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Virgin Digital To Close Up Shop

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the left-from-itunes-and-a-right-from-drm dept.

Music 207

mrspin writes in to note the demise of the Virgin Digital music store. Here is Virgin's announcement. It will shut down in stages: the service closed its doors to new subscribers on Friday; current subscribers will lose all access to it when their next monthly payment is due or on Oct. 19, whichever comes first. The store advises customers who have purchased downloads to back them up to CD and re-import them as MP3. It used to discourage such DRM-evading tactics.

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Virgins closing shop? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20736585)

Well, there's a hole that will need to be filled.

Re:Virgins closing shop? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20736669)

Don't be a dick

Re:Virgins closing shop? (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20736707)

The real reason Virgin has to go away is that I penetrated it through a back door.

Re:Virgins closing shop? (1)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 6 years ago | (#20737551)

Well, technically... [technicalvirgin.com]

I guess they're no longer, er, Virgin.... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20737065)

They're obviously fucked.

obvious (1, Funny)

User 956 (568564) | more than 6 years ago | (#20736587)

mrspin writes in to note the demise of Virgin Digital

That's because the digital media that people are searching for involving Virgins isn't what they were offering.

Re-import to Mp3? (4, Insightful)

phorm (591458) | more than 6 years ago | (#20736601)

How about they provide non-DRM mp3 downloads so people can dump their collections before their lost, rather than making more lossy copies?

Re:Re-import to Mp3? (5, Insightful)

hhr (909621) | more than 6 years ago | (#20736687)

Why on earth would a web site that's closing up do anything to make their customers happy? They will meet their legal obligations and do nothing more.

It's not like they are afraid of losing customers.

Re:Re-import to Mp3? (4, Insightful)

cloricus (691063) | more than 6 years ago | (#20736705)

And this is why you simply don't buy DRM content. If the shop you bought from closes up you are in the cold the next time your hdd crashes. DMCA be screwed, pirating is still better.

Re:Re-import to Mp3? (5, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#20736833)

This is what people don't seem to understand yet. Everyone is happy using iTunes, but what happens when somebody comes out with a portable music player that's better than the iPod, or just as good, but for cheaper? What happens when there's another cool music shop that has better prices, or a better selection? Do you now need 2 programs to manage your music library? What about the 3rd and 4th online music stores? Things have been pretty calm for now, because there's been no major players that have shut down, and you can hook your iPod up to your home stereo, or your car stereo, so there hasn't been too much complaining. But I think that within 5 years most people will start to see the problem with DRMed media. To make a bad car analogy, could you imagine if your car would no longer function, if the dealership you bought it from closed down? Or something less stupid. What if all your CDs purchase from a store stopped working when the store closed down, and that you had to have a separate player for every store you bought CDs from. That's basically where DRM will take us.

Re:Re-import to Mp3? (3, Informative)

bignetbuy (1105123) | more than 6 years ago | (#20736893)

We understand it -- we just don't care. lol

No, seriously. Anything bought on iTunes should be ripped to Audio CD anyway for backup purposes. That strips the Fairplay DRM -- and can be re-imported into your music player of choice.

Re:Re-import to Mp3? (3, Insightful)

fatalfury (934087) | more than 6 years ago | (#20737017)

...with a serious loss to quality. Does that matter to no one? It's not actually the same product once you burn a LOSSY audio file to CD then rip it back into LOSSY again. It's not the same lossy file, it's a lossy file of a lossy file. Big difference!

A store could never get away with sending you CD-Rs when you ordered DVD-Rs by just saying that its the basically the same thing, one product just has a little more space. So why can music-subscription companies?

Re:Re-import to Mp3? (2, Insightful)

Eccles (932) | more than 6 years ago | (#20737251)

I have a few songs purchased from the iTunes store that I burned and re-ripped. I have above-average hearing, but I listen to these MP3s without caring about the quality. At least to this listener, it's not a big difference.

Actually no (4, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 6 years ago | (#20737297)

Most people are not serious enough audio listeners to notice any difference between re-ripped stuff and the originals. You have to remember the equipment most people use to listen to music is not that great either.

Re:Re-import to Mp3? (4, Insightful)

Yaztromo (655250) | more than 6 years ago | (#20737299)

..with a serious loss to quality. Does that matter to no one?

What, you've never heard of lossless compression [wikipedia.org] ?

Burn lossy file to CD. Re-rip and encode it in a lossless format. The resulting file will sound identical to the original.

Yaz.

Re:Re-import to Mp3? (2, Interesting)

fatalfury (934087) | more than 6 years ago | (#20737617)

It's still not the same product.

Your new lossless (yet still lossy) file is 30mb+. The original product purchased was a lossy audio file with a small file size, probably to be used on an digital audio player, with a storage capacity of let's say 1GB.

Not only do I now have a different product, but now I cannot use it in the same way as promised when I purchased it. Going back to my original analogy, now the CD-R's the store sent me are actually mini-discs.

Re:Re-import to Mp3? (2, Informative)

langelgjm (860756) | more than 6 years ago | (#20737763)

Burn lossy file to CD. Re-rip and encode it in a lossless format. The resulting file will sound identical to the original.

At a significantly increased size compared with the original file. Or, you could avoid all this nonsense with QTFairUse [wikipedia.org] or hymn [wikipedia.org] , no?

