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back to article Cloud iTunes DESTROYS music business FOREVER!

More hysterical shrieking reaches us about Apple's new music feature, I'm afraid. Earlier this week a lone lawyer said that iTunes Match, which populates an online store with songs you already have, encourages infringement. Well, this one is even nuttier. It's actually so spectacularly muddle-headed, I thought it might be is a …

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Coat

Please clarify

Andrew, you realise that the uploading of content-to-Match isn't transcoding or reencoding, the audio is identified via fingerprint? After that, a copy of the AAC file (as available on iTunes), encoded from the label-supplied lossless master, is made available in your iTunes library through your Match account. There's no transcoding of MP3s, that'd be horribly inefficient and error-prone if metadata was wrong/missing etc. That's what I took from where you wrote about it "chewing and spitting out" AACs)... You may want to rephrase that to clarify.

For the handful of files it might not be able to identify from fingerprinting, it will upload the original files and then (I hope!) make those originals available from the cloud instead of transcoding to AAC. Transcoding would make no sense, and Apple (to be fair) are pretty anally retentive about audio quality through iTunes.

I work in the music industry in the independent sector, and I think - as Apple will have already carefully thought about and realised - that there will be a subset of customers who immediately attempt to use it to 'legitimise' their huge catalogue of unlicensed (read: shonky) MP3s. However, once they're locked into that $25-a-year model... Boom. Pure profit from that customer after year 1.

Far more importantly for labels, it's yet to be revealed what the actual base royalty rate will be as paid to labels whenever a customer is given access to a track through Match. Given a track sale through the iTunes store only yields (on average) 50-59p gross to the label, I suspect iTunes Match royalties will be comparabie to Spotify levels of royalty, which are an absolute pittance. (You have to get multiple hundreds of thousands of streams on Spotify to earn more than $100.)

I'm on the fence about Match at the moment. We could see another incremental source of revenue, but I guarantee it won't be a large amount (and lots of our catalogue has been pirated and shared online, particularly on filesharing blogs). We send out DMCA notices if we see lots of catalogue sprout up but we could send out hundreds a day and never get on top of the problem.

We'll have to see if Apple implements and enforces a FUP with regards to how many tracks you can fingerprint and get access to at once - the majors (whose favourable royalty rates haven't been disclosed, but still won't be amazing) will get really pissed off if the majority of Match customers use the service to basically download 128kbps (or lower!) MP3s then get a pretty-much-free upgrade to 256kbps, DRM free, A+ quality AACs. I know I'd be pissed off by that.

Mine's the one with a copy of the iTunes Music Store Style Guide handbook in it

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(Written by Reg staff) Bronze badge

Re: Please clarify

Thanks Christopher - you're right. I'll clarify the piece, pointing out the original songs in your library are not altered.

The drawback of an iMatch'd library is that there will be holes. Spotify is "holey" enough already.

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Facepalm

No...

...still not correct. Seriously, did you actually watch any of SJ's presentation or read the press releases to understand how iTunes Match works?

It's very simple: if iTunes already has the song in the store then it uses that one, otherwise it uploads the track from your library.

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Anonymous Coward

@Christopher W

I can't follow your argument for the "upgrade". It's not like you can only find low quality pirated music.

People can already download DRM, high quality (even lossless) A++++ pirated versions of music should they wish to. In fact you watch torrent sites, those versions are the ones with most seeders, with the sweet spot around 320kbps (for MP3).

Why would they download a low quality of music only to have to download a high quality next? That's a bit loopy I'm afraid..

However this is the perfect service for those who have old tracks lying around and want to upgrade it to better quality. But that music was stolen already, so this just gives the labels some money for it.

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It was just one use case

My sister, who's one generation of kids after me, used to swap files mostly via sneakernet (Bluetooth via mobiles etc). She had (stlil has) LOTS of low quality MP3s.

