Apple Music Service LA Times article

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
Labels Think Apple Has Perfect Pitch

Executives of major record firms believe a speedy, simple online music service for Mac users will be a hit.



Â*By Jon Healey, Times Staff Writer



Top executives at the major record companies have finally found an online music service that makes them excited about the digital future ? but it's only for Macs.



The new service was developed by Apple Computer Inc., sources said Monday, and offers users of Macintoshes and iPod portable music players many of the same capabilities that already are available from services previously endorsed by the labels. But the Apple offering won over music executives because it makes buying and downloading music as simple and non-technical as buying a book from Amazon.com.



"This is exactly what the music industry has been waiting for," said one person familiar with the negotiations between the Cupertino, Calif., computer maker and the labels. "It's hip. It's quick. It's easy. If people on the Internet are actually interested in buying music, not just stealing it, this is the answer."



That ease of use has music executives optimistic that the Apple service will be an effective antidote to surging piracy on the Internet, sources said.



Other legitimate music services have cumbersome technology and pricing plans ? motivated in part by the labels' demands for security ? that make them much harder to use than unauthorized online services, such as the Kazaa file-sharing system.



Although no licensing deals have been announced, sources close to the situation say at least four of the five major record companies have committed their music to the Apple service. It could be launched next month.



As promising as the new service is, however, there is a big limitation. Apple's products account for just a sliver of the total computer market ? less than 3% of the computers sold worldwide are Macs. The vast majority of the potential audience for downloadable music services uses machines that run Microsoft Corp.'s Windows software.



An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment on the service Monday, as did representatives from the five major record corporations ? Sony Corp.'s Sony Music Entertainment, Vivendi Universal's Universal Music Group, AOL Time Warner Inc.'s Warner Music Group, Bertelsmann's BMG division and EMI Group .



The new service is so important to Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs that he personally demonstrated it to top executives at all five companies, sources said. More than a dozen music executives have visited Apple since last summer and came away enthusiastic.



The executives also like the massive marketing plan designed by Jobs to educate consumers about the service.



The plan contrasts sharply with Apple's previous marketing campaign for Macs, which rankled many music executives who felt it promoted piracy. Apple's advertisements were emblazoned with the mantra "rip, mix, burn," referring to the computers' ability to copy songs and record them onto CDs.



Although the iPod has been hailed by many critics as the best portable music player on the market, Mac users have been overlooked by most of the label-backed online music services, including Pressplay, MusicNet and Listen.com Inc.'s Rhapsody.



As a result, Mac users may find it easier to make unauthorized, free copies of songs through an online file-sharing service like LimeWire than to buy a copy through a label-sanctioned service. Apple hopes to change that situation with its new service, which is expected to be included in an updated edition of the iLife package of digital music, photo and movie software.



Sources said Apple will make the songs available for sale through a new version of iTunes, its software for managing music files on Macs. Users will be able to buy and download songs with a single click and transfer them automatically to any iPod they've registered with Apple.



Rather than make the songs available in the popular MP3 format, Apple plans to use a higher fidelity technology known as Advanced Audio Codec.



That approach allows the songs to be protected by electronic locks that prevent them from being played on more than one computer. Still, sources say, Apple wants to enable buyers to burn songs onto CDs. That feature would effectively remove the locks.



That's been a sticking point for executives at Sony, sources said. The other four major record companies, however, appear ready to license their music to the new service.



No details were available on the price of the service, although one source said it would be competitive with other services in the market. Pressplay, for example, charges just under $10 a month for unlimited downloads, plus about $1 for each song that can be burned to CD or transferred to a portable device.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 27
    does anybody remember this anonymous post on slashdot?



    <a href="http://apple.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=47628&cid=4866593"; target="_blank">http://apple.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=47628&cid=4866593</a>;



    be sure to read the following post...creepy
  • Reply 2 of 27
    defiantdefiant Posts: 4,876member
    <a href="http://forums.appleinsider.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=10&t=004087"; target="_blank">Been there, done that.</a>
  • Reply 3 of 27
    jante99jante99 Posts: 539member
    I am guessing this service will be anounced today?
  • Reply 4 of 27
    nebagakidnebagakid Posts: 2,692member
    YES! AAC in iTunes for the next release! <img src="graemlins/cancer.gif" border="0" alt="[cancer]" /> <img src="graemlins/cancer.gif" border="0" alt="[cancer]" /> <img src="graemlins/cancer.gif" border="0" alt="[cancer]" /> <img src="graemlins/cancer.gif" border="0" alt="[cancer]" />
  • Reply 5 of 27
    zozo Posts: 3,115member
    as long as Kazaa, Limewire, etc exist I dont see how ANYONE could possibly think of entering the online music buisness. Its just folly.



