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Amazon MP3 Vs. iTunes Music Store 310

Posted by kdawson
from the head-to-head dept.
Ali writes "As discussed here recently, amazon.com has launched a public beta of Amazon MP3, a digital music store that provides DRM-free downloads of over 2 million songs from 180,000 artists and 20,000 labels. In comparison, Apple says the iTunes Store now contains over 6 million songs. Here is a head-to-head comparison."
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Amazon MP3 Vs. iTunes Music Store

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 30, 2007 @12:00AM (#20798615)
    I still like getting the actual CDs. Better quality, fewer restrictions, less chance of me losing it, etc. With Prime I get them in a couple days, which is fast enough for me, then I convert them to FLAC for later conversion to any other format I desire.
    • by 0123456789 (467085) on Sunday September 30, 2007 @12:26AM (#20798789)
      They're so close to getting it right though; why not, when you order the CD from Amazon, allow you to download the MP3 while you're waiting for the 'couple of days' shipping?
      • profit margin (Score:5, Insightful)

        by goombah99 (560566) on Sunday September 30, 2007 @01:11AM (#20798995)

        They're so close to getting it right though; why not, when you order the CD from Amazon, allow you to download the MP3 while you're waiting for the 'couple of days' shipping?
        Wow. That's a killer idea. I hope they steal it.

        The problem with that, and maybe with the whole amazon gig is the profit margin issue. My impression, perhaps I'm wrong, was that apple was pocketing less than a dime a song for itunes music store. I suppose that varies a lot with the rate songs are sold since there are many fixed costs. If that dime a song margin is accurate then amazon must be running on fumes since they are underselling Apple. Presumably this is not too server lite either since I'm guessing the songs are watermarked with your ID and then MP3 compressed. So assuming amazon is not getting a better deal than apple it's hard to see how these low rates will last. Recall the record companies wanted apple to 1) share Ipod revenues with them and 2) raise prices on new releases. Given that I'd say either the record comapnies have decided to sell music for less (ha ha ha) or these are teaser rates. Does anyone think Amazon is giving them a cut of music player sales.... So it makes not sense for the record companies to move away from apple to accept even less (unless they were incredibly freakin' scared). So getting back to the CD shipping. That would mean even less profit perhaps or perhaps they could charge $1 for the instant album download option.

        • by goombah99 (560566)
          Thinking about this some more. I now wonder if you nailed the entire gambit. It's win for amazon and win for the record companies if they can drive people back from single song sales to album sales. What better way to do that than to give free instant downloads for each physical media purchase. To get that of course you are buying the album. That would be a reason for the record companies to be willing to give amazon a lower price--especially temporarily.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Temposs (787432)
            There's at least one Indie label doing something like this. They sell some vinyls as well as CDs. The problem with selling a vinyl is of course that you can't easily make a digital copy of it. Here's how they sell the music of Page France:

            http://www.suicidesqueeze.net/order.html [suicidesqueeze.net]

            "Page France
            and the Family Telephone CD/LP...

            CD Price: $12.00

            LP Price: $10.00 (Limited edition! Comes with a coupon for a free download of the entire album in MP3 format.)"

            So basically, you pay less for the vinyl and get to download
            • Of course that assumes you have a turntable. As I child of the 70's, I've still got tons of vinyl and the requisite turntable, but I can't recall the last time I spun some wax.

              But how many people still have a player. When was the last time you saw one for sale at an electronics store?

            • by NickCatal (865805)
              Except a vast, vast, vast majority of the population doesn't buy vinyl anymore (namely because they don't have anything to play it on, and you would need a Hummer to get the dash space to play it in your car)

              By the way, anyone notice that the #1 song on AmazonMP3 is 1234 by Feist [amazon.com]. You will never guess who uses that song to promote the new version of their rarely heard of product ;-)
        • No, the labels aren't scared, they're pissed off that Apple has the ability (and the gall) to stand up to them and tell them what to do.

          As such, I think you're missing an essential part of the strategy: The labels put MP3s on Amazon in an attempt to drive customers away from Apple, with the result that if enough people switch then Apple no longer has the clout to stand up to them. After that the next time the contracts are negotiated they raise the rates everywhere and require everyone to use whatever bran
          • After that the next time the contracts are negotiated they raise the rates everywhere and require everyone to use whatever brand of DRM they see fit.
            And when neither Amazon nor Apple play ball, they give up and come back. Quietly.

