Good news for PC iPod users - iTunes in mid-October.
Sep 21, 2003 at 7:37 PM Post #16 of 23

MacDEF

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Originally posted by maczrool
Quote:

For essentially full price as compared to CDs, you are giving up quite a bit in my opinion.


Several people just pointed out that it's not essentially full prices as compared to CDs. $9.99 vs. $18 ("full price" for a CD). So it's half the price as compared to CDs when you buy as an album. Sure, you can get CDs on sale for $13, and if you want the entire CD, maybe that's a better buy for you personally. But, again, most people don't buy entire albums. The great thing about iTS is that I can buy the only song I want off an album for $.99 and save myself $12.

As for sound quality, I listen to MP3s/AACs on my portable players, and on my computer. In these two environments, AAC 128 sounds great. Even when I rip at home, I use AAC 160 and nothing more.

The thing that people don't seem to get is that NONE of the legitimate music services for downloading music are aimed at "audiophiles" -- they're aimed at the average consumer, for whom 128k AAC is great sound quality. Even using 160k AAC would increase the costs of running the iMS significantly. People are already complaining about $.99 being "too expensive," yet they want Apple, in this case, to increase their costs in order to provide "better sounding" AACs. There's no such thing as a free lunch, so the saying goes.


Quote:

The iTunes AACs sound okay, but what if you want to play them on an incompatible device?


The iTunes Music Store was designed to sell iPods. It's really that simple
wink.gif
So, yeah, if you have a Nomad player, you're going to have to convert the AACs to MP3 until the other players support AAC (which is, by the way, a standard).
 
Sep 21, 2003 at 8:29 PM Post #17 of 23

Fish Tank X

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Quote:

Originally posted by maczrool
As long as you aren't too concerned about sound quality or liner notes or any of those luxuries, then that's great. For essentially full price as compared to CDs, you are giving up quite a bit in my opinion.

The iTunes AACs sound okay, but what if you want to play them on an incompatible device? If that device is anything other than a CD player, you'll have to convert them to AIFF and either leave them in a bulky uncompressed format to prevent losing nore sound quality or recompress them into MP3 or some other compatible format. Once recompressed, those AACs really start to lose their luster.

Stu


Since you've bought the song, you have the rights to it. There for it would be perfectly legal to download a 320K/s MP3 off WinMX or Kazaa.
 
Sep 22, 2003 at 12:13 AM Post #18 of 23

jerikl

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To get back to the start of this thread, there is one thing that I'm particularly worried about with iTunes on the PC, and that is ripping music from CD's. On the Mac, this works absolutely flawlessly -- I'm totally amazed. But I'm assuming this wasn't THAT hard to get right as they are writing the software basically for one architecture, and just a few different CDROM (or whatever variant) drives. On the PC, even using EAC with some insane measures to get good quality rips, I get errors. Now, you could probably just blame this on the CDROM drive, but still, it sucks. I wonder if Apple is going to be able to get the iTunes software to produce the quality of rips that they do on the Mac? I sincerely hope so.

And about the music store.. I'm not a fan. I like buying CD's as a whole and I'm not a fan of singles. I usually get my CD's from used stores anyway, so I pay less than $10 a CD most of the time. Also, I would much rather actually OWN a physical copy of the CD than a digital copy. But, that's just me.
 
Sep 22, 2003 at 12:56 AM Post #19 of 23

maczrool

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Quote:

Originally posted by Fish Tank X
Since you've bought the song, you have the rights to it. There for it would be perfectly legal to download a 320K/s MP3 off WinMX or Kazaa.


Yeah, but that's a rather circuitous way of getting quality files, and if I'm paying a dollar a song I want lossless compression and unrestricted use. Besides many of those files are poorly ripped at best.

Quote:

Originally posted by MacDEF
Several people just pointed out that it's not essentially full prices as compared to CDs. $9.99 vs. $18 ("full price" for a CD). So it's half the price as compared to CDs when you buy as an album. Sure, you can get CDs on sale for $13, and if you want the entire CD, maybe that's a better buy for you personally. But, again, most people don't buy entire albums. The great thing about iTS is that I can buy the only song I want off an album for $.99 and save myself $12.


I've never had the misfortune of paying $18.99 for a CD. For the most part, people don't download albums, they download singles. The file download convention lends itself to single downloads whereas CDs do not. I feel calling $.99 full price (again on a per song basis) a sound position.

Quote:


As for sound quality, I listen to MP3s/AACs on my portable players, and on my computer. In these two environments, AAC 128 sounds great. Even when I rip at home, I use AAC 160 and nothing more.

The thing that people don't seem to get is that NONE of the legitimate music services for downloading music are aimed at "audiophiles" -- they're aimed at the average consumer, for whom 128k AAC is great sound quality. Even using 160k AAC would increase the costs of running the iMS significantly. People are already complaining about $.99 being "too expensive," yet they want Apple, in this case, to increase their costs in order to provide "better sounding" AACs. There's no such thing as a free lunch, so the saying goes.


AACs can have superior sound to MP3s, no question. Their downfall is compatibility. Sure they work great on iPods, but the vast majority of devices do not support them. So we music lovers have to convert to MP3 just to use them. This is not just a problem with the iTunes music store, but all other legitimate service as well. You see, it's not enough to merely "support" the services' chosen compression format, your device must also support their flavor of DRM. Often times your only choice is to circumvent the copy protection and recompress into MP3 or some other unprotected format. If crappy, incompatible file formats is what the market wants, then fine. Otherwise Apple will have to cut its margins and/or decrease costs. Period!

