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Apple Is Now the #1 US Music Retailer

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the nose-bleed-ascension dept.

Music 251

Quantrell writes "A leaked e-mail shows that Apple hit the #1 spot for music sales in January. The article speculates that consumers cashing in their holiday gift cards may have played a role; but of course Wal-Mart and the other retailers sold gift cards too. The news is a mixed bag for the record labels. 'For the music industry, there is a dark side to Apple's ascension to the top of the charts. Buying patterns for digital downloads are different, as customers are far more likely to cherry pick a favorite track or two from an album than purchase the whole thing. In contrast, brick-and-mortar sales are predominantly high-margin CDs.'" We recently discussed Wal-Mart's role in the music business, back when they were selling nearly 20% of US music. For January Apple was at 19% and Wal-Mart at 15%.

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251 comments

And that means (2, Insightful)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950936)

that this year we have a new #1!

It's Apple iTunes with DRM Forever!

Re:And that means (5, Insightful)

Winckle (870180) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950956)

The only reason apple don't offer all their music without DRM is because the record companies won't let them. They are allowing amazon to have DRM free music in order to try and reduce apple's marketshare and thus reduce apple's chips at the negotiation table with the record companies.

So what? (2, Interesting)

gnutoo (1154137) | more than 6 years ago | (#22951002)

It's nice to see RIAA power fading but Apple is still a digital restrictions enabler. We shall see what they do with their power. Right now, the artist still gets the RIAA shaft from Apple the same as they do any other music store money wise. Has Apple even been able to break the RIAA, "our way or the highway" rule and sell both RIAA music and independent music?

Re:So what? (3, Informative)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 6 years ago | (#22951202)

Has Apple even been able to break the RIAA, "our way or the highway" rule and sell both RIAA music and independent music?

Apple will sell just about anything. Several talk radio hosts have regular iTunes paid downloads, and none of them have RIAA contracts.

That's not good enough. (2, Insightful)

gnutoo (1154137) | more than 6 years ago | (#22952156)

I thought about this for a while and don't like it. Replacing the RIAA with Apple is not the equivalent of creating a free market for music. With digital restrictions, Apple will be in charge in a way that the RIAA was but worse. You say:

Apple will sell just about anything. Several talk radio hosts have regular iTunes paid downloads, and none of them have RIAA contracts.

It sounds good, but I can replace the words like this:

Future_monopoly will sell just about anything. Several talk radio hosts have regular future_Tunes paid downloads, and none of them have Apple contracts

It's the concentration of power that's evil and leads to abuse.

Re:So what? (5, Informative)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 6 years ago | (#22951318)

Right now, the artist still gets the RIAA shaft from Apple the same as they do any other music store money wise.

Actually, artists got it worse. Theoretically artists should have benefited financially from digital downloads but the opposite is occurring thanks to the labels. Apple takes their $0.29 from every $0.99 track to pay for the hosting, distribution, credit card fees, etc. The remaining $0.70 goes to the label to take their cuts before passing the royalties to the artists. However, the labels are taking their cuts as if the sale was a physical medium and are still charging the artists for manufacturing and distribution costs. Manufacturing costs no longer apply, and Apple handles the distribution. But I'm sure somewhere in the fine print of the record deal that allows the label to charge for whatever they want.

Has Apple even been able to break the RIAA, "our way or the highway" rule and sell both RIAA music and independent music?

I'm not sure the amount of independent artists that Apple has but a few years ago they signed some major indie labels. [apple.com]

Re:So what? (3, Insightful)

mbge7psh (633184) | more than 6 years ago | (#22951972)

Apple takes their $0.29 from every $0.99 track to pay for the hosting, distribution, credit card fees, etc. The remaining $0.70 goes to the label to take their cuts before passing the royalties to the artists. However, the labels are taking their cuts as if the sale was a physical medium and are still charging the artists for manufacturing and distribution costs. Manufacturing costs no longer apply, and Apple handles the distribution.
As a consumer buying something I know to be digital (with presumably lower distribution costs than a physical product), I'd expect at least part of the cost to be passed on to me. Given the choice of a CD or a DRM free digital download for the same price, I'd usually take the CD. Maybe that will change in future when more and more releases become digital only.

Also, don't forget that a lot of advertising costs can probably be saved using the iTunes store. Consumers get to try before they buy, find tracks similar to ones they already have, and so on. it's not just cost savings related to manufacturing, shipping, and retail space.

Re:So what? (3, Interesting)

myfigurefemale (1009667) | more than 6 years ago | (#22952168)

indy artists can use an independent site (like tunecore.com) and keep the 70 cents for themselves. skip the record label, and the bs.

Re:So what? (1)

aplusjimages (939458) | more than 6 years ago | (#22951756)

I've bought several indy band songs off of iTunes. It's a good place to get indy songs that are normally on vinyl only.

Re:So what? (1)

NekSnappa (803141) | more than 6 years ago | (#22951806)

Anyone who wants to can get their stuff on iTMS through CD Baby. http://cdbaby.net/dd-partners [cdbaby.net]

Re:And that means (1, Insightful)

ajlitt (19055) | more than 6 years ago | (#22951090)

Of course. They have to. They certainly don't want to use their own DRM scheme to ensure infrastructure lock-in.

Seriously, can we get a -1 Apologist choice for moderation?

Re:And that means (4, Insightful)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 6 years ago | (#22951402)

Please. Remember Apple, like Walmart, is a reseller. They have to abide by the vendor (music labels) on their product. One of the restrictions of Apple reselling is that they have to use DRM for music the labels insist on having DRM. If Apple was so keen on locking you into their product, they wouldn't be selling DRM free tracks at all, and the iPod wouldn't play AAC or MP3. In fact, they would have created their own proprietary music format instead of extending AAC to include DRM. I wonder which company would do that?

Re:And that means (4, Insightful)

ajlitt (19055) | more than 6 years ago | (#22952306)

Last I checked that other company would license their embedded codec with DRM to any manufacturer. Name one player besides Apple's that plays iTMS protected AAC.

Apple sells DRM free tracks. But how many people do you know that buy from iTMS that have a DRM free collection? Even if you bought just one DRMed album, you'd have to keep using Apple's products to maintain that investment.

