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[P]
Walking through Apple iTunes 4 and Music Store

By HypoLuxa in Technology
Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 08:07:31 AM EST
Tags: Music (all tags)
Music

I'm a relatively new Mac convert, but since I own a G4 desktop and an iPod, I thought I would check out Apple's new iTunes 4 with Apple Music Store. This is Apple's first foray into a paid digital media service; allowing users to download tracks for 99 cents without any monthly fees, required subscriptions or payments. I'll go through the new features, and see if it works as advertised. I don't really have an audio system to compare sound quality of AAC vs. MP3, and digital rights and fair use questions have been discussed adequately here and elsewhere, so I won't try to get too much into those topics. This is simply my personal view into using the software and service, what works and what doesn't, where Apple succeeds and fails.


I kicked off the OS X Software Updater, assuming that it would grab the latest version of iTunes, Quicktime, and iPod software required. It updated my iPod software to the latest version, but the new iTunes (1.4) and Quicktime (6.2) had to be downloaded and installed manually. iTunes connects to Apple's store when you select "Music Store" and throws up a page of their featured content and artists. You browse selections by going through genre -> artist -> album with songs listed below. Playing any of the listed songs prompts a 30 second sample to play.

I used that feature try to find the first song I wanted to download. I wanted to find a remix version of "Hip Hop" by Dead Prez. I browsed to the Hip Hop/Rap section, and could not find them listed. I did a search as well, and found they had no tracks on Apple's Music Store service. So far, Apple is 0 for 1.

While looking for my second candidate, I got drawn into Apple's exclusive content section. Seeing a bunch of artists I couldn't care less about, I came across five remixes of Massive Attack's latest. Three were available individually, but two were available only if you bought the "album" for $5. While I was happy to find the tracks (they ended up being my first purchase from Apple), I was a bit put off by how they were sold. The per-track sales method is supposed to free consumers from having to buy complete albums for a single track they wanted, yet here they were forcing the same situation. If you had wanted one of the 4th or 5th tracks, you were forced to spend $5 on the whole set.

So on to the actual purchase and downloading. I converted my existing Apple ID to be used with the Music Store, which included filling out a few forms all in the iTunes interface and give a credit card number. The only thing I saw that was somewhat unusual was that I was asked for my local tax jurisdiction, and according to my purchase history, I was charged sales tax. After that, clicked on the "BUY ALBUM" button and I got a warning box telling me I was purchasing and downloading music (with a toggle to switch that warning off in the future). I downloaded the five tracks in about 4 minutes 30 seconds. The totals were 34.7 minutes of music at 32 MB. This was over a 1.5Mb downstream ADSL line.

My next test was to be to find and download an entire album, which I pretty much already did with the exclusive content. I repeated the steps, using the power search feature to specify artist and release date. I found Weezer's "Weezer (Green Album)" without any problem. I checked the tracklisting against gracenote.com, and they had the complete album with the correct titles and order of all tracks. I clicked over to my library and checked out the ID3 tags. The album tile wasn't complete, but they can be selected and edited just like any other tracks in iTunes. I also noticed that iTunes will allow you to switch between any other functions (library, online radio, burner and playlist functions) then return you to the same place you were viewing when you select Music Store again.

The Weezer album was 10 tracks, and the Music Store price was $9.90, so a straight 99 cents a track (same with the Massive Attack exclusive material). I did some more searching and found that they have capped most complete album prices at $9.99 regardless of the number of tracks. Albums with 10 or fewer tracks are sold for 99 cents a track, but you can get all 24 tracks of Outkast's Stankonia for $9.99. I did notice a one album ("Who's Next" 2003 re-release) that was $19.98. According to amazon, this is a double CD release, so Apple may be charging more for those types of releases. Also, I found a very large amount of partial albums available. While they have a wide variety of stuff, they seem to be more focused on singles than complete albums. I also noticed a third wrinkle, which was a 12 track album (see below) that was offered "By Song Only" with no option to buy the whole album.

My next search was for a single with multiple versions. "Janie Jones" by the Clash appears on at least 3 albums or compilations by them in at least 3 different versions. I quick search for the title brought up two of the versions, with the album they were found on. There was no differentiation in the title, even though in the album liner notes for the real world CDs one appears as "Janie Jones (demo version)" and the other as just "Janie Jones." This is probably a nit pick, since they can be identified by album if you know which version you are looking for, or previewed if you know the track well enough. Again, I noticed they had no complete Clash albums, except a remastered release of Combat Rock that was offered "By Song Only."

Next step was to start moving the music around. The purchased tracks were put into the file system the same way any other iTunes mp3 file would be. The file type is listed as "ACC Audio File (Protected)" with an ".m4p" extension. I placed all my purchased tracks onto my iPod and played back with no problems. I created a playlist for the Weezer album and burned it to a CD-r which played back on my home stereo with no problem. Many of the restrictions Apple has placed on these files don't really apply to me, such as multiple Macs having playback and being able to burn on 10 copies of an "unmodified playlist." I don't have access to a second Mac, so I could not try to retrieve my purchased music from somewhere else, but I did create a test account on this machine to see if I could download my purchased music again. I couldn't. This may be because it already exists on this machine (even though the new user has no access to it). I also noticed that in order to play your purchased music, your computer must be authorized by iTunes to do so, which requires you to sign in with your Apple ID and password.

The one issue I worry about most is data recovery. According to Apple, and confirmed by my own test, if the music has left your hard drive it's gone for good. There is no way to download purchased tracks a second time (although Apple gives you the cheeky option to purchase it a second time, giving you a warning that you already paid once). However, if you have a backup copy of the files, they can be added back without any problems. Hopefully Apple will give some option to retrieve the music you have already paid for in case of data loss in the future.

All in all, I think the experience was good. The music was easy to find, and it quickly retrieved good quality full copies of the songs I wanted. I wasn't able to find everything I wanted, and I the focus on singles instead of albums can be frustrating. I'm not sure how the DRM restrictions will play out for serious file traders and purists, but for a single user with a single computer and mp3 player, they are restrictions in name only which don't interfere with the way I listen to music at all. The most appealing part of the system is its casual nature. I didn't have to sign up for anything other than an Apple ID (which is only required if you want to purchase something), and I'm not obligated to give them another nickel in the future. I think that I will use it in the future to grab a track or two I am looking for, but I doubt it will become the primary source for new music for me.

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Apple's new service?
o Wave of the future 28%
o Useful for occasional downloads 34%
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Votes: 78
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Walking through Apple iTunes 4 and Music Store | 245 comments (232 topical, 13 editorial, 0 hidden)
I'm a bit disappointed with the quality (5.00 / 3) (#4)
by Delirium on Mon Apr 28, 2003 at 11:35:14 PM EST

I'd expect something better than 128kbps AAC for $1/song. Sure, it's better than 128kbps MP3, but certainly not the "CD quality" they're claiming it as. It'd be acceptable to me as a sampler, but if I'm paying money for it, I want CD quality (i.e. lossless compression), or at worst a very close approximation thereof (Ogg -q6 or LAME-encoded MP3 with --preset standard, both of which are VBR in the 180-200kbps range on average).

Their DRM does seem pretty permissive as far as these things go though.

Have you HEARD AAC? (none / 0) (#44)
by gidds on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 09:58:21 AM EST

I haven't either (yet), but I do know that you can't compare bitrate-for-bitrate, the same way you can't compare BMPs to GIFs size-for-size. They're completely different algorithms.

Consensus seems to be that 128kbps AAC is substantially better than 192kbps VBR MP3, so if you consider the latter to be a close approximation to CD quality (which is debatable), then you should be pleased with the quality Apple is offering.

BTW, anyone know if there are independent listening tests comparing AAC with other formats?

Andy/
[ Parent ]

Uh please elaborate. (none / 0) (#56)
by tkatchev on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 10:32:52 AM EST

I don't know what AAC is, since I've never met anybody who uses it; but I doubt that, at the core, it uses anything different from a stock DCT transform.

Sombody who knows: please elaborate!

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

Pre-echo (none / 0) (#99)
by pin0cchio on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 03:30:13 PM EST

I doubt that, at the core, [MPEG-2 AAC] uses anything different from a stock DCT transform.

