EMI Music launches DRM-Free iTunes downloads in higher-quality

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  • Reply 121 of 160
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,508member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by vinea View Post


    The NPD data cited only covers the US for 2006 and appears to be on a household rather than individual basis.



    Regardless of which way you wish to parse your comment, the NPD data still seems to indicate that there are both more households (15M vs 13M) using P2P networks and more songs downloaded on P2P networks than paid networks (5B files vs 500M files).



    Perhaps you would be better off questioning the way NPD conducts these surveys as opposed to their relevance to the discussion.



    Unless you are implying that your "most people" comment encompasses the entire music market vs just the digital music market. Which would beg the issue of the relevance of that observation on whether EMI's risk is very large (given CDs are higher quality and mostly DRM free) and what sentences 2 and 3 of the quoted paragraph mean in that context...(you know the parts about 128 quality and price increase).



    Perhaps you could also be a tad less defensive in our discussions eh?



    Perhaps if you didn't quote questionable sources in the first place there wouldn't be a problem.



    Responding isn't being defensive, though you seem to be acting that way.



    Quote:

    I don't believe I've commented on AAC/iTunes quality given I don't personally own an iPod. It seems good enough for mobile use but that's neither here nor there.



    Please refrain from saying what I have or have not stated in the past unless you have a quote. This is the second time you've done so and the second time I believe is inaccurate.



    Please don't comment if you don't remember what you've said.



    Quote:

    The suggestion that audiophiles are a major demographic of interest is well... Is a demographic of some value? Yes. But not as much as a mainstream one.



    I'm not talking about audiophiles, but rather those who buy a lot of music. There are far more of us that do that, than those who are purely audiophiles.



    Quote:

    So I don't believe it's a stretch to say that that kids both outnumber audiophiles in number and economic value by orders of magnitude. Within the context of what "most people" do with respect to music searches/purchases, one demographic matters to such a discussion.



    The other not so much.



    Vinea



    Again, a meaningless comparison.



    That's enough on this subject, if you please, unless you wish to continue it onesided, after making you usual insulting parting dig.
  • Reply 122 of 160
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,508member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post


    Indeed. That's what made me add the "depends how you define audiophile" comment at the end of my post. I'm sure there are plenty that would turn their nose up at anything less than lossless, probably without even listening first. (There are even some crackpots who like to pretend that lossless sounds different because "compression is compression"! If they really do hear a difference, it's a perfect example of psychosomatic influences upon perceived audio quality). Personally, listening on an iPod through Sure e3C earphones, I can't tell the difference between uncompressed and 128 kbps AAC, but I can hear the difference when listening through a HiFi amp + speakers. At 256 kbps AAC, I can't hear that difference any more, so this change of bitrate is most welcome from my point of view.







    According to that definition, I used to be one. Over the last few years I haven't really had the time











    In my experience, audiophiles are often really separate from those who listen to a lot of music.



    Think of them as two separate, but intersecting, sets.



    Those who are audiophiles are always tinkering, and buying, selling, and trading equipment. Those who listen to a lot of music might not care much about their systems. Then there are those who do both.



    Despite the fact that I designed audio equipment and have bought a lot of equipment over the years, I was "accused" of not being an audiophile, because I haven't bought anything major for several years, by an audiophile manufacturer. He said that I was instead a "music lover", almost as though that was a bad thing to be. And for him, it was.



    Many audiophiles have given up buying new equipment in recent years, because the prices have rocketed out of sight.
  • Reply 123 of 160
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,508member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by johngettler View Post


    No thanks Apple. If you are truly committed to DRM free music, then the only choice should MP3 files. If the goal is to use truly portable and universally playable music, then MP3 is the only choice. Kudos to Steve Jobs and Apple for taking the industry down this path, but to offer non DRM AAC files...they missed the mark.



    Totally disagree. You do realise that MP3 is not a free format for manufacturers? The all have to pay a fee. The same thing is true for AAC.



    Except that AAC is a higher quality format. This has been shown to be true over the years in many listening, and technical, tests.



    In fact, AAC is acknowledged as being better (as are other codecs), by the research being done right now, to improve MP3.



    If they do come out with a new version of MP3, it will possibly be like having a new format. Why bother? Royalties, that's why.



    The consumer doesn't need a new version of MP3. AAC will serve fine, and is becoming the new standard anyway.



