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Amazon Plans Music Service To Rival iPod

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the bringing-the-star-destroyers-around-for-a-broadside dept.

161

theodp writes "The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Amazon is in advanced talks with the four global music companies about a digital-music service that could be launched as soon as this summer. It would feature Amazon-branded portable music players, designed and built for the retailer, and a subscription service that would deeply discount and preload those devices with songs."

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161 comments

Better ask mom first. (1, Funny)

suso (153703) | more than 7 years ago | (#14732247)

They might want to check with the RIAA first to make sure that *that* is ok.

But wait! (2, Interesting)

EraserMouseMan (847479) | more than 7 years ago | (#14732284)

That means that iTunes will have serious competition. It will be interesting to watch the battle. Competition is good.

Re:But wait! (2, Insightful)

Alex P Keaton in da (882660) | more than 7 years ago | (#14732438)

Um- call it flamebait if you will, but is this like how A9 is slaying Google right now?
Keep in mind that Wal Mart, the world's largest, most powerful retailer can't compete with iTunes with their music service. How many people even know Wal Mart has a music download service...
Amazon is a great brand in many ways, but that doesn't mean they can roll right into a new business.

Re:But wait! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#14732520)

Doesn't everybody know that Walmart has a music download service?!!!

Re:But wait! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#14732588)

Doesn't everybody know that Walmart has a music download service?!!!

They are not the first one I think of.

You probably can't dance to any of their songs in silhouette either.

Re:But wait! (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 7 years ago | (#14732715)

well I've never used iTunes, but I buy CDs from amazon a lot, and if they have a service offering cheap downloads of individual songs then I'd go for that :) I do use CDs in my car, and still like having CDs just for the sake of the thing, but for singles and stuff then I'd definitely consider spending the odd £1 for downloading a song, since my card details and stuff are already up there..

Re:But wait! (1)

Alex P Keaton in da (882660) | more than 7 years ago | (#14732741)

Something like 60% of the new cars sold in 2006 will have an option for iPod integration. I have pioneer head unit that I plug my iPod right into with the dock connector and I can control the iPod with my head unit.
Who will want another kind of MP3 player when an iPod plugs right into your car????

Re:But wait! (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 7 years ago | (#14732828)

well I already have an iRiver that I bought a couple of years ago, though the FM transmitter I bought to use it in my car has way too much noise.

Where exactly is your 60% figure coming from also, I saw somewhere something about one manufacturer (was it Chrysler?) having iPod docks, but otherwise I think it would be better for cars to have a system that can read off of a USB flash/hard drive. Not that I hate iPods or anything, I may get one when they have at least 8Gb Nanos, since I have 8Gb of music right now.

But anyway, the person who will want another kind of mp3 player, is someone that cares a lot about sound quality/battery-life/features, which is why I got my iRiver in the first place (at that time iPods only had 8 hours of battery life while my 20Gb iRiver had 16, and a radio, etc)

Re:But wait! (1)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 7 years ago | (#14733047)

Where exactly is your 60% figure coming from also, I saw somewhere something about one manufacturer (was it Chrysler?) having iPod docks, but otherwise I think it would be better for cars to have a system that can read off of a USB flash/hard drive. Not that I hate iPods or anything, I may get one when they have at least 8Gb Nanos, since I have 8Gb of music right now.

I don't know about 60% of cars, but it does look like Apple maybe has 60% of car manufacturers [apple.com] set up.

Re:But wait! (1)

jargoone (166102) | more than 7 years ago | (#14733509)

I don't know about 60% of cars, but it does look like Apple maybe has 60% of car manufacturers set up.

Uh, yeah... that 60% number is a little off. Did you see how many models were actually listed? Most of those are upper-end models. Then again, I guess that people who own iPods have above-average income.

Notice though, not a single vehicle from Toyota, who has the best-selling car is the US. Or from Ford, who has the best-selling small SUV and truck. Or from Chevy, who doesn't deserve to have the best-selling anything, but still sells a lot of vehicles.

This isn't directed at you, but rather at the GGP. The 60% number is completely and utterly wrong.

Shocking, but true news! Walmart is bigger... (1)

klubar (591384) | more than 7 years ago | (#14732752)

Actually Walmart is doing extremely well in competing with iTunes. They do it by selling the physical CDs in stores. Although some ./'ers may be suprised to learn it, Walmart actually is a much bigger (measured in revenue, employees and profit) company than all of Apple (and Microsoft, and just about every other high tech firm).

Walmart moves a much greater revenue of music than Apple. So tell me again why they need a download service.

Also, much like Apple uses iTunes to pull through iPod sales (or vice versa), WalMart (and BestBuy) use discounted CDs to pull through sales of other items. Once they get you in the store to pick up a cheap CD or DVD, it pretty likely that you'll buy a few more items.

Re:But wait! (1)

michrech (468134) | more than 7 years ago | (#14732906)

Keep in mind that Wal Mart, the world's largest, most powerful retailer can't compete with iTunes with their music service. How many people even know Wal Mart has a music download service...
Amazon is a great brand in many ways, but that doesn't mean they can roll right into a new business.


Misguided, yes. Flamebait, no.

What was the last TV commercial you saw that advertised Wal*Mart's music download service? Radio commercial? Commercial in their own in-store TV network? What? You haven't seen one?

THAT is why most people have no idea Wal*Mart does online music. They aren't even trying beyond having some deals (like with Duracell, and the makers of Pop-Tarts) to offer free songs for purchasing other products. (I am sure there are other products you can buy that have the free songs -- I just happened to notice on the two I mentioned).

