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Leaked Docs Show UK ISP BT Plans Music Service 84

Posted by timothy
from the only-has-to-be-good-enough dept.
An anonymous reader submits word of a leaked document that indicates that British Telecom "has plans to launch a new music download service which it hopes will steer users away from P2P file sharing . The introduction of the new service is aimed at giving its customers an alternative to file sharing and is already in the works with talks ongoing between the ISP and music labels such as Universal and EMI. When launched 'in the near future' the service is expected to offer BT's 5.5 million customers completely free music downloads for an initial period of 6-9 months after which an undecided monthly subscription fee will be charged for continued access to the service. The finer details of how the service will look and function is unknown at this stage, but will play a huge part in how successful (if at all) the service will be. Services like Spotify already exist and are hugely popular in the UK meaning BT will have to go the extra mile to convince users they have a service worth using."
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Leaked Docs Show UK ISP BT Plans Music Service

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  • Then we can share them more privately with trusted friends through ftp or whatever.

    • by ls671 (1122017) *

      > through ftp or whatever.

      or torrents ? It seems like circular logic to me.

      • I'm discovering how badly bittorrent sucks. It completely disrupts my network, and the downloads aren't very fast. Could be my ISP, but either way, I have to use something else..

  • The Cynical Take.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by McNally (105243) <mmcnally&gmail,com> on Sunday April 03, 2011 @10:52PM (#35704544) Homepage

    Services like Spotify already exist and are hugely popular in the UK meaning BT will have to go the extra mile to convince users they have a service worth using."

    Let's hope they don't simply find it easier to degrade the quality of competing services. I get nervous (and cynical) when my ISP wants to sell me anything other than a pipe for bits.

    • by Gaygirlie (1657131) <gaygirlie&hotmail,com> on Sunday April 03, 2011 @11:11PM (#35704640) Homepage

      Services like Spotify already exist and are hugely popular in the UK meaning BT will have to go the extra mile to convince users they have a service worth using."

      Let's hope they don't simply find it easier to degrade the quality of competing services. I get nervous (and cynical) when my ISP wants to sell me anything other than a pipe for bits.

      Indeed. But given how good Spotify actually is already -- what with all kinds of info on artists and bands, absolutely humongous library of music, great sound quality, really low price even for the premium account etc. -- BT will have a really, really hard time going to be able to actually come up with anything Spotify doesn't already do. Which obviously leaves the choice of "accidental" connection issues with Spotify servers, lost packets and so on pretty much the only way for BT to drive their own service at home.

      Suing Spotify is also a likely route, but since Spotify is fully legal service the only point in suing them would be the effort of trying to smear their public image. "If you can't do better than your competitor then smear them instead" is a popular method all over the world. Then again, Streisand effect might backfire.

      • by Shemmie (909181)
        As I understand it, Ed Vaizey and our ISPs are fans of a two tier system [techeye.net].

        It'd be a shame if anything.. happened... to the QOS for your Spotify account. You can always pay more, just to be sure you get only the finest bits available on the Interwebs.
        • by Avtar (413895)

          Given that Spotify already caches most of the files you download I don't think they are particularly vunerable to changing the QOS for the account.

        • YOU can't pay more, at least directly. Spotify has to cough up the dough, then hike their rates to cover the fee [in most industries, this would be known as a "kickback"].

          If you could directly pay to get better access to a specific service, then just any tom dick or harry could come up with some great idea that requires a good IP connection, implement it, and then get their customers to also sign up for a 'premium' connection to their service. So, they can slowly build up their business, self-bootstrappin

      • by Canazza (1428553)

        All it requires is for them to snag the Beatles, AC/DC, Led Zep, Metallica, Pink Floyd, and all the other big artists that Spotify have failed to get (And I don't mean covers, tribute bands or compilations. You can get a few AC/DC tracks from the Iron Man Movie soundtrack but that's it) and they'll be set.

        • by martijnd (148684)

          > All it requires is for them to snag the Beatles, AC/DC, Led Zep, Metallica, Pink Floyd,

          Seriously does anyone actually miss those dinosaurs? The people who enjoy their music already have the LP / CD / DAT / DVD-Audio / Directors Cut / UnCut / Life in Wembley / Re-Union / Retirement editions. And they produce nothing new...

          • by Canazza (1428553) on Monday April 04, 2011 @04:30AM (#35705736)

            Wow... dinosaurs.

