Apple introduces iTunes Pass for following favorite bands

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
Apple this week is testing a new feature of its digital download service called iTunes Pass, which will buy shoppers access to all of their favorite bands' iTunes-related releases and exclusive material over a set time period.



The feature is similar in some ways to iTunes Season Pass for TV shows in that customers who purchase an iTunes Pass for a certain artist will be notified through email whenever new albums or exclusive content included in the package is posted to iTunes for download. However, the contents of each iTunes Pass are not fully disclosed at purchase time and are similarly "subject to change without notice."



For instance, Apple is kicking off the program in conjunction with Depeche Mode's upcoming album Sounds of the Universe. For $18.99 -- the cost of the Depeche Mode iTunes Pass -- customers will be able to download the band's new single "Wrong" and an exclusive remix of "Oh Well" in advance before gaining access to the full album and bonus tracks when they're released on April 21.



Between now and June 16 -- a seemingly arbitrary pass expiration date selected by the band's record label -- pass holders will also be privy to any Depeche Mode "extended singles, remixes, videos" and other media content that may turn up on iTunes.



According to the iTunes Pass Learn More page, all songs and music videos come in DRM-free, high-quality iTunes Plus format. Apple also notes that: "The purchase price of the iTunes Pass will not exceed the fair market value of the individual items offered as part of the iTunes Pass." It's unclear however whether the pass provides any significant form of cost savings to customers who could otherwise purchase much of the same content at their leisure.



It's likely that iTunes Pass subscriptions, which cannot be canceled or refunded, are the result of concessions made by Apple to record labels in return for providing their music catalogs to iTunes in DRM-free format with 256 kbps AAC encoding. This past January, Apple announced that Universal Music Group, Sony BMG, and Warner Music Group would join EMI in serving up their tracks in the higher-quality, unrestricted iTunes Plus format, ending an 18-month standoff between the labels and iPod maker.



As part of their demands, labels had asked for greater flexibility to sell higher-margin digital content bundles and the ability to set variable pricing for individual tracks and albums, both of which Apple ultimately agreed to. As part of the Cupertino-based company's announcement in January, it also said "beginning in April, based on what the music labels charge Apple, songs on iTunes will be available at one of three price points: 69 cents, 99 cents and $1.29, with most albums still priced at $9.99."







The new iTunes Pass is not to be confused with iTunes Replay, an on-demand streaming video service for iTunes movie and videos reported by AppleInsider to be in the works earlier this month. Since then, CNET News.com claims to have independently confirmed plans for the service, which will allow iTunes customers to build their video libraries without worrying about the hard drive space needed to store the media files because the service would stream purchased content back to users at any time.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 40
    Will consumers "Buy Pass" or "bypass"?
  • Reply 2 of 40
    Until June? Sounds pretty shoddy to me, unless someone is very interested in paying extra for all the little pieces of fluff that might come with special releases. You're not going to get another album out of this. It does sound like a concession to the music industry...



    I'll pass.
  • Reply 3 of 40
    Bypass.



    No guarantee additional content would show up, and most bands take a few years to release new work.
  • Reply 4 of 40
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,949member
    I thought I was just being confused, going by the previous posters, but maybe it's just a weird idea that doesn't deserve to be tried. The suggestion that it the "pass" might include things as yet unannounced sounds more like vapor than anything else.
  • Reply 5 of 40
    This is one of those services you have to experience before making a rational judgement. There are too many unknowns.



    For some of my favorite artists I'd be willing to shell out ducats in the hopes of getting some extended content.
  • Reply 6 of 40
    How is this not a subscription service like Rhapsody?



    You pay a fee & the music disappears at a certain point unless you pay another fee.



    -Matt
  • Reply 7 of 40
    I'll pass.
  • Reply 8 of 40
    richlrichl Posts: 2,213member
    I'd rather have something akin to the Zune pass. I already pay a monthly subscription to "all you can eat" TV, Internet and DVDs. Why not music too?



    (Though my wish has been partially satisfied by Spotify)
  • Reply 9 of 40
    I think I'l bypass Buy Pass also. Being that I am a consummate procrastinator, anything that involves a "set period of time" is a deal killer for me.
  • Reply 10 of 40
    kasperkasper Posts: 941member, administrator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by matthawaii View Post


    How is this not a subscription service like Rhapsody?



    You pay a fee & the music disappears at a certain point unless you pay another fee.



    -Matt



    You get to keep the content that you've downloaded. Once the expiration date arrives, you'll have to buy any additional content from the artist individually.



    K
  • Reply 11 of 40
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by matthawaii View Post


    How is this not a subscription service like Rhapsody?



    You pay a fee & the music disappears at a certain point unless you pay another fee.



    -Matt



    That's not what they are saying. Nothing disappears. You just pay $19 and you get everything they release between now and June (assuming they release more stuff). There is no DRM on any of the stuff - it's all in iTunes Plus (although I guess vids would be DRM but they still aren't going to delete anything).



    Personally this just doesn't even make any sense and seems like nothing more than a bad marketing ploy to get more money out of people.
  • Reply 12 of 40
    rainrain Posts: 538member
    I'm as big of a Mode fan as they come, and I'm not buying into this crap.