For those who have massive collections amassed via P2P (Limewire, Grokster, even KaZaA or ripping audio from video sites etc) the quality will likely be very variable. Collections can go back five, ten, even fifteen years. There's still a lot of 96s, 128s and 160s floating around on P2P. I'm well versed on what's available both publicly and privately on BT and Tor, I grew up with Audiogalaxy, Napster, XDCC etc. ;-)

Even for people who download 16/44.1 FLACs, they can still get a guaranteed, 10-device-synced version of the file for their iDevices and have it legitimately tied to their Apple ID as long as they pay the almost token sum of $25 a year.

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Silver badge

@Christopher W: Variable Quality

I think you'll find that these days people are downloading very good quality pirated music. Back in the old days of eMule 128kbps CBR mp3 was commonplace. Nowadays, as a previous poster mentioned, the quality is 320kbps VBR mp3 or FLAC.

If I were you I wouldn't worry about it as the type of person who downloads a 96 ain't ever intending on buying it so you should be grateful for the pennies that Apple may be dishing out as that particular freetard otherwise wouldn't be handing over anything. If you don't like that then I'm afraid it's off to court or supply a better business model i.e. don't use apple and so get more than pennies but don't ever expect a freetard to pay as it's not in their nature.

"Even for people who download 16/44.1 FLACs, they can still get a guaranteed, 10-device-synced version of the file for their iDevices and have it legitimately tied to their Apple ID as long as they pay the almost token sum of $25 a year."

Am I reading that you'd prefer them to pay for music per copy per device? If so then you are part of the problem of the music industry if not then can you explain how you'd like multi-device syncing to work?

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@Mark 65 re: variable quality

Hardly, stop trying to provoke me into an argument. ;-)

I'd rather that people could buy FLACs, with appropriate 300dpi artwork (or ALACs in Apple's case) and have that copy available everywhere. I have no problem with people having music they've purchased available on all devices, it's the scenario of Match being used for nefarious purposes I have a problem with.

Ideally I'd like a service which built on what AllOfMP3 offered - you pay for the quality you want; the premium for FLAC, the lowest for 128kbps. However I'd have it so you could optionally buy the FLAC then have the service transcode to MP3 / AAC on the fly for mobile devices, or you could download a LQ copy as AAC or MP3 for your MP3 player but always have the master FLACs available. It's certainly feasible as Apple have shown, because this is almost exactly what they're doing (just with one fixed bitrate and no download of the lossless original).

Also I'm still sceptical as to how much labels (except for the Big 4) will actually earn from this.

I regard myself as outside of the music industry, it's clusterfucking itself into a bloody mess with the way it's going (and has been for a decade now). I wish the industry had jumped onto Napster and produced a legitimate model and service based on it, that would've been incredible and we probably wouldn't even have the issue of multiple siloed stores.

Certainly we wouldn't have the issue of digital sales being counted as physical sales, which would have knock on effect of digital music being cheaper (and closer to its actual retail value, as I see it.)

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@Christopher W

I also cannot help thinking that the industry has missed the boat. Apart from artists marketing more directly to their listeners it would seem the Apple deal is all there is and the real power has irretrievably shifted.

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Gold badge
Coat

Come-uppance due?

"....readers from Steven Tyler to Rick Nielsen to Bryan Adams to Quincy Jones...."

Could some grey-hat do the necessary to add Rick Astley to that lot for him please? It'd be really funny.......

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Title

I thought the problem was that a freetard with a pirated music collection could pay Apple a yearly fee and receive a licence in return for the fee. The record labels would only see a small proportion of that yearly fee - less than they would if the collection was obtained legally. Therefore Apple are making money from third party piracy and the record companies aren't along as much as they would do. Am I missing something?

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You're right

Yup, that's the problem. In fact, if I have 25,000 torrented Tunez, it's not even a question of a yearly fee. $25 will give me legitimate copies of all of those - I don't have to renew next year, I can opt out - retaining the legitimate copies, but loosing the wireless sync capabilities.

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So an amnesty then

Perhaps that's how it should be viewed.

(You mean losing and not loosing though)

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WTF?

I don't get this 'legitimate' argument

But this is where I don't understand what so many people are saying. In what way does having the iTunes version mean it's a legitimate version? You didn't buy it from iTMS, you obtained it by deception. Your AAC version is just as 'hot' as your pirated MP3. Why does laundering my MP3s through iTunes Match suddenly make the results 'all OK'?