JPEG still image compression uses DCT. Ever noticed ringing around sharp edges in a heavily compressed JPEG file? That's pre-echo, and it causes smearing of sharp attacks. From what I've read, it's really easy to get AAC to smear a sample that has lots of rapid clicking noises such as the infamous "castanets.wav".


lj65
[ Parent ]
I know of no such consensus (none / 0) (#78)
by Delirium on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 01:40:05 PM EST

Consensus is that 128kbps AAC should in theory be better than 192kbps VBR mp3. Consensus is also that current implementations are inferior (well, superior to some 192kbps VBR mp3 implementations, but inferior to LAME-encoded '--preset standard' MP3s). I have indeed listened to 128kbps AAC, and it's not hard to pick out artifacts on sharp transient samples (the pre-echo is noticeable, just like with many MP3s).

There's a lot of discussion in the AAC forum (and some of the others) on hydrogenaudio.org if you'd like more opinions.

[ Parent ]

The samples are not 128kbps (3.00 / 1) (#47)
by funwithstuff on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 10:11:39 AM EST

Just to let you know, after doing specific listening tests last night, that there's no way that the samples are full quality. Comparing the sample for Bjork's Joga with the original on CD and a 192kbps iTunes MP3, there was significant quality loss. But re-encoding the same song from CD to 128kbps AAC sounded great. I'm the UK and can't buy it to find out, but I'd be surprised if the bought track doesn't sound pretty damn good.

[ Parent ]
I wasn't listening to the samples (none / 0) (#77)
by Delirium on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 01:37:58 PM EST

I was comparing to 128kbps AAC I've encoded myself.

[ Parent ]
just to clarify (none / 0) (#79)
by Delirium on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 01:46:33 PM EST

It's not like 128kbps AAC sounds truly horrible; it's not 64kbps MP3 or anything. But it's not too hard to find samples with sharp transients that kill it with the time-smearing.

[ Parent ]
OTOH... (none / 0) (#171)
by Canar on Wed Apr 30, 2003 at 04:20:15 PM EST

According to some of Frank Klemm's graphs, AAC should have better transient capability than MusePack, when encoded properly and at high enough bitrate. I thought that was kinda nifty.

[ Parent ]
not currently (none / 0) (#175)
by Delirium on Wed Apr 30, 2003 at 07:27:48 PM EST

He notes on the same page that it currently doesn't have better transient capability even if "encoded properly" (unless by "encoded properly" you mean "encoded with an ideal encoder that has not yet been developed"):

To my mind only MPEG-4 AAC is capable to eliminates all disadvantages of the additional frequency resolution. The result is transparent coding at data rates around 120...130 kbps (instead of 170...180 kbps as MPEGplus). But a

* high quality MPEG-4 AAC Encoder is much much more difficult to program and to tune than a
MPEGplus encoder
* Is by a factor of 10...30 slower
* also the decoder needs much more powerful hardware (most hardware can only play MPEG-2 AAC Low Complexity Profile)



[ Parent ]
Thanks. (none / 0) (#176)
by Canar on Wed Apr 30, 2003 at 07:43:30 PM EST

Thank you for correcting my disinformation. :) I must have misread.

[ Parent ]
Studio Masters (none / 0) (#95)
by Scott Laird on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 03:22:48 PM EST

Apple claims that at least a few of their AAC files are generated directly from studio masters, not 44.1/16 CDs. It'll be interesting to see if they expand on this in the future. There's probably a market for premium 256-512 kbps AACs from 96/24 masters--compare to the SACD and DVD-Audio players and media slowly trickling into the market.

At 512kbps with a 96k sample rate, it'd be really hard to claim that "lossy AACs" are inferior to CDs. Most users don't have hardware that can play them back, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't exist, or even that it's particularly expensive (the Echo Indigo is $99, for example).



[ Parent ]
sample rate (none / 0) (#97)
by Delirium on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 03:27:41 PM EST

I certainly hope they don't use a 96 KHz sample rate on lossy-compressed audio. Dropping the sample rate (until you get into the 40s KHz range) is probably the best way to do lossy compression with no audible artifacts; in fact, running your audio through a 19-19.5 KHz lowpass filter in almost all cases improves the quality ('cause your encoder doesn't waste time/space encoding inaudible stuff -- yes, anything over 19.5 KHz is inaudible in music, even if you can hear a 20 KHz test tone, which most people can't). Not that starting from higher-rate source material wouldn't be a good idea (as anyone who's done image/video editing knows, it's always best to start from as pristine a source as possible), but there'd be no reason not to downsample before/during lossy compression.

[ Parent ]
Not quite. (none / 0) (#192)
by mcgrew on Thu May 01, 2003 at 07:33:02 PM EST

in fact, running your audio through a 19-19.5 KHz lowpass filter in almost all cases improves the quality ('cause your encoder doesn't waste time/space encoding inaudible stuff -- yes, anything over 19.5 KHz is inaudible in music, even if you can hear a 20 KHz test tone, which most people can't).

The lowpass filter will improve the quality because at a 44k sample rate, the highest frequency you can sample is 22k (there is a mathematical proof of this that you'll have to google for).

Now, it takes very good ears indeed to hear a 20k tone. Nearly anyone can hear a 16k tone. Most cassette decks can only do 12k. An expensive cassette will go up to 18k.

But at a 44k sampling rate, a 16k tone is VERY badly aliased. A sine wave is the same as a square wave is the same as a sawtooth wave. Do the math- at 44kps, a 16k tone has only 3 samples (actually 2.75). You simply CANNOT accurately reproduce a sine wave with three points.

A 16k filter will do even better. In fact, IINM that's what the studios use.

It is also correct that no instrument produces a tone that high. However, most instruments, particularly woodwinds and unamplified strings, have harmonics that your dog can enjoy, that you can't- but nevertheless DO color the music.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

a clarification (none / 0) (#212)
by Delirium on Thu May 01, 2003 at 09:00:56 PM EST

I misspoke; I didn't actually mean to say that a 19 kHz lowpass improves the music as compared to no lowpass. What I meant was that a lossy encoder using a 19 kHz lowpass improves the music as compared to a lossy encoder not using one. That is because high frequencies take an inordinately large number of bits, and simply throwing them out frees up bits to be used in the lower frequencies, where artifacts are much more audible. In fact, in much blind testing developing LAME's "--preset standard" preset, nobody was able to distinguish a 19 kHz lowpassed piece of music from the non-lowpassed version. This is empirical evidence that while harmonics do color the music, harmonics that high do not in fact color the music. So far nobody's been able to come up with a sample in which anyone at all can distinguish the effect of a 19 kHz lowpass on the coloring of the music in a blind test; the only samples for which anyone has successfully picked out the lowpass in a blind test are simple 20 kHz sine waves.

[ Parent ]
Masters shcmasters (none / 0) (#191)
by mcgrew on Thu May 01, 2003 at 07:17:12 PM EST

I'm going to eventually have to write an article about analog vs digital, but in response to this particular post-

In the late 1970s they went to digital masters for records and tapes. They didn't have CDs yet, at all.

This resulted in a dramatic decrease in the quality of vinyl records, as you had the limitations of both analog AND digital. Each has their strengths and weaknesses (which I won't elaborate on here), but when you make an analog recording from a digital master, or a digital sample of an analog master, you lose all of the advantages of each and gain all the disadvantages of each.

The masters were 44k 16 bit samples. It was the best they could do with the equipment at the time. Things were primitive as far as computers were concerned. What was then called a "supercomputer" wasn't as powerful as you had on your desk 5 years ago. Jobs had yet to make his Apple computer. They were using minicomputers to record with (refrigerator sized jobs).

Then Phillips invented the audio CD. They sold them to the labels as a way to get everybody to repurchase all their music in the new, "superior" format. And it WAS superior to anything that had been recorded in the previous 5 years, because vinyl records had been made from digital masters.

One of the selling points was that what you got was identical to the master tape- and it was.

Fast forward to the next century, and the record companies are scared shitless because anybody could burn their own CD, with as much quality as the major studio could. Any musician with a Turtle Beach card had better equipment in his garage than the major labels had in 1978. And he could promote it with internet radio and Napster.

The record companies were no longer needed, by ANYBODY.

