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Ten Dollars for That Music Subscription? No Thanks!

Postby SlyckTom » Sat Aug 27, 2005 10:25 am

99 cents a download. $14.95 for unlimited rentals. $8.00 and upwards for a full album. On a global scale, music subscription services are doing well. Although using a plural may be pushing it - as iTunes is by far conducting the most business out of all sanctioned music services. With its trendy iPod music player, downloading the occasional $0.99 download is within the budget of many.

Comparative to file-sharing networks however, sanctioned music services such as Napster and Rhapsody continue to struggle. While iTunes is a commercial success with its 500 millionth download since its conception, it still pales in comparison to the billions of files traded per month over file-sharing networks.

There are several reasons why approved music services have not quite broken the P2P dam. It has been argued approved music services are still lacking in the catalog department, despite having over 1 million songs in their arsenal. Still, they contain what most people crave; which is top 40 pop music. Despite this flaw and many others, it appears the bottom line is the all mighty dollar.

Or Euro, Yaun or Pound.

Indeed, the hesitation surrounding the mass entry into the approved music service market is all about money. Although we don't necessarily need a data firm to conclude this, researchers at Park Associates interviewed MP3 player owners from around the world, specifically in China, the US, the UK, France and Germany. The study asked MP3 player (stand alone players, CD MP3 player, computers, etc) owners what they would be willing to budget on digital music on a monthly basis.

The country in question depended on what its people were willing to spend. Interestingly, all nations in the study had a sizeable portion of respondents willing to spend nothing per month on digital music. In France for example, 40% of those questioned were not willing to spend any money on digital music (a majority.) However it the UK, 62% of respondents is willing to pay up to $10.00 per month on digital music.

While respondents in each country varied on what their monthly digital music budget would be, one thing was clear; very few individuals were willing to spend more than $10.00 a month on digital music. Only 10% of German respondents were willing to spend 10 dollars or more, while only 2% of UK MP3 owners would spend that amount.

The study makes the point that Yahoo!'s new low cost music service may cut a sizable niche in the digital music market if the competition's price remains constant. In the long run however, it remains to be seen whether Napster, Rhapsody, and particularly iTunes will change their policies especially if their market share remains intact.
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Postby Kribby » Sat Aug 27, 2005 11:36 am

top 40 pop music???....what most people crave??? who the hell conducts these surveys???? :x
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Postby Assyrian » Sat Aug 27, 2005 11:39 am

When they say $10 a month for digital music, how much of DL's they talking about? unlimited? limited..?
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Postby AussieMatt » Sat Aug 27, 2005 12:26 pm

Assyrian that is for "unlimited" downloads but the catch is they are only limited to your PC and Microsoft Janus Enabled Mp3 Player .You still have to pay for the privlige of Burning them at 79c ea and even when you pay they still have the DRM restrictions of 3 computers and devices ect.

Until the services adopt a Voluntary Collective Licencing model like Playlouder a subcription model isnt worth it .Im all for artists and labels getting paid but the current subscription services just dont cut it .

To get any advantage over a pay for download model you need to spend over $350 in music to make any savings when you "buy" music from a subscrption service.
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Postby Andu » Sat Aug 27, 2005 12:52 pm

I agree as long as they still use crappy formats like wma with low bitrates and don't allow the free use of the files they will struggle against the p2p networks. Pricing is of course another important issue.
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Postby ilbozo » Sat Aug 27, 2005 1:20 pm

We will start using your service when you make it worth our while not just for the kazzaa users. Who find it great to have a file downloaded on their dial up and not find out its a fake!
Subscriptions are only good if they give you high bitrate files, the you can use stacker and concert them to mp3-drm!
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Postby silentanvil » Sat Aug 27, 2005 6:21 pm

if im ever faced with the desicision: pay and get it now or get it free and wait a few hours to get it, i would always choose the free one.
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Postby Christopher » Sat Aug 27, 2005 8:09 pm