And when people say 'legitimate' or 'legal', in who's eyes are they referring to? If we're talking about actual criminal or civil court action, then you wouldn't stand a chance - or probably more precisely you would have no stronger a case than if you just had your original pirated MP3. When the lawyers say "where did this track come from?", the trail through your iTunes account just goes back to your original MP3 and you're back to having to prove/disprove your right to that track.

Or do people just means they're suddenly legitimate in their own consciences?

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Silver badge

No, they mean "legitimate" in the eyes of the law.

Apple purchased a distribution license to the music. That means whomever they provide it to, it it a legal copy, because the fees to distribute it have been paid by Apple. The fact that the "musical fingerprint" I sent to Apple to tell them what I wanted to download was off a unlicensed copy isn't relevant. Apple could just have easily put the song up on (whatever the current service like) Napster (is) and it would still be completely legal. Apple is paying 40M or so to do that.

Take your hypothetical to the next level, now I don't actually have an MP3, all I have is the fingerprint that the MP3 would have made if I had it. I, of course, obtained this fingerprint from my friend who as an original CD. I use that information to request the song from Apple. At this point I have NEVER had a pirated copy of the song. I have what is more-or-less a hash, generated completely automatically. It is not the song, therefore it is not covered under the song's copyright, it is not a creative work either, it is equivalent to a telephone directory... a set of facts which courts have held is not copyrightable.

You MIGHT be able to argue that there is enough grounds to search on that, of course, then you have to prove that the copy you find was one I obtained illegally, rather then one I transcoded from AAC. At this point most jurors eye are going to start to glaze over. with the back and forth on the technical merits, a few simple arguments about how easy it is for the computer's clock to be off and the jury is going to start to wonder if they themselves can pass this standard you are presenting for them. If even the case you describe (let alone the one I did) was ever to come to trial, my pub wager would be on either "out-of-court settlement" or "defendant"

Now, this naturally only applies to artists who are represented but labels who are taking Apple's money.

IANAL

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Black Helicopters

Re: No, they mean "legitimate" in the eyes of the law.

Well, maybe the tracks are legit, but they were obtained through deception meaning joy of joys a fraud charge. You've just upped it from a civil matter to a criminal matter. Although I'll concede the likelihood of getting caught is low.

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Silver badge
Linux

Mostly spackle...

I see iMatch as mostly just patching the holes in the current iTunes offering. For ease use purposes, you should be able to re-download all of your content purchased from iTunes from any authorized device or copy of iTunes. Apple should provide the equivalent of the big monster media server that many of us have built for ourselves. A paying customer should never have to worry about ever losing the stuff they've paid Apple for.

After I enter my Digital Copy code for Clockwork Orange or HP7, I should be able to stream that from any Apple device I have and not even need to worry about syncing it.

The music "trading" feature is a mixed bag, especially for people "anal" enough to care about having everything with them. iTunes is missing things and may have an inferior copy of what it does have.

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Silver badge

Complete sync?

With about 20 GB of music on my computer, I am not sure I want to have all my music on my iPhone... And I might be wrong, but I do not think that my collection is very large.

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Bronze badge

I think that's large.

What is it in CDs? One CD = 650 MB WAV = 65 MB MP3; three albums = 200 MB; so you've got around 300 full CDs. That's -quite- a lot.

If on average - average - you have five albums by each artist that you like and collect, then that's sixty artists that you're collecting.

Of course if you're into "insert name of modern genre I despise" then they probably all sound the same except to a highly trained ear (or, preferably, a pair), to which every recording is indispensably unique.

I don't even know what the music I don't like is called any more, although I accidentally heard some "dub step" on Radio 1 this week and it sounded a bit of a mess.

Also a few years ago on the radio panel game [Just a Minute], players were challenged to talk fluently about "ambient trip hop" for sixty seconds, and it appeared that none of them really knew what it is either, although Graham Norton (I think) made a very valiant image-saving effort.