Don't get me wrong. I have an iPod. But I refuse to buy from iTMS. I'd rather give the same money to Amazon and get my tracks in plain unencumbered MP3.

Re:And that means (2, Insightful)

Dusty00 (1106595) | more than 6 years ago | (#22951500)

Yes, poor Steve Jobs is caught in the vicious jaws of the music industry... </sarcasm>

Face it Apple loves DRM. Especially because the RIAA demands it. He gets to pretend he hates DRM to get in good with the consumers but that's exactly what's providing a lock-in to Apple brand media players. If Apple hated DRM as much as is claimed they wouldn't have a problem licensing their DRM out to Microsoft, or Sansa.

I know that Apple is the best underdog we have to root for against Microsoft but if one examines their business practices you gotta admit they're taking a lot of plays from Redmond's book. If the iTunes-iPod marriage isn't enough evidence for you I figured the iPhone SDK would be. </rant>

Re:And that means (1)

Dare nMc (468959) | more than 6 years ago | (#22952160)

I will agree that supplier contract is the major reason why. But I disagree that is the only reason, and their are lots of other reasons why apple choose the particular DRM, and continuous to push and make available some tracks that could be DRM free. Obviously it is a purely financial reason why apple doesn't freely replace the DRM version with the none DRM version immediately upon the non-DRM version becoming available to them.

Re:And that means (1)

Sabathius (566108) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950990)

Well, hopefully they'll use their new clout to encourage change away from DRM. We all know Job's opinion [apple.com] on the subject...

Meaningless Opinion. (1)

twitter (104583) | more than 6 years ago | (#22951178)

From your link to Steve Jobs opinion:

iPod users can and do acquire their music from many sources, including CDs they own.

So, what happens when the CD vendors go out of business, Steve? Do iPod users get to ask you for permission to copy their music? Will you let them? Why should you be in that position when I pay for music? If I pay for something but can't move it around and you can delete it, do I really own it?

Since Apple does not own or control any music itself, it must license the rights to distribute music from others, primarily the "big four" music companies: Universal, Sony BMG, Warner and EMI. These four companies control the distribution of over 70% of the world's music. ... Apple was able to negotiate landmark usage rights at the time, which include allowing users to play their DRM protected music on up to 5 computers and on an unlimited number of iPods.

Oh, I see, someone else owns it. Steve is just the messenger, even if you talked back a little.

It's nice that Steve talked back a little but he's still the SOB making and selling DRM. I don't want music that can evaporate because I can't back it up and play it with any software I chose. Restrictions suck and cooperating with evil only promotes more evil.

Re:Meaningless Opinion. (1)

JCSoRocks (1142053) | more than 6 years ago | (#22951490)

Yeah, I made the mistake of buying my wife a Sony Bean. I honestly didn't spend much time researching it. A fellow techie had one, said it was awesome, and recommended it. She wanted a digital music player, time was short (isn't it always when you're buying gifts for your lady?) and so I got her one.

The Bean was a great little player... the problem is, Sony's DRM, their proprietary format, and their lame program all suck. Now Sony is dumping their Connect (music store / software combo) stuff and anyone with music is screwed. Unfortunately, even though I told her not to she did buy a few albums through the store. Meh, what can you do.

This has only made me more certain of my decision to just buy frickin CDs. I can rip them to whatever I want and I can make as many backups as I want. (Yeah there are a few CDs with some form of copy protection but those still aren't as bad as DRM.)

Re:And that means (5, Insightful)

Luscious868 (679143) | more than 6 years ago | (#22951384)

It's Apple iTunes with DRM Forever!

You should be thankful for Apple and the fact that they are #1. It's because of Apple that the labels have allowed Amazon to sell MP3's without any kind of DRM whatsoever. If Apple had never gotten such a stranglehold on the digital marketplace, most of the labels would have never allowed Amazon to sell DRM free music. I'm glad that Apple is where it is and I hope that people continue to buy music from them. I won't be among them but as long as Apple keeps doing what it's doing, the labels will allow Amazon and others to sell music without DRM as a counterweight and smart consumers will be able to purchase legit, DRM free music.

MOD PARENT UP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22951524)

It's because of Apple's dominance that the labels allow Amazon to sell MP3's. Here's to hoping it continues!

One Original and the rest are just imitators (0, Redundant)

jpdzahr (1260592) | more than 6 years ago | (#22952082)

Apple has done a Great job in survival over the decades and you have to applaud them for their ingenuity with the iPod which has become a household name with many imitators and copy cats. When you are the BEST everyone wants to copy you. http://www.findthebestlawyers.com/ [findthebestlawyers.com]

one future of music distribution (3, Insightful)

xTantrum (919048) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950950)

I for one am happy with apples gain in sales. it shows that if a satisfactory alternative for music downloads is available customers will pay. more importantly though this "cherry picking" shows the record labels that consumers are tired of the same market drivel and if you give us good content that we like we'll pay.

i say "one future of music distribution" because i am also leaning towards this idea [arstechnica.com]

Re:one future of music distribution (4, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | more than 6 years ago | (#22951198)

"more importantly though this "cherry picking" shows the record labels that consumers are tired of the same market drivel and if you give us good content that we like we'll pay."

Do you really think it shows that? I don't.

I think it shows that people are ever more shallow in their music tastes and now only want those one or two big hits, ignoring the rest of the material. How many times have you listened to an album, or an artist's entire catalogue, and come to love one of the b-sides or album tracks more than the one or two big hits? For me it's a lot.

But then I suppose I'm not buying Britney or whatever the big thing is that the idiot children listen to these days.

Re:one future of music distribution (1)

tungstencoil (1016227) | more than 6 years ago | (#22951440)

From the artists' points of view (please note the distinction between artists' and artistic), I would say that you are correct (about people's shallow music taste).

However, if one assumes art is not made in a vacuum, and that some form of consumption (even in the form of a negative reaction) constitutes non-vacuum, then I'd say the ability to cherry-pick either represents a status quo (where previous people would buy whole albums just to get a track or two, disregarding the rest) or does indeed represent a true evolution (where the consumption of art reflects its true value), since people listen/react/consume on a more granular level.

