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Last post Author Topic: tech crunch article comparing music services  (Read 52474 times)

mouser

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tech crunch article comparing music services
« on: April 08, 2006, 07:33:08 AM »
http://www.techcrunc...y-some-music-part-1/

Quote
We’ve analyzed the services that sell digital music (iTunes and its competitors). This Part 1 focuses on the pay-per-download services. In Part 2 we’ll compare the all-you-can-eat subscription services.


ps. Tech Crunch has been putting out some nice articles lately!

Hirudin

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Re: tech crunch article comparing music services
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2006, 08:36:07 AM »
First let me say: don't get me started on iTunes.

Nice article, short and to the point. I definately agree, AllOfMP3.com is the best. Cheapest and most compatible, if they have what you want, why would you get it anywhere else?

I'm disipointed that they opted to leave emusic out of the running. To me, it's the second best, for a few very simple reasons:
1. They sell .MP3s (not .WMAs, .AACs, .M4As, .MPAs(?), or any other wanna-be, DRM infested, .BS3 file format). And remember; MP3s are "iPod compatible" (and also EVERYTHING ELSE compatible). Sure, under a microscope, or stethescope as it were, their audio quality may not be as good as the newer formats, but I've yet to meet someone who both clames they can tell, and clames they care. Also, emusic uses the LAME "alt preset standard" VBR format for their compression, which many agree is the best.

2. They don't think getting LESS in a more convienient venue should cost MORE! Lets see, average CD: 17 tracks. Download technically inferior quality music, no disc, no cover art, no liner notes, no case jacket, no extras, nothing to put on your shelf, and very little overhead for the distributer: $17. Buy the CD at BestBuy (who has tons of overhead): $12... emusic's lowest price subscription comes out to $0.25 per song. Or if a marketing dude gets a-hold of it "4 songs for the price of 1."

3. They'll give you something like 40 or 50 free downloads just for checking them out. I bet the other services have a trial period too, but it's probably not as good. If you'd like to check out emusic, send me a message and I'll send you a referral link. (Or e-mail me at MY SCREENNAME@earthlink.net - make the subject something like: "emusic referral")
Note: Using my link doesn't get you anything special, BUT it does give me 50 free downloads if you stay.
I bet the other services don't give you free stuff if you refer other people.

4. If you're like me; you like underground rap and emusic probably has the BEST sellection. I don't think 50 Cent is on there, but Copywrite and Jedi Mind Tricks are.

Did I mention that I hate iPods and that I REALLY hate iTunes? Here's why: it's propriatary bullshit! OK, you buy an iPod (because you don't care that they are expensive and brake constantly). Now you want some music for it. But where to get it? Nobody sells MP3s anymore (except emusic and allofmp3), so you're forced to use iTunes. You buy some music from iTunes at their outragious prices and you're happy. Oops, you dropped your iPod, well shucks, there goes $300! Maybe an HDD audio player isn't the right way to go! Lets check the market for players that will play your expensive iTunes music... oh, only iPods play iTunes .BS3s. Now make a choice, buy one of the 6 new models of iPod that have been released in the last 3 weeks, or throw your financial investment in iTunes music in the toilet....
As a mere audio player, they're ok, as long as you don't want the now standard features like audio recorder, replacable batteries, and FM tuner that are available on almost every other .MP3 audio player on the market, and you don't plan to use 6 of the biggest online audio distributers. Oh, and as long as you don't mind it loosing it's sexy shinnyness at the lightest touch. Compressed digital audio was suppose to SOLVE our scratch problems, not create new ones.

So, what do I think is a good portable audio player? I like my SanDisc m250! 2 gigs of space, takes 1 AAA battery (for ~19 hours of use), is small enough, shows up as removable storage when plugged into a windows computer (which means you can take music OFF the player if you chose to), and is about $120.

(edited to get iTunes rant out of numbered list)
« Last Edit: April 08, 2006, 08:43:27 AM by Hirudin »

tsaint

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Re: tech crunch article comparing music services
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2006, 08:47:17 AM »
hear hear Hirudin! What a dopey idea saying they're leaving out emusic because of independents.
Why not say they're leaving it out because their music:cr*p ratio is so high compared to the others?
One point for allofmp3 is that you can hear COMPLETE tracks before you buy - a seriously good thing.