Re:Re-import to Mp3? (1)

egr (932620) | more than 6 years ago | (#20737467)

True, but didn't DVDJon come up with some deDRM-tool? I'm not defending iTunes here,

Re:Re-import to Mp3? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20737893)

So, just to clarify, if I want to get digital music and use it the way I want, my options are:

  • Pay $1 per song, then break the law.
  • Pay $0 per song, and just break the law

Gee, that's a tough one.

Personally, I'm sticking with used CDs. For less than $20 I can get 3 or 4 CDs and rip them any way I like, and it's 100% legal.

Re:Re-import to Mp3? (3, Insightful)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 6 years ago | (#20738389)

"serious" loss of quality? Hardly. Without debate, MOST people can't tell the difference and slashdot has been littered with stories proving this simple fact. With the white ear buds that come with the iPod in a normal listening environment, there is virtually no perceivable sound quality difference between a downloaded 128kbs that has been ripped to mp3 and the original cd file. Even if you don't believe this, the proof is in the pudding. Seems like a billion downloads speaks volumes about how much people don't care (i.e., can't tell) about the supposed quality issues related to buying iTunes drm songs.

Re:Re-import to Mp3? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20737721)

We understand it -- we just don't care. lol

No, seriously. Anything bought on iTunes should be ripped to Audio CD anyway for backup purposes. That strips the Fairplay DRM -- and can be re-imported into your music player of choice.
No. That butchers the quality. Anything bought through iTMS should be run through QTFairUse6 instead. DRM gets stripped, but no quality is lost. Now if it only worked for video...

Re:Re-import to Mp3? (2, Interesting)

Ajehals (947354) | more than 6 years ago | (#20737109)

I say this half jokingly, but we are talking about the same people who replaced their records with tapes, tapes with CD's, video's with DVD's and some of them went through mini disks, laser disks VCD's and betamax too, some people replace their PC's entirely because someone at a PC shop tells them they need X to run the next version of office (according to PC World (UK) a dual core Pentium and 2Gb of RAM are required to "write letters" and browse the web, apparently because there have recently been upgrades (to the net) and there is a new version coming out soon). Replacing your media library every few years seems to be OK by most people, people actually do!.

Saying that maybe this will be the generation that say "no more".

Re:Re-import to Mp3? (2, Insightful)

FLEB (312391) | more than 6 years ago | (#20737235)

That's basically where DRM will take us.

Google Video and now this? That time has arrived, and the examples are trickling in. At least with Apple, you have rather a "blue chip" company backing your DRM, and one that's receptive enough to its customer base (and one with a large enough post-customer base) that it's unlikely they'd screw 'em all. Still, though, there's the possibility that they (or even the iTMS division) could suddenly tank someday down the road after some executive mishaps.

Personally, DRM just pisses me off. My personal sources are eMusic and the rare CD... even iTMS's "oh-so-simple" DRM is a PITA (my wife has some iTMS songs purchased). There's the usual "can't listen to this without a registered iTunes" blues, but there's also the aggravation that the file is basically a brick until you strip off the crypto-- you can't do things like trimming the poorly-cut end off a song for a compilation, using a normalization filter, excerpting... Hell, just playing it in the car on the player of my choice. I know I'm out of the ordinary, but I want to use my music!

So, yeah. MP3 all the way.

Re:Re-import to Mp3? (0, Offtopic)

JimDaGeek (983925) | more than 6 years ago | (#20737313)

Everyone is happy using iTunes
So you have talked to "everyone" to confirm this? I have all new Intel Macs in my house, about $4,500 worth to be frank. I have bought about 50 songs on iTMS and converted them from their DRM-encrusted crap. iTunes and iTMS is not _too_ bad for just music. At least you can convert your music, at a lose of quality, to a non-DRM encrusted format.

However, all things are not so perfect with iTMS WRT non-music. I purchased 3 seasons of "The Office" from the iTMS. Playing the episodes in iTunes across my network was just crap, slow and choppy. I couldn't burn the episodes to DVD so I went to Blockbuster and rented the 3 seasons and burned them to non-DRM encrusted mp4 files. Now they play great across the same network using VLC.

I am just wondering why playing a DRM-encrusted TV episode from an Intel iMac to an Intel Macbook over a wireless G network was so crappy. As soon as I deleted all the DRM-encrusted TV episodes and replaced them with mp4 rips, I could watch them across the same network with VLC or Quicktime/iTunes.

As a heavy Mac users, iTunes was once a great music/media manger/player. Now it is just a bloated portal to iTMS. I have gotten a bunch of iTunes updates on my Macs over the last 2 months. Each one has come with a NEW EULA. Uh, this sounds like MS to me. I am sure the Mac "fanboies" will say "it is because of the new iPhone and new iPods". Great. But why do I have to agree to a new EULA to use the new iTunes?

Oh, and don't get me started on the retarded crap that the iPod I have can only be "synced" to one specific computer. If I plug it in to my iMac, I get a message that it was from another computer and iTunes wants to ERASE all the songs! So I cant' put songs on from my Mac and then put a few songs on from my wife's Macbook. WTF? I have found ways around this, but it is anything but "user friendly" or the "it just works" mantra.

