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Apple sells more than 1 million songs


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#41 of 67 Sathyan

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Posted May 06 2003 - 12:14 PM

Quote:
I'll say this: if the record companies ever drop the prices of CD's to a regular everyday price of $10 (LP's average price in 1983: $8) and illegal downloading continues at the same pace I will then believe a lot of people are simply common thieves. So many say they download to "teach the recording industry a lesson" but if they continue when music is only ten bucks (for a disc that essentially lasts a lifetime) then they are simply two-faced jerks & all their clever rationalizing is just a cover for their shallowness & selfishness. That may sound all high and mighty, but there was no way I could phrase this so it sounded "nice"--some things are just plain wrong and can't be sugarcoated.


$10 may still be too much. We'll have to see what the market will bear. Maybe the license fee needs to be separated from media purchase: "get the recording by any means, then go to the artists website and buy the license for $8"
Global prices will need to be implemented. It's the $25-30 import pop CD's that really tick me off.

But the real issue for me is this: When I buy a piece of audio hardware, if it I don't like it I can return it. I can't do that with software. So I'm supposed to make judgements based upon 30 sec. real audio super-compressed streams or the low-fi headphone setups in a record store. I've purchased far too many CD's which have low quality songs, bad recordings, bad mastering, excessive processing, etc. One should be able to return a CD which isn't up to your standards for quality or you don't like it for any reason and get a full refund. Failing that, "previewing" via MP3 or rental is needed. (There are some labels, Chesky, etc., which can be trusted to maintain quality.)

Sathyan


#42 of 67 Jeremy Jones

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Posted May 06 2003 - 02:26 PM

Here's a thought. Apple made a million dollars this week. Now, remember, Apple Music ONLY works with Apple computers, currently 5% of the market. So, if they bring in Windows customers, they stand to make a total of $20 million a week. They say they'll have a windows version out before the end of the year. If they continue on at this rate, they're losing $19 million a week, so I think that Windows version will be here much faster than we think.

Enough math. I'm more surprised than anyone that this took off like it did. Most people I talked to thought 99 cents was too high, like myself. But, some said it sounded great. Of course, none of them have Macs. Could this be the future? Well, I always knew eventually there would be a legal Napster. It was destiny. And for all the possible problems, there is at least one possibility that I am all for. With this setup, we have a new distributor. And it's not the record companies. You see, there is no physical product. Once recorded (which the artist pays for), anyone can convert that master tape to mp3 or aac format. All you need then is a distribution channel. Apple is the distributor. Who does this equation leave out? The record companies and the gestapo-like RIAA!

#43 of 67 MarkHastings

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Posted May 06 2003 - 02:51 PM

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When I buy a piece of audio hardware, if it I don't like it I can return it. I can't do that with software.
I know what you mean, unfortunately you can't make a 'copy' of the audio hardware so it's safe to assume you don't have an illegal copy at home while returning it. Posted Image

#44 of 67 Patrick Taylor

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Posted May 06 2003 - 03:59 PM

Mac user here. The AAC files that Apple offers sound better and are smaller than MP3 files. The AAC files are even from the original masters where available, not just ripped from CD. The songs that I bought do have the artwork with them and it is viewable in iTunes. I too hope the lyrics come with the songs at some point. I don't think the price is too much for individual songs.

PAT

#45 of 67 Joseph S

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Posted May 06 2003 - 05:27 PM

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If they continue on at this rate, they're losing $19 million a week, so I think that Windows version will be here much faster than we think.

That sort of Math doesn't work at Apple. #1 they are getting about 30c per dollar and that doesn't include encoding time/hardware and bandwidth. It also doesn't account for as to why there is no OS X for AMD or Intel. Girder + Harmony Remote + TheaterTek + ZP = very little XP time for me. Posted Image

I'm using this cool $5 shareware now that's called "Synergy," it provides an onscreen song title and coverart with each new track play along with iTunes controls in the Menu bar. Not bad. All my new encodes are going to be 220 AAC, but that won't stop me from picking a few 128 tracks from ITMS.

#46 of 67 BrianB

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Posted May 07 2003 - 12:33 AM

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The AAC files are even from the original masters where available, not just ripped from CD

Got a link to back that up?
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!

#47 of 67 Neil Weinstock

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Posted May 07 2003 - 01:36 AM

Jobs said it during his presentation. I can't seem to find a direct quote, but it is indirectly quoted on several sites which covered the event, including The Register:

Quote:
fact, he said, it's better than CD quality, since Apple has in many cases used original masters to create is song library, rather than ripping a stack of CDs.

Of course, who knows which albums this applies to...

#48 of 67 Brian Perry

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Posted May 07 2003 - 01:58 AM

I am extremely doubtful that Apple is now in the remastering business and is taking the time and spending the money to go back to the original master tapes to make these files "better" than retail CDs.