Hey, peace of mind is worth paying for (with these services you know you won't get sued unless you share songs illegally), but it's only worth paying so much.
Many of these services charge 30-40 dollars a month for just a subscription to their internet RADIO service! That's WAAAAAAY more than I am willing to pay.
Same thing with the single song downloads. $.99 is way more than I am willing to pay, considering that there are no physical shipping costs, or payments to stores to stock the product (Yes, stores do get paid to only have certain songs).
Cut that in half, and I would be most willing to buy all my music legally.
Better yet, maybe the music companies should start putting out music that people actually LIKE. There have been so many times recently where songs are in the Top 40, and I can't find ONE person in the whole place where I work and go to school, which has 2,000 people on any given day, that likes even ONE of the Top 40 songs.
Start making music that people actually LIKE, Sony and BGM, then maybe your profits would go up instead of down.
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Postby trevaaar » Sat Aug 27, 2005 8:38 pm

Maybe they should conduct a study like this in Australia where it can cost $1.80 per song and half the supposedly craved top 40 isn't even available on any of the available services. If they can't even get their overplayed and undertalented Top 40 artists on the services, what does that say about their range of less popular artists? Did I mention that there are only Windows Media-based stores here, so no iPod support at all...
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Postby Assyrian » Sat Aug 27, 2005 9:29 pm

Australia promotes the worst songs/artist. the last time i bought an album was back in 2000 and it was a hip-hop album by Dr. Dre - Chronic 2001. all they promote is that crappy OZ idol crap which no one gives a shit about.

why should we pay for music on the internet? isnt the internet bill enough? we pay for a connection fee, a modem, then monthly, also a disconnection fee.
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Postby AussieMatt » Sat Aug 27, 2005 9:41 pm

Well the Glory days of OZ rock and the Pub Rock scene scene are long gone .There was Midnight Oil ,AC|DC ,Radio Birdman and even You Am I ...Still Australia has some standouts like Jet and the Big Day Out and Livid Festival are great Launchpads for up and coming artists .

But as the mainstream teeeny bopper crap goes well its as about as good as Kylie Minogue.
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Postby Assyrian » Sat Aug 27, 2005 10:13 pm

AussieMatt, bands like those dont succeed here, so they move overseas, kylie minogue, deltra goodrem, holly valance, all 3 of them moved to the U.K, hell when i hear them talk on TV they dont even have the OZ accent no more.

they focus on reality music shows now

the x-factor
australian idol
popstars

whats next? this is why no one walks into sanity or any other music store.
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Postby IceCube » Sun Aug 28, 2005 1:32 am

I heard Jet quite a number of times (non of them voluntarily) and I had more enjoyable experiances having a bad case of diahrea. The only reason the industry is actually promoting these Elvis/Dinosaur rip-off bands is because many of the older generation don't know how to use a computer with an internet connection as well as younger people 40 years old or younger.

The CRIA is endorsing the kind of music that not even my parents recognize on occasion it's so old (1930's). A good statement on what the industry here thinks is cool is simply watching Canadian Idol. They did a tribute to Guess Who and Elvis (who is American, ha, ha)

Part of the reason that they are selling to the older generation is because of the fact that the baby boomer generation is simply larger then the X, Y, and Z generations and plus they are easy to sell to simply because they already know what sells to them. When the baby boomer generation dies out, they'll run into a serious problem because what use to sell won't sell anymore because the generation they sold to are all dead. In many respects, it mirrors the softwood industry around here. The industry is only planning for the here and the now and not what will happen 50 years from now and they will clamp their hands of ignorance over their years and yell random things until you go away. They arn't interested in the younger consumer at all, they proved that time and time again. They don't give a rats ass about innovation or anything that improves... anything. It would cost too much money (in their minds) and instead, they'll piss away millions of dollars just to try and find a quick fix (as you have already read in the article) Saddly, this is the standard for many industries like oil companies, logging companies, most car manufacturers (not all, exceptions include the division that is selling Smart cars and making alternative fuel engine run cars), etc. Not just the record industry. Essentially, if you are twenty years old now and want better music, you arn't going to hear any of it untill you are roughly 80 years old (maybe) from the mainstream media.
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Postby Christopher » Sun Aug 28, 2005 7:10 am

silentanvil wrote:if im ever faced with the desicision: pay and get it now or get it free and wait a few hours to get it, i would always choose the free one.