I love Mac OS X, the OS, but Apple is doing some stupid stuff with their other products and the lock-in/DRM IMO.

Que the Mac fanboi who will say, "You are not Steve, I am sure Steve knows how to run Apple better than you".

Yawn. I have spent thousands on Apple products. I think that should have a little influence on Apple.... I hope...

Oh, and I am not trolling. I agree with most of what you say, except for the people being "happy" with iTMS. I am sure for every person some troll say is happy, I can show someone who is not.

Your point about DRM is "on the money" IMO. I just felt like typing a lot of crap. :-)

Re:Re-import to Mp3? (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#20737527)

Yeah, not everyone is happy. Sorry about that. What I meant was that people in general were pretty happy, and there hasn't been enough stuff go wrong yet to create a big public uproar. It would have been interesting if the Zune was any good. If there was any music player worth switching to, I think that people might start to realize the problem with iTunes. I'm not saying the iPod is completely amazing, or that there is nothing better, but that they are pretty much all the same, and no player out there gives people a big reason to switch from iTunes.

Re:Re-import to Mp3? (1)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 6 years ago | (#20738335)

But why do I have to agree to a new EULA to use the new iTunes?

You don't. Nobody is forcing you to install the upgrades. And yes, as a "faboi" I have to say that the two iTunes upgrades in the past quarter have been one for the iPhone and one for the iPod. If you have neither of these devices, just don't run theh software updater, or choose NOT to install 7.4.2. Plus, it gives you a VERY detailed explanation of what's in the upgrade, so you have no excuse really:

With iTunes 7.4, sync your favorite music and more with the new iPod nano (third generation), iPod classic, and iPod touch, plus create custom ringtones exclusively for iPhone with many of your favorite songs purchased from the iTunes Store. You can now also play purchased videos with closed captioning (when available), easily rate your favorite albums from one to five stars, and watch videos at a larger size inside the iTunes window. iTunes 7.4.2 addresses an issue with creating ringtones using iTunes Plus song purchases and includes bug fixes to improve stability and performance.

Re:Re-import to Mp3? (1)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 6 years ago | (#20738295)

What happens when a newer/better/cheaper mp3 player/store comes out? Well, they are five years too late, and people with thousands of cds worth of content will continue using iPods and iTunes. That's just one benefit of being a pioneer. If I keep waiting around for the next iTunes/iPod killer to materialize, I'll never have any new music.

People Don't Buy Restricted Music. (3, Interesting)

Erris (531066) | more than 6 years ago | (#20737183)

No one wants disappearing music. If it were otherwise, Virgin would not be closing. Not even M$ could sell it and everyone who bought into it is either evil or a fool.

Fee services are greedy and won't work. According to this BBC story [bbc.co.uk] , people spend about $25/year on music. Plans that ask for this amount per month or multiples of it per year are doomed to fail.

The industry and the law itself has been harmed by the Copyright extremists. Laws that transparently guard the interest of a few at the expense of many have bred contempt. The theft of thousands of people's life savings by bogus prosecutions have only made things worse. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

Re:People Don't Buy Restricted Music. (5, Insightful)

Shihar (153932) | more than 6 years ago | (#20737327)

Fee services are greedy and won't work. According to this BBC story, people spend about $25/year on music. Plans that ask for this amount per month or multiples of it per year are doomed to fail.
Great, and the average person has one testicle, half a penis, and one tit. I suggest you avoid a career in swimsuit design.

The subscription services do what they do very well for a certain portion of the music listening audience. If you are the type that would pay $15 / month for access to nearly every single song ever recorded and don't give two shits if you 'own' it or not, subscription services work fine. People who pick subscriptions view music the same way they view the Internet. They want it there, they want access to it all the time, and if one day their service goes under they just go out and get another one. Sure, all your music is 'gone'... except for the fact that you can merrily go and redownload anything your cared about in a day or two's time with a new service. If you are the type of music listener that goes through piles of artists each month and like to listen to anything that might catch your fancy, subscription services are a steal.

If on the other hand you are the type who has a narrow focus in music, like just a few artists, listen to the same albums over and over, listen to music rarely, or get your rocks off collecting things, than clearly a subscription plan is not for you. Most of the services that offer music subscription services offer both models for the very reason that while the average human has one testicle and one fully developed breast, the average human is not who you are trying to sell to. It makes perfect sense to sell single songs and albums to the type who get off on that sort of thing, and to sell subscription plans to those who get off on that.

For me personally, the subscription works very well. My interest in music is far too casual to justify researching music before I buy it. My tastes wander too quickly, and they are far too fickle. I don't often listen to musicians more than a few times, and I enjoy the exploration of different genera and artists far more than I enjoy listening to a few tried and trued favorites. For me, a music subscription works wonderfully. I get full access to any song I could want to listen to, and I nothing about downloading something and listening to it because I have already paid a flat rate.

If the only option out there was iTunes style pay-per-download, I probably would not bother buying music at all. I might be the minority, but Rhapsody is getting my buck while iTunes isn't simply because they offer it and iTunes doesn't.

The DRM issue is a whole different can of worms. Access controls on subscription services make sense. Access controls that can be killed for things you pay a buck per pop for is just downright stupid. You are a moron if you pay for DRMed single shot music. The whole point of BUYING the music instead of just subscribing to it is the assurance that your collection will always be there.