    I wouldn't be surprised if in five years, younger people ask - "What's this MP3 thing for?".
  • Reply 124 of 160
    vineavinea Posts: 5,585member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    Perhaps if you didn't quote questionable sources in the first place there wouldn't be a problem.



    NPD is questionable?



    Quote:

    Please don't comment if you don't remember what you've said.



    It's not a reasonable request that you not say I said things I don't believe that I have? That's rather funny...



    Quote:

    That's enough on this subject, if you please, unless you wish to continue it onesided, after making you usual insulting parting dig.



    Nope, sorry. No insulting parting digs here. Just links.



    Duh...forgot linky:



    http://www.jupitermedia.com/corporat...presearch.html



    "The JupiterResearch report reveals that European consumers who download music from illegal file sharing networks currently outnumber those downloading from legal services such as Apple's iTunes Music Store by a factor of three to one: 15% file share while just 5% pay to download. There is solid demand for paid downloads, however, 10% of European consumers are willing to pay, rising as high as 31% in Sweden.



    File sharing penetration in Europe is highest among younger consumers (34% of 15-24 year olds) and is impacting the way they value music with many having little concept of music as a paid commodity. Among the 46% of European online 15-24 year olds who use the Internet to consume music, the CD is becoming increasingly irrelevant: 40% do not consider the CD to be a good value for money and 43% prefer to copy rather than buy CDs. Unless these consumers are encouraged to develop music purchasing behavior soon they may never develop meaningful music buying habits."



    Yah, I'd say EMI is not risking the world on this move...not that it isn't welcome, appreciated and for the industry quite revolutionary. Risky? Mmmmm....not so much...more like risky if they don't do something...



    Vinea
  • Reply 125 of 160
    vineavinea Posts: 5,585member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    In my experience, audiophiles are often really separate from those who listen to a lot of music.



    I think Mr. H's smiley indictates that we both get that...



    Vinea
  • Reply 126 of 160
    I like.

    If you don't care about DRM or sound quality, don't pay more!



    If you do care, like I do, then pay for the nice stuff...
  • Reply 127 of 160
    d.manticd.mantic Posts: 27member
    Do people think there is a chance Apple might encode a user ID into the song files so people sharing music could be tracked? (Might not be enough evidence to prosecute, but it would be very interesting data.) I guess it will be easy to tell once they start selling them. I guess no.
  • Reply 128 of 160
    vineavinea Posts: 5,585member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by d.mantic View Post


    Do people think there is a chance Apple might encode a user ID into the song files so people sharing music could be tracked? (Might not be enough evidence to prosecute, but it would be very interesting data.) I guess it will be easy to tell once they start selling them. I guess no.



    Yes, I'd guess no too. It would crater Apple's good will in releasing unencumbered downloads for no gain...MPAA wouldn't be appreciative and most folks would hate the idea as a big brother thing.



    Sony, on the other hand...well...



    Vinea
  • Reply 129 of 160
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,508member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by vinea View Post


    NPD is questionable?



    There have been quite a few questions as to how, and where, they get their info from. They don't count Apple's stores when counting product sales, or online sales of computers or other devices. Who knows how they are getting these figures? If Apple says it has 100 million accounts on iTunes, then with over 2 billion songs sold, I'm inclined to take them at their word.



    Quote:

    It's not a reasonable request that you not say I said things I don't believe that I have? That's rather funny...



    No, it's certainly not unreasonable. But, as you said in that same post:



    "I don't believe I've commented on AAC/iTunes quality..."



    Well, you have.



    Quote:

    Nope, sorry. No insulting parting digs here. Just links.



    Good.



    Quote:

    Duh...forgot linky:



    http://www.jupitermedia.com/corporat...presearch.html



    "The JupiterResearch report reveals that European consumers who download music from illegal file sharing networks currently outnumber those downloading from legal services such as Apple's iTunes Music Store by a factor of three to one: 15% file share while just 5% pay to download. There is solid demand for paid downloads, however, 10% of European consumers are willing to pay, rising as high as 31% in Sweden.



    File sharing penetration in Europe is highest among younger consumers (34% of 15-24 year olds) and is impacting the way they value music with many having little concept of music as a paid commodity. Among the 46% of European online 15-24 year olds who use the Internet to consume music, the CD is becoming increasingly irrelevant: 40% do not consider the CD to be a good value for money and 43% prefer to copy rather than buy CDs. Unless these consumers are encouraged to develop music purchasing behavior soon they may never develop meaningful music buying habits."