            Heck, in that sort of situation Amazon and Apple could probably sue "them" for antitrust violations.
            • And of course right after paying out on the high profile class action law suite for price fixing related to that bait-and-switch.
          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Wdomburg (141264)
            Yeah, don't buy from the outlet that sells exclusively DRM-free tracks encoded at a reasonable bit-rate with no embedded user information. Much better to buy from the one who offers a smaller selection of DRM-free tracks, charges a premium for them and embeds data about you in every track. They're the ones who are really standing up to the labels. And continuing to buy DRM laden tracks will send a clear message to the labels that consumers want DRM-free music.
            • by RalphBNumbers (655475) on Sunday September 30, 2007 @12:26PM (#20802039)

              Yeah, don't buy from the outlet that sells exclusively DRM-free tracks encoded at a reasonable bit-rate with no embedded user information. Much better to buy from the one who offers a smaller selection of DRM-free tracks, charges a premium for them and embeds data about you in every track. They're the ones who are really standing up to the labels. And continuing to buy DRM laden tracks will send a clear message to the labels that consumers want DRM-free music.


              The grandparent never said to "buy DRM laden tracks", Mr. McStrawman. And you have only Amazon's word that the watermarks Amazon admit are in many of their tracks don't contain personally identifying information; whereas with Apple's watermark-free music you can trivially read or remove any information in the tags.

              I think grandparent is wrong about the labels being able to take back the DRM-freeness (DRM will remain dead for the same reason it is dying now: the iPod), but I do expect them to raise prices, as the grandparent suggests. By allowing variable pricing, Amazon has made themselves much more vulnerable to gradually increasing prices (both by the labels and by themselves), when compared to Apple's fixed pricing.

              People taking the Amazon MP3 store as some sort of victory against Apple have things almost entirely backwards.
              Apple has just won the online music wars far more permanently than they could by simply owning ~80% of the market; the Amazon MP3 store is the Big labels' terms of surrender (well, 2 of them, Sony and Warner are still holding out). Those terms say the labels will let people sell cheap, convenient, DRM-free music that isn't locked down to only Microsoft-approved systems, and Apple will continue to make ludicrous amounts of money selling such systems.

              The only real downsides for Apple here are:
              1) This comes at a time when Apple is in the middle of trying to grab two new markets with the iPhone/iPod (video and mobile telephony), and you can tell from their product lineup's limitations that they're already having a lot of trouble getting the kind of decent terms that allowed the iPod&iTunes combo to work so well for music. Anything that the movie/TV/mobile-network companies can interpret as a sign of Apple's weakness (real of imagined) is going to somewhat undermine Apple's ability to do for other industries what they did for music.
              And
              2) Universal has basically said that, at least for the next several months, they will sell DRM-free music to anyone but Apple. Basically they've decided that a free market where consumers can pick the store they like is too dangerous, so they're going to use their monopoly on certain music to artificially undermine their most popular distributor rather than just selling DRM-free music to anyone who will pay and letting the market decide. This is probably a temporary situation imho, as Universal can't throw away income from their largest online distributor forever, and it really doesn't do Apple much harm since they make their real money on iPods anyway and Amazon MP3 works just fine there, but this kind of discriminatory sales policy sets an ugly precedent.
        • Re:profit margin (Score:5, Informative)

          by Wdomburg (141264) on Sunday September 30, 2007 @07:41AM (#20800321)
          The problem with that, and maybe with the whole amazon gig is the profit margin issue. My impression, perhaps I'm wrong, was that apple was pocketing less than a dime a song for itunes music store.

          Current estimates are about a dime, with "wholesale cost" (i.e. the label's cut) being about $0.70 for majors and $0.60-65 for independents.

          The rest of the cost is supposed to be comprosed of infrastructure, operational expenses, and transaction fees from the credit card companies. I'll eat my own shoes if Amazon's costs aren't lower. They're largely reusing a pre-existing retail infrastructure. And as a major retail operation, they doubtless have a ton of clout with the credit card companies (which are commonly cited as having the next biggest cut after the labels).

          Presumably this is not too server lite either since I'm guessing the songs are watermarked with your ID and then MP3 compressed.