            Theres alot of people out there who weren't around when these bands were making their music, like me, who are discovering it for the first time and don't have the luxury, or the inclination, to go out and buy their entire back catalogue. The benifits of Spotify and probably BTs new one, is that I can listen to music from artists I like that I haven't heard before because it's either too rare, or I'm cautious about actually buying because I don't know what it's like.

            Just because you don't like them, and just because they've not released anything lately, doesn't mean they're worthless.

            • Theres alot of people out there who weren't around when these bands were making their music, like me, who are discovering it for the first time and don't have the luxury, or the inclination, to go out and buy their entire back catalogue. The benifits of Spotify and probably BTs new one, is that I can listen to music from artists I like that I haven't heard before because it's either too rare, or I'm cautious about actually buying because I don't know what it's like.

              That's why you download through "alternate means," means that involve pirates and bays. That way, you get an "extended trial version."

          • by Chrisq (894406)

            > All it requires is for them to snag the Beatles, AC/DC, Led Zep, Metallica, Pink Floyd,

            Seriously does anyone actually miss those dinosaurs? The people who enjoy their music already have the LP / CD / DAT / DVD-Audio / Directors Cut / UnCut / Life in Wembley / Re-Union / Retirement editions. And they produce nothing new...

            You didn't mention my 8-track you insensitive clod.

          • by DMFNR (1986182)

            AC/DC's new album was actually pretty good!

          • by tehcyder (746570)

            And they produce nothing new...

            So? Do you equate novelty with quality? Mozart and Beethoven haven't written anything new for two hundred years, so they must be crap?
            Grow up.

          • I think dinosaurs are cool.

      • by AmiMoJo (196126)

        BT already throttle iPlayer and YouTube in the evenings so I'd imagine they would do the same to Spotify as well.

    • by cultiv8 (1660093)
      It wouldn't surprise me if we see the majority of ISPs offering music download services within the next 2-3 years. After all, isn't this what the music wants (and can control)?
    • by Kjella (173770)

      Let's hope they don't simply find it easier to degrade the quality of competing services. I get nervous (and cynical) when my ISP wants to sell me anything other than a pipe for bits.

      I don't think they'd dare. An ISP is a lot more dependent on having content than the content providers are on that ISP and lockout is a very powerful tool. The day you visit facebook.com and get a page saying "Your ISP is a retard. Change ISP to get Facebook." is the day they lose half their customers. There was a few attempts at this in Norway around 2006-2007 as online video was taking off, the content providers gave them the finger, the customers complained and as far as I know the idea died there.

    • by WillKemp (1338605)

      That's a reasonable attitude, the only music download service that's available in Australia, apart from evil Apple's iTunes store, is operated by Telstra (the Australian equivalent of BT) and it's surprisingly good. They haven't got as good a selection of music as i'd like, but you don't have to wrestle with bullshit software to buy from them - you can do the whole thing with a web browser (which is how it should be) so it works fine with Linux.

    • by Threni (635302)

      They'll find it pretty easy to identify people using PirateBay, p2p, blog sites and the like, and send them letters informing them of a) copyright laws, and b) their exciting new music download service.

  • by Kindgott (165758) <[moc.daedsidog] [ta] [dnuowluos]> on Sunday April 03, 2011 @11:16PM (#35704660) Journal

    I'll queue up downloads 24/7 for the first six months, and that should probably take care of any music I, my family, and my friends wanted anyhow.

    • by c0lo (1497653)
      Seed it after 6 months, will you?
    • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

      I'll queue up downloads 24/7 for the first six months, and that should probably take care of any music I, my family, and my friends wanted anyhow.

      When did new music stop interesting you?

      Nothing is sadder than calcification of the soul.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Perhaps you've not heard - they stopped making music ten years ago. These days its American Idol-type garbage and lawsuits that pay the bills

        • by Canazza (1428553)

          Yeah, cause Elbow, Plan B, Mumford and Sons and Biffy Clyro are all so American Idol it hurts.

          • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

            Yeah, cause Elbow, Plan B, Mumford and Sons and Biffy Clyro are all so American Idol it hurts.

            Not to mention Deerhunter, Burial, Die Antwoord, Keith Jarrett and Charlie Haden's recent album Jasmine or the recent record by the Hilliard Ensemble of the Bach Motets. They're all so American Idol, too.