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Silver badge
Linux

Defending the brand

> I am not sure I want to have all my music on my iPhone.

Why the frell not? It's the modern iPod.

On the one hand it's just EASIER. You don't have to futz with a lot of options when it comes to syncing your collection. You just hit the "sync all" button. Even the rsync version of this is pretty simple. No futzing with a playlist hack to add that one album out of 5 or 18 because you have so little space.

Then there's the whole convenience-on-the-go aspect of MP3 players in general. Some people seem strangely eager to decry the idea of having everything at your fingertips when ever you might fancy it. Odd for a Cloud related article.

...sounds like making poor excuses for what would be considered an obvious fault in any other brand of device.

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Silver badge

Quick estimation

I have on average 15 CDs of Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Bruckner, Chopin, Mahler, Mozart, Rachmaninov, Rossini, Schubert, Verdi... Those are just the main ones. Classical music adds up fast.

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FAIL

And the point of your...

...meandering ramble is?

There is no way in a million years you can guesstimate the actual amount of CDs/artists/tracks 20Gb of music represents, there are too many variables. And nobody really cares about what music you don't like and/or think sounds the same!

If, on the other hand, the point was to make yourself look like a "pull figures from the air", "anything modern is crap" miserable fuddy-duddy then congratulations, mission accomplished!

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Alien

That's not large

I think I left school with around 100 albums, 50 CDs and close to 300 cassette tapes. A further 20 years of music collection and I'm now close on 2000 albums with everything from classic rock from the 60's through to the latest death metal with everything from irish folk to drum and bass mixed in. Mind, it also helps that I'm about to start up a local metal disco, so having such a wide ranging taste in music is a good thing there :) Just because a few people only like 5 or 6 bands at a time doesn't mean everyone can only listen to 5 or 6 bands. My iPhone must have at leat 30 different bands on it right now, one or 2 albums from each (Iron Maiden being the exception, every album on there).

When your collection is basically music from the last 40 years a single band can add over 20 albums straight away.

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Thumb Up

20Gb is not large

I have about 120Gb of music in my collection. All of it taken from original CDs that are stored in a very large box in one of my cupboards. My only route for music getting added to the collection is by purchasing a CD, ripping it, then adding the original to my big box.

I left university with about a hundred CDs. Since then, every few weeks I would buy some albums from artists who I had heard on the radio. Since my main music player at the time was a 3 disk changer, I would quite often buy 3 new albums at the same time and reload my player to listen to them for a few days. Sometimes I would really like a particular band and end up collecting a back catalogue. Over 20 years, between fifty and a hundred CDs purchased a year has resulted in 120Gb of music.

Incidentally, I strongly agree with Andrew on the need to try lots of ideas to get digital music to work. What we are missing at the moment is the teaser step. If you look at the process of buying music there are 2 stages, the teaser stage and the purchase stage. The teaser stage is free and is about getting awareness of your music out there. The second stage is where you purchase the music. The teaser stage in my day came through a number of different media. Radio was a big one, swapping tapes with friends at school is another. Sometimes that was the limit. You would swap tapes with friends at school and never buy the record afterwards. Or you would record stuff off the radio and never buy the record. Whilst that is piracy, it isn't a lost sale. As a kid, I only had a small amount of money available to buy records. If I didn't have the teaser medium, I would have spent nothing because I wouldn't have known what music to buy. But with the teaser medium, I could listen to a bunch of stuff and decide what I liked the most to spend my small amount of money on buying it. Of course, over the years I've thrown out all the tapes I made at school, but I still have every CD I ever purchased. These days we need more teaser formats, but we also need more reasons to make the legitimate purchase. In my day, there were a number of reasons to make your legitimate purchase. Quality was only one, and not necessarily the most important. Album art; the kudos of owning some music; collectability; sharing with friends; back catalogues; etc. were all reasons. I'm sure other people have more.

