back to article Legal digital music is commercial suicide

Lala, for those who don't know, is a free streaming music venture. Invested in by Warner Music group to the tune of $20m it streams about five million songs, but also offers 89 cent MP3 sales, and song rentals for 10 cents each. But why is almost nobody using their well-designed, expansive, free streaming service? I'm not …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The reason it wont work

    is that it is named after a fucking teletubby!

  2. Ash
    Thumb Up

    Two things

    Firstly, good read. Getting to this fourth state which you describe will be more difficult than climbing Everest in a hawaiian shirt and bermuda shorts, but everyone benefits in the end. Even the record companies benefit, because they will be free of retaining entire legal firms to sue their customers! :-D

    Secondly, has anybody donated any money to the EFF, or similar organisation, recently? Until we get to the point where massive media monopolies can no longer sue-into-bankruptcy distributors of content, they may well need some help keeping the lawyers at bay.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    No one listening

    "But why is almost nobody using their well-designed, expansive, free streaming service?"

    And millions listen to internet radio...........which may well explain why they are trying to kill that off and doing a pretty good job of it too, sadly.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lala?

    First up, Lala? Never heard of it! And I suspect most other people haven't heard of it either. Maybe that's part of their problem?

    As for streaming music and buying music off the web in general, well, maybe I'm just getting old, but here's my take.

    The demographic is split into (basically) kids (who have the energy and enthusiasm to go for the latest "in thing").

    Next, you have the 20 and 30 (and 40) somethings. Most of the people in this category are too busy doing stuff like going to work, holding-down relationships and having families and stuff to be messing about with streaming music off the web. If they fancy some music, they'll go out and buy the CD. Personally, I just can't be bothered with messing about downloading music (legally or otherwise) - I've simply got better things to do with my time. I can easily put the radio on if I fancy a nice tune, and I'm sure I'll find something that's ok to fit my mood at the time.

    Next is the 50-somethings plus. I know there are some very spiritely citizens in this age bracket, but let's face it - setting up your PC so that you can download some music to your MP3 player? Forget it!

    ...so that brings us back to the kids. When I was a kid, I found it was always MUCH more fun being where I shouldn't have been, and I think it's the same today, and always has been. So, "illegal" music downloads? Yea, why not? That's fun and ok, it's a fart to do, but once it's set up, it's still fun. ....for a while ....until the kids discover girls/boys and then they find more interesting things to do; they start to turn into those 20-somethings (see above) and so get bored with the whole thing and go back to CDs and the radio. And for the "legal" music downloads? Ah well, that's not really fun is it? In fact, it's a bit boring. And it costs money, which the kids don't have; why spend money on some crappy-sounding music download that's protected so you can't copy it, when you can get it for free from the web (if you can be bothered), or get a copy off your mate? It's common sense.

    It would be interesting to see the churn figures for music downloaders - I'm guessing they are a pretty fickle bunch and get bored after a very short time. I've never quite got me head round this fixation of needing to have music piped into my ears 24 hours a day (but then, maybe I'm just getting old). Despite what the music industry may say, it's just not that important or interesting. It's a bit like the mobile phone companies; they have been trying to get us all to send picture texts for years so that they can make a nice fat profit from us. And in general, the public has stubbornly refused to comply. The kids go for it of course, but, yet again, it comes down to cost and after a while, even they loose interest.

  5. dervheid
    Black Helicopters

    Oh, puh fuckin lease...

    the biggest downloaders (aka, the freetards), are NOT going to go anywhere NEAR 'free' downloads/streams supported by the majors.

    The phrase "well baited trap" springs to mind, as their (the record labels) thinking probably runs like "if their takin' it for free from here, where else are they gettin' it free from, huh?"

    The 'tards ain't completely stupid.

  6. Tom Hawkins

    An analysis of the digital music market

    that doesn't mention Apple? (Or emusic, for that matter). Hello??

    Oh look, he's CEO of a digital music company that's being sued. So no attempt to rewrite history in his favour or anything. :rolleyes:

  7. Simon Wigzell

    Reason #1 for failure:

    Tried lala.com (never heard of it before), and was of course refused entry since I'm not situated in the US. Woohoo.

  8. CJ
    Unhappy

    Free or reasonable downloads

    The reason I don't use most of these streaming services or free download services (like Hulu) is because I DON'T LIVE IN THE US!

    Too many of these things are restricted to US or (if you're lucky) UK residents. Us smaller countries don't get a look in.

    I'd love a site where I can legally download (hell, even buy!) music of my choice. As long as it's available down here at the tip of Africa...

