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Music Media Media (Apple)

Napster To Campaign Aggressively Against iPod 855

rocketjam writes "Forbes reports that Napster plans an aggressive marketing campaign against Apple's iPod as part of its subscription service full launch later this quarter. Napster's service uses Microsoft's Janus technology to enable DRM protected music files 'bought' through subscription services to be transferred from a PC to a portable music player. Napster CEO Chris Gorog said the company is betting heavily that their monthly 'all you can eat' subscription service will win the battle for online digital music services, claiming, 'It's exactly what consumers want to do. Napster To Go is very similar to the P2P experience.' He believes the best way to market the service is to emphasize its advantages over iTunes and its iPod-only compatibility. 'We're going to be communicating to people that it's stupid to buy an iPod.' Maybe I'm too old to get it, but I fail to see the attraction of paying a monthly fee for as long as I want to have access to my music." Of course, if Napster To Go supported iPod, they'd have a much larger install base to convince to use their service, instead of still pleading people to buy a portable player with compatible DRM installed.
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Napster To Campaign Aggressively Against iPod

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  • by Ckwop ( 707653 ) * <> on Saturday February 12, 2005 @11:41AM (#11651705) Homepage
    All they have to do is just make it so that if you stop paying the subscription you still keep the songs.

    That would be a very attractive deal that I would consider.

    • by RustNeverSleeps ( 846857 ) on Saturday February 12, 2005 @11:46AM (#11651735)
      Obviously that would change would make the service attractive to customers, but it would ruin their business. All you'd have to do is subscribe for a month or two, download all the songs you want and then cancel your subscription. They get a few tens of dollars in exchange for possibly several thousand songs, which presumably they have to pay the record companies for.
      • by wastaz ( 634441 ) <w4st4z&netscape,net> on Saturday February 12, 2005 @11:52AM (#11651774) Homepage
        However, new music will come out.
        Not to mention, you'll find "new old music" everyday.

        I'd most certainly keep subscribing for more than 2 months, even though the first months would be downloading-craze-filled.

        As long as I could keep the songs after Ive cancelled my subscription, if I choose to do so in the future, I'd most likely subscribe to a service like this for a long time. This type of subscriptionbased downloading has been what Ive been looking for all along since the "buy your music over the net"-thing started. Too bad that it's still not exactly what I want, but its the closest bet yet. Too bad that they'll use MS DRM scheme, that totally ruined their chance of having me try it out :P
        • by splatterboy ( 815820 ) on Saturday February 12, 2005 @01:52PM (#11652591)
          "As long as I could keep the songs after Ive cancelled my subscription, if I choose to do so in the future, I'd most likely subscribe to a service like this for a long time."

          Is this a rhetorical staement or are you under the impression that this is what the Napster service is or what they are planning to do?

          If so you're missing the point - YOU DO NOT GET TO KEEP THE SONGS. YOU DO NOT OWN THE SONGS. In a subscription service YOU WILL NEVER GET TO KEEP THE SONGS. That's the point of their buisiness model and their DRM.

          This is getting to be like an apple thread where people would mention over and over that they are waiting for an X86 port of OSX or a cheaper, say, $500 Mac (oops, lost that excuse...)

          If you think your model is such a great idea, why dont you start a company and give it a shot?

          Because it hasn't worked and won't work. itune sells at $.99 per song and makes the tinyest profit after a couple of years... you think $14 per month for thousands of songs per subscription/month is even worth the time you took to post?

          I cant wait for all the suckers to go out and sign up for Napster (sic) then start whinning about how f*scked up their files are either because of the M$ DRM or a hardware issue and now "their" music is "gone". Lets just hope said snivelling doesn't make it to /.

          /end rant
      • Err.. no, it is _really_ easy to limit customer bandwidth. So all they have to do is limit how much you can download each month and make sure it is not worth more than you pay for. At the very least, they can make sure that you do not download $1,000 worth of music for the month while you only paid $15.00 for it.

