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Review of Amazon's DRM-Less Music Download Store

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the gosh-you-mean-if-i-buy-it-i-can-keep-it dept.

Music 437

fdmendez writes to tell us that he had a chance to check out Amazon's DRM-less music download store that was recently released as a beta trial. "Amazon one-ups the iTunes store in every way except for popularity. Never once did I find an album to be more expensive on the Amazon store in comparison to the iTunes store. The download experience was pleasant, and the lack of DRM truly makes it YOUR music. I don't know of any other download service that could top the Amazon MP3 store."

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437 comments

But without DRM (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20759705)

what will Cory Doctorow have to cry about?

Obligitory (5, Funny)

El_Smack (267329) | more than 6 years ago | (#20759715)

"I don't know of any other download service that could top the Amazon MP3 store."

Bittorrent?

Re:Obligitory (5, Insightful)

p0tat03 (985078) | more than 6 years ago | (#20759779)

You mean the service where everybody leeches, resulting in complete lack of bandwidth available to downloaders unless you're in an exclusive, ratio-metered club?

Or the one that really only works for popular albums, as anything old or otherwise unpopular and non-mainstream will have no seeders?

Even accounting for the $0 price tag, Bittorrent has a LONG way to go to rival ANY paid music store.

Re:Obligitory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20759867)

Agreed. Last time I tried, I (and about 20 others) was stuck on 96.8% for weeks without anyone wanted to seed. Pretty much made me stop using Bittorrent for music download.

Re:Obligitory (1)

JackMeyhoff (1070484) | more than 6 years ago | (#20759933)

Why don't YOU seed then? Partials are shared also with BT. I have no problems using BT via Mininova for "Discography" torrents.

Re:Obligitory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20760113)

I was. The % I had available. I would had seeded the 100% too for weeks if I have had it downloaded. The problem was that the main seed didn't exist anymore and the ones that had the chance to download 100% stopped seeding.

Re:Obligitory (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20759939)

A lot of the 95% complete torrents are seeded by the MAFIAA or their minions like MediaDefender.

AllOfMp3 (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20760343)

Good hit on BitTorrent and other 'free' channels...but how about some of those Russian sites?

Re:Obligitory (4, Insightful)

Reason58 (775044) | more than 6 years ago | (#20759879)

Why was the parent modded funny? If anything is should be modded sad but true. Pirated music is typically of better quality (bitrate, encoder, etc) than any "legal" music store on earth.

I do... (5, Insightful)

pla (258480) | more than 6 years ago | (#20759725)

I don't know of any other download service that could top the Amazon MP3 store.

AllOfMP3.

Re:I do... (4, Insightful)

feed_me_cereal (452042) | more than 6 years ago | (#20759869)

what's the point of paying for mp3's you wont legally own? You might as well just pirate them for free.

Re:I do... (2, Insightful)

JackMeyhoff (1070484) | more than 6 years ago | (#20759965)

But we do have a right to use them, via our BLANK MEDIA TAX :)

Re:I do... (5, Insightful)

Goldberg's Pants (139800) | more than 6 years ago | (#20760145)

Not only that, I find it endlessly amusing people see buying a digital replica of a song a good deal, especially when you work out the prices. I worked it out yesterday. The album I was looking at was a mere dollar cheaper in MP3 format. So that extra dollar gets you a physical disk you can make your own MP3's from, or if you want lossless, quality sound, FLAC format, (not an option when all you have is an MP3) all the packaging etc...

It's like settling for a JPG of the Mona Lisa.

Re:I do... (5, Funny)

Lussarn (105276) | more than 6 years ago | (#20760089)

what's the point of paying for mp3's you wont legally own?

What's the point of legally owning an mp3?

Re:I do... (1)

webmaster404 (1148909) | more than 6 years ago | (#20760223)

What's the point of legally owning an mp3? Well we shouldn't have to worry about not legaly owning the mp3 however you can be assured that it won't stop you from putting it on your iPod or iPhone, or any other digital audio player. You can listen to it on Linux (provided you have the right codecs) Mac, or even Windows. Also they can't "expire". However I think we need more then just mp3 format, we need ogg, and any others you so choose.

