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Amazon MP3 Store to Go Global in 2008

Soulskill posted more than 6 years ago | from the and-in-this-corner dept.

Music 196

Amazon announced in a press release today their plans to sell DRM-free music worldwide through the Amazon MP3 store beginning later this year. This news is being viewed by some as the latest volley in Amazon's digital music sales war with Apple's iTunes. Since Amazon has completed its plans to offer DRM-free music from all four major record labels (most recently, Sony and Warner), the global availability of the MP3s can only be excellent news for customers.

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196 comments

It's about time... (5, Insightful)

TofuMatt (1105351) | more than 6 years ago | (#22200192)

This is what I've been waiting for, seriously. I will be able to buy my music online, and actually own it now. I don't think anything more than "awesome" need be said.

Re:It's about time... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22200228)

And you haven't been able to with Apple's DRM-free tracks?

Re:It's about time... (5, Insightful)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 6 years ago | (#22200372)


Not since iTunes broke Linux compatibility. Count me in as another customer sitting here with a pile of cash waiting them to actually let me buy from them. And more competition in the market is a good thing, anyway.

Re:It's about time... (1, Interesting)

darjen (879890) | more than 6 years ago | (#22200562)

My question is whether Apple will release a utility to strip the DRM from previously purchased tracks that they now offer DRM free. I haven't heard that this will be the case. I have about a hundred Itunes tracks purchased with it, that will eventually be worthless.

If they don't, I will use Amazon to purchase individual tracks from now on.

Re:It's about time... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22200654)

The current iTunes Plus (i.e. DRM-free and higher bitrate) tracks are $1.29, and Apple will upgrade existing tracks that are now available as DRM-free for 30 cents, the difference in price. So Amazon is a much better deal, but if you already have music from iTMS, then the upgrade price will be cheaper. Click on the "iTunes Plus" link in the store and you should see a button in the upper left to upgrade if any tracks are available.

Having tried the Amazon MP3 service, I see no reason to continue buying from iTMS, except perhaps for artists that Amazon doesn't have yet. 256 kps MP3 is good enough for me, and plays everywhere. The Amazon Downloader even handles the download queue and automatically inserts the tracks into your iTunes library. iTunes Plus has poor selection, and my portable player can't do AAC anyway, so this avoids a transcoding step for me as well.

So I would say, aside from upgrading existing tracks, you should drop iTMS like a bad habit.

Re:It's about time... (1, Informative)

NineNine (235196) | more than 6 years ago | (#22200658)

If you have a pile of cash waiting, you might want to consider going to your *LOCAL* CD store, buying CD's, and ripping them any way you want. It's cheaper, faster, easier, and you contribute to your local economy.

Re:It's about time... (2, Informative)

webmaster404 (1148909) | more than 6 years ago | (#22201664)

How is it cheaper? Usually on a CD there is only 1-3 songs that I really want, with a CD I pay anywhere from $10-20 for that CD with around 15 songs, compare that with $.99 per song and I spend around $1-3 rather then $15, so no its not cheaper. On around a 1 MB per second connection downloading an average 4 MB song takes me around 4-10 seconds, unless you live right next to a store it is not faster. When it is an open format such as MP3 and can be played on almost any device, DRM free, it can be played on a Linux/Windows/Mac/BSD computer, a generic MP3 player, burnt to a CD, or whatever, so it isn't easier. As for contributing to the local economy, just go to local concerts and support local bands.

Re:It's about time... (1)

im just cannonfodder (1089055) | more than 6 years ago | (#22200384)

nope as 3 of the big 4 have constantly denied apple the ability to sell drm free music and all this is, is a public spanking at apple for not allowing the big record labels to control the prices. "Anyone one for regional price fixing" says the IFPI, "yes please" says SONY, UNIVERSAL & WARNER GROUP!

The BPI Are: SONY, UNIVERSAL, WARNER GROUP, EMI.

The RIAA Soundexchange Are: SONY, UNIVERSAL, WARNER GROUP, EMI.

The IFPI Are: The Same A$$ Holes Like 1 ring to control them all.

The MPAA Are: SONY, UNIVERSAL, WARNER GROUP, DISNEY, PARAMOUNT, FOX.

Re:It's about time... (0, Troll)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 6 years ago | (#22200320)

Sweet! Now I'll be able to download all the music you buy off P2P networks for free!

Like I'm ever paying copyright companies for digital media files. I'd rather burn my money.

Re:It's about time... (1)

darjen (879890) | more than 6 years ago | (#22200428)

I quit downloading music after napster, because it's a pain to find anything that's not in the top 40.

Now I buy used stuff from Amazon Marketplace, rip, and sell it again. Maybe it's almost as legally dubious as downloading, but to me it's more convenient.

Re:It's about time... (4, Informative)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 6 years ago | (#22200494)

Sweet! Now I'll be able to download all the music you buy off P2P networks for free! Like I'm ever paying copyright companies for digital media files. I'd rather burn my money.
Disregarding the moral issues on either side of the argument, two reasons I'd pay for music downloads are that
  • Assuming whatever I want is already available, it's often less hassle than tracking down songs via P2P (in rarer cases) and waiting for them to become available from a single uploader, and
  • If it's a known-bitrate transfer from a known existing source, it also saves me wasted time "auditioning" which version to keep from various downloaded copies (some of which are better quality than others)
OTOH, iTunes isn't "perfect" quality either though. I've had stuff downloaded from them (which I couldn't find on P2P anyway) which had digital "clicks" in it. Actually, I've even had minor digital pops/clicks in quite a few CDs I've bought (they remained even when played back on different players. It's not like it was a recent loudness-compressed let's-get-this-recording-to-the-16-bit-volume-limit release either, I had this problem with the 1994 reissue of Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon".). So it's possible that either iTunes had bad error-compensation when ripping from the CD source and/or that a major non-correctable flaw was present on the CD *or* that the CD's master itself was flawed.