I'd like to see more details about this...

#49 of 67 RichardDP

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Posted May 07 2003 - 06:32 AM

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I am extremely doubtful that Apple is now in the remastering business and is taking the time and spending the money to go back to the original master tapes to make these files "better" than retail CDs.
So they lied? Is that what you're implying?

Why couldn't Apple have simply given the labels AAC encoders to run their master tracks through? That doesn't seem so hard does it? We don't know which tracks it applies to so we can't make a judgement one way or the other, but I'm fairly certain that Steve wouldn't claim something like that unless they were actually doing it.

#50 of 67 KrisM

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Posted May 07 2003 - 07:24 AM

Quote:
Got a link to back that up?

Brian, I don't have a link but there was an article in my paper today that was taken from Salon.com that said that "some" of the songs are are encoded straight from the masters. The article was quoting Apple's chief executive Steve Jobs.
Jobs also went on to say that those tracks would sound better than the comparable CD. How he figures that is a mystery to me.

Regards
KrisM

#51 of 67 Brian Perry

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Posted May 07 2003 - 07:42 AM

I guess it is possible that a few songs/albums were given special treatment, but it would be insincere of Jobs to make a claim if let's say, 100 out of the 200,000 songs were remastered from the original master tapes specifically for Apple to encode on a lossy format. It doesn't make any sense.

Again, I think we need more details.

#52 of 67 EdR

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Posted May 07 2003 - 08:25 AM

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I am extremely doubtful that Apple is now in the remastering business

To my understanding, this wouldn't be remastering, since that implies you go back one step further to the raw recording and work from that.

What Apple said is that they are going back to the original masters and encoding from those (and I don't believe they said this is the case for everything, only certain releases).

To speak to the larger issues brought up here. I agree with those who think this is the future, to me there's no question of that.

I don't think you can look at the current quality of the end product (namely 128bit AAC files) and say that if this becomes the norm, the quality of music will suffer. This whole thing is in its infancy, that includes the internet itself. That's kind of like looking at the Model A and juding the idea of a car based on that...that was only the first step.

I have no doubt that not only will the size of the pipe increase to the point where downloading an uncompressed HD movie to your house will be commonplace (let alone a puny uncompressed music file), but compression techniques will improve. I think that existing lossless audio compression codecs can achieve 2:1 compression, maybe more. If you add in a sight amount of psychoacoustic compression to that, you could probably get 5:1 and be left with something indistinguishable from the original by human hearing. Again, this is just the beginning, not even a baby-step, wer are only at the crawling stage.

I agree that if buying individual tracks becomes the standard way to buy music that something could get lost. Not only the idea of the 'concept album' where the songs fit together (although I think this is a rare occurence these days); but what about that gem of a track that at first seemed bad? You know the feeling when you suddenly 'get' a track after hearing it several times, and you find yourself loving it where the first time you heard it you thought it was awful? I think that kind of serendipitous discovery could be a rarity.

However, notice that (IIRC) over half of the purchases at the iTunes store were for full-length albums...maybe it's just habit, or maybe people realy do treasure the idea of owning a complete collection of songs as an 'album'.

Going one step further; maybe this could be a really great thing, since buying songs by downloading them removes any restrictions on the length of a collection of songs, an album. The LP was what, 45 minutes? The CD is typically 74 - although you can eek out more. This is an artificial constraint based on technology that will simply go away if the medium is, in effect, unlimited.

#53 of 67 Philip Hamm

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Posted May 07 2003 - 12:07 PM

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To my understanding, this wouldn't be remastering, since that implies you go back one step further to the raw recording and work from that.
No, it does not. Remastering only means going back to the original two track stereo master, not remixing from the original multis. What they're talking about is exactly what remastering is.
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#54 of 67 Thomas Newton

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Posted May 07 2003 - 12:27 PM

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$10 may still be too much. We'll have to see what the market will bear. Maybe the license fee needs to be separated from media purchase: "get the recording by any means, then go to the artists website and buy the license for $8"

I think it quite likely that current prices for prerecorded music are too high, by at least one order of magnitude. This is based not on the value of the music (i.e., total amount of royalties the public is willing to spend on a given work), but on the value of copies.

The record company model of the world is roughly that all copies of music are expensive, prepaid singles or single-album CDs. A sale of a copy is taken as the measure of interest in an artist. Before there were such things as high-density discs (DVDs, high-capacity HDs) and compression, that model had at least a little bit of approximation to the real world. It's a lot less valid now.

Think of a (theoretical) music free market as a perfectly flat, fixed metal sheet, and the copyright-based market as being a movable rubber sheet stretched over it. To extract extra profit, the copyright holder pulls the rubber sheet away from the metal one. However, doing so creates tension (inefficiencies in the economy; openings for outfits such as Napster that, however illegally, provide a better approximation to the shape a real free market would take).