If Wal*Mart gave more than two shits about their online music service, you'd see ads plastered all over *everything*. They are just treating it like any other product they offer. Unlike Apple, they have the money (for bandwidth, advertising blitzes, etc) to spread around so many ads that you'd actually be sick of 'em. They list their songs at .88 and claim about 800,000. Yes, this isn't as many as iTunes, and yes it uses .wmv (I've downloaded some free songs from them), but many people are not going to care, especially if their Wal*Mart purchased MP3 player works just fine with the store.

Re:But wait! (1)

Kosmatos (179297) | more than 7 years ago | (#14732526)

Marketing theory: Every new competitor that comes out helps the one in the #1 spot.

Amazon will be fighting Sony, Microsoft, Yahoo, perhaps even the evil Google, and every other iPod/iTMS wannabe.

They may have a business case, but they won't be aiming to overthrow Apple in the #1 spot. Every advertising dollar they spend will benefit not only themselves, but Apple. By increasing the choices and inserting even more noise into the equation, even more people will flock to the #1 choice.

Reminder to competitors seeking #1 spot: Apple has a complete solution. Hardware players. Music player software. Music store. Remote transmitter (airport express), remote control, Front Row media software with a cheap computer (Mac Mini) that just works, Steve Jobs Rock Star CEO, and best of all, a healthy market with lots of competitors and wanna-bes.

Re:But wait! (1)

EraserMouseMan (847479) | more than 7 years ago | (#14733131)

Marketing theory: Every new competitor that comes out helps the one in the #1 spot.

So does this mean that every dollar Apple spends on marketing the Mac OS also helps the Windows OS?

Will they be able to compete? (3, Interesting)

VJ42 (860241) | more than 7 years ago | (#14732278)

With Apple having such dominance of the market, will they be able to compete? Afterall, even now every commonplace mp3 player is oten referred to as an iPod, so won't people just think of this as an "Amazon iPod"? Unless they have a few tricks up their sleeve, some people will take this as a cheap copy and want "the real thing (tm)"

Re:Will they be able to compete? (1, Insightful)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 7 years ago | (#14732364)

Afterall, even now every commonplace mp3 player is oten referred to as an iPod, so won't people just think of this as an "Amazon iPod"? Unless they have a few tricks up their sleeve, some people will take this as a cheap copy and want "the real thing (tm)"

This is the mistake every mp3 player manufacturer is making. They assume that Apple's iPod represents the state of the art, and all they can hope to do is compete with substandard products priced lower than the lowest iPod.

It's a nonsense of course. These companies could come out with a better product than the iPod if they bothered to put any effort in. As it is, why would I pay $200 for a shoddy 2GB flash player, when I could just pay $400 and get a 40GB video iPod.

Re:Will they be able to compete? (2)

Rydia (556444) | more than 7 years ago | (#14732407)

Yeah, I don't know why they don't just use their magic powers of extrapolation and come up with a vastly superior product like you just did. I don't get what's wrong with them....

ummm (1)

BitterAndDrunk (799378) | more than 7 years ago | (#14732732)

As it is, why would I pay $200 for a shoddy 2GB flash player, when I could just pay $400 and get a 40GB video iPod.

No moving parts? I waited for the nano specifically for the lack of an HD, as I dropped my discman about twice a year.

Re:Will they be able to compete? (2)

Keebler71 (520908) | more than 7 years ago | (#14733255)

Excellent points! My personal experience is that there are many segments of the market that are not being explored at all. I searched for a portable mp3 player for months before finally buying a Nano a couple weeks ago. While it was indeed a stylish, nice little device, it was completely unsuited for my needs so I took it back and bought an iRiver T10.

You see, I wanted an mp3 player for some hard-core fitness use. An iPod lpoks great attached to the arm (arm strap not included btw) of the hot chick walking on the treadmill at the gym - but try using an iPod while running intervals. I listen to language tapes a lot so am frequently pausing and resuming the player. This means I have to be holding the device and in the case of the iPod, looking at it you want to hit the right button if you are doing anything other than sitting down. On a stationary bike or treadmill, I am constantly putting it in the cup holder and picking it back up again - sweating all over it, etc... some other observations:

  • iTunes - fought with it...couldn't stand it... updater had me run the setup program THREE times! (and it installed Quicktime on my machine (ugh))... mark me flamebait but I prefer MediaPlayer 10 (but of course it is incompatable with iPods)
  • Accessories are ridiculously expensive (although there is a huge selection.) I'm thinking there is a huge market out there for a mp3 manufacturer that is compatable with existing iPod accessories
  • Didn't come with anything except a sliver of a fabric sack (iRiver came with a plastic shell type cover and armband ($30 dollars extra for iPod)
  • Doesn't play WMA or Ogg
  • no radio

I gave it about a week before trading it in for the iRiver. Don't get me wrong, market forces obviously show that the iPod is a great product that meets the needs of most people,... I'm just not one of them... I want a small yet rugged mp3 player - one that I wouldn't cringe each time I drop wondering if $200 just went out the window...