In either case, WTF is going on there? I don't expect digital flaws- even minor ones- on stuff from iTunes, and I certainly don't expect them on my CDs!

Re:It's about time... (2, Interesting)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 6 years ago | (#22200804)

Disregarding the moral issues on either side of the argument, two reasons I'd pay for music downloads are that

* Assuming whatever I want is already available, it's often less hassle than tracking down songs via P2P (in rarer cases) and waiting for them to become available from a single uploader, and
* If it's a known-bitrate transfer from a known existing source, it also saves me wasted time "auditioning" which version to keep from various downloaded copies (some of which are better quality than others)

See, it is because of the moral issues involved that I grab music I don't even like and burn it for friends who never asked for it out of my own pocket.

From my perspective, it's a war, and every purchase prevented is less resources for the enemy to use against me and mine.

Re:It's about time... (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22200986)

You're an idiot. If you don't like the MPAA why are you listening to their music? You're inventing crazy reasons to keep on stealing. And I mean literally crazy, you come off as a paranoid schizophrenic.

Re:It's about time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22201116)

Well, I can kinda see where he is coming from. Everyone like music, right? And it seems like the only way to legally listen to it is to fund a behemoth of an industry that exists solely to part us from our money, and will use any means necessary to do so, up to and including paying politicians to strip our rights from us. Seems like you could spin it that stealing from them is a good thing, in that it deprives them of resources they would use to further ends that are assuredly not in our best interests. Not that I would go that far, mind. Just playing devil's advocate.

Re:It's about time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22201364)

That would be an excellent point, if it wasn't that there's a lifetime's worth of non-RIAA music being released every day of the week. RIAA music is a luxury item with a large amount of worthwhile competition. The RIAA does a good job advertising the music and he obviously buys into the hype. Nothing wrong with that, but pretending he's on some holy mission to right the world against an evil industrial group, by not paying for the music he loves listening to, is the sign of a crazy.

Re:It's about time... (1)

poopdeville (841677) | more than 6 years ago | (#22201612)

That would be an excellent point, if it wasn't that there's a lifetime's worth of non-RIAA music being released every day of the week.

By who? Unless its bands I actually want to listen to, they can release several hundred million lifetimes and it wouldn't matter to me one bit. Let me know when Faust or Jimi or Can or My Bloody Valentine sign on indie labels.

Re:It's about time... (3, Insightful)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 6 years ago | (#22201308)

You're an idiot.

No, I'm a genius. IQ is over 160.

If you don't like the MPAA why are you listening to their music?

Because it's not their property, it's my culture. I don't recognize their claim to it.

You're inventing crazy reasons to keep on stealing.

First off, duplicating is not stealing. Stealing is when you take a physical object that is someone elses personal posession. And secondly, my actions are not crazy, they are tactically sound means of working towards my goals.

And I mean literally crazy, you come off as a paranoid schizophrenic.

I'm not paranoid. I'm actively attempting to subvert and sabotage the critical infrastructure of my enemies, and they are after me. It's not like I'm the only one. Maybe some day you'll join us. Then we can all afford to sing as one.

Re:It's about time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22201420)

Okay, so you're a genius and an immoral fuck working to deny people money for things they produce that have value. You've also proved that although IQ might be a measurement of logical intelligence, it's certainly not a marker for common sense or for integrity of character.

Thanks for clearing that up for everyone here.

P.S. People have been charging money for musical performances for centuries before you were born, and the culture you live in thinks that music has a value. I suggest that if you don't like the laws of the society you're in, you move to Antigua.

Re:It's about time... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22201178)

Actually you hit the nail on the head, there was an article about how DRM free music would mean the deathnell for the music industry. This year alone as short as it has been I have spent more at amazon.com on DRM free music than I have spent on music in the last 3-4 years.

It is fast easy and cheap, available 24 hours a day, it is not proprietary. I also find myself buying weird things as well I never ever would have bought in a store. The other night I was having trouble sleeping, usually sounds of rain or something like that would put be to sleep. So I searched all over online for sounds of rain thinking i could put it in a loop or something. I finally after digging and digging for anything free to download, looked to old faithful Amazon, sure enough they had a ton of DRM free MP3's of sounds designed to help you sleep. 89 cents for a 60 minute track of rain with some thunder mixed in, 20 minutes later I was sound asleep.

Come home from work, hear a song on the radio they tell you what the song was and what the band is, by the time you get around to going to the store where they sell CD's you have forgot, not anymore I come in type it into amazon and now I have it permanently for use on anything I want.

amazon account info embedded into track? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22201270)

Does Amazon embed any personally identifying information into the DRM-free songs one purchases? I was pleased when Apple went DRM-free with the EMI catalog but was disappointed when I learned they were including one's email address in the purchased songs.

Re:It's about time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22201340)

HOLY SH!T! THE PENNY HAS DROPPED!! I can finally uninstall bit torrent.

Oh wait, amazon needs to do porn too..

Not for me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22201408)

Sell me DRM-free CD-quality tracks, not mp3s (so I can convert them to mp3s myself, or can burn myself a full CD, or can convert them to oggs or flacs or whatever I like, repeatedly, for any device).