Personally, I think you take your chances when you buy DRMed music with the expectation of keeping it forever. iTunes, Virgin, Rhapsody... whoever, if they DRM the music, than they ultimately have control of that music. If you are paying for control of that music, you damn well should make sure you actually have it.

Re:People Don't Buy Restricted Music. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20737481)

Not even M$ could sell it

What? "M$"?

Re:Re-import to Mp3? (1)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 6 years ago | (#20737363)

> If the shop you bought from closes up you are in the cold the next time your hdd crashes.
> DMCA be screwed, pirating is still better.

Exactly. DRM means 'your' content is only yours until the place you bought it from goes out of business or decides your content is 'obsolete'. Does anyone actually believe iTunes will exist in its current form in twenty or thirty years? Will Apple? How many technology companies live to see their tenth birthday? Apple will be truly ancient in thirty years, Steve will be in a retirement home or dead and these teens buying songs on iTunes today will be screwed. Meanwhile my vinyl and CDs bought in my misspent youth play today and will probably still play when I'm in a retirement community.

It is something to think about.

Re:Re-import to Mp3? (1)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 6 years ago | (#20738263)

Well, I've been an Apple customer for 19 years, so I don't see why I should worry about the next 20, especially considering the last 5 have kicked ass.

Re:Re-import to Mp3? (1)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 6 years ago | (#20736803)

Looks to me like they're switching their service to one that has better DRM.

We are happy to be able to offer you a 1-month free subscription to the Virgin Media digital streaming jukebox and this link will be available from next week.

Streaming jukebox application with Trusted Computing technology anyone?

Re:Re-import to Mp3? (0, Offtopic)

dwater (72834) | more than 6 years ago | (#20736739)

> dump their collections before their lost,

before their lost what?

Higher Expectations (4, Insightful)

Kashra (1109287) | more than 6 years ago | (#20736615)

I haven't used Virgin's store, so I'm not familiar with the license that users signed. But isn't it reasonable to expect that Virgin has to provide a more direct method for users that have paid for their downloaded content to obtain a permanent copy of it? "Burn it to CD and rip it back" seems arduous and probably not even feasible for the level of computer literacy they should expect from their clients.

Would such an argument even hold up in court?

Re:Higher Expectations (3, Informative)

GregariousBoson (1109985) | more than 6 years ago | (#20736637)

IANAL, but chances are it wouldn't need to. Behind all the pages of EULAs the users didn't read was certainly a statement disclaiming any guarantee that the tracks will work at some future date. If it's anything like Napster's subscription service then they're no longer paying the monthly fees to access them anyway.

Re:Higher Expectations (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 6 years ago | (#20736975)

Would such an argument even hold up in court?

While I don't know what the terms of the license agreement was, I have a feeling that the blood suckers made sure that if the service ever ended that Virgin Digital would not be legally obligated to do anything to refund the subscribers/customers or fix their more-broken-than-before files.

My suggestion? Don't buy into any RIAA shit and if you must make sure it's DRM free. You're seriously better off paying $2.00 more to buy the CD.

Re:Higher Expectations (2, Insightful)

CodeBuster (516420) | more than 6 years ago | (#20736981)

probably not even feasible for the level of computer literacy they should expect from their clients.

So Joe Sixpack finally gets burned by DRM and realizes what we on Slashdot have been railing against all this time. Personally, I hope that there are more incidents with other music stores where the unsuspecting public gets burned by DRM. Perhaps then they will take the time to learn what DRM is and why it is a bad thing for them to be spending their money on. If enough average people get bitten by the DRM bug then maybe the content producers will have to give it up, but for now it is mostly just the nerds who are complaining.

Re:Higher Expectations (1)

Yusaku Godai (546058) | more than 6 years ago | (#20737759)

The only problem is that Joe Sixpack doesn't know that Slashdot exists, or that we on it have been railing against DRM all this time. Nor do they realize what DRM is, or that there are alternatives. To them, when they get screwed by DRM, "it just doesn't work" and they move on the next source of DRM'd music, 'cause maybe it will work.

It's still pretty impressive how little most people understand about the technology that they use. It really might as well be magic.

Re:Higher Expectations (1)

slittle (4150) | more than 6 years ago | (#20737951)

No, Joe Sixpack will simply realise that competition is a loser's game and he should just stick to buying from the established monopoly.

Re:Higher Expectations (1)

irtza (893217) | more than 6 years ago | (#20738559)

if enough people figure out what DRM is, the content providers will change the name and declare DRM dead.

I'm dying to hear the real reason... (4, Insightful)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 6 years ago | (#20736623)

Okay.

So they have this huge stockpile of music, and they're incapable of simply posting it and running a credit-card outsourced solution?

The artists get the 8 cents per sale, right? So the rest pays for ... the gigantic building?

Re:I'm dying to hear the real reason... (0, Flamebait)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | more than 6 years ago | (#20736863)

The RIAA needs to buy Saddam Hussein's solid gold toilets somehow. I mean, birds of a feather right?

