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Yahoo! Music's death at age 3 warns of DRM's risk

post #1 of 84
Thread Starter 
Yahoo did its best to stage a rival to Apple Inc.'s iTunes, but after three years of lagging results, the Internet icon is putting its Yahoo! Music service to rest and leaving subscribers with copy-protected music libraries that can't be transfered to new computers.

After trying everything to attract customers from rock bottom pricing and all-you-can-eat subscription specials to news and original programming, Yahoo in an email to customers warned that it would close its Yahoo! Music online store permanently as of September 30th.

While any such store closing is unfortunate for those who shop regularly at the store, the news is proving to be especially damaging for customers of the company's Yahoo! Music Unlimited service, which offers both an all-you-can-eat subscription as well as the option of paying extra for permanent downlods. Yahoo at the end of September will shut down the servers that grant licenses for the digital rights management (DRM) that protects the music files, allowing playback of these longer-lasting songs and barring unauthorized copying.

Although this music will continue to play after the store shutdown, the lack of a license server after that date effectively creates a time bomb for customers: reinstalling the operating system or making other changes that erase the licenses on the computer will render the songs unplayable regardless of the user's backup copies. Yahoo is aware of this and is pushing many of its customers to burn pure audio CDs and remove the restrictions before it's too late.

"We highly recommend that you back up the purchased tracks to an audio CD before the closing of the Store," Yahoo says. "Backing up your music to an audio CD will allow you to copy the music back to your computer again if the license keys for your original music files cannot be retrieved."

The experience underscores the potential risk behind DRM, which by its nature is dependent on a company's willingness to maintain an Internet server ready to authorize access. For customers of Microsoft's long defunct MSN Music service, the experience is already a familiar one: many of its purchasers were threatened with losing their collections a month ahead of Yahoo until public pressure forced Microsoft to keep its DRM servers running until 2011.

It's this danger that prompted two of Yahoo! Music's chiefs to clamor for unprotected music before their departures, though the hesitance of major labels to offer freely copyable music at the time contributed to their departure.

Apple's iTunes Store is unlikely to face the same situation in the future given its relative success in music sales, but its own FairPlay-protected songs hold a similar danger for users who restore or replace their Macs and PCs. The company also has no provision to automatically restore missing songs and usually only grants a one-time exception for those who lose their music without a backup in place.

Still, pressure from Apple and other online providers are making it increasingly unlikely that stores as fragile as MSN Music or Yahoo! Music will reappear. The iPod maker's chief executive, Steve Jobs, has said in an open letter that removing DRM was essential to offering interoperability in music that would eliminate these restrictions and promptly followed suit with unguarded iTunes Plus songs, which now make up a large portion of Apple's catalog. Amazon MP3 and a slew of other stores have taken the same direction and offer some or all of their music DRM-free.
post #2 of 84
'Bout time they figured it out.
post #3 of 84
Congratulations, RIAA!

You've upped the ante in additional alienation of music buyers! What a wonderful legacy from Hilary Rosen. Keep it up!
post #4 of 84
1. The RIAA doesn't give a shi*. All they see is that now tens of thousands of people need to potentially buy their music all over again.

2. Cheers to those people that now know better than to buy DRM protected tracks. Buy used CD's instead.
post #5 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Steve Jobs, has said in an open letter that removing DRM was essential to offering interoperability in music that would eliminate these restrictions and promptly followed suit with unguarded iTunes Plus songs, which now make up a large portion of Apple's catalog.

Yeah, if by 'large portion' you mean 'very little of'

++

DRM is bad for everyone and iTunes is still mostly DRM.
post #6 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by manfrommars View Post

Yeah, if by 'large portion' you mean 'very little of'

++

DRM is bad for everyone and iTunes is still mostly DRM.

But at least Apple iTunes allow you to remove the DRM when burning to disk. Thus preserving your purchases for any computer. Jobs made sure of that since day one.
post #7 of 84
The labels hate that Apple has so much power in their industry, and will continue to take steps against Apple. Such as refusing to let Apple sell DRM-free tracks for the .99 they allow for other online stores. (Failing stores, which the RIAA likes because they're no threat to the status quo. You can bet if Amazon ever gains dominance the RIAA won't be pleased about the .99 DRM-free songs anymore.)

So we're stuck with DRM. Finding a used CD of a track and then driving or having it shipped is major hassle compared to point-and-click, so although there ARE alternatives, they're not great ones.

