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Digital Music Services

Discussion in 'Computers' started by Wayde_R, Jul 13, 2006.

  1. Wayde_R

    Wayde_R Well-Known Member

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    I'm fishing for opinions here.

    Does anyone use an online subscriber music service? You know, like Napster or Yahoo Music?

    Does anyone have any opinion as to whether they like them or not? I am wondering about that whole subscriber paradigm. The classic opinion is that people like buy music not subscribe. Just wondering if there anyone who does subscribe and likes it?

    If you are a customer what could digital online music services do better? If you're not a subscriber what could they do for you that would make you more likely to join them?

    Granted they could be cheaper and not plague you with a DRM.

    I think they're limited to a 128bit rate too, which is bad. Does anyone know if you can get greater than 128bit mp3 (WMA) from those things?

    Thanks
     
  2. Kimmo Jaskari

    Kimmo Jaskari Well-Known Member

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    You said it all there, really. As long as there is DRM and the cost is high, I won't be buying music online, especially as the quality is iffy.

    I certainly won't be paying to subscribe for a given time only to lose access to the music if I stop paying. That's great for the record companies, sure, but what's in it for me?

    I rarely buy music these days in any case, but if I do I'll just fork over for the CD and then rip/encode the music to my own specifications. Considering the quality of new stuff being released from the major labels especially, though, the need to buy music keeps going down for me. Ever since the US congress sold out everybody except the middlemen when they deregulated radio in 96 things have been going down the toilet at an accelerating pace when it comes to mainstream music, imho...
     
  3. Will_B

    Will_B Well-Known Member

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    When/if lossless formats like flac become standard I'd consider it. But I won't buy mp3s or other reduced-quality copies. I already lived through an era of reduced quality (the era of audio cassette). Why regress?
     
  4. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Well-Known Member

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    Answer: $$

    $1 for compressed audio is much better than paying $10-$12 for the CD (for only one song).

    As it stands, I have about 368 downloaded songs. My cost = $368

    If I were to buy those songs on CD's; My cost = $3,680


    See why I don't mind low quality music [​IMG]
     
  5. Dave Scarpa

    Dave Scarpa Well-Known Member

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    Wayde I'm sure you'll get alot of opinion and alot will be negative because they hate DRM. I subscribe to Napster to Go and I like it quite a bit. I even picked up the offer they have for a $50 1GB Flash Player now if you sub for a year. I like how I have unlimited music at your disposal and can just refill the Player at your disposal. Napsters music is at a 192 bitrate and sounds pretty nice. Even if you leave the service the music just goes inactive but stays on your drive, and resubbing renews the licenses and you get the ability to play them back. I've discovered alot of new groups and music this way. My Current discovery an Alt-Country group called the Old 97's. I never would of heard them if not for Napster, now they are one of my favs.
     
  6. Kimmo Jaskari

    Kimmo Jaskari Well-Known Member

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    Frankly, when it comes to music piracy is almost a good thing these days. The legal online choices range from bad to really bad, and none of them compensate the artists nearly well enough. It all goes to the middlemen (as indeed it has for the past 50 years in an ever-increasing degree.)

    Buying major label music is only good for the labels - not the consumers, not the musicians. Especially since 96 when the US congress deregulated radio... now we have musicians, with no choice but to do their thing and get paid virtually nothing in one end and consumers with very little real choice in the other end. In the middle we have major labels, who make tons of money off the musicians, "independent" promotors who make tons of money off the record labels and finally Clearchannel who owns virtually all the US radio stations, who make tons of money off the labels via the "indies". Of course, since the labels have to pay through the nose for any song that goes on the air, they just go for regurgitated variants of what has sold before, and consumers thus get to listen to more and more junk. Is it any wonder CD sales are in the toilet?

    http://downhillbattle.org
     
  7. Darryl

    Darryl Well-Known Member

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    I've been a Napster subscriber for about 18 months now. I've also got a limited Rhapsody account that came with my broadband subscription, but I've only used it a few times. To me the sound quality is pretty good with both services, only rarely worse than CD to my ears. The idea of renting instead of buying music doesn't bother me in the least, and in fact I prefer it.

    The biggest positive is obviously the huge collection of music you have access to. I love to explore. With a subscription you can check out as much music as you care to with no risk. If you aren't thrilled with an album you thought you'd really like, so what, you aren't out any additional money. And you've got the freedom to listen to a lot of musical history that may not be worth paying for by itself. For example, I recently listened to some bands that James Hetfield of Metallica listed as influences. It was a good listen, but it's not music I would go out and buy. I also like Napster's integration with Windows Media Player, and their remote-control friendly MCE plugin. I don't think Rhapsody has either.

    Unfortunately there is a lot more missing music than you might think. A lot of bands aren't available, some are missing half their catalog, and others have most of their best songs only available for permanent purchase. If you were to pick some random song you heard on the radio, chances are it IS available on both Napster and Rhapsody, but this is definitely not guaranteed. I'd guess that about 25% of what you hear on the radio isn't available via subscription, and about half of that is not available for purchase either.

    My recommendation is to try Napster's free service. You can listen to any song up to 5 times for free. Depending on how you plan to use the service, that may be enough to help you decide whether Napster is for you. You won't be able to put music on a portable player, and you won't be able to listen to music offline (download instead of stream), so if you plan to make heavy use of those features the free version might not do much for you.
     
  8. Bryan X

    Bryan X Well-Known Member

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    I use iTunes and wouldn't think of going back to CDs. To me, the difference in quality is a non-issue.