  9. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  10. Luke Wells

    Lala ?

    I've never heard of the free streaming service "Lala" ... probably one of the reasons I have never used it.

    However, I have been using their biggest rival service "Tinky Winky" for years now.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Reason #2 for failure:

    Requires Flash. For audio.

  12. TimM

    last.fm ...

    ... seems to be doing quite well, and that's now owned by CBS and is UK centric.

    Mixes web 2.0 social networking (sharing music interests by "scrobbling" what you play), with radio streaming recommended tracks (serves a promotional interest to the labels) and your friends/groups/whatever's interests.

    Better still is it's not just a fixed stream, it's semi on-demand.

    And all free.

  13. jonathan keith

    Lala

    On an academic note, is there any mention of the bitrates of the available mp3 files? Nice to see that at least they're DRM free. It's a step in the right direction, at least.

  14. Richard

    RoTW

    Unfortunately, Lala is currently only available to people in the US.

    We are working feverishly to expand internationally, so please stay tuned.

    Ok, sure, I will - to the radio!

  15. James
    Stop

    WTF is lala?

    why would I use that when A) I can get any music I want from iTunes, and B) I can get any music I want from thepiratebay if I don't feel like paying for an album.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    @Tom Hawkins Re:An analysis of the digital music market

    Actually I think you'll find that Apple's iTunes falls squarely into the first group of companies he describes. Last time I heard Apple were making a loss on every song, video, film etc they sell. However they don't mind since they subsidise iTunes with revenue from sales of iPods. Leading to a rather nice circular arrangement in where iTunes has the music because of the DRM and lock to only Apple hardware players, and Apple can charge more for iPods because iTunes has the music.

    Which makes iTunes is nothing more than a loss leader for sales of mp3 players.

  17. Xander Dent
    Stop

    Typical American Arrogance TBPFH

    Title says it all. To quote a very funny man "There are *other* countries you know..."

    Fluke

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Wanted: music download service, no strings attached

    I can't believe we're sill in this mess in 2008!

    I was fascinated by mp3s from the first time I loaded Napster in 1999, and bought my first mp3 player the next year.

    I remember my teenage mind thinking: 'Wow! Technology is great! Bye bye CDs'.

    I've now been waiting nine years for someone, anyone, to knock up a Napster-clone which would allow me to pay, say, 50p a song or £5 an album, providing me with mp3s to use as I like (no DRM, no differing formats etc.).

    Instead, I've had nothing but false starts or lock-ins (e.g. iTunes). As such, I have always gone to Napster->Kazaa->Torrents for my unhindered albums. Because of the industry's fear that I will copy my music to other people, they have directly lost perhaps £60-£100 a year from me, because I was not able to find it elsewhere, and did not want to pay £13 for a CD which I would rip then bin (or, give away, ha!)

    I will occasionally buy an album if I really want to support a small artist (in the same way I bought three DVDs of the sterling sitcom Arested Development), but I have absolutely no guilt in freetarding my music when the industry has hindered/actively tried to kill the new format.

    I'm waiting with an open wallet for an unhindered marketplace that gives me the format/s I want, with no lock-ins, and no ties to how I use my music. Until then, the dinosaur record companies can go screw themselves. I mean, come on, nine years when the software and systems would effectively take a month to knock together.

    There'll always be freetards, but the industry's fear of them is pi$$ing off those who are willing to pay but don't want to jump through hoops to get it.

    Apart from that, nice article. Getting my coat icon as I'm leaving the building.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Ease of use over free

    Why won't services like this take off - easy, ease of use, itunes/ipod have a large market share as it's just so damm easy to use in the face of the competition, it's well marketed and it's simple.

    The music giants are trying every which way possible to prevent control slipping from their greedy corporate hands. The mass public like things to be easy to use, simple to figure out, a real no-brainer, they have other stuff to worry about, so he who makes the simplest, easiest to use, likeable service stands to grab the lions share. The public will pay for something they see as having value(ease of use, reliable) rather than go for free.

    Long live itunes i say! and the likes of Amazon, its helping shake things up, i would dearly like to see some real competition to itunes come along, but i doubt it will come from music giants

    Paris - because she always makes it easy

  20. Tim Bergel
    Flame

    @AC

    "Next is the 50-somethings plus. I know there are some very spiritely citizens in this age bracket, but let's face it - setting up your PC so that you can download some music to your MP3 player? Forget it!"

    Speaking as a 53 year old software engineer - you can f@*k off

    My music downloads work very nicely thank you.

