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Ad-Supported Free Music Downloads Doomed to Failure?

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the no-love-for-ads dept.

Music 226

madonna writes "CNET extensively explains why the new We7.com download service — which offers ad-embedded free music downloads without DRM — is doomed to failure. 'This service absolutely, categorically will not succeed. You can quote us on that. It's true the best way to combat piracy is to provide a realistic and affordable alternative, and free is certainly affordable. But music downloaders are not going to switch to using a service that costs the same as using BitTorrent or Limewire, but comes with abominable disclaimers or advertisements.'"

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226 comments

Depends on the catalog (1)

jshriverWVU (810740) | more than 6 years ago | (#18942697)

This could be a nice way of distributing movies. Personally I wouldn't mind paying $3-4 for a movie with a little ad at the beginning (can always fast forward). But for a song it would suck to be in the middle and hear "Buy x-product today".

Re:Depends on the catalog (1)

thanatos_x (1086171) | more than 6 years ago | (#18942739)

If this service gets big, I'm going to take a guess that any number of products will come around that will cut out the ads. This probably will prevent the service from getting big.

Re:Depends on the catalog (5, Insightful)

NorQue (1000887) | more than 6 years ago | (#18942765)

Personally I wouldn't mind paying 3-4 EUR for a movie *without* ads in the beginning. You can get most movies little time after the release for 2-3 EUR more already, why should I waste my precious time just to save very little money? It'd also be naive to assume that you'll be able to skip these ads.

Re:Depends on the catalog (1)

eln (21727) | more than 6 years ago | (#18942767)

Don't kid yourself. If this ever happened to movies, it would not be one little ad at the beginning. At the very least, it would be 10 minutes of ads at the beginning that you can't fast forward through, similar to what many DVDs do today. Hell, they might even interrupt the movie for more ads, or digitally insert product placement into the movie.

And the quality (1)

TheAxeMaster (762000) | more than 6 years ago | (#18943161)

I couldn't find any mention of the file bitrates anywhere on the site, has anyone downloaded any of these files? What's the bitrate? If it is some crappy 128k mp3 I'll pass.

Re:Depends on the catalog (1)

Wite_Noiz (887188) | more than 6 years ago | (#18943859)

can always fast forward

Tell that to my DVD player.
I think it's a sorry state of affairs when we're forced to sit through so much advertising/legal rubbish, watch a pathetic animated menu system that is considered a feature, watch more disclaimers, and then finally get to the movie.

More related to your comment (and assuming deliver to a computer), WMV (and probably others) already give the content generator the ability to prevent fast-forward.
There are ways of removing this, of course, but it's yet another feature in "modern" entertainment.

Big Surprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18942731)

People don't like listening to ads before listening to music? Shock and awe.

Re:Big Surprise (4, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 6 years ago | (#18943015)

People don't like listening to ads before listening to music? Shock and awe.

Tell it brother!

I have DVDs which are years old and they still play these gawddam previews for upcoming films of years past. I'm ticked because my DVD player gives me guff when I try to fast forward, skip chapter or go directly to the menu, with the circle with a slash through it stating such behaviour is vorboten. I must sit like a good little monkey and watch whatever shite they deemed necessary prior to enjoying the content I shelled many quid for, however many times I want to watch the films.

Come to think of it, it's a very strong argument in favour of ripping, editing and burning your own videos to get around this abhorent behaviour.

Now if they think I need to listen to the Coke or some sports figure hawking the latest rubber shoe straight outta China before I can listen to my toonz, they can forget it.

Re:Big Surprise (1)

u-bend (1095729) | more than 6 years ago | (#18943179)

Yes. I guess we're lucky that legal music doesn't start with a "You wouldn't steal a car would you..." message. I think someone once pointed out how those MPAA messages that you're forced to watch at the beginning of DVDs really end up mostly abusing the legitimate buyers of the product. However, some music might be well suited to corporate sponsorship. Some artists seem made for this type of distribution.

Re:Big Surprise (1)

markov_chain (202465) | more than 6 years ago | (#18943341)

This is why mplayer [mplayerhq.hu] is nice. Play any title immediately, without the stupid menu games or the mandatory FBI warning.

Re:Big Surprise (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 6 years ago | (#18943445)

This is why mplayer is nice. Play any title immediately, without the stupid menu games or the mandatory FBI warning.

Which is certainly great, but I have a portable DVD player I take on long flights or when I travel. It's adequate and I don't bother with laptops (bulk, limited battery etc.) I'm stuck.