    I listen to my music either 1) on the computer, 2) in the car, 3) while riding my bike, or 4) while playing video games. In those environments, hi-fidelity isn't important to me. The only time I listen through my HT setup is streaming the music through my Xbox360 while playing games. Again, hardly an environment where music fidelity is important.

    Listening to music for me is background entertainment. For that purpose, online downloads are perfect.
     
  9. Kimmo Jaskari

    Kimmo Jaskari Well-Known Member

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    I'm in a bit of a quandary over iTunes, really. On the one hand, buying full CD's is not so good, because there usually is one or two good songs on one and a lot of filler nobody wants. On the other hand, artists are being ripped off even worse on iTunes than they are when it comes to CD sales.

    In a well-thought out and reasoned article online, the end result for the artist became $0.31 cents per song if people bought the CD, instead of $0.045 per song from iTunes.

    $0.045 per song... out of every $0.99 a song costs. That's pretty scary.

    I wish someone from the RIAA would try to convince me that to buy my music is the only way because it supports the artist. Surely any jury would accept that as total justification for a swift right cross or maybe an uppercut? [​IMG]
     
  10. Scott L

    Scott L Well-Known Member

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    I have a love/hate relationship with iTunes. It's just SOOO easy to double click a song you like and nab it for $.99. It's also nice that it has full, credible tagging with album art.

    What's not nice is downloading Bohemian Rhapsody and listening to the compression coming to you at 128kbps. I just downloaded Josh Kelley's new single (Pop Game) and was really disappointed in quality. Sometimes it's good and I have no problems at all, other times it's just depressing.

    I wish iTunes would adopt many of the quality practices of allofmp3.com. If we could get that in legal form we'd be set!
     
  11. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Well-Known Member

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    I wish iTunes would have two options for downloading. 1 download is the $0.99 128k AAC and then provide a more expensive download that is at a better quality.

    The thing I love about iTunes is, I tend to buy a lot of music "Spur of the moment" - Most of my iTunes pruchases are when I'm sitting at home and I hear a song and I'm like "Oooo! I want that" - If I had to wait to buy it at the store (or wait for Amazon to ship it), I probably wouldn't want the song by the end of the day.

    So in my case, that $0.045 that the artist gets is better than the "No Sale" if it weren't for instant download.

    Too bad we couldn't instantly download uncompressed WAV files. [​IMG]
     
  12. BrianB

    BrianB Well-Known Member

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    That figure is based on one figure from a lawsuit between Sony & the Alman Brothers. I know people with music on iTunes & they're getting more than that per track.
     
  13. Gabriel.H

    Gabriel.H Well-Known Member

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    If you're going for quality allofmp3 dot com has almost every format including lossless ones and you can choose the bit-rates, but if you're a little paranoid about it being a russian mp3 site that is probably not all that legal then of the mainstream ones that I tried (itunes and yahoo music unlimited) yahoo, imo, is the better one, their format is wma at a bit rate of 192, good selection, and with an 8.99$ subscription you can listen to any song without buying it....which works out great for me since I listen to songs on my computer....for those who want it bad enough....there are applications that can remove wma's drm....I'm pretty sure I'm not allowed to specify which program, but I've found a good one by googling.
     
  14. Kimmo Jaskari

    Kimmo Jaskari Well-Known Member

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    That's great to hear, but I suspect that out of every 99 cent sale, the artist still doesn't get the lions share as he/she deserves. Of course, if they managed to bypass the major labels and cut a better deal with iTunes then of course they may be making almost decent money, one can only hope.
     
  15. BrianB

    BrianB Well-Known Member

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    Then he/she needs to pay for their own recordings & negotiate their own deals with Apple/iTunes.
     
  16. Thomas Newton

    Thomas Newton Well-Known Member

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    Music artists do pay for their own recordings. It works something like this:

    1. The record company "gives" the artist money (an "advance").

    2. The artist must pay the cost of producing the album out of the advance. Sometimes this includes expensive extras (e.g., fancy music videos) that the artist doesn't want, but the record company does.

    3. The artist must also hand over the recording copyright. Often the artist keeps the mechanical copyrights for any songs he/she writes, but has to give the record company a reduced-royalty or no-royalty deal on them.

    4. The record company "recoups" the advance out of the artist's royalties -- generally 15% or less. If the album doesn't recoup the advance, the record company applies the balance to all future albums. If the album recoups the advance, the record company keeps the recording copyright anyway.

    If mortgages worked like this, you could pay on time every month for the full length of the loan, and the bank would keep the house anyway. And all the banks in town would be offering the same great "deal".
     
  17. BrianB

    BrianB Well-Known Member

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    I know all that, Thomas, and I don't disagree with any of it. However it doesn't get around the fact that the artist willingly signed with a label to fund the production of their music, and the label deserves to make money because of that. The hows & whys over the contracts, amounts, and how screwed over artists are by those contracts are irrelevant to this discussion & have been hashed over many, many times on this forum. It still doesn't affect the fact that the label deserves to make a profit too.
     
  18. Kimmo Jaskari

    Kimmo Jaskari Well-Known Member

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    The operative part of your sentence being "make a profit too", which assumes that most musicians make a profit worth mentioning.
     
  19. PatrickMiller

    PatrickMiller Active Member

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    What is DRM?
     
  20. BrianB

    BrianB Well-Known Member

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    "Digital Rights Management" - basically various forms of copy protection to prevent you from copying the music you've downloaded, or from playing it on 'unlicenced' hardware, e.g. iTunes store bought songs won't play on non iPods.
     

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