Luckily, from the leader is the safest kind to get: Apple's music business is so successful that a) they're unlikely to vanish any time soon, and b) if they did, their system has so much value and such a HUGE user base that it would likely be taken over by another company rather than just quietly buried. Either way, the authorization services would likely continue.

I still choose non-DRM (iTunes Plus or Amazon) first when I can. But iTunes has some music the others don't.

In the long term, when DRM for music finally dies off completely, the solution is to burn to disc (or use some potential tool that will allow us to fake that) and re-import as a lossless format, preferably compressed like Apple Lossless. Now you've got the FULL quality of your original iTunes DRM purchase, identical, bit for bit. But no DRM! You've escaped the system. And still more compact than raw CD audio data. The downside is it will still take up more storage than MP4/AAC or MP3. But by that far-off day, storage will be cheap!

You can even do that now--but there's no pressing need, so I'll conserve space (and my time/effort) for now.

I grudgingly accept DRM--from Apple--in certain cases for now. But I won't forever!
post #8 of 84
The problem here is that the only one getting burned and shafted are the honest people who actually bought music tracks instead of downloading these tracks from P2P networks. Does the RIAA really believe that these people will buy these files all over again ?

DRMs send the opposite message the RIAA was hoping for. DRMs have shown over and over again that the only safe way to own your music files is to use P2P. Using legit stores only exposes the end user to loosing everything on a seller's whim.
post #9 of 84
This is way off track, but does any one know what the heck ever happened to getting The Beatles collection on iTunes?
Now there's something I would pay good money for.
OMG here we go again...
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OMG here we go again...
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post #10 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by BuzDots View Post

This is way off track, but does any one know what the heck ever happened to getting The Beatles collection on iTunes?
Now there's something I would pay good money for.

The last rumor I read was that Paul needed to finalize the divorce with a gold digger - she's already getting close to the equivalent to $50M only for having been married for four years. If he announces a deal before the divorce is final, the woman would fight for more.
post #11 of 84
I have bought 216 tracks from iTunes and only 72 have been DRM-free - exactly one third. So in my experience iTunes is still primarily a DRM-using service.
post #12 of 84
Record labels are becoming more and more useless. Going solo is the future. Podcasts, Google, YouTube, and ecommerce will free the artist from the claws of label companies
bb
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post #13 of 84
Yahoo! is losing weight fast. Does Yahoo! have cancer?
post #14 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by Foo2 View Post

Yahoo! is losing weight fast. Does Yahoo! have cancer?



Not even funny.
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post #15 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidW View Post

But at least Apple iTunes allow you to remove the DRM when burning to disk. Thus preserving your purchases for any computer. Jobs made sure of that since day one.

Way to be a blatant fanboy. This is exactly what Yahoo is urging its costumers to do. The only way to remove drm-protected music from iTunes is to burn as audio cds and rip those back into the computer. You can't remove the drm just by transferring them onto a disk as aac files directly.
post #16 of 84
Yahoo should be forced to distribute a patch to make its music player software ignore Yahoo's DRM wrapper and play the track regardless of whether it has an authorization from the home server or not. Yeah, I suppose people will be able to distribute the track through P2P with other people using Yahoo's music player, but since so much music is sold by Amazon and Apple without any DRM at all that old argument doesn't mean so much anymore.
post #17 of 84
Really it is bothersome to see all this fuss about DRM when it is so easy to get around. That having been said, I do not for a moment support stealing music. By all means use methods to remove DRM , only for personal use. Case in point my iPod has about 25% formerly DRM selections, which are now just plain MP3.
One can buy shareware to remove DRM, but just a little work it can also be done for free.
The steps are DRM selection to AIFF convert AIFF back to MP3 using a Free converter.


Quote:
Originally Posted by nagromme View Post

The labels hate that Apple has so much power in their industry, and will continue to take steps against Apple. Such as refusing to let Apple sell DRM-free tracks for the .99 they allow for other online stores. (Failing stores, which the RIAA likes because they're no threat to the status quo. You can bet if Amazon ever gains dominance the RIAA won't be pleased about the .99 DRM-free songs anymore.)

So we're stuck with DRM. Finding a used CD of a track and then driving or having it shipped is major hassle compared to point-and-click, so although there ARE alternatives, they're not great ones.