Imagine MP3 players, or iPods even, which would not let you fast-forward past plugs for the new Nike shoe (Only $250 and it might last 3 months! [Not water resistant]) or Coca-Cola (will rot your teeth AND contribute to your personal obesity!) Yay!

Re:Big Surprise (3, Interesting)

Who235 (959706) | more than 6 years ago | (#18943027)

From the we7.com site:

If you want a track that is free, legal, safe and the artist gets rewarded then we add the ad. However, you don't have to have the ad forever, as with We7 technology, after a period of time (4 weeks) you will have the choice to have the track 'ad free'. So, enjoy We7 and the new digital music download model.

Looks like you can DL the song, shelve it for a few weeks, then have it add free. Sounds good to me.

I hate ads, but I like free music. I can wait.

no problems here (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18942737)

I think there's noth**Call Geico 1-800-861-8380 - So easy a cave man could do it**ing wrong with this business model

Re:no problems here (3, Funny)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 6 years ago | (#18943029)

> I think there's noth**Call Geico 1-800-861-8380 - So easy a cave man could do it**ing wrong with this business model

We're sorry, the number you have reached has been disconnected. To continue watching this HD-DVD, please install Linux, and call 09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0.

I think a lot of folks would (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 6 years ago | (#18942743)

I mean seriously- infringing on recent material makes a lot of folks feel guilty (and it SHOULD).

If they have a way to get the stuff morally, they will because a lot of people are as moral as they can afford to be.

Morality is hard to define (1)

MarkByers (770551) | more than 6 years ago | (#18942813)

Not everyone though. Many people think that stealing from thieves is a kind of moral justice.

Re:Morality is hard to define (2, Interesting)

koreaman (835838) | more than 6 years ago | (#18942925)

Well, copyright infringement isn't theft, but neither is what the RIAA does (even less so, in fact!). So, what are you talking about?

PS: IANAPhilosopher, but as best as I can tell, morality doesn't exist.

Re:Morality is hard to define (1)

BigDumbAnimal (532071) | more than 6 years ago | (#18943073)

...as best as I can tell, morality doesn't exist.
So, go out and cap everyone you can find. There is no morality right?

Re:Morality is hard to define (2, Interesting)

koreaman (835838) | more than 6 years ago | (#18943147)

Going out and capping everyone I can find would violate my personal interests, none of which have to do with morality.

Re:Morality is hard to define (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18943311)

What are your "interests", exactly? You'll be dust in 100 years anyway... why not speed up the process a little?

If you're like most advanced organisms on this planet, your "interests" are mostly shared with those of your species. If you don't want to call that "morality", you're just playing dumb.

Re:Morality is hard to define (2, Interesting)

koreaman (835838) | more than 6 years ago | (#18943373)

My interests are defined by whatrever will increase my total happiness over the course of my life. Capping a bunch of people will not, thus, it does not serve my interest.

Re:Morality is hard to define (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18943933)

and stealing music from the artists you like, ensuring they have to go get a day job rather than working on a new album.... I just don't see how that is in your interest either?
"this band rocks! lets make sure they never get the money to record another album!"

Re:Morality is hard to define (1)

MarkByers (770551) | more than 6 years ago | (#18943153)

As far as I am aware, you can get arrested for doing that. Whether it is moral or not is irrelevant because it's illegal and you will get caught sooner or later.

You are unlikely to get caught price gouging, or copyright infringing so the law doesn't really enter the equation for either side. In this case, morals is a fall back. If one side acts immoral, the other side has to try that much harder to stay moral. It's very easy to slip into: 'Well if he can be bad and get away with it, I will be bad too.'

It's human nature.

Re:Morality is hard to define (1)

jswigart (1004637) | more than 6 years ago | (#18943111)

I think what he means is along the lines of most people wouldn't have a problem with seeing a bully get his ass kicked, even if its 'immoral' in general to kick someones ass. Morality has context. I haven't downloaded stuff in years, but the only infringement I personally take seriously is that which involves profit on the part of the pirates. The rest is in the same category as jaywalking as far as I'm concerned.

Re:Morality is hard to define (1)

koreaman (835838) | more than 6 years ago | (#18943273)

I wasn't talking about whether it's moral or not. I was talking about whether it's theft or not, which is an entirely different subject. I see no reason to qualify the RIAA as "thieves".