And sell them for a reasonable price. For dowloaded music, that means no more than 10 cents per track.

Do that, and I am SO there.

Don't do that, and I'll just keep ripping friends' or libraries' CDs for free, or buying cheap used CDs for a couple of bucks that the RIAA never sees.

Why's it tagged that? (2, Interesting)

Mike89 (1006497) | more than 6 years ago | (#22200210)

Why's this tagged "whatcouldpossiblygowrong"?

Re:Why's it tagged that? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22200270)

I was wondering that myself.

All the tech stories are tagged with WCPGW. Not that the tagging system really means anything, but doesn't tagging everything with the same tag make it more worthless?

Re:Why's it tagged that? (1)

Racemaniac (1099281) | more than 6 years ago | (#22200362)

haven't you noticed? just about every single story is being tagged "whatcouldpossiblygowrong" these days... some people seem to find it funny or so...

Re:Why's it tagged that? (1)

Mike89 (1006497) | more than 6 years ago | (#22200424)

I've seen it around, but with one comment and that already a tag I was kind've surprised. Usually it comes up when someone instructs everyone to do it (using a comment).

Re:Why's it tagged that? (4, Funny)

stormguard2099 (1177733) | more than 6 years ago | (#22200604)

I know what could possibly go wrong, some jackass tags every story with that, thus removing all meaning from it so when the mad scientists put the brain of Hilter into a great white shark no one even thinks of the possible consequences.

Re:Why's it tagged that? (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 6 years ago | (#22201416)

I know what could possibly go wrong, some jackass tags every story with that, thus removing all meaning from it so when the mad scientists put the brain of Hilter into a great white shark no one even thinks of the possible consequences.
So really, the only question left is who will the US Government dispatch to jump the Great White Hitler Shark:
Sylvester Stallone (aka John Rambo) or Chuck Norris?

Re:Why's it tagged that? (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 6 years ago | (#22200914)

What could possibly go wrong? Well, the RIAA members wants to kill Apple. (They also want a license fee for every iPod sold because they're used for piracy. MS caved in on the zune). If iTMS and their $0.99 a song model is destroyed, you can bet that they'll cancel their contracts with amazon, raise the prices significantly, or insist on DRM laden WMA (at a higher price, of course).

Every article on the front page... (4, Funny)

Derek Loev (1050412) | more than 6 years ago | (#22200226)

This may be a bit off topic...but:
Does every single Slashdot article need to be tagged with "What could possibly go wrong?" I mean, seriously, what could possibly go wrong here?

Re:Every article on the front page... (5, Funny)

MonsterOfTheLake (880659) | more than 6 years ago | (#22200274)

Apple could go out of business after iTunes collapses.

Oh, sorry, you said "what could possibly go wrong." Yeah, nothing really.

*hides from Apple zealots*

Re:Every article on the front page... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22200468)

Yeah, go hide you Apple troll you. *sharpening sharp sticks to prod at you*

Apple won't go out of business simply because iTunes Store (iTunes is a software) was never designed to bring in huge profits. It operates at near break even. The reason it exists at all is because Apple needed a legal download service to complement iPod+iTunes but music labels forced DRM requirement to all and every one of them chose Windows DRM. Now that DRM is not required for the 2nd biggest download service, even if iTunes Store goes away, iPod users still can use legal download service for their iPods; there is no reason to not buy iPod from download service perspective. DRMless services being available to iPod users, it also removes the threat from music labels to withhold licenses to get a cut for each hardware sold that Microsoft and Universal started with Zune. I am guessing at this time, Apple feels they've done all they can for the music download service and starts to pay attention on video download service as a way to boost sales of Apple's hardware.

Re:Every article on the front page... (2, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#22201430)

Actually, that probably would be very bad. With the iTunes store in a strong position the big four have an incentive to give favourable terms to everyone else (no DRM, lower prices, and so on). Without iTunes, the market would be fragmented and no one would have enough bargaining power to get a particularly good deal. Microsoft would probably blow a billion or so giving discounts on their store in Zune-only format, propelling the Zune to the number one spot, at which point the labels would start saying 'you can only sell our music in Zune-DRM form' and everyone loses.

What could possibly go right? (4, Interesting)

leehwtsohg (618675) | more than 6 years ago | (#22200334)

What could go wrong? How about:
Music industry starts selling DRM-free mp3, stopping its decline and saving the RIAA for the next clueless battle.

Re:Every article on the front page... (3, Informative)

im just cannonfodder (1089055) | more than 6 years ago | (#22200338)

well.......

you can use this service but be warned, global price fixing by the RIAA/IFPI is being utilised denying any credit transactions that originate from a card outside your own territory, just as they fixed it with iTunes and forced apple to implement regional price fixing.


The BPI Are: SONY, UNIVERSAL, WARNER GROUP, EMI.

The RIAA Soundexchange Are: SONY, UNIVERSAL, WARNER GROUP, EMI.

The IFPI Are: The Same A$$ Holes Like 1 ring to control them all.

The MPAA Are: SONY, UNIVERSAL, WARNER GROUP, DISNEY, PARAMOUNT, FOX.

Re:Every article on the front page... (1)

volsung (378) | more than 6 years ago | (#22200780)

Tags are the distilled essence of smart ass commentary. Rather than waste time rehashing a tired point, now you can just type "whatcouldpossiblygowrong" and move on. Time saving at its finest!