Re:Will they be able to compete? (4, Insightful)

molarmass192 (608071) | more than 7 years ago | (#14733574)

People associate Apple with cool, edgy, and young. Meanhile, Microsoft is only geek cool, not nerd cool, and certainly not cool to the general population. People view Microsoft through the cheap, stale,retrictive, crap software they have to deal with at the office. Apple provides an escape from that. It's those flashy computers that you only see in cool Apple stores, not with a $300 rebate coupon at BestBuy. An iPod is a status symbol and the fact that it doesn't play WMA makes it that much cooler to nerds, I doubt the general pop gives a hoot about that lack. iRiver, while making better and even more expensive players, simply does not have the cachet of an iPod in a "that guy couldn't even afford an iPod ... what a loser" sense. It plays into the "low end luxury snob" trend that America is so deeply into these days with other non-necessities like Starbucks and high end restaurants.

Re:Will they be able to compete? (1)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 7 years ago | (#14733604)

It plays into the "low end luxury snob" trend that America is so deeply into these days with other non-necessities like Starbucks and high end restaurants.

I love this trend. It enables me to live comfortably, despite my lower salary.

Re:Will they be able to compete? (1)

Keebler71 (520908) | more than 7 years ago | (#14733814)

It plays into the "low end luxury snob" trend that America is so deeply into these days with other non-necessities like Starbucks and high end restaurants.

Not quite sure which "it" you are referring to, iRiver or iPod? Funny you mention Starbucks though because that is in line with my mental stereotype of an iPod user. For lack of any better word, the iPod seemed rather metrosexual to me... very pretty, very stylish - but not very mannly in a rugged or 100-button remote sense. I'm not into style enough to care what my iPod looks like or if it has a shiny metal backplate that doubles as a mirror...

Re:Will they be able to compete? (1)

JonathanBoyd (644397) | more than 7 years ago | (#14733939)

You see, I wanted an mp3 player for some hard-core fitness use. An iPod lpoks great attached to the arm (arm strap not included btw) of the hot chick walking on the treadmill at the gym - but try using an iPod while running intervals. I listen to language tapes a lot so am frequently pausing and resuming the player. This means I have to be holding the device and in the case of the iPod, looking at it you want to hit the right button if you are doing anything other than sitting down.

'm curious, how did getting an iRiver solve your problem? Surely it operates by physical contact, rather than telepathy? If your answer is 'I sued the remote,' then why didn't you just use a remote for the iPod? If you prefer the iRiver, then fair enough, your choice, but the iPod does seem to meet your needs here.

Doesn't play WMA

You make that sound like a bad thing :^) Seriously though, why would you want to use WMA? Have you purchased songs from a WMA music store? It would seem odd if you encoded your own stuff in WMA, but then also want OGG support. Personally, I'm quite happy with AAC, but my entire collection is encoded in it and I've shopped at the iTMS.

no radio

If you get the remote then you can use it as a radio. Yeah, it costs more, but it solves your sweating problem as well. Otr it would if you still had the iPod.

I gave it about a week before trading it in for the iRiver. Don't get me wrong, market forces obviously show that the iPod is a great product that meets the needs of most people,... I'm just not one of them...

Fair enough. As long as there's a healthy number of dissenters liek you, hopeuflly Apple will keep on improving the iPod. Which in turn will make other amnufacturers compete more. A win for both of us :^)

Re:Will they be able to compete? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 7 years ago | (#14733352)

This is the mistake every mp3 player manufacturer is making. They assume that Apple's iPod represents the state of the art, and all they can hope to do is compete with substandard products priced lower than the lowest iPod.

I don't think the manufacturers are thinking that the iPod is 'the state of the art'.

I think the manufacturers have figured out that everyone now knows what an iPod is, and generally don't have a clue what a 'portable MP3 player' is.

People are familiar with it and what it does, and the name iPod requires zero technical jargon to know what it is. The fact that iPod has become a whole phenomenon unto itsself means that companies have to compete with the brand and the awareness that surrounds it.

They're not really marketed on the basis of tehnical specs, feature sets, etc. And now competitors are having to market them relative to the iPod. Saying you've got more bits, bytes, sampling rates, or several other things doesn't sway the people who are thinking "but is it like an iPod".

What Amazon has ... (4, Insightful)

binaryDigit (557647) | more than 7 years ago | (#14732505)

What Amazon has that others don't that may allow them to compete effectively against the iPod/iTMS:

- An established, well trafficed website. People already go to Amazon to shop for music and videos, allowing them to immediately download instead of purchasing a cd/dvd is an obvious evolutionary step. They don't need to try to drive people to use their service, people already do.

- Purchase hardware directly from them. If they do indeed sell a hardware player as well, then this makes it even easier for the consumer. "Hey, I'm thinking of buying a mp3 player, I'll go over to Amazon and check them out". And lo and behold, you can purchase the Amazon player and get whatever music you order pre-loaded onto the sucker in one fell swoop. Even Apple doesn't offer this level of service.

- Amazon already has relationships with the music industry and they are "established" enough to be a credible (in the eyes of the industry) alternative. Remember, Jobs and the music industry don't exactly see eye-2-eye on issues like pricing. I bet the music industry execs are chomping at the bit to play with someone who will bow more to their desires in order to establish a foothold.

Not to say that this Amazon player is a shoo-in, but I think it's probably the most credible challenge to the Apple "monopoly" that has come around in a while. It will indeed be interesting to see if they can gain some measure of success vs the iPod/iTMS steamroller, or if they just end up sucking up all the after rans, in effect winnowing the market to two players.

Re:What Amazon has ... (1)

X_Bones (93097) | more than 7 years ago | (#14733213)

I bet the music industry execs are chomping at the bit to play with someone who will bow more to their desires in order to establish a foothold.