Yes, I've bought albums and loved B-sides. The converse is also true. Importantly, it does give a message to the record labels. My interpretation is that it is a statement about what kind of things (songs) people want to buy, and how much they wish to pay. Yes, it's different than years past. Yes, it's got good points and bad.

However, I do not interpret it as a direct correlation that people are more shallow. They're simply more in control and the market is a different beast. Just about the only thing today's music-buying demographic has in common with the identical demographic of about 10 years ago is that, somewhere in the pipe, there is music.

Re:one future of music distribution (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 6 years ago | (#22951834)

"where the consumption of art reflects its true value"

Well, this harks back to that old argument about popularity and artistic merit, and whether the two are in any way related. Personally I think it would be sad if we lost the album, and the current practice of bands turning out more tracks than just the catchy, instant-hit type. It could limit the support artists get from labels even further (we're only going to pay for you to produce two songs, both must be hits, otherwise goodbye), and it could limit the instance of the aforementioned B-sides and album tracks.

OTOH, what it will probably show is that the habits vary by genre. Pop nonsense will sell a songle track to the exclusion of others, other music types (and possibly music with older audiences) will sell in a way similar to the album. Well, that would be my guess.

I guess my other point is that I'm not comfortable with the current crop of middlemen and their profit motive, Giving them more information about what people want will result in even less interesting stuff around the edges seeing the light of day.

Re:one future of music distribution (2, Insightful)

tungstencoil (1016227) | more than 6 years ago | (#22952252)

I'll agree with most, for sure, especially around 'habits by genre'.

Some quick background - I was involved with a fringe music scene for about 15 years, from the late 80s until the early 00s. It will take much more than changes in the business side of music to stop the artistic side. How we get to the art will change - it has changed. The good news: it's easier and cheaper for artists to produce super-high-quality music. Distribution is near-free. Motivated, talented folks can keep more $$ in their pocket if they choose. Contrast this to just a decade ago - why, in the mid-nineties, burnable CDs cost dollars and not cents to utilize. The bad news: it's easier and cheaper for artists to produce. The noise-to-art ratio is high (by anyone's definition of 'art'), and the business side is scrambling to keep a hold of the cash cow, dangling the "promote or die, and we can afford it" carrot in front of the artist.

Oh, and by consumption I didn't necessarily mean purchase. I just meant that if people produce music and don't release it or play it for anyone, it is of no consequence. As soon as it is released or made available, the creative and business forces behind it will be subject to market forces and critique. It's a given - and it doesn't have to be popular to be consumed (or have merit), nor does popularity == more consumption == better art. But if you put something out there, people will choose their mode of consumption - single song, ignored, popular, mega-sales, (il)legal downloading... whatever.

If you're interested in stuff seeing the light of day, check out CD-Baby http://www.cdbaby.com/ [cdbaby.com] . Type in your favorite band or genre, and get served up a whole host of music. I guarantee you will like at least 10 or 20% of it, and that you will have heard of little or none of it. As a distribution network, they are fair and honest, they pay the artists what they say they will (and on time).

There. Now please mod me down off-topic.

Opposite for me (2, Interesting)

littleghoti (637230) | more than 6 years ago | (#22951442)

I find that I like music in a shallow way when I start to listen to it. After repeated hearing, some of it fades in my enjoyment and some grows.

iTunes has let me buy single songs from albums and if after repeated listens I still want to hear it, I buy the album. But I will buy the album on a CD rather than a download.

You pays your money, you takes your choice...

Re:one future of music distribution (1)

JCSoRocks (1142053) | more than 6 years ago | (#22951560)

I absolutely agree. If the album dies I would sorely miss it. If I only like one song by someone, I'm not going to bother buying it. Not as a single, not as an album. It's not worth it. If I like a handful of the tracks though, I'll definitely buy an album.

Like you, my favorite songs usually end up being the ones that don't get any radio play. B-sides and other "unreleased" tracks in particular are always faves of mine as well. I've got an entire box set by one artist full of that kind of material and it's some of my favorite stuff by them.

I see people's music collections and they read like what was just played on the radio in the last hour... what's the point - just listen to the radio! Free!

Re:one future of music distribution (1)

pokerdad (1124121) | more than 6 years ago | (#22951886)

I think it shows that people are ever more shallow in their music tastes and now only want those one or two big hits, ignoring the rest of the material. How many times have you listened to an album, or an artist's entire catalogue, and come to love one of the b-sides or album tracks more than the one or two big hits? For me it's a lot.

To answer your question, plenty of times; but it pales in comparison to how many times (especially in the last years before I stopped getting my music that way), that I have found there are just one or two songs worth listening to. (and even when there are other songs worth listening to, they are greatly out numbered by drivel that seems to exist only to justify the price I paid)

Maybe people are more shallow, or maybe the contractual obiligations that come with getting an RIAA label to publish your music forces you to crank out sub-par music to fill up a cd. And maybe this has gotten worse and worse over the years as the medium we are shipping the music on has increased in capacity.

Re:one future of music distribution (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 6 years ago | (#22952134)

All very valid points, I guess it goes both ways.

More control to the actual artist would be better perhaps.

Re:one future of music distribution (3, Interesting)

philipgar (595691) | more than 6 years ago | (#22951968)

Remember that this "cherry-picking" of material played on the radio is FAR from being a new phenomena. In fact this used to be the record industries model. They'd play a song on the radio over and over and then consumers would buy the 45 at the store, and listen to it and one other track. Bands also had albums, but often times the albums wouldn't have the single, or just weren't important compared to the singles. Then, after CDs started to dominate, the record industry decided to stop trying to sell singles, and ONLY sell full albums. That way the consumer would be forced to pay the full $15 rather than be able to buy a cheap single. They still kept singles, but added extra b-sides, and charged ridiculous prices ($5-$10), and so they became more of collectors items, before they were basically stopped altogether.

The industry grew used to being able to bully consumer, and now digital music is forcing them to accept that many consumers want to buy singles again. However, this means that their profits are going to be lower. Possibly on the level of what they used to make before they stopped selling singles.