Re:Morality is hard to define (1)

Intron (870560) | more than 6 years ago | (#18943499)

theft: taking what does not belong to you.

How hard is that?

Re:Morality is hard to define (1)

koreaman (835838) | more than 6 years ago | (#18943727)

Wrong. Theft: taking what does not belong to you without the permission of the person to whom it belongs.

Re:Morality is hard to define (1)

Johnny5000 (451029) | more than 6 years ago | (#18943893)

theft: taking what does not belong to you.

How hard is that?


Simple: once I take it, now it belongs to me.
Therefore, it's not theft anymore.

Morality is hard to define-but infringment's not. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18943141)

"Not everyone though. Many people think that stealing from thieves is a kind of moral justice."

Well since we're using stereotypes to justify our actions. You shouldn't have a problem with geeks being labeled smelly, no social skills, and virgins?

Re:I think a lot of folks would (1)

jtheisen (893138) | more than 6 years ago | (#18943653)

Why would that be immoral? The music industry
  1. make people addicted to their music to radio and TV, then letting people pay to get a private copy
  2. do so with children as well by music especially produced for that target group, of course the parents not consenting despite them having pay the bills
  3. fund the MAFIAAs of this world to sue and intimidate innocent citizens
  4. tell girls how good they have to look in their videos clips

In Germany there was a music-industry funded ad implying it is just that some criminals get raped in prison - namely pirates.

Yes, it's their right to do all that - I'm not the one trying to criminalise someone else. But moral?

It comes down to the following question: Do we want the music industry and all what's associated with it? I don't.

And don't tell me now: You don't have to listen to this music: I have to, on most radio and TV, on any party I go to. All children do listen to music and they demand private copies from their parents which they can't deny to any degree. I won't fund a system I can live without, but as long as it's there I won't alienate myself from others by keeping up an ideological abstinence.

Re:I think a lot of folks would (1)

aichpvee (631243) | more than 6 years ago | (#18943929)

"Moral" is so subjective as to be useless. It just sounds childish when you people say it.

Can we get the hard science discussion of intellectual property rights already?

"Costs the same"??? (4, Insightful)

pla (258480) | more than 6 years ago | (#18942775)

But music downloaders are not going to switch to using a service that costs the same as using BitTorrent or Limewire, but comes with abominable disclaimers or advertisements.

I don't know about the FP author, but I consider "legal" a pretty big point to factor into "cost"!

And I say that as someone who loathes ads.

This applies only to commercial crap (3, Insightful)

Morgaine (4316) | more than 6 years ago | (#18943907)

I stopped listening to commercial music over a decade ago when it started to deliver crap instead of actual music. And I'm not the only one.

If you have a problem with DRM or with copyrights or with the RIAA or with the cost of music, it's your choice: you choose to listen to crap, and crap with strings attached is what you get.

There is 100 times as much music out there as is delivered by the mainstream western labels. Go find it, and enjoy. And when you choose to pay for something that you think is really terrific, you will be rewarding musicians, not shareholders.

It's your choice. You know how to Google.

Why not (2, Insightful)

neonv (803374) | more than 6 years ago | (#18942781)

But music downloaders are not going to switch to using a service that costs more than BitTorrent or Limewire, and comes with abominable DRM ...

It's legal, free, and easy to use. There's three good reasons to switch.

It isn't compleatly doomed to failure (2, Insightful)

apathy maybe (922212) | more than 6 years ago | (#18942791)

Because there will always be those who wish to stay one the "right side of the law" (for whatever reason). However, considering it would be incredibly easy to remove ads from either the start or the end of a song, or if embedded in an album to separate the tracks, it will just provide another way for people to get music.

I don't think they can make any money of the service, so OK I guess it is doomed to failure.

Personally, I've been listening to ad free (varied full tracks, including big name bands) music legally for a few weeks from Last.fm and I'm quite happy.

Re:It isn't compleatly doomed to failure (1)

Gravol (1075273) | more than 6 years ago | (#18943183)

The quality of files from Bittorrent and especially Limewire often isn't very good. Quality content supported by advertising is a good alternative when you consider that with Cool Edit for audio and Virtual Dub for video, it is easy to edit out the advertising. The edited files can be uploaded as torrents and will do much to improve the piracy experience. Har!

The Elected Ones (2, Interesting)

Itninja (937614) | more than 6 years ago | (#18942809)

Music downloading types are like electrons. They always take the path of least resistance. You can charge for music downloads, and if it's super easy to do, people will pay it. But if you make the process even slightly more complicated, no one will touch it, even if it's free.