If Amazon sets up a store that gives the RIAA a bigger piece of the revenue, either: (a) Amazon charges more than iTMS in order to make the same profit; or (b) music prices are equivalent, and Amazon makes less money than Apple. Case (a) means that people will continue to buy music from iTMS due to its lower prices. Case (b) means that Amazon will make less money than iTMS (which itself isn't very profitable, I've read), and I'm not sure that they can make it up in hardware that can't possibly be as elegant and trendy as the iPod. Combine that with Amazon having to sell music with DRM more restrictive than FairPlay (which I'd imagine would be one of the RIAA's goals), and I don't see them making any money this way either.

Unless there's a scenario I missed, I'm not sure how Amazon can make this venture profitable.

Re:What Amazon has ... (2, Insightful)

Qwavel (733416) | more than 7 years ago | (#14733518)


Amazon might be able to distinguish itself from iTunes in the way you've described, but Yahoo already has many of these things: one of the internet's most popular web sites, the ability to tie together a set of offerings, a subscription model and better prices than iTunes.

So how is Amazon going to compete with Yahoo when Yahoo has a years head start?

The Coolness Factor... (5, Insightful)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#14732286)

I like buying books and DVDs from Amazon. But there's no coolness factor associated with having a music player from a warehouse operation. The iPod, on the other hand, is a cultural icon that everyone must have..

Re:The Coolness Factor... (0, Troll)

EraserMouseMan (847479) | more than 7 years ago | (#14732328)

That's BS. It's funny that most mac zealots like to be overcharged. They always justify it by claiming the "cool factor". Music is Music. If people can get a better deal from somewhere else they will. When you hear the music playing it's not like you can tell where it was purchased from anyways.

Re:The Coolness Factor... (2, Insightful)

plazman30 (531348) | more than 7 years ago | (#14732376)

When you compare iPod to their nearest competitor, the Creative players. iPods are actually CHEAPER that their creative counterparts.

The argument that iPods are overpriced doesn't hold water anymore...

Re:The Coolness Factor... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#14732680)

...and that's why you never had sex until you were 28.

Re:The Coolness Factor... (1)

jchawk (127686) | more than 7 years ago | (#14732343)

The poster hits it right on the head! There's a whole slew of MP3 players out there, all of which do exactly the same thing... They play music. Some have some nifty features as well, others have longer battery life, smaller size, yada yada... But Apple has built in this "coolness" factor. If you have an iPod, you are part of the "in crowd", doorways open, and girls want to make sweet sweet love to you!

Re:The Coolness Factor... (1)

klang (27062) | more than 7 years ago | (#14733087)

I am always amazed about how many different mp3 players are compeeting for attention in the 20% gap that Apple leaves them.

Re:The Coolness Factor... (1)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 7 years ago | (#14732924)

And for how much longer will the coolness factor last? The problem with fashion is that it goes out of fashion, and that will happen to the iPod as well. The iPod was cool two or three years ago, these days, it's getting rather stale. Apple will need to renew the lineup, as it has done successfully with the Nano, and rather unsuccessfully with the white chewing gum thingy.

But it's still not enough. Most people are followers, but they don't want to be perceived as such. Thus, they follow people who are able to differentiate themselves from the common people, and the people who are able to differentiate themselves can't buy last year's brand name for ever and ever. In the end (or rather, in 2--3 years) , the iPod will be no more a cultural icon than any other player, and Amazon will be able to compete on the same terms.

Re:The Coolness Factor... (with a cheesy analogy) (1)

trippy (94675) | more than 7 years ago | (#14733980)

Think of the coolness factor as the worm on a hook. It gets people interested and biting at their products, which includes music from itunes. The music bought is the actual hook. After I bought a couple of hundred of songs since the start of the music service, there is no way im going to another player since I would lose all of the music I have bought in the last 3 years. So basically they caught me and im not going to let go because I am a satisfied customer.

iPod is the "Mercedes Benz feeling" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#14733504)

Exactly! There have been around portable mp3 palyers, etc. for ages, there are plenty of sites where music can be purchased online. iPod still keeps going strong because of this "coolness" perception that money can't buy.

Getting an iPod is like buying a Mercedes Benz, a designer cloth or shoes.
iPod is the "Mercedes Benz feeling", affordable for the crowds.

Any real competition with Apple should compete on that level. And that's something way beyond best engineering, lowest price, "biggest bang for the buck". It's the same category why some music, some movies some brands become bigger than life in certain times. So far noone has a recipe for this.

iPods biggest competition is if and when this "coolness factor" eventually will start to fade away.
But this has more to do with social psychology than engineering and price.

Regardless, iPod has created in it's place in future history books, as a landmark item of a certain decade, without any doubt.

Just a Random.Idea

Partnership (4, Informative)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 7 years ago | (#14732289)

Among the manufacturers Amazon has mentioned as likely partners for a subsidized hardware offering is Samsung Electronics Co., whose flair for stylish design is raising hopes among music executives that the initiative could create a strong alternative to iPod. A representative at Samsung's headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, couldn't be reached for comment.

Samsung makes excellent products. I own a Samsung laser printer and microwave, and used to have one of their cell phones till my wife got me a Motorola upgrade for Christams two years ago. Their products are pretty reliable and robust, and if thay can create a decent MP3 player for Amazon, it should give the iPod a run for its money, though I suspect Apple's lead will shrink but never disappear unless they make some crucial marketing mistake.

Re:Partnership (1)

ikejam (821818) | more than 7 years ago | (#14732320)

oh.. i always found smasung products, particularly their cellphones, lackng in refinement... and i think that could be even more important in an ipod competitor..