  21. Rob Bruins Slot

    @Anonymous Coward 14:59 GMT

    Like your view of this matter and I concur, I also downloaded tons of music in the past (I can happily post it since I am from the Netherlands where it is still legal due to a 96 year old law). Broadening my musical flavor quite a bit.

    But nowadays I buy almost everything, can't be bothered with looking it up as I can order the CD and have it delivered to me the next day, and a nicely filled rack with cd's and dvd's also looks nice. Although I digitize everything and store it on a fileserver for easy of use.

    As you say, I have better things to do with my time.

  22. Muscleguy Silver badge
    Go

    DRM stuff is perfectly swapable

    Things bought from the iTunes store is perfectly swappable. You just have to burn it to a CD in WAV format then either send CD or rerip it. The DRM does not come too. Or is navigating the preferences in iTunes to set the Burn options too hard for some people?

  23. Tim

    Where does Amazon fit in?

    Amazon offers DRM free, good bitrate tracks for 99 cents. Albums are less than what Amazon charges for the CD, and the album download software supports Linux. I doubt that Amazon is losing money on the deal.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    CDs, rip and bin

    "did not want to pay £13 for a CD which I would rip then bin (or, give away, ha!)"

    My experience these days is I can get CDs for less than a fiver, and almost always my rips will be superior to any pirate download or "borrowed" MP3s, and far cheaper than legal online downloads (which are often inferior quality anyway).

    In fact I usually resort to paying for the CD to get better quality music after attempting to listen to "copies" from various sources. And that's saying something considering CD is not the best quality.

    For me, CDs are here to stay. I do rip and bin them (well, they end up in the loft and the rips are lossless and stored on my media server for play on the HiFi or conversion to MP3 for portability), but I'd rather a CD than crap quality downloads, and have no restrictions. At the bargain prices CDs are these days ordered online (you have to be stupid if you buy in the high street!), it's not worth the effort of dowloading crap quality stuff only to get annoyed at it on your MP3 player of choice.

    *However*, of all the download options, streaming radio is my preference if I'm just after free listening of nothing specific.

  25. socialmediamojo
    Coat

    Michael may have figured out why imeem will succeed

    "the royalty structure ensures they will never turn a profit. Napster, Imeem and the upcoming MySpace music store fits in this category. At MP3.com we were profitable, but the portion of our business which served licensed music was never going to make any money"

    Michael I know you were trying to say that imeem is doomed, but, like mp3.com imeem has an awful lot of music which isn't attached to money grabbing major label deals.

    if mp3.com could be profitable then imeem can manage it too, and I'll wager that given the growth in the internet since mp3.com's heyday that imeem has a lot more music than mp3.com ever did.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The same is happening with hi def TV

    We now have Hi-definition TV. It's great - lovely picture and all that.

    ...but the industry is so paranoid about anyone using it in any kind of useful way that it's all DRMd (as DVD is). This time round though, it's DRMed through to your TV etc, so it's impossible to use the content unless you are some huge corporation that can afford to buy into the DRM licensing. Remember DeCSS and WHY it was written? Well, the same problem will rear its head again, except this time it will be a whole load more difficult to get round.

    I does seem a bit arrogant of the hi-def media publishers to assume that their content is SO valuable and SO desirable that they must lock it down to the maximum possible extent, and prevent their customers using it in the way they want.

    In the end, you end up with systems that would be a lot more useful and lot more functional than they are were it not for purely artificial barriers that have been put in place by the industry. Basically, it's rubbish!

  27. This post has been deleted by its author

  28. Chris G Silver badge

    La La? Never heard of it!

    Where did they advertise?

    Whatever happened to the customer is always right? Now most of the record companies are trying to dictate to us, what we want and how we can have it. They and the likes of the RIAA are patently greedy and very obvious about it. If you want money from the public don't constantly keep trying to treat them like criminals for doing what they have always done. Ever since the late sixties when the old 2 track tapes came in everyone has always shared their music with friends no problem.There is a law in the UK ( or was) relating to footpaths, it considered a footpath to be legally `established´if it had been in continuous use for a minimum of I think 18 months without complaint from the landowner. If that applied to the public copying and sharing, the record companies would not have a leg to stand on. They should also realise that the best way to win people over to their way of thinking is by a campaign of hearts and minds not with the current hard nosed attitudes they all have. Every time they find a way of denying us we'll find a way round it , that's human nature, it's what made us the dominant animal on the planet. So, record companies get smart or fuck off.

  29. Gilbert Wham

    @ HDTV

    Unless, again, you go to the pirates; where you will find your favourite shows in HD, no DRM, no nothing. For free. Not that the demented chuckleheads in TV Exec Land who make decisions about that kind of thing will derive anything useful from that fact

  30. J
    Pirate

    Living in lala land? Sorry...