        I see too many problems with Napster/Janus. End-users want to _own_ their own music, not rent it. I have no clue what the Napster CEO was talking about by saying that the subscription service

    • by k_187 ( 61692 ) on Saturday February 12, 2005 @11:50AM (#11651762) Journal
      They won't do that, as then you can pay 15 bucks, get 80 thousand songs. Then cancel. Which is the opposite of what they want you to do. Which is pay them 15 dollars a month FOREVER!
      • Interestingly, when this service comes out, someone will create a way to grab the songs "in transit" can save them. There will be lawsuits under the DMCA, and it could quite possibly lead to a challenging of the Betamax case, since the analogy is so close:

        In Betamax, the court ruled that time-shifting of content supplied over a subscription service is fair use.

        With Napster, the exact same model wold be in place. It will be very interesting to see how it goes.
    • by corporatemutantninja ( 533295 ) on Saturday February 12, 2005 @03:01PM (#11653156)
      Napster runs these ads about the relative cost of buying 10,000 songs, but I wonder if they bothered to find out how many songs people actually buy. What are the current numbers? 10 million iPods sold, and a couple hundred million songs? So about 20 songs per iPod. I personally have bought maybe $100 worth of music of iTunes, and the rest of my music is either ripped from CDs or left over from the good old days of the original Napster. In the 18 months since iTunes has been around I would have spent $270 on Napster, and if I stopped paying tomorrow I'd lose those 100 songs.

      It's funny how MSFT and Napster keep saying "What people really want is a subscription service" but what they mean is "What WE really want is recurring revenues, so we've deluded ourselves into thinking that's what people want without bothering to ask them."

  • Rent music???? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 12, 2005 @11:42AM (#11651707)
    So as far as I can tell, you pay a monthly fee to "rent" your music.
    I understand DRM is evil but at least I own the digital files I download off of iTunes.
    • Re:Rent music???? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jacksonj04 ( 800021 )
      That is more or less correct. Napster (in the UK at least) offer a £10 per month subscription which lets you get to the 'all you can eat', but only on an actual PC with Napster installed. You can then buy tracks for £0.99, and get rights to burn them to CD, transfer to portable players etc.

      All Napster-To-Go does is let you use this subscription model to move music onto your portable player without paying extra for the right to do that.

      It's good, and if iTunes ran a similar service (Listen Appl
  • by peragrin ( 659227 ) on Saturday February 12, 2005 @11:43AM (#11651718)
    Let's really do the math.

    2 years. $15 bucks a month $360
    2 years 15 songs a month that you buy at $.99 ea $356

    In year 3 you stop buying music,

    Napster you have zero songs
    iTunes you have 360 songs, that will play on your PC or Mac or, iPod.

    Total long term value of Napster $0
    Total long term value of iTunes $360

    Note this assumes both sides always carry backwards compatiblity.
    • by illumin8 ( 148082 ) on Saturday February 12, 2005 @11:58AM (#11651808) Journal
      In year 3 you stop buying music,

      Napster you have zero songs

      You're 100% correct. I saw some of their new TV spots during the super bowl, and if you watch carefully, there is fine print at the bottom of the screen that says something like "Songs expire if you cancel your monthly membership"...

      This will fail completely in the same way that Circuit City's Divx fiasco failed. People have proven time and time again that they don't want their media to expire. When they buy something, they want to OWN it, not just rent it until MegaMediaCorp decides they want it back.

      Also, because there is no iPod support they are only able to sell to the less than 10% of the HD marketplace that isn't iPod and supports Microsoft DRM.

      So, to break it down for you:

      Lame product... check!

      No target market... check!

      Draconian DRM... check!

      Their marketing department must all have MBAs from the Prestigious University of dot.Bomb, class of 2001...

      • I signed up for the two week trial, just to see how much I like it. I have some really mixed feeligns on the subject. I haven't decided if I am going to keep the service or cancel.

        There are several benefits: It's easier than file sharing. I can download an entire album with the click of a mouse, and I actually get it in a reasonable amount of time. So while I am signed up for the $10 a month fee, I think that it is worth it so that I don't have to worry about all the crap that comes with a P2P program. The
        • by illumin8 ( 148082 ) on Saturday February 12, 2005 @01:58PM (#11652643) Journal
          Then you're allowed to have it on three computers. Which I think is pretty slick -- you can have a set on your work computer and then on your home computer. I would have to say that the three computer deal was one of the things that made me sign up.