Re:I do... (1)

Zartog (1161497) | more than 6 years ago | (#20760411)

Yeah, a back-door Russian site does what it does well, but there are so many errors constantly plaguing the system that it's all but unusable. And the way current laws are being examined to stop oversea purchasing/distribution of MP3 files, AllOfMP3's lifespan draws shorter every day.

buy music? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20759737)

No thanks, I think I'll stick to my free alternative and continue to stick it to the man.

I tried it out yesterday (5, Informative)

SiChemist (575005) | more than 6 years ago | (#20759743)

I tried the store out yesterday (bought 1 track) and was very impressed. No special software needed (making it Linux friendly). This might just get me back into buying music again instead of listening to all my old stuff.

I tried it out today (2, Interesting)

crovira (10242) | more than 6 years ago | (#20759927)

And it works well.

I purchased "Several Species Of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together In A Cave And Grooving With A Pict (1994 Digital Remaster)" off of the "Ummagumma" by "Pink Floyd"and got it to update iTunes (and my iPod) without a hitch.

It works and the selection seems to be pretty good.

Re:I tried it out yesterday (2, Interesting)

cliffiecee (136220) | more than 6 years ago | (#20760065)

I haven't tried it, but I searched for some songs I recently bought with iTunes. Everything I bought was also at Amazon; One album was cheaper by a dollar, some songs were 0.89 rather than 0.99. I wish I'd heard about this earlier!

Re:I tried it out yesterday (5, Informative)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 6 years ago | (#20760075)

Per their FAQ:
If you use Linux, you can currently buy individual songs. A Linux version of the Amazon MP3 Downloader is under development, and when released will allow entire album purchases.

That is really nice to see!

Re:I tried it out yesterday (3, Insightful)

Mr. Sketch (111112) | more than 6 years ago | (#20760157)

A Linux version of the Amazon MP3 Downloader is under development, and when released will allow entire album purchases.
Why do they need a special downloader for albums? Are they struggling to master the concept of a .zip file?

BZZZZT (4, Informative)

robogun (466062) | more than 6 years ago | (#20760127)

Just tried it. XP & VISTA or MAC OSX ONLY for Albums!!!

-------------------
You have selected to purchase:
        GREATEST HITS by Elton John
(Amazon MP3 Purchases are limited to U.S. customers.)

You must install the Amazon MP3 Downloader to purchase albums. (learn more)

        * It automatically adds your music downloads to iTunes or Windows Media Player
        * It takes just a few clicks and less than 30 seconds to install

DOWNLOAD NOW -- WINDOWS XP & VISTA

I agree to the terms of use | Download Mac OS X version

Re:BZZZZT (3, Insightful)

CrazyTalk (662055) | more than 6 years ago | (#20760375)

So what you are saying is...they support 99.9% of desktop operating systms. Sounds reasonable to me!

Some special software required, sometimes. WTF? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20760227)

> No special software needed (making it Linux friendly).

Only for single tracks, not for albums. From both TFA and TFFAQ [amazon.com],

[Q:] Do I need to install the Amazon MP3 Downloader to buy music?

[A:]The Amazon MP3 Downloader application is required for album purchases but is not required for purchasing songs.

WTF? That's a weird restriction.

Linux users can download tracks, but not albums, and Amazon is porting [amazon.com] this "download manager" thingy to Linux.

That immediately rang my spyware warning bell, but the FAQ [amazon.com] page offers one non-evil clue:

[Q:] Why is the availability of some songs and albums different from the CD version?

[A:] Record companies do not always have the rights to sell all the songs on a CD individually. This may be at the request of the artist or due to other contractual reasons. Additionally, digital versions of an album can sometimes contain bonus tracks not available on the CD, and sometimes the CD has tracks not available on the digital version. Record companies control what tracks are made available on specific formats, and Amazon MP3 will offer all tracks made available for sale.

If all the "downloader" does is verify that the licensing requirement of "album downloads entail a download of every track on the album" is met, that's reasonable.

But it's still such a weird and artificial restriction that while spidey-spyware-detector may not have pegged itself into the redline, it's still firmly into the yellow.

This isn't about individually serialized/watermarked files. First off, I've got no problem with serialized MP3s -- we're not supposed to be sharing the files we download from the service in the first place. But if (and that's an if) Amazon's taking the serialization approach, the serials can be embedded just as easily from the server at the time of download.

All of which makes me wonder just what, precisely, this "download manager" actually does. Amazon's making a damn good offer here: the music I want, in the format in which I want it, at a fair dollar price. But this "download manager" needs a wee bit more technical info before I sign up. Not every cost is measurable in dollars.