Re:I'm dying to hear the real reason... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20736953)

They should just liquidate the whole stock on the cheap. After all, digital music is akin to tangible objects, as seen in the RIAA's 'You wouldn't steal a car' argument, so what's the problem with just selling off the whole supply to whomever for whatever they'll go for?

Sony did the Same (1, Insightful)

Datasage (214357) | more than 6 years ago | (#20736625)

Sony Connect store did the same, but they were switching from a propriety format to something based on windows media.

Even they recommended the burn to CD and re-rip method, but the problem with that is the horrible loss of quality. The downloaded tracks are already lossy encoded. The lost data is not recreated by burning it to CD. And you will be ripping it back into a lossy format, from a source thats already lossy.

In my opinion, they should make available a tool that strips the DRM but leave the audio data pretty much intact.

Re:Sony did the Same (4, Informative)

GrahamCox (741991) | more than 6 years ago | (#20736639)

...but they were switching from a propriety format to something based on windows media...

That is, another proprietary format.

Re:Sony did the Same (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20736799)

MP3 is a proprietary format. The only unencumbered format is Ogg Vorbis.

Re:Sony did the Same (1)

sqlrob (173498) | more than 6 years ago | (#20737325)

MP3 is a standard. Patent encumbered, but still a standard

Re:Sony did the Same (1)

808140 (808140) | more than 6 years ago | (#20738059)

What about FLAC?

Re:Sony did the Same (1)

Datasage (214357) | more than 6 years ago | (#20738483)

In Sony's case it was some weird format only Sony and Sony products used. Not nearly as common as WMA or the Itunes format for that matter. There are tools to remove WMA and Itunes DRM, but none that I know of for that format.

Re:Sony did the Same (1)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 6 years ago | (#20736839)

In my opinion, they should make available a tool that strips the DRM but leave the audio data pretty much intact.
FairUse4WM?

Funny how it works (2, Insightful)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 6 years ago | (#20736641)

Most companies I've encountered that DRM their content claim that if they ever go out of business that they'll keep their activation servers going, transfer the activation to a third party, or better yet, release a key/patch to permanently "free" the content.

Never seems to happen, though.

Re:Funny how it works (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20736681)

Yeah, it's a real pain to those that purchased music there.

They should have switched to non-DRM and bought some more publicity and then they might have been competition for iTunes.

GemStar's eBook is a good example (3, Informative)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 6 years ago | (#20737147)

It sure didn't happen with the $300 worth of DRMed, encrypted content I purchased for my GemStar eBook.

That content is keyed to a hardware serial number in my own, personal eBook device.

The servers were shut down, the customer service people who could have enabled the content to work on a different eBook device are gone, but it doesn't matter anyway because there are no follow-on devices that use that encryption scheme.

No provision was made for freeing the content, there's no equivalent of "burning to CD and re-RIPping), and when my vintage 2000 eBook--which has started to act funny--finally dies, all the content I purchased dies with it.

Lawsuits brewing (4, Insightful)

iamacat (583406) | more than 6 years ago | (#20736663)

If anyone runs into authorization problems for those songs, especially on the computer where they were originally purchased. "Pay money to buy a song and we may revoke your access at some unspecified, arbitrary short time" is not a valid contract term. Going CD-RW -> MP3 route is not a solution since the company previously claimed that it would be illegal.

Re:Lawsuits brewing (3, Funny)

GregariousBoson (1109985) | more than 6 years ago | (#20736719)

Call me a hopeless optimistic, but maybe it will finally sink in with the Powers That Be that DRM is a silly technology?

Re:Lawsuits brewing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20736807)

Wow, you're a pretty hopeless optimist.

Re:Lawsuits brewing (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20736813)

"Technology" is somewhat of a misnomer. I prefer "infection."

Re:Lawsuits brewing (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 6 years ago | (#20737165)

NewYorkCountryLawyer For The Win!!

Please tell me one of those Counsel types discovered the galaxy sized loophole in "Let's recommend a form of copying that my business agency is suing people for using".

Services vs. products (4, Insightful)

Urusai (865560) | more than 6 years ago | (#20736689)

This is why software/content as a service is bollocks.

Re:Services vs. products (1)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 6 years ago | (#20736793)

I used to think that "software as a service" meant using F/OSS (like PHP) and giving service to it (which is a perfectly valid business model). When I learned the true meaning, I realized it's nothing more than "renting software" with another name. It's much worse when it's "renting software AND storage for your data" :-/

On the contrary... (3, Insightful)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 6 years ago | (#20736891)

While it does mean you lose those particular tracks, the mentality I keep hearing from people I would expect to know better is, in a world where everyone has enough bandwidth to stream radio 24/7, nobody cares that you've lost your music collection.

You just switch to a different, competing service, and re-download everything.

The guy I had this conversation with reasoned it like this: If you're going legit, this is the cheapest way. You lose the ability to have stuff work on an iPod, but he had something else anyway. Everything he wanted to do with it, the DRM software let him do -- except play it on Linux, which he didn't want anyway (partly because it didn't work on Linux -- chicken and egg).

And the economics of it: He calculated that he'd have to subscribe to this service for 15 years straight before he'd be spending more than it would cost to buy the stuff outright on iTunes or CD. And that was just counting songs he'd already downladed -- obviously, in 15 years, he'd be downloading a lot more stuff.