For all of this, this does not mean the death of the album. Bands that want to produce albums still will. Most people who truly appreciate music and don't want to hear the stuff on the radio, or whatever their friends like will likely not have a problem finding albums of songs. However, those people are rarely the huge money makers for the industry (there are exceptions). Most of the money makers are the flavors of the week that they market endlessly, and end up selling millions of CDs. This practice of the industry's will end up being hurt as the sales end up being reduced due to "cherry picking".

Phil

defective by design. (0, Troll)

twitter (104583) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950954)

This is a dark day.

Could be. (2, Interesting)

gnutoo (1154137) | more than 6 years ago | (#22951038)

If the CD and other restrictionless media goes away we will all be media poor again. It will be like going back to pre taping life where only special people with expensive equipment could make and sell recordings.

Re:Could be. (1)

Ngarrang (1023425) | more than 6 years ago | (#22951154)

I don't see the CD going away in all of this. I do see the effect of this "cherry picking" being that people be able to create their own CDs with the tracks they actually want to listen to, kinda like print-on-demand for books. Except here, we can have a CD with more than one artist and you will know for certain that did not pay for a whole CD just to get one good song.

Re:Could be. (3, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | more than 6 years ago | (#22951166)

"It will be like going back to pre taping life where only special people with expensive equipment could make and sell recordings."

No, no it won't.

You or I can still make recordings and distribute them with or without DRM if we wish.
It'll just mean we can't (easily) make copies.

I agree, it's a worse situation than what we have now, but it's not like pre-taping days in that the tools are available to all to distribute media.

Re:Could be. (1)

strabes (1075839) | more than 6 years ago | (#22951274)

Not likely; CDs have extremely low marginal cost.

Now? January? What? (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950960)

It's number one now... based on a story saying it was number one in January and that may have been a temporary artefact of gift card sales? What?

Re:Now? January? What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22951036)

It takes time to tally all of this information...

Hopfully (4, Interesting)

Anita Coney (648748) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950962)

Now that Apple has replaced Wal-mart as the 1000 pound gorilla in music retail, maybe the company will be able to drag the music industry into the new millennium.

Re:Hopfully (1)

flitty (981864) | more than 6 years ago | (#22951184)

Does this mean that those "Family Groups" will now be petitioning Apple to censor all of it's music it sells? Will Apple become the company that doesn't carry "parental Advisory" albums? Won't someone Please think of the children? I for one, am glad that Someone besides wal-mart is now #1, Even if it is DRM laiden Apple. I like seeing Amazon so high on the list too, since i've bought a couple 320bit drm free albums from them, and was very pleased with my purchase.

Re:Hopfully (1)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 6 years ago | (#22951608)

I think, for some, the choice between Apple and Wal-Mart is a choice between the lesser of two evils. It's like the two party system of the record industry. Which is worse, DRM or censorship? Sure, you can vote for Amazon, but that would just be throwing your vote away.

I like the new format. It's very clean looking.

Re:Hopfully (5, Informative)

AaxelB (1034884) | more than 6 years ago | (#22951890)

Sure, you can vote for Amazon, but that would just be throwing your vote away.
How on earth is it throwing your vote away? It's not a winner-take-all system, you get exactly what you vote for. I vote for DRM-free music from Amazon, a company that I like and has almost never significantly pissed me off. And you know what? I get that DRM-free music from Amazon. It would be like voting third-party if you could only play the music on certain, doomed-to-fail devices, but, once again, it's DRM-free. Apple and Walmart are indeed the two big players, but Amazon is only like a third-party in that they're less well-known (as a digital music retailer).

Re:Hopfully (1)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 6 years ago | (#22952058)

It was a joke you clearly didn't get. It's funny because I'm pointing out where my analogy ceases to apply.

Re:Hopfully (2, Informative)

chaim79 (898507) | more than 6 years ago | (#22951710)

They don't need to, Apple has already anticipated this. Parental controls can be setup, kid cannot purchase any music listed as explicit (they do mark such music), or movies rated PG13 or higher (or whatever you set it at). It's not that difficult to setup (naturally for an Apple product) and works well. http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=302251 [apple.com]

Except Walmart is now the #1 US Music Retailer (3, Interesting)

Moonpie Madness (764217) | more than 6 years ago | (#22951776)

Aside from a very brief period months ago, all data this year indicates Walmart is the current leader. The headline that Apple is "now" the leader is simply not true, and I don't see how that can go uncorrected, but it probably will. Every tech site picked this up today. Either they all made the exact same (difficult to make) mistake, or this is an advertisement masquerading as news.

I hope you're right and Apple manages to positively influence the market. Probably some truth to it, but Brick and Mortar is still king.

Correlation and Conjecture (4, Insightful)

Chris_Stankowitz (612232) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950972)

"The news is a mixed bag for the record labels."

Not so much a mixed bag as it is further evidence that the RIAAs business model is flawed.

Here they have the worlds largest brick-and-mortar store and the most influential online music retailers moving ungodly units of their crappy products and still they cry poverty.

Re:Correlation and Conjecture (1)

mgblst (80109) | more than 6 years ago | (#22951514)

Thanks for that nonsense.

If they are raking in the profits, how is their Business model flawed??

What does them crying poverty, have anything to do with their business model??

Re:Correlation and Conjecture (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22951762)

How is it flawed? IT will be their undoing, making a profit today does not translate into longevity.

Twofo trolls skiing into a spruce (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22950978)

Twofo [twofo.co.uk] is Dying is Dying

It is official; GNAA [www.gnaa.us] confirms: Twofo is Dying is Dying

One more crippling bombshell hit the already beleagured slashdot trolling community when Google confirmed that Twofo troll posts had dropped yet again, now down to less that a fraction of 1 percent of all slashdot posts. Coming hot on the heels of a recent usenet survey which plainly states that Twofo trolling frequency has fallen, this news serves only to reinforce what we've known all along. Twofo troll's are collapsing in complete disarray, as fittingly exemplified by failing dead last in a recent digg.com comprehensive trolling test.