So they upped the ante on their masters to 24 bit, extending the dynamic range of the master a bit. Trouble is, when you dither it back down to 16 bit, the quality on that 16 bit CD will be lower than if they had mastered it in 16 bits to begin with!

And what's worse, when you have ANY lossy compression, be it ACC, MP3, Ogg, or anything, you will lose even more quality.

The bottom line is, they are using your ignorance against you, to rip you off once again.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

Of my first 4 searches, I only got one exact hit (5.00 / 1) (#5)
by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Apr 28, 2003 at 11:36:24 PM EST

Admittedly, I deliberately chose an "eclectic" set of bands, but kind of disappointing not to be able to pull down "The Art of Noise"...


--
Fishing for Men, Trolling for Newbies, what's the difference?


I agree (none / 0) (#10)
by Miniluv on Mon Apr 28, 2003 at 11:38:47 PM EST

Though I'm chalking this up to the fact that the service just launched and they're probably still trying to see what people want.

Expect your searches to end up in a database that'll be mined real soon now.

"Too much wasabi and you'll be crying like you did at the last ten minutes of The Terminator" - Alton Brown
[ Parent ]

Did you notice the request button? (4.00 / 1) (#100)
by rantweasel on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 03:35:49 PM EST

That's got to be the coolest feature of the whole thing.  If you ask for it, you might get it.  And they did have some eclectic stuff, just not that much, and it tended to be the mainstream edge of an eclectic collection.  Like TMBG that you'd hear on college radio, but not the rest of their discography.

mathias

[ Parent ]

Can you get (none / 0) (#193)
by mcgrew on Thu May 01, 2003 at 07:36:26 PM EST

Muddy Waters, Little Walter, Joe Byrd and the Field Hippies, theGunga Dins, The Queers?

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

My first impressions (4.20 / 5) (#6)
by Miniluv on Mon Apr 28, 2003 at 11:36:49 PM EST

First off, I must say that I'm absolutely thrilled Apple is backing this, and I think for a first effort, six hours into the first real, viable micropayment system for music on the 'net, this is damn impressive.

iTunes is already well known for its easy interface, full functionality, reliability, and general niceness. They integrated the Music Store functionality fairly tightly with the general iTunes interface and function set, though a few things are not yet fully developed.

One major feature I'd like to see is Music Store recommending new releases to me based on my ratings of songs in my library and their id3 tag info. Maybe these would be correlated with other users ratings and so forth. Once a solid community is built I expect to see a lot of this cropping up. Also, some form of special link that Apple users can use, a la ShareReactor/eDonkey2K, to go from Music label websites, reviews and so forth directly into buying the song/album/whatever in iTunes.

Overall though, I think this is going to be a service to watch, and that Apple is continuing to establish their dominance in worthwhile innovation.

"Too much wasabi and you'll be crying like you did at the last ten minutes of The Terminator" - Alton Brown

It's neither the first nor micropayments (5.00 / 3) (#15)
by fluffy grue on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 12:09:56 AM EST

$1 isn't a micropayment by most standards; usually a micropayment is on the order of 25 cents or even less (and the original idea of a micropayment was it'd be less than a penny, based on the cost of the bandwidth plus a little markup or similar). Vitaminic had (back when the site worked) exactly the same business model ($1 per track or $10 per album).

The only really "new" thing here is that it's integrated into the mp3 player, but then again, FairTunes (a "gift economy" micropayment system for artists) had plugins for Winamp and XMMS.

Yes, I'm aware of the fact that neither of the sites I just linked to are still around... That's part of my point. ;)


--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I love you.

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Oh, damn (5.00 / 1) (#40)
by fluffy grue on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 09:27:12 AM EST

No wonder fairtunes.org wasn't working. It's .com, which is still apparently doing just fine, although they seem to have changed their name.
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I love you.

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Damn again! (5.00 / 1) (#41)
by fluffy grue on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 09:29:00 AM EST

Vitaminic is back now too. I guess they were just having temporary server problems.

Anyway. My basic point is still intact; Apple isn't the first to do this.
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I love you.

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

They are the first (none / 0) (#221)
by Miniluv on Fri May 02, 2003 at 01:55:18 AM EST

That any average user will have heard of.

I'm a fairly savvy Intarwebber, and yet I never came across either of the sites you mentioned. I've googled for this sort of thing, asked a number of people, and all of us came up basically blank, despite our canvassing of large tracts of the Intarweb. Yet, with Apple random non technical acquaintances were mentioning this service.

So fine, they weren't the first, and they're not yet micro enough to satisfy purists, however they're the first really visible, and they're micro enough to spur people to spend them.

"Too much wasabi and you'll be crying like you did at the last ten minutes of The Terminator" - Alton Brown
[ Parent ]

Yes, that is true (3.50 / 2) (#222)
by fluffy grue on Fri May 02, 2003 at 02:01:40 AM EST

And for that reason, Apple will probably succeed where others have failed, especially if they get iTunes ported to Windows like it looks like they're planning on.
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I love you.

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

On the upside, they've seriously upgraded scripts (5.00 / 3) (#9)
by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Apr 28, 2003 at 11:37:59 PM EST

My old "make playlists for all artists" script ran in about 10% the time it did in iTunes 3. That was a big win...


--
Fishing for Men, Trolling for Newbies, what's the difference?


I'm not paying for anything with DRM stuck to it (4.20 / 5) (#16)
by ShadowNode on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 12:12:10 AM EST

I shouldn't have to crack something I've paid for to do with it as I please.

You got what you paid for (5.00 / 1) (#76)
by bigmouth strikes again on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 01:34:39 PM EST

Just because you pay for something doesn't mean that you can do as you please with it. Perhaps when you own a physical good may be the case, but with music you don't own the music. When purchasing a music CD, you are purchasing the listening rights for that CD, and that's the only thing you own. Fair rights use - which is not a law mind you - would give you the right to make backup copies of said CD.

When buying a track from Apple Music Store, you are NOT buying the right to do as you please. You are buying the right to do exactly what Apple specifies.

So your statment "I shouldn't have to crack something I've paid for to do with it as I please. " is flawed, since it makes an incorrect assumption.

[ Parent ]

Not to mention... (4.00 / 1) (#102)
by rantweasel on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 03:38:27 PM EST

They also have a very loose DRM - it's limited to a pool of computers, and they intend for you to listen to stuff on your iPod and burn in into CDs and make other Fair Use uses.  All the time and media shifting you want, it seems.

mathias

[ Parent ]

They're negotiating from a weak position... (5.00 / 1) (#113)
by ShadowNode on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 05:51:33 PM EST

I don't have to buy it to get access to it. Peer to peer sharing systems aren't going away; the music industry has to accept that, and they have to learn to compete. Offering an inferior product for a higher price just doesn't do that.



[ Parent ]
Yes but no (5.00 / 1) (#132)
by bigmouth strikes again on Wed Apr 30, 2003 at 12:12:56 AM EST

Now you went from discussing DRM and your rights to discussing the illegal activites that the DRM are intended to hinder.

Which one is it ? Are you angry because they don't sell the rights to the music to you ? That's the rationale of your first post.

Or are you angry because they aren't competing with illegal activites ? Should car makers make cars cheap enough so people avert from stealing them ? Or generally, should $producerOfGoods lower their price of $goods so that people won't steal it ?

It doesn't work that way. It would be very nice for an individual consumer if it did, but very soon it would be very hard to find a job. Which you wouldn't need, of course, since food and houses would be virtually free of charge, in order to compete with shoplifters and squatters.

[ Parent ]

It's perfectly legal here (none / 0) (#136)
by ShadowNode on Wed Apr 30, 2003 at 12:21:15 AM EST

Usian laws don't apply to me, and even if they did, they're meaningless if they can't be enforced.

[ Parent ]
No laws? (none / 0) (#146)
by bigmouth strikes again on Wed Apr 30, 2003 at 08:58:09 AM EST

So now you're admitting that the format and model that Apple has chosen is not the issue, but rather that the music industry fails to give you music virtually free ?

Are you saying that copying copyrighted material and giving to everyone that wants it is legal where you live ? I find that hard to believe, I think you are confusing is with the fact that file sharing in general is not illegal.