Me, I'm not willing to give up my freedom like that, and stuff just has to work on Linux. Besides, I listen to a lot of Internet radio. But content as a service really isn't a problem. Software as a service, maybe, because you have your own data attached to it, but music? Who are we kidding?

Re:On the contrary... (1)

Yusaku Godai (546058) | more than 6 years ago | (#20737793)

What, does that guy listen to like the same 100 songs on rotation? I don't see how it could possibly to be economical to download a several thousand album music collection over and over again. Nevermind that no one digital music store is going to necessarily even have half of such a collection in its libraries.

I guess whatever works for him. But I still can't see this as feasable for anyone remotely *interested* in music, and I'm not even talking about audiophiles. Just people who care about music instead of just listening to stuff 'cause they heard it on the radio and liked it.

Now, internet radio is another matter. That's worth listening to sometimes for variety and hearing new stuff. A good radio station is even worth paying for I think.

Great example of a common argument against DRM (3, Insightful)

QJimbo (779370) | more than 6 years ago | (#20736695)

The possibility of the company going out of business is regularly cited as a reason against DRM, because it leaves your purchases worthless.

This is an example of it happening in reality.

People are going to have to either waste CD-R's or loose quality by reencoding them to another lossy format... really abismal.

Re:Great example of a common argument against DRM (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20737269)

People are going to have to either waste CD-R's or loose quality by reencoding them to another lossy format... really abismal.
Whoa, hold on Mr. Informative and Insightful:

One can re-use CD-RW discs to minimize waste, and retain all of the quality (or lack thereof) by re-encoding the music in a lossless format such as FLAC.

I'm not saying that it isn't a crappy event for those who decided to go with Virgin. But there is recourse without "CD-R waste" or "abysmal" loss in quality.

obligatory (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20736731)

just another reason why DRM is evil.

Why can't they just remove their DRM? (4, Interesting)

r_jensen11 (598210) | more than 6 years ago | (#20736805)

I don't get it. Why can't they just make available a program that strips their DRM from the music files, and let their subscribers download and use said program? This would be much easier than burning and ripping. Plus, you don't lose any more quality than you already have.

Re:Why can't they just remove their DRM? (2, Insightful)

ddcc (946751) | more than 6 years ago | (#20737337)

Most likely because they have some sort of a contract with the big labels that forces them to include DRM.

Re:Why can't they just remove their DRM? (1)

kocsonya (141716) | more than 6 years ago | (#20737753)

> I don't get it. Why can't they just make available a program that strips
> their DRM from the music files, and let their subscribers download and use
> said program?

DMCA, maybe? The content is not theirs and if their deal with the music mill is such that they must DRM, then such a program would be a full-fledged open violation of the DMCA, not to mention that it is THEFT, PIRACY, TERRORISM and you have to THINK OF THE INNOCENT CHILDREN!

Re:Why can't they just remove their DRM? (1)

BerkeleyDude (827776) | more than 6 years ago | (#20738145)

DMCA, maybe? The content is not theirs and if their deal with the music mill is such that they must DRM, then such a program would be a full-fledged open violation of the DMCA [...]
That's right. Since they can't violate the DMCA, the obvious solution is... tell the users to do it instead!

I like the big yellow button (3, Funny)

richardtoohey (457098) | more than 6 years ago | (#20736825)

With the ENTER VIGIN DIGITAL (sic) text on it.

Gotta love "eCommerce". (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20736849)

Clunky, complicated, hideous to look at and use websites. Payment methods just asking to be abused, or designed to turn away the many people who choose life without credit cards.

Just try and purchase, say, a CD or book online. Direct bank funds transfer? Nope. Gotta be a credit card. Then try and actually use a credit card at a site like Think Geek, where they ask you to supply digital photos of your drivers licences, a recent bill, etc.

For those of us in (very) rural locations, the choice is either give up and buy stuff from a brick-and-mortar store the next time you're in a town, or leap through the flaming online hoops and risk becoming the victim of identity theft as a result...but only if you're willing to have a credit card.

Re:Gotta love "eCommerce". (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20736901)

For those of us in (very) rural locations

You aren't the intended market so lump it. I bet it is also hard finding good buggy whips. Move aside so progress can continue without you. We'll miss you. If you want life w/o a credit card, welcome to life without online purchasing.

Re:Gotta love "eCommerce". (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20737047)

But isn't (and wasn't) teh intarwebz hyped as the savior of rural dwellers everywhere and will and make "brick and mortar" stores obsolete, you funny little troll, you?

Hell man, I do all my financial transactions via online banking too. I do have a credit card, but only for the most dire emergency use and so far I have never paid for anything that way. Otherwise I'd happily cut the damn thing up.

Just because you believe you can only exist in a state of perpetual debt doesn't mean everybody chooses that lifestyle. I'm not a rural dweller but I sympathize with the OP: this whole online business model hasn't lived-up to the expectations or hype.

Re:Gotta love "eCommerce". (1)

suckmysav (763172) | more than 6 years ago | (#20738429)

Uh, I have three credit cards, use them daily and I don't live in a state of "perpetual debt" (where "debt" is defined as "paying interest on money owed") Just because you are incapable of self discipline wrt the use of credit cards it doesn't mean they are bad for everyone.

