty or whoever and their latest glittertrash noise.

However, through places like 3gupload.com and so on, as well as some devious techie kiddies and their apps, it is possible to get a ringtone like the old original Hamsterdance on my phone without paying an arm, a leg, and the rest. I already pay that monthly for my service, I don't get nearly enough service to justify that price I pay, and they really should cut me a better deal than that, but if they won't, oh well.

Better solution would be a Windows based PDA phone where I could put on just about any file I liked and hack it sixteen ways from Sunday (thank you MS for putting the SDKs and IDEs out so easy to get) and never think of the proprietary nonsense that the carriers gladly adopt with every phone model. Did people think that Sprint grudingly accepted Sanyo's idiocy of their platform design? They want it that way to charge you for proprietary limited availibility crap like this.

Like I said, there are ways around it, and Sprint needs to grasp that but just when they were making progress towards coolness, they seem to have been infected with the Nextel "we can be as closed, inaccessible, non-standard, and insane as we want" virus.

Re:The problem is here is (lack of) ease of access (2, Insightful)

xoip (920266) | more than 8 years ago | (#14077950)

The experience I've had pushing j2me apps to Carriers is they are extremely detatched from the technical capabilities that their networks support, and are driven by marketing people who barely know how to use email and are focused on getting teenagers to dl crap that daddy will pay for.

It doesn't matter anyway if you like Industrial (1)

Bushido Hacks (788211) | more than 8 years ago | (#14077759)

You know what is the sad thing, their isn't a single Industrial Rock band that has a celluar ringtone. All they have are these top 40 bands with annoying songs that fracture everyone elses' concentration. If at very least, you would think their would be a Nine Inch Nails ringtone. But no. NIN is not even on iTunes as it turns out, and Trent Reznor is a Mac user. Yet there all all these sucky emo, rap, bubble-gum manufactured pop/punk/country music.

On the other hand, what is the point of downloading ringtones especially from someone other than you mobile phone carrier? These Jamster and Zulutones people have the same content as you're phone carrier except they add spyware and hack into your phone for personal information.

Lethal combination? (2, Funny)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 8 years ago | (#14077783)

As the mad scientist laughed, the lightning gave life to the creature.
- It's alive, Igor, it's alive...
- What is it, master?
- My greatest and most evil creation. Behold...

RIAA' BELL! *THUNDER*

Ok, let me get this straight (4, Insightful)

ChrisGilliard (913445) | more than 8 years ago | (#14077786)

$2.50 per download. When a cd costs about $12 - $18. That means even for a cd with 10 tracks, the cost is $25. So, they lower their distribution cost to almost nothing and raise the price?!?!?! This is crazy. If they want people to not download the songs for free, why don't they make it affordable. If they charged a reasonable fee (like $0.25 per download, people would download songs like hotcakes around the world). Imagine the worldwide market of say 1 billion internet users and rising as opposed to the few people who will actually download this stuff.

Re:Ok, let me get this straight (1)

nfarrell (127850) | more than 8 years ago | (#14078081)

While $2.50 doesn't look so good compared to iTunes, you can't do * vs . Many CDs have padding tracks which you'd never pay for. If you want 4 or 5 songs on a CD it's cheaper paying $2.50 for each than $15 for the CD, even factoring out the convenience of getting them instantly on your mobile.

That been said, it's great to get an album and 'discover' songs you'd never heard of, and would never have bought if you'd had to pay for each song in advance.

Giving up on locked-down phones (2, Interesting)

Y-Crate (540566) | more than 8 years ago | (#14077804)

The extortion I face when it comes time to add any content to my phone is the primary reason I'm dumping T-Mobile in January.

