back to article Real and MTV in joint bid to be crushed by iTunes

After struggling to keep pace with iTunes on their own, MTV and RealNetworks have decided they'd rather struggle as a team. Today, during a conference call with reporters, the two companies announced plans to merge their online music services - Rhapsody and Urge - forming one big market also-ran under the Rhapsody name. They've …

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This is all about digital media rights

This is all about iTunes, Real, MTV, Verizon, etc. trying to control our media. They want us to have access to all the music they own, and pay per play for songs. That'll work for a minute, then the American Sheeple will fight back.

Media licenses are for wimps and communists. I'll buy DRM free music or I'll steal it. I'm an AMERICAN, I don't take kindly to ass holes.

Eventually I'll be buying direct from the artist. I'd love to pay the artists instead of some stupid label. The artist is who I really have a consumer relationship with.

I expect iTunes and Microsoft to lead the charge. My suggestion to Verizon and the likes, "Follow suit or get the hell out of the way."

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who cares

being absolutely honest i have NEVER downloaded a song from any where like those groups mentioned in this article.

i did download some freebies that i won with Coca Cola, but i simply refuse to do it

why bother ? i don't see any point to it

Buy the CD, downloads are just as much of a rip off to the artist, at least by buying the CD you are, 99% of the time, guaranteeing a bigger return to the artist for their work.

and oh yeah, it's just as easy to rip the songs onto your iPod.

death to downloads !

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Personally..

I wouldn't touch anything associated with Real Networks with a barge pole.

This may be a bit unfair but after experiences with RealPlayer back in 95/98 days, I have steered well clear.

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Anonymous Coward

BBC Urge

So MTV, a big Worldwide TV network with all the marketing power that entails, couldn't even market that DRM laden piece of **** that Microsoft pushes.

Perhaps a lesson there for the BBC.

All the beeb has to do is publish their product in a recognized standard, say MPEG4, with an easy to process program guide format, say XML, they could knock it up in a couple of weeks and it could be played on anything, including Tivos, PS3s, Wii,s all those network aware hard disk recordsers, satellite+ boxes. Depending on the Ip address they redirect to a MPEG4 with adverts or not, or block it.

So why on earth are they doing a Zune/Urge?

Also I read Microsoft had paid an undisclosed $150 million to Paramount to get them to only issue movies on HDDVD (the Microsoft format). That's troubling because undisclosed payments to force bad decisions are always troubling.

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Silver badge

InterNetional Relations

"Toffler is making the distinction between music download services like iTunes and subscription-based services like Rhapsody."

If the subscription for Rhapsody were included in WifiWiMax Costs would IT be transferred to the Public Funding via ITs Use of Base Stations and Facilities? Which is Old Technology and the Status Quo able to Support New AIG Technologies and Analytical Algorithms....... for Controls in Energised Virtualised Environments....HotXXXXSpots .... Brilliant Orange SPARCs 42 Enable SMART, Virtually and Heuristically?

Hmmm.... Sounds like a Simple Brain Washing Program replacing the Old One with IT ITself.

QuITe SMART that. Is it Japanese House of the Rising Sun?

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'Media licenses are for wimps and communists'

Er, what?

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Anonymous Coward

Market leaders

Is it just me or does every IT/Internet/software company, regardless of size and success, claim to be a market leader? Is this part of the marketing communications qualifying exam?

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Anonymous Coward

DRM-free?

"we'd like to point out that Steve Jobs doesn't exactly play nicely with handheld music players other than the iPod and iPhone."

Of course that's true for DRM'd tracks, but they're complaining about DRM-free tracks.

iTunes plus tracks play fine on other devices such as my Sony Ericsson phone.

Why should there be limitations on what DRM-free tracks play on?

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Anonymous Coward

I'll never buy from WalMart then

If they wont support OSX like iTunes/Real does then they can go get stuffed! I have a Mac and PC, but buggered if i'd be forced to use my PC just to buy something from this meglomaniac shopping chain store.

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Anonymous Coward

Leader

"every IT/Internet/software company, regardless of size and success, claim to be a market leader?"

A leader is three dots ...

So, when a company claims to be a market leader, the image they project is that their company is merely three dots in the ocean.

Always remeber that, and you'll be "all at see" and can think of it as just another annoyance like the puerile and meaninglessly space-wasting "Wow" that argos puts on just about every page of its bumph.

All of which just goes to prove that most marketing hype is just a waste of space.

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Anonymous Coward

Wibble

"InterNetional Relations

By amanfromMars"

Has anyone ANY idea what this person is on about? Or why each word has a capital first letter, rendering the comment even more difficult to read? Oh wait. Maybe he's in training to be a marketing executive for Real, Verizon or MTV...

Completely hatstand.

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Anonymous Coward

RE DRM-free?

There shouldn't be any limitations on what device you can play your legally purchased media on, but why do Apple have to charge a 30cent premium for the privilege?

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Anonymous Coward

I agree with A.Lewis

Real Player is STILL a piece of sh*t.

One mistake during installation and your PC is crippled by it. It installs software that you don't want, can't switch off and associates itself to every media-related filetype on your PC by default. Uninstalling it doesn't make those problems go away either.