          You should try the iTMS, it let's you keep your music on up to 5 computers. This feature is hardly revolutionary... I believe all of the music stores have this functionality.

          The biggest annoyance is the fact that you can't rip them to a CD without buying them. I wanted to rip them to a CD to listen to them in the shower and in the car, but I can't without buying the rights. Then there is the feeling that I really don't own the 6.5G that I downloaded, and that if I stop paying then I am screwed.

          See, that would kill it for me right there. I'm not about to replace my 6-disc in-dash CD changer in my car and I love being able to buy music on iTMS and burn it to CD instantly. As a matter of fact, it makes me feel better about paying $9.99 for a few intangible bits of data if I can burn it to physical media right away. Also, I can burn a couple of copies and let my friends borrow it... Hey, isn't music meant to be shared between friends? I was making my friends mix tapes back when I was only 12 years old and I'm not about to stop now just because Napster says I can't do that with their music...

          [Apu voice mode]
          Thank you... come again...
          [/Apu voice mode]
    • Of course if you wanted to buy three albums a month, Napster seems to make sense. I wonder how many people want to buy that much music, since that's what Napster is really counting on.

      Okay, the peer to peer network is not a fair comparison, because it's not money driven. But how many people download or downloaded more than, say, two albums a month via peer to peer? If you did, Napster might not be such a bad deal.

      I consider Napster to be like cable TV, since you pay forever, and in return you get new p
    • by cosmo7 ( 325616 ) on Saturday February 12, 2005 @12:16PM (#11651932) Homepage
      Total long term value of Napster $0
      Total long term value of iTunes $360

      But in the really long term you're dead and the sun has exploded, so it doesn't really matter anyway.
    • by internic ( 453511 ) on Saturday February 12, 2005 @12:16PM (#11651935)

      Actually, when you use the Napster service you also have the option to purchase "most" tracks (don't know what that really means) for an additional $0.99 per track []. So it really depends on whether you find that $15 a month for essentially an unlimited free trial (until you quit the service) of all the music a value added.

      But as another poster pointed out, the music you "purchase" in iTMS or Napster is still not really yours, because you're still restricted by their DRM from doing a lot of things (protected by fair use) with the music you payed for. You're still tied to certian supported platforms and players, restricted in what computers you can move it to, and forbidden from reselling. Personally, I chose Emusic [], because I actually own the music I pay for (well, in the sense you own the music on a CD anyway) and can do what I want with it (within the confines of law). There are other services like this out there too. Of course, many major labels/bands won't allow anyone to actually sell their music in a digital format not encumbered by DRM.

      • by darco ( 514434 ) on Saturday February 12, 2005 @12:41PM (#11652079) Homepage Journal
        • But as another poster pointed out, the music you "purchase" in iTMS or Napster is still not really yours, because you're still restricted by their DRM from doing a lot of things (protected by fair use) with the music you payed for.
        iTunes "FairPlay" DRM is one of the most liberal DRM schemes around. I can burn CD's(As long as I don't burn the same playlist more than 7 times) and put the music on multiple computers (up to three).

        This is one of the reasons that Apple is doing so well. Their DRM allows people to actually exercise fair use, and their free jukebox software (iTunes) is one of the best out there.

        There are a handful of ways to strip the DRM off of the songs if that's your thing. In my experience though, I haven't found a need yet.
        • iTunes "FairPlay" DRM is one of the most liberal DRM schemes around. I can burn CD's(As long as I don't burn the same playlist more than 7 times) and put the music on multiple computers (up to three).

          5 computers can have the file, along with an unlimited amount of iPods.

    • Let's really do the math.

      Let's do that.

      In year 3, if you stop buying music, with iTunes, you've received 360 songs that are most likely top-20 overplayed fluff or songs for which you listened for 30 seconds and magically determined you liked the whole 4 minutes. With Napster, you could have listened to 120 / 5 * 30 * 24 = 17280 songs (listening 2 hours/day). The averaging sampling cost is therefore 2 cents per song. Even at a dismal 1% hit rate, you discover 172 new songs.

      Long term value of Napster

      • ..The point, however, is that value is a matter of persepective..