I really don't care for ANY of the music services out there. Apple's offering probably is the best one out there, but it needs to be better. They are largely responsible for other services increasing the quality of their offerings. It's time for Apple to set the stage againand increase its quality.

iTunes itself is great and I love it, I just don't plan on buying any music with it. I anxiously await its arrival on Windows.

Stu
 
Sep 22, 2003 at 1:46 AM Post #20 of 23

MacDEF

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Quote:

Originally posted by maczrool
I've never had the misfortune of paying $18.99 for a CD. For the most part, people don't download albums, they download singles. The file download convention lends itself to single downloads whereas CDs do not. I feel calling $.99 full price (again on a per song basis) a sound position.


Well, you really can't compare. First, like I said, an album on iMS costs $9.99, and apart from VERY rare sales at Best Buy where the record company is selling at a loss to push a new band, you'll never find a new CD for $9.99.

But the other thing you're forgetting -- even though you correctly pointed out that most people download singles -- is that when you buy a CD, you're getting a "bulk" discount. That is, you're paying less per song because you're buying an entire CD. What if you only want to buy a single? You pay $4-$7 for the "CD Single" -- assuming it's even available. There's no way to purchase a single song on CD for anywhere near $.99. So your assertion that "for $.99 a song I should be getting more" doesn't really hold much water. In the case of non-released singles, you're able to buy songs that aren't available on CD as a single; and in the case of singles that have been released on CD, you're able to purchase those individual songs for far less.

So even though you aren't getting "CD quality" sound or liner notes, you're paying a whole lot less, and often getting things you can't (legally) get otherwise.


Quote:

AACs can have superior sound to MP3s, no question. Their downfall is compatibility. Sure they work great on iPods, but the vast majority of devices do not support them.


As I said above, the iMS was created to sell iPods. Jobs has said it himself. You're barking up the wrong tree here.


Quote:

If crappy, incompatible file formats is what the market wants, then fine. Otherwise Apple will have to cut its margins and/or decrease costs. Period!


Apple's margins are tiny on iMS sales. And they can't cut costs very much considering that most of their costs are fees paid to the record labels.

But regardless, I disagree with you. AAC is a good file format, and incompatibility isn't really an issue for Apple right now, given the purpose of the iMS. People with iPods and/or Macs are buying songs like crazy. Like any company, Apple will charge what the market will bear, and right now people are buying more songs via iMS than all other for-fee online music services combined.
 
Sep 22, 2003 at 7:05 PM Post #21 of 23

maczrool

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Obviously we agree to disagree.

Quote:

That is, you're paying less per song because you're buying an entire CD. What if you only want to buy a single? You pay $4-$7 for the "CD Single" -- assuming it's even available. There's no way to purchase a single song on CD for anywhere near $.99.


CD singles are a bit of a misnomer as you never actually get just one track, but usually 3 or 4 at a minimum. Per track that's about the same as music service singles.

Quote:

As I said above, the iMS was created to sell iPods. Jobs has said it himself. You're barking up the wrong tree here.


If iTunes Music Store is merely a marketing tool for the iPod, then that's a rather shortlived approch. The music industry is said to be moving from products to selling content; limiting the service to iPods is just stupid.

Quote:

Apple's margins are tiny on iMS sales. And they can't cut costs very much considering that most of their costs are fees paid to the record labels.


If indeed that is the case, then increasing quality will be of little consequence as far as costs go. You yourself said it was created to sell iPods. Increase quality and/or reduce selling price and sell at a loss. Sell more iPods! Another point - Apple and others have bargaining power. The record companies depend on these music services to sell their content as they have been unable to establish successful services themselves. This should allow them to get betterterms if need be.

Stu
 
Sep 22, 2003 at 8:27 PM Post #22 of 23

MacDEF

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Quote:

Originally posted by maczrool
CD singles are a bit of a misnomer as you never actually get just one track, but usually 3 or 4 at a minimum. Per track that's about the same as music service singles.


But, again, you're paying for more than a single song. You simply can't get a single song for $.99 on CD.



Quote:

If indeed that is the case, then increasing quality will be of little consequence as far as costs go.


At 128k, AAC is about as good as it gets. You can get better sound than AAC at higher bitrates (AAC was designed to provide better sound at lower bitrates -- other formats are better than AAC at higher bitrates.). However, doing so means increasing file size. That's a major consequence as far as costs go. Apple's costs are basically (1) interface; (2) administration; and (3) bandwidth. They've sold over 10 million songs. Imagine if each of those songs was 2MB larger -- you're talking about 20 million MB more bandwidth. Not cheap.


Quote:

Another point - Apple and others have bargaining power. The record companies depend on these music services to sell their content as they have been unable to establish successful services themselves. This should allow them to get betterterms if need be.


Apple and other services have very little bargaining power right now. As it is, the record companies only signed on for one year. At the end of the year they can say "forget it" and pull the plug. Considering how many music services are clamoring for major-label music, the bargaining power is almost entirely in the hands of the record companies.
 
Sep 22, 2003 at 8:29 PM Post #23 of 23

blessingx

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Quote:

Originally posted by maczrool Another point - Apple and others have bargaining power. The record companies depend on these music services to sell their content as they have been unable to establish successful services themselves. This should allow them to get betterterms if need be.


We may look back and be surprised at how little bargaining power Apple, BuyMusic, etc. have now, but I haven't heard anything to indicate these online distributors have any bullying power to speak of. If this experiment is successful maybe, but right now it's a pretty fragile partnership.

I really wish Apple would sell the songs at 160 or 192 kbps AAC's though. Like
eMusic does with --aps MP3's, this would be close enough for me (at least when a CD is difficult to find locally).
 

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