MP3, empeeshmee (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20759753)

> I don't know of any other download service that could top the Amazon MP3 store.

Any that sell FLAC [sourceforge.net] for a start!

Competition is good. (5, Insightful)

mattgreen (701203) | more than 6 years ago | (#20759759)

I hope this service takes off, as competition between iTunes and other services only means less DRM, higher quality songs, and better selection for all of us. Amazon just needs to land some deals with record labels...

Re:Competition is good. (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 6 years ago | (#20759823)

I've been surprised at how much they already have. Things I've struggled to find elsewhere. And when I did find it, I'd have to order the whole cd. There is a lot more that they can get, but the selection now is not what I would call sparse.

Re:Competition is good. (3, Interesting)

e2d2 (115622) | more than 6 years ago | (#20760251)

Seems the current selection is pretty good. I did a check for my favorite artist, Bob Marley, and where some places only stock a few albums of his they have 66 albums. That means tons of live albums and other fairly obscure stuff. Bob is a pretty popular artist, but I dare anyone to walk into a Sam Goodies or HMV and find a copy of Boston '76 (live).

But I fully agree, I really hope the record industry takes note and realizes that people actually will pay to download DRM-free music, it's profitable. That's what's gonna matter to these guys. When they realize they can sell the same album with NO media costs they'll jump (like they are selling ringtones!).

 

Missing something? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20759789)

"the lack of DRM truly makes it YOUR music"... and YOURS, and YOURS, and HIS, and HER, and THEIR.

MP3 piracy irrelevant (0)

AHumbleOpinion (546848) | more than 6 years ago | (#20759891)

"the lack of DRM truly makes it YOUR music"... and YOURS, and YOURS, and HIS, and HER, and THEIR.

Irrelevant. Given that we a dealing with digital goods, whether the source for the MP3 was Amazon or a CD-ROM rip is of no consequence, trivia.

Assuming of course the Amazon MP3 is not watermarked in some way to indicate the original purchaser.

iPod sync? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20759795)

Not to appear as an Apple fanboy, but do they have any way to sync with an iPod?

Re:iPod sync? (1)

pv2b (231846) | more than 6 years ago | (#20759875)

You can install iTunes, drag in your ordinary MP3's, and sync them over, just as normal, exactly the same as any other mp3 file.

Re:iPod sync? (1)

u-bend (1095729) | more than 6 years ago | (#20759885)

I downloaded a few tracks last night (on a Mac), and the little downloader application thingy automatically opened iTunes and imported the tracks. Pretty nice. So, yes, iPod sync through iTunes, but, no, not by itself.

Re:iPod sync? (5, Funny)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 6 years ago | (#20759887)

don't worry - you don't appear as an Apple fanboy.
 
You appear as an idiot. If the distinction is meaningful is up to you.

Re:iPod sync? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20760097)

I wish I had mod points because that was a hilarious. Too bad apple fanboys dominate slashdot moderation.

Re:iPod sync? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20760103)

The same way you sync any mp3 with your iPod. You open iTunes and add the song to your library.

What have I become... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20759819)

I find firsts posts immature and add nothing to the conversation. However, when presented with the opportunity, I have to take it!

First Post!

Re:What have I become... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20759871)

Dear God you fucked that one up

too little too late (1, Flamebait)

soupdevil (587476) | more than 6 years ago | (#20759829)

I've been getting my music either free or DRM-free or both from Emusic, Jamendo and Magnatune. I don't see any reason to start paying for mainstream music again.

Re:too little too late (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20760211)

When you listen to obscure "inde" crap like you do, there is no need to pay. Many people actually like real music.

Re:too little too late (1)

roye (717936) | more than 6 years ago | (#20760225)

I like those too, but I don't want to subscribe to Emusic (a good deal if you want to pay) and Magnatune doesn't really have some of the music I want. I looked through some of the catalog and they have a decent selection of independent labels. Arts & Crafts, Matador, Merge, Asthmatic Kitty, Young God Records are among those I saw. While some of them have some pretty popular artists, I would really lump them into mainstream music. Then again, I don't listen to music on the radio or watch mtv, so I don't really know who is mainstream anymore.

It's too good (3, Insightful)

Necreia (954727) | more than 6 years ago | (#20759835)

It had the music I wanted -- Didn't require a special download -- Is DRM free -- Is properly priced. When will MAFIAA shut it down?