        I agree. I have found a lot of music that I used to have on cassette or LP and purchased from iTMS because it was a hassle/more expensive to find a CD from some specialty shop. I also purchase songs of artists I already know I will listen to over and over or on a recommendation from friends whose music taste is compatable (that's how I "disovered" the Old 97s). iTMS has a much greater value to me personally.

        If I were a top-40 drone, Na
  • by bigtallmofo ( 695287 ) on Saturday February 12, 2005 @11:43AM (#11651720)
    Users have been hungering for digital rights management for some time. It's about time an upstanding company like Napster provided users what they want - restrictions on the media they purchase.

    (This message brought to you by the RIAA)

  • by coupland ( 160334 ) * <(moc.liamtoh) (ta) (esahcd)> on Saturday February 12, 2005 @11:43AM (#11651721) Journal

    This sounds to me like a marketing message that will fall on deaf ears. Do people really care that iTunes is only iPod-compatible? After all, most people have an iPod. To the average consumer it's not iTunes that's proprietary, it's anything that can't play on an iPod that's considered incompatible. You can't really point at the defacto standard, that people know and love, and scream "proprietary, proprietary!" Proprietary it may be, but it's a convoluted and diluted message that that will just confuse consumers. The iTunes marketing message is "Cool, and hip, and all your friends are doing it." The Napster marketing message is "we're not proprietary?" Someone needs to go take Marketing 101.

    • by jdwest ( 760759 ) on Saturday February 12, 2005 @12:00PM (#11651819)
      Bingo. You win.

      And while Napster's at it, it needs to take Advertising 101, too.

      Napster ran its US$2.4M spot during the third quarter of the Super Bowl -- the one where the cat holds up the "Do the Math" poster. Half the audience was sufficiently inebriated by that time that "doing math" was the LAST thing on anyone's mind. Guess that's why the Napster advertisement ranked dead last. [].
    • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Saturday February 12, 2005 @12:02PM (#11651833) Homepage
      Yeah, except:
      1) It is proprietary. And people are much more likely to be annoyed by WMA DRM than Apple's.
      2) This only works if users are being locked out of much better deals. It doesn't matter if there are 10 WMA shops offering you worse offers than the one iTMS.
      3) People are by default rather posessive. For the $$$ people spend on e.g. a car, studies show many people would be better off just taking a taxi every time. When it is temporary (e.g. renting over owning), when it is non-tangible (e.g. online download over cd), people are irrational and value it to less than it is worth. Napster is trying to pull both at the same time.

      Overall, I think they're screwed.
    • by mrpuffypants ( 444598 ) * <mrpuffypants AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday February 12, 2005 @12:07PM (#11651873)
      You can't really point at the defacto standard, that people know and love, and scream "proprietary, proprietary!" Proprietary it may be, but it's a convoluted and diluted message that that will just confuse consumers.

      Example A: Microsoft Internet Explorer vs web standards.

      Lots of people will bitch and moan that IE doesn't support the W3C standards to the letter and then say that IE is using propreitary ActiveX technology. However, with 90% of the browser market aren't they now the de-facto standard around the world just as a matter of their dominance?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 12, 2005 @11:45AM (#11651729)
    Napster CEO Chris Gorog: "We're going to be communicating to people that it's stupid to buy an iPod."

    By saying this, he's essentially implying that everyone who owns an iPod is stupid. I don't see any iPod users being persuaded to switch to Napster's service thanks to Mr. Gorog's opinion of them, but considering the size of the iPod's market share, Napster needs to court current iPod/iTMS users, not denigrate them.

    Besides that, stupid people are his target market-- who else would think paying $15 per month FOREVER (or your music collection disappears) is a good deal?
  • Their marketing strategy is not working. They've been voted [] as having the worst ad during the Superbowl and more imporantly I think their argument just isn't reaching anyone.

    "$10,000 to fill your iPod vs. $14.95 per month with Napster"
  • by FunWithHeadlines ( 644929 ) on Saturday February 12, 2005 @11:47AM (#11651743) Homepage
    You can market to a person only to an extent. Ultimately the product has to live up to at least a little of the hype. If you get marketed into buying something that isn't good, the hype is gone, and the marketer has lost a customer no matter how many commercials he runs.