    "Personally, I just can't be bothered with messing about downloading music (legally or otherwise) - I've simply got better things to do with my time."

    What's so difficult with pressing a button? Going out to buy a CD takes less of your time? You must be truly computer-retarded then...

    Unfortunately Amazon is US-only, so that is not a full solution yet for everybody. another problem: I did search for some music there that they did not have as MP3, but CD only (aMule then, until they get the digital version available at Amazon or whatever). But, being in the US, I buy from them quite a lot these days, sometimes just a single I heard on Internet radio, sometimes an album (being able to sample some 30 s from each song has led to that way too many times). It's terribly easy to buy, and gotta be careful with the impulse. Their software works beautifully in my Ubuntu machines too, which is definitely a bonus. I wasn't buying any music for quite a while, now I find myself spending some $20 per month on music (that's about 3 albuns). Everybody is happier. :-)

  31. Werner McGoole
    Stop

    Just give up guys

    The reason you can't turn a profit from selling music on the internet is because it now has low intrinsic value. I know you're not used to that idea because that's not how it used to be but, hey, things change. And believe me, they have changed to your disadvantage.

    The only way you stand a snowflake in hell's chance of making any money at all from your huge collection of music content on the internet is by selling it in huge volume at the going rate. That, I'm afraid, is going to be very cheap. Maybe only a few pence per track and then only if it comes with no DRM.

    The fact you have to face is that the only things you can offer over illegal free sites are:

    (a) less risk of downloading trash (but given your content, that's debatable)

    (b) eliminating a truly minuscule chance of getting a nastygram

    These rather weak advantages are what sets the price you can charge. That's why you're not making a profit guys.

    I guess you may be thinking that your music is still worth 15 quid per album which is what CDs used to go for in the shops. But even you must have noticed that people won't pay that anymore. Of course, CDs still sell at better prices than online tracks because they have a few small extra advantages (like artwork and the ability to stack them in a CD rack). Mostly, however, it is because CD buyers haven't yet worked out how to get the music for free. That can only change in one direction.

    So the only way forward I see is to pile em high and sell em cheap. Forget those ridiculous copyright claims and royalty payments. They are based on a totally false notion of the product's worth. Set up a site to sell your music and keep dropping the price until it sells. Then you'll know what it's really worth. Then work out how to run your business so it shows a profit on those sales. My guess is that'll involve a bit of downsizing. I won't be shedding a tear over that.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    Well, too bad for me

    Since I only have dial-up it doesn't matter who allows what kind of downloads. Just about the time I'm ready to think about buying something my line drops and my thought pops right out of my bony head.

    @Tim Bergel - I'm with you mate...going to be 61 this year and moving mp3 to my music player is no big deal. Some folks must be even slower than me.

    @AC - Ease of use over free - "Paris - because she always makes it easy" erm, in my camp she always make it hard...try some viagra mate.

    Local library has a lot of nice CDs for listening to (or ripping) and generally have access to other libraries for inter-library loan of materials, eh?

  33. Joe M

    Here is my money... Where is my music?

    One thing that always pisses me off in these discussions is the implicit assumption by all sides that everyone wants to listen to mainstream, current music.

    I collect and listen to an eclectic selection which includes folk and ethnic music, little-known artists, old radio shows and humour. My needs are catered for by a tiny group of companies and individuals who lovingly maintain and distribute these oddities and charge reasonable fees for their services.

    Most of the material is in the public domain or created by the distributors themselves but copyright and the voracious animals who currently hold these "rights" are constantly intruding into this space and the service providers are always on edge about it.

    Although the "big ones" often have lots of interesting material in their archives and libraries, they deem it commercially non-viable to release this material. Of course, they will not give it away for free even when they know they can't make any money from it. It would go against the grain, I guess to do something culturally enlightened instead of purely commercial.

    It doesn't make sense! I and many others are more than willing to pay for these titles on the same basis that I do for my current collection. But it looks like it won't happen any time soon. This is one of the most insidious and frustrating side effects of the wholesale cultural theft known as “copyright”.

  34. Joe M

    @Lala? and @Tim Bergel

    Thank you Tim. Couldn't have put it better myself.

    AC, as a "50-something plus" computer scientist, I was putting together computers when your daddy's testicles were just getting tight, having that first dance with your mummy.

    But no hard feelings. Drop me a line next time your PC plays up. Maybe I can fix it for you.