          Nope. The songs are being provided encoded by the labels and the only watermarks identify the retailer, not the purchaser. Bandwidth would be the predominant cost here.
        • Or uh say, open up a section for NEW bands to DIRECT MARKET. You know garage bands that are actually just as good or better than anything a LABEL has to offer. So with NO MIDDLEMAN LABEL involved the band AND Amazon stand to make more money. Oh this is so clever you'd think someone might have thought of this in 1997...oh wait.

          Man, if we could just get someone to 'think different' or 'think outside the box' even.
      • What happens if you cancel your order? If you return the CD?
    • by Guppy06 (410832) on Sunday September 30, 2007 @02:20AM (#20799287)
      "fewer restrictions"

      After seeing how many music disks are sold without the CD-DA logo, strongly suggesting that there is non-audio, likely executable code on the disk to interfere with ripping, I have my doubts about this. I find myself wondering if, at this point, buying a DRM-free MP3 from Amazon actually leaves the consumer more liberated than buying a music disk.
  • Bad info in article. (Score:4, Informative)

    by SocialEngineer (673690) <invertedpanda@NoSpAm.gmail.com> on Sunday September 30, 2007 @12:00AM (#20798621) Homepage

    iPod compatibility. Thanks to the lack of DRM, and in particular, Windows-specific DRM, songs purchased from Amazon MP3 will play on an iPod, something that has never been true for a mainstream online music retailer (other than Apple) before.
    Wow. I wonder if this place has ever heard of eMusic [emusic.com].
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by log0n (18224)
      emusic isn't mainstream. 9 out of 10 non-slashdot'r haven't heard of it.
    • by Jeffrey Baker (6191) on Sunday September 30, 2007 @12:08AM (#20798681)
      eMusic is certainly not a mainstream music retailer. They don't sell you MP3s the way the grocer sells you a melon. You have to sign up for a month and you're allowed to download a song a day, roughly, although nobody does that. I can go to Amazon and spend 89c on a single song and never return. At eMusic, I have to pay $9.99 at least and then I have to remember to cancel it if I don't want it any more.
      • Fair point. A number of people I associate with have subscriptions (yes, some have multiple) to eMusic, however. It isn't as unknown as it once was - just the fact that Winamp users are greeted with it upon install is enough to establish it a little more than some places.
      • by arth1 (260657) on Sunday September 30, 2007 @12:41AM (#20798865) Homepage Journal
        Actually, eMusic does have a $6 per month plan, covering 0-10 songs per month (i.e. averaging at $1.20 per song, or $.60 if and only if you make sure you always download exactly 10 songs in any given billing period.
        Of course, even getting to see their plans without signing up is deliberately made difficult, but if you follow the links around from their legalese pages, you find a well buried link to the plans [emusic.com].

        I have had no luck in finding out what quality the tracks are ripped with, or what software was used to rip them. Nor any other technical details.
        • by k_187 (61692)
          Checking one of the songs I got when I was a member there (which was close to 2 years ago FYI). iTunes says 215 VBR MP3, encoded w/ LAME 3.92. I can only assume that hasn't changed much. I liked emusic, just couldn't find enough to download, so I quit. Which wasn't that difficult. Just had to click through a few "yes, I'm sure. No, I don't want another month for cheaper" screens.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 30, 2007 @12:30AM (#20798815)
      Wow. I wonder if this place has ever heard of eMusic.


      Your comment was the first time I'd heart of it (or perhaps I'd read of it in passing before, but this is the first time it registered.)

      So, I went to go see what how their selection is. Guess what, can't do anything without signing up for a trial (and giving them name, address and a credit card number.) You really think I'm going to do that when I have no idea what bands they even carry?

      Plus the "deal" seems to resemble those old shady Columbia House ads my parents would never let me sign up for. $10 for 30 downloads a month. Not sure what it costs to buy more than 30, and of course if you don't choose 30 songs you're still out the money. Sorry, but that doesn't work for me. Buying music is an impulsive thing. I don't want a steady stream of 30 songs to pick a month. I want to buy things on a whim, some times no songs a month, some times going on a tear and buying dozens or hundreds when I discover a new band or genre.

      And of course, if they don't have what I want, I'll have to get it elsewhere-- while still paying them their monthly fee. And I guarantee they won't have everything I want. Fuck that.

      Maybe this has something to do with why no one has heard of it? Sounds like a pretty crappy business model to me.
      • by PMBjornerud (947233) on Sunday September 30, 2007 @10:51AM (#20801415)
        It is actually possible to brose their selection without giving them your credit card number:
        http://www.emusic.com/browse/all.html [emusic.com]

        So even slashdotters are uanble to use their site successfully... It took me way too long to figure out that URL. Tried a few approaches, but every single one of them seemes to slam a huge ad and trying to make me write my credit card number to get something "for free".