It is very fitting that this tag has become the most popular. Every story about anything new is filled with armchair critique about the fatal flaws in the new device/process/scientific discovery/program from a /. user who assumes the experts involved have at least as superficial a knowledge of the field as they do. "whatcouldpossiblygowrong" is the rallying cry of ignorant skepticism which is trying to pass itself off as insight. (Informed skepticism, on the other hand, is both useful and rare.)

Of course, "whatcouldpossiblygowrong" has been so overused, now it has also become a form of self-parody. :)

Re:Every article on the front page... (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 6 years ago | (#22201114)

I don't think it's so bad as you make it out to be. Nearly every advance in just about everything has brought about unintended negative consequences. The fact that the normal prole has picked up on this is a good thing, more people looking before they leap. That in itself may have unintended negative consequences too, but I think it's mostly good.

Re:Every article on the front page... (1)

psychicsword (1036852) | more than 6 years ago | (#22200790)

Does every single Slashdot article need to be tagged with "What could possibly go wrong?"
They do now :P

When is it going to happen (2, Insightful)

a_nonamiss (743253) | more than 6 years ago | (#22200242)

It's nice to hear about these companies that are going to release DRM-free music, but I have yet to see anything real. It's the kind of thing that makes a nice press announcement, but it seems like they don't really have to do anything. With today's technology and the existing infrastructure, it should take about 15 minutes to get this thing up and running. What's the hold-up? I'm still waiting on my Beatles on iTunes that was announced in early 2007!

Re:When is it going to happen (4, Informative)

Niten (201835) | more than 6 years ago | (#22200268)

You are aware that the DRM-free Amazon MP3 store is already up and running, aren't you? I've bought about four albums' worth of music from it since the store launched months ago. The news here is only that Amazon MP3 will be opening internationally.

Re:When is it going to happen (1)

a_nonamiss (743253) | more than 6 years ago | (#22201212)

I am, but I am also aware that they seem to be dragging their feet. It may just be that the artists I enjoy aren't available on the site because of the labels they are signed with, but I have found that every time I have ever searched for anything on Amazon.com MP3 downloads, it hasn't been there. I really hope this announcement is followed by some real action and I can start purchasing music again...

Re:When is it going to happen (1)

Reverend528 (585549) | more than 6 years ago | (#22200376)

With today's technology and the existing infrastructure, it should take about 15 minutes to get this thing up and running.

I imagine that the hold up isn't on the technology side. I imagine that most of the difficulty is on the legal end.

Re:When is it going to happen (2, Funny)

value_added (719364) | more than 6 years ago | (#22200408)

I'm still waiting on my Beatles on iTunes that was announced in early 2007!

I wouldn't worry about it. I have a friend who has a complete Beatles collection on LPs, and from what I've heard, you're not missing much.

Re:When is it going to happen (1)

Bluesman (104513) | more than 6 years ago | (#22200502)

Finally someone else who sees (or hears) through the Beatlemania hype. Thank you for that post.

Re:When is it going to happen (1)

value_added (719364) | more than 6 years ago | (#22200774)

Finally someone else who sees (or hears) through the Beatlemania hype. Thank you for that post.

Yer welcome. ;-)

The OP's issue is an interesting one, and is illustrative of the many issues concerning on-line distribution of music. That said, I can't help but find it funny for a number of different reasons. My first record was a '45 of 'I Wanna Hold Your Hand' on the 'Apple' logo. I outgrew both the recording and the crappy turntable I used to play it on in short order, and discovered the Rolling Stones allowing me to relegate Beatles' recordings to the same category hippies could be said to belong to. In those days, it was fair to categorise people into either a Beatles camp or Stones camp. The generalisations for both groups were, I think, justified.

If there's any nostalgic element to the music made in those years, I wouldn't attribute it the pop music of the day that was forced down the throats of anyone and everyone with a radio, despite the fact I got laid to much of it. The Stones were interesting (still are, in many respects), but much more interesting music followed in the years after. Nostalgia is comforting, but I'd rather listen to scratchy old recordings of Lou Reed, or some of the really interesting music (typically orginating in England) during the 70's or early 80's than be caught singing along to a Beatles hit of any era. Millions of middle-aged housewives would disagree, of course.

So, for the OP, I wish him well on his efforts to create a collection of whatever floats his boat; for many new to collecting, doing so can be as fun and the pursuit can have an almost noble quality to it. For me, there's too much interesting music being made today to bother with relistening to what's already been played to death, or simply wasn't that great to begin with. Besides, for a $10/month usenet subscription you can download the Full Collection of Everyone before the first month is up and boredom sets in during the second month. That isn't to say that watching a documentary showing old footage of John Lydon singing about the monarchy doesn't still get my hands all sweaty.

Will any of them ever match AllOfMp3's prices? (1)

MonsterOfTheLake (880659) | more than 6 years ago | (#22200246)

And features? (Quality rate, obscure bands not signed by one of the big corporations, etc.)

Until one of these stores change their pricing schema to AllOfMp3's "$x per gigabyte," I'm not really that interested, although I admit that getting rid of DRM can only be a good thing -- customers can actually own their songs "for real" now. Which we could already do with AllOfMp3. Eight years ago.

Hm, if I was a suspicious person, I would say that it almost feels like the music corporations are having trouble adjusting to recent technology updates.. oh. Nevermind.

Re:Will any of them ever match AllOfMp3's prices? (3, Insightful)

RedK (112790) | more than 6 years ago | (#22200288)

I shopped a lot at Allofmp3.com and now at their sister site, mp3sparks.com. However, there is no denying that their insane prices were in part due to not giving anything back to the artists/record companies. You can scream all you want about artists not really getting much back from record companies all you want, but 0.01$ is still more than 0.00$.