Re:Partnership (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#14733608)

My Samsung laser printer (which was either made by Xerox for Samsung, or Samsung makes them for Xerox) died after 6 months. My friend's Samsung display shipped with several dead pixels.

I'm not too enamored with samsung quality, but this is all anecdotal anyways.

And let me guess... (1, Funny)

Shag (3737) | more than 7 years ago | (#14732290)

...smaller than a Nomad. ...no support for OGG Vorbis. ...I forget the other "fault" that was noted when the iPod debuted. ;)

Re:And let me guess... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#14732600)

No FM tuner - really sank the iPod too.

Headline (1, Insightful)

Gatton (17748) | more than 7 years ago | (#14732299)

Amazon Plans Music Service To Rival iPod

I assume you mean to rival iTunes? As far as I know Apple isn't selling their own brand of hardware player. Should be interesting. The digital music download space is getting pretty crowded.

Re:Headline (1)

iainl (136759) | more than 7 years ago | (#14732359)

Actually, the implication seems to be that they are indeed planning to release their own player to go along with the service.

Re:Headline (1)

CleverBoy (801540) | more than 7 years ago | (#14733880)

Yes, quite messy there. It's amazing WSJ would get it wrong, but in all liklihood, the article title was architected to place better in searches, using the more popular keyword "iPod" instead of the more accurate "iTunes". WSJ Editor's Note: "Please use all opportunities to cross-index all titles with highest popularity search terms in Google Zeitgeist". Amazon's designs on supplying a player will likely not be as much of a money-magnet, as being able to download music on-demand. On a related note, personally, I get miffed when "iPod" is dragged kicking and screaming into almost every article even tangentially related. I suspect there's a reporter somewhere trying furiously to work "Cheney", "Abu Graib" and "Ipod" into their next article title.

iPod and iTunes (3, Informative)

acaben (80896) | more than 7 years ago | (#14732305)

An iPod is a one of several small portable units used to listen to digitial music on. It is not a service. The iTunes Music Store is an online venue where you can purchase music. It might be considered by some to be a service, and is what Amazon is actually competing with. And even then, it's not really competition. Amazon is going to offer a subscription service. iTMS allows you to buy individual songs and albums and own them for perpetuity, as long as you agree to their crappy DRM.

Re:iPod and iTunes (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#14732357)

masuhasuahsuhuashuashuashsuamasuhasamuhasuhas TEH l33t

ipod killer huh? (3, Interesting)

minus_273 (174041) | more than 7 years ago | (#14732308)

ipod killer huh? how many times have we heard that recently. It is interesting though that amazon is now in the hardware business. Oh wait, the article title "Plans Music Service To Rival iPod" is wrong.

Oh crap. they are getting into the hardware business.. and the article title is from the WSJ not slashdot. The summary says nothing about that though. i wonder how many people who didnt RTFA are going to post something like the paragraph above. :-p

Re:ipod killer huh? (1)

Shadowland (574647) | more than 7 years ago | (#14732705)

> i wonder how many people who didnt RTFA are going to post something like the paragraph above. :-p

Most of them? :^D

DRM (0, Flamebait)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 7 years ago | (#14732319)

Is it going to be so crippled with DRM that I can't so much as plug a second set of speakers into my PC to listen to it on? This is all from the same company that stocked those Sony rootkit CDs. Do you really want to trust your system to them?
 

Re:DRM (1)

pryonic (938155) | more than 7 years ago | (#14732506)

I'm sorry but I think the Sony comment was a little harsh. I totally detest what Sony have done, and I have since refused to buy Sony CDs, but to blame Amazon is just plain petty. Every online and offline mainstream CD dealer under the sun will stock those Sony CDs, before an after the scare.

I'm not one for sticking up for big business (yes, I'm one of the socialist liberal communist terrorists you all seem to hate these days) but I can honestly say I've never had reason to complain with Amazon.

Re:DRM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#14733211)

DRM is a major concern for me also. There is no future for DRM'd music - your stuck with the same platform specific format that will eventually die out to some successor. Then where will you be...? rebuying all your music!

possible name... (5, Funny)

solidtransient (883338) | more than 7 years ago | (#14732330)

call it iMazon... no wait...

Duh... it'll be... (3, Funny)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 7 years ago | (#14732523)

aTunes!

And the hardware will be called the aPod!

Re:Duh... it'll be... (1)

DorkusMasterus (931246) | more than 7 years ago | (#14733792)

Should it be called "The 'Zon"? or maybe "ZonZone"? Perhaps "AIPOD"? What about "NOZAMA"? (made myself laugh with that last one)

Our local shop just closed (2, Funny)

RoboSpork (953532) | more than 7 years ago | (#14732345)

Our local record store just closed down, what a great shop it was too. Now this Amazon shop is coming, somehow I don't think it will exude the same charm that I got from our local shop. Hmm, I guess I should bought more records there and spent less time flirting with the cute girls behind the counter, darn.

But on another note, I wonder much kicking and screaming the record company execs did as they were being dragged by collars into this by the many smarter people around them?

Re:Our local shop just closed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#14733358)

You had Girls working in an independent record store?
jesus thats cool...

They Might Have to (2, Insightful)

slashbob22 (918040) | more than 7 years ago | (#14732358)

If we bow to RIAA's pressure, then Amazon's CD sales may be in trouble. "Even if CDs do become damaged, replacements are readily available at affordable prices." [RIAA [slashdot.org]]. While Amazon does sell at decent prices, the mere fact that you cannot backup your purchases may signal the end of an era.