What the music industry needs is twofold, firstly they have to develop the teaser. Backing tracks on youtube is a good example of a teaser: they need more. They also need to develop more reasons for owning the music. Unfortunately, digital sales aren't a good reason since it is little different from the dodgy version you downloaded. Possible reasons I can think of include: permanent access to music you have bought - essentially a free backup you can access if you ever lose your collection to a hard drive crash etc.; free teaser downloads of new music from bands you have purchased; advance access to concerts; advance access to new albums (think of the kudos of getting a new album 2 days before your friends at school); etc. If there is no reason to own music legitimately, people won't.

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Thanks Apple

My mates and I are planning a mass iTunes Match. Combined we should have about 400,000 songs and we are adding more people every day. Cheers Apple for making it so damn easy to organize and steal music.

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Facepalm

Andrew, you missed the point

If the music industry had any kind of foresight, then they would have been the first t create the first MP3 player, or something like iTunes, or offer a subscription model.

Instead, they fought every technological development and were dragged into the modern world by large companies that couldn't resist such big and obvious potential.

As a consequence, the music industry owns none of the platform, which is what Bob Lefsetz means.

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Mushroom

Get back under your stone!

Anyone who claims amongst the readership, Steve Tyler and Bryan Adams is hardly worth paying much attention to is he?!

Steve Tyler, one the fabled Toxic Twins, a man who could probably claim to have kept entire small South American countries afloat with his marching-powder budget! Let's not even start with Bryan Adams, second only to Celin Dion in the housewives choice for mindless drivel!

Apple make an annoucement and every media industry tosspot who didn't have enough talent to produce anything of worth and a desire for their 15 mins, decides to trot out some banal codswallop designed to appeal to their over-paid mates in "the biz". The quicker the major players in the media industry go under the cottage-industry indys get some breathing room, the better "the biz" will be.

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WTF?

I like

I like Steven Tyler, Bryan Adams, Celion and hundreds more from symphony composers to hard rock. I'm a heart surgeon. Please tell me how listening to this music makes me mindless, or how you are in anyway qualified to call anything mindless. Or for that matter who are you to decide if someone is talented enough, and who deserves their 15 minutes of fame...or more. I like what Apple has done. I don't have to buy an entire cd with songs I do not like and instead can opt to buy the one song I do like. I like that I can sample music from iTunes from artists I've never heard of before, who are trying to make it, I like it when I find someone, or a song, I've never heard of and can download that song and it cost 99 cents to $1.27. I like even more that anything I have wifi / bluetooth setup on can receive the songs I did purchase. But what I like the most is that people, who you say, have no talent, do not need to use the music industry anymore and can instead use Apple to live their dream. Many have become known because of it.

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Thumb Down

Don't start with Bryan

Since when is this argument about Bryan Adams? Are you that dense that trumpet blowing of Mr Music Insider went over your head? He could have added anyone in there from Pee Diddy to Charlotte Church. The names aren't important.

Don't attack Bryan Adams. The Groover from Vancouver (despite being born in Reading) did nothing but write some seminal rock albums. Granted that XI was severely lacking, but Reckless, Into The Fire and Waking Up the Neighbours are classics.

And everyone knows that Michael Bolton is second in the housewifes choice. Apart from my wife...she hates him.

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Bronze badge

Apple's service tempts me to pirate more

I'm meek enough that I prefer to be legit and I am not skint so at the moment I don't take for free things I can buy.

But they do seem to offer me the convenience of torrenting huge swathes of music and legitimising it all at a stroke for less than the cost of half a dozen CDs.

You might be sniffy about the AAC format but I doubt it'd matter all that much for me - I'm either listening out and about where there's plenty of ambient noise or through a far-from top end Yamaha receiver and a pair of Mission bookshelfs so I reckon it'll probably do - and presumably there's nothing to stop a similar service launching using a superior format.

I won't be doing this but I almost feel stupid for not taking advantage and cutting my annual music spend to a tiny fraction of its current amount.

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Anonymous Coward

But why?

If you're already torrenting huge swathes of music (there's a limit of 25,000 tracks on Match btw) what difference does it make if they have been legitimised or not?

Does the music improve when it's made legitimate? :-)

So would you really care enough to pay for this service and why?

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Pirate

The ability to not get sued...

