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Amazon one-ups iTunes Plus with MP3 store, exclusive music - Page 2

post #41 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by ecking View Post

Wow this actually looks promising.

What I wonder is what universal gets out of this? I mean they felt they were getting screwed by itunes, so they turn around and sign with amazon and sell tracks for cheaper with no protection? Wtf, why?

Amazon must make no money off this deal. Because I can't see Jobs saying no to those things if that's really what Universal wanted. They must have said "no DRM and cheaper? Sure, but lower price by removing your cut from price, not mine."

Those are the interesting questions, aren't they?

It makes me feel as though Universal is simply trying to take business away from Apple, and is willing to either just break even, or even to lose money for the time they think it might take.

Or, this might be an actual test for them. How would they know, if they sold these on iTunes? Since iTunes is so much bigger than anyone else, they might not learn much from it. But, by going with a new, therefore small service, they can see if it works. If they do good business, then they know the model works.

I'm beginning to think that with the download business more mature, more variable pricing might be a good thingas long as it really is variable, and not just front loaded to raise the average price much.
post #42 of 88
I maintain this is great for us - the consumers. the competition is healthy - if you have a choice for roughly the same quality at a lower price - why not pick the lower price - assuming the delivery process is not onerous - if anything - this should give apple more power to negotiate more favorable rates - since Amazon has just (re) established the floor for 256k downloads.
post #43 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

Those are the interesting questions, aren't they?

It makes me feel as though Universal is simply trying to take business away from Apple, and is willing to either just break even, or even to lose money for the time they think it might take.

Or, this might be an actual test for them. How would they know, if they sold these on iTunes? Since iTunes is so much bigger than anyone else, they might not learn much from it. But, by going with a new, therefore small service, they can see if it works. If they do good business, then they know the model works.

I'm beginning to think that with the download business more mature, more variable pricing might be a good thingas long as it really is variable, and not just front loaded to raise the average price much.

great points. and i won't be buying from amazon. too much agenda in this for me.
post #44 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by onceuponamac View Post

I maintain this is great for us - the consumers. the competition is healthy - if you have a choice for roughly the same quality at a lower price - why not pick the lower price - assuming the delivery process is not onerous - if anything - this should give apple more power to negotiate more favorable rates - since Amazon has just (re) established the floor for 256k downloads.

it is great for consumers - for now.

but vivendi is the media version of a drug pusher. the first one's free, and then you pay up the nose and lose your health in return.

there is clearly and agenda here. universal gains nothing from this.

they are trying to sway the bablance of power that has been good for consumers from apple toward themselves. trying to look like the good guys here in order to get people off itunes and then they will be the pied piper form pinochio who turns kids into donkeys! then you will pay to license the stuff.
post #45 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

Amazon understands your music store is nothing unless it works with the iPod. iTunes needs competition. This will be another example to the record labels that DRM isn't necessary. Looks good to me, I will likely use it.

yet, it is they who insist that Apple use it, despite Jobs' protests.
post #46 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by 9secondko View Post

yet, it is they who insist that Apple use it, despite Jobs' protests.

While, as consumers, we don't like DRM (thought the great mass of them really don't care), I can understand why the content owners do.

The time we live in now is very different for a content owner than it ever was before.

Before, copying wasn't something that drained their coffers. Now it is.

Copyright was enforcable simply because copying was so difficult, and distributing it even harder.

Now it isn't.
post #47 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by 9secondko View Post

it is great for consumers - for now.

but vivendi is the media version of a drug pusher. the first one's free, and then you pay up the nose and lose your health in return.

there is clearly and agenda here. universal gains nothing from this.

they are trying to sway the bablance of power that has been good for consumers from apple toward themselves. trying to look like the good guys here in order to get people off itunes and then they will be the pied piper form pinochio who turns kids into donkeys! then you will pay to license the stuff.