Luckily, from the leader is the safest kind to get: Apple's music business is so successful that a) they're unlikely to vanish any time soon, and b) if they did, their system has so much value and such a HUGE user base that it would likely be taken over by another company rather than just quietly buried. Either way, the authorization services would likely continue.

I still choose non-DRM (iTunes Plus or Amazon) first when I can. But iTunes has some music the others don't.

In the long term, when DRM for music finally dies off completely, the solution is to burn to disc (or use some potential tool that will allow us to fake that) and re-import as a lossless format, preferably compressed like Apple Lossless. Now you've got the FULL quality of your original iTunes DRM purchase, identical, bit for bit. But no DRM! You've escaped the system. And still more compact than raw CD audio data. The downside is it will still take up more storage than MP4/AAC or MP3. But by that far-off day, storage will be cheap!

You can even do that now--but there's no pressing need, so I'll conserve space (and my time/effort) for now.

I grudgingly accept DRM--from Apple--in certain cases for now. But I won't forever!
post #18 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by SeaFox View Post

Yahoo should be forced to distribute a patch to make its music player software ignore Yahoo's DRM wrapper and play the track regardless of whether it has an authorization from the home server or not. Yeah, I suppose people will be able to distribute the track through P2P with other people using Yahoo's music player, but since so much music is sold by Amazon and Apple without any DRM at all that old argument doesn't mean so much anymore.

I fully agree.
post #19 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

I have bought 216 tracks from iTunes and only 72 have been DRM-free - exactly one third. So in my experience iTunes is still primarily a DRM-using service.

My ratio is the other way around, two-thirds DRM-free (iTunes Plus) and one third still DRM. Most of them were upgraded after purchase to iTunes Plus, just today I upgraded another song.
post #20 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

The last rumor I read was that Paul needed to finalize the divorce with a gold digger - she's already getting close to the equivalent to $50M only for having been married for four years. If he announces a deal before the divorce is final, the woman would fight for more.

And I believe this was settled some time back so what's the hold-up?

Skip
post #21 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fleshman03 View Post

Not even funny.

Your post was lame too, what's your point?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ncee View Post

And I believe this was settled some time back … so what's the hold-up?

You're right, in May 2008. I don't know what the hold-up is.
post #22 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Yahoo at the end of September will shut down the servers that grant licenses for the digital rights management (DRM) that protects the music files, allowing playback of these longer-lasting songs and barring unauthorized copying.

Exactly how much of a server is really needed to authenticate a user and provide an encryption key? I don't understand the need to shut down these servers, too much support costs? Are they paying a stiff license fee to operate it?
post #23 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

Exactly how much of a server is really needed to authenticate a user and provide an encryption key? I don't understand the need to shut down these servers, too much support costs? Are they paying a stiff license fee to operate it?


If I were running that show, I would want a clean break. No doubt they have tossed around the idea of re-entering the music business in some DRM-free way. While I don't think that will happen tomorrow, they are opening future doors by closing the doors on this bid'ness entirely.
post #24 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by SeaFox View Post

Yahoo should be forced to distribute a patch to make its music player software ignore Yahoo's DRM wrapper and play the track regardless of whether it has an authorization from the home server or not. Yeah, I suppose people will be able to distribute the track through P2P with other people using Yahoo's music player, but since so much music is sold by Amazon and Apple without any DRM at all that old argument doesn't mean so much anymore.

Or maybe provide Apple with some code to allow apple to modify iTunes to run Yahoo DRM music. Then Yahoo members could transfer their music into iTunes.
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post #25 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

You're right, in May 2008. I don't know what the hold-up is.

I believe the current hold-up involves digitally re-mastering the entire collection (plus any extra bonus material), something that was not even started until after the Apple Corps business manager died about a year ago.
post #26 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Stevenson View Post

I believe the current hold-up involves digitally re-mastering the entire collection (plus any extra bonus material), something that was not even started until after the Apple Corps business manager died about a year ago.

That would take some time to be sure, this isn't just redigitizing but potentially completely remixing. I bet some lucky sound engineers are having fun! Wow, imagine remixing original multitrack recordings of the the entire Beatles collection. Pre the White Album they are doubtful to even have multi-track track masters. I wonder if they will use modern technology to create better pseudo stereo from mono masters than the earlier attempts where they simply had some stuff in one channel and some in the other. I have to think Paul and Ringo are involved in this mixing. Has anyone seen any reports anywhere of this process? I used to own a boutique 1" 8 track studio back in the day and drool thinking about this stuff. I had a number #1 hit too ... well OK only in Ireland. \

sidebar: Apple need to include Beatles and Beatle in their built in spell checker before the iTunes launch
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post #27 of 84
I haven't bought a cd in years. I look forward to the day when the labels are defunct, and their suits are scratching their collective heads.