        Frankly, what the hell is their design goal? "Impersonate a scam site"? If I had dropped in there by chance, every single red flag I have would trigger: "SCAM! SCAM! Don't fall for this! Get out! Close the browser, scan for spyware. Phew. I'm safe again."

        This is exactly the kind of site I warn my family about and tell them they should never, ever hand even their email to. Kinda sucks when you're a legit site... I'm sure they could have a huge boost in subscribers by changing their fron page to something just a little bit less scammy-looking.

        Agree with parent on all points. I have been considering to purchase music from them several times, but everytime I visit their site, I just end up thinking "why bother? this site sucks" and postphone it another 3 months.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by marhar (66825)
          So even slashdotters are uanble to use their site successfully... It took me way too long to figure out that URL. Tried a few approaches, but every single one of them seemes to slam a huge ad and trying to make me write my credit card number to get something "for free".

          It's even worse... I had signed up for an emusic account then cancelled. After a couple of months, I got a "welcome back" email. I Clicked through the link in the email to get the details, only to find myself resubscribed with my old credi

    • by gaspyy (514539)
      You know, before Amazon's announcement, I've never seen eMusic mentioned on Slashdot. It was iTunes, iTunes vs. Urge, iTunes vs SomeOtherDRMStore, iTune vs TheWorld.

      Now that Amazon's store is here, I see the comparison with eMusic everywhere, as if it's no big deal since others have done that before. Maybe so, but Amazon is the first real competitor that has a compelling strategy.
    • by evilviper (135110)
      eMusic isn't mainstream in the slightest. If there's an artist you've ever heard of on eMusic, they have 2 tracks via some compilation CD...

      If you're lucky, they'll have one album from the group from back when they were unsigned nobodies with some tiny label.

      Amazon, meanwhile, has all the groups you've heard of, and probably all their albums available for $0.89 each.
    • by spagetti_code (773137) on Sunday September 30, 2007 @04:26AM (#20799781)
      Sadly emusic is a long way from an ideal mp3 service. I'm a member, and here is my feedback:
      • There is a limit choice. Dont expect to find hot new albums there. So far all my searches for artists I listen to regularly has been fruitless. On the plus side, I have downloaded artists I wouldn't have looked at before.
      • Music is 128kbps bitrate. They're basically delivering the absolute minimum quality that I, and many others, consider usable (yes, I know that's going to be very subjective - but all my music encoded from my CDs is at 256 or 320 - space isn't an issue so why not encode as high as possible).
      • I'm on the 30 songs per month for $10. Which sounds good at 33c each. However, I like to buy albums, which is extremely awkward as you have to carefully spread them across months and keep track of what you have got so far.
      • If you dont download 30 per month (or accidently skip a month when you are on the road, as I did) then the 33c per song jumps quickly.
      • The option to listen to a snippet of a song is lame. Deliver the whole song, or a good part of it. Not just 20 or so seconds. Sometimes I have listened to a snippet and not even got to the words.

      There are some pluses - such as there being a downloader for linux (java based), the website being clean and simple to use, and the id3 tags being clean (artist, album, year, genre, BUT no cover).


      Personally I think they should make a minor change to their business model. I pay $10 for 30 songs per month. Instead of limiting me to 30 songs, if I go over 30, immediately start another "month" (another 30 songs, another $10). That is, I can download as much as I like, and its about 33c each for each block of 30. With a min of $10 per month. If I commit to one of their higher plans, I can buy songs at a cheaper rate.


      That would dramatically increase revenue as I am sure a lot of people like to buy albums, but keep hitting the 30 songs per month limit. They'd cycle "months" much more quickly. However it could reduce profit as people are less likely to fail to download their limit (Think: their best result is when I download nothing in a month).



      Anyway, just my $0.02c worth.

      • You touch upon some great points. I've been an eMusic subscriber at two different times and have left both times because of the following reasons:

        1) As you mention, 128kbps compression. It is terrible. I don't compress lower than 256kbps for my own rips so the low quality eMusic files are a big issue for me. I've even downloaded a few songs with audio level issues. Customer support did not care. Despite the fact the audio levels faded then came back up in the song, CS claimed the file was fine. It was the l
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by gverdouw (879991)
          Um, how long ago did you guys use eMusic? I've been using it on and off for a couple of years now and all the music I have downloaded have been encoded in VBR mp3.