I Can Think Of A Better One (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 6 years ago | (#20759855)

That would be any site that sold the actual .cda track, rather than an MP3. Without DRM, of course.

Re:I Can Think Of A Better One (5, Funny)

Constantine XVI (880691) | more than 6 years ago | (#20759957)

Amazon does sell .cdas of music. It's DRM-free too. Thing is, it takes forever to download, but you get a free frisbee and storage case for the trouble.

Re:I Can Think Of A Better One (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20760079)

That would be any site that sold the actual .cda track, rather than an MP3. Without DRM, of course.
Why would you want uncompressed songs? That wastes so much space. Lossless compression such as Flac and Apple Lossless usually compresses to 40%-60% of the size with zero quality loss. Plus, you can tag them so you get titles/artwork(not in flac, though).

Magnatune has lossless downloads (5, Interesting)

cutecub (136606) | more than 6 years ago | (#20760147)

The indy music store/label Magnatune [magnatune.com] has both lossy and lossless music downloads. They're a good example of what's possible:

There are 5 major formats availabe to buyers:
  • 44k/16bit WAV: zip file of perfect quality WAV files.
  • FLAC: zip file of perfect quality FLAC files.
  • OGG: zip file of high quality OGG files.
  • 128kb MP3: zip file of 128kb MP3 files.
  • MP3 VBR: zip of high quality MP3 VBR files.

-S

Re:Magnatune has lossless downloads (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20760369)

Yes, but they don't seem to carry the music that I want--- Pink Floyd, Boards of Canada, Orbital all returned zero hits. They suggested similar music, and I might try that someday.

"in every way" (1, Insightful)

nevali (942731) | more than 6 years ago | (#20759873)

Amazon trumps iTunes on DRM-free volume, but iTunes trumps Amazon by selling 256kbps AAC, as opposed to the 256kbps MP3 that Amazon sells.

Re:"in every way" (2, Insightful)

Radon360 (951529) | more than 6 years ago | (#20759971)

But, at that bit rate, can you honestly say you can tell the difference with your own ears?

Re:"in every way" (1)

CodeBuster (516420) | more than 6 years ago | (#20759979)

The mass market "music" (if one can call it that) which is being produced by the record labels these days is so unoriginal, bad, and generally lacking in talent that it really doesn't matter how high quality the recording of crap is, crap is crap at any bitrate, one cannot polish a turd after all.

Re:"in every way" (3, Insightful)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 6 years ago | (#20759987)

how about "in every significant way" because I guarantee you most of us could care less about the AAC - MP3 thing.

AAC "quality" irrelevant ... (4, Insightful)

AHumbleOpinion (546848) | more than 6 years ago | (#20760041)

Amazon trumps iTunes on DRM-free volume, but iTunes trumps Amazon by selling 256kbps AAC, as opposed to the 256kbps MP3 that Amazon sells.

Isn't that 256kb AAC the optional higher priced version?

More importantly the improved "quality" of 256 kb AAC over 256kb MP3 is largely hypothetical, few if any could tell the difference. However even if we accept marginal quality and size improvements these are overwhelmingly outweighed by the universal nature of MP3 files. Every digital player supports MP3. Portables, cars, home stereos, etc. There is no vendor lock.

Re:AAC "quality" irrelevant ... (2, Informative)

metamatic (202216) | more than 6 years ago | (#20760241)

There's no "vendor lock" for AAC either, just lots of crap vendors who haven't added support for it yet.

Re:AAC "quality" irrelevant ... (1, Insightful)

AHumbleOpinion (546848) | more than 6 years ago | (#20760329)

There's no "vendor lock" for AAC either, just lots of crap vendors who haven't added support for it yet.

We are comparing Amazon's MP3 downloads to Apple's AAC downloads, Apple's AAC's have DRM. The fact that you can rip your CD to AAC is largely irrelevant. Most folks I know reconfigure iTunes to rip as MP3 rather than the default AAC, exceptions are die hard long term Mac owners.

In addition to the preceding, "vendor lock" does not require a technological enforcement. Simple market forces where only one vendor says a particular format is of interest counts too, as is the current situation.

Re:"in every way" (1)

Improv (2467) | more than 6 years ago | (#20760119)

I'm sure it's probably different for Mac users, but I've generally considered AAC-encoded files to be irritating to work with. When I get them, I generally convert them to Ogg Vorbis..