Whether or not a law is enforcable or not, is not a matter for the music industry. They don't make laws.

[ Parent ]

At least not directly (none / 0) (#156)
by Blah Blah on Wed Apr 30, 2003 at 11:54:16 AM EST

Whether or not a law is enforcable or not, is not a matter for the music industry. They don't make laws.

Actually, they do make laws, indirectly. Hillary Rosen hands Senator John Doe a few sacks of money along with some draft legislation, and said legislation soon gets introduced to the House. It's called corruption, and it's been happening ever since governments were invented.

[ Parent ]

I beg to differ (none / 0) (#196)
by mcgrew on Thu May 01, 2003 at 07:57:14 PM EST

Whether or not a law is enforcable or not, is not a matter for the music industry. They don't make laws.

They gave campaign contributions to all candidates for Senator and Representative, of both parties, who then let them write the laws for them.

These laws were purchased by the music industry, and I think it's an outrage. It's out and out BRIBERY. A turd by any other name, to steal and mangle a line from a pre-copyright artist, stinks as bad.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

You never heard (4.00 / 1) (#195)
by mcgrew on Thu May 01, 2003 at 07:51:33 PM EST

Of the Home Audio Recording Act? Yes, it's an American law.

And yes, I've heard of NOTA, the law passed by 100% of the Senate (and 100% of the Senate took RIAA money).

You have to download a thousand dolars worth of tunes for NOTA to kick in.

Not only that, but you have to KNOW that the copyright holder doesn't want it downloaded! Indie musicians WANT their tracks downloaded. It's advertising. An MP3 is an ad for its CD.

You can argue that if it's on Kazaa, its copyright holder (NOT owner, copyright does not confer ownership) wants it there or it wouldn't be there.

If the RIAA doesn't want me to download it, then they should give up the God damned list- because I, for one, don't want to hear, let alone buy, the crap.

If I want to hear madonna or Metallica I'll turn on the damned radio and wait ten minutes. And it's perfectly legal to record it, or sample it.

MOO!

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

I'd say... (1.00 / 1) (#194)
by mcgrew on Thu May 01, 2003 at 07:43:14 PM EST

It's the business model that's flawed, and the neural capacities of anybody who would pay CD prices for DRM limited, lesser quality bits that you don't OWN that's flawed.

You're putting a buck per song for in a jukebox with cheap speakers. You're not buying anything, you're not getting anything for your money.

The big money boys saw you cows coming. MOOOOOO!

Are all of you independantly wealthy? Mumerically challenged? Or just Apple fanboys? I mean, I'm sorry if it sounds like a flame but Jesus, dudes, think about it for two seconds! Do the math!

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

My Thoughts (5.00 / 1) (#17)
by 90X Double Side on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 12:43:30 AM EST

I think that obviously the biggest problem right now is selection, but it does look promising: in most cases, when they do have tracks by an artist, they have most every domestic release, including out-of-print stuff, so hopefully they are intending to have a large selection and are just working on ramping things up. I also agree about the data recovery: this system should work like Audible. Apple is probably worried about people using the Check for Purchased Music feature to sync their music with their other computers and using up all the bandwidth, but I think that should be part of the service. At the very least, they'd better make an iTunes Purchased Music AutoPick for Backup's CD/DVD mode, although it is easy enough to regularly burn the Purchased Music playlist to some RW media.

I really don't get the complaints about AAC: every legitimate study puts it as equal to or better than OGG (better more often than not) and many of the recordings are encoded from masters, exceeding the quality of the released CD (why do people always forget that CD-quality isn't all that great? Only those of you with a hi-res audio collection have any ground to complain about AAC!). Patent free is very important to some people, but since Apple already paid Dolby for use in QuickTime, it isn't important to them; they simply picked the most highly regarded codec.

And how about the new AAC encoding? Being able to Take my collection from 200-256kbps to 128 is saving me an extra hard drive purchase :)

“Reality is just a convenient measure of complexity”
—Alvy Ray Smith

Happy, happy, joy-joy!!! (2.25 / 4) (#18)
by UltraNurd on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 01:05:55 AM EST

::bounce, bounce, bounce, like a Dock icon::

I am giddy with anticipation. This one-click purchasing may be very dangerous. I am happy with my first purchase: "Free Bird" by Lynyrd Skynyrd. I think I will try out some electronica to see how the bass sounds in AAC.

There is a decent chance I will re-rip all of my CDs at home into AAC. Again, Time will tell.

Good opinion piece on the coolest new Apple product :o).

--
"Your Mint Mountain Dew idea is hideous and wrong."
-Hide The Hamster

I left the purchase confirmation ... (none / 0) (#20)
by HypoLuxa on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 01:15:23 AM EST

... dialog on. I like to have that little warning that says "WE ARE TAKING YOUR MONEY NOW OK?" before I start downloading.

--
I'm guided by the beauty of our weapons.
- Leonard Cohen
[ Parent ]
As did I (none / 0) (#70)
by UltraNurd on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 01:02:14 PM EST

I still think clicking twice is pretty close to a very bad way to spend money. Not that I'm complaining, since it's so convenient.

--
"Your Mint Mountain Dew idea is hideous and wrong."
-Hide The Hamster
[ Parent ]

Free Bird? Did you hold up your lighter (none / 0) (#73)
by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 01:15:22 PM EST

when you played it?


--
Fishing for Men, Trolling for Newbies, what's the difference?


[ Parent ]
Not me (none / 0) (#197)
by mcgrew on Thu May 01, 2003 at 08:04:44 PM EST

I never liked Skynard enough to give them my money.

But I held up my lighter for... um, shit, I was so stoned I don't remember who I saw ;)

You young dudes don't know what you missed! All the women wanted to fuck as much as us guys did, Homos did their thing and nobody cared, everybody got wasted and nobody cared...

Then the war on drugs and aids fucked everything up. I blame Carter for being such a loser that even a Nazi like Reagan could beat him. And I STILL think the CIA invented aids.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

There is still time! (3.20 / 10) (#19)
by Kasreyn on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 01:12:34 AM EST

"I'm a relatively new Mac convert,..."

There is still time to save yourself! Come back to the PC fold, my son, before it is too late!

The deprogramming teams can be rushed to you in under an hour. What is your location? =P


-Kasreyn


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
Embrace the dark side! (none / 0) (#103)
by rantweasel on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 03:51:04 PM EST

Join the cult of Jobs!  Worship the Steve!  Buy an iMac!

heh

mathias

[ Parent ]

Ooooh, shiny thing... (none / 0) (#198)
by mcgrew on Thu May 01, 2003 at 08:05:52 PM EST

pretty.... i want one....

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

Music Choice (5.00 / 1) (#21)
by bse on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 02:13:00 AM EST

While the selection isn't as wide as I'd like it (considering I really couldn't care any less about pop music), but I was very surprised to find a partial copy of a Sisters of Mercy album; one Pop Will Eat Itself album; several White/Rob Zombie; Ministry; and Nine Inch Nails.

I'm hoping they'll contract with Metropolis, Nettwerk, and maybe Projekt. I'd certainly pay the 99cents/$9.99 for anything on the Metropolis label.

The interface was pretty pleasing, a niggle or two though: The album viewer is dreadfully designed; and I'd like to see more feedback when a search fails. Other than that, I'm all for it!

Now I just need to upgrade my iPod's firmware...

---
"Please sir, tell me why, my life's so pitiful, but the future's so bright? When I look ahead, it burns my retinas." -- Pitchshifter - Please Sir

Here is a better place for Metropolis Records (5.00 / 1) (#45)
by yzf750 on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 10:03:38 AM EST

Go here for an even better way to get Metropolis artists. $9.95 a month for mp3's, no crappy restrictions on what you can do with them, you can download them again if you lose them, etc... Emusic.com is a pretty cool service, I've been using them for like 2 years now.

[ Parent ]
Selection (none / 0) (#108)
by bse on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 04:52:51 PM EST

Wow, that's a very nice industrial selection (Velvet Acid Christ - Neuroblastoma is practically impossible to find on cd now, for a start). When I actually have money, I might even sign up for them.

Cheers for that.