Re:The Elected Ones (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18942949)

Actually, it's the path of least impedance.

Re:The Elected Ones (1)

Eternauta3k (680157) | more than 6 years ago | (#18943615)

Actually, it's the path of least impedance.
Well really, they take every possible path in inverse proportion to its impedance...

Re:The Elected Ones (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18943315)

No. Electrons take many paths at once, and you cannot know which path it will take unless you observe it, and if you do you will be interacting with the situation and so have changed it.

I think you mean an electric current.

Removing the ads (2, Interesting)

koreaman (835838) | more than 6 years ago | (#18942815)

If I wrote a program to cut off the first ten seconds (or whatever) of these songs, removing the ads, would that be legal or not?

Re:Removing the ads (1)

EveryNickIsTaken (1054794) | more than 6 years ago | (#18942891)

I'm certain that the T&C would include something that prohibited this. If it didn't, these guys are complete morons.

Re:Removing the ads (2, Informative)

saur2004 (801688) | more than 6 years ago | (#18942953)

Isnt Audacity [sourceforge.net] free for anyone to use?

How are they going to stop you using something like that?

Re:Removing the ads (1)

mhall119 (1035984) | more than 6 years ago | (#18943123)

It won't, and that's not even the point. The point is that even if you listened to the ad the first time, even if you just listened to it in Audacity so you can cut it out, that's still exposure. Even if you then put that ad-free song on P2P networks, some people would still rather download it legally with the ad, than illegally without it.

From a business perspective, every ad-embedded download is almost guaranteed to result in at least one exposure for the advertiser. That's a better guarantee rate than Television or Radio. If that kind of exposure is enough to pay the royalties on the song plus some, then it's a profitable business.

Re:Removing the ads (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18943563)

I take an checksum of the first 100 bits of the file (if that's where the ad is), check it against a hash table, find the length of the ad, chop it automatically. I mean come on, I hope this takes off. Free music. They get you at the download *if* they get ya. Even if they graft it to a portion of the song; if one has a clean version of the ad, one could flip the wave over and add it through superposition to get rid of it.

Re:Removing the ads (1)

koreaman (835838) | more than 6 years ago | (#18943009)

Assuming I don't care about the law, this would still be cool as it'd be a place where I can easily find good copies of songs (well, good after I take the ads out), no more searching on P2P networks, no more paying iTunes or similar beasts! It'd be just as illegal, but I don't care.

Re:Removing the ads (1)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | more than 6 years ago | (#18943149)

If it didn't, these guys are complete morons.

C'mon. This is the recording industry we're talking about here...

How much did you get paid, CNET ? (0)

unity100 (970058) | more than 6 years ago | (#18942817)

"But music downloaders are not going to switch to using a service that costs the same as using BitTorrent or Limewire, but comes with abominable disclaimers or advertisements.'"


yea. im not gonna switch to a service that is FREE, just because there are some ads around. yea you got that right. definitely. instead im gonna pay for the same thing like a moron.

You can quote me on this , CNEt, you are going to eat your words.

Re:How much did you get paid, CNET ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18943195)

Bittorrent and limewire are free too, genius. I'd be careful about calling people morons if I were you.

Re:How much did you get paid, CNET ? (1)

FLEB (312391) | more than 6 years ago | (#18943207)

It's clear you didn't understand the statement-- Limewire, BitTorrent: also "free" (barring lawsuit liability) and no ads.

In my day.... (4, Insightful)

History's Coming To (1059484) | more than 6 years ago | (#18942823)

Hmmm....interesting concept....you listen to tunes which have commercial messages attached. They might even put the ads over the first or last few seconds to avoid ruining the entire track, but still have the ads embedded.

In my day we called that "commercial radio".

Re:In my day.... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18943335)

Hmmm....interesting concept....you listen to tunes which have commercial messages attached.
"This redition of "Don't Fear the Reaper" is brought to you by the State Association of Funeral Homes."

Talk radio... the evil infiltrator . (2, Interesting)

zakezuke (229119) | more than 6 years ago | (#18943429)

In my day we called that "commercial radio".

I remember when commercial radio was like this... where you could passivly listen to music, 2-4 songs and then an equal amount of time was dedicated to commercials and dj jabber. Odds were you could hop stations if the commercial breaks really bothered you.