    Besides, any Mode fan knows exactly what they are getting for this pass, the deluxe box set.



    CD1 - CDBONG 40

    1. Wrong

    2. Oh Well (Black Odyssey Remix)



    CD2 - Maxi - LCDBONG 40

    1. Wrong

    2. Wrong - Trentemøller Club Remix

    3. Wrong - Thin White Duke Remix

    4. Wrong - Magda Scallop Funk Mix

    5. Wrong - D.I.M. vs Boys Noise Remix



    Plus the studio album. And a few vid's



    It's not likely they are going to release more singles between now and July. If it was a year... I'd say 'awesome deal' and I'd be all over it.

    This is nothing more then re-branding the box set that will probably cost upwards of $200.
  • Reply 13 of 40
    teckstudteckstud Posts: 6,476member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bigmc6000 View Post


    Personally this just doesn't even make any sense and seems like nothing more than a bad marketing ploy to get more money out of people.



    You think?
  • Reply 14 of 40
    Maybe it's just me, but to me it sounds like Apple is saying give us $18.99 now and later you'll get to see what you bought. Oh well, I'm not going to waste much time worrying about a band that hit its peak 20 years ago.
  • Reply 15 of 40
    lafelafe Posts: 252member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by razorpit View Post


    Maybe it's just me, but to me it sounds like Apple is saying give us $18.99 now and later you'll get to see what you bought. Oh well, I'm not going to waste much time worrying about a band that hit its peak 20 years ago.



    I think some posters are missing the point . . . Can none of you imagine an

    army of teens with iTunes gift cards or Mum and Dad's credit card hooked up

    to their iTunes account saying, "What?! I can get exclusive content on {super

    awesome band they really really like}
    that's not available anywhere else!

    OMG! Sign me up!"



    That demographic will do anything and pay anything for a little more of

    their favorite band.



    It does smell like more of a recording company's idea than Apple's, but it

    will end up making someone a lot of money. Not on Depeche Mode, maybe,

    but on dozens of today's cookie-cutter bands - yes.
  • Reply 16 of 40
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by rain View Post


    I'm as big of a Mode fan as they come, and I'm not buying into this crap.

    Besides, any Mode fan knows exactly what they are getting for this pass, the deluxe box set.



    It's not likely they are going to release more singles between now and July. If it was a year... I'd say 'awesome deal' and I'd be all over it.



    This is nothing more then re-branding the box set that will probably cost upwards of $200.



    You missed the part that said, "plus exclusive music and videos."



    I don't know if that means iTunes exclusive, or if the exclusives are just remixes or whatever, but you're not going to pay more for for the pass than if you had bought everything individually. They make that clear: this is a season pass for Depeche Mode (through June), nothing more, nothing less. You'll probably save a couple of bucks but get some stuff that you don't really care about in the process.



    But if you were REALLY a Depeche Mode fan, you'd want it all, anyway...
  • Reply 17 of 40
    Just another sign of how out of touch the iTunes marketing & sales department is with reality.



    I think they've been smoking some pretty good sh*t if they think people are going to buy music before they've even heard it or better yet before its guaranteed it will even be released.. what happens if a CD comes out a week after your window closes?



    This is too damn complicated. Along with everything else iTunes does.. DRM no DRM.. its the same music. I shouldn't have to pay a damn thing to have it any format I prefer.



    What they should have is an ALL MUSIC pass.



    I love Apple, but iTunes is a horrible horrible way of selling music. That so many people have managed to wander into it because of buying ipods and iphones is the only reason I can muster for it being so popular but I'll NEVER buy music that I have to tag to 5 computers, or that I can't click a button to automatically redownload (considering that I PAID for it), or well.. the reasons are endless.



    silly itunes
  • Reply 18 of 40
    nceencee Posts: 836member
    But what about folks who have another fav group or artist? I'm not sure if I'd pay, but it would be nice to not have to do any research to see if a band, group or artist I like, is coming out with a new release.



    Now if it was free, I'd sign-up. There are a dozen or so artists I'd like to know if they had something new coming out.



    Skip
  • Reply 19 of 40
    wilcowilco Posts: 985member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by matthawaii View Post


    How is this not a subscription service like Rhapsody?



    You pay a fee & the music disappears at a certain point unless you pay another fee.



    -Matt



    No offense, but are you retarded?
  • Reply 20 of 40
    teckstudteckstud Posts: 6,476member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Lafe View Post


    I think some posters are missing the point . . . Can none of you imagine an

    army of teens with iTunes gift cards or Mum and Dad's credit card hooked up

    to their iTunes account saying, "What?! I can get exclusive content on {super

    awesome band they really really like}
    that's not available anywhere else!

    OMG! Sign me up!"



    That demographic will do anything and pay anything for a little more of

    their favorite band.



    It does smell like more of a recording company's idea than Apple's, but it

    will end up making someone a lot of money. Not on Depeche Mode, maybe,

    but on dozens of today's cookie-cutter bands - yes.



    Mummy, I want a Jonas Brothers Music Pass- NOW!!!!
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