    Is the iPod just a case of marketing? No. Sure there is plenty of marketing involved, both traditional and word of mouth. But once a person gets the iPod, they tend to like it. A lot. They personalize it in their minds. It's "their" iPod. It's very successful not because of the commercials but because the end product delivers, and often delivers more than they expected ("it knows what I want to hear more than I do!")

    So Napster can throw as much money as they want in commercials, and bad mouth iPods as much as they want. They'll convince some people. And a subset of them really will be happy, for they can listen to all new music all the time and thrash through thousands of new songs. But a lot of people who buy the Napster marketing pitch will notice two things: 1) They have to keep paying forever, no matter what, or else they lose it all; and 2) They have to give up their iPod, something they've grown attached to.

    The Napster reality won't live up to the hype for most people. In contrast, the iPod reality exceeds the hype for most people. Do the math...

    • I have a suspicion that the "Do the Math" campaign that Napster seems to be running right now, is going to do pretty much nothing. I don't think they'll win over anyone that -already- uses the iTunes Music Store. Why? Because they're incompatible - on the software, and hardware levels.

      Odds are, if someone's using the iTMS, they already have an iPod. If they already have an iPod, they won't be able to listen to Napster's form of DRM. If they already have iTunes songs, they won't be able to listen to those
  • by Shivetya ( 243324 ) on Saturday February 12, 2005 @11:49AM (#11651755) Homepage Journal
    I am not saying it will but the story submitted missed out on the fact that people already pay reoccuring charges to access to stuff that they can get free elsewhere.

    Cell Phones : The amounts people dump on these is stupendous.

    XM/Sirius : Can't get reception unless you pay.

    Cable/Satellite : Same again. Sure you can get it another way but your paying for a package.

    This type of service will do fine for those out there who want music for the house, many people overlook this application, or just want to stay current on their "mp3 player" without buying music they may not play again next month.

    My problem is that I like to make MP3 CDs for my car. With iTunes I have to burn all my purchased music to audio CD format and rip it back overlaying the purchased version otherwise iTunes will not let me write the song to CD (no AAC to MP3 direct conversion allowed - I am curious if they don't block burn to CD - rip back one day).

    If a car MP3 player played DRM protected music I think services like Napster will take off like wildfire. The key to success is to open many ways to play this music your purchased. A portable MP3 player should be able to be defined as "my car" just as much as "my RIO" (fwiw I used to have an iPod - but it DIED! - I may get another one day)

    So... Where is Apple in all of this? I am not sure, but preventing other players from synching up with the iPod is still a major flaw. It might not hurt them now but like the mid 80s proved superior items only go so far. Competitors will find the key to taking you down and you will get buried unless you act. Apple lost a good thing before and they seem to be on track to eventually do it again.

    • If a car MP3 player played DRM protected music I think services like Napster will take off like wildfire. The key to success is to open many ways to play this music your purchased.

      Yet with a Napster/MS DRM scheme, all of these ways require the player to crosscheck that your subscription is still valid. How is your car MP3 player supposed to do that?

      If you like to burn MP3 CDs for your car, what's stopping you from ripping to MP3 with iTunes, then use Nero or whatever to write the MP3 files to a CD? No

    • by MadAnthony02 ( 626886 ) on Saturday February 12, 2005 @01:20PM (#11652352) Homepage

      One of the major problems with the Napster business model is that they are trying to change the attitudes of people who never have paid for a subscription before. Cell Phones have always required a subscription, and people percieve value in what they pay for (communication whenever, whereever, cheap long distance). Cable/Satellite (and you could probably throw DVR subscriptions for Tivo and RePlayTV in there) and XM have always been subscription-based, and while they supplant free TV and radio, enough people percieve them as superior to be an advantage.

      Contrast that with the market for online music. Right now, there are two "business models" - all you can steal, ie Kazza/WinMX/eMule/Torrent) or pay and keep the song (iTunes). If you like being legal, you do the second, if you want to amass a bunch of music without paying for it, you do p2p. With Napster, you get the advantage of getting a lot of songs - but you don't get to keep them. I think that is going to be a hard sell for Napster to overcome, because it combines the worst of both worlds - costs money but doesn't get percieved value in return.