          So perhaps they have improved since whenever you used them/certain labels use better compression?

          Ahh, found a FAQ entry:

          Q: What is a bitrate? At what bitrate are eMusic's MP3s encoded at?

          A: Bitrate is the number of bits per second used in the encoding process. A higher bitrate (a.k.a encoding rate) usually means a larger size file and

  • Summary (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 30, 2007 @12:00AM (#20798625)
    For those too lazy to RTFA, here's the verdict:

    Not Too Shabby -- Amazon MP3 is the first online music store that hasn't left me cold. Its advantages are very real:

            * No DRM. No consumer likes DRM, and although Apple hasn't yet released any statistics on how the DRM-free tracks from EMI have sold in comparison with the DRM-encumbered versions of the same tracks, Amazon has done the right thing by eliminating it across the board. Hopefully Amazon's move will give Apple some leverage with the music labels to make more DRM-free tracks available.

            * iPod compatibility. Thanks to the lack of DRM, and in particular, Windows-specific DRM, songs purchased from Amazon MP3 will play on an iPod, something that has never been true for a mainstream online music retailer (other than Apple) before.

            * Low prices. I don't have a sense for how price-conscious the online music market really is, but with many tracks priced below even the cost of Apple's DRM-encumbered tracks, and albums priced even lower, I could see budget-driven consumers or those who buy a lot of music preferring to purchase from Amazon MP3 over the iTunes Store.

            * 1-Click shopping. People do not like creating new accounts for shopping, but there's no question that some people shop from Amazon over other venues purely because it's such a known quantity after years of easy ordering. Ordering via Amazon MP3 isn't as easy as from the iTunes Store, but it's not far off.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Amazon MP3:
      * no DRM
      * money eventually goes to fund the RIAA

      iTMS:
      * DRM
      * money eventually goes to fund the RIAA

      Until the RIAA stops suing grandmothers and interrogating 8-years-old children, neither looks like a good option.
  • by bogaboga (793279) on Sunday September 30, 2007 @12:06AM (#20798661)
    I prefer Amazon because I will not touch DRMed music, tied to a platform even with a 10 foot pole!
    • by SuperKendall (25149) on Sunday September 30, 2007 @01:03AM (#20798951)
      iTunes Plus is DRM free. However, it's unknown how many titles actually are offering using it (only EMI still and not all those titles) and the price is a little higher. The quality of a 256k AAC encode vs. a 256k MP# Amazon encode may be somewhat different, but at those bitrates it's probably basically indistinguishable.

      Sometimes though buying it from the iTunes store is simply more convenient... but I sure wish they'd hurry and expand iTunes Plus.
      • by Spikeles (972972)
        Expand iTunes Plus? I just wish they would expand the basic iTunes system so that countries that actually exist outside the USA can access things like movies and tv shows.
        • by owlman17 (871857)
          Yes I hope so too. I live outside the States and I can't buy from either iTunes or Amazon. Emusic's good, but still leaves a lot to be desired in terms of selection.
      • by Xyde (415798)
        Also note even the current DRM on the 128kbps tracks can be lossly stripped with QTFairUse6. The high resolution cover art and everything remains intact.
    • I prefer Amazon because I will not touch DRMed music

      Unfortunately, by choosing Amazon you'd support a company which has troubled the entire internet with their 1-click patent war.
      • Well, troubled a bunch of retailers who wanted a business method they saw would work nicely but they didn't think of first, and a bunch of Slashdotters who realistically have about as much influence on consumers as the anti-globalization protests have on multinational corporations.
    • by Tumbleweed (3706) *
      I prefer Amazon because I will not touch DRMed music, tied to a platform even with a 10 foot pole!

      What about if it was a nice shiny white plastic pole with an Apple logo on it? Brushed metal?

      Perhaps you would consider ... an *11* foot pole?

      Still no?