    .... unless Doc Jobs and his merry men have come up with some pretty damn cool solutions/technology/ideas.



    still... I listen to what I want and if I like it, I go to a local record shop and buy it. Its really that simple. OR at worst I go to Amazon and order.



    Is there anyone actually BUYING music online? Like individual tracks?
  • Reply 6 of 27
    othelloothello Posts: 1,053member
    [quote]Originally posted by jante99:

    <strong>I am guessing this service will be anounced today?</strong><hr></blockquote>



    it could be released with the updated iPods, hence the delay...
  • Reply 7 of 27
    jante99jante99 Posts: 539member
    [quote]Originally posted by ZO:

    <strong>as long as Kazaa, Limewire, etc exist I dont see how ANYONE could possibly think of entering the online music buisness. Its just folly.



    .... unless Doc Jobs and his merry men have come up with some pretty damn cool solutions/technology/ideas.



    still... I listen to what I want and if I like it, I go to a local record shop and buy it. Its really that simple. OR at worst I go to Amazon and order.



    Is there anyone actually BUYING music online? Like individual tracks?</strong><hr></blockquote>



    The key is if it is super easy, has quick downloads, and every song ever created available for instant streaming/download in iTunes. 10 dollars a month is an extremly good deal. Right now searching for obscure artists is hard and most songs have poor sound quality.



    What would be awsome is that this service is bundled into .Mac !
  • Reply 8 of 27
    macsrgood4umacsrgood4u Posts: 3,007member
    Article says "next month". And as far as some people not wanting to pay for their music.... phooey on you!
  • Reply 9 of 27
    ast3r3xast3r3x Posts: 5,012member
    i'm hoping new ipods are released today with a demo of this software...hopeuflly apple stock rises!
  • Reply 10 of 27
    murkmurk Posts: 935member
    Now for something to get everyone worked up...



    From June 28, 2001 MOSR:



    In the longer term, and as part of an impressive upgrade to Apple's entire family of multimedia content creation and disc burning applications, Apple is working on building a service by which iTunes users can search for their favorite music and buy it in a QuickTime-based MP3 audio format that includes digital rights protection. Depending on the record company, songs can be bought separately or as whole albums. The cost of the average CD release would be $6, according to company cost projections, although options to reduce that cost even further are being discussed.



    The complexity of running an in-house buying service -- which may in the future extend beyond just music -- is a concern, but Apple is presently exploring ways to simplify arranging with record companies to make music available on their system. When the system starts up, Apple expects to have roughly ten times the selection of most record stores.



    So sayeth Ryan. So shall it be. <img src="graemlins/lol.gif" border="0" alt="[Laughing]" />



    Edited because when I type option-; with Safari it shows up properly as ... until it post and then it becomes a question mark. Anyone else notice this?



    [ 03-04-2003: Message edited by: murk ]</p>
  • Reply 11 of 27
    709709 Posts: 2,016member
    I'm predicting iTunes 4 being cross-platform and bundled with new Mac & PC iPods. Why would the Major Labels be excited about reaching only 3% of computer users?
  • Reply 12 of 27
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,146member
    [quote]Originally posted by 709:

    <strong>I'm predicting iTunes 4 being cross-platform and bundled with new Mac & PC iPods. Why would the Major Labels be excited about reaching only 3% of computer users?</strong><hr></blockquote>



    Not only that but if the Music is a success then this leads the ways for the next DLD being a hybrid Music Player/PVR. The same infrastructure could be beefed up to support video on demand as well.



    As always consumers will not be enthralled with how it's done but rather how "portable" their music will be. I MUST be able to listen to these tracks in all my Audio devices at home. ..PERIOD.
  • Reply 13 of 27
    salmonstksalmonstk Posts: 560member
    Perhaps Apple's 3% is what drew the record lables. Its a risk free way of testing this service. Also the Apple 35 is wealthier than the average PC user so that may help draw them. Oh and the reality distortion field. The article said Steve Jobs personally made the pitch.