    • by goombah99 ( 560566 ) on Saturday February 12, 2005 @01:31PM (#11652427)
      You dont need a CD to convert AAC to MP3. You just need to convert it to AIFF on your harddisk first. then you can transcode it. Yes. that is two steps but you can write an apple script to do it auomatically. the AIFF step does not lose quality so the transcoding is effectively a single step. To prove this to yourself just do the following. open iMovie (not iTunes). pick any protected AAC song from the library and addit is a sound track. now look in the iMovie folder that contains your new movie. Voila there is the AIFF file. Now drag this into iTunes and transcode it to MP3. Now automate this with Applescript. Install the script into the iTunes services and viola you have a new menu item in Itunes to convert any protected AAC to mp3 with no more loss of quality than any other trascode. alternatively you can just use DVD John's hack to break the AAC protection, though that might have some watermarking issues that someday could crop up in the future if apple wanted to get ughly about it
      • There isn't exactly a watermark (unless Apple is being very secretive about it), just some metadata in the headers that says the file was bought from iTunes and identifies the purchaser. There are tools that can edit or remove this metadata, but hymn and iOpener don't do it automatically.

        All that this means is that music files made usign hymn and iOpener can, in theory, be traced back to a particular iTunes customer. This was a deliberate choice by DVD Jon and the other hackers, as they wanted to restore t
    • Examples:
      Cell Phones : The amounts people dump on these is stupendous.

      XM/Sirius : Can't get reception unless you pay.

      Cable/Satellite : Same again. Sure you can get it another way but your paying for a package.

      All of these are subscriptions to things that are fleeting and cannot be obtained otherwise.
      You can't get on-the-go conversations with your friends, family and local fire and rescue teams in a non-subscription form. And your conversations are not meant to be kept. You pay for a month of service, no
    • by meehawl ( 73285 )
      The key to success is to open many ways to play this music your purchased.

      Subs do work. I think I'd call Rhapsody's ~700K subs per month @ $10 a reasonable success. Real has around a 30% Q-on-Q growth rate. And its radio-like license model means that it gets to keep far more of each $10 sub.

      Let's say Rhapsody keeps (say) 40% of its revenue. That's ~ $30m per year.

      Let's say Apple gets to keep $.05 of each song. At 1m a day that's ~ $18m per year.

      So you see, the subs business is a good one to be in. Add
  • by Dragoon412 ( 648209 ) on Saturday February 12, 2005 @11:52AM (#11651775)
    iTMS + iPod
    +Huge install base

    +Awesome selection of music - could be better, but it absolutely blows away anything shy of Amazon, and terrestrial stores can't hold a candle to it.

    +Widely considered the best portable player made

    +DRM is fairly transparent and can easily be legally circumvented, and even more easily, well... *cough* []

    -Let's face it: iTMS is a fantastic idea, but about as much of a cludgy resource whore as a dolled-up media player can be

    +Has the Napster name, which may mean something to someone that's been living in a cave for the past 4 years, but probably not

    -Absolutely craptastic selection of music

    -WMA files aren't any more widely supported by the portable market than AAC, who are they trying to kid? Sure, more player models support WMA, but take away the ones that aren't even remotely competetive with the iPod and the iPod mini, and all you're really left with is the iRiver HP-120 and the Creative Zen Micro.

    -Their DRM scheme is geared more towards music rental than music purchase.

    So... what "advantages" are Napster touting, again?
  • What i don't get... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by clymere ( 605769 ) on Saturday February 12, 2005 @11:54AM (#11651788) Homepage why Apple, or someone hasn't sued them in some fashion over their commerical.

    It states repeatedly that you can get MP3's to put on a Napster-supporting MP3 player.

    From what I understand, their service and players are using WMA, with DRM of course.

    MP3 != WMA. These are both very specific things. Had they just said "songs", or "music" it would not be an issue. They chose to say MP3 and I fail to see how thats not an outright lie. That oversight alone could be the nail in the coffin for them.