---
"Please sir, tell me why, my life's so pitiful, but the future's so bright? When I look ahead, it burns my retinas." -- Pitchshifter - Please Sir
[ Parent ]

Wonders... (5.00 / 1) (#48)
by Silent Chris on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 10:15:55 AM EST

...how Rob Zombie and Nine Inch Nails aren't pop.

[ Parent ]
that depends on your definition of pop -nt- (none / 0) (#117)
by Xcyther on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 06:44:09 PM EST



_________________________________________
"Insydious" -- It's not as bad as you think

[ Parent ]
Really? (none / 0) (#129)
by Anonymous 242 on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 10:51:13 PM EST

I remember reading an interview with the folks behind Mental Destruction that made the point that Ministry and NIN are industrial in the same sense that Bon Jovi is death metal.

Trent and Rob are most certainly pop stars. The latter even admits it's all a stage act.

[ Parent ]

Anybody (none / 0) (#200)
by mcgrew on Thu May 01, 2003 at 08:10:14 PM EST

who thinks rap is rock, or metal isn't, is clueless. Period.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

It's simple... (none / 0) (#199)
by mcgrew on Thu May 01, 2003 at 08:09:00 PM EST

If it goes *Bleep* on Clear channel in the middle of the song it's not pop!

Excuse me while I play this Rufus and the Flycats CD again.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

99c takes the piss (4.00 / 4) (#22)
by heng on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 03:35:28 AM EST

I can buy an album and get a physical version for about that much. A lot of albums sell on amazon for less than 12UKP including p&p. Why can't these pissing companies realise that in order to compete properly with (free) p2p networks, they need to charge a proper amount (like 99c an album).

You can buy full albums from apple for $10 (4.50 / 2) (#24)
by mcc on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 03:58:50 AM EST

As HypoLuxa notes, the iTunes musicy thing also will let you buy a full album for $10. I don't know what the UKP exchange rate is, but around here, CDs on sale tend to be $10. Normal CDs tend to be between $13 and $20, depending on where you buy them.

So: the iTunes music service will let you buy a full album for $10, which is at the LOW end of what you will be able to get for a physical copy if you're very lucky. The iTunes music service also will let you buy a single track for 99c, if you want to, something you can't do in the store at all.

Also, just since you gave a cd price in pounds.. be aware that as of this moment, the iTunes music service is not available outside of the U.S.

---
Aside from that, the absurd meta-wankery of k5er-quoting sigs probably takes the cake. Especially when the quote itself is about k5. -- tsubame
[ Parent ]

yes, but (4.33 / 3) (#30)
by heng on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 06:47:00 AM EST

So: the iTunes music service will let you buy a full album for $10, which is at the LOW end of what you will be able to get for a physical copy if you're very lucky.
So let's say that I pay 75% for the download version. This version is vastly inferior - I can't encode to my format of choice (lest I get nasty artifacts from the transcoding), I don't have all the nice inlays, I don't get a physical *thing* which I can resell etc if I wish. This is coupled with the vastly reduced distribution costs for this type of format.

I will start to consider it good value when i'm being asked for 5-10% of the physical equivalent costs (also bearing in mind CDs are massively overpriced anyway).

The iTunes music service also will let you buy a single track for 99c, if you want to, something you can't do in the store at all.
No, but kazaa will (for nothing - and that's my point).
Also, just since you gave a cd price in pounds.. be aware that as of this moment, the iTunes music service is not available outside of the U.S.
Another reason why this service is crap.

[ Parent ]
Artifacts? (4.50 / 2) (#94)
by pin0cchio on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 03:20:17 PM EST

I can't encode to my format of choice (lest I get nasty artifacts from the transcoding)

"Nasty" artifacts? Unless you have the ears of a superman[1], you probably won't hear much of a difference between the AAC version and the AAC->wav->LAME version, especially in practical listening environments. Most people who claim that reasonable-bitrate MP3 still has "nasty artifacts" seem to have misconceptions that date from the days of 128 kbps and early encoders.

[1] Small-s "superman" is not a trademark of DC Comics. If anything, it's a trademark of the LNSGP.


lj65
[ Parent ]
Absence of Artifacts != Good Quality. (none / 0) (#123)
by rasmoh on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 08:02:27 PM EST

I can encode at 96 kbps with iTunes, and not hear any pops or squelching sounds, but the sound just isn't "there."  The encoder just couldn't fit enough information into the file to reproduce the sound accurately.  You can hear the difference.  I can notice the loss of quality at iTunes' 128 encoding on most speakers just above Apple Pro Speaker quality.  AAC isn't that much better right now, certainly not 320 kbps mp3.

'Twas the pride of the peaches.
[ Parent ]
"You can hear the difference" (none / 0) (#204)
by mcgrew on Thu May 01, 2003 at 08:24:10 PM EST

Not with cheap speakers!

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

AAC->wav->LAME (none / 0) (#203)
by mcgrew on Thu May 01, 2003 at 08:22:39 PM EST

Er, dude,you DO realize that when you convert to wav, you are NOT getting your CD quality back, don't you?

Try this little experiment- convert like that back and forth about ten times. It will sound so shitty you'll be able to tell on those cheap little PC speakers.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

I buy used,or from the band itself (none / 0) (#202)
by mcgrew on Thu May 01, 2003 at 08:19:52 PM EST

$3 for "Smells Like Children" from Recycled Records.

$5 for Jungle Dogs' debut album- from the bass player after the show. Prefessional quality music, professional quality recording (better than RIAA labels' crappy samples), professionally produced with cover art, the whole nine yards. Nine five minute tracks. I think I paid nine for their live album, an hour's worth of quality ska. Skankin, Rudy!

Sadly, they broke up, after playing for about 10 years. Probably either retired or went back to teaching music at SIU.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

I18N of music sales. (none / 0) (#35)
by Akshay on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 08:07:21 AM EST

Good point. Original Indian music that I buy is usually priced at Rs 50 (approx US$1) per CD.

[ Parent ]

So what. (2.00 / 2) (#54)
by tkatchev on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 10:28:57 AM EST

I sincerely doubt that Apple is going to carry Indian music.

So who cares.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

basic mathematics (5.00 / 1) (#50)
by lordpixel on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 10:21:09 AM EST

12 ukp ~= 19.2 usd

Assume an album has a fairly generous 12 tracks (10 being a common enough album length)

12 * 99c = 11.88 usd

= 61.8% of the 12ukp price.

There are many things you can compare:

-You can't resell the digital version.
-You can't transcode the digital version.
-You don't get a box (though once you have a few hundred cds that actually starts to look like an advantage)

Hell, a big attraction for me would be if it offered to remember everything you'd paid for in perpetuity so I'd be safe after a fire or burgalry or whatever. I'd be very happy to know I could always get another copy once I'd paid once. They dropped the ball on that one.

So yeah, plenty you might want to think about and decide if the digital version is worth as much as the plastic disc version.

But claiming 12ukp compares particularly unfavourably with  99c a track is a bit of a stretch. Especially since the highstreet price of an album in the UK can easily be 18ukp. You're talking about Amazon, so does the 12ukp include shipping? (not to mention waiting for it to arrive)

I am the cat who walks through walls, all places and all times are alike to me.
[ Parent ]

It goes halfway there ... (none / 0) (#55)
by HypoLuxa on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 10:32:17 AM EST

... but of course not the useful half. It does remember everything you've purchased, but you really can't do anything with that other than historical record.

--
I'm guided by the beauty of our weapons.
- Leonard Cohen
[ Parent ]
it's irrelevant (none / 0) (#57)
by heng on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 10:34:02 AM EST

I'm not talking about a piddly few percent here and there, I'm talking about orders of magnitude. To really justify the distribution model, they need to charge 5-10% of what it costs to buy a CD. Only then will it be good value (for the transcoding/reselling/box issues you highlighted).

[ Parent ]
Unrealistic financial model. (4.00 / 1) (#59)
by HypoLuxa on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 10:42:54 AM EST

Currently, the cost of physical production of a CD is about 5-10% of the retail cost of the CD. So by eliminating the physical copy and going to electronic distribution, you are eliminating less that 5-10% of the cost. I think that no one realisiticly expects to get a 95% discount if the company is able to reduce their costs by less than 5-10%. Of course, if you would like to rant about ridiculous record company cost structures that inflate prices, the usefulness of a physical copy of uncompressed music, or what kind of discount you should be given for giving up the rights you have when you purchase a CD, I'd probably agree with you.