The CD medium has been a double edged sword for RIAA - the popularity of music on CD's over the past decade has increased sales and the influx of technology has made copying CD's easier. While I will argue that there aren't as many sales lost as they say, I will agree that because technology exists there are problems. That being said; most consumers like to own their purchases and CD's are still the best way to do so.

Changing technology fields. (3, Interesting)

pubjames (468013) | more than 7 years ago | (#14732371)

It's just struck me that an interesting trend is occuring. During the 90's, the company that owned the software was the winner, in other words, Microsoft became so dominant in the PC industry because they dominated the OS space, the hardware just became a commodity. They (and pretty much everyone else) though the same thing would happen in the mobile and 'living room' spaces. But it's not - the hardware is becoming more important - Microsoft realise that they only way they are getting into people's living rooms is coming out with their own hardware (the X-Box). Similarly in the mobile space, it's the ones that control the hardware that are going to win - so to compete in the digital content market Amazon is having to make its own version of the iPod, and Microsoft is also considering it. So we have software companies and online shops turning into electronics manufacturers.

 

Re:Changing technology fields. (1)

nordelius (947186) | more than 7 years ago | (#14732806)

Yes.

You could link this idea to an off-the-shelf "rise of OSS" slashdot rant, a few lines about shiny apple boxes and the apple moves to windows conspiracy [pcmag.com] and then set yourself up as an IT pundit.

This is quite possibly the most insightful comment I have read on /. for ages.

Ah well...hope springs eternal for marketing types (5, Insightful)

Sunburnt (890890) | more than 7 years ago | (#14732405)

What, exactly, is Amazon going to be banking on by branding a line of music players? Their history for making functional, attractive gadgets? Hmm...no, that's Apple. Is the consumer expected to look at an Amazon-branded MP3 player they've never seen before and think, "Ah, Amazon! They do such a good job shipping gifts on or around Christmas, I'll bet their digital music service rocks?"

This has all the trappings of another expensive mistake.

Mistake? (1)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 7 years ago | (#14733059)

What people on /. seem to forget is that on average they are on the upper-end of the income curve.

Not everyone can afford to drop $200-$300 on a fancy iPod, that's why there is still a market for $30 CD players at Walmart. But if Amazon's supply chain can bring the cost of an iPod-alike down to $70 or below, they will capture that whole other market segment Apple has ignored - the ones that don't care about trendy and hip, the ones that care about value. AKA the majority of the populace.

Re:Ah well...hope springs eternal for marketing ty (2, Interesting)

westlake (615356) | more than 7 years ago | (#14733623)

Is the consumer expected to look at an Amazon-branded MP3 player they've never seen before and think, "Ah, Amazon! They do such a good job shipping gifts on or around Christmas, I'll bet their digital music service rocks?"

Amazon is evolving into something like the Sears, Roebuck catalog, which was in every middle class home for 100 years. I think this can work.

Captured HW and subscription based content =... (4, Insightful)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 7 years ago | (#14732411)

DRM. And I mean ugly, tight, restictive, ball-in-a-vice DRM.

There was no mention of compatibility with iPod, or any other player, that I read. This sounds more like an Audible-like service, but for music. Near total lock in to the Amazon format, without any portability.

Re:Captured HW and subscription based content =... (1, Insightful)

daBass (56811) | more than 7 years ago | (#14732623)

And this is different to iPod/iTunes, how?

I would be surprised if you would not be able to rip your own CDs or add existing MP3s you already have.

Re:Captured HW and subscription based content =... (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 7 years ago | (#14732774)

And this is different to iPod/iTunes, how?

Uh, it doesn't have 80% of the mp3 player market share?

-Eric

What sales tactics? (2, Interesting)

Fe11Drake (945093) | more than 7 years ago | (#14732418)

I'd be more concerned with how Amazon might push CD sales with this scheme... imagine: Buy our flashy .com branded player, and we'll preload them with music for you! ... provided you first buy the album from us in retail form, at "deeply slashed" prices. as for individual song sales, how can they find a sales model to rival iTunes? And is Amazon going to go proprietary in regards to file format, or will they stick with .mp3? I'd imagine they'd have to license that out too, if you wanted your A-maz-pod to get preloaded...

Enough (2, Insightful)

Luscious868 (679143) | more than 7 years ago | (#14732428)

Until something actually rivals (or is beginning to rival) the iPod / iTMS combination, can we please stop having these stories? If I see one more iPod / iTMS rival and/or killer story then I'm going to throw up. They are just about as annoying as latest story on the next new thing that Google is supposedly working on.

what a relief for Apple... (3, Insightful)

museumpeace (735109) | more than 7 years ago | (#14732429)

it puts the lie to claims, now greenlighted to go to trial, that Apple Ipod/Itunes is a monopoly. Well, of course Amazon will seek to make the music files it sells iPod compatible. Right?

What Amazon *should* do here. (4, Insightful)

Shag (3737) | more than 7 years ago | (#14732511)

Dear Mr. Bezos (can I call you Jeff?),

I think the idea of selling music players preloaded with music is really, really great. Totally. But I don't think you need to cannibalize your existing business to do it.

Take a look at your company's "Top Sellers" page for electronics [amazon.com].

Note that six of the top ten are iPods. (The others are lower-price, and probably lower-profit, items.)

(You might also note that seven of the top ten items on your company's "Top Sellers" page for computers [amazon.com] happen to be Apple products. See a trend?)