I dunno - based on the history of music pricing - but for the introduction of a new [better] device (such as the cd) the trend in pricing has been downwards. I'm not sure how much consumers have benefited from the decreased cost related to electronic distribution - I doubt (real) prices will ultimately increase.
post #48 of 88
Just my 2 cents: The music from Amazon will end up in iTunes on the Mac and on many PCs, not is not some Amazon made player. So will also end up mainly on iPods and given Apple make most money off iPods not iTunes (I think that is fair to say) I am hoping this really is not going to hurt Apple's profits. It may even sell more iPods.
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post #49 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

Just my 2 cents: The music from Amazon will end up in iTunes on the Mac and on many PCs, not is not some Amazon made player. So will also end up mainly on iPods and given Apple make most money off iPods not iTunes (I think that is fair to say) I am hoping this really is not going to hurt Apple's profits. It may even sell more iPods.

Yes. Amazon is not stupid. They are very well aware that iPods dominatethey sell enough of them.

That's why this might be a success.With the songs syncing to iTunes automatically, as it seems, buying music from them might be about as easy as buying from iTunes itself.

If this works, others might copy it.

So, as you say, this won't hurt iPod sales at all, though it could lessen Apple's dominance in the online content business
post #50 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by TerrinB View Post

Universal's goal is to destroy Apple so it can charge whatever it wants and give you the music in whatever format it wants.

That's one way to look at it.

Another, less dramatic and more rational interpretation would be that Universal wants to be able to dictate how their products are sold, and for how much -- instead of having it decided by Apple.

The nerve!

post #51 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by britwithgoodteeth View Post

That's one way to look at it.

Another, less dramatic and more rational interpretation would be that Universal wants to be able to dictate how their products are sold, and for how much -- instead of having it decided by Apple.

The nerve!


Absolutely correct except the problem is based on past experience, we do not trust Universal (or the other major labels). Because the customer's interest has generally been aligned with Apple's interest with regard to online content, Apple has served to block Universal and the other labels from gouging customers.

Breaking Apple's iTunes dominance is really the only reason we can see as to why Universal is now willing to give up DRM and accept lower prices for six months. And in truth, this is the only avenue for them to do so.
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post #52 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by mark2005 View Post

Absolutely correct except the problem is based on past experience, we do not trust Universal (or the other major labels). Because the customer's interest has generally been aligned with Apple's interest with regard to online content, Apple has served to block Universal and the other labels from gouging customers.

Breaking Apple's iTunes dominance is really the only reason we can see as to why Universal is now willing to give up DRM and accept lower prices for six months. And in truth, this is the only avenue for them to do so.

You're correct.

We'll have to see how this plays out during the "trial" time period.

The question is: What happens afterward? If this does well, as it might, then what?

Will they be forced into keeping the same pricing, which seems to be more than fair? Will they then ty to raise prices a bit for another 6 months? Will they try to continue negotiations with Apple?

There are a lot of variables. I can't do more than to start listing them!
post #53 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by slughead View Post

You are wrong. 256Mp3 is nearly indistinguishable from 256AAC. It certainly isn't distinguishable with human ears, at any rate.

128 AAC is probably somewhere around 160mp3 w/vbr.

By ANY measure, 128AAC is crap compared to 256Mp3. It is NOT a tie. Just listen on a good sound system (note:not crap computer speakers or car stereo). Most people can tell really easily. I can easily tell between 128AAC and 192Mp3, I'm trained to hear digital sound errors though.

Edit: I verified that Amazon does indeed use 256--another site said so

My understand and experience is that 128AAC is supposed to be equivalent to 256MP3.

128mp3 sounds poor to me, 192mp3 is ok, 256mp3 sounds pretty good except for a few passages that even higher bitrates may not help. The passage was the very quiet sound of rain hitting metal, making very quiet high pitched ringing in complex rhythm. The sound became all muddled. I haven't tested it with AAC.

I haven't done exhaustive testing with AAC, but I've been amazed how good 64AAC sounds. 64mp3 is unlistenable, its like an AM radio.