    Send that man to iraq. He could convince Sadam to retire and go into exile. After that send him to Washigton to do the same with George.
  • Reply 14 of 27
    rokrok Posts: 3,519member
    [quote]Originally posted by ZO:

    <strong>as long as Kazaa, Limewire, etc exist I dont see how ANYONE could possibly think of entering the online music buisness. Its just folly.</strong><hr></blockquote>



    yeah, but what time/money is apple really investing here? none, except for a "buy music now" button in itunes (okay, maybe a little more than that, but not much. the record laebls and amazon's 1-click do all the rest of the heavy lifting. also, as someone else mentioned, this explains a lot more of the strategy behind making a windows version of the ipod, doesn't it? now just a pc version of itunes (which can't be that hard to do, considering some of the other magic apple has managed lately).



    so even if very few people use the service, they still get one heck of a return on investment. then if they can offer wicked easy integration with .mac and ilife, there might be more incentive here than you give it credit... can you imagine, if you like an entire album enough, iphoto being able to download album cover art for cd's from an online database, then print the jewel case inserts for you, so you can buy an entire album right online? i think apple is the only company set up right now that could offer such a thing.



    either way, apple's not out very much money by offering this service, AND they can tout on national t.v. that they are the FIRST to do this. and trust me, cnn et al. will be devoting a LOT of airtime to this story, and thereby plastering apple's name all over the airwaves.



    [ 03-04-2003: Message edited by: rok ]</p>
  • Reply 15 of 27
    709709 Posts: 2,016member
    [off topic alert!]



    BTW uhzoomzip, love your screen name



    ...the round the zero the symbol of null and void I wanna toy with the concept...
  • Reply 16 of 27
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,146member
    The time is right. As good as Kaaza is they are under attack.



    Almost any new release is usually a bogus file with distortions ...static or looping segments. The P2P software dev haven't found an answer for this yet and it threatens to derail their efforts.



    Apple can offer "Clean" music. Top Notch compression and perhaps extended features like Lyrics and correct tagging with each file. That's worth paying a little scratch for right?
  • Reply 17 of 27
    This can only help show we have the best and easiest platform on the market if this serve is launched. A big Plus to revenue. "They say Apple's on life support; I say what are you smoking!"
  • Reply 18 of 27
    zozo Posts: 3,115member
    [quote]Originally posted by hmurchison:

    <strong>The time is right. As good as Kaaza is they are under attack. </strong><hr></blockquote>



    Kazaa? Under attack? How?



    Every part of it is registered in some legal haven, its totally decentralized, its "impossible" to stop.



    Dunno bout you but I've never had problems with finding latest releases on Kazaa/Limewire. Kazaa kinda sucks anyway cause 99% of all music is at 128KBit which is horrible. Limewire is at least better in that respect.



    Anyhoo, iTunes 4 for PC is an idea that has me stoked fer sure.
  • Reply 19 of 27
    toweltowel Posts: 1,479member
    All depends on whether Apple caves into Sony's copy-protection paranoia, or stands up for the right of fair use. Every other online music-sales system was still-born because they offer a crappy product for a high price. I would happily, joyfully pay a dollar a track if I got easy access to a high-quality file with which I could then do as I wish. Transfer between my iBook and desktop, burn as mp3s for my mp3-CD player, burn as AIFFs for my stereo, etc. P2P services are such a pain in the ass to use. But ask me to pay a buck a track for downloading to a single computer with little/no ability to move that file around? Err, right. Wanna buy my nose pickings for a buck a snot ball? They're at least as attractive a deal.



    1. Make deal with major record labels

    2. Sell consumers crippled product online

    3. ????

    4. Profit!!
  • Reply 20 of 27
    fran441fran441 Posts: 3,715member
    I don't think Apple will be releasing iTunes for PC unless the only way you can get it is by owning a PC iPod.



    Seriously, why should Apple put one of it's best applications on Windows? Aren't they trying to get switchers? The iApps and Mac OS X are supposed to be what's pushing the Mac right now. Giving the iApps (even just iTunes) to Windows users is just another reason to stick with Windows.



    Why switch if the unique Mac apps are available to you on your new PC?
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