Hirudin

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Re: tech crunch article comparing music services
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2006, 09:03:41 AM »
emusic ... ' ... s ... music:cr*p ratio is ... high compared to the others ...
One point for allofmp3 is that you can hear COMPLETE tracks before you buy - a seriously good thing.

Yeah, that's sadly true. And without being able to hear the whole track, it's sometimes hard to filter the good from the bad.

I'm personally into getting whole albums, I don't judge an artist by individual songs as much as whole albums. I'd say I get 1 good album a month for my $10, the other ~2 albums are usually decient but with a few bad tracks.

Carol Haynes

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Re: tech crunch article comparing music services
« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2006, 10:22:24 AM »
First let me say: don't get me started on iTunes.

I like my Creative Zen - good sound (at least to my ears), good battery life (and you can change them), I can play audible files now.

I do use iTunes a bit, mainly for hard to find classical music (or some music that is significantly cheaper than the plastic version and difficult to find in MP3). I got quite a few albums for free from iTunes too (in the UK BTinternet were doing a promotion with free iTune tracks and I must have clocked up about 120 free tracks).

Whilst the iTunes format is annoying in practical terms it isn't really a problem - just use iTunes to burn your tracks to disc and then they have no DRM so you can rip them back as MP3 files. I may have poor ears but I can't really tell the difference. This makes me wonder what the point of DRM is - a question I asked of Audible.com and they confessed they only really do it because the book publishers insist (and they probably don't understand the issues anyway).

The one place iTunes scores over other download stores is that classical music can run on from track to track (without a pause) and iTunes is the only place I have found where I can actually burn CDs properly and the files are correctly formatted to allow for this.

Other than that AllOfMP3 is the place for me.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2006, 10:24:16 AM by Carol Haynes »

nudone

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Re: tech crunch article comparing music services
« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2006, 12:08:52 PM »
i was just looking at this 'allofmp3' thing as it sounded so good. can't argue with the price can you. and, i will now admit, i'm a bit slow on the uptake of this itunes malarkey but i will have to repeat what has been said many other places online...

how legal is 'allofmp3'. yes, i've read the articles online that say it's technically legal (though this is also disputed) but what i find more interesting is whether the artists are receiving any royalties from 'allofmp3' sales/downloads.

if the artists aren't being rewarded then this system still equates to theft as far as i can see. if the artists aren't being rewarded from 'allofmp3' then i don't quite understand why people are using the service - just load up a torrent program or emule and download all your music that way - the artists won't see any reward from that either.

i feel i'm sticking my neck out here but just paying all 'allofmp3' so that it all seems legit seems immoral to me. aren't the artists meant to be rewarded and isn't that something DC members favour?

please correct me if i've jumped the gun. i just couldn't find anything stating that the artists aren't being ripped off.

Carol Haynes

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Re: tech crunch article comparing music services
« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2006, 12:23:54 PM »
Quote
In accordance to the licenses' terms MediaServices pays license fees for all materials downloaded from the site subject to the Law of the Russian Federation "On Copyright and Related Rights". All these materials are solely for personal use.

First paragraph on the legal info page of AllOfMp3. Quite what this means is unclear (not knowing Russian law) but I assume if they are paying license fees than royalties must be paid somewhere.

nudone

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Re: tech crunch article comparing music services
« Reply #7 on: April 08, 2006, 12:47:50 PM »
well, i certainly can't argue with that. whatever it actually means.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allofmp3 was interesting i thought. in that it states that 'allofmp3' considers itself the same as a radio station so pays the same license fee (how true this is, who knows, it's on the net). i wouldn't be too surprised if such a license is a lot less that what they would be paying if they considered themselves a 'download' service and not a 'radio' service. so, technically it's all legal (or is it) but i sense someone isn't getting their full payment.

i suppose the only real question is whether any of the artists that are on the site for download actually object to being there. i'd email some of them and ask but i doubt i'd get a reply.