Apples and... apples... (1)

denzacar (181829) | more than 6 years ago | (#20760139)

Amazon trumps iTunes on DRM-free volume, but iTunes trumps Amazon by selling 256kbps AAC, as opposed to the 256kbps MP3 that Amazon sells.
Isn't that kind of like saying "These big, red, juicy apples with razors inside sure taste better than those smaller, greener apples"?

Classical selection... (3, Informative)

Pausanias (681077) | more than 6 years ago | (#20759903)

is amazing! Prokofiev symphony #2 revealed 156 hits! Now that is some obscure music (his least popular symphony), and the fact that they would have multiple recordings of it right there for 90c... wow.

Re:Classical selection... (1)

feed_me_cereal (452042) | more than 6 years ago | (#20760033)

unfortunately I haven't had as good of luck as you yet. Both songs that I've been wanting lately didn't show up at amazon. I hope they have a larger collection at their official launch.

Re:Classical selection... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20760297)

A quick look at the site would indicate that many are Naxos CD's and the MP3 retails for about if not more than the price I would pay for the actual CD in Europe (eg £5 inc p&P from HMV) or 7euro (typical discount at FNAC or large French hypermarkets)

MP3 sounds bad to my ears (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20759921)

Have any download services tried offering FLAC and cuesheets so I can get all the sound and the pauses that the artists intended?

I'm unwilling to pay for lossy, compressed music. It sounds bad to me--even when it's well done.

Re:MP3 sounds bad to my ears (2, Informative)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 6 years ago | (#20759991)

Now this, children, is what we call "elitist fuckery."

I'd bet ANYTHING that you cannot differentiate between 256kbps MP3 and FLAC.

Re:MP3 sounds bad to my ears (0, Troll)

seanpark (690789) | more than 6 years ago | (#20760243)

You replied to the post I made as Anonymous Coward (I forgot I had an account). I can distinguish, friend. Some people have more sensitive ears than others. Some people have nicer equipment that makes it more apparent. There is nothing elitist about this.

Rather than mod you as a troll... (3, Interesting)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 6 years ago | (#20760309)

...I'll respond.

I can't tell the difference between a 256kb MP3 and a FLAC. I've done the ABX, and my threshold on good equipment is somewhere in the 224 range, give or take a bit depending on the program. That said, I can usually tell the difference between a 256mp3->128kbmp4 and a FLAC->128kbmp4. Bad experience with past formats made me re-rip my entire collection to FLAC. Those are my "masters" and I recode to the format-of-the-hour (on the fly to my portable with media monkey) for use on the road.

I like the Amazon store, and I'm pretty likely to use it. I'd be happier if they offered FLAC. Hell, any uncompressed would be okay, since I'd just transcode to FLAC, but getting it native would be nice.

Re:MP3 sounds bad to my ears (1)

XenoBrain (719411) | more than 6 years ago | (#20760407)

Aside from a few "killer samples" that are specificly known to reveal weaknesses in the MP3 format, I agree you'd be very hard pressed to tell the difference between that and lossless.

But when I transcode to a 96k AAC for my portable (my desired format for bitrate/space) from that 256k MP3, it sounds worse than a file transcoded from a lossless source. No, I don't have ABX data to back this up, but it's a very reasonable assumption given previous test results.

A FLAC or other lossless file gives you the ability to transcode the music into YOUR format/bitrate of choice without additional artifacts being introduced, and this is a real plus to those of us with low capacity audio players.

So, what's the catch... (1)

GuyinVA (707456) | more than 6 years ago | (#20759953)

I've been reading the articles last couple of days. It seems to good. maybe I'll have to start d/l'ing music again instead of listening to the stuff i d/l'ed before i got scared off. $.89 ain't a bad deal at all.

Not exactly DRM free (1, Informative)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#20759973)

They are watermarked, and you have to install their software.

No, that is not a comparison to iTunes, just some facts.

Re:Not exactly DRM free (3, Informative)

Necreia (954727) | more than 6 years ago | (#20760011)

You only download their software if you download a whole CD. Single tracks require no software download.

Re:Not exactly DRM free (3, Informative)

jumpingfred (244629) | more than 6 years ago | (#20760093)

You do not have to install the software to buy one track at a time. You do to get the album discount though.