Its probably that I've never heard the artifacts that AAC introduces to the music so I don't recognize them. Once I hear it, I'm sure I'd notice it more. But so far I'm very impressed with AAC at any bitrate over mp3.
post #54 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by onceuponamac View Post

I did download (purchased) from both sites and I can not discern a difference in the audio quality of either track - they sound identical to me.

What equipment were you using to make your comparison. It would be much harder to notice any difference on a pair of earbuds than if your iPod was hooked up to a decent AV Receiver.

Please let us know how you did your comparison testing, and also on what music?

Thanks.
post #55 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by dm3 View Post

My understand and experience is that 128AAC is supposed to be equivalent to 256MP3.


No, that's way too much of a bitrate differential. Apple seems to believe that 128kpbs AAC is more equivalent to 160kpbs MP3 (or is perhaps a bit better). From Apple Support:


AAC-encoded files sound as good as or better than MP3 files encoded at the same or even a higher bit rate.

For example, a 128-kilobit-per-second (kbit/s) AAC file should sound as good as or better than a 160 kbit/s MP3 file.


http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=93013


I remember another Apple doc I checked out a couple of years back, that stated that AAC was roughly equivalent in quality to MP3s recorded at a 30% higher bitrate than AAC files (in other words, 100 kpbs AAC = 130 kpbs MP3)... haven't been able to hunt it down, though.

In any case, I know plenty of audiophiles, and none of them believe that 128 kpbs AAC = 256 kbps MP3. AAC is better, but not to that extent.



Edit- And, to be fair, Amazon is using VBR, which is a help to quality. iTS does not, so far.

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post #56 of 88
Interesting. Amazon is offering a free download to test their site. The band's name: The Apples. Go to section #4 http://www.amazon.com/gp/dmusic/help...713832-1680115
post #57 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by alansky View Post

First of all, Amazon may claim that more than half of their tracks cost $.89, but a little browsing through the site suggests that most tracks by well-known artists are $.99 and up! Many longer tracks are priced at $1.94 or even $3.87.

You mean all those longer tracks that iTunes only sells as album-only, thus they aren't .99 cents on iTunes.

For example the song "Echoes" from Pink Floyd's "Meddle" album:

iTunes Price: Album Only (effectively $7.99, the price of the album)
Amazon MP3 Price: $3.87 (Album price $7.99)

How is what the article stated any different than all the times that iTunes prices have been listed as 99 cents per song and 9.99 for albums. Both of which are complete BS. iTunes song prices are 99 cents for DRM short songs, $1.29 for non-DRM short songs, and the price of the album for longer songs (but as a bonus you get the rest of the album for free). Likewise, most iTunes albums are 9.99, but lots of albums are more and some are less.

What's better for the consumer? Having the option to buy the longer song at a higher price without needing to buy the whole album or being forced to buy the whole album for one song?

Sorry, this may be AppleInsider, but you seem to think this site's name should be "Kiss Apple's A** at Every Opportunity".
post #58 of 88
I don't know if it's been covered, but what about international users? Is this deal for ALL potential customers? Or is it only available in one region?
post #59 of 88
"One-ups" iTunes? That's a good one.

Check out their amazing Depeche Mode selection for example.

post #60 of 88
I see this more as an attempt to force Apple into a variable price model, And I agree if other providers can place songs into itunes and then you can sync them to you Ipod, why do you care where you buy the songs. This is nothing new there were P2P software out there that would dump mp3s directly into itunes, I just wonder why it took so long for someone else to come up with the idea.

Anyway, if people are attracted to Amazon due to the 89 cents songs and you can bet if record labels can get a higher price for a new song on Amazon and not alienate ipod users you can also bet those new songs will show up on Amazon a lot sooner than Itunes.

The Battle has begun folks, stand back and watch the flames.
post #61 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by dm3 View Post

My understand and experience is that 128AAC is supposed to be equivalent to 256MP3.

128mp3 sounds poor to me, 192mp3 is ok, 256mp3 sounds pretty good except for a few passages that even higher bitrates may not help. The passage was the very quiet sound of rain hitting metal, making very quiet high pitched ringing in complex rhythm. The sound became all muddled. I haven't tested it with AAC.