Now - picture the record labels as Wile E. Coyote, the rubber sheet as a set of those Acme Rubber Bands, and the metal sheet as the anchor rock into which the rubber bands will send Wile E. when he "takes off" under the misguided assumption that he's going to have Speedius Speedius for dinner.

Due to DVD and HD and compression and networking technology, the anchor rock has moved -- on its own -- AWAY from Wile E. This being a slightly unreal world (Wile E. lives in a cartoon; record labels, in a monopoly market), the move left Wile E. in the same place. The rubber bands are stretched a lot more. They're ready to propel him into the rock even harder. Wile E.'s reaction? Instead of carefully lowering the tension, he's backing away from the rock in denial, in fear, and in the illusion that he can control the rock. You know what happens next.

Now lots of people are still buying CDs, and lots of people bought expensive tracks at the Apple Store. So maybe things aren't quite at the breaking point yet.

Instead of pushing things to the breaking point, wouldn't it make more sense to take advantage of technology to deliver, e.g., 10x the number of legal copies of music to buyers, in return for, say, a 50% increase in the profits of the record labels and in the total amount of royalties to artists?

#55 of 67 Patrick Taylor

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Posted May 07 2003 - 01:02 PM

Steve Jobs had this to say during the press event launching the new music service: Taken from Macnn.com (although I think they forgot to include a word or something) "some of the sound better than CDs because we went back to the master copies."

I too wish Apple would mention what songs are taken from the "master copies"

PAT

#56 of 67 AndyVX

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Posted May 07 2003 - 03:59 PM

I've glanced through this thread. Just thought I'd put my two cents in. Sorry if something I write has already been mentioned. Posted Image

I for one like the idea of 99 cents per song. I find that with a large majority of the albums I buy nowadays, there are only 4 or 5 songs on them that I really like. So paying $5 for the songs that I actually like seems worth it to me.

One thing I thought about though was this: Make Sure To Backup Your Files Regularily! If you've downloaded a load of songs, and your hard drive suddenly dies - say goodbye to all the money you spent on the MP3's. You're gonna have to pay for and download them all over again.

Hmm, I wonder when this service will be available in Canada...
Andrew

#57 of 67 PS Nystrom

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Posted May 08 2003 - 05:46 AM

For those who wonder who the iTunes Music Store is aimed at, I know who it is: me! I listen to all of my music through iTunes or in my car CD player. Very rarely do I listen to one of my three DVD-A discs. So I guess I don't have much audiophile in me. Then again, neither does most of the world.

It is my interpretation that the iTunes MS is not supposed to replace or even compete with purchasing actual CDs, let alone HiRez stuff. It is supposed to compete with illegal downloading, people who like music the easy way. People who hear a tune on the radio and want it in their home without going to the store, buying a CD, and finding out it's the only good song on the album and never listening to the disc again. In fact, the feature of the store I doubt I'll ever use is purchasing a whole album. If I want an enitre disc I have no problem shelling out the extra dollars for the real deal so I can have a physical copy in my collection for all time.

In the last year I can think of one CD I listened to in my CD player more than once. And that occassion was because the night before I had seen the band in concert and iTunes just wasn't letting me listen to their music as loud and clear as I wanted to. But most of the time my music is played at reasonable levels through my home theater and serves as ambiance to me studying, working or... you know...

So, to sum it all up, hooray for iTunes! I'm happy to pay a buck for a song that to me is equal in quality to everything else I've got in iTunes. I look forward to diversifying my collection with songs from artists I'd be scared to purchase a whole album from. Now when I read a recommendation on HTF or read a great review elsewhere I can sample the music for much less than the $14 it usually takes to invest in an artist.

Pieter

#58 of 67 Brian Perry

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Posted May 08 2003 - 07:29 AM

Andy and Thomas touched on an interesting point--how will insurance companies treat lost or stolen music that was downloaded (and paid for)? Theoretically, you can have thousands of dollars "invested" in your hard drives. Will they be willing to pay for the repurchase of such or will it be incumbent on the owner to keep backups?

#59 of 67 BrianB

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Posted May 08 2003 - 07:54 AM

Quote:
Will they be willing to pay for the repurchase of such or will it be incumbent on the owner to keep backups?

Or Apple could allow you to download again the tracks you've already paid for... It's not like they don't have a record of it...
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!

#60 of 67 MarkHastings

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Posted May 08 2003 - 09:12 AM

Quote:
Will they be willing to pay for the repurchase of such or will it be incumbent on the owner to keep backups
But if you damage a CD (or lose it) you don't get it replaced for free, so I can't see why downloads would be any different.

But as Brian said, maybe there's a way to re-download the song...now I'm interested in finding out.


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