It means the RIAA no longer have any (even frivolous) reaason to try and sue you. You got the music from Apple - who paid the distribution fee, thereby making your music completely legal.

id rather pay $25 for a years subscription to the $80000 per track these guys levy.

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"For me, rsync across my home network does just fine. ®"

And that's the great thing about Apple's iSync umm iCloud ... you get good syncing for various things for free and 5G of usable remote backup or application buffer space ... and all of that is opt-in and does stop you using other peoples' services. Plus if you lose network access then who cares as you have a local copy and any changes get resynced next time you get back online or plug in. It's a good strategy and will drive more Apple hardware purchases either directly or through halo effects. Apple may not be the first to do syncing (although they've done syncing on the Mac for years) they will probably execute it very well this time.

It's slightly surprising that web publishing is left off of the iCloud service list ... maybe there was no real uptake of it under MobileMe or earlier incarnations .. and there are loads of free self-flagellation servers readily available elsewhere.

Personally I can't wait for Lion + iOS5 + iCloud .. it's all looking very interesting .. convergence. Hopefully AppleTV will get a software boost and then all I want is a backlit MacBook Air to complete the set ... unless there is an iPad 3 retina display.

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(Written by Reg staff) Bronze badge

Re: "For me, rsync across my home network does just fine. ®"

Ah, but the current system - a combination of fingerprinting and the online catalogs - is nowhere near good enough. There will be lots of holes in iMatch, just as there are in Spotify. It not only fails to pick up obscurities - try finding an old Van Morrison album on iTunes or Spotify.

Now, if I have an iPod (or other device) big enough, I will be carrying a 100 per cent mirror of my music library around with me. For people whose record collections are mostly Coldplay or Ministry of Sound albums, it may get a 100 per cent match. YMMV.

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Finding

"try finding an old Van Morrison album on iTunes or Spotify."

One should be thankful for small mercies :-)

Seriously though, I for one would certainly pay through the nose (relatively) for the reams of stuff that has - sometimes for decades - been anywhere from difficult to physically impossible to obtain lawfully.

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Silver badge
Linux

Bizzaro engineering.

> And that's the great thing about Apple's iSync umm iCloud ...

> you get good syncing for various things for free and 5G of

> usable remote backup or application buffer space

Which isn't nearly as useful as you seem to think.

It's a solution that uses the most expensive storage and network available and the backwards way of how it should be done.

We need a Bizzaro icon for stuff like this.

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Facepalm

Same story

I have a tonne of music in my collection which would be next to impossible to find on iTunes or Spotify. What about my 10 different recordings of The Ring Cycle by different singers? What about the rare Jazz music that I've bought at concerts direct from the artist? What about the large number of live albums. Signature matching of live music often ends up getting the wrong version, or the studio version. I have about 6 or 7 different recordings of Pink Floyd's The Wall - most likely to fail matching.

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Mushroom

autosync

If the autosync in iCloud works anything like the autosync for ipod then I predict lots of people losing data accidentally....

So many people I know lost music on their ipods by having autosync on...

Sure the icloud is different, but I bet there will be a significant minority of non technically minded people that experience data loss/restore headaches

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Re Ratsink's post...

My collection is between 600 and 700 Gig after a sustained period of lossless encoding. I'd welcome the chance to hold a copy 'in the cloud' in some way just as an extra backup but I can't see how this can be sync'd to a mobile device containing just a few Gigs - not with any kind of accceptable quality. I guess that it would take weeks to upload it all in the first place as well (much of my collection being too old and/or obscure for iTunes anyway).

If I've missed the point (and after all it is Friday afternoon, so that is quite possible....) could someone explain?

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cutting the tether

Well I'm sure you won't be able to upload 700 Gigs of lossless music to your cloud, but assume that you can get your entire library onto the cloud as 256 AAC - it would still be too big for your iPhone of course.

However you would be able to change your music selection on your phone or ipod anywhere you had data access, eventually you'd be able to stream music from the cloud anywhere you had data access.