My Sidekick 2 has been quite useful to me, but the damn thing is locked down hard and T-Mobile rarely even updates the content catalog, while not even offering the same broad selection that they provide to every other phone they sell. SK2 users don't get T-Zones. We get a literal handful of tracks/message alerts, 90% of which are ghetto. By "ghetto" I mean for example, the following is virtually all of the alerts they offer:

"Baby Girl You Got"
"Attention All Pimps"
"Baby Mother"
"Message Dog"
"Check Yo Messages Cuzz"
"Massage Message"
"Only Pimps Get 40 Or More Messages"
"Paging The Pimp On Premesis"
"Remind Ya Playa"
"What Time Is It Playa"
"You Supposed To?"
"Pimp To Da Strip"

While the music section is 90% rap/r&b.

When it comes to applications, you can count on 3 new apps/games every few months.

I find it pretty insulting and rather pointless. It wouldn't be too hard for them to offer more, and more varied offerings, but they have resisted the considerable pressure to do so. If you are going to lock it down, at least give me something worth buying.

The Sidekick 2 is horribly out of date anyway. It's been almost a year and a half since the hardware was refreshed, and nothing is on the horizon. I don't really want to spent $400 on a replacement, but I'm not going to sign up for another year of being spoon-fed content on an obsolete phone. I know companies will charge whatever the market will bear, but I think that there is a large section of the market outsde of the "Teenagers and college students living off of Mom and Dad's wallet" that feels a bit neglected.

Either you're making this up... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14077899)

Or their customers are skewed heavily to an "urban" audience.

Very interesting.

Re:Either you're making this up... (1)

Y-Crate (540566) | more than 8 years ago | (#14077932)

I wish I was making this up. I really do. :(

Their marketing campaigns are completely geared towards the urban market, but the phone appealed to me based on its long-outdated specs.

Ah, the irony... (1)

ThinkFr33ly (902481) | more than 8 years ago | (#14077822)

The other is the cellphone carriers, or, as I like to call them, "the Soviet ministries," which too often treat their customers as captive and refuse to allow open competition for services they offer over their networks.'

Does anybody else see the irony in this statement? The cellphone companies have built their networks through the process of captialism, and now many, in the name of capitalism, advocate the forceful opening of these networks so that 3rd parties can take advantage of the work done by the cellphone companies.

Re:Ah, the irony... (1)

argent (18001) | more than 8 years ago | (#14077855)

The cellphone companies have built their networks through the process of captialism

I guess "captialism" is another word for "government enforced monopolies"... on bandwidth, on protocols and interfaces (though software and other process patents), and in some cases subsidies and enforced franchises.

It's certainly nothing related to "capitalism".

what? (2, Interesting)

akhomerun (893103) | more than 8 years ago | (#14077826)

nobody's going to use this service because the truth is that people don't want their music player inside of their cell phone. cell phones are more often than not tied to the service because of 2 year contracts, and they are disposable trash to most people, whereas people want to keep their MP3 players for a long time (they cost more than CD players, hold more music, so they should last longer)

of course, since the nano came out, it'd probably be just better to tape the nano to the back of a normal cell phone that just makes phone calls. you probably wouldn't tell the size difference anyway. then you could have a real music player and a real phone instead of a compromise.

companies seem to hold this myth near and dear that having multiple devices is always inconvenient.

Re:what? (3, Insightful)

fermion (181285) | more than 8 years ago | (#14078064)

They will not be selling songs, they will be selling entertainment. People will pay the money because value be added. Lets look at two examples.

First the ringtone market seems to be booming, from over 2 billion now to maybe 5 billion in the next few years. Why do people buy these ringtones? Why not just download the song, crop it, and transfer to phone. Well, many people don't know how to do the later. And even if they did, imagine the value of showing your friends that you have a cool ringtone.You are out drinking your $5 beer or $5 coffe, perhaps $2 for a song is not so much.

Second, people pay a great deal of money to see a concert that is mostly lights and mirrors, when an equally talented musician could be seen for much less, sans the flash. Why do people pay so much for these concerts? For the music? To be seen? For the socilization? To have beer spilt on thier clothes? Clearly the value is there.