      Okay, then, what about if there was a RED version endorsed by Bono?
  • Might be interesting to compare itunes vs amazon vs imeem vs spiralfrog - imeem.com [imeem.com] and spirafrog are both free music services supported by advertising. imeem is a little like youtube but it has become more music orientated and allows users to listen to CD quality music on demand via a flash based player, they've signed sony,bmg and warner brothers on top of the usual mess of indie labels and whatever the users have uploaded. Spiralfrog allows downloads and has universal as their biggest label, but the down
  • Redundant? (Score:2, Insightful)

    The fact that it's called "Amazon MP3" and then to tag it "not flac" and "not lossless" seems rather redundant don't you think? Obviously mp3 is not flac, and everyone already knows mp3 is a lossy format.
    • If I were to listen to my music only on my iPod or with my small computer speakers, why would I care if it's lossy or not? I can't tell the difference with such small speakers? So why wouldn't I appreciate Amazon saving me the trouble of making my music compatible with the music players I already use?
    • It's just the flac/lossless obsessed fanboys that did that. Can't read any digital music stories on Slashdot without them showing up with their terabyte HD's devoted to their music.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mochan_s (536939)

      What's the point of selling FLAC? You can just get the raw 44.1 Khz samples from the CD itself. And, FLAC doesn't play in mp3 players like iPod etc.

      What would be really cool would be 24 bit 96 khz (or higher) FLAC files for sale on online sites - and please no $5 per song, $1 a song. Maybe even promote 5.1 mixes and none of the peak mashing on CDs. Just a different mix for audiophile listeners.

      Would start a whole new excitement around music.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by BungaDunga (801391)

        And, FLAC doesn't play in mp3 players like iPod etc.
        Does if you run Rockbox. Granted, that's a small minority of users.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Fweeky (41046)

        What's the point of selling FLAC? You can just get the raw 44.1 Khz samples from the CD itself.

        Erm, because I can have a FLACed album in 12 minutes flat, while the CD will take anything from 2 days to 3 weeks to arrive, and will then demand effort ripping and finding space to store the hilariously oversized and redundant backup media?

        And, FLAC doesn't play in mp3 players like iPod etc.

        So fucking what? FLAC turns into ANY OTHER FORMAT. I can turn it into Apple Lossless, or MP3 or AAC or Vorbis or WMA or ATRAC or anything else I have an encoder for, and I can do it as often as I want to as many different formats and bitrates as I want. I can pick d

    • Re:Redundant? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Guppy06 (410832) on Sunday September 30, 2007 @02:24AM (#20799297)
      The point is they're trying to tag it "my piracy is still justified."
  • Song            Artist        Amazon  ITMS
    Genius of Love  Tom Tom Club  No      Yes
    • by Splab (574204) on Sunday September 30, 2007 @03:51AM (#20799651)
      I have been looking at all the stores and they fail with most of the music I want, but then again so does the walk-in stores, even allofmp3 doesn't carry the stuff I'm looking for.

      (Norwegian eurodance circa 1995-2005 is impossible to get)
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Xemu (50595)
        (Norwegian eurodance circa 1995-2005 is impossible to get)

        Thank God.
      • by rxmd (205533)

        (Norwegian eurodance circa 1995-2005 is impossible to get)

        I know you were probably joking, or rather I hope, but in fact it it s surprisingly and disturbingly easy to get. (The genre is usually referred to as Bubblegum dance [wikipedia.org], and here's a list of well, "artists" [bubblegumdancer.com].)

        If you have something special you're looking for, sites such as musiconline.no [musiconline.no] are there for your service. (If you value your sanity, don't look at their "Dancehall" section.)

        • by Splab (574204)
          Actually no, I'm not kidding, I've been searching high and low for some releases from 2001 and they are impossible to get - I have even scouted around on less legal sites (ie torrents) and nothing. To be honest I have no idea why I got modded funny, I meant it.

          Try finding "Dreamgate - Fly like oxygene" or "Reset - Makin' me feel" (neither are featured on the link, but thanks for trying).
      • by Toasty16 (586358)

        (Norwegian eurodance circa 1995-2005 is impossible to get)


        So are recordings of whale mating calls circa 1979-1984. What gives, Amazon and iTunes?
  • by Whuffo (1043790) on Sunday September 30, 2007 @01:29AM (#20799073) Homepage Journal
    Amazon MP3 vs. iTunes? If you're one of the - well, one of the ones who filled up your 10,000 song capacity Ipod (or even a small fraction of that) from either of these sources then this may be an important topic for you.