            There's more new music available today than there ever has been. Despite, no because of filesharing. And the amount of new music that is of high quality is the same it's always been some good, some sucks, and

        • Well screw you too, buddy.

    • I'll queue up downloads 24/7 for the first six months, and that should probably take care of any music I, my family, and my friends wanted anyhow.

      Assuming you've got a downlink which can sustain 2 Mbps on average (respectable enough for the UK), you could receive over 21 GByte in a single day. Exhausting the available repertory of music might take two or three days, if your choices are indiscriminate, and would not exhaust your ridiculously small usage cap.

      More likely, there will be a separate cap imposed on the music downloads, and it won't be large. I suspect the "free" music will be at best 128kbps, and you'll be limited to downloading a few ho

  • Leaked Docs, ISP planning a music service. I was sure that this was a story about an ISP blocking BitTorrent to direct downloaders to its own service. But BT stands for British Telecom. There should be a law about using so many acronyms in a headline. And while I'm thinking of it, KVM was already a computer acronym, I still hate that Kernel based Virtual Machine is using Keyboard Video Mouse's acronym.
    • Hey, don't jump the gun. Just because BT hasn't blocked BitTorrent yet doesn't mean it isn't part of the plan.

      Give them a chance to get their stuff together first. They've got a quarterly puppy-kicking quota to meet before they can worry about little details like shafting the customer.
    • by mirix (1649853) on Monday April 04, 2011 @12:46AM (#35705066)

      "UK ISP BT" is pretty unambiguous. The first acronym is known world wide, the second by everyone that uses /., and the third can be inferred by the first two.

      Is "US ISP AT&T" also a problem? - but yeah, i'd have worded it differently.

  • If British Telecom really *is* aiming at giving its customers "a alternative to file sharing"[sic], Spotify isn't competition, it's an ally.
    • To an uneducated observer, it may look that way, but as we've learned from pretty much every single time an infrastructure-owning corporation starts up its own content outlet, anything that doesn't put money directly in their pocket is the competition and will be blocked or tariffed to the full extent possible under the law. There are no publicly-traded ISPs that are not evil, unless you perhaps count Google TiSP.
      • There are no publicly-traded ISPs that are not evil, unless you perhaps count Google TiSP.

        I bet Google Fiber will be!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I have worked for BT in the past. I can tell you now (and please put me on record here), this will be launched, they will chuck a boatload of cash at it, just to shut it down in 2 years... They have done this SOOO many times on different projects. Most notably was the PC's they sold for a while. They ended up buying them all back because there were so many issues with it. BT should stick to what they are good at. Stop wasting our (and your own) time and money, get the country fibered up (to the premis

  • Maybe they could use this to fund a proper broadband service. As of last year (which is when I switched to Be There), their upstream sync rate was 448kbs, irrespective of line capabilities - anybody know if it's changed? Totally pathetic. They had the cheek to tell me when I asked for the Migration Access Code for my switch to BE that I was wrong and that BE had mislead me when they claimed I would get higher speeds with them. Of course, my line is syncing three times faster upstream now as BE offer up

    • by XaV_K (587510)

      their upstream sync rate was 448kbs, irrespective of line capabilities - anybody know if it's changed?

      The new BT Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) service is being rolled out and it offers upto 10mb upload and 40mb download (subject to your distance from the green cabinet on a street near you rather than your distance from your exchange).

      • by Malc (1751)

        And when is that going to be available? Before Virgin's 100mbs/10mbs service? BT are targeting 40% coverage by summer 2012, so it doesn't seem like I'll be seeing it any time soon. It will still be slower than Virgin.

      • by GreyFish (156639)
        You can get a phone line that will do ADSL for any ADSL provider from the post office, It's just a resold BT line, but it's cheaper... http://www2.postoffice.co.uk/broadband-phone/home-phone-broadband/home-phone [postoffice.co.uk]
  • At least my ISP uses its money to try to ensure that they are never the bottleneck on the circuit, rather than subsidising someone's music downloads...

  • It will be a steaming pile of crap.

    1) They've been trying to bill my firm for a couple of years. They've screwed up the bill each time, and the mailing list of people involved in this rather simple task grew to over 50.
    2) We've been quoted 69 days to get a line into an office. That's just the quote. It's now been about 4 months.
    3) I tried to pay my final bill for my landline at home, telling them I'd left the country. It turns out they aren't able to send the final bill to other countries. The lady on the p

    • by Malc (1751)

      The Post Office doesn't do mail redirection overseas either? Seems wise to do that anyway in case something else important that you forgot or weren't expecting gets sent to your old address:

      If you don't pay your last bill, will it be on your credit file if/when you return?