    Phillips had similar issues with the RIAA labeling DRM-enabled CD's as official "Compact Discs." Phillips owns the rights to that name, and since the DRM broke the ability for those disks to play in many players, Phillips felt it was damaging their IP to claim they were CD's. They sued and won.

  • Sorry, Napster... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by amper ( 33785 ) * on Saturday February 12, 2005 @11:55AM (#11651796) Journal
    I've got three iPod's now, with a fourth one on the way (a 1GB Shuffle). I'm not paying a subscription fee to listen to my iPod's, and of the 1400-odd songs currently on my iPod, a grand total of about 20 have come off of the iTunes store. I only buy things that I would probably never want to actually own in CD format from iTunes. If the music is good enough, I'll buy the CD and rip it. If it's not good enough, I probably don't want to hear it, anyway.

    I use a 250GB external FireWire 800 LaCie d2 extreme to archive all my CD's in Sound Designer II format with Toast 6 Platinum and then rip them to 192KBps AAC's for the iPod's. With this strategy, I calculate that I can fit *at least* 400 CD's on this drive, which happens to be approximately the amount of CD's that I currently own.

    And, I keep a full installation of Mac OS X on my iPod's, so I can boot up machines and fix hard drives. The Shuffle on the way will replace my USB keys for quick file transfers between Mac's and PC's. With 1400-odd songs on a 40GB iPod *and* Mac OS X, I still have somthing like 30GB of space left (and 300 more CD's to rip).

    I don't need or want to support Microsoft's overly-restrictive Digital Restrictions Management scheme. The subscription model is doomed to failure--just look at satellite radio! Meanwhile, Apple has proven that the iTunes Music Store is a viable business model, with over 250-plus million sales to date.

    Napster's pathetic Super Bowl ad was the lowest ranked of all the commercials shown that night. Need anyone ask why?

    And what happens when you decide not to pay the subscription fee? No more music.
  • Ripe for cracking (Score:5, Interesting)

    by aoty ( 533561 ) <aoty&yahoo,com> on Saturday February 12, 2005 @12:02PM (#11651829)
    I'm going to laugh my ass off when some 15 year old releases a hack that strips the DRM out of these Napster songs. Millions and millions of "rented" songs will become permanent non-DRM overnight.
    • by midifarm ( 666278 )
      It's granted that there are products to strip the DRM from the ITMS downloads, however; I think the RIAA is satisfied enough that they have already gotten their royalty check from Apple because someone purchased the song. With the Napster deal, you can download their entire catalog, strip the files and then cancel the service.

      Anyone for a competing service? Just as many songs as Napster... Only $.50... No DRM!!! Available anywhere


    • Re:Ripe for cracking (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Alioth ( 221270 ) <no@spam> on Saturday February 12, 2005 @12:52PM (#11652171) Journal
      It's trivial to do using the "analogue hole". An analogue re-recording with any reasonable sound card will be good enough.
  • by mstroeck ( 411799 ) on Saturday February 12, 2005 @12:38PM (#11652052) Homepage
    ... Go to []. The following might sound too good to be true, but just go check it t out. It's an online music store (run by a Russian company) where you:

    1) Have the choice between Mp3, WMA, Ogg, Mpc, FLAC, Monkey Audio, Mpeg - 4 AAC (iTunes compatible) ... all up to CD quality.
    2) Pay by the MB.
    3) Have a library almost as large as any of the US services in the market (and much better as far as back catalogue is concerned).
    4) CAN BUY MUSIC LEGALLY, at least in my country. I checked and had checked by representatives of the Austrian music industry, they grudgingly conceded that yes, it is legal for me to buy music there for a tenth of what it costs me at home.

    I have spent over 140 dollars there in the last six months. But those 140 bucks bought me over ... *looks it up*... 2241 songs weighing in at 11.33 Gb.

