Apple online music service coming soon, L.A. Times says

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
[quote]<a href="http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-music4mar04,1,7646945.story?coll=la-home-today s%2Dtimes" target="_blank">Labels Think Apple Has Perfect Pitch</a>



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



By Jon Healey

Los Angeles Times



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.<hr></blockquote>



[ 03-04-2003: Message edited by: CaseCom ]</p>
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 49
    [quote]Originally posted by CaseCom:

    [QB][/QB]<hr></blockquote>



    If true this would be great. But they need to keep the price reasonable. I hope that they offer a per-song fee as an alternative to a flat monthly fee.
  • Reply 2 of 49
    frawgzfrawgz Posts: 547member
    !!!!!



    Wow! This is a really old rumor!



    And if I remember correctly, one that MOSR originally suggested! :eek:



    Count me in.



    [quote] I hope that they offer a per-song fee as an alternative to a flat monthly fee.<hr></blockquote>



    If they use Amazon's One-click system (I assume they would), this would lend itself to per-song application.



    [ 03-04-2003: Message edited by: frawgz ]</p>
  • Reply 3 of 49
    serranoserrano Posts: 1,806member
    LA Times rumor mongering.



    <img src="graemlins/bugeye.gif" border="0" alt="[Skeptical]" />
  • Reply 4 of 49
    defiantdefiant Posts: 4,876member
    there were also anonymous replies on /. and some info on macrumors.com
  • Reply 5 of 49
    paulpaul Posts: 5,278member
    [quote]Originally posted by Defiant:

    <strong>there were also anonymous replies on /. and some info on macrumors.com</strong><hr></blockquote>

    yeah i remember someone linked it to a thread here... had some very intriguing stuff...but for some reason I got the feeling that whoever was posting was not 100% legit...



    it should be interesting if an easy way to download music was built into iTunes...(for $ of course)



    I wonder what %age the record labels would take... what about smaller independent labels? I hope it is not intrusive... maybe they will add CD cover printing software to iTunes kinda like how iPhoto has a book you can buy... at the very least they should have CD labels with playlists...
  • Reply 6 of 49
    low-filow-fi Posts: 357member
    oooooooh, AAC!
  • Reply 7 of 49
    nijiniji Posts: 288member
    this will be totally huge.

    and bring more people into macs than anything else.

    the question will be: how quickly they can actually implement this.

    a microsoft+sony (as in records), would be a formidable alternative.



    question: if yr iTunes are now, already encoded mp3, can those tracks be converted to aac?

    thnx
  • Reply 8 of 49
    matsumatsu Posts: 6,558member
    Crap! I tell you, crap. Right now I have a disc, I pop it in, I rip it, I enjoy it when I'm away from home. Now labels want me to pay for something without even giving me the physical media? No, but not for that reason, provided the cost is reasonable, this could be good. However, what will not be so good, comes when Apple builds in a bunch of agressive copy protection into future versions of iTunes and you either have to keep using an old version, or get a third party player.
  • Reply 9 of 49
    ast3r3xast3r3x Posts: 5,012member
    [quote]Originally posted by Matsu:

    <strong>Crap! I tell you, crap. Right now I have a disc, I pop it in, I rip it, I enjoy it when I'm away from home. Now labels want me to pay for something without even giving me the physical media? No, but not for that reason, provided the cost is reasonable, this could be good. However, what will not be so good, comes when Apple builds in a bunch of agressive copy protection into future versions of iTunes and you either have to keep using an old version, or get a third party player.</strong><hr></blockquote>





    excellent point...i hope not to have to go to a 3rd party player to play my mp3z i share...hopeuflly apple isn't like MS just to gain popularity amoung record labels
  • Reply 10 of 49
    defiantdefiant Posts: 4,876member
    [quote]Originally posted by Paul:

    <strong>

    yeah i remember someone linked it to a thread here... had some very intriguing stuff...but for some reason I got the feeling that whoever was posting was not 100% legit...</strong><hr></blockquote>



    Paul:



    <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>;
  • Reply 11 of 49
    stunnedstunned Posts: 1,096member
    i hope subsciption to .Mac allows me to download a few songs for free.
  • Reply 12 of 49
    macsrgood4umacsrgood4u Posts: 3,007member
    The article says "next month" for the unveiling. But take that with a grain of salt since Apple has not confirmed this. Also the article fails to mention that AAC allows not only for higher fidelity but uses less bandwith, so you get more songs - say 1800 on a formally 1000 (5 Gig) iPod - that's mine. I seriously doubt Sony will be involved, at least at first. And as far as only Apple MAcs can use it - duh.... I just hope there's a wide variety of music, not just new stuff.
  • Reply 13 of 49
    torifiletorifile Posts: 4,024member
    This is relatively good news, if true. While we only have 3% of the market, we're a much bigger force in the portable music scene. Last I heard, we've got something like 25% of the US market and over 40% of Japan. This is something that Apple can make some real noise in.