That's the truth for most people. Me, I want it now at a fair price that I am willing to pay. The main reason for the BML's money problems isn't pirating, it's that the music they are advertising isn't very good.
I recently used MSN Music's free trial service for internet radio, just to see what it was like, and I listened to their Top 40 station, where nothing is played except Top 40 songs.
I was like, "People actually LISTEN to this crap!?"
I'm not what you call a music connisseur. I have listened to Celtic ballads and liked them, and I have listened to Pop and Rock songs and liked them, but almost all of the Top 40 songs I have heard have BLOWED.
And that's putting it mildly.
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Postby Myrak » Sun Aug 28, 2005 9:06 am

It's not just the fact we get shit from Oz Idol or whatever flooding our charts, or that we only get the uber-pop stuff from the US, it's that we have shit for "legal online music services" too.

Seriously, we have Bigpond, MSN and Destra. I had to do -research- to find out that we had 3. I only ever hear of Bigpond on the radio. I even went and tried Bigpond, since I get Broadband from them. Guess what- I couldn't even get the site to work. The whole thing is in Flash, and I don't know if it was Firefox friendly - I'm assuming it wasn't. Even in IE I couldn't get to the "Checkout" to buy the ONE track I found that I wanted (out of about 20, they only had one I was looking for- great selection or what?). It would've also cost me about $1.79AU or something (over $.99US) to buy the track. Plus it comes in ultra-DRMed WMA 96kps. You can only burn it twice, and it can only be played on the computer it was downloaded on- no transferring allowed.

The rest of the world has iTunes and many others. Hell, even the fact we don't have iTunes yet says something :|
Luckily I have a few relatives who live in the US, and when I was over there getting my iPod I tried out iTunes. Hell I even bought 2 Jason Mraz albums to test out my iPod. Even back in Australia I still look through iTunes for stuff to download- that's how good it is compared to the stuff we get.

That leaves us Aussies only two ways to get convenient music - P2P or the CD store. I can get basically anything I want off P2P. Anything I can't get (mostly unknown Aussie bands and such) I can get from Sanity.

I still don't get why we're being left behind here. Random countries in Europe got iTunes before us- we speak English, shouldn't we get it relatively early? I understand it's gotta go through the record companies, but after seeing it do so well everywhere else, why wouldn't they let us have it here?
I would love to support all the good artists, but I think getting decent providers out precedes lowering costs. :idea:
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Postby AussieMatt » Sun Aug 28, 2005 9:31 am

iTunes hasn't surfaced in Australia because Mushroom/Festival records who is the Largest Australian owned record company will not accept Apple's contract terms which demand the labels offer a lower wholesale price to iTunes than they do to other services .

The licence terms for Big pond and others are dictated by Australasia's antiquated Copyright Laws that are finally being reformed and reviewed after many years of remaining in limbo after the Blank tape levy was deemed unconstitutional by the Australian High Court.

Also Telstra's virtual Monopoly on the Australian Internet industry doesn't help the Aussie services one bit .

Theres also Mule Music in Australia that is behind the Olympus Music Store ...
Last edited by AussieMatt on Sun Aug 28, 2005 9:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Myrak » Sun Aug 28, 2005 9:36 am

Ah thanks for clearing that up :)
But yeah, Telstra's control doesn't help, and until legal services get any better I'm sticking to P2P.

edit: I'll check out MuleMusic, and I also remember there's mp3.com.au for Aussies. Dunno if they're any good or not.
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Postby AussieMatt » Sun Aug 28, 2005 9:44 am

I agree with you ,the content industry has to realise the consumer will probaly pay for services if you give them what they want if you dont they will go elsewhere .
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Postby AussieMatt » Sun Aug 28, 2005 9:54 am

For what its worth Mule Music seems to have better usage rules than that of Bigpond and thier files are 128kbs .wma

What usage rules can I expect?


