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New APPLE Music Download Service Coming


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#1 of 60 Patrick Larkin

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Posted March 05 2003 - 02:11 AM

LA Times "Labels Think Apple Has Perfect Pitch" has the article.

Biggest points:

* Apple has a secure system that has signed on 5 major record companies. (Sony,Vivendi,BMG,AOLTW, and EMI)
* The service will offer music in the AAC (Advanced Audio Codec) format, not mp3.
* Service will be integrated into iTunes and be available only on Macs.

#2 of 60 BrianB

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Posted March 05 2003 - 02:26 AM

I think I'll stick to emusic.com.
high resolution ipod featuring dlp hd programming is the best, almost as good as playstation 2 with wega windows media on a super cd! ps2 and tivo do dolby tv with broadband hdtv!

#3 of 60 MickeS

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Posted March 05 2003 - 02:32 AM

I don't understand why this would be any better than existing payservices. You' can't play the songs on more than one computer, and if you want the ability to burn to a CD or copy to a portable device you'll have to pay an estimated $1/song.

Maybe it's just that Mac users are happy they'll finally get SOMETHING. Posted Image
/Mike

#4 of 60 BrianB

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Posted March 05 2003 - 02:52 AM

Exactly. I'd love to see a firm price on it.

With emusic, I get as many downloads as I like for a flat rate, they're not tied to one machine, they're regular mp3s & most importantly, it features the music I like - lots of indie, lots of dance, lots of "alternative" labels. Lots of jazz too if you like that kind of thing Posted Image

Of course, I have a PC, so it's not aimed at me.
high resolution ipod featuring dlp hd programming is the best, almost as good as playstation 2 with wega windows media on a super cd! ps2 and tivo do dolby tv with broadband hdtv!

#5 of 60 Patrick Larkin

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Posted March 05 2003 - 05:58 AM

I think the security of the system may yield a larger selection of music. Plus, its an integrated system. iTunes/iPod/etc.

#6 of 60 Camp

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Posted March 05 2003 - 08:10 AM

Nice to see AAC being put to use (finally).

I don't quite understand these services. Are they really making money?

BrianB, can I ask what you pay a month for the service you use? What "freedoms" do you have with the music you download? Is there a limit to the amount you can download?

The free alternatives seem much easier -even if they are hit and miss.

#7 of 60 BrianB

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Posted March 05 2003 - 08:30 AM

I use eMusic.

$9.99 a month, with "unlimited" downloads - people have been kicked off it for abusing it, but in practical terms, there's no limits. The files are regular mp3 format with no copy protection - I can burn them to CD, I can copy them to my minidisc player for listening to etc with zero hassles. My account is not tied to one particular machine, and neither are the files - I'm listening to the new Pigface album right now at work which I grabbed at home last night for example.

The one downside is the mp3s are all fixed rate of 128k - I'd prefer them to be higher & they have plans to move to 192 later this year.

They're owned by Vivendi Universal USA, and claim to have over 70,000 paying subscribers.

Selection wise, they claim to have over 250,000 songs from over 900 labels. The majority of those are smaller independent labels - that's their strength to me & what makes it more appealing than the likes of PressPlay or even Kazaa et al. They have bunches & bunches of less well known bands as well as big names on the indie/electronic scene. For instance - they've got almost all the Invisible Records catalogue which is a big deal to me. They have huge huge amounts of electronica, another big deal to me. Apparently their Jazz is really good too, but I can't imagine the jazz fans on here would be interested at 128k. There's a lot of Motown/Stax stuff on it too, thanks to UMG.

To get a feel, I'd spend some time browsing the top downloads for each genre section you're interested in.

You can download tracks individually, or you can grab whole albums in one sweep through their own download manager - they also support the likes of Music Match & open source replacements such as Zinf. There's Mac/Linux support too. The mp3s are plain regular mp3s playable by any player.

One gotcha: you can only download one thing at one time.


Why did I sub vs just grabbing stuff from Kazaa? Convience, choice & keeping a promise. I've grabbed plenty from Kazaa/Napster, but despite the amount available, a lot of stuff still isn't there & a lot of it is atrociously catalogued. With eMusic (and the other pay services), I get a huge selection that's organised, available 24hrs & legal. And I get a lot of music that I'd never seen on Kazaa & likely never would.

Plus I always said I'd be willing to pay for such a service if done right. To me, eMusic is as close as I've found. You can sign up for a 'free' trial - 50 downloads, cancel within 14 days kind of thing.
high resolution ipod featuring dlp hd programming is the best, almost as good as playstation 2 with wega windows media on a super cd! ps2 and tivo do dolby tv with broadband hdtv!