    Yah, I'd say EMI is not risking the world on this move...not that it isn't welcome, appreciated and for the industry quite revolutionary. Risky? Mmmmm....not so much...more like risky if they don't do something...



    Vinea



    I won't argue with the European data, since song buying there is much lower than it is here.



    But, overall, I do question the people numbers, but not the file numbers.



    One reason is that those numbers are not hard numbers, while song purchases are. For all we know, even more people are illegally downloading songs, but it can't be proven, just generalized, and guessed at. Surveying illegal activity is notorously inaccurate.



    I also know people who have downloaded songs illegally, but have also bought songs.



    A lot of kids don't even know that downloading songs from pirate sites, and bit torrents is illegal. My daughter didn't know that until last year.
  • Reply 130 of 160
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,508member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by vinea View Post


    I think Mr. H's smiley indictates that we both get that...



    Vinea



    I was just looking at the some of the comments which indicated otherwise, at least on your end.
  • Reply 131 of 160
    tetzel1517tetzel1517 Posts: 204member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Boukman View Post


    Don't forget also the multitude of indies that asked for this sort of arrangement for years. I understand that Jobs wanted to have one of the heavyweights first to commit to non-DRMed music, but now that it's done, nothing stops the indies to jump right in. That would allow Apple to claim more than only the EMI tracks as being DRM-free, even if the other big 4 don't follow.



    Yeah, there's absolutely nothing in the way of indies having non-DRM music now, too. In fact, a large number of indie labels already sell DRM-free music through eMusic, and it has some of the more significant labels, like Matador and Merge. So clearly there's no objection on their end. Now that iTunes will have the interface and infrastructure necessary to sell non-DRM music, this should be incredibly easy.



    I pay for eMusic solely so I can get non-DRM music (and I like the labels they have on there). But I would end my subscription with them if all those labels ended up selling DRM-free music on iTunes.
  • Reply 132 of 160
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,665member
    So, is it possible to search the iTMS by label?
  • Reply 133 of 160
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,508member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tetzel1517 View Post


    Yeah, there's absolutely nothing in the way of indies having non-DRM music now, too. In fact, a large number of indie labels already sell DRM-free music through eMusic, and it has some of the more significant labels, like Matador and Merge. So clearly there's no objection on their end. Now that iTunes will have the interface and infrastructure necessary to sell non-DRM music, this should be incredibly easy.



    I pay for eMusic solely so I can get non-DRM music (and I like the labels they have on there). But I would end my subscription with them if all those labels ended up selling DRM-free music on iTunes.



    I've never gone there. What does EMusic charge, and how do they encode. I think they use MP3, but at what bitrate?



    I'm wondering if they will think it's time to change to AAC instead.
  • Reply 134 of 160
    mr. hmr. h Posts: 4,870member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    I've never gone there. What does EMusic charge, and how do they encode. I think they use MP3, but at what bitrate?



    I'm wondering if they will think it's time to change to AAC instead.



    They have a subscription model (an in real subscription as opposed to napster-style rental). You pay a certain amount each month, and that entitles you to download and keep indefinitely a certain number of tracks each month. Your allowance, if not used up, does not roll over to the next month.



    They use, on the whole, high bit-rate VBR mp3 (averaging 160 to 200 kbps depending on track).



    You know, I really don't understand why eMusic don't offer AAC as an option. There are no fees for distributing tracks encoded in AAC format, whereas there are fees for using mp3. It'd be cheaper for eMusic to use AAC.
  • Reply 135 of 160
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,508member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post


    They have a subscription model (an in real subscription as opposed to napster-style rental). You pay a certain amount each month, and that entitles you to download and keep indefinitely a certain number of tracks each month. Your allowance, if not used up, does not roll over to the next month.



    They use, on the whole, high bit-rate VBR mp3 (averaging 160 to 200 kbps depending on track).



    You know, I really don't understand why eMusic don't offer AAC as an option. There are no fees for distributing tracks encoded in AAC format, whereas there are fees for using mp3. It'd be cheaper for eMusic to use AAC.



    They have no option to buy as most other music subscription services do? That's odd, if true.