As an example, EMI/Virgin stipulates that all music sold under their label may be;
Transferred to digital audio player an unlimited number of times
Burnt to CD-R/CD-RW up to three times
Downloaded to 2 PC’s (including 1 primary and two secondary licenses)

Other record labels will be similar with small variations depending on what there artists have agreed upon.
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Postby Myrak » Sun Aug 28, 2005 10:34 am

True, it does have better usage rules, but wma is limiting anyway :P

When/if iTunes arrives, it will probably become the standard over here and might up the quality of the homegrown services, hopefully making them better than iTunes (in some aspects at least).
Till then I reckon our providers are gonna keep the restrictions on as tight as possible, since if people want legal online music, it's the only way they're gonna get it.
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Postby AussieMatt » Sun Aug 28, 2005 10:52 am

I live in the US at the moment so I see the landscape in the digital music landscape changing rapidly here .

Personaly I hope iTunes isnt sucessfull in the Aussie market and somthing like Playlouder(A colective licencing model) comes up and trumps all the music services .With the wireless ISPs growing in Australia they could adopt this model across thier networks and add value to thier product in competion with offerings
from Telstra and Optus.When you have UnWired and i Burst offering competive wirelss products that comptete with landlines sucessfully in Metorpolitan areas there may be a seachange on how people acess the internet .
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Postby Sellout » Mon Aug 29, 2005 7:19 pm

I dont think paying for music is the way it should be done period in any country. At this point all platforms of music are at a stand still with cookie cutter rap and cookie cutter rock its amazing that they even attempt to make you pay for music. Besides that who wants to pay $.99 a song through ITUNES?? my 20 gig IPOD would cost about $20,000 to fill and i sure as hell dont have that and besides the only thing you are really paying for is the compression of the file that has clarity so you can load you ipod with more music than you can even listen. With p2p running full force i would rather take up the extra room and update more often than pay out the butt for music.
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Postby raar » Tue Aug 30, 2005 6:27 am

Christopher wrote:Cut that in half, and I would be most willing to buy all my music legally.


This boils down to: I have paid for a tune. I have a receipt. Do I own the f*(#!er or not????

I don't appreciate being told what I can or can't do with what I have purchased. Since when did it come to: We're just renting music???

I know that I am reiterating issues that are well documented, but reading through this thread has me all worked up. I know that I have said the same thing on many occasions and I still stand by it.

Do I feel even a tinge of guilt when downloading? On the most minute occasion. And this only because there are many artists that I trully adore and feel they deserve my hard-earned money.

My main issue right now is that I don't have a credit card. It would be much better to have alternative methods of paying. And then as Christopher points out, among many, that I don't have anything physical in my hands. They tell me at what bitrate, on what medium, how often. It blows!
Why would I pay the same price for a song that is 1's & 0's, as I would for the physical cd and not even to my standard of quality????

Maybe for 99cents, if it included graphics & arts, bio's, lyrics & anything else that would make it worth that price.

For now, I'll continue on as I have without any guilt (except for that tinge) as I have since Napster.


*done ranting*
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Postby ukj » Tue Aug 30, 2005 6:46 am

This is really interesting since I started to look around today for a service I could pay for. I sort of made a decision that I am willing to pay some money for songs if they are unlimited but the obstacles involved are crazy and the DRM is just stupid.

I run linux so none of the services liked me to start with.

I switched to my winbox and had a browse around. All the deals they are offering (Yahoo Music, Napster) are good and I would happily pay them but for a few "issues".

DRM - 3 PC's max with timeout implemented.

I have an iPod Mini, a shuffle a Mobinote, none of which are compatible.

i REFUSE to be dictated to on how I listen to my music. I will not be told which player to use, what PC's I can listen to it on and whether or not I can burn it to a CD. NO NO NO.

If I pay for it i OWN the copy and should be able to play it WHERE i like on WHAT i like and WHEN i like.

So, my money stays in my pocket. I can transfer MP3's using Winamp and the ipod plugin without hassle and ill continue to do just that.
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Postby raar » Tue Aug 30, 2005 6:59 am

Amen.
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