You, of all people, know that people want iPods. And you're more than happy to sell them to them. Lots and lots and lots of them.

Soooo... I hope you're also talking to Apple about this idea. Yes, their DRM doesn't really work well with the idea of a new portable device showing up with music on it that's not on the user's computer... but then, does anyone's?

But if you asked, I bet they'd be willing to help you set up some sweet bundles of iPods and high-ticket iTunes Music Store cards, with a nice margin built in for you. After all, you move a lot of kit for them.

And maybe Steve and Bono would even let you be on stage with them sometime. Wouldn't that be neat?

Not impressed (2, Interesting)

BewireNomali (618969) | more than 7 years ago | (#14732525)

This won't be competition for the ipod/itunes.

the itunes issue isn't about cost. music is anonymously free all over the net. people WANT to pay for itunes. an amazon branded electronics device won't be competition for the ipod for two reasons: (1) its going to have to be spectacular to compete with the ipod on looks/UI alone (harder than it sounds), and (2) people like to know who is making their products (i.e. a brand). Amazon isn't known as an electronics maker - it's like Walmart selling a DAP.

I haven't read the article, but if Amazon expects its brand to move DAPS, they are mistaken. If they think they can honestly compete with Apple on heart-share (Apple succeeds in establishing an emotive connection with its users, thus inspiring loyalty - it's like a wierd kind of nationalism or something) or on design - it seems like a fools errand.

Re:Not impressed (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 7 years ago | (#14732973)

You wouldnt have assosciated Apple with a digital audio player (I'm assuming that's what a 'DAP' is..) before they made the iPod, and I thought it was a bit weird when they did it, but it's become a great success. The only thing I can see that the iPod has that's different is its clickwheel, which is okay but *shrug*, and I've never used iTunes nor do I want to, I hear it's not great, and I like Winamp/XMMS..

Re:Not impressed (1)

BewireNomali (618969) | more than 7 years ago | (#14733143)

I agree. I don't own one either. But they have the industry on lock. Apple had a reputation for superlative devices before the ipod. Amazon has no reputation for making anything, thus its a hard thing to build on.

Re:Not impressed (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 7 years ago | (#14733249)

hmm well I personally assosciated Apple with good devices, since I'd used them, but before the iPod they seemed to be in quite a slump? I used to get Macworld magazine or something like that, and was getting more and more depressed about the state of Macs, they seemed to be going the same way as my beloved Amiga ^^; then I got into the world of Windows as my dad rightly pointed out that to make successful software you kinda have to pander to the masses. Though as I'm doing more IT support just now and not so much developement, I'm getting into Linux a bit

Depends on the quality of UI and mp3 players (1)

astonishedelf (845821) | more than 7 years ago | (#14732627)

No reason why they shouldn't succeed... provided they get a UI at least as good as iTunes, and mp3 players that at least match iPods for ease of use. Those are two very big ifs but Apple won't be number one forever. There have been endless debates about why no one else is able to compete. Think we've pretty much established why iTunes and iPods are successful. To replicate it would be difficult but not impossible.

What doesn't play on iPod--doesn't play, period (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 7 years ago | (#14732742)

iPod players make up 80% of the mp3 player market. Amazon's songs won't play on an iPod. Doesn't take a genius to do the math here.

-Eric

Re:What doesn't play on iPod--doesn't play, period (1)

funkatron (912521) | more than 7 years ago | (#14733513)

There are already non Apple apps that can upload to the ipod (gtkpod etc), it wouldn't be too hard for amazon to licence one of them.

That's a licensing minefield (2, Interesting)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 7 years ago | (#14732829)

So, let me try and get this straight. I can't sell my current player on eBay with pre-loaded tracks, but I can buy a new one from Amazon with pre-loaded tracks? OK, fine, what happens when I want to sell the Amazon one? Can I sell it with those pre-loaded tracks (and only those, and how do I know several years down the line which ones were pre-loaded) or do I have to strip them off as well? Can I copy them off and back them up? If the device dies and needs a hardware replacement, can (and will) Amazon pre-load the new hardware with the same tracks, or do I have to pay for them again? Will my insurance cover the cost of replacing these tracks (and any others that I've downloaded) as well as the device if it's broken or stolen, and even if does in theory, how can I prove that they were actually still on the device when it was lost?

It's a bit rich for music megacorps to demand that we respect copyright law when an informed and educated person can't in all honesty figure out what the law is, or specifically how it applies in cases like these.

eMusic (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#14732854)

Doesn't matter. I won't give them anything. eMusic gets my money. Unencumbered VBR MP3s of most of my favorite bands are around 25 cents apiece. It's nice to support bands that actually want their music to be heard and labels that don't assume that users==criminals.

Seriously, if you even have a slight inclination towards indie music, you *need* to check it out [emusic.com].

Music Rental (1)

wrook (134116) | more than 7 years ago | (#14732861)

The thing that scares me about this scheme is the statement that you can continue to play the preloaded music as long as you continue to pay your monthly fee.

I was absolutely shocked when I discovered this same method with my DVR (through Rogers). When my credit card expirey date came, they promptly shut off my cable and told me to contact the support line (pretty rude if you ask me... should have just asked me to contact them on my previous bill). But even ruder was the fact that *I couldn't view the material I had previously recorded*. In fact, I was watching a recorded show when the damn thing shut down. I was pissed to say the least.

My guess is that this thing will need to phone home at least once a month to ensure that you are paying your fees. Otherwise it will shut down and be a fancy piece of junk.