    It seems as thought their quality is lower at the slower bitrates, and about equal at the higher one. 192-200 VBR MP3 is about equal to 256 AAC non-VBR, though Apple could do that, and I wish they would have. It takes no more download bandwidth, though it does take a bit more encoding time. But, as they aren't likely using an old G3 to encode them, that shouldn't be a problem (unless they ARE using an old G3 to encode them!).
  • Reply 136 of 160
    gregalexandergregalexander Posts: 1,400member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Superbass View Post


    I don't think any other players support AAC, and iTunes still only syncs to iPod, so this still locks the songs into the Apple system. It doesn't offer any more "freedom" to the average user, except to copy the files and give them to friends who also use the Apple system.



    My Nokia phone supports AAC.

    But my ~US$100 Sony car stereo that plays MP3 does not. It would have been about an extra $50 for that feature (it was about $30 extra for the MP3 capability)



    Apple's move may really make other players advertise their AAC capability, or make them add AAC capability. They'll want to encourage people to move from their iPod AND take all their music with them. The main gain for the average user is that you will have that choice if you want it (and do now depending on which player you're looking at).
  • Reply 137 of 160
    mr. hmr. h Posts: 4,870member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    They have no option to buy as most other music subscription services do? That's odd, if true.



    You missed my point about this being true subscription. It is not rental. For example, if you subscribe to a magazine, and you get sent one magazine a month for a year, and then you cancel your subscription, you don't have to give those magazines back; you own them. Same applies with the eMusic service. You pay a subscription fee, which gives you the right to download a certain number of tracks. Once you've downloaded the files, they are yours to keep.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    It seems as thought their quality is lower at the slower bitrates, and about equal at the higher one. 192-200 VBR MP3 is about equal to 256 AAC non-VBR



    I'm not sure that's accurate. Given that AAC is superior to mp3 at any given bit rate, and the highest bit rate in a 200 kbps VBR mp3 is probably around 256 kbps, an AAC which is 256 kbps at all times should be of higher quality.
  • Reply 138 of 160
    gregalexandergregalexander Posts: 1,400member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by vinea View Post


    I offered to buy her some starter iTunes downloads and she replied "oh, don't bother, I have Limewire"...



    My sister was similar. She wanted to be legal, and told me that she bought all her music through Limewire.



    She explained that she thought it was unfair for artists not to get paid, so she didn't have the free/illegal version and had paid for the Limewire Pro version. The thing is - she's actually really smart. She knew about illegal downloads, but didn't know enough to realise that she was still doing that after paying.
  • Reply 139 of 160
    aegisdesignaegisdesign Posts: 2,914member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    No. Anyone can use AAC. It's a rare player that doesn't already have it. This puts the onus on those companies who haven't put AAC into their players.



    Actually, it's quite common for the PlaysForSure players and the really cheap flash players to only support MP3 and WMA even if they use a chip that also supports AAC. It's supported in mobile phones because it's part of the GSM phone standard IIRC. They have to support it alongside 3GPP.



    There previously wasn't much use for AAC in non-iTunes compatible players since none of the other stores did AAC and Microsoft's media player was notoriously bad at AAC. That's why you get people proclaiming AAC is a stupid format I think as it's based on what Microsoft have done with it. The fact it's better (quality/size) and cheaper and simpler to licence than either MP3 or WMA seems to get forgotten.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post


    My big beef is with car audio systems: why can't any of those (as far as I know) play AAC burnt to CD-Rs (as they do MP3s)? It is convenient to have a couple of CD-Rs with hundreds of songs in them lying around in my car, rather than carry my iPod with me at all times.....



    See above. It's also probably because most car audio is far eastern in design/origin where the iPod isn't so big a thing.
  • Reply 140 of 160
    caliminiuscaliminius Posts: 944member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    For those of you who have read through the article too quickly, here is the very first sentence:







    That takes care of the "how many bands" question, as well as the "will it be here in Europe?" as well.



    I know what was said, but what are the real logistics of music publishing? Take Depeche Mode. The EMI Group website lists them as one of their artists. Looking on iTunes and one of their CD's, they are published in the U.S. by Reprise Records which is a Warner Music Group Company. Does EMI have the ability to release those tracks without DRM or would that fall under the control of Warner Music Group which strongly advocates DRM?



    It seems to me (I'm no expert on music publishing) that this is similar to the messy distribution systems that movies have where the producing company many not have distribution rights in all countries. Please correct me if I'm wrong. I'd love to see all of the artists on EMI's page be available in high quality DRM free format, I'm just curious about the realism of that from a business perspective.
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