#8 of 60 MickeS

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Posted March 05 2003 - 08:48 AM

Brian, thanks for the tip about eMusic! I looked for Mordbid Angel on there, since I was actually about to go out and buy "Formulas fatal to the flesh", and they have it. Posted Image Too bad there's a lot of the other stuff they don't have (similar to how it was with other artists I searched for, only a few albums mostly). But $10 is definitely worth it to get this album as well as a bunch more I already found on there that I want. I don't care too much about the sound quality either, so this is great. Posted Image

Oh, and sorry for the thread hijacking. To get back on track, I think the only way a music service such as this could be a real alternative to CD would be if prices were MUCH lower (like $5 / CD) and the whole process was MUCH easier than it is today. Maybe Apple has something the other services don't have (I don't see these other services as being any less secure than Apple's system?), but according to the article it seemed like more of the same. Good luck though! Posted Image

/Mike
/Mike

#9 of 60 BrianB

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Posted March 05 2003 - 08:52 AM

I suggest you go for the trial, Micke, ensure that 128k is good enough for your ears...
high resolution ipod featuring dlp hd programming is the best, almost as good as playstation 2 with wega windows media on a super cd! ps2 and tivo do dolby tv with broadband hdtv!

#10 of 60 David Lawson

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Posted March 05 2003 - 12:54 PM

I see a ton of stuff in the eMusic "Indie" section alone I'd love to have, but 128K is a killer. I've been re-encoding all of my albums at 256K VBR because the compression at 128K and/or 160K became more and more noticeable, even on my Kenwood in-dash. Once the 192K becomes a reality, I'm in.
He obviously misinterpreted what it means to "be bullish."

#11 of 60 MickeS

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Posted March 05 2003 - 02:49 PM

128k sounds fine to me. That's how I have most of my own MP3 files encoded.

What is AAC?
/Mike

#12 of 60 Chris Farmer

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Posted March 05 2003 - 04:37 PM

AAC is short for Advanced Audioc Codec (or Coding, I've heard both), and basically is the audio component in the MPEG-4. From what I've heard (not from personal experience) it's aimed at greater fidelity at high bit rates, which means that at lower bit rates, say 64 kbps, it doesn't stack up to WMA, but can get darn near CD sound at 128 kbps.

#13 of 60 Patrick Larkin

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Posted March 06 2003 - 01:55 AM

Apple apparently has a lot of big players on board. I'd expect the selection to be better than eMusic. for example, I searched eMusic for the following:

wilco, frank zappa, radiohead, liz phair, lou reed, coldplay, elvis costello and found exactly ONE title - an unofficial Frank Zappa release. true, i can probably find a lot of indie stuff but you need to have a decent selection of non-indies as well.

As for ease of use, you know Apple will come through on that one.

AAC - Apple has a page on it here. I expect AAC to become very popular. Apple is pretty accurate in leading the way on new technology.

#14 of 60 Thomas Newton

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Posted March 06 2003 - 03:33 AM

Quote:
secure system

no sale

#15 of 60 Camp

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Posted March 06 2003 - 03:37 AM

Certainly one can expect the new versions of iPod and iTunes to have AAC built-in. Rumors of these updates have been circulating for some time.

#16 of 60 Craig F

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Posted March 08 2003 - 04:33 PM

Quote:
From what I've heard (not from personal experience) it's aimed at greater fidelity at high bit rates, which means that at lower bit rates, say 64 kbps, it doesn't stack up to WMA, but can get darn near CD sound at 128 kbps
The source you heard this from is VERY misinformed. AAC is the best lossy Codec to date, 96K AAC beats 128K MP3. Although I have not seen any comparisons of WMA v9 yet, AAC has beaten out WMA v8. But I should mention Apple's version of it is one of the worst as is their MP3 codec.

#17 of 60 Shane D

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Posted March 09 2003 - 09:38 AM

craig, where do you base your comment that apples version is the worst along with their mp3 codec?

#18 of 60 Craig F

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Posted March 13 2003 - 09:14 AM

Quote:
craig, where do you base your comment that apples version is the worst along with their mp3 codec?
I was researching info about a year ago. I heard the comments about Apple's codecs from at least 5 different sources. If memory serves me correctly they were called "The Sound Design" codecs. I don't know if this is Apple's own code or if they licenced them from another company. Anyway, these codecs are not licensed from the "official" sources, but someone "wrote their own version". While this makes them cheaper, they fall short on quality.

#19 of 60 Shane D

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Posted March 14 2003 - 02:01 AM

actually i believe thier mp3 codec is licensed right from the people who invented it. so i think that info is a little false.

now as far as itunes go, they didn't write that program from the ground up, it was bought from a guy that made a program called soundjam, which was, and still is far superior to itunes. but since the owner sold it to apple, soundjam was slowly killed.

#20 of 60 Camp

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Posted March 14 2003 - 02:23 AM

I agree with Shane, there is no difference between an Apple mp3 and anyone elses.

As far as the guy who heard poor things about AAC, I'm not too surprised. While Craig is correct that AAC ought to be among the best lossy codecs in terms of size/quality there really haven't been any well developed encoders or players until very recently. Perhaps the most mature of these is the plug-in for Nero but even that isn't quite ready for prime time.





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