Now... I have a hard time crusing the FM dial without finding some radio station that hasn't been infiltrated by the "talk radio craze", which is some solo jackass with a string monologs lasting for 8 hours, not related to the music, but usually a cry of moral outrage over scented toilet paper followed by fart jokes.

I for one welcome our music serving commercial overlords... at least there is MUSIC.

And furthermore... (1)

Tarlus (1000874) | more than 6 years ago | (#18942825)

"But music downloaders are not going to switch to using a service that costs the same as using BitTorrent or Limewire, but comes with abominable disclaimers or advertisements."

While I agree that the concept of ad-supported download services would be a failure, the presence of ads won't be the reason.

I'm sure plenty of people would just as soon use the ad-infested service just for the sake of legitimacy. Hell, I would, just to say I was downloading music legally. Limewire is notorious enough as an effective malware injector. BitTorrent is a tad more daunting to the average user who just wants to get a song or two. And both methods teeter on questionable legality.

Hmm (1)

Stormx2 (1003260) | more than 6 years ago | (#18942835)

Wouldn't it be relatively easy to slice the first 10 seconds of ads out, prepend the magic bits / id3 tags, and stuff? That'd be legal too, seeing as we7.com is paying the copyright trolls.

Removing adverts is not legal (1)

MarkByers (770551) | more than 6 years ago | (#18942881)

> That'd be legal too, seeing as we7.com is paying the copyright trolls.

It's not legal, because you are making an unauthorized derived work.

Re:Removing adverts is not legal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18943085)

How is that illegal if you don't (re)distribute it?

Been done before (4, Insightful)

david.given (6740) | more than 6 years ago | (#18942839)

I remember this from amp3.com, a defunct and unlamented mp3.com clone.

I've still got a couple of tracks somewhere with the amp3.com ad header on them; however, it turned out that they had stuck the header on by directly fiddling with the mp3 stream, and simply by running the file through a mp3 sanitiser, the header would magically vanish.

I wish we7 lots of luck, but if I were to start using them I'd damn well write an ad removal program.

disingenuous? (4, Interesting)

owlnation (858981) | more than 6 years ago | (#18942879)

This negative review - of course - has nothing, nothing whatsoever to do with CNET owning mp3.com does it?

I mean why would it? Must be a coincidence, surely...

Notable advertising failures. (5, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 6 years ago | (#18942913)

At some point, ads get too intrusive. Some notable failures:

  • Ad cards bound into paperback books. That was tried in the 1980s, and customers were so angry publishers stopped that, and it didn't come back.
  • Ads during telephone ring. Yes, little blipverts between each ring. Tried around 2000. That came and went so fast few ever heard one.
  • Fast food table clutter. Little stand-up things with ads on every table. The fast food industry has mostly backed off from that since the 1990s; not many sales and too much hassle.
  • The big one - sound trucks. 1930s idea, around the time amplifiers started really working. Trucks driving around blaring ads. That was so obnoxious it was made a criminal offense in most US states.

Besides, music already has ads. 50 Cent mentioned 20 brands in his songs in 2005, according to American Brandstand. "Mercedes emerged as the top brand of the year, and 50 Cent outbranded the rest to become the top brand-dropping artist... Meanwhile, weapon brands surged..."

Re:Notable advertising failures. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18943193)

Notable advertising successes:
  • Short vignettes inserted in the middle of pictobox serials

Re:Notable advertising failures. (2, Insightful)

griebels2 (998954) | more than 6 years ago | (#18943267)

Maybe it would be more interesting to see why they failed:

Ad cards bound into paperback books. That was tried in the 1980s, and customers were so angry publishers stopped that, and it didn't come back.
Is this because the people that received those books already paid for them? For most people, books are things to stay, things to collect and having ads in them destroys the perception of value.

Ads during telephone ring. Yes, little blipverts between each ring. Tried around 2000. That came and went so fast few ever heard one.
If I'm paying for this call per minute, I'm not going to forgive anybody trying to get a cent extra out of me by pushing advertisements to me.

Fast food table clutter. Little stand-up things with ads on every table. The fast food industry has mostly backed off from that since the 1990s; not many sales and too much hassle.
You still see them in almost any Burger King restaurant I know of. Altough they seem to contain mostly propaganda for their own brand.

The big one - sound trucks. 1930s idea, around the time amplifiers started really working. Trucks driving around blaring ads. That was so obnoxious it was made a criminal offense in most US states.