    Heck, you can even pay using PayPal. There is NO reason not to use this service. Economically, music is a luxury. Lower the price for luxuries, and sales go orbital.
    • I can get it off eMule for free, with the same legality. I.e. none, shit all. This is NOT legal except within russia and other countries without restrictive copyright laws. "Authorized by the Russian music industry" = "Not authorized"
      • This is NOT legal except within russia

        If corporations are free to arbitrage minimum wage and environmental standards between different countries with captive labour markets and so produce things dirt cheap and then import them into higher-wage countries, then why do you honestly think that consumers shouldn't have an equal opportunity to game our brave new globalised world? If I want to buy legally licensed music produced in Russia and then import it for my personal use into another country, why shouldn't
  • by mojoNYC ( 595906 ) on Saturday February 12, 2005 @12:50PM (#11652158) Homepage
    wow, i bet CEO Chris Gorog must be raking in millions in compensation for this *brilliant* plan...

    it's amazing to me that while the dot-bomb killed off programmers and rank and file employees, while executives keep making more and more...for this?

    good businesses are built by innovation, not by looking in the 'what's hot' section of the paper to come up with ideas...

    a few years ago, while everybody and their brother was trying to figure out how to be the 'next Napster,' Apple was busy innovating, and that's why they are the lead dog in this race...

    meanwhile, my wife and i, who are stupid enough to own 3 iPods, and 30,000 songs (some bought from iTunes) will never be stupid enough to subscribe to Napster!

    good luck--see you on the way down, Gorog...

  • by shr ( 13954 ) on Saturday February 12, 2005 @01:17PM (#11652331)
    I predict that in the next 6 months someone will provide a crack of Janus that allows you to steal the subscription music and let you keep it after you cancel your subscription. With a 14-day free trial of Napster that means you could steal all the music you want to fill up your MP3 player for free.

    If the crack would allow you to convert the locked WMA files into unlocked MP3 files then you could even load them onto your iPod and not expect future firmware upgrades to make the songs stop playing. When the record companies see this they are sure to pull their music from a Janus service.

    Hymn may let you "steal" purchased music from iTunes Music Store, but someone has to at least buy the music. The music is only stolen in this case when you share the files with your friends, but this just isn't the same threat to the record companies as a Janus crack.

    A Janus crack would allow you to steal exactly the music you want (not limited by what your friends have), without having to hassle with the P2P services. You can do it by yourself in a couple of hours and how would anyone be able to identify you as having abused the service?
  • Lacking Ease of use (Score:3, Informative)

    by Mr. McD ( 166893 ) on Saturday February 12, 2005 @02:03PM (#11652680) Homepage
    Napster is going to need to offer a ton of support with this service. This is taken from the "terms and Conditions" on the web site:

    This means that in order to play any Download after the end of a Subscription Month, you must log on to the Service so that Napster can renew your rights for those Tracks. The Client will count the number of times that you play a Download, including while you are offline, for royalty accounting and analysis purposes.

    In addition to that, you need to plugin each device at the end of the month to "renew" the tracks. I'm sorry but most folks, who aren't Slashdot readers, tend not to read this stuff and will probably be really pissed off at the end of each month when their PC works and one of thier "Plays for Sure" compatible players does not. I'm dying to see how disasterous this turns out.
    • by hattig ( 47930 )
      I was wondering how they were going to do track expiration.

      This is doomed to fail. When your friend says "don't use that napster service, they took my money and then my music stopped working" you won't be inclined to use it. Negative word of mouth will spread very quickly. Nevermind that there will be instructions on what to do - I don't have to 'activate' my CD collection every month!

      Also how many times I play a track that I've payed for is none of their fucking business, and hopefully spyware applicati
  • by Eddie von Eigenvecto ( 858922 ) on Saturday February 12, 2005 @11:27PM (#11656483)
    Stream ripping will kill the subscription model one way or another.

    I watched a friend sign up for a 30 day free trial of Rhapsody. He then proceeded to stream rip music day and night for a month using High Criteria's TotalRecorder software. When the month was up, he didn't subscribe and he walked away a HUGE number of albums. Interestingly enough, the CD's he burned using this method were recognizable by cddb's.

    Here-in exists the problem. If Napster actually succeeds in signing up a large number of subscribers, theft will also rise exponentially. Eventually, the record companies will notice that one or two college kids are feeding and entire university campus with music and they'll pull the plug on the entire endeavor.

    There are many stream-ripping programs available for every platform...indeed, I use Audio-Hijack Professional for OSX myself. Until this problem is solved/addressed, subscription based services will have a HUGE achilles heel.

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