You don't need to be one of the Slashdot moderators to predict Twofo Trolling's future. The writing is on the wall: Twofo trolling faces a bleak future. In fact there won't be any future at all for Twofo trolls because Twofo trolling is dying. Things are looking very bad for Twofo trolls. As many of us are already aware, Twofo trolling continues to decline in popularity. IP bans flow like a river of feces out of this man's anus [goatse.ch] .

"Twofo is Dying" trolls are the most endangered of them all, having lost 93% of their core posters. The sudden and unpleasant departures of long time trolls Daz and xyzzy only serve to underscore the point more clearly. There can no longer be any doubt: Twofo trolls are dying.

Lets keep to the facts and look and the numbers.

Twofo Trolling leader Echelon states that there are about 7000 "twofo is dying" trolls. How many "Zeus sucks cock" trolls are there? Let's see. The number of "Zeus sucks cock" trolls versus "Twofo is dying" trolls on slashdot is roughly in the ratio of 5 to 1. Therefore there are about 7000/5 = 1400 "Zeus sucks cock" trolls. "Fuck twofo" posts on slashdot are about half the volume of "Zeus sucks cock" posts. Therefore there are about 700 trolls specialising in "Fuck twofo". A recent article put "destroy twofo" at about 80% of the twofo trolling community. Therefore there are about (7000+1400+700)*4 = 36400 "destroy twofo" trolls. This is consistent with the number of "destroy twofo" slashdot posts.

Due to the troubles at Twofo, abysmal sharing, ITS, lack of IP addresses and so on, "destroy twofo" trolls stopped posting altogether and were taken over by "Zeus sucks cock" trolls who specialise in another kind of slashdot posting. Now "Zeus sucks cock" trolls are also dead, their corpses turned over to yet another charnel horse.

All major surveys show that Twofo trolls have steadily declined in slashdot posting frequency. Twofo trollers are very sick and their long term survival prospects are very dim. If Twofo trollers are to survive at all it will be among hardcore slashdot posters, hellbent on Twofo's destruction. Twofo trolls continue to decay. Nothing short of a miracle could save Twofo trolls from their fate at this point in time. For all practical purposes, Twofo trolls are dead.

Fact: Twofo trolls are dying

Dark Side for Both Apple & Wal-Mart (4, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950982)

'For the music industry, there is a dark side to Apple's ascension to the top of the charts. Buying patterns for digital downloads are different, as customers are far more likely to cherry pick a favorite track or two from an album than purchase the whole thing. In contrast, brick-and-mortar sales are predominantly high-margin CDs.'
Don't forget that the $1 per song pricing scheme just seems to be something that Steve Jobs decreed from his high perch. I'm not saying I want this but I'll bet the music industry would favor a variable pricing per song to alleviate the cherry picking phenomenon. Frankly, I could care less about the top 40 or flavor of the week singles as that is not something I'd ever want to listen to. But I could see how someone like Britney Spears would feel the punch of fans just getting "Oops, I Did It Again" and not being forced to pay for the filler crap that barely passes as music on the rest of the album.

Furthermore, Wal-Mart has also done the same thing by basically dictating that it will start selling CDs at $9-$10 or it won't sell them at all. I'm kind of shocked the music industry just sat back and let that happen (even though it joys me to see people able to buy Beatles albums at a decent price). I mean, why should Wal-Mart be able to dictate MSRP? Oh, that's right, they are the all-encompassing Wal-Mart ... they probably dictate how much I pay for milk at the local grocery store some how.

Either way, I find it humorous that what seems to be a 'dark side' for the RIAA is actually beautiful for the end consumer. I wish the RIAA would step back and look at how they could maximize profits now that distribution could be digital. Would I still be spending ~$20 a month on music if each song were ten cents? No, I'd probably go nuts and be spending $50 a month and I bet people that spend no money on music would start to slowly $5 or $10 for some popular albums. Just a though, I really wish they would look more at maximizing profits by lowering cost on something that can be copied for free and distributed cheaply.

Re:Dark Side for Both Apple & Wal-Mart (1)

PackMan97 (244419) | more than 6 years ago | (#22951194)

Furthermore, Wal-Mart has also done the same thing by basically dictating that it will start selling CDs at $9-$10 or it won't sell them at all. I'm kind of shocked the music industry just sat back and let that happen (even though it joys me to see people able to buy Beatles albums at a decent price). I mean, why should Wal-Mart be able to dictate MSRP? Oh, that's right, they are the all-encompassing Wal-Mart ... they probably dictate how much I pay for milk at the local grocery store some how.


Wal-Mart is not all powerful, it's the "consumer" (as a group, not individuals) that is all powerful and merely Wal-Mart that is our voice. Consumers are not willing to pay $15 for two decent songs and a bunch of filler. Instead, we go on-line to buy A La Carte or download/steal. As a result, the product Wal-Mart has on their shelves is neither in high demand nor profitable. Wal-Mart is merely passing on the demands of the customer to lower the price of a CD.

Isn't this the root of the problem? Retail CDs are not a competitive product with downloads. Wal-Mart is telling the music industry to change their product so that it will compete and be a viable retail product or they'll drop it from their stores. If they can make more money by selling other products, they will.

Re:Dark Side for Both Apple & Wal-Mart (1, Insightful)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 6 years ago | (#22951206)

Why should anyone have to pay anything for a copy of an album? I mean, I just torrent all my stuff now.

Re:Dark Side for Both Apple & Wal-Mart (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22951458)

Why should anyone have to pay anything for a copy of an album? I mean, I just torrent all my stuff now.
What in the world is the point of all these posts? Yes, I realize that there are people who choose to download music. No, I don't consider it stealing but I choose to support artists to the extent that I can and purchase CDs & non-DRM files usually directly from the label's site.

Do you feel that you add something to the discussion by voicing your solution of torrenting everything?

Re:Dark Side for Both Apple & Wal-Mart (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22951548)

Do you feel that you add something to the discussion by voicing your solution of torrenting everything?

Yes. Namely: having the balls to say right out what everyone's thinking, but without any bullshit rationalizations.

Re:Dark Side for Both Apple & Wal-Mart (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 6 years ago | (#22952256)

Take a classic album oriented radio station, add the radio equivalent
of a PVR to that and it's really hard to see the difference between
that and torrenting.