Re:Gotta love "eCommerce". (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20737979)

I bet it is also hard finding good buggy whips.
It's not that hard, just check any kinky sex gear store...

Re:Gotta love "eCommerce". (1)

wikinerd (809585) | more than 6 years ago | (#20737671)

Then try and actually use a credit card at a site like Think Geek, where they ask you to supply digital photos of your drivers licences, a recent bill, etc.

Giving a CC is already dangerous, so emailing or faxing an identity document along with it is unacceptable. I do not buy from such shops, and if I have to then I choose a non-CC payment option if they provide any (here in Europe they often do, eg you can just order online and then let them come to your home and you pay them in cash at the door, while some others just call you on the phone the other day to ask you to confirm your name, CC number, address, etc, while I have also seen shops that do charge your CC without identification but when they come with their truck to give you your goods the driver demands to see the CC you ordered with and an identity document of yours before allowing you to take your goods, and almost all shops allow you to deposit to their bank account which can be done via Web banking).

Apart from the identity theft concerns, there are also usability issues. Fraud must be attacked and eradicated, but this must not make the life of customers hard. If any anti-fraud solution makes online shopping difficult, then it is just not a good solution. We want solutions that are both secure *and* easy. Having to fax or scan identity documents means I need more time to complete a transaction as a customer, and knowing that lost time translates to lost productivity and therefore lost money this alone is a serious reason to not buy from shops with such policies; when you also take account the identity theft risk, which is quite high, then just the mention of such a policy is laughable. Vote with your money and prefer shops that allow you to pay easily and quickly in your preferred method.

Unfortunately many organisations think that by having customers supplying more personal information they can lower the incidence of fraud. That's an incorrect idea: Criminals exist everywhere and they *will* find a way to circumvent any measure, so the solution is to provide *less* personal information when paying, not more. This way, when a CC or other payment instrument is stolen by a thief you don't run the risk of losing the whole of your identity. Some banks here have started offering the option of having your photo on your CC, but I find this a bad idea because it means that when someone physically steals your CC they will also have your photo, and they could use it to make illicit identity documents.

I personally would very much prefer a criminal to steal my cash rather than my credit cards or any other document. If you get robbed and they get the cash, you just lose some money. If they get your CCs or an identity document of yours you run serious risk of losing much more - especially if your bank is not very helpful.

It sets a nice precedent (2, Insightful)

Flipao (903929) | more than 6 years ago | (#20736881)

Those who claim DRM is nothing but the "lock to your door" or "the alarm in your" car are going to have a hard time trying justify their business model when things like this end up happening...

Re:It sets a nice precedent (1)

ring-eldest (866342) | more than 6 years ago | (#20737807)

It's the "alarm in your car" that sets the vehicle on fire when the clicker batteries die.

Correctionn to summary (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 6 years ago | (#20736991)

The summary says that customers will be able to download music "until October 19th or the time their next payment comes due, whichever comes first." The article itself (Yes, I really did RTFM) says:


"If you are a current Club member you will be able to continue using the service until the date that your next payment is due, after which the service will no longer be accessible to you."


Nothing about it stopping before your subscription runs out.

Either You're Free, Or you're Apple (2, Informative)

illectro (697914) | more than 6 years ago | (#20736993)

Apple seem to be the only people who've managed a paid digital music store with any success. eMusic [emusic.com] has been going forever without any real traction, Napster [napster.com] continues to lose money, meanwhile you can get free, legal major label music from places like imeem.com [imeem.com] which is all ad supported.

*cough* (4, Informative)

msimm (580077) | more than 6 years ago | (#20737263)

eMusic no traction? They are the second largest [cnn.com] digital music retailer. The #1 largest DRM-free retailer and probably the only major digital retailer with (recently updated) Linux support. It's a great resource for slightly older music or anything even remotely off the beaten path (my main interest).

Question largest DRM Free... (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 6 years ago | (#20737339)

I have to say that with the size of iTunes customer base, I would think that currently Apple is actually the largest DRM free music store in terms of percent sold going forward... but I can't find any figures to say one way or the other.

Basically though it's just great to see the number of DRM free options growing!

agreed... (1)

msimm (580077) | more than 6 years ago | (#20737479)

And with other resources (Bleep [bleep.com] , Fintunes [finetunes.net] , Inertia [inertia-music.com] , etc) I find my music selection keeps expanding horizontally (and DRM free).

Re:agreed... (1)

hedkandee (1148031) | more than 6 years ago | (#20738075)

imeem does it for me, it is streaming ony but the streams appear to be cd quality. They're kinda like a music version of youtube where fans upload their favourite music and anyone can listen. A few months ago they had a few deals with the usual indie labels but Warner brothers started suing them over thhe usual coyright infringement BS, I don't know how they did it but after a load of meeting Warners dropped the case and signed on as their first big name partner. A year ago I'd have never believed it but times are changing and Warners probably think they can make more money in the long term off the ad revenue on imeem than they can by suing them out of business.

Damn... (2, Insightful)

lelitsch (31136) | more than 6 years ago | (#20737045)

I was sure this Virgin Store was an iTunes killer. Differential pricing, backed by a major record label, subscription and purchase options, not restricted to an iPod.

------------------
Those who don't understand sarcasm are doomed to misread it.