Do you have a site for the watermarking?

Re:Not exactly DRM free (1)

ubernostrum (219442) | more than 6 years ago | (#20760299)

Do you have a site for the watermarking?

Pop open a track you bought, look at the ID3 tags. There's an Amazon download id in there.

Yes, you can remove it easily. Yes, this is how iTunes "watermarks" their DRM-free tracks (plaintext metadata). No, it's nothing to get worked up about.

Re:Not exactly DRM free (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20760401)

http://blog.wired.com/music/2007/09/some-of-amazons.html [wired.com]

"Amazon does not apply watermarks. Files are generally provided to us from the labels and some labels use watermarks to identify the retailer who sold the tracks (there is no information on the tracks that identifies the customer)."

Re:Not exactly DRM free (2, Insightful)

SciFi_WaBobby (978199) | more than 6 years ago | (#20760151)

and you have to install their software.
..because buying from iTunes doesn't require any software installation?!

Re:Not exactly DRM free (1)

BRSQUIRRL (69271) | more than 6 years ago | (#20760245)

and you have to install their software

Um, I just bought a track and didn't install one byte of software.

Re:Not exactly DRM free (1)

TheSkyIsPurple (901118) | more than 6 years ago | (#20760291)

>They are watermarked, and you have to install their software.

Watermarking is not DRM. Watermarking does not restrict what you can do with the music in any way.
You are still free to share it all over the place, just now, in theory they can trace it back to you.

You only have to use their software for "whole albums", which is still weird, but still doesn's constitute DRM.
Once you have the album, you can do what you want with it without their software.

I just downloaded a tune... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20760001)

and found your credit card number in it.

US Only (1)

Tack (4642) | more than 6 years ago | (#20760003)

For now it's US only. I emailed Amazon and asked this will be available to other countries and got the expected "we apologize for the inconvenience" non-answer from them.

Re:US Only (4, Informative)

jcr (53032) | more than 6 years ago | (#20760067)

Give them a fake address. A friend of mine in Brazil just told me that they're not checking.

-jcr

Hmm... (1)

KGIII (973947) | more than 6 years ago | (#20760019)

I guess that it is too little too late. The music industry has really gone so far as to push me away from purchasing music in any form that I simply don't buy any mainstream music any more. I find that I can just find good things to listen to freely downloaded from indie bands and, more often than not, live tracks served up at archive.org or the likes. Then again, well, I really don't want much of what is being pushed out on the scene these days anyhow.

Re:Hmm... (1)

Anita Coney (648748) | more than 6 years ago | (#20760239)

I guess that it is too little too late.

Oh god yes. If this service would have been started back in 1997 the music business would be a lot healthier. P2P would never had a chance to grow as it did because it could not have competed to the quality and search capabilities that Amazon offers. Of course back then the music industry would have called this plan insane. Just goes to show you that it's being run by idiots with no vision.

Re:Hmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20760385)

Hindsight is 20/20. It's so easy to armchair quarterback this thing when you know *exactly* how it's going to turn out. But since you're apparently so smart and have so much business vision, tell me this: what kind of distribution scheme is going to replace internet-based music distribution, circa 2030? Are you willing to bet billions of dollars on it?

$8-$9 is too much (0, Flamebait)

GWBasic (900357) | more than 6 years ago | (#20760021)

$8-$9 is too much for an album.

It's like they took the distribution costs of a CD, (which could be estimated at $5-$8,) chopped them off, and are still expecting to make the same profit. Why can't they charge much less and make up the profits on volume?

Record label needs to recoup investment*s* (3, Interesting)

AHumbleOpinion (546848) | more than 6 years ago | (#20760231)

$8-$9 is too much for an album. It's like they took the distribution costs of a CD, (which could be estimated at $5-$8,) chopped them off, and are still expecting to make the same profit. Why can't they charge much less and make up the profits on volume?

Well the main reason is the consumer's willingness to pay. But record labels also need to recoup their investments and one "successful" artist has to pay for many "unsucceful" artists.

Artists need a label if they desire a certain level of commercial success. It takes a lot of money to promote an artist and bring them to the attention of the mass national or world market. Artists can not afford to do this on the money they making playing in small venues, among their core audience. If they manage to feed themselves they are doing above average, if they can support a family they are so rare they are nearly an anomoly.