Re:Will any of them ever match AllOfMp3's prices? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22200498)

It's not the $0.01 which is the problem, the problem is that to buy the music legally so that the artist gets $0.01, I have to give many more times that to scumbag corporations, who (on a lot of the music in question) long ago covered their costs and earned their profits, yet still charge me and the artist a premium for expenses, many of which no longer exist.

All while wreaking havoc with society by causing copyright terms and powers to go crazy out of balance when at the same time society actually needs them less and less [slashdot.org] .

Re:Will any of them ever match AllOfMp3's prices? (2, Insightful)

gsslay (807818) | more than 6 years ago | (#22201002)

I have to give many more times that to scumbag corporations, who (on a lot of the music in question) long ago covered their costs and earned their profits, yet still charge me and the artist a premium for expenses, many of which no longer exist.
The capitalist free-market system says; "Hi!, Where have you been all your life?"

What makes you think music corporations should or could work any differently from any other industry? No industry reaches a point where they have "earned their profits". Where is there the point that says "ok stop now, you've earned enough from that"?

Re:Will any of them ever match AllOfMp3's prices? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#22201486)

The thing about AllOfMP3 was that it showed how much the distribution costs for the digital music are. Give me a store like AllOfMP3 where the price is twice as much, but they guarantee that 50% of the money goes to the artists, and I'll be there in a shot.

Re:Will any of them ever match AllOfMp3's prices? (4, Insightful)

DrEldarion (114072) | more than 6 years ago | (#22200312)

It's easy to charge low prices when you don't actually pay the people who make the music.

Been listening to the RIAA have you? (1, Insightful)

afc_wimbledon (1052878) | more than 6 years ago | (#22200346)

It's easy to charge low prices when you don't actually pay the people who make the music.
You really think that's why "legit" music is so much more expensive?

Re:Will any of them ever match AllOfMp3's prices? (3, Informative)

boldie (1016145) | more than 6 years ago | (#22200844)

Well, the creators of the music gets LESS than the credit card company per download. A Swedish artist sad in an interview that he got Euro 0.03 ($0.044) per download on itunes (price per dl ~Euro 1). That was not nearly enough to make a living on. To him it did'nt matter if the song were downloaded on p2p or itunes.

Non the less, this is good news!

Re:Will any of them ever match AllOfMp3's prices? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#22201514)

AllOfMP3 charges 12 for a 4-minute 128Kb/s song. iTunes charges 99. AllOfMP3 can cover their costs and make a profit at 12. If they paid the artists 12 (i.e. 50% of net, which is a hell of a lot more than most artists get in any medium) then they would be charging 24, about what eMusic charges. Why, then, is music so much more expensive from places like iTunes and Apple?

Re:Will any of them ever match AllOfMp3's prices? (5, Insightful)

Niten (201835) | more than 6 years ago | (#22200410)

Will any of them ever match AllOfMp3's prices?

No, because unlike AllOfMp3 these stores are operating according to U.S. (or similar) law; and more importantly to me, purchases from Amazon MP3, iTunes Plus, et al. result in the artists actually getting paid for their work. (Yes, I know, "the evil record labels don't pay their artists that much anyway, blah blah blah"... but if an artist is in a bad contract, at least it's an arrangement that he or she voluntarily entered into; AllOfMp3, on the other hand, is profiting off these artists' work without any compensation or agreement. If you give a crap about your favorite musicians, you don't buy their stuff from AllOfMp3.)

Quality rate, obscure bands not signed by one of the big corporations, etc.

Amazon MP3's quality is good, better than iTunes but not quite on par with iTunes Plus. Tracks are encoded with LAME 3.97 at a high VBR bitrate (~230 kbps or so?). The collection is still a tiny bit spotty, but growing fast. It certainly has a better selection than iTunes Plus does, by a long shot. All things considered, it's an excellent service.

My biggest pet peeve with Amazon MP3 is that while you can purchase individual songs through the standard Amazon web interface, purchasing whole albums (and thereby receiving the album discount, where applicable) requires the Amazon MP3 Downloader. On the plus side, this program seems well-written, can pause downloads or resume interrupted ones, automatically imports your songs into iTunes or other MP3 players' libraries, and doesn't behave suspiciously. But why should it be necessary? The downloader is currently available for OS X and Windows, and a Linux version is "forthcoming".

iTunes Music Store requires a download client, too (1)

Vandil X (636030) | more than 6 years ago | (#22201198)

...it's just built into the iTunes media player application since version 4.

Re:Will any of them ever match AllOfMp3's prices? (1)

freelook (1227968) | more than 6 years ago | (#22201300)

AllOfMp3, on the other hand, is profiting off these artists' work without any compensation or agreement. If you give a crap about your favorite musicians, you don't buy their stuff from AllOfMp3

That's a load of bull really. You're correct to point out that most of the money you spend is going into the pockets of the greedy companies, not into that of the artists. If you give a crap about the fact that record companies have so much leverage over the artists, you don't buy their stuff from U.S. music stores either.

I've got a better idea. If you're so interested in compensating the artists, just send the $.90 that you save on the music buying from mp3sparks and send it directly to the artist.

No more payment options at mp3sparks (1)

RedK (112790) | more than 6 years ago | (#22200276)

This is good news since refilling your balance at mp3sparks was getting complicated. Plus you get the added benefit of money actually going to the artists without having to suffer through locked down formats. All players play mp3 nowadays, not all of them play AAC or WMA.