    Perhaps this is what the iPod-update delay is related to?
  • Reply 14 of 49
    brussellbrussell Posts: 9,812member
    A really superior Mac-only online music service would be great for switchers... for like two months until they come out with a Windows version.
  • Reply 15 of 49
    murkmurk Posts: 935member
    [quote]Originally posted by frawgz:

    <strong>!!!!!



    And if I remember correctly, one that MOSR originally suggested! :eek:

    </strong><hr></blockquote>



    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.



  • Reply 16 of 49
    matsumatsu Posts: 6,558member
    Anything the record companies are happy about can't be good news for mac users. Just something to keep in mind.
  • Reply 17 of 49
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,341member
    [quote]Originally posted by Matsu:

    <strong>Anything the record companies are happy about can't be good news for mac users. Just something to keep in mind.</strong><hr></blockquote>



    Normally I'm not too Pessimistic but I agree with U %100 Matsu.



    If the Record Companies are excited about this then I'm sure I won't be deleting Kazaa,iMesh, Soulseek etc off my PC anytime soon.



    Besides I'm into looking for Unique Music that's not getting radio play.
  • Reply 18 of 49
    matsumatsu Posts: 6,558member
    At 6 bucks for a CD-quality DL, meaning AT LEAST 320Kbps MP3/3pro, or better yet, AAC (96Khz) I'd buy, but NOT if it had excessive DRM (which means really any DRM at all). I'd want to burn said files immediately to a CD/DVD and play them in a device of MY CHOICE. If it can't do that, I won't touch it. Just how many times over do record companies think I'm going to pay for content?
  • Reply 19 of 49
    amorphamorph Posts: 7,112member
    I'm kind of pessimistic as well. The people who are all giddy about this service were just found guilty of price collusion. I would be shocked and amazed if they signed off on anything that a consumer would be interested in.



    On the other hand, though, there's Steve. Steve likes things to be transparent and simple. So however he's managed it, he's found a way to make DRM at least somewhat non-intrusive (sort of the way the iPod discourages copying). And he's kept CD burning, too. So I have some hope.



    The real clincher is that I like file sharing - warts, abuse, and all - for two reasons: It's a great way for small labels and independent artists get the word out (some of them run their own servers, sharing their own music), and it's one of the few ways to get anything that's out of print. If the big record companies have locked out the indies one way or another, and if they're going to use this service only to provide the stuff that's in print (negating one of the great advantages of digital music on the net, that it costs next to nothing to keep something "in print", and keeping 80% of the music ever published off limits), then it's cynical and worthless.



    The devil is in the details. I'll have to see what the service looks like when it's unveiled. It will be an awesome switcher incentive, though, for all those people with iPods for Windows.
  • Reply 20 of 49
    buonrottobuonrotto Posts: 6,368member
    [quote]Originally posted by Amorph:

    <strong>The real clincher is that I like file sharing - warts, abuse, and all - for two reasons: It's a great way for small labels and independent artists get the word out (some of them run their own servers, sharing their own music), and it's one of the few ways to get anything that's out of print.</strong><hr></blockquote>



    This is exactly why other services are worthless. My musical tastes are obscure enough to make the current services worthless to me. On the other hand, sifting through the warez servers and even places like mp3.com is a complete pain too.



    Frankly, a system like Subconcious Studios' <a href="http://www.subconsciousstudios.com/htms/buythings.htm"; target="_blank">"From the Vault"</a> series would be nearly ideal, sort of like iPhoto ordering for music. But obviously, this works mainly thanks to a lot of loyal fans of a small outfit that trust them enough to subscribe. They do get their money's worth though.



    I should add that I also do not pirate my music because those obscure bands I like really do need the money. I would have no compunctions to screw over Brittney & Co., but these guys live off of the oney generated from constant touring and the sale of their CDs. So I buy their CDs, preferrably through their web site.



    [ 03-04-2003: Message edited by: BuonRotto ]</p>
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