I get a lot of my cuts from cd's loaned from public libraries.
post #28 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by Farkuss View Post

I haven't bought a cd in years. I look forward to the day when the labels are defunct, and their suits are scratching their collective heads.

I get a lot of my cuts from cd's loaned from public libraries.

I hope you do not copy the CDs on loan, I have a feeling your membership at the library specifically states you cannot ...
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post #29 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

I have bought 216 tracks from iTunes and only 72 have been DRM-free - exactly one third. So in my experience iTunes is still primarily a DRM-using service.

I primarily on by from Amazon now. They may be .MP3 but they are DRM free and 256 kbs. Sorry Apple but you do not get much of my money budgeted for music. Amazon is a much better choice and many tracks are cheaper than iTunes.
post #30 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by Farkuss View Post

I haven't bought a cd in years. I look forward to the day when the labels are defunct, and their suits are scratching their collective heads.

I get a lot of my cuts from cd's loaned from public libraries.

That's copyright infringement. Why don't you just download them from P2P? The net effect is pretty much the same. Library loan systems aren't meant to be or licensed for helping people build their personal music libraries.
post #31 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

That's copyright infringement. Why don't you just download them from P2P? The net effect is pretty much the same. Library loan systems aren't meant to be or licensed for helping people build their libraries.

Spot on Jeff. It is tantamount to out right stealing, and then advertising that you are doing it.
post #32 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

I have bought 216 tracks from iTunes and only 72 have been DRM-free - exactly one third. So in my experience iTunes is still primarily a DRM-using service.

and
Quote:
Originally Posted by noirdesir View Post

My ratio is the other way around, two-thirds DRM-free (iTunes Plus) and one third still DRM. Most of them were upgraded after purchase to iTunes Plus, just today I upgraded another song.

Last I heard, iTunes had 6 millions songs in total, around 2 million of which are iTunes Plus from EMI and a million and a half indie artists. So 1/3 is DRM free.

I'd be interested to know what each of your music collections are mainly comprised of: indie artists vs. or well known artists from the Big Four (minus EMI, obviously).

While Universal is basically conspiring against Apple by only offering DRM-free tracks to iTunes' rivals, and is the largest label in the world, I don't care. Universal largely features and promotes forgettable, replaceable corporate pop, rock, and rap artists.

Here's a list of their fairly well known artists from wikipedia:

Wisin Y Yandel, Def Leppard, The Killers, Mary J. Blige, Mariah Carey, Janet Jackson, Anberlin, Fall Out Boy, Enrique Iglesias, Juanes, Bon Jovi, Queens of the Stone Age, Falco, Elton John, Eminem [the guy had talent, but most of his appeal has vanished], Tupac Shakur, Guns N' Roses, Dr. Dre, 50 Cent, Daddy Yankee, Don Omar, Marilyn Manson, Akon, Reba McEntire, Sheena Easton, Nas, Diana Ross,Barry White, Luciano Pavarotti, Rammstein, U2, the Black Eyed Peas, Nelly Furtado, ABBA, Wu-Tang Clan, George Strait, Gwen Stefani, Soulja Boy Tell Em, Maroon 5, Keane, Tokio Hotel, Elisa, Grace Jones, The Mars Volta, Rihanna, The All-American Rejects, Kanye West, Ashanti, Mims, a-ha, Amy Winehouse, Hayley Westenra, Fergie and most recently Anastacia, New Kids On The Block, Justy Just and The Rolling Stones.

I've bolded the one's I've both heard of AND actually heard. I know most of these artists names, but if I didn't bold someone worth talking about, it's because I simply haven't listened to them yet, or much. The rest like Mariah Carey and Fall Out Boy will never be bolded by me. Artists like U2 are bolded because for whatever reason, they are liked enough to stand the test of time longer than most. Not saying I like U2, just recognizing their popularity.

As you can see, slim pickings. What's funny is how out of touch Universal is with it's mainstream fans. They have a ton of transient music a lot of people like and listen to, but most of them DON'T CARE ABOUT DRM! Shoot, most don't even know their music is encoded in FairPlay. They just buy their Amy Winehouse or Maroon 5 off iTunes, sync it to their iPod or iPhone, or burn it to CD for their cars.