--
I'm guided by the beauty of our weapons.
- Leonard Cohen
[ Parent ]
don't forget the trucks (none / 0) (#62)
by Wah on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 12:05:40 PM EST

phyical production costs aren't the only thing that disappears here, there's also a huge drop in distribution costs (truck, plane, train vs. wire).  But neither of those really touch the expensive part of the music business, the marketing.  Although that is a tough one to ferret out, given the accouting practices of the industry and the general legal haze surrounding things like payola and minimum-advertised-price schemes.

BTW, does anyone have a general feel on the cost of bandwidth by megabyte?  This would seem to be the ground floor on price, with most of the other stuff would seem to be more one-time expenses.
--
Fail to Obey?
[ Parent ]

Label costs only. (4.00 / 1) (#64)
by HypoLuxa on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 12:18:18 PM EST

All other costs (warehousing, shipping, stocking, selling, etc.) are incurred by distributers and retailers. I don't know the distributer price model, but I did work in a record store for a while, so I can make a good guess at what their markup is. Usually a CD that sells for $18-$20 will cost a record store $12-$14 from the distributer.

The biggest costs in producing and distributing an album (like marketing, as you mentioned) are still going to be there. Marketing, radio bribery (aka "independent promotion"), ridiculous record company salaries, etc. will still have to be paid.

I'd love to see Apple take tracks on consignment. That would be HUGE!

--
I'm guided by the beauty of our weapons.
- Leonard Cohen
[ Parent ]

irrelevant (none / 0) (#124)
by QDerf on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 08:20:18 PM EST

incurred by distributers and retailers
...and passed on to the customer of course.

[ Parent ]
Marketing (none / 0) (#205)
by mcgrew on Thu May 01, 2003 at 08:29:28 PM EST

is why the RIAA killed internet radio and want to kill P2P.

I saw a band last weekend at a local bar. After the show the guitar player GAVE me a CD and said "here, dude, burn a million copies and give 'em away".

The RIAA doesn't really care if you share Madonna. WTF, they play her every fifteen minutes on the station the kids listen to. And, for some reason, TAPING it is not only FREE but LEGAL.

Moo.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

cost per Mb, MB, and GB (4.00 / 1) (#229)
by ptudor on Fri May 02, 2003 at 05:25:16 PM EST

BTW, does anyone have a general feel on the cost of bandwidth by megabyte? This would seem to be the ground floor on price, with most of the other stuff would seem to be more one-time expenses.

Fractions of a penny... Naturally Akamai will charge more given its distribution network and since they tend towards the 95th percentile model for billing. I've seen a few Megabits sustained cost a few grand monthly. For high volume colo bandwidth the costs I normally see are around fifty cents to buck per GB of real traffic. At this price, that 1MB 30-sec sample costs .0005 cents, if my decimal places shifted correctly.


-- pt933
[ Parent ]

It depends. (4.00 / 1) (#68)
by joshsisk on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 12:42:26 PM EST

I think Apple is marketing to the type of person who just wants to easily put music on their iPod and never have to mess with it again... The kind of person who pays extra for a Mac, since it's easy to use and generally works without fiddling with it too much.

For that person, this is a pretty good service.
--
logjamming.com : web hosting for weblogs, NOT gay lumberjack porn
[ Parent ]

Transcoding (none / 0) (#93)
by pin0cchio on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 03:18:54 PM EST

You can't transcode the digital version.

If you can burn, you can rip. If you can rip, you can transcode.


lj65
[ Parent ]
To some extent (5.00 / 1) (#111)
by lordpixel on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 05:19:59 PM EST

Yeah, its not that you can't transcode it at all, its just that

* it's already gone through one lossy compression algorithm - its not the original audio so if you re-encode its been through twice

* you have to mess around burning and re-ripping, which i suspect they do specifically to make it more irratating to convert to mp3

Me, I'm a luddite anyway. 99.5% of my music is on shiny disks.

AndyT

I am the cat who walks through walls, all places and all times are alike to me.
[ Parent ]

Heh... (none / 0) (#206)
by mcgrew on Thu May 01, 2003 at 08:31:11 PM EST

I still have a stack of vinyl! I have, however, sampled and burned most of it.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

backups and resales (none / 0) (#107)
by rantweasel on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 04:05:29 PM EST

Hell, a big attraction for me would be if it offered to remember everything you'd paid for in perpetuity so I'd be safe after a fire or burgalry or whatever. I'd be very happy to know I could always get another copy once I'd paid once. They dropped the ball on that one.

They definitely keep track - you can register multiple computers to your account, and once you pay for the song, each registered computer can download it.  It may be that the memory expires, but I doubt it.  I don't know how well this would deal with a dead HD, but it may cover it completely.  You may also be able to use that to re-sell all of your digital copies, although you'd have to re-sell your collection in it's entirety.

As for transcoding, you can media shift, if not format shift, I'm not sure where the problems is unless you've got some religious Ogg compulsion or MP3 aversion or whatever.

mathias

[ Parent ]

That's not the point (3.00 / 1) (#104)
by rantweasel on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 03:54:47 PM EST

I'm embarrased to admit it, but I can't get that irritating Sheryl Crow song out of my head.  There's no way in hell that I'm buying a whole album just to listen to the one song long enough to drive it out of my brain, but $1?  Sure.  And ditto for making mixes - I'm not getting a whole album of Soft Cell just to get a copy of Tainted Love to complete an 80s mix, but getting just the one song it's worth $1.  And cherry-picking from soundtracks, too.

mathias

[ Parent ]

One track at a time (2.00 / 2) (#109)
by Quantumpanda on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 04:53:05 PM EST

Yeah, that's about the only way I'll use Apple's music store myself. I mean, I love the concept, and I think they've struck a fair balance between allowing fair use and still throwing a bone to DRM (without which, let's face it, the major labels would never have agreed to this).

But if I'm going to buy an album, I want an album...physical object, liner notes, the whole 8.23 meters. I have always been reluctant to spend money on pure digital content without a physical object; the only reason I buy software that way is because I've been downloading freeware and shareware for so long that I can cognitively accept it for software. But music...I still want physical albums. It's reassuring to be able to hold a CD in your hand and know that as long as you have one working CD player available, you can listen to it, and the DRM wardens still can't stop that. Older formats are even better in that regard, but with other trade-offs, of course. But security from DRM comes in physical objects...not in pure digital delivery.

People are stupid. But we usually can't kill them, so we have to settle for the next best thing: we laugh at them.
[ Parent ]

I'd pay that much (none / 0) (#201)
by mcgrew on Thu May 01, 2003 at 08:11:36 PM EST

But only if it didn't have DRM.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

Apple (2.50 / 8) (#23)
by the77x42 on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 03:40:37 AM EST

This will only succeed because Apple users use it. I've been an Apple user for 15+ years -- since I was in Grade 1. We all love to jump on the cool yet stupidly simple things they do like iMovie, WebObjects, the iPod, .mac, etc. However, I've finally realized that they are a gimmicky company.

They sell you on gimmicks, and I want raw performance and stability. That's why I use XP with my AMD. I still have my G4 sitting here strictly for video and sound editing, but there's no way I'm going to make a habit of turning it on more than a couple times a week. Hard drive failures and OS crap-outs are a common occurance for most mac users. I was the admin for a small lab of about 30 macs and have owned about 16 of them. Only two have never given me problems that resulted in a low-level format.

Having said that, paying for something as easy to come by as music, only to not be able to download the ones that you have already paid for is just a blatant oversight in terms of recoverability. Besides that, I wish they would improve their hardware manufacturing before they released something that (like it or not), we don't really need. But, because it's Apple, the gods of marketing a mickey mouse product into something people have to pay copious amounts of cash for, users will jump on the bandwagon without demanding much in return.


"We're not here to educate. We're here to point and laugh." - creature
"You have some pretty stupid ideas." - indubitable ‮

You use XP for stability? (3.50 / 2) (#34)
by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 08:04:02 AM EST

Ummmm.... Not to get off on a rant here, but my XP laptop bluescreens once per day, using a stock install plus an Apache/Tomcat set up to do web development/testing. I beat the crap outta my iBook and *it's* Apache install and rarely crash the whole box...