The label system persists because there will always be some artists who want large scale success. Of course these successful artists gripe when they think about the small percentage they receive themselves but the truth is they are getting a small percentage of a much larger pie. If you are only getting 5 cents on the dollar, but you are generating several hundred times (or more) the revenue then they are far ahead.. To be faiir to the labels they need a disproportionately large cut from one artist to pay for the dozens of other artists they had *speculatively* financed they did not attain large scale commercial success. Please understand that I am not saying the current label/artist split is correct, I have no way to calculate what the split should be. I am merely arguing that the label system is quite logical and it is economically justifiable for the labels to receive a large percentage due to the speculative nature of their investments.

Artists have almost always needed patrons throughout history. Centuries ago it was the church, royalty, or the wealthy. Today the record label fulfills that role.

Re:$8-$9 is too much (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 6 years ago | (#20760283)

$8-$9 is too much for an album.

...compared to $13-15+ at the mall, yes? (yes, I know you get physical media w/ a purchase in meatspace, but CD + jewel case + inserts can't be worth $4, let alone $7).

On a serious note though - some albums are damned well worth $20 and up, depending on what the songs are, who sang them, etc. The rest of them are either not worth the electrons burned to send it to you, or somewhere in-between. Value, like Beauty and Pornography, are strictly measured in the eyes of the beholder.

Why can't they charge much less and make up the profits on volume?

Hell, I'm just happy to see 'em (the music industry) finally shift to a decent business model... now if only they can learn to not screw-over their singers so much and stop manufacturing crap music, maybe I'd start listening to (and buying stuff from) them, as opposed to sending my money solely to independent labels and artists/bands.

(then again, you know? In retrospect, I'm kinda glad the RIAA and their members are a pack of jackasses - I've discovered some hella excellent music ever since they'd pissed me off enough to seek indie singers and bands).

/P

Say what? (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 6 years ago | (#20760379)

You're going to purchase the pre-ripped and tagged version of the album, they're throwing out the "distribution costs" that aren't applicable, and you're mad they're not giving you a better deal?

This is what most people have been asking for: DRM-free, downloadable tunes that are priced without the distribution overhead.

I suspect you won't be happy until it's free. I hope you enjoy leeching the new Britney Spears album off of Bittorrent.

A great improvement.. but (1, Flamebait)

illectro (697914) | more than 6 years ago | (#20760037)

I'm still anchored in my love for tactile product, I'll stick to cd's for now.

Re:A great improvement.. but (1)

athdemo (1153305) | more than 6 years ago | (#20760175)

I didn't know you people existed anymore...It's like the Discovery channel for me right now.

Re:A great improvement.. but (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 6 years ago | (#20760357)

Most of the CD versions of albums I saw on there were only a dollar or two higher than the MP3 albums. If anything, this will help increase Amazon's sales of physical CDs, too. But this would be good for those occasions when you only want one obscure song from an album you otherwise don't want.

US only? (1)

RAID10 (1051554) | more than 6 years ago | (#20760085)

is this music shop US only?

I tried to buy a song, but you are required to choose a state when you fill in billing address. I don't feel comfortable lying there.

Works with the iPod. (1, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | more than 6 years ago | (#20760109)

That makes it viable. Good luck to Amazon, and I hope they can help to show the RIAA the pointlessness of DRM.

-jcr

Wait wait wait...I'm confused (4, Funny)

db32 (862117) | more than 6 years ago | (#20760363)

Are we still supposed to loathe Amazon for their patent nonsense with crap like the 1-click issue? I mean...I thought we weren't supposed to buy from them and support evil patent trolls. But now, we are supposed to buy from them to show support for non DRM music stores. But we aren't supposed to buy from Apple anyways because of their iPhone shenanagins. But we are supposed to love Apple because its trendy. I am so confused. Will someone please deconflict the groupthink so I know if I'm allowed to buy non-DRM (good) music from Amazon (bad) instead of DRM music (bad) from Apple (both) or if I am supposed to loathe all of the RIAA music and not buy DRM or non-DRM music from any source if it is RIAA owned. What about indie music with DRM? Where does that fit in? God, someone please help... All I know for sure is the MS music store is 100% evil and the Zune will eat your soul.

In Related News (1)

Atomm (945911) | more than 6 years ago | (#20760377)

Steve Jobs announces a fix will be released with the next version of Itunes to put a stop to this Amazon hack.
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