Linux support (5, Interesting)

ProteusQ (665382) | more than 6 years ago | (#22200286)

Amazon limits the number of tracks you can buy and $$ you can save per download unless you download entire albums using their download software. However, it's only available for Windows and Mac.

eMusic also requires that you download their application, but they offer a nice GUI-based app for Linux. They even claim that it runs on a 2.2.14 kernel! Their selection isn't as good, and their business model is different (subscription vs. per download), but it's worth taking a look.

If nothing, email Amazon and ask for a Linux downloader. Mentioning eMusic ought to help get them moving in the right direction.

Re:Linux support (5, Informative)

RedK (112790) | more than 6 years ago | (#22200328)

The Linux version of the downloader is in the works :

http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=200154260 [amazon.com]
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.

Though not very well supported, the Windows downloader works in Wine :

http://mad-scientist.us/amazon.html [mad-scientist.us]

Re:Linux support (1)

hdrix963 (541876) | more than 6 years ago | (#22200462)

For eMusic, you can use the EMusicJ [kallisti.net.nz] written in Java and is cross-platform.
I use it on linux without problem.
Drix

Re:Linux support (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22201272)

And as a side note, the Amazon album downloader is a very small, lightweight application that ONLY handles downloading full albums and dumping the tunes into WMP, iTunes, or a regular folder (your choice). It isn't bloatware by any means, which is pleasantly surprising.

You said it, Chewie! (2, Insightful)

MacarooMac (1222684) | more than 6 years ago | (#22200292)

Being UK based I remember last year I got all excited about some obscure MP3's I found on the amazon.com download section - and then spotted the little (Amazon MP3 Purchases are limited to U.S. customers.) disclaimer. D'oh!
I guess it won't be there much longer...

Re:You said it, Chewie! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22200344)



Do they have to know where you are? I have Japan(Yen) and Australia(dollar) bank accounts and email addresses yet live in the USA. It's way mo easier than getting a fake passport.

Re:You said it, Chewie! (1)

malkavian (9512) | more than 6 years ago | (#22200456)

I'd reccommend getting a Yuan account too. And yes, they still know where you come from. Having a dollar account and a Yen account just means you have money in other currencies not tied to the fluctuations of your own homeland's rises and falls. The transactions you make will still originate in country you live (unless you travel, and have bank accounts actually in those countries).
So, even if I paid from a dollar account for some music from the store (sold in dollar prices) they would not allow the transaction to complete, as it was initiated from somewhere outside the region they feel like selling at that price to.

Which is why over here in the UK, the phrase "Rip Off Britain" is used a lot; even though quite a few of us these days have accounts in different currencies, the big companies still refuse to sell to us at international rates. For example, shop on Adobe, check out the prices. You go to the US store, and a product costs, say, $99. That's fair enough. Go straight to the UK store, and the price is approximately £115, which at current rates is twice the amount.
Now, because a transaction is commenced in the UK, they refuse to sell to you at the $99 rate. Even if you pay in dollars right the way through. Nope, because you're in a different area of the world, it costs over twice as much. Zero packaging, or transmission fees. Nothing extra to pay (well, perhaps 17.5% VAT, which doesn't amount to the 120% extra levy charged).

I get the sneaky suspicion that Amazon will do just the same when they open the international stores. And it's beginning to irk me. The companies offshore jobs to get the most man time they can for the money (by paying peanuts), yet refuse to let the customer purchase from the cheapest country to get the greatest amount of product for the money (because that would be unethical, honest, and now illegal!).

Yes, it does cost twice as much in the UK (1)

glomph (2644) | more than 6 years ago | (#22200594)

Well, duhh. 4 pounds (about $7.90) to ride the tube between Covent Garden and Leicester Square, a fantastic journey of maybe 35 seconds!

Amazon has a staff, pays lawyers, runs some ops, etc in the UK.

They have to charge a lot more.

Dollars have become Banana-Republic money, thanks to Chimp in Chief and his henchmen.

Can't believe it! (3, Interesting)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 6 years ago | (#22200374)

Steve Jobs claimed a while back that he didn't like DRM, and had to do it because of the labels. Now we have Amazon selling true MP3s for all four major labels. So where's Steve?

Wow, could it be that he really wants DRM to lock people into iTunes and the iPod? Nahhhhh, not our Steve! He'd NEVER do that! Maybe he's just not as crafty as Amazon.

Re:Can't believe it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22200504)

Steve is far craftier than you think.
He has helped create a system where the dominant MP3 player only supports one form of DRM, but provides multiple options for DRM-free (Amazon, iTunes Plus, "liberated", or other) formats. Now the labels have 3 choices:
1. sell on iTunes, but accept its draconian pricing,
2. use a different DRM, WMA or such, but lose access to 80% of the MP3 players, or
3. ditch their beloved DRM.
We are seeing the best possible result: #3. Exactly what Jobs said he wanted in his open letter. And you can bet the suits at the labels are fuming over this.
Get it now?

Re:Can't believe it! (1)

RalphSleigh (899929) | more than 6 years ago | (#22200606)

Steve is not allowed to sell DRM free tracks because he won't let the labels set individual prices for each track.

Re:Can't believe it! (4, Insightful)

k2enemy (555744) | more than 6 years ago | (#22200656)

Steve Jobs claimed a while back that he didn't like DRM, and had to do it because of the labels. Now we have Amazon selling true MP3s for all four major labels. So where's Steve?

Based on what I've read, I think the record companies are trying to avoid a situation where iTunes has a monopsony in the (wholesale) market for digital music. If iTunes is the only reseller of digital music then Apple has a lot of bargaining power in price negotiations and will be able to pay the labels a low price.