--
Fishing for Men, Trolling for Newbies, what's the difference?


[ Parent ]
You're bogus. (none / 0) (#52)
by tkatchev on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 10:27:38 AM EST

XP is more stable than Linux. (This coming from a Linux user with extensive kernel programming knowledge.)

XP might crash if you have crappy hardware or if you use ancient drivers. (Some drivers that XP happily accepts are, in fact, broken from the start.)

Also, XP in my experience seems to react badly to overheating problems (i.e. Chinese GeForce cards, etc.)

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

Hello?! (3.00 / 1) (#65)
by SPYvSPY on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 12:20:13 PM EST

He didn't say his iBook is running Linux, did he? I think it's safe to assume the proper comparison is XP vs. OS X 10.2.5, which you do not address. My experience is that XP is perfect unless you try to do something other than use MS Office, in which case it misbehaves as much as any other OS does.
------------------------------------------------

By replying to this or any other comment in this thread, you assign an equal share of all worldwide copyright in such reply to each of the other readers of this site.
[ Parent ]

Explanations needed. (none / 0) (#69)
by tkatchev on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 12:47:41 PM EST

First off, I have never even seen MacOS X, much less used it; I think there are only a handful of MacOS machines in the whole country, so...

My post was more of a complaint about the horrible quality of the Linux kernel -- especially the latest 2.4 and 2.5 releases. (The earlier 1.4 and such were OK for their time; but the existence of Linux in 2003 I find to be a horrid monstrocity.)


   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

Bonus points! (none / 0) (#72)
by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 01:13:54 PM EST

So, you attack me for thinking good things something you've never used?

Jesus, kid, wake up.


--
Fishing for Men, Trolling for Newbies, what's the difference?


[ Parent ]
I'm not attacking you. (1.00 / 1) (#75)
by tkatchev on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 01:30:40 PM EST

Kuyro5hin is such an anti-social place... Or maybe it is autistic.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

Maybe you're up to your old tricks. (5.00 / 1) (#83)
by it certainly is on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 02:08:12 PM EST

LUNIX SUX D00D!

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.
[ Parent ]

It does. (3.00 / 1) (#88)
by tkatchev on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 02:48:02 PM EST

Though I am talking about the kernel, not the rest of the apps that come on a "Linux" CD.

Personally, I am quite fond of GTK and of the direction Gnome is going in; too bad they have to suffer under the horribly braindead design decisions of the kernel development team.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

It probably does. (3.00 / 1) (#119)
by it certainly is on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 06:55:14 PM EST

I agree. There's stuff I don't like about the kernel (like IDE disk writes hogging most of the CPU - that should be lower priority than other interactive tasks, but it isn't and heavy duty file copying interrupts my graphics/sound).

Still, when it comes down to it, I don't care enough to change to the BSDs. Debian is pretty good stuff even if the kernel has braindead issues. The only thing I bother to do is compile the latest kernel now and again -- several weeks after it's released, because it's written by idiots and things usually turn up like root exploits, blah blah blah.

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.
[ Parent ]

Yes. (none / 0) (#143)
by tkatchev on Wed Apr 30, 2003 at 05:48:01 AM EST

Actually, I use Linux for the exact same reasons too. :))

It's just too bad that the world is imperfect...

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

Sure. Whatever. (1.75 / 4) (#71)
by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 01:11:11 PM EST

1. It's a new Compaq laptop, with the Compaq install on it.

2. I write Linux device drivers for a living, so don't talk to me about XP vs Linux, kiddo.

3. How the hell can an OS react "badly" to overheating? Overheating induces random hardware failures, it doesn't have anything to do with what OS you have installed!

Come back when you get your degree, sonny.


--
Fishing for Men, Trolling for Newbies, what's the difference?


[ Parent ]
Oh OK. (1.00 / 1) (#74)
by tkatchev on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 01:29:45 PM EST

Here you go, a P-B-PR:

1. Sure whatever. Redirect all your complaints to Compaq.

2. So do I. Well, I used to about a year ago. I use Linux almost exclusively, BTW, so I think I have the right to criticise what I use.

3. XP, unlike Lunis, is actually smart enough to use you graphics cards to its fullest capability. (Remind me again how to enable 3D acceleration under Linux?)

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

You use the correct driver. (none / 0) (#80)
by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 01:51:16 PM EST

Just like you do in XP. In any case, that still has nothing to do with whether or not OS X is more or less reliable than XP, since OS X and Linux do not share any code.


--
Fishing for Men, Trolling for Newbies, what's the difference?


[ Parent ]
Ah, except that... (2.00 / 2) (#87)
by tkatchev on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 02:45:33 PM EST

...Lunis has a god-awfully buggy memory management subsystem, and is written in code that depends on a particular version of a particular compiler. (!) And not for performance reasons, either -- rather, the people coding were seriously braindead. (!!)

Looking purely at code quality of the kernel (not counting peripheral drivers here) XP comes out on top in code quality and stability and performance.

Not to mention that drivers under XP are lots better than the respective drivers under Linux. Partly, this is because it is virtually impossible under Linux to code a driver for a modern computer system. (Remind me again how to get my 3D-accelerated graphics card to work? And the Lunis sound subsystem?)

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

NVIDIA 3D and ALSA sound HOWTO (5.00 / 1) (#91)
by pin0cchio on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 03:06:13 PM EST

is written in code that depends on a particular version of a particular compiler.

Because the kernel of Microsoft Windows XP operating system is proprietary and its source code is a trade secret, how do you know that XP's kernel does not depend on a particular version of Microsoft Visual Studio?

Remind me again how to get my 3D-accelerated graphics card to work?

Here's A mini-HOWTO for 3D acceleration on NVIDIA video cards on Linux systems.

For sound, read the ALSA HOWTO.


lj65
[ Parent ]
Gee thanks for the HOWTOs. (2.00 / 1) (#92)
by tkatchev on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 03:17:17 PM EST

I really appreciate having to read 100 pages of technical documentation just to get my standard store-bought computer to work.

Remind me again how long are the respective documents for XP? (Yes, this is a trick question. :))

P.S. As advice for your later life, from a computer professional: having to mess around with poorly-written applications just to get standard off-the-shelf functionality to work doesn't make you leet or educated. It makes you a dumbass and a loser. (Not a personal flame; I'm talking about generalisations here.)

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

From another computer professional (none / 0) (#106)
by br284 on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 04:02:39 PM EST

As advice for your later life, from a computer professional: having to mess around with poorly-written applications just to get standard off-the-shelf functionality to work doesn't make you leet or educated. It makes you a dumbass and a loser. (Not a personal flame; I'm talking about generalisations here.)

And you're using XP why? Go out and buy a Mac.

-ck

[ Parent ]

Re: (none / 0) (#142)
by tkatchev on Wed Apr 30, 2003 at 05:46:41 AM EST

I don't use XP. Sadly, the poorly-written apps I use run under Linux.


   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

I didn't know (none / 0) (#147)
by br284 on Wed Apr 30, 2003 at 08:59:38 AM EST

My condolences if you're running it as a desktop box.

-Chris, former Linux nerd

[ Parent ]

Yes, sadly. (none / 0) (#154)
by tkatchev on Wed Apr 30, 2003 at 11:41:11 AM EST

I am a losur. :(

(Actually, if I ever get a normal gcc install with a decent GUI library for windows, I might switch. I despise MFC.)

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

MinGW + GTK+ = reason to drop MFC (none / 0) (#246)
by pin0cchio on Sat May 24, 2003 at 12:23:10 AM EST

Actually, if I ever get a normal gcc install with a decent GUI library for windows, I might switch. I despise MFC.

I didn't like Microsoft's Freaking Catastrophe either. Try MinGW (a port of GCC to native win32) with GTK+.


lj65
[ Parent ]
Please note (5.00 / 1) (#128)
by EvilGwyn on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 09:47:34 PM EST

Anyone that spells Linux as Lunis is a troll. I'd move on.

[ Parent ]
it must be XP. (3.75 / 4) (#115)
by Run4YourLives on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 06:38:47 PM EST

'Cause you know, that Apache/Tomcat combination (or the code you're writing) would never 'cause a bluescreen... never.