      • The final bill was only for a few pounds, but the lady on the phone actually said they couldn't make us pay. Also, overseas redirect would cost quite a bit, on a monthly basis. Not really reasonable to ask someone to do when they're not expecting any mail at all.

  • This Will Fail. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bedwards (1937210) on Monday April 04, 2011 @04:43AM (#35705756)

    Usually, when sitting having a chat, and someone asks us the utterly boorish "my internet seems to be running slow"; One of the first pieces of advice we give to people to speed up their net is to ditch BT broadband. BT's infrastructure is old, poorly designed, and managed on the cheap. Their consumer grade equipment (Home Hub - Business Hub) uses poor quality electronics and software making it almost unusable. (I have yet to meet someone with a working set of "Hub Phones")

    Their phone line instillation service is woeful. Younger engineers are poorly paid and badly trained - creating birds nests of redundant wiring inside their junction boxes, degrading an ADSL signal to the point dial-up seems a realistic alternative. Even an experienced engineer is given such a busy schedule they have no choice but to cut corners.

    The poorly installed phone line and slow internet service is not what pushes customers over the edge - its the customer service. A phone call to BTs technical support regarding a cable fault will most probably (worked out mathematically from the many service calls I have endured) be routed through to billing - who will tell you that booking another engineer cannot be sent because there is something amiss with their system. They will tell you this without apology - in a tone of voice suggesting it is you'r fault their system does not work.

    Of course... BT are always adding value to their products - BT vision for example. An innovative service where you pay BT to stream channels free on digital TV to a set top box (over your internet connection using bandwidth you pay for). Even their own websites suggests that you could get every channel available on free-view, 20Mb download bandwidth (less whatever BT vision uses), with unlimited usage, a Free BT-Vision set top box, and even a £25 Amazon gift certificate. All this for just 40 pounds per month! With an extra £10 per month line rental. And an instillation fee for the BT Vision Box.

    Rant over - point is BT could, and most likely will, provide a music service, and most likely will employ traffic shaping. It most likeley be woeful when compared to the likes of spotify or any other current provider. Chances are if you use BT broadband your internet connection will be so poor you wont be able to notice traffic shaping. Only a lunatic would actually buy an internet based service from BT - when they can barely provide an internet service. They obviously have no interest in providing a good quality telephony product, or internet product. Eventually, these sorts of rants will be repeated on /. posted to an article explaining how BT went bankrupt.

    • by shic (309152)

      I wholeheartedly agree with your assessment of BT incompetence.

    • by Malc (1751)

      I have one of their home hub phones. It worked for me when I used their service. I still use it for the phone service even though I've switch DSL provider. At this point, the bit about the hub that is really annoying is that there is no way to turn off the 802.11 wireless. I live in a converted 100 year old town house in London (i.e. lots of flats above, below and all along the street) so I see about 15-20 WAPs at any one time... it would be nice to turn it off to reduce interference. In the end I just

  • Instead of wasting resources on creating yet another music service, they could have worked with existing music services to expand/improve their services (such as Napster, Amazon, etc), and cut their customers a deal if they wanted the service as an incentive to be a BT customer. I think they should be spending more of their resources upgrading the dire UK telecoms infrastructure. I'm not bitter at all with my paltry 1.3Mbps connection...
  • Any P2P veteran knows that you can download a lot of data in 6 months, in fact I am pretty sure my internet connection would take all of 20 hours to download all the music I have ever possessed. Mind you I am not with BT. This service would in fact be ideal for me as I never listen to new music anyway. I think that recorded music is like whiskey: it has to be 12 years old or it is not ready to consume. You could even set up a script to attempt to scrape the entire collection they were offering and just not
  • Danish ISP TDC launched its music service "PLAY" three years ago. All subscribers have access to 10+ million songs on their PCs or phones, completely free of charge (subscription costs are the same as before it was launched.

    It's be a huge success and widely praised, it wouldn't surprise me if they hit over 500 million downloads by the end of 2011, pretty good for a country of ~6 million.

For God's sake, stop researching for a while and begin to think!

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