At the end of the day, people spend money on stupid stuff. Perhaps the market for this is kids who do not have money for an album, but can afford to buy single songs off thier phone, then figure out some way to pay for it at the end of the month. Perhaps the retailers are hoping that everyone with a cell phone will buy one song per month. Clearly the cash is there, and the impulsiveness is there. Now we have opportunity. People want phones to do cool stuff. At this markup no one has to sell a lot of songs, just a few.

It's time for lab experiments (1)

camperslo (704715) | more than 8 years ago | (#14077839)

Maybe it's just lack of competition, but sometimes I have to wonder if there isn't too much Floride in the water or oxytocin in our milk. What explanation is there for so many people willingly opting for these awful deals? Some common choices made in spending and voting seem to defy logic. Our overall absurdity-threshold seems to have been raised somehow.

I guess tunes could be more expensive. I wonder how many 160 Byte text-messaged UUencoded segments would be needed to transfer Alices Restaurant?

Ah Hah! EXACTLY as I've been saying! (2, Insightful)

Master of Transhuman (597628) | more than 8 years ago | (#14077853)

"Sprint justifies the price because of the convenience and usability of its store."

In other words, folks, NOBODY BUYS MUSIC! They pay for the CONVENIENCE of accessing what they view as FREE music!

Sprint's price will prove to be too high, of course - the sweet spot has already been demonstrated by Apple to be "under a dollar".

But the point has now been made by a major corporation - NOBODY BUYS MUSIC!

The only reason people spend money for music is the CONVENIENCE. Only for the few decades when there was no ability to record music at home - i.e., during the early days of phonograph records and no tape recorders - did people EVER PAY for music. They paid to LISTEN to music - not the same thing at all! They paid to go to concerts, or clubs, or wherever an artist was performing.

People will pay for a performance by a live person since they know people don't work for free.

People will also pay for an object that lets them listen to music wherever and whenever they want - whether that's a cassette recording off the radio, or a ripped CD on an iPod.

But they will NOT pay for music itself!

Get a clue, music industry and artists! Change your business model!

Convenience should cost more (1)

Filthysock (557067) | more than 8 years ago | (#14077859)

If you are so deaf to quality music that you're prepared to listen to it on those crappy phones, with their crappier headphones, and PAY for the priviledge, then you deserve to pay stupid prices. Trust me, they are all pretty bad, we are about to launch a music store for phones in australia and so i've tested a lot of them. Some of the phones' audio output is atrocious. Actually our service is more suited to the mobile space, as we only have unsigned artists and it only costs $3 a month for the users. Its going to be a great way to promote indie bands and groups.

Judge Greene's tombstone is rattling (4, Funny)

SysKoll (48967) | more than 8 years ago | (#14077970)

Yup, cell phone services cost a fortune. And since there are now two main telecom companies in the US, it's going to stay that way. It's about time the stock holders get some of their money back, boys and girls. Let me remind you how it was.

Back in 1984 (how appropriate), evil Judge Greene dismantled the AT&T monopoly. Instead of a benevolent Ma Bell guiding hapless consumers through an ever-more complex world, we entered an area of free-for-all market. Ma Bell was split into 6 entities. Suddenly, there were multiple telecom providers! Phones sold in stores instead of rented! Competition! Falling prices! Granted, the USA then experienced an unprecedented telecom boom. But telecom stock went into the crapper.

For almost two decades, this orgy of consumer felicity continued unabatted. Then, fortunately, the Clinton administration issued the 1996 Telecom Act, which watered down Greene's edict and allowed a wave of mergers to take place in the telecom industry.

Now, only two telecom companies remain, having absorbed all the baby Bells. We are finally seeing prices climb and customer service go back into the abysses where it belongs. But it was a long, hard road.

(Yes, it was sarcasm. Thanks for noticing).

in uk....... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14078003)

Solely for the purpose of comparing... 3 mobile network as been selling music for sometimes now. Tracks are priced from 0.50 pences... The average price is 1.50 pounds though

I found a simple answer (1)

Pop69 (700500) | more than 8 years ago | (#14078014)

Nokia 6230

Plays MP3s and it has uncrippled Bluetooth, I just copy tracks over from my PC and away I go.
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