Hirudin

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Re: tech crunch article comparing music services
« Reply #8 on: April 08, 2006, 02:09:02 PM »
Quote from: TechCrunch
The problem is that AllofMP3 operates under a different set of rules (Russian copyright law) than the rest of the companies. The service has been around for years and has many loyal users; however, its continued existence is in question. Some people have ethical concerns with using the service since no money makes its way back to the artists or labels.

More AllofMP3 discussion
« Last Edit: April 08, 2006, 02:10:38 PM by Hirudin »

nudone

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Re: tech crunch article comparing music services
« Reply #9 on: April 09, 2006, 12:59:59 PM »
thanks, Hirudin.

so i have to ask, if the artists/labels aren't getting any money from the 'allofmp3' service why exactly are people using it at all and not just using things like emule. or is it more a case of not wanting to run the risk of being caught downloading illegal files rather than the rights or wrongs of artists receiving royalties? i think i know the answer to that one.

Carol Haynes

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Re: tech crunch article comparing music services
« Reply #10 on: April 09, 2006, 01:58:25 PM »
I don't buy a huge amount from them (and I do buy from other sources like MSN and iTunes too, as well as CDs). My feeling is if I buy a product from a country where the supplier is behaving legally then I don't have a problem.

Technically it is illegal for suppliers to ship region 1 DVDs to the UK, but given that an awful lot of stuff is only available in NTSC region 1 format (or is considerably cheaper in the US even taking shipping into account) I don't have any moral objection to that. Am I wrong?

The other thing is when I have used AllOfMP3 it often prompts me to go out and buy CDs by that artist (including hard copies of the downloads I have made). There is no way iTunes or MSN encourage me to go out and buy CDs of downloads at their prices - and often I can buy brand new, or good second hand, CDs considerably cheaper than the download services prices. I know I am probably unusual in this but I find AllOfMP3 has actually got me to part with more cash that does provide royalties to the artist, and as far as I know AllOfMP3 complies with licensing laws in Russia, so if the artists don't get any royalties it is not their fault or my fault but the Russian authorities'.

nudone

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Re: tech crunch article comparing music services
« Reply #11 on: April 09, 2006, 02:21:23 PM »
my only question and interest is why someone would use a service that doesn't pay the artists that they are making money out of.

why pay such a company when you can save yourself the cash and just get the same artists completely free when using a p2p file sharing program. the artist still misses out on royalties this way but you save money at the same time. the only difference is that one is 'technically' legal whilst the other is considered almost certainly illegal. under the eyes of the unfortunate artists/labels they are still being robbed whether it's a technically legal robbery or an almost certain illegal robbery.

buying region 1 dvds doesn't sound like the same sort of thing to me either as the royalties from that sale will be going to the artists - providing the dvd came from a country that respected the rights of artists.

don't get me wrong. i'm not mr.clean. i've copied, downloaded, video taped, borrowed and photocopied things that i should have payed for. but i also make a point of paying those i respect and it doesn't look like 'allofmp3' share the same opinion. i may as well be sending the money to someone at the other end of a p2p program like emule because they've told me that they have paid for the music they are sharing when they bought the CD from their local record shop.

tsaint

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Re: tech crunch article comparing music services
« Reply #12 on: April 09, 2006, 05:57:36 PM »
Interview with allofmp3 content manager at http://www.museekster.com/allofmp3interview.htm

Museekster: Are artists compensated for the downloads and how does this work in Russia?

Allofmp3: We pay monthly deductions to ROMS. The distribution of the royalties to the authors fully depends on ROMS. ROMS (as well as RAO) distributes the royalties based on sales amount.

Sounds like he's either lying/misinformed or royalties are distributed, in which case they wouldn't seem to be a problem.

Carol Haynes

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Re: tech crunch article comparing music services
« Reply #13 on: April 09, 2006, 06:52:06 PM »
Interesting link in that article is http://www.museekste...com/allofmp3info.htm and following on from that http://www.museekste...%20Allofmp3%20legal?

allen

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Re: tech crunch article comparing music services
« Reply #14 on: April 09, 2006, 08:29:30 PM »
Why not say they're leaving it out because their music:cr*p ratio is so high compared to the others?

I wouldn't quite phrase it that way.  I'd just say their mainstream to obscure taste ratio is incredibly low.