The real purpose here is to allow the phone to be tether free. They want it to be possible to buy an iDevice, then buy as much content as you like from iTunes and never have to own a computer. When you buy your next iDevice it suddenly gains access to your complete library, and that library is fully backed up.

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lmao

Giving a music publisher $40m is the equivalent of paying EA to never make any more games?

What a complete nutjob. And this guy has readers??

The way I see it, Apple simply offered an up-front settlement fee for the potential losses to the recording biz, just as if they'd gone to court over it, so they could actually get the thing off the ground this side of 2012. $40 million is more than they can ever expect to get back from the file sharers anyway - especially for stuff people downloaded X years ago...good deal I'd say.

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i don;t get it

why did apple needed to license that? The RIAA is in fact receiving money for NOTHING

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Well of course

Receiving money for nothing is the RIAAs purpose. The artists write the music, Apple etc. publish the music. The RIAA... umm... Sue people for 'stealing' 'their' music?

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Same old...

The subscription fee, even divided among Apple and the labels, is still more money than would have been earned if the service didn't exist. We can all see the way Netflix is changing the video market, and now Apple is doing an equivalent (perhaps better?) version for music.

I'm surprised to see that few people realize that it's another step closer to a Star Trek era where everything you want is everywhere there's a signal.

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Facepalm

Ah the music industry

Apple bullied them like they bullied the Telecos using this bait and hook tactic. This time tho, the industry is in such a mess it was easy for Apple to steam roller them.

Surely now the doors have to be opened for Amazon and Google to get their streaming music services off the ground otherwise this has got to be seen as a dangerous monopoly? The labels have now been reduced to being Apple's bitch, supplying masses of product for Apple to use to tie people in to their ecosystem and receive a mere pittance in return (and being happy about it because they dropped the ball and didn't embrace Napster when they had the chance).

And Sony - Hang your head in shame. You have had the opportunity, the product range, the market position and the user base to have done this a very long time ago. Imagine if Sony did some joined up thinking for a change and converged its music arm with Playstation with Sony Ericsson with Walkman with its computer range. To be that short sighted is unforgivable. I'm not a mac - I don't prey at the alter of Jobs, but I admire the the sheer size of his brass balls in finding the gap and using it to monster the industry.

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Stop

Pretentious hack

"The deal-breaker for me is that I really don't want my music, much of which was encoded very carefully, chewed up and spat back at me in AAC format."

As one of the team that originally developed the AAC format in the late 90s, I find pretentious opinions like this quite insulting. If you bothered to do some proper research you'd know the real consequences of encoding music with the AAC codec. A quality assessment such as "chewed up and spat out" is so wide of the mark it calls into question the credibility of your entire article.

FYI: I was a research scientist on the MPEG technology programme between 1998 and 2002, and worked exclusively in psychoacoustic modelling. And back at Philips NatLab we used to use the FYI acronym somewhat differently. Clue: the "i" stands for "idiot".

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Silver badge

"chewed up and spat out"

Is AAC a lossless format?

No?

Then transcoding to AAC will result in a loss of quality, regardless of how much research went into it. Besides, read up and you'll see Orlowski admitting his error about things being transcoded.

Anyway, I'd like to know what happens to the "legitimacy" of your music collection if you decide to pay $25 one year and then sack it off the next. Not that I have a huge collection of unauthorised copies (and I'll use iTunes on the day that Satan ice skates to work), but it's something worth considering. Nice pre-populated list of potential copyright offenders for the music industry mafia to go after?

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(Written by Reg staff) Bronze badge

Re: Pretentious hack

It's not all about you, Rob.

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Silver badge
Pint

Cloud iTunes DESTROYS music business FOREVER Says man.

All I can think of saying is to quote the esteemed Miss Mandy Rice-Davies:- "He would say that, wouldn't he?"

Old farts like myself will remember her - kiddies can no doubt Google her...

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FAIL

iMatch success rate?

If the iMatch success rate is as good as the album cover art match rate I don't think I'll bother....

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@cloudgazer

"..never have to own a computer"

A strange ambition for a computer maker! :-)

Am I right that the iCloud arrangement effectively launders your collection of downloads? How nice.

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