By not allowing Apple to sell tracks DRM free while at the same time allowing stores like Amazon to do so, they allow the other stores to gain market share and catch up a little with Apple. Then no one buyer has the entire market and the record labels can retain some price setting power.

Re:Can't believe it! (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#22201562)

It's worth pointing out that Apple are not entirely disinterested in their desire for DRM-free music. The iPod has gone through five or six different major revisions now, each with a different firmware. Every time a hole in the DRM is found, Apple have to port the fix to every single version. If the labels would let them turn off DRM on sold songs then it would cut their support costs (and their development costs for iTunes).

Not that I have a problem with this. Most people and corporations are more reliable when acting in their own interests, and if those interests align with yours then everyone's happy.

Re:Can't believe it! (5, Interesting)

corby (56462) | more than 6 years ago | (#22200690)

Now we have Amazon selling true MP3s for all four major labels. So where's Steve?

Steve is right where he said he would be. For labels such as EMI that have agreed to license DRM-free music to iTunes, Steve is carrying that music under the iTunes Plus label.

Most of the labels that have started licensing DRM-free music to Amazon are refusing to license it to Apple. This is their big fuck-you to Steve Jobs to try and break the iTunes Store 'monopoly'.

And unlike everything else the record companies have ever done in the digital space, this has a chance of working. I put off using Amazon for a long time because I didn't want to install their downloader, but once I did I was hooked.

Amazon is selling music at reasonable prices. Their store is more convenient to use than BitTorrent, and the music is of a consistently higher quality than what I can get off of Pirate Bay.

Look, ma, I'm paying for all of my music again!

Re:Can't believe it! (1)

yabos (719499) | more than 6 years ago | (#22200870)

You don't think they'd sell DRM free music from all labels if they could? Of course they would. The labels are being assholes by only allowing Amazon to sell DRM free tracks because Amazon is more flexible on pricing. I believe something like this could be challenged in court by Apple because if this is having a significant effect on Apple's sales and the labels are doing it on purpose to hurt Apple's market share of digital music sales then this would probably be illegal. At least it should be.

This isn't a sales war between Amazon and Apple (4, Informative)

RalphBNumbers (655475) | more than 6 years ago | (#22200388)

It's a sales war between Universal/Warner/Sony and Apple, Amazon is just the labels' chosen weapon.

What would really be good for customers would be if the labels let everyone sell DRM free music, including Apple, and let the consumer decide where they want to buy their music in a real free-market sales war.

We are anonymous. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22200566)

We are anonymous. We are LEGION. We never forgive. We never forget...

Re:We are anonymous. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22200942)

Never forget what? Your names?

I'll Be Sticking With My All-You-Can-Eat Sub (1)

ThinkFr33ly (902481) | more than 6 years ago | (#22200714)

I've been using the Zune Pass subscription for the past couple of months, and I'll never go back to one-off music purchases ever again.

For $15/month, I can download all the music I want. If I stop paying, the music will stop working after 3 months. For some people that's unacceptable, but for the price of a single CD, I think it's a damn good deal.

I've found myself simply clicking on the "related artists" link in the Zune Marketplace and downloading everything that's listed. It's a fantastic way to discover new music. I also stream the music directly from the marketplace and listen to it at work and at home. The Zune Pass lets you access the content from up to 3 different computers simultaneously.

The Zune Pass is the primary reason I purchased a Zune, but to be honest, a Zune isn't really even necessary. The streaming capabilities are worth the $15/month all by itself. I have discovered tons of new music that I likely would never have sought out if it wasn't for the all-you-can-eat Zune Pass.

Re:I'll Be Sticking With My All-You-Can-Eat Sub (1)

ctid (449118) | more than 6 years ago | (#22200788)

For $15/month, I can download all the music I want. If I stop paying, the music will stop working after 3 months. For some people that's unacceptable, but for the price of a single CD, I think it's a damn good deal.

Is this for real? So you have to pay $15 per month for the rest of your life if you want to keep listening to the music you have bought? Am I misunderstanding what you said? Surely that's the worst deal of all time isn't it?

Re:I'll Be Sticking With My All-You-Can-Eat Sub (1)

egork (449605) | more than 6 years ago | (#22201008)

May be not such a bad deal if you consider, you can forget about storing files, backing them up, organizing etc... Look at it as a service, not a product.

Re:I'll Be Sticking With My All-You-Can-Eat Sub (1)

ThinkFr33ly (902481) | more than 6 years ago | (#22201020)

Is this for real? So you have to pay $15 per month for the rest of your life if you want to keep listening to the music you have bought? Am I misunderstanding what you said? Surely that's the worst deal of all time isn't it?
No, you're not misunderstanding. If you stop paying, the music you have downloaded will stop working in 3 months.

You're not buying the music. You're paying for access to a music library in the same way people pay for Sirius radio or premium streaming radio online. Sirius radio is about $120/year, or $10/month... but you don't get to "save" that music anywhere, nor do you get to choose what you listen to aside from picking a station.

If you really want to keep that music, you also have the option to buy it outright. The Zune Marketplace has a large library of music with, and without DRM. But I'd much rather spend $15/month for all the music I want, than to spend 79 cents on a song, or $10 on a single album.

So why, exactly, do you think this is a bad deal?