  35. Dave Harland

    The problem is there's nothing worth listening to

    on the legal services. The sort of music that is typically downloaded illegally is nothing like the sort of music pushed by services like Lala. The big music-industry-approved services are little more than advertising venues for pushing their latest overdone cookie-cutter crap. If they do manage have music from good artists, it's typically a handful of their charted singles, or a "Greatest Hits" comp. If it didn't chart, it won't be played. You're certainly not going to find entire albums.

    On the rare occasions that they do have more, it's almost always their most recent, in-stores album, and once again the service is merely an advertising venue. On top of that the playback is nearly always crap, and typically interspersed with annoying adverts pushing their latest no-talent flash-in-the-pan.

  36. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    DRM Fail

    Web music companies fail because they require cumbersome interaction through a custom client on a desktop computer. Even if I am sitting in front of my computer, I won't invest time in using a service that won't work elsewhere. Fuck Flash, DRM plugins, the popup ads, and logins. I can push a button on an Internet or FM radio to get instant music.

    If I do happen to be at my computer, a few mouse clicks will buy the song at Amazon and drop it into my home music library. That last little bit is an awesome feature at Amazon. There's nothing more to do after clicking the purchase button. The music is in my HOME library and it works wherever I want it to on whatever player I want to use.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Self-serving nonsense - you don't have to take their claims at face value.

    >"What torpedoes that possibility is the big financial requests from labels ..."

    >"... The root cause is not the labels - chances are if you were running a label you would make the same demands, since the law permits it."

    This is specious nonsense, and you don't have to just pass it on unchallenged.

    The law *permits* me to make penny chews and try and sell them for a million pounds each, but chances are, if I did that just because I was allowed to, I would be a bloody stupid idiot whose insane greed and delusional lust for gold was his own undoing, since it wouldn't be worth anyone else's while to buy them from me. Particularly when you can get them for pennies elsewhere.

    If I was a music label on the other hand, I would go whining to the government about how unfair it was that my "business model" was being undermined, and how I deserved special privileges, and I would lobby to have the law rewritten to give me blatantly unjustifiable and unfair advantages, at the expense of the personal freedoms and rights of the entire populace. (Patriotic, it aint.)

    The root cause absolutely IS the labels. Pricing intangibles has always been a difficult trick and very dependent on the whims of fashion and taste. They were happy when prices were high; well, now those same prices are falling, and they can lump it.

    P2P sharing is a symptom as much as a cause: in the era of the bedroom recording studio and free software sequencers and synthesizers, and cheap and easily-accessible telecommunications world-wide, you cannot argue that there has not been a massive increase in the supply. In any sane market, this means that the value of the supplied materiel, and hence the price, will fall. It is the record labels' unrealistic protectionist demands to be insulated from changing historical trends and the raw facts of economics that is the root of their problems, and the spinelessness and self-seeking avarice of our so-called representatives that facilitates the consequent harm done to every single one of us - you and me as individuals.

    Despite their pleas of hardship, the record labels remain immensely wealthy and powerful corporations, and claims such as these are just the whining of a spoilt brat when the ice cream goes away. They want a free lunch, and they don't care at whose expense, or what damage they do to the principles of democracy and jurisprudence in their pursuit of it. We do not have to take their claims seriously or even treat them with respect, because they are contemptible.

  38. James Summerson
    Thumb Down

    Agree with Joe M

    I like a lot of music and have been trying to find a service that will sell me something that I want, not what's in this weeks Top 10. I've been everywhere, man, Napster (legal) Imeem, We7 etc., etc. No joy.

    Went off to Lala on the basis of the article, having never heard of it before and joy of joys, something I might want to spend $7.49 on. Hold on, dollars, oh no, don't tell me...

    Yup, told me in the nicest way and in three languages to feck off. FAIL!

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    Wild wild East

    Or you can go to allofmp3, where they laugh at Amerikanski lawyers.

    I am a former musician myself, so I have no real objection to artists getting paid, but DRMA and the other pathetic apparatus has nothing to do with that. It is about Microsatan, Spielberg, Warners and Sony getting paid, and this is by no means the same thing and never was.

    In the meantime, the new Cold War will help the rest of us keep overheads down until some genius figures out how to crack this nut so that everyone who matters (artists, consumers) is happy, and everyone else, especially the Amerikanski lawyers, can just sod off.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    Where is the UK legal MP3 market?

    I'd love to buy music online, but I'm not buying into any DRM infestations. That means that I won't use the vast majority of UK companies, since they're DRM only, but then I find I'm barred by geo-location from using anywhere else...

    All this means that the record industry is losing money; but it's not from piracy, it's through their own stupidity. Irony is bittersweet.