People don't want subscriptions (2, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 6 years ago | (#20737319)

Time and again we have seen that if there is any choice at all, people don't want subscriptons where they pay to access some nebulous "service". They want something they can keep, even if it's a virtual "something".

People also dislike differental pricing as it usually ends up being "differential" the wrong way.

Re:Damn... (1)

StrahdVZ (1027852) | more than 6 years ago | (#20737889)

Isn't this just something to do with the fact that Branson is selling the physical Virgin Megastores off to another company who will rebrand it?

In that event its not indicating any particular lack of success so much as "no longer supported" because the physical music retailer that provided the infrastructure will be nonexistent.

Why not imitate success instead of failure? (3, Interesting)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 6 years ago | (#20737131)

Just what is it about the iTunes Store that's so hard to grasp? Put up a store that sells a huge selection of music at half-decent prices with halfway-tolerable DRM, and the world beats a path to your door.

Put up a store that rents a limited selection of music at lousy prices and heavy-handed DRM, and the world yawns. That business model has now been tried at least a dozen times and has failed every single time.

There are other kinds of products for which a manufacturer would refuse to sell through the only store that's successfully sold that product, and instead sets up its own store--but music is the only product for which they set up stores that emulate, not the successful store, but the unsuccessful stores.

Re:Why not imitate success instead of failure? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20737345)

Fuck apple. Emulate allofmp3.com

Re:Why not imitate success instead of failure? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20737495)

Fuck allofmp3.com. Download music for free via Bittorrent/Rapidshare/FTP/IRC/USENET/Sneakernet.

Re:Why not imitate success instead of failure? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20737725)

If you don't care about supporting the actual musicians, why not just pirate it? It's exactly as artist-friendly as allofmp3.com, and saves you the hassle of actually paying.

Re:Why not imitate success instead of failure? (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#20737559)

Just what is it about the iTunes Store that's so hard to grasp? Put up a store that sells a huge selection of music at half-decent prices with halfway-tolerable DRM, and the world beats a path to your door.

Put up a store that rents a limited selection of music at lousy prices and heavy-handed DRM, and the world yawns. That business model has now been tried at least a dozen times and has failed every single time.


How is Apple any better? If they turn belly up you're not going to be able to reauthorize your tunes either.

Re:Why not imitate success instead of failure? (1)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 6 years ago | (#20738225)

Reauthorize my iTunes songs? What in the world are you talking about? You don't authorize iTunes songs, you authorize up to 5 computers to play them. The songs play on any number of iPods, however, and they burn to disc for forever if you like. I'm not sure what alternate reality you live in, but the iTunes store isn't going anywhere anytime soon.

So there, that's how Apple is any better?

Re:Why not imitate success instead of failure? (1)

ring-eldest (866342) | more than 6 years ago | (#20737825)

music is the only product for which they set up stores that emulate, not the successful store, but the unsuccessful stores
Shhh! If they actually made a profit, there would be no losses to blame on the pirates! That would look terrible in court!

Don't rent music (1)

blueZ3 (744446) | more than 6 years ago | (#20737211)

This is the reason I won't rent music. I don't know much about their model, but the risk that my music "landlord" will got out of business, leaving me in the lurch, is why I won't rent music.

Re:Don't rent music (1)

webmaster404 (1148909) | more than 6 years ago | (#20737603)

I don't get why they (the record companies) think that renting music is a better business model, renting tangible things make sense, for example 2 people can't own the same car and drive it at the same time so renting a car makes sense, however when you can make as many copies as you want of music with no cost (not even bandwidth if they distribute via torrents) Why they think they need to DRM everything is beyond me, and to think that they think that all the "pirates" just buy the song and try to rip it is laughable, there not going to go to iTunes and buy a song for 99 cents and copy it and distribute it, and the sooner record companies realize that I shouldn't be restricted to proprietary formats the better.

Do they really say rip to MP3? (2, Interesting)

ChaosDiscord (4913) | more than 6 years ago | (#20737227)

Do they really say users should rip to MP3? All I'm seeing are suggestions that you back up your collection since you won't be able to re-download them. That seems pretty reasonable to me.

The real question is how are the tracks locked to a given purchaser? If you need to authenticate to some Virgin Digital service when you, say, move to a new computer, then there is a problem.

Just another example (3, Insightful)

Hawthorne01 (575586) | more than 6 years ago | (#20737641)

of a company failing to replicate Apple's success with DRM-managed downloads. There's only one MS Office, there's only one iPod. Deal with it. Apple's learned how to play nice with MS Office, when will other media download site learn the same (painful) lesson that you ignore the iPod only at your own peril?

Any (legal) media company that doesn't take the iPod into account is doomed to failure or at least irrelevance. The only one to succeed and flourish in a post-iPod world is eMusic, and that's because you can play songs from there on a your iPod or Zune (shudder) or whatever.

Wal-Mart is opening up their DRM, so is Amazon. NBC, however, is still clueless.

RIAA Defense? (1)

Sparr0 (451780) | more than 6 years ago | (#20738475)

"I bought the song with DRM from Virgin, and then they went out of business. I am just exercising my license to have one copy after the first one got lost in a freak lightning storm." What's that? Now it was a copy and not a license? Great to hear!
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