    But if you're like the vast majority of Ipod owners, you'll continue ripping CDs and loading MP3s from your "library" as you've been doing all along. On the occasions when you need to own one particular tune right now, it doesn't matter if it's 69 cents or 1.29; what matters is that it's in the catalog of the store you're shopping at. That's never easy to tell with Amazon; they've got a bad habit of putting EVERYTHING in their catalog and taking orders for it - regardless of whether they've actually got the item to sell or can even obtain it.

    Personally, I gave up on Amazon after they left me on "backorder" status on a book order for a couple of months before I found out from other sources that the book was out of print. I finally got the book from Ebay for half of what Amazon wanted to sell it for - if they'd had any to sell.

    Apple? Say what you will about them, but I've never been left feeling misused after dealing with them. What you get is what it says on the box; no "smoke and mirrors" like Amazon. But neither of them is getting any money from me this month (or next month either). I'll continue to buy CDs at deep discount and load those into Itunes.

  • by calstraycat (320736) on Sunday September 30, 2007 @01:38AM (#20799125)
    There is one area where the author misses the underlying strategic implications of the recording industry's willingness to sell DRM-free songs through amazon.

    " No DRM. No consumer likes DRM, and although Apple hasn't yet released any statistics on how the DRM-free tracks from EMI have sold in comparison with the DRM-encumbered versions of the same tracks, Amazon has done the right thing by eliminating it across the board. Hopefully Amazon's move will give Apple some leverage with the music labels to make more DRM-free tracks available."

    He's got it backwards. This deal gives the record companies a strategic advantage in its pricing battle with Apple. Allowing Amazon to sell DRM-free songs but variably-priced would be best interpreted as the record companies giving Steve Jobs the finger. Only one of the major record companies has allowed Apple to sell DRM-free songs and then only at a premium price.

    Of the battling parties, it is the record companies who have gained leverage with this move, not Apple. The message to Apple is clear: allow variable pricing and we'll let you sell DRM-free tracks. Keep insisting on fixed pricing and we'll only let you sell DRMed tracks.
    • You, sir, are absolutely right.

      Still, Apple is by no means unseated from their dominant market position. The Record Labels could only lose, and lose they have: they have stiffed Apple *only* by offering mp3 downloads from Amazon. Wow, what a blow...

      A real loss would be if Apple caved in and started selling tracks with variable pricing. On the other hand, what if Apple now said, "we will no longer sell DRMed tracks. Go give your DRM arguments to Amazon." As long as they continued to operate the iTunes st
  • by Zonk (troll) (1026140) on Sunday September 30, 2007 @01:40AM (#20799129)
    However, they lock out Linux users. While I can apparently buy indivual songs, I can't buy an album without using their downloader which is Windows/OS X only. I don't feel like booting into OS X just to download some mp3s.

    For now I'll stick to eMusic and DownloadPunk (albums are downloaded as a zip).
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 30, 2007 @06:17AM (#20800095)
      They also lock out OS/2 users, VMS users and OS/400 users. And so does iTunes.
    • by jalefkowit (101585) <jasonNO@SPAMjasonlefkowitz.net> on Sunday September 30, 2007 @11:12AM (#20801547) Homepage

      Oh come on now.

      1. They are working on a Linux version of the downloader [amazon.com] as we speak.
      2. In the meantime, reports are that the Windows version of the downloader runs fine under Wine. And the only thing you need the downloader for is for full albums, Linux users can buy singles today straight from their browser, no downloader required.

      With this offering, Amazon has done more to make Linux a first-class citizen in the online music space than maybe any other company to date. That's hardly "lock[ing] out Linux users."

  • So how long do people think it is for Google to start a music downloading service? Lets me see...

    a)Bandwidth , check
    b)Storage capacity, check
    c)Revenue stream, check ( subscription / adds )
    d)Search, check
    e)Marketing, check
    f)...
    h)Profit! (I'm sincerely sorry, but it didn't feel right to leave it out.)

    Question is if they will write it themself or if they are waiting for somebody else to do the hard work so they can buy it.
    • by revlayle (964221)
      Question is if they will write it themself or if they are waiting for somebody else to do the hard work so they can buy it.

      wait a minute.... that's Microsoft!!
  • by r_jensen11 (598210) on Sunday September 30, 2007 @02:46AM (#20799399)
    Notice that you still have to use their special program to download full albums. That leaves out the (semi) vocal Linux and BSD crowds out in the cold.
  • They say DRM is bad for the consumer, but this is one point where it's actually working in the consumer's favor.