    Other than 7digital.com (who don't currently have the songs I'm looking for on MP3) is anyone else offering legal MP3 downloads to the UK? It seems like all the suppliers are US only.

    Despite my advice to the contrary, my g/f decided to buy DRM music. Then her hard disk failed. We had backups, but of course none of the songs worked due to the DRM. So she had to re-download them all again from the store. Unfortunately some tracks weren't eligible for re-download, so she wasn't able to get all her tracks again. I don't think you've seen anyone quite so annoyed as someone who's done the right thing, and paid for her content, only to be told she can't use it. Spitting bullets would be a good description.

    Dead bird, because, due to their almost infinite greed they're killing their own industry.

  41. Ryan

    Consumer-friendly content + a business model

    We recently launched an internet radio platform called Highnote which we feel is the scalable business model for streaming music (even with the licensing rates that Pandora says will cripple them). It's ad-supported music discovery sans the irrelevant ads. The service is monetized via a promotional platform for artists/labels which is targeted and performance based. Labels and independent artists get promotional exposure for their new music in the most natural way – played directly after artists that are similar. Ex: I am an unsigned band deep in the long tail, and I want to get my song heard. I cite Coldplay as an influence and can have my song inserted into streams after listeners hear a Coldplay song. The user experience is preserved because we only play sponsored tracks that are relevant to what the user is listening to. Think Google adwords in music form.

    http://www.highnoteradio.com. Feedback welcome.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    The maim problem

    With the entrenched music labels is that their prime enemy isn't the home downloader or uploader of a few songs. the big problem has ALWAYS been

    the commercial pirate who is turning out millions of CDs (yes, millions). The music

    industry some years back trumpeted that world-wide they had managed to get abuot 50 million illegally produced CDs off the market. However, the same article pointed out that this was only something like 5-10% of the estimated illegal production.

    Now add to that their crap coming out every day and the drop in normal sales and it's easy to see why they take the easy money they can get harassing the shmoe who used the internet to share a few songs.

    Douchebags; ye always be douchebags.

  43. Tom Hawkins

    "is anyone else offering legal MP3 downloads to the UK?"

    ...and "I've now been waiting nine years for someone, anyone, to knock up a Napster-clone which would allow me to pay, say, 50p a song or £5 an album, providing me with mp3s to use as I like" - eMusic gives you 30 DRM-free mp3's for £11 a month, which is under 40p each. They don't have everything, but they do have a lot. I guess this doesn't help if you spend less than £11 a month on music (do such people exist?)

    Point taken about iTunes not necessarily turning a profit, but it seems sus not to mention it at all. Maybe he needs a fourth group, those who successfully cross-subsidise their music sales by making decent hardware?

  44. David Gjester
    Dead Vulture

    Highnote

    Oh dear

    I hear the thunder of legal goats hoofs approaching. And they will all be screaming stuff like "you must not show what the next track will be" and other asinine claims that are supposedly leaning your service towards music on demand. I work with this stuff every day and I know that will happen as soon as you are big enough to get on their radar. Ridiculous? of course, but that is what Mr Robertson is talking about. Innovation is a swearword in this biz and your station will be accused of "using our copyrighted work to promote adsales" and then sued into oblivion. Stay away from major label content if you want to live. Sounds like something from a gangster movie doesnt it? Well read "the Hit men" by Fredric Dannen and be enlightened.

    BTW I love you station. I am listening to it as I write. Just dont be famous for it :)

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    iTunes is actually profitable

    http://blog.wired.com/music/2008/03/apple-apparentl.html

  46. heystoopid
    Paris Hilton

    Sorry

    Sorry , I prefer the Canuk True North Records , they have a small but eclectic list of Artists and whilst using the atypical flash audio player they appear to be available world wide and seem superior to Warn's truly inferior crap on me and wish you never hear it again supposedly modern 21st century propaganda boy /girl or other???? band singing vile bilious crap out of tune whilst using much electronic enhancements and even using the miley's montanna racing chainsaw singing methodology or the equally vile school of plastique bang bang noise of the SONY" you've gotta be kidding me for why are you are ripping my leg off to hit me on the head with it whilst faking it all the time" school of music .

    Mind you for some reason I also like the oddball Canadian singer Peaches , who has been known to sport very tight small pink leather hot pants showing off those very impressive legs of hers which seem to go all the way to the sky !

    Although when listening to the old great jazz singers of the thirties , forties and fifties , it ain't half obvious the big four label singers of mediocrity of every genre have truly lost the plot since 1999 and have all flushed themselves into the sewer line of no return , which in turn explains much why they have lost nearly 80 percent of the entertainment slice of the market in under a decade .