They have an incredibly high quality database, it just happens to be a very diverse database -- much of which you're not likely to enjoy.  Not so much because it's crap but because it's diversity.  I love their bluegrass, new age and electronic selection (and some pop-rock), but find a lot of their stuff to be, to me, abysmal -- that isn't to say it's bad.  For me to say it's bad would be downplaying Hirudin's taste in music.

That's the thing about a service that dares to grab up such a varying selection of music from such diverse genre's -- you end up with stuff everybody hates as much as they enjoy the stuff they love.  Most music services are too mainstream to have anything as "good" or as "bad" as emusic.

My 2 cents, anyway.

tsaint

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Re: tech crunch article comparing music services
« Reply #15 on: April 09, 2006, 09:28:30 PM »
Why not say they're leaving it out because their music:cr*p ratio is so high compared to the others?

I wouldn't quite phrase it that way.  I'd just say their mainstream to obscure taste ratio is incredibly low.

They have an incredibly high quality database, it just happens to be a very diverse database --
I think what I was trying to say was that their proportion of quality music is much higher than a lot of other places. (hence high music:cr*p ratio)

I do think there is a valid concept of "quality" as applied to music, much as there is for other forms of art.

allen

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Re: tech crunch article comparing music services
« Reply #16 on: April 09, 2006, 09:44:10 PM »
I apologize, I might be dyslexic, I read it crap:music ratio :) which made more sense as a reason to leave it out.  Had I read more carefully, I could have saved myself the post :)

tsaint

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Re: tech crunch article comparing music services
« Reply #17 on: April 09, 2006, 10:09:59 PM »
thats whyI dont like ratios - and Im a maths teacher!:)

nudone

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Re: tech crunch article comparing music services
« Reply #18 on: April 10, 2006, 02:31:42 AM »
thanks, tsaint and Carol, for the links explaining the royalties question. i'm not going to become an investigative journalist to see just exactly how things are done in Russia. maybe receiving comparatively low royalties (in dollars per track) is favourable by the artists/labels rather than receiving nothing at all.

i think i will fire off a few emails to the artists that are available to download by the service and see what their views are (hopefully some spokesperson will reply from the labels). that's about the only way i'll put my conscience to rest on this matter.


Hirudin

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Re: tech crunch article comparing music services
« Reply #19 on: April 10, 2006, 03:48:46 AM »
Here is why I would use allofmp3.com instead of a P2P network: they have better and more uniform quality. By that I mean, when I download an album from them it's named correctly, it's all the same bitrate, all the same volume, all the same rip (2 songs with the same title but from different albums may not be the same), etc. it's not a compilation of random rips some kid put together in a half hour.

It's also more convienient; if I find an album I might want, but I don't want to download at that time, it'll be there tomorrow. The download speeds are going to be the same next week, and I don't have to worry about them disconnecting in the middle of a transfer. It's also guaranteed to be free from viruses (and DRM, which in my opinion may be worse). The prices are also very good, they don't think they deserve more money to give me less, just because I don't want to get out of my chair.


Personally, I don't view downloading music from P2P networks (or allofmp3.com) as stealing from the artists, I view it as stealing from the record companies. Now, I'm not an expert, and I'd like to be proven wrong, but the record companies are evil. The record companies deserve to be ripped off, as often and as ruthlessly as possible.

Artists supposidly receive ~3% of the money from a CD sale (and that's if you have a good contract!). How much is that? Maybe about 25¢. Yes, artists receive less than the cost of a postage stamp for that $17 "worth" of music you just downloaded. There's a very famous story where the members of the group TLC were bankrupt at the same time that their song was #1. At the time CDs were introduced a cassette tape would cost about $10, a record would cost about $8, and a CD would cost about $16. Did the royalties paid to the artists reflect the different prices? NO, the royalties paid was the same, no matter what media the audio was on. The record companies don't have a problem ripping their artists off, and I don't have a problem ripping them off.