The transcendent artists in Universal's library are mainly older artists, whose listeners do care about DRM...but most of us already have much of that music encoded from the CD version or know how to easily remove FairPlay. They have no new artists that appeal to the people who care about DRM enough to move to Amazon or the recently revised Rhapsody entirely. Sure, some shop around at Amazon to save $0.10 and the fact that it won't require a CD burn to remove iTunes' rather humane FairPlay DRM is a nice extra. But Universal's main consumer base of mainstream pop lovers generally couldn't care less.

I actually kind of like that Universal's being stubborn in opening up their collection on iTunes. It kind of gives indie artists an edge as most of them put up their music in iTunes Plus.

In the future, I'd say these major labels will be massively reduced in size and power, if they don't completely go extinct first. Then we can move on to more important comparisons of online music stores, like...which has the best selection of cutting edge artists, rather than which has the most mediocre pop artists. I'll really enjoy the side-by-side competition, which is already happening. Just a little while back I saw an ad on iTunes for something from Madonna and right next to it, Radiohead was selling "stems" (separate vocals, bass line, guitar, drums) of a song off their recent In Rainbows album, which users could buy, remix, and submit them for peer review on the band's website, with the highest-rated remix getting some kind of prize I believe.
False comparisons do not a valid argument make.
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False comparisons do not a valid argument make.
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post #33 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by Farkuss View Post

I haven't bought a cd in years. I look forward to the day when the labels are defunct, and their suits are scratching their collective heads.

I get a lot of my cuts from cd's loaned from public libraries.

You have just shown your complete lack of ethics on a public forum. Happy now?
post #34 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by SeaFox View Post

Yahoo should be forced to distribute a patch to make its music player software ignore Yahoo's DRM wrapper and play the track regardless of whether it has an authorization from the home server or not. Yeah, I suppose people will be able to distribute the track through P2P with other people using Yahoo's music player, but since so much music is sold by Amazon and Apple without any DRM at all that old argument doesn't mean so much anymore.

Yahoo would have to get permission from every label involved in order to strip the DRM in a way not previously agreed upon. I don't see that happening.
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post #35 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by htoelle View Post

One can buy shareware to remove DRM, but just a little work it can also be done for free. The steps are DRM selection to AIFF convert AIFF back to MP3 using a Free converter.

You're taking a lossy-compressed track and running it through another lossy-compression stage? What you end up with is called "mush." It may be DRM-free mush, but it's still mush.

"Real" DRM removal utilities are out there for some versions of iTunes, but they're all illegal in the US.

Yes, it's legal to shut down a DRM server with no compensation to the users, but it's illegal to remove DRM. Ponder that the next time you vote.


The correct approach to buying music is just what others have said: Buy used CDs. Rip. Now you have DRM-free lossless audio.

DRM music is for suckers.
post #36 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by dattyx26 View Post

Way to be a blatant fanboy. This is exactly what Yahoo is urging its costumers to do. The only way to remove drm-protected music from iTunes is to burn as audio cds and rip those back into the computer. You can't remove the drm just by transferring them onto a disk as aac files directly.

Woe is me, I am incapable of realizing that I can burn a DVD-Audio and that should take most people 1 to 2 discs and then just let iTunes or whatever your jukebox is do the rest of the work. a *tiny* bit annoying? Sure. But so it changing the oil in your car but that doesn't mean it's a broken and worthless system.

Call him a fanboy all you want but all he/she is, is a realist. Nothing in the world is given to you for free and occasionally it might take a little bit of effort to get what you want. Welcome to life...
post #37 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by Farkuss View Post

I haven't bought a cd in years. I look forward to the day when the labels are defunct, and their suits are scratching their collective heads.

I get a lot of my cuts from cd's loaned from public libraries.

That's called piracy.
post #38 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by k2director View Post

That's called piracy.

Save your breath dude. He won't come back to defend the indefensible.
post #39 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by k2director View Post

That's called piracy.


Many sociopaths think that admitting to getting away with a crime will make them look cool to others. They fail to see the utter disdain that they generate in law abiding people.
post #40 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by sapporobaby View Post

Save your breath dude. He won't come back to defend the indefensible.


While I tend to agree with what you say, there's nothing wrong with calling a spade a spade.
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