    History tells us in the entertainment industry business models come and go to peak in time then die and nothing lasts for ever in this dynamic field as the technology advances , for we are very near the point due to the power of the modern computer to be able to synthesize and/or mix any sound in any manner we choose at the push of a button and create mix or use any video source in better then real time on a cheap lowly home computer .

    The only limit to the end user is their own imagination , interesting choices indeed ?

  47. Dan White
    Unhappy

    @Ryan, Highnote

    Sorry, you lost me the moment you used the word "monetized"...

    It's a small company and you've already become infected with Management Speak.

  48. Joe Harrison Silver badge

    Werner said it right

    Years ago the music business got used to charging stupid money for "mostly average" music - and people paid it!

    Now the legal download people will not be truly happy until they get their snouts back in the trough gobbling down loadsa luvverly insanity money... but times have changed. Nobody thinks even good music is worth $hitloads of cash any more. So who's gunna fill that trough for them (not me.)

    Ergo, legal downloads are never going to "work" (by the definition of the music business's nostalgic hopes anyway.)

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Option 5

    I see we're conveniently ignoring iTunes and emusic then?

    Or are they Option 4?

    Turns out that the profitable option seems to be re-selling music people want at a profit over the wholesale price agreed with the content providers - whoever would have thought of that business model?

    Versus - 'hey, I've got this great idea that would only work if the content owners wouldn't be so greedy as to, erm, not care less about working with a firm whose business model is so shot they can't actually afford the content users actually want'.

    Now if your business is so great at driving sales for the music industry, then presumably one-click affiliate sales should be a great way of funding it?

    Alternatively, if your business plan is shot - well it's like expecting a wholesaler to agree to sell you goods for 1p rather than the 20p they get from the supermarkets because you'd like to sell them for 2p. If you can show that in the end, that's a more profitable approach, someone will listen. If you can't, why would anyone want to deal with you?

  50. Robert E A Harvey
    Happy

    Free? How free do you want?

    One of the cowards wrote: "Wanted: music download service, no strings attached"

    I've used the free downloads, and the paid-for ones from http://www.we7.com/ . It has less strings than some. The free downloads have adverts on the front, but hey... The paid for ones have your account details in the tags, but that's no hardship either.

    Biggest problem may be the choice of music, but I have bought or listened to big bands from the 40s, English folk rock from the 70s, and some up to date stuff that I deleted after one listening. It's not too bad.

    http://www.jamendo.com is worth looking at too

  51. Sam
    Stop

    @ AC

    I'm a 52 year old hardware engineer and the Bose speakers alongside my monitor are blasting out Ozzy Osbourne at the moment, and no, the input isn't from a gramophone....

  52. Elrond Hubbard

    You forgot CDs

    I've been listening to legal digital music on CDs for over 10 years, and the music companies I've been purchasing from don't seem to be dead yet.

    Linkbait title much?

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The reason I wouldn't use lala

    ..Is because, whatever song I try to stream, I get a multilingual message explaining I can't listen because I'm not in America.

    Pretending the web isn't world-wide is one of the obstacles to corporations making effective use of it.

  54. rick buck
    Coat

    Company Owned...

    Used many of the services that you mentioned, and few are worth a damn.

    They all seem to have the problem of a poor catalogue, even last.fm, it has shortlisted its catalogue so that you listen to what "they" want you to listen to, not what what you are interested in. Before Last.fm was acuired by CBS, they were mush better, but now they have dropped the free download of up and coming artists, and taken the entertainment out of it. And added the "crap about label agreements".

    Does it make you wonder why W-B would not want CBS to have the call.

    Until a service comes along that has "the worlds complete catalogue" and will play on demand, for a reasonable cost, without restrictions, I will not be co-operating with their rip-off of the artists, and the public, for a poor catalogue of radio grade tripe that I turned off many years ago.

    Mines the one with the deaf ear in the pocket.

  55. rick buck
    Coat

    equitable monies for artists, with unbiased catalogue for listeners

    None of the Major labels pay much to the artists that made it all possible, so I do not feel sorry for their pains. I would support a service that was Not part of any label, and paid a fair pentance to any artist that is played, and a small bit to the label, not 99.99% to the label, and .00004% to the artist.

    I think it is this outrage by the public, as to how the labels take the cream, and most of the milk, and leave the dregs to the artists, and the public knows that this is how it works today, and this is the results. We cut them off, lock, stock and barrel.

    Independent Artists, Independent Labels, Independent Services, Independent Radio,

    Independent Governing Bodies, That Is The Future!