Even just a regular early 80's radio with a tape deck can be used in
much the same way.

It's not bullshit to acknowledge that nothing has really changed.
The industry is crying wolf but their bubblegum pop is not really
any easier to "mooch" than it was 20 years ago.

Re:Dark Side for Both Apple & Wal-Mart (1)

JCSoRocks (1142053) | more than 6 years ago | (#22951638)

I realize you're probably being sarcastic... but that kind of attitude just leads to people not making and selling music anymore. Musicians get tired of being both a musician and a waiter / garbageman / oil changer / whatever. They put a lot of time into making a song. Give 'em some money. Do you work for free? Sheesh. (I'm talking average musician here - obviously doesn't apply to Britney or whatever but she's the 1 in 1,000,000 case).

Re:Dark Side for Both Apple & Wal-Mart (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22951260)

I mean, why should Wal-Mart be able to dictate MSRP?
That is not an example of Wal-Mart dictating Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price, the are dictating Retail Price in their stores and nowhere else. You know exactly the same way every one else dictates the retail price in their own outlet. Retail price is what I decide to sell an item at, MSRP is what the Manufacturer claims their item is worth .

Re:Dark Side for Both Apple & Wal-Mart (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22951464)

Walmart is notorious for telling suppliers what they will pay for products. Sometimes they even try to force suppliers to sell at a loss. They did this to RubberMade and almost put them out of business(they are still recovering).

Walmart has a whole building where sellers come to be told what Walmart wants to pay. They negotiate it, with the knowledge that if Walmart is not appeased the supplier will go bankrupt when Walmart pulls their product.

There are some good documentaries that show the damage Walmart does to the economy.

Re:Dark Side for Both Apple & Wal-Mart (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22951586)

why should Wal-Mart be able to dictate MSRP

Because MSRP means 'Manufacturers SUGGESTED Retail Price'?

Re:Dark Side for Both Apple & Wal-Mart (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 6 years ago | (#22951706)

Don't forget that the $1 per song pricing scheme just seems to be something that Steve Jobs decreed from his high perch. I'm not saying I want this but I'll bet the music industry would favor a variable pricing per song to alleviate the cherry picking phenomenon.

I think Apple's stance is fixed pricing is better for them as their business is far simpler with fixed prices. Variable pricing makes their accounting alone a lot more complex. Also it makes it easier on the consumer. The downside to variable pricing is that some consumers might not be happy if the song they bought yesterday is now cheaper today.

Of course the music industry would favor variable pricing. They want to raise all prices, not lower them. That $1 song stays $1 only if it isn't popular. If it's popular, it's $2.

There is a difference between Walmart and Apple is that Walmart is dealing with a physical medium in CDs. There is a downside if Walmart accumulates an inventory of CDs. It shows up on their balance sheets. There is no financial downside if Apple accumulates an inventory of digital albums. It doesn't show up directly on their books.

Re:Dark Side for Both Apple & Wal-Mart (1)

je ne sais quoi (987177) | more than 6 years ago | (#22951878)

The other thing that struck me as strange about the parent's post is that this pricing scheme the RIAA is suggesting is exactly the opposite of the way manufacturing usually works. That is, higher volume usually means lower pricing because the engineering and startup costs are smaller per unit. So if the latest and greatest pop song is selling like hot cakes, it should cost less, not more. For an electronic song, given that the bandwidth costs are small per unit, the big costs are going to be the production and marketing of the song, which would still go down per unit sold. It looks to me that the RIAA's pricing scheme is them just trying to make people pay whatever they can. My own experience has been consistent with this, because I buy very rare music (i.e., artist names that start with the Ensemble such and such, or are remastered versions of recordings from the earlier part of the 20th century) and often I have to pay a premium for these CDs.

Also, I highly doubt that Jobs decreed $1 per song, I'm sure Apple did some market research and determined what customers thought was reasonable, but still give Apple a healthy profit margin. Based on their volume of sales, it kind of looks like hit the sweet spot.

Re:Dark Side for Both Apple & Wal-Mart (1)

NekSnappa (803141) | more than 6 years ago | (#22951902)

Perhaps they could offset the loss of revenue caused by the "cherry picking" by not producing the filler songs in the first place. Seriously, if you don't need 10 songs to fill out an album why spend the money for studio/engineer/producer time for songs that won't be bought, and are not needed. Use that time and money on the 2-3 songs that are worth it.

Re:Dark Side for Both Apple & Wal-Mart (1)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#22952120)

Would I still be spending ~$20 a month on music if each song were ten cents? No, I'd probably go nuts and be spending $50 a month
I'm guessing you're in the minority of people that believe there are 500 new songs to buy every month. As for me and my wife, if each song were 10 cents, we'd pay maybe 50 cents per month.

Article is wrong .. M (5, Informative)

quo_vadis (889902) | more than 6 years ago | (#22951042)

As of Feb 26 2008 iTunes is the #2 retailer in the US. http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2008/02/26itunes.html [apple.com]

What the article is talking about is a 1 week period in January (most likely caused by all the people using their Christmas gifts of iTunes gift cards) where the store sold more music. Overall though, it still remains number two.

Re:Article is wrong .. M (1)

joaommp (685612) | more than 6 years ago | (#22951186)

But it may still keep rising. If people went on redeeming their gift cards, new users for iTunes store will appear because people that have never used or thought about using it will experience a "forced" try at iTunes (either they go there or waste some "money") and may actually like it, or find it at least usable enough to go there again - the first time is always the hardest, right?

off-topic btw: great sig

Re:Article is wrong .. M (1)

thesaint05 (850634) | more than 6 years ago | (#22951236)

Engadget also responded to this here [engadget.com] . I still have difficulty believing iTunes to be #1. #2? Makes sense.

Re:Article is wrong .. M (1)

mgblst (80109) | more than 6 years ago | (#22951636)

I think they should restrict the period to just Christmas day. Surely even Walmart isn't open on Christmas day, and even if they were so scummy, most people would stay away.

So that would be 10million to 0.