I haven't done exhaustive testing with AAC, but I've been amazed how good 64AAC sounds. 64mp3 is unlistenable, its like an AM radio.

Its probably that I've never heard the artifacts that AAC introduces to the music so I don't recognize them. Once I hear it, I'm sure I'd notice it more. But so far I'm very impressed with AAC at any bitrate over mp3.

192 CBR AAC is about equivelant to 256 CBR MP3.

But, there have been advances in MP3 encoding the past year and a half, so it's possible Amazon is using the new encoding. That would make MP3 CBR equal to AAC CBR, and MP3 VBR better than equal bitrate AAC CBR.
post #62 of 88
You don't trust Universal, yet your trust apple. Boy, you're one misguided soul.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mark2005 View Post

Absolutely correct except the problem is based on past experience, we do not trust Universal (or the other major labels). Because the customer's interest has generally been aligned with Apple's interest with regard to online content, Apple has served to block Universal and the other labels from gouging customers.

Breaking Apple's iTunes dominance is really the only reason we can see as to why Universal is now willing to give up DRM and accept lower prices for six months. And in truth, this is the only avenue for them to do so.
post #63 of 88
post #64 of 88
Yeah baby, count me in for lower prices. Let the price war begin.
post #65 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by gumashow View Post

Interesting. Amazon is offering a free download to test their site. The band's name: The Apples. Go to section #4 http://www.amazon.com/gp/dmusic/help...713832-1680115

The name of the band is "The Apples in Stereo". Is it still that interesting to you?
post #66 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by palegolas View Post

I don't know if it's been covered, but what about international users? Is this deal for ALL potential customers? Or is it only available in one region?

Try buying a song/album and let us know.

And here would be an excellent start :

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...284244-1020939

http://www.amazon.com/Herb-Alpert-Pr...071252-0684143

http://www.amazon.com/Look-Around/dp...071252-0684143

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post #67 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by britwithgoodteeth View Post

The name of the band is "The Apples in Stereo". Is it still that interesting to you?

Ironic, isn't it? I think the 'decider' at Amazon had a sense of humor.

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post #68 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackSummerNight View Post

You don't trust Universal, yet your trust apple. Boy, you're one misguided soul.


It makes sense to trust Apple more than Universal in this case. Why? Well, because:

1. Apple doesn't make most of its money off of the music... it makes it off the sale of iPods.

2. Given the above, Apple has good reason to have a lot of content available at a decent price for said iPods.

3. Therefore, Apple is incentivized to keep music (and TV, and movie) dload prices reasonable. Universal is not. It's primary profit avenue is to have prices for content be as high as the market can possibly sustain.


Get it now?


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post #69 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by britwithgoodteeth View Post

I sincerely suggest that you stop being such a candy-ass.

Who asked you??? Somebody must have taught the morons how to read!
post #70 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by caliminius View Post

You mean all those longer tracks that iTunes only sells as album-only, thus they aren't .99 cents on iTunes.

For example the song "Echoes" from Pink Floyd's "Meddle" album:

iTunes Price: Album Only (effectively $7.99, the price of the album)
Amazon MP3 Price: $3.87 (Album price $7.99)

How is what the article stated any different than all the times that iTunes prices have been listed as 99 cents per song and 9.99 for albums. Both of which are complete BS. iTunes song prices are 99 cents for DRM short songs, $1.29 for non-DRM short songs, and the price of the album for longer songs (but as a bonus you get the rest of the album for free). Likewise, most iTunes albums are 9.99, but lots of albums are more and some are less.

What's better for the consumer? Having the option to buy the longer song at a higher price without needing to buy the whole album or being forced to buy the whole album for one song?

Sorry, this may be AppleInsider, but you seem to think this site's name should be "Kiss Apple's A** at Every Opportunity".