    Mines the one with the Non-DRM, Multi Format Audio/Video, Wi-Fi Enabled, Internet tuned Player in the pocket

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Crap music

    So I've never used this service and I go to the site. First up, I need to use my US proxy for it to work. Second, I click the genre "Alternative Rock" and I get... Coldplay. Yeah real fucking alternative.

    You see, those of us who are really into music don't think much of the shite you lot seem to think we'll like. Even better for me, the kind of music I'm into has great, legal download services that works even though I live in a country that isn't the US or UK. Check out bleep.com if you want to see how to do it properly.

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    Why MP3.com failed

    Hmmm. I was both an MP3.com customer and artist and they decided they didn't want my business anymore - and decided to eliminate the account when they sold out to another company several years ago. Thanks for everything but your account is being terminated because it doesn't meet with our new direction and goals.

    Click.

    It's always hard to be successful in business if you tell your customers to go away.

    Oh, and I too am a 50-something that knows how to listen to music on my computer. The big difference is that I no longer pay for music. I don't steal it either. I'm tapped into the infinite content stream - as are many others like me. There is enough free music in the world that you can listen to a different song every moment for the rest of your life.

    That's the real reason the labels are doomed. They can argue that the 'quality' of their product is superior to the free offerings but in the end it doesn't matter (not to mention the fact that it often just isn't true). There isn't enough time in your life to enjoy even a fraction of the good music available if you limit it to playing the same hundred or thousand or even ten-thousand tunes over and over.

  58. W

    allofmp3.com

    That's all anyone wants. Why is it too much to ask for? Who's gonna bang some collective heads together? No-one? Oh?

    In the meantime, that mention of Bleep.com has lured me back for a gander after not visiting recently. Almost fair prices (compared to pretty much anything else on offer). And some mildly diverting content. But the site design is a lesson in KISS, and why not to adopt some trendy design when you're trying to get folk to part with their money. Their website would've looked vaguely cool in 2001, as I recall.

  59. Philip Harvey
    Thumb Down

    #1 reason I won't pay for music

    Is because the #@$%! music companies won't let me since I am fortunate enough to live outside of the USA....

    I would happily pay a REASONABLE amount for HIGH QUALITY DRM FREE downloads.... and I am sure I am not the only one....

  60. t1mc

    Don't want the issue settling

    The big labels harp about the value of the 'lost revenue' of the p2p downloads but it isn't lost because people wouldn't buy it anyway, or should I say a percentage would.

    What really irks the rip-off companies is them having to retail at a heavy discount shortly after release in order to compete.

    If the rip-off companies had sense they would see that a much larger market that isn't just teenagers is being created and that they can surf on the back of that market (remember these companies aren't collapsing like Lehman Brothers)

    My point is that if the rip-off companies create a sound legal p2p model discounts will not happen as easily because there is no cost to distribution except time. ie there are no scabby cd's and dvd's sitting around in wire baskets in HMV waiting to be flogged for £2.

    If the rip-off companies take the initiative they could stop their products retailing for so little therefore we need the p2p's for better customer value, and they need the p2p's for the much bigger market.

    Remember these companies have been flogging us flawed hardware for years, how many of us have been conned by having to pay twice just to 'update' our collections from one format to another? At least the consumer now has control if they want it, and they have the opportunity for good discounts on the physical item if they're prepared to wait a short while.

    Sorry to waffle and rant.

  61. Andy

    and speaking of quality....

    it might help the record lable's cause if they released something worth paying for.

    I'd pay <insert current female 'artist' here> to use her mouth, and it wouldn't be for singing.

  62. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Yes, but where?

    It irks me no end when commentators, as articulate and lucid as they may be, talk in absolute terms about "the law", "the courts", etc. as if there were a single, global, universal, legal system.

    Register readers hail from many countries and it would require only a minimal editorial effort to qualify the geographical locale the article refers to. It's a matter of frame of mind. The USofA, is not the only place on the globe. And Lala (BTW) does not allow us non-US residents to stream anything. A pity because they have some very interesting jazz pieces.

    I'd use it if they'd let me.

    Lorenz

  63. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Whats going on here ?

    Whats going on here. I searched for "the streets" found a album and clicked on it.

    Step Up 2 The Streets

    This Week's Rank 2,940 Last Week's Rank 5,016 Recent Listens 20

    Where are all the albums?

    This artist's albums are not yet available for listening on Lala. Thanks for your patience as we work to license more content. To view the full discography of this artist, click here.

    HTF does it have rank and listen's when its not available.

    Mines the coat full of torrents.

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