As media players go, Real Player is the equivalent of installing Norton Antivirus. It's a nightmare to get rid of.

Can I borrow your bargepole please?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: RE DRM-free

It's not Apple imposing the 30 cents extra but the record labels, if you have issue with it take it up with the labels then

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Mo

RE DRM-free

They charge a 30cent premium because it's a much higher bitrate. The lack of DRM is thrown in as part of the bargain.

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@ RE DRM-free?

Why do Apple have to charge a 30cent premium for the privilege?

...To appease the record masses. Higher bit-rate means better sound, no DRM (per-se) so as to play on anything not just iPods. Remember a while back several of the big recording studios are always wanting to raise the price of iTunes downloads because they know a good thing so they gotta have a cut of that action. (Greed is such a negative term to use in mixed company.) And also several EU members were getting uptight about the dominance of iTunes only working on iPods and nothing else. So all in all, Steve says 'Look, I don't like it either so here goes: I'll remove 'MY' DRM and give you better quality tunes so you can play on any device -for a higher price and/or keep the same thing at the standard price and plays only on iPods... so there! If you want more money, you have to pay the piper for the service.' What's that sound--- silence. The ball is in the record companies and EU's court.

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Anonymous Coward

All a waste of time

Hardly anyone uses these services, legal downloads are only a few percent of music sales. On top of that, there's barely any profit in them either. Why would anyone want to dominate a tiny unprofitable market?

Apple's money comes from the huge margins on hardware sales, not from music sales. Apple themselves are pretty open about the fact that only a tiny percentage of their customers regularly buy tracks from iTunes.

Future growth is probably going to come from DRM-free sales, in which case it wouldn't matter which site you bought a track from and people would just go to whichever one was cheapest, like they do with supermarkets. The sales channel would become insignificant once you remove DRM, because it would be just as easy to buy from any website.

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Anonymous Coward

Come with me if you want to live

"After struggling to keep pace with iTunes on their own, MTV and RealNetworks have decided they'd rather struggle as a team."

Best opening sentence evah. Or at least this week. Recently.

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Anonymous Coward

Excuse me?

>>Hardly anyone uses these services, legal downloads are only a few percent of music sales. On top of that, there's barely any profit in them either. Why would anyone want to dominate a tiny unprofitable market?

http://tinyurl.com/2aabe7

"According to market research firm NPD Group's MusicWatch survey, iTunes recently surpassed both Amazon and the high street giant Target to become the third largest music retailer in the US, and is now the world's most popular online music, TV and movie store."

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Anonymous Coward

RE re DRM-free?

So what you are saying is it has been ok for Apple to rip people off by selling lower quality recordings? It takes no longer to encode something at the higher bit rate and the file size difference is negligible so you can't use the 'we need extra storage capacity to host them' argument. Should the consumer not expect an excellent quality recording for their money, seeing as it is already not cd quality? Also, why have user specific information embedded in the DRM free tracks? Surely a violation of privacy. If the pricing is so fair, why have the EU launched a legal challenge to Apple, asking them to explain why those in the UK get charged around 18% more than the French or Italians.

to quote a spokesman for the BPI “iTunes set the prices - not the British record industry. It is a bit like asking a farmer to comment on Tesco prices”

and EMI

“We don't set the retail price. Apple does"

And as for the one price suits all model, where did they get that from? Why should I pay the same price for a 20 year old recording as I do for one released this week?

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Choose your bitrate

I've always thought one of the most usable sites was allofmp3 (ignoring the issue of whether they were legal or not) - you could choose the bitrate you wanted your tracks in and paid accordingly (and they were tagged sensibly as well!). So, if iTunes et al could just get down to anywhere near the pricing model that allofmp3 had...

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A few thoughts

First, Apple provides the DRM free tracks in a larger file format and charges more for them because 1) EMI probably wanted more for the DRM free tracks, and 2) Apple likely had to make the tracks a different size in order to not violate its contracts with the other labels. You see those other contracts would have contained a provision requiring Apple to increase the price on all its tracks if it increased the price on some of its tracks. By increasing the file size, the DMR free songs would be considered a separate product thus allowing Apple to charge more for songs without violating its contract with other labels.

Second, iTunes from it's inception has included user information attached to all of the songs, not just the DRM free ones. Some more tech savvy people then myself have pointed out this is necessary for some iTunes features to work. Whatever the case may be, it is not like Apple has keep this a secret, anybody with iTunes can see the metadata attached to the songs.

Third, I really do not see why Europeans get upset at Apple for prices varying through European iTune's stores. Apple originally said it wanted one European iTune's store. The labels wouldn't allow it, arguing that copyright laws are different in each country, and the contractual obligations to each artist are different in each country. Presumably if a record company has to pay more to the artists in Britain then France, it would want to charge more in Britain. At the end of the day, Apple's choice was not to open any European iTunes stores, or do it the way the labels wanted. Apple may set the retail price, however, labels set the wholesale price. The labels presumably are charging Apple more in certain countries then others, thus requiring Apple to charge different prices if it wants to make a profit in all Countries. Makes sense to me. This is even more the case when different currency is involved.

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