Re:Article is wrong .. M (1)

c_forq (924234) | more than 6 years ago | (#22952218)

I actually think they are open on Christmas. You know not everyone is a Christian and celebrates Christian holidays. In addition there are some people not close/disowned from their families, and doing something productive (like working) is way better for their mental health than staying home alone. Wal-Mart employs a lot of people, I'm sure they can find people willing to work Christmas day at almost any location.

What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22951048)

People buy music these days?

Re:What? (1)

snl2587 (1177409) | more than 6 years ago | (#22951416)

Actually, yes. I do.

No "WHOOSH" needed...I get the joke. But there is an interesting point to all this. It's getting harder and harder to actually buy good music as so few artists are album-oriented anymore. People like to decry the popularity of single-song services like iTunes or say that they charge too much for albums, but the reality is that the popular artists all produce albums with only one good track followed by a bunch of shit. And then they want you to buy the album? Try producing worthwhile songs, and then we'll talk. If the RIAA wonders why people are "cherry-picking", they need only look no further than what they're pushing.

So yes, I buy music, but not from iTunes. I've found that buying CDs secondhand covers all of my needs, and for any singles I want to hear I turn to services such as last.fm with a business model that won't be dead in a few years. And the artists will survive...well, maybe not most of the pop stars or the rappers, but the rest...

Who actually buys stuff from iTunes? (0, Troll)

ThirdPrize (938147) | more than 6 years ago | (#22951106)

Not me.

Re:Who actually buys stuff from iTunes? (2, Funny)

imamac (1083405) | more than 6 years ago | (#22951168)

Who actually buys stuff from Wal-Mart?

That's what Amazon is for (1, Redundant)

TheJerg (1052952) | more than 6 years ago | (#22951204)

DRM free ftw!

Re:That's what Amazon is for (2, Informative)

OiBoy (22100) | more than 6 years ago | (#22951844)

I buy DRM free from iTunes. It's called iTunes Plus.

Re:Who actually buys stuff from iTunes? (1)

c_forq (924234) | more than 6 years ago | (#22952244)

I actually buy stuff that is on iTunes Plus (the higher quality, DRM free stuff). I buy from the non-plus on a few occasions, mainly for obscure artists that don't tour or don't play at any venues near me.

fuck!O! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22951110)

of progress. As it is licensed

Uh-oh (3, Insightful)

LaughingCoder (914424) | more than 6 years ago | (#22951124)

Apparently the concept of the market rejecting DRM is overblown?

Re:Uh-oh (3, Insightful)

darjen (879890) | more than 6 years ago | (#22951480)

As long as the market can play the tracks on their ipods, they'll let it slide.

Re:Uh-oh (1)

frission (676318) | more than 6 years ago | (#22951676)

i hate to say it, but it's just not THAT big of a deal on iTunes. Yes, the m4a files DRM'ed, but you can also burn them on a CD (REALLY easily)...at which point there is no DRM, you can play it in your car, kitchen, etc. after that.

Why no album discount? (1, Interesting)

EMeta (860558) | more than 6 years ago | (#22951144)

The part that I don't get is why the labels aren't offering to Apple, and thus Apple to its customers album discounts. Sell me an entire Regina Spektor album for the $6 or $7 and I'll gladly pay for it, instead of otherwise buying 4 tracks individually. At that point it's pure profit for everyone involved. I might still buy the one song on it I like, play it more find out I really really like, and buy the whole album--with that song again.

I don't want the album to go away. I think it's a great conceptual unit (when used correctly). Let me pay more for it.

As an aside, I'd appreciate iTunes letting me easily select blocks of music I could keep in the same order, even when listening to randomized music. "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" should always be followed by "With a Little Help from My Friends" (and maybe the album's entirety).

Anybody know why either of these don't happen?

Re:Why no album discount? (1)

jamus (1439) | more than 6 years ago | (#22951386)

As an aside, I'd appreciate iTunes letting me easily select blocks of music I could keep in the same order, even when listening to randomized music. "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" should always be followed by "With a Little Help from My Friends" (and maybe the album's entirety).
I stumbled across this yesterday, and I haven't had a chance to try it out personally.

Maybe put the songs you want played together in the same grouping, then change your shuffle preferences to shuffle by grouping?

Re:Why no album discount? (2, Informative)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 6 years ago | (#22951492)

Albums are discounted to an extent. For any album with more than 10 tracks, you're still paying $9.99 (with few exceptions) for the album. If you download a few tracks and want the whole thing later, you do not pay for the same tracks twice. It used to be that way on iTMS and it was as annoying as hell. Sometime in the last year or two, iTMS was updated to let you "fill out" the rest of the album.

As for you second comment...you can use playlists to keep albums in order. When you want to randomize playback in iTunes or with an iPod, you can have it "randomize by album" instead of randomize all songs. That way, an entire album will play back, but the next album selection will be chosen at random. Also, you can move a slider in the preferences menu to play "similar" songs more often together when you use random playback.

Re:Why no album discount? (1)

Rogue Pat (749565) | more than 6 years ago | (#22951722)

As an aside, I'd appreciate iTunes letting me easily select blocks of music I could keep in the same order,
Can't you achieve this with Gapless playback?

Outrageous! (0, Redundant)

slcdb (317433) | more than 6 years ago | (#22951150)

For the music industry, there is a dark side to Apple's ascension to the top of the charts. Buying patterns for digital downloads are different, as customers are far more likely to cherry pick a favorite track or two from an album than purchase the whole thing.

Gasp! Heaven forbid that companies might actually give customers what they want! It's an OUTRAGE!!!

Sue Different (0, Flamebait)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#22951182)

Since Apple is the #1 music retailer, and the music biz is always the most copycat, fad-driven biz, they've got to start suing more of their customers.

They don't want the cool kids at the RIAA to think they're lame.

What will be the first Apple lawsuit crusade? DRM violation? iPod hacking? Or something really creative?

So... Who do I hate now? (1)

AioKits (1235070) | more than 6 years ago | (#22951214)

In all seriousness, I do like iTunes. I own an iPod touch, but rarely purchased things from iTunes, at first. I own enough CDs that I can pick and choose from them to fill the lil bugger, but iTunes does tap into one thing well enough, impulse buys. Sometimes I hear a song, I love it, but I don't want to go buy the CD. So this is where iTunes is making a killing on me and taking my cash. I find the song, see I can sample the other songs buy the artist. A lot of my iTunes purchases have been single songs where I did not buy the entire album.