    Apple controls the iTMS DRM. The iTMS DRM is the only DRM supported on the iPod. Having your music store work on an iPod is critical. Since working on iPods is critical to the success of any music store right now, there is only one option to sell digitally outside the iTMS and do that - no DRM. Apple's control has left the labels no choice. We would not be seeing this if iTMS DRM was opened up for
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by warrigal (780670)
      Apple's DRM works only on iPods. MS' DRM works only on "Plays for Sure" licencees' players (not Zune or iPod). Removing Apple's DRM is trivial (even if it is unsatisfactory for the purists) and totally legal. Removing MS' DRM is neither. Apple is more than happy to sell non-DRM tracks because they don't market their DRM. MS, however, have a vested interest in marketing DRM. Except, of course, the proprietary DRM they use for the Zune.
  • by Zhe Mappel (607548) on Sunday September 30, 2007 @03:39AM (#20799595)
    People are always asking me, "Professor MacSnappy, why do you buy your music from iTMS?"

    No one reason, I reply stroking the Van Dyke beard that looks so rakish with a black turtleneck (it has fully grown back in since that regrettable incident with the calipers, thank you for asking).

    For a full analysis of my shopping habits, perhaps it is better if I quote from my ten part, 3,400-word blog post on the subject, which can be found carefully archived at my site, DaringTurdball.com.

    "When I see a new car ad on TV and just have to 'run out' and buy the music playing in the background, there are few things I like to put in order first. You might call them 'ducks,' and say I am getting them 'in a row'--but just make sure it's a digital row, and that the ducks are all downsampled audio recordings. Ha, ha--or should I say, Quack quack!"

    "One, I don't want too high a bitrate. High bitrates are known to use up A.R.S.E. (Auditory Response Synchronization Energy), a finite resource found in the resonant bones that frame the auditory canal. In layman's terms, higher bitrates wear out ears faster. You only have so much A.R.S.E. Why splurge?"

    "Second, I take the 'fidelity' in high fidelity seriously. That's why I want to lock down my music as securely as a 13th century feudal lord securing his wife's genitals before he rides off to the Crusades. Doing so requires strong DRM so that my musical 'honey pots' don't end up getting 'stirred' by any other portable music players. I like knowing my songs are safe and won't be getting roughly used by a Zune on the side."

    "Third, like most Americans, I don't want to pay too little. Everyone knows there's a direct relationship between price and quality. I like knowing my song has received that extra special touch of attention, even if it's just someone leaving on a light for it at Apple. Who knows? Maybe while it was waiting to be downloaded, The Steve walked by and gave it the old 'thumbs up' or even a 'peace sign'!"

    "Adequately priced low-bitrate songs belted down with high-quality DRM so that they won't fall out of my iPod: yes, it's what I call a musical 'match made in heaven'--thank you, iTMS!"

  • Fails on search (Score:2, Informative)

    by gerardrj (207690)
    I tried to use Amazon's MP3 download store only to be stymied by the completely anemic search and sorting capabilities. Choose to search by "Song title" and type in a phrase. You get back all matches to song title, album title and artist. WTF? Worse, I could not find a way to sort the list by song title. Ex: Search for song title "Mary". The first 28 results don't have "Mary" in the song title!
    Sorry, but iTunes is just an infinitely easier to use store than the Amazon web site; and have you SEEN the Wireles
    • by jensen404 (717086)

      most other tracks are $.99_ or more_.
      The only songs that are over $.99 on Amazon are long songs that iTunes does not sell individually
    • That's a lovely stance there. Apparently, everybody who would like to play the songs on their portable music player that isn't an an iPod doesn't matter; they should just get with the program and buy one.

      Or, if they absolutely have to not buy one (what are you people, Apple hat0rz!? BUY ONE!), they can just burn it to a CD and then re-encode! Give that CD-R to your aunt who makes pretty little wind chimes out of them and enjoy your doubly-compressed tune.. or just BUY an iPod!

      ---

      I'm sure your store compla
  • the Amazon music store might as well be Apples, its certainly no threat to Apple's hardware sales (neither was the Zune but that's because it was built by committee and the chair person was a tone-deaf lawyer.)

    Apple now has the market lock necessary to 'survive' the creation of a competing music store. The synergy that the iTunesMusicStore brought to the iPod is now no longer necessary. It was initially created to provide a legal outlet for music to be bought.

    The record companies are getting greedy(ier) (bu

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