I'm not asking for this sound truck to drive trough my street. Most advertisement can be easily avoided if you don't want to be hit by it. You can switch off your TV, not visit that spammy web site, etc. You cannot just turn off this sound truck. This is also why e-mail spam is becomming increasingly illegal in countries all over the world.

To be honest, I don't see any reason why advertising-based music downloads are not going to work. Commercial radio and TV has an abundance of advertising, yet those forms of media are still quite viable. User-acceptance will rely on how easy this service is to use and how many artificial limitations there will be (like downloading a maximum of 5 songs/hour/day/from the same artist).

The question I have is whether or not advertisers are really getting any real advantage out of those advertisements. So I think the gamble will be more on advertiser-acceptance than on user-acceptance.

Re:Notable advertising failures. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18943955)

Missing from the list are two intrusive ads: browser pop-ups and billboards. Both have groups actively working to get rid of them (so far unsuccessfully).

You eat at Burger King? Two questions:

a) Did the creepy king ads appeal to you?

b) How much do you weigh?

Re:Notable advertising failures. (1)

Mex (191941) | more than 6 years ago | (#18943327)

Wow, the Blaring trucks with amplifiers are still used here in Mexico.

Flawed Analysis (4, Insightful)

malsdavis (542216) | more than 6 years ago | (#18942927)

By the article author's calculations, all paid music services are doomed to failure, not just free ad-supported ones.

From TFA:
"don't waste your time in thinking this is going to do anything positive to the industry"

I've heard that so many times about services which have actually revolutionised industries, many of those services are no longer in business but that didn't stop them being positive influences on the industry.

Case in point: A few years ago in the U.K., Altavista advertised an flat-rate, £10 a year internet service at a time when virtually all domestic ISPs only offered per-minute deals. Several other ISPs then started offering competing flat-rate offers.

The Altavista service never even ended up launching, but it had already caused other ISPs to offer cheap flat-rate deals. As a result, Altavista are often credited with helping to give the U.K. some of the cheapest internet deals in the world.

Maybe this service won't be a massive hit, but to instantly dismiss an innovative idea is extremely stupid!

Re:Flawed Analysis (1)

teh_chrizzle (963897) | more than 6 years ago | (#18943421)

I've heard that so many times about services which have actually revolutionised industries, many of those services are no longer in business but that didn't stop them being positive influences on the industry... Maybe this service won't be a massive hit, but to instantly dismiss an innovative idea is extremely stupid!

i agree. sometimes the first few iterations of an idea need to crash and burn before the market leaders can lead the way... like the monkeys they shoot into space to test the waters for space travel.

Extortion racket? (1, Interesting)

Garry Anderson (194949) | more than 6 years ago | (#18942935)

Quote: Even EMI -- the first of the Big Four to release music without any DRM -- basically said, "If you don't want DRM, pay more for you music."

Pay more to remove something that shouldn't be there anyway - something THEY added to stop you having fair use of the music.

Seems like an extortion racket to me.

Except for one thing (1)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 6 years ago | (#18943289)

It's not extortion because you don't have to buy music at all. They provide something and set a price. If consumers think the product is ok at the price, it'll sell. If not, it won't.

And...yuck. I think I just defended those guys. Think I'll go take a bath.

However (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18943709)

I believe you are mistaken - because they are abusing their position to restrict fair use.

Extortion is:

2. the crime of obtaining money or some other thing of value by the abuse of one's office or authority.
3. oppressive or illegal exaction, as of excessive price or interest: the extortions of usurers.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/extortion [reference.com]

We should start calling it for what it is Digital RESTRICTION Management ;)

Garry ~ skilful.com

It's clearly extortion (1)

FLEB (312391) | more than 6 years ago | (#18943369)

It's clearly extortion. We all know the terrible consequences of ignoring iTMS and EMI, and not buying music from either of them. Oh, the horrors of not owning a particular specific piece of non-essential entertainment!

Doomed to Failure? (2, Insightful)

minotaurcomputing (775084) | more than 6 years ago | (#18942937)

"But music downloaders are not going to switch to using a service that costs the same as using BitTorrent or Limewire, but comes with abominable disclaimers or advertisements."

Broadcast radio has followed this model since the beginning and it didn't hurt them until "commercial-free" paid services came on the scenes. What would have probably been better for the record industry is the inclusion of ads in songs and albums from the early days of records. That way they could have now charged a premium for ad-free music and made a killing. Ahhhh, but hindsight is 20x20.