Back when CDs were introduced there was a buy-back program between record companies and record stores. If a record didn't sell, the store could send it back and get a refund (I don't know if it was a 100% refund or not, but I doubt it). Now there is no such pollicy. Stores are stuck with the very expensive CDs that don't sell, even though the actual disc is SUPPOSIDLY only a medium to hold the intelectual property, which is supposidly what they are charging so much for. The record companies don't mind ripping off record stores, and I don't mind ripping them off.

Long ago, when compact discs were a new technology there was a very high failure rate with the discs. I don't know the numbers, but I wouldn't be surprised if 1 of every 3 discs was bad. Over the years the technology has steadily advanced, and today the failure rate is next to nothing. Did the price of the discs steadily decrease? NO, in fact it steadily INCREASED. Yes, that's right, it cost less and less to produce a CD and they were charging more and more (until reciently, which to me is too little too late). They don't have a problem ripping ME off, and I don't have a problem ripping THEM off.

Sincierly,
"I would not break if I saw a record company crossing the street" Hirudin

i think i will fire off a few emails to the artists that are available to download by the service and see what their views are (hopefully some spokesperson will reply from the labels). that's about the only way i'll put my conscience to rest on this matter.
I hope you get a candid response from one of the artists you e-mail. But you may have noticed that most artists are surprisingly quiet about the issue, and I bet it's because they are contractually obligated to refrain from endorsing music piracy. So I would be very surprised if you get anything other than "we're against it" responses.
I can give you one testimonial from an actual recording artist, Immortal Technique, from his song "Obnoxious":
Quote from: I.M.
Immortal Technique;
I made this ta' bump in your ride.
Or burn it off the internet;
And bump it outside.
Warning, the rest of the lyrics of this song are particulerly... obnoxious. Read at your own risk.

Carol Haynes

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Re: tech crunch article comparing music services
« Reply #20 on: April 10, 2006, 04:45:12 AM »
I love Janis Ian's music (for those of you who are too young to remember she was prominent in the 60s and 70s with Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell and Co.. and I am going to see her next week in concert (I've waited for a long time for her to leave the US and do a European tour) so that will be great.

Anyway the point of this is that she wrote an article some time ago about "The Internet Debacle" (it is available as a PDF here) which sheds some interesting light on internet downloading from the point of view of the artist. I can agree that as a result of downloading some her songs for free I have gone back to her website and bought a number of albums - and she gets the money. Seems like a really good model to me.

Hirudin

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Re: tech crunch article comparing music services
« Reply #21 on: April 10, 2006, 06:44:14 AM »
That article was a very good read!



Makes my ramblings seem almost coheirent.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2006, 06:47:18 AM by Hirudin »

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Re: tech crunch article comparing music services
« Reply #22 on: April 10, 2006, 07:00:38 AM »
i think i will fire off a few emails to the artists that are available to download by the service and see what their views are (hopefully some spokesperson will reply from the labels). that's about the only way i'll put my conscience to rest on this matter.
Thanks, I'm looking forward to the result!

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Re: tech crunch article comparing music services
« Reply #23 on: April 10, 2006, 10:32:59 PM »
thanks, tsaint and Carol, for the links explaining the royalties question. i'm not going to become an investigative journalist to see just exactly how things are done in Russia. maybe receiving comparatively low royalties (in dollars per track) is favourable by the artists/labels rather than receiving nothing at all.

i think i will fire off a few emails to the artists that are available to download by the service and see what their views are (hopefully some spokesperson will reply from the labels). that's about the only way i'll put my conscience to rest on this matter.

While you're at it, why don't you ask them how they feel about used CD stores?  At least with the Russian sites they are getting something in payment but they don't get a cent if you buy a used CD. 

Where's Lars Ulrich's tears about how fans are stealing money out of his pockets when they buy that used copy of "Master of Puppets" from the local Disc-Go-Round?  When it comes to purchasing used CDs they are actually losing money from someone who is willing to pay for a disc - with downloads that isn't always the case.
~slave138

nudone

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Re: tech crunch article comparing music services
« Reply #24 on: April 11, 2006, 02:14:53 AM »
good point, slave138. i'll resend the emails (no reply as yet). i'l make it a minor point to ask about used CD stores as this kind of sale has been going on for years so i suspect it isn't of major concern - i would also expect that the volume of downloads for an album far exceeds the number sold from used CD stores.