Consumers have to send a message to these guys that we don't want to be treated like crap. If you're going to sell me music, sell me music. If you're going to sell me a piece of hardware that plays music, it better damn well do it even if I don't pay your monthly fees.

allofmp3.com (-1, Offtopic)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 7 years ago | (#14732866)

NO DRM, cheap music, quality encodings (you get to pick!).

yes, the artist gets paid. probably as much as the ipod people get (ie, very little; its all just talk on the execs' part).

I will NEVER buy drm music. never.

I tried an ipod recently. I had non DRM files that I wanted copied to it. fine. then I wanted to move them from the nano to the shuffle. no go. not with apple tools. these are MY files. I could have recorded them myself and apple would STILL refuse to let files copy between devices. they insist it goes only 1 way.

no politics in my music. at least not my music FORMAT, please!

(fwiw, I just bought a new mp3/drive/photo device. I wrote up a small article on upgrading its drive. its called the 'wolverine' and its a great sounding (and NO DRM!) player. here's the link (remove any embedded spaces in the URL to visit):

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/ [dpreview.com] readflat.asp?forum=1023 &thread=17204039

(I'm the linux-works guy in that forum).

apple or other drm: you have to run 'import' programs to copy files.
non-drm players: you mount the drive and copy files using dos, windows, linux, freebsd, etc.

the choice is obvious, I think.

Re:allofmp3.com (1)

Thrudheim (910314) | more than 7 years ago | (#14733081)

Copying between devices directly? So, Apple's software doesn't do things that way, but don't make this out to be a deal breaker. iTunes handles multiple iPods very easily, and you can put your files on as many iPods as you want simultaneously. You make it sound like Apple is preventing you from using your music files on multiple devices, which is completely not true.

What you seem to want is transfer directly from one device to another. I can only see rare circumstances, such as when you are on the road away from your computer, that this might come in handy. Usually, there's no need to go from one device to another, you simply plug in the device and load whatever you want onto it from iTunes. Easy. So what's the big deal?

uh oh (1)

kevin.fowler (915964) | more than 7 years ago | (#14732923)

preloaded music players?

that's the quickest way for the riaa to blow you out of the sky. haven't they railed enough outlets for this already?

Don't Confuse the Terms (2, Interesting)

h2d2 (876356) | more than 7 years ago | (#14733115)

"Preloading" here doesn't mean there gonna load their Mp3 Players with "goodies" like those promised used iPods from eBay. Instead, it means that you will be able to by a bunch of songs along with your Amazon Mp3 Player that will be loaded on to the player prior to delivery. And I am sure this would be a introductory special offer, like by an Amazon Mp3 Player and get 50 free songs (or 25; or 100!)

Oh, and before you go on and bash this service to be "loaded with DRM bullshit", please tell how exactly is Apple's service WITHOUT any DRM? And isn't it true that with every iTunes update Apple keeps adding more and more restrictions to how you can use YOUR OWN MUSIC!

I for one, welcome our new South American Jungle Mp3 Cartel Overloads...

If its a service, woulndt it be rivaling... (1)

Zantetsuken (935350) | more than 7 years ago | (#14733476)

iTunes and the iTunes Music Store? wouldnt it be an mp3 player product in order to rival the iPod line of products? (software rivals software, hardware rivals hardware...)

Did anyone Read the Article? (1)

BritSDA (817583) | more than 7 years ago | (#14733700)

This is going to be a subscription based service like Netscape and others trying in vain to compete with iTunes and CD's ripped to MP3s. The preloaded music is based on your subscription and will only be available if you pay the monthly subscription. So you won't own the music, you will only be licensing it on a monthly basis. Once you stop paying, you stop listening. I can't believe anyone would continue to pay each month for the priviledge to listen to music they would prefer to own and play when they choose. Go buy a CD or even purchase iTunes DRM music for a one time cost and play whenever you want. Even with iTunes at least you own it, you're just limited to where you can play it. CD's at least allow you to rip them to MP3 to put on an iPod or other MP3 player or shared throughout your homes musical network. In the article, Warner Music Chairman Edgar Bronfman Jr. said subscription services' "growth and popularity has been impacted by the lack of an outstanding device." No, it's not the device it's the fact that I don't own the music and can't fairly use it where I want at my own convenience. We are customers and usually customers want the convenience to use what they buy when, where and how it best fits into my world not according to how it fits into your little world. I mean if I buy a waffle maker, and I choose to use it in my car with the aid of a power inverter then so be it. If I want to try to make toast in it then it is mine and I can do that. If I want to let a friend borrow it, so they can try it out and see if they want to buy one I can do that. And get this, if I choose to take it apart (rip it) and use the parts to make something else I can it's mine. I can enjoy it at my convenience and in the way I choose to use it. And if I get tired of it, I can even choose to sell it or give it away to someone else. It's mine not yours!

An easy way to hook this in well... (3, Insightful)

Churla (936633) | more than 7 years ago | (#14733951)

Your music "service" is for an unlimited number of downloads for a flat fee per month. (As others are doing)
Your music doesn't "expire" if they cancel account. (That's just a crappy thing to do, might as well go the iPod route then.)

And the kicker to hook people in.. You go to Amazon to shop for a CD, for an extra $1 when you buy it you can download all the songs from it into your device right then so you can listen while the CD is being shipped. This could be with or without subscription. (Make it free if you have a subscription so that someone buying 5-10 CD's at amazon might be better off getting a months subscription which hooks them on your service!)

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