-m

Re:Doomed to Failure? (1)

FLEB (312391) | more than 6 years ago | (#18943435)

it didn't hurt them until "commercial-free" paid services came on the scenes

I think you meant "alternatives to the bland, top-down managed, lowest-common-denominator 'hit machine' based homogenized national advertisements" came on the scene. IMO, radio is killing itself through a slow wasting process of terminal mediocrity. It just took a bright alternative to throw it into contrast.

Prefixed with an ad (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 6 years ago | (#18942955)

The catch to UK-based We7.com's music download service is that every single DRM-free track comes embedded with an audible pre-roll advertisement. That's right: every track. At the moment all the ads are default We7 ads, which are painfully akin to the very worst local FM radio station's ident jingle. With added "Don't steal!" messages.
We7 claims that after listening to ads four or five times, they'll disappear from your music. That's interesting, considering the files are in MP3 format and as such are incapable of supporting such a method.
- well, either the reporter is wrong and this is not MP3 format, or this is MP3 format and the We7 are going to provide their own player that will skip the ad.

In any case this is retarded, the prefixed ad can be easily stripped from the file without even listening to it. I personally don't give a shit, I don't listen to music, only to CFRB1010 station on my AM radio, however I am certain there will be another service added on top of the first one, where you'd download the music from We7 through that other service, that'll strip the ad from the file.

DRM (2, Interesting)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 6 years ago | (#18942957)

OK, let's stop calling this by the name Digital Rights Management. That's the name that the industry puts on it to cover their true purpose.

It's actually DENIAL of FAIR USE. DFU. Call it DFU. When you're explaining why it's DFU instead of the industry's pet name, just say "Disney Fucks U."

DFU. That's the framing which will help to change people's minds. Don't say DRM any longer. It's not about their rights, it's about OUR fair use rights as citizens.

I. Like. It. (1)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 6 years ago | (#18943371)

Define the battle on our terms, not theirs.

They already got one past the media with "Piracy". It's NOT PIRACY. It's copyright violation. If it was piracy, we already had laws on the books against that. By tying the two together the public thinks they must somehow be similar. And they are not. People are very rarely fired upon with cannon shot when their software is infringed upon.

For those who didn't actually download from We7 (4, Interesting)

SpeedyDX (1014595) | more than 6 years ago | (#18943059)

I just downloaded a song and am listening to it as I type (Coolio's Gangsta walk it was one of the first songs on the list).

- There's a 10 second ad clip in the beginning for We7. After that, the music starts.
- Half the song later, no second ad, just music.
- The music inexplicably stops 10 seconds before the song's done, but there's still no second ad.

I don't know how they make money off of advertising their own service in the beginning of the song. Does anyone have an answer for this? And couldn't anyone just download a song, then import it in an audio editor like Audacity, delete the 10 second ad in the beginning and export it back? A quick scan of the terms [we7.com] doesn't seem to prohibit that.

Re:For those who didn't actually download from We7 (1)

Falkkin (97268) | more than 6 years ago | (#18943407)

"I don't know how they make money off of advertising their own service in the beginning of the song."

Presumably, their intent is to get buzz now, get bought out later, and then get rich selling ads from real companies. That's basically the business model of every significant Internet startup.

Re:For those who didn't actually download from We7 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18943555)

Well, in order to delete the ad, you still have to have listened to it, so that grants at least one listening to every ad. Still a bit of win situation for the advertisers.

Re:For those who didn't actually download from We7 (1)

Tx (96709) | more than 6 years ago | (#18943557)

I don't know how they make money off of advertising their own service in the beginning of the song.

They won't, that's filler until they get more advertisers onboard.

And couldn't anyone just download a song, then import it in an audio editor like Audacity, delete the 10 second ad in the beginning and export it back?

Yes, or better yet use MP3DirectCut, which allows cutting and joining mp3's without de/recompression - (assuming they use mp3, I didn't look). However the hope is presumably that people are very lazy, and will just fill up their iPods with tracks, and not take the trouble to chop off the ads. there are bound to be some people who are that lazy, but I'm not sure if they will find enough such people to make their business model work.

Re:For those who didn't actually download from We7 (1)

SpeedyDX (1014595) | more than 6 years ago | (#18943683)

Ah, I hadn't considered that they didn't get advertisers on board yet.

And the music is in fact encoded in MP3.