Now that they're creeping up in position as a distributer, I hope to see more stuff on there I usually buy in CD form. Anime soundtracks for example. If Apple started putting those up there it would bankrupt me. That and I have a hard time finding a lot of/most of the aritsts on Nuclear Blast USA http://www.nuclearblastusa.com/nb/v2/ [nuclearblastusa.com] on there. Oh well, here's to hoping I don't get screwed later cause I didn't put those apple stickers they gave me on anything.

Re:So... Who do I hate now? (1)

NekSnappa (803141) | more than 6 years ago | (#22952050)

You hit the nail on the head with you impulse buy comment. Most of the music I listen to I can't get at Wal-Mart or Best Buy. I could order the discs direct from the artist, but most of the time it's easier to just grab it right then from iTMS.

I haven't tried Amazons download service yet, so I don't know how well this would serve this purpose. But iTMS has a lot of the off the beaten path stuff I like.

mp3fiesta.com?? (1)

Iberian (533067) | more than 6 years ago | (#22951232)

If nothing else other than curiosity wonder where mp3fiesta would rank. Given the .10 cents a song price one could download 10 songs for the price of one off iTunes. Not sure how my LP's that equates to, but I am sure the RIAA is trying to hatch a plan to go back to LP's since they aren't as easy to rip to a PC as a CD is.

Sucks for the labels (1)

macslas'hole (1173441) | more than 6 years ago | (#22951258)

Wow, life must really suck for the record labels. In addition to hating their customers [wikipedia.org] , they hate their biggest retailer.

In other news [wired.com] (which I am surprised hasn't been submitted yet), Apple is suing NYC over the use of an apple in a marketing campaign. I was expecting to see a thousand posts about litiganous Apple being at it again, and another thousand posts about the need to defend one's trademarks. Apple must have half a dozen people whose job it is to find and fight these kinds of things. Win or lose, it doesn't matter. It's the fighting that counts. And what would be the consequences if they didn't?

No, Apple is now the #1 US Recording Retailer (1)

brre (596949) | more than 6 years ago | (#22951434)

Here's how to tell which is which.

If the goal is to make it the same every time it's played, it's a recording.

If the goal is to make it different every time it's played, it's music.

A return of the concept album? (1)

sesshomaru (173381) | more than 6 years ago | (#22951556)

Maybe this will lead to a return of the concept album. In other words and album where all the songs are actually related and designed to tell a single story. Well, maybe not.

I compare it to TV, where I think maybe the reason why serials are more popular nowadays is because there is so little time left for the story after the commercial that shows that are just one big long story (like Lost or Heroes) make more sense than trying to do a simple hour long drama.

If I were in the music industry, I'd be doing research on the buying patterns of people who like to buy songs from musicals. Do they buy just one song, or the whole soundtrack?

Well, duh (1)

Pope (17780) | more than 6 years ago | (#22951604)

Buying patterns for digital downloads are different, as customers are far more likely to cherry pick a favorite track or two from an album than purchase the whole thing
Isn't that the whole figgin' point? If you know there's only 1 or 2 tracks you want from an album, the absence of cheap singles like back in the vinyl days makes digital the clear winner.

CD singles were a joke: when albums were $8.99, a 45 was $1 to $1.49, and gave you the hit and generally a non-album B-side. When a CD album is $15.99, that $5.99 CD "single" is a rip-off.

Good Article (1)

His Shadow (689816) | more than 6 years ago | (#22951624)

The freetards can now take their cue to whine incessantly about the least restrictive DRM scheme on the planet. And even tho Apple was forced to devise DRM because of the labels, the Microsofties can rant about Apple being the "new Microsft". Bous points if somone repeatedly claims that a product and service tied to a hardware device that attained it's market share purely on merit somehow constitutes an illegal monopoly.

Oh noes. Meanwhile... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22951640)

Most distros of Linux can't even play MP3s by default. Just saying...

Apple Computer becomes Apple Records? (1)

The Assistant (1162547) | more than 6 years ago | (#22951684)

Amazing! At one point, it sounded like Apple Computer was trying to catch a ride name wise off of Apple Records. Now, they ARE Apple Records!!!!! (Sort of)

How about the little guys? (1)

hearjapan (982901) | more than 6 years ago | (#22951822)

You could always try something different like Japanese music. Hearjapan (.com) has loads of Japanese music non-drm. Really great artistic shit, anyways, check it out if you have the time.

Prosumer Tastes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22952184)

Buying patterns for digital downloads are different, as customers are far more likely to cherry pick a favorite track or two from an album than purchase the whole thing.


Oh My God, people only want to pay for the good music and don't care about the drek!

What are they doing?!? This could mean the end of crappy filler^H^H^H^Hartistic music that packs every disk since the invention of the gramophone.

As far as the comments here about 'freetards vs. drm,'remember that Apple is expert at slickly selling locked in platforms. Consumer Sheep will bend over for anything as long as it matches their shoes. Once they buy new shoes (i.e. the marker moves on) be prepared for the consumer revolt.

As far as Wal-Mart wanting $9.72 CDs, that is not about loss-leaders and getting people into the isles to buy that $30 premium collections. Wal-Mart since the Walton's left has all been about the razor-thin margin with huge volume business. Stuff sold by Wal-Mart almost defines commodity. And who doesn't want the Commiditization of the music biz? (*Cough* *Cough* EMISonyRIAA)

Not shopping even with gift cards (1)

LoudMusic (199347) | more than 6 years ago | (#22952262)

I have about $140(USD) left in iTunes gift cards and I'm not even buying stuff from Apple. All told I've spent perhaps $35 buying music for my gifted iPod.

For a guy self nicknamed LoudMusic you'd think I'd be more into music technology, but I just don't get it. I own an iPod and I don't use it.

For all of you griping about Apple's DRM (4, Insightful)

NiceGeek (126629) | more than 6 years ago | (#22952276)

Have you heard of iTunes Plus? No? Then investigate it and then kindly STFU.
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