You can always tell who the morons are. They're the ones who see everything in black and white. Either you must agree with the Apple-bashers or you're kissing Apple's ass. Give me a break!
post #71 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

192 CBR AAC is about equivelant to 256 CBR MP3.

But, there have been advances in MP3 encoding the past year and a half, so it's possible Amazon is using the new encoding. That would make MP3 CBR equal to AAC CBR, and MP3 VBR better than equal bitrate AAC CBR.

Good point. The mp3 standard is far from static. Modern mp3 encoders are far superior to those from even just a few years ago.

Part of the problem is that the mp3 encoder in iTunes isn't that great. In fact, it is downright ridiculed by audio transcoding snobs.

I'd love to see a run-down of which online music stores are using which encoders and with which settings. But since 128kbps is good enough for most people, fat chance of that happening.
post #72 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by dfiler View Post

Good point. The mp3 standard is far from static. Modern mp3 encoders are far superior to those from even just a few years ago.

Part of the problem is that the mp3 encoder in iTunes isn't that great. In fact, it is downright ridiculed by audio transcoding snobs.

I'd love to see a run-down of which online music stores are using which encoders and with which settings. But since 128kbps is good enough for most people, fat chance of that happening.

True.
post #73 of 88
Quote:
Part of the problem is that the mp3 encoder in iTunes isn't that great. In fact, it is downright ridiculed by audio transcoding snobs.

I doubt Apple cares to advance mp3 encoding.
post #74 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

I doubt Apple cares to advance mp3 encoding.

Double-True!

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post #75 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by daratbastid View Post

Another attempt that looks good on paper but with fate with the rest of them....when will they learn


Look: I just bought 4 songs, 2 of which I already had from iTms, I played them all in itunes and and they all BLEW AWAY the itms ausio quality, the UI needs work, but for amazon, this is a REV A, give it a few months.

oh, and by the way, I am free to use these tracks for ANYTHING like screwing around with sampling and remixing, for my own use of course... and use on any device and such...
I also like the $.89 price tag...


iTunes isnt going to beat this if they keep DRM and the crappy 128K audio
...just buy any Pavarotti song in itunes and then from Amazon! OH MY GOD, the difference is night and day! My drivers don't make strange noises when he hits the highs, it just reproduces the sound crisply, indistinguishable from a CD.
UPDATE: I have the iTunes 256K "start me up" by the rolling stones, I just bought it from Amazon: WOW, the dynamic rang that I always thought was missing in the itunes track is definitely there in this one, ITMS high end is like FM radio and this is like a CD...I dont know what encoder they use, but it is amazing!
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post #76 of 88
Looks like Apple may have to step it up, at least for the older tracks that Amazon prices at 89 cents.

If I can get a 256 kpbs VBR MP3 for 89 cents, that's gonna beat out 128 kpbs AAC CBR at 99 cents.

Apple, don't make me choose...

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post #77 of 88
I already did... keep in mind that Amazon does not have many of the tracks that are available on iTunes.

Then there's stuff you can't find on either service, only on CD or vinyl.

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post #78 of 88
Good points, but I do think I'll be giving Amazon at least a look-see in coming weeks for music dloads.

I think I'd be fooling myself to think that DRM-free 256 kbps VBR MP3s at 89 cents aren't attractive. Of course, for the higher-priced songs, Amazon can go play in traffic.

I'd like to think that if the Amazon effort shows any traction, Apple will respond. Not on the price front necessarily, but with a quality bump. Going to VBR AACs, an increase in bitrate, a Lossless option for a little more money, etc... any or all would be very nice.

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post #79 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by GQB View Post

I'm going to download Katie Lied by Steely Dan when I get home to see if it properly finds and merges into my library. Can't complain about the price (7.96).

There are some Dan tracks on there I've never seen before. Pretty impressive collection. And I agree Apple shouldn't fear some healthy competition.
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post #80 of 88
All this stuff with Amazon is great, but isn't the DRM free and cheaper downloads only for a limited time? If they are for a limited time, and the DRM they finally add is worse than Fairplay, will people still be excited? The only reason the labels are doing this is to break Apple's control over the market. Competition is good but I'd like to see the whole industry have no DRM or at least very liberal DRM.
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