College Students Have Better (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18943067)

Ruckus is free and legal to anyone with an .edu address. No ads, real songs, decent library. (Unfortunately in WMV format with DRM that says you must use WMP or the Ruckus player to play it, but it's free, so meh.)

My experience... (1)

apathy maybe (922212) | more than 6 years ago | (#18943079)

So, I just signed up (using a fake name and address etc. of course, for you it is tonysmtih@mailinator.com and fuckshitup) and downloaded my first songs.

The sign up process is crap with a bunch of information that they don't really need and will probably sell (year of birth and gender (but only male and female...) for example).

The actual ad at the start isn't that bad, but after a while I would definitely get sick of it... So, as has been mentioned, a program to skip the ads... But the music is so crap that even if the ads weren't there...

Anyway, it might survive, you decide.

Re:My experience... (1)

Kufat (563166) | more than 6 years ago | (#18943395)

gender (but only male and female...)

You only get the "yes, please" option when the form has a field for sex, not gender.

Re:My experience... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18943845)

Other you fucker ...

Not everyone is male or female ...

Music previews (1)

iamacat (583406) | more than 6 years ago | (#18943117)

Aren't you using Kazaa to "preview the albums to see if they are worth buying"? If so, this service should be perfect for you! Legal, allows you to preview every song, doesn't stop you from buying an ad-free CD or download later. Where is the catch?

Pot meet kettle (4, Insightful)

gsn (989808) | more than 6 years ago | (#18943245)

cnet is really one to talk. You had to suffer through ads before every single video clip on their site. Sometimes their ads are longer than their video reviews (only useful to get some indication of size).

Sure ads are annoying but music is good and free music is better. If not just pay for it. You can you know. cnet might have learnt that if they even tried looking at the bloody frontpage http://www.we7.com/ [we7.com]

At We7, we know that ads are not always desirable, so as with everything in life it's a balance and We7 will give you a choice.

        * If you want a track now with no ad, then we will give you a way to buy the track at normal price.
        * If you want a track that is free, legal, safe and the artist gets rewarded then we add the ad. However, you don't have to have the ad forever, as with We7 technology, after a period of time (4 weeks) you will have the choice to have the track 'ad free'. So, enjoy We7 and the new digital music download model.
Oh right and as has already been pointed out if its DRM free I can simply strip out the first ten seconds or whatever.

Nature of the site (1)

philmack (796529) | more than 6 years ago | (#18943317)

After you log in, the interface is a fairly simple with a clear html/non flash/non plugin website that gives plain anchored hypertext links to the files to download.
The files themselves are 128kbps 44khz mp3 files with about a 8 or 9 second ad followed by 1 or 2 seconds of silence, then the song.
The few songs I listened to seem to be encoded well enough for the given format.
there isn't much selection, a few mainstream artists with a few tracks and a few that are less mainstream with entire albums.
I'm certainly going to keep an eye on this site to see what develops.

My suggestion (2, Informative)

JoelMeow (740794) | more than 6 years ago | (#18943321)

http://www.mptrim.com/ [mptrim.com] There's a few other programs out there that can chop up mp3s without losing any quality. I downloaded a couple of mp3s from we7 and they only slap an ad on the beginning of the song, so it's easy to chop off if you don't want it.

Edit (1)

certel (849946) | more than 6 years ago | (#18943323)

It's not THAT bad of an idea but wouldn't you just edit out the commercial/advertisement and save it as a new file?

iTunes will fail next (1)

the.Ceph (863988) | more than 6 years ago | (#18943333)

It's true the best way to combat piracy is to provide a realistic and affordable alternative, and 99 cents is certainly affordable. But music downloaders are not going to switch to using a service that costs more as using BitTorrent or Limewire, but comes with abominable DRM or advertisements.

Oh wait... some of them are... hmm.

Don't we call it "commercial radio" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18943601)

Yeah ad supported free music is sure to fail...

I thought the song itself WAS the ad... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18943769)

...to entice you to go see the artist in concert. Seriously, that's why they get radio play--to get you to pay for a ticket when they come to town. This whole idea that the song is a tangible piece of property or that it's something you lease just isn't working. Songs over the internet should be treated like songs over the air. It's an ad already.

The alternative would be product placement IN the song, like we see in movies. It's already happening in rap.

Never say never (1)

singingjim1 (1070652) | more than 6 years ago | (#18943775)

No one will ever want one of those horseless carriages, they are doomed to fail! No one will ever want have a computer in their home, they are doomed to fail! No one will ever want...you get the point.
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