Re:I'll Be Sticking With My All-You-Can-Eat Sub (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22201706)

If you really want to keep that music, you also have the option to buy it outright. The Zune Marketplace has a large library of music with, and without DRM. But I'd much rather spend $15/month for all the music I want, than to spend 79 cents on a song, or $10 on a single album.
Correct me if i'm wrong but aren't your drinking the Microsoft KoolAid here?!
Songs are 79 Microsoft POINTS, which corresponds to 99 cents. And yes, that difference is intentional to fool people like you to think that the Microsoft store is cheaper than the other stores.

Re:I'll Be Sticking With My All-You-Can-Eat Sub (1)

ctid (449118) | more than 6 years ago | (#22201708)

I thought it was a bad deal because I hadn't understood that there is an alternative to buy the tracks outright. I hadn't understood what your deal was offering you.

MP3 Diminsihed quality not the best (1)

FromTheAir (938543) | more than 6 years ago | (#22200776)

I think there will be a market for higher quality audio. Ultimately everyone will want the highest quality sound and MP3's won't cut it for that. So the record labels could see the high quality formats which of course are larger in size and don't move as well over the Internet.

Amazon's service is good (2, Interesting)

MarkWatson (189759) | more than 6 years ago | (#22200812)

As a long time iTunes customer, I have started buying from Amazon. With iTunes, I would always backup the music that I bought to an audio CDR, then re-import as MP3 -- Amazon selling MP3s saves me real effort.

Buying music online is a good deal, if you can back it up and enjoy it over a long time period.

please use AAC! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22201216)

Dear Amazon,

Please go to AAC. For the same space it's possible to get higher sound quality, and most digital players (including phones) support it. Those companies that don't will be forced to add to support because of its ubiquity.

While some may say that most people won't be able to hear the difference, the "alpha geeks" who do care about such things will appreciate it and steer anyone who asks us (like friends and family members) over to the new system.

Your truly,
A fan of fine music

FLAC. (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 6 years ago | (#22201302)

And add transcoding support in your downloader, so that people can pick the encoding they want. Hell, pre-encode in MP3 and offer that as an alternative (transparently, of course) to those who want it, but if I'm paying for music...

As for why they went MP3? Well, MP3 works on any digital music player, which is why they're generally called "MP3 players". I'm not entirely sure, but I'd guess that AAC doesn't work on the Zune, and WMA doesn't work on the iPod, and OGG works on next to nothing. The only reason FLAC isn't included is it's an extra step, but c'mon, you're already making us use your software...

Re:FLAC. (1)

JeremyBanks (1036532) | more than 6 years ago | (#22201688)

I'm not entirely sure, but I'd guess that AAC doesn't work on the Zune, and WMA doesn't work on the iPod, and OGG works on next to nothing.
Actually, non-DRMed AAC does work on the Zune, including iTunes Plus purchases. AAC is most well-known for Apple's use of it, but it's not their format. Wikipedia goes into a ton of detail. [wikipedia.org]

I wouldn't get too excited about this folks,,, (3, Informative)

Jeeproxx (1174681) | more than 6 years ago | (#22201440)

I work for the CMRRA (Canadian Musical Reproduction Rights Agency), we are the ones who handle music publishing in Canada. Period. The reality is that this is mostly a move to stimulate sales but not a long term reality. The vast majority of higher selling (charting) product will continued to be delivered with DRM protection. It only stands to reason. Everybody in the music industry realizes that DRM is nothing but a 'speed bump' and not a long term solution to meeting their goals. The reality is, despite the Sony rootkit fiasco, the future will bring either more invasive software at the consumer level or more control at the ISP level. Trust me... I am a not happy about this, I am not impressed with many of the actions of the RIAA and WIPO but this is the reality. You are looking at an entire industry collapsing.... and fast. They are fighting for their very exsistance and loosing. The money is gone. It will very soon be harder and harder for artists to have access to the funds to successfully produce and market their music in the conventional format. Physical distribution will not be consistant... and films are next. You can keep making 400 million dollar movies when you can't make more the 250 million back. It just not sustainable. Things will continue on, however, in a far different model. The problem is that no one can forsee the emerging buisness model and how to transition into this model. Open Source software will replace conventional digital tools for media editing (since the art and beauty of analogue has already died) and do so quite well. Online distribution, which will endup enduring harsh filtering and monitoring. We have brought this on ourselves. I don't agree with ISP filtering/monitoring, root kit technologies, or suing of endusers. I have watched my friends loose their jobs, one after the other for too long. Studios closing left and right, labels laying off staff year after year, great musicians not getting the finances they need because there isn't enough to go around and they haven't got enough "Bling". Last year, for every 32 artist that got signed, only two of those made money, a couple more would break even, and the rest lost money. Record companies are the agencies which provide the funding and marketing resources where conventional banks won't. It all soo sad. I love music. I've invested years of my life and 10's of thousands of dollars on education and equipment. Now I'm back in school at night studying programming and network administration. Perhaps if people took a minute to realize that by not paying for the music they are starving artist, engineers, producers.... people who have worked in the industry for 20 and 30 years are finding themselves at 50 yrs old and having to try and find some sort of job to continue feeding their families. My heart goes out to the 2000+ people who are loosing their jobs with EMI. PLEASE... TAKE A MINUTE TO CONSIDER THE FACTS. Don't let the fat paycheques of the CEO's and ignorant lawsuits of the RIAA blind your eyes to the realities being endured by thousands of people who work hard to make the music you listen to.

Amazon "gets it" (2, Interesting)

MK_CSGuy (953563) | more than 6 years ago | (#22201530)

With services for developers like EC2 and S3 I feel Amazon is underestimated big time - they are one of the few big companies that really "get it".
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