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]
Lol. Well, of course! (4.00 / 2) (#125)
by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 08:53:39 PM EST

Seriously, though, neither Tomcat nor Apache should be capable of blue-screening XP - the fact that they probably *are* the cause indicates that XP still doesn't have proper protection from rogue processes.

Hell, I've wedged every process on my Mac at one time or another, including the Finder, but in two years I think I've had only one kernel panic.

Off the shelf, I found Linux to be a bit less stable than that, but not much. Most of my Linux problems have been related to what tkatchev alluded to - sucky video drivers.


--
Fishing for Men, Trolling for Newbies, what's the difference?


[ Parent ]
well (none / 0) (#152)
by Run4YourLives on Wed Apr 30, 2003 at 11:25:33 AM EST

You're right about the fact that XP shouldn't crash, but I think Windows would require a complete re-think from the ground up in order for that to be a given.

I do wonder about your set-up though... maybe the factory install was screwed up? Maybe there's a harware issue? I don't know. I do know that I find XP more stable than 2000. I rarely saw a bluescreen with 2K and have yet to see one in XP for a non hardware (hint hint) related problem.... going on six months of all XP machines at work too...

I do run accross bluescreens with bad MB's and such.


It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]

Oh, XP is worlds more stable than NT. (none / 0) (#162)
by porkchop_d_clown on Wed Apr 30, 2003 at 01:22:23 PM EST

I definitely wouldn't have even considered Windows for an enterprise app before W2k. I don't think this is a hardware fault, though, I moved the apache server to a different box and the crashes stopped...

But I agree with your earlier point - Windows needs a complete re-think. Both Windows and Unix have been around for decades at this point - high time someone came out with a completely new OS that takes advantage of all the lessons learned...


--
Fishing for Men, Trolling for Newbies, what's the difference?


[ Parent ]
Yes... (1.50 / 2) (#135)
by the77x42 on Wed Apr 30, 2003 at 12:19:42 AM EST

I run a file server on XP. I also use it for games because I can't afford a separate box, and it has a GeForce4 TI 4200 in it. Oh, I also code on it as well. It has been up 24/7 for the past year and a half without a single reboot due to a crash. XP blows Apple out of the water and is the most stable OS out there that can handle what I put it through.


"We're not here to educate. We're here to point and laugh." - creature
"You have some pretty stupid ideas." - indubitable ‮

[ Parent ]
And this would be in your vast experience with (none / 0) (#145)
by porkchop_d_clown on Wed Apr 30, 2003 at 08:57:55 AM EST

all modern OSes?

There's a reason Linux and other Unixes so common in server farms. XP has some great features, and is worlds better than NT was, it's true, but for every machine that's "been up for a year and a half" there are 50 that haven't.


--
Fishing for Men, Trolling for Newbies, what's the difference?


[ Parent ]
umm... ya (2.00 / 1) (#151)
by the77x42 on Wed Apr 30, 2003 at 11:19:01 AM EST

when was the last time i saw GTA3 for linux?


"We're not here to educate. We're here to point and laugh." - creature
"You have some pretty stupid ideas." - indubitable ‮

[ Parent ]
When ... (5.00 / 1) (#155)
by Amiasian on Wed Apr 30, 2003 at 11:45:29 AM EST

... was the last time Windows was the focus of free, open-source software? Sure, some. But, it's a for-pay model. And developers always have the constant threat of Microsoft buying them out, or crushing their markets. It's a scary place to launch apps with that kind of shadow hanging over one's company. Linux, on the other hand, is less centralized in the sense of a money oriented organization. Thus, it's actually safer for developers to release games for it - once it gains sufficient market penetration. And, believe me, once companies don't have to be backed into corners by MS, they'll leap at the chance.

[ Parent ]
Personally, I never saw it for XP either (5.00 / 2) (#182)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu May 01, 2003 at 07:57:47 AM EST

I use my PCs for real work. The games go on the PS2 where I don't have to worry about video driver issues, hard disk space issues or anything else.


--
Fishing for Men, Trolling for Newbies, what's the difference?


[ Parent ]
Time tells (4.50 / 4) (#43)
by gidds on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 09:52:34 AM EST

Hard drive failures and OS crap-outs are a common occurance for most mac users.

Well, I don't know what you're doing with yours, but my HDs haven't been formatted since I got them 2 years ago. I speak with many other Mac users and I only know of one who's ever had HD problems. Maybe you got a dodgy batch of machines, maybe you've set them up wrongly, or maybe your users are hammering them; whatever, you seem to be in a minority, and it's arrogant as well as wrong to extrapolate from your case to the millions of trouble-free Macs out there.

As to music downloading being a gimmick, well, history will tell. Apple is doing well right now not just because they're making products with the `Wow' factor, but because underneath that is good old-fashioned solid design, care about the user experience, and attention to detail. I suspect that this time, too, they've done their homework, and that it has at least the chance of starting of a whole new attitude to buying music.

I can't check for myself (will us non-US users ever be able to? [fx: sigh]), but I read that you can indeed download music several times once you've bought it, so that may not be a problem.

(Oh, and it's spelled 'occurrence'. And `Mac' is capitalised.)

Andy/
[ Parent ]

good try, but no... (3.00 / 1) (#51)
by hmspgh on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 10:24:40 AM EST

sorry, Apple didn't do WebObjects. NeXT did. back when "web application server" was unheard of. versions up to and including WebObjects 4.5 were pretty damn cool, although to get the best performance you'd have to learn Objective-C. not that objc is really hard to learn or anything.

now that Sun 'caught up' to NeXT/Apple with Java Server Faces and JDO, yeah, WebObjects isnt all that much of a player anymore. like most things NeXT created, it was way ahead of its time. Apple let it languish -- WebObjects 5.0, which was a pure-java rewrite, was horrid. most WOF developers i know stopped developing with it soon after. but its not gimmicky. the underlying principles of small, reusable components that create a page are prevalent in today's "new" technologies.
---
"Aldous Huxley's 1983 has arrived." - Arthur Spada, CT Public Safety Commis.
[ Parent ]
Old Web Server Poll (none / 0) (#122)
by rasmoh on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 07:42:20 PM EST

A few years back (~99) I saw a link that said somthing similar to: vote for WebObjects in this poll.  The link was on the front page of some big mac site (I forget which).  Anyway, I clicked it, and it cast my vote for WebObjects.  WebObjects had a score close to 85%.  The poll was hosted on a general tech site, no specific mac affiliations.

Never underestimate mac users unblinkingly supporting their friend Apple.

'Twas the pride of the peaches.
[ Parent ]

okay, so (none / 0) (#137)
by the77x42 on Wed Apr 30, 2003 at 12:35:04 AM EST

here apple doesn't make WebObjects look just a little gimicky with those fisher-price pictures and connect the dots?


"We're not here to educate. We're here to point and laugh." - creature
"You have some pretty stupid ideas." - indubitable ‮

[ Parent ]
apple makes everything look gimmicky... (none / 0) (#157)
by hmspgh on Wed Apr 30, 2003 at 12:30:43 PM EST

doesnt mean its a bad product... as long as its not after WOF4.5 :)

working with WebObjects was quite nice, actually. not gimmicky at all when you eliminate PR.
---
"Aldous Huxley's 1983 has arrived." - Arthur Spada, CT Public Safety Commis.
[ Parent ]
That's just dumb. (3.50 / 2) (#63)
by SPYvSPY on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 12:10:52 PM EST

Why would you try to compare your experience operating a lab with the experience of people that buy their own macs and use them at home or at work? Lab users treat machines like shit because if it breaks, the replacement isn't coming out of their pocket. Also, not to insult your own admin abilities, but most lab machines are configured incredibly stupidly (e.g., in order to comply with corporate/university policies, etc.) I treat my G4 with love and respect, and I configure it to do what I want it to do with minimal fuss. Also, I buy quality components (like HDs) that don't fail. Why would you blame Apple for failing HDs anyway? Just put a good HD in there.

Oh, yeah. OS crap outs?! You don't even mention which OS you use. I haven't seen a kernel panic since 10.0, and I haven't used OS 9 in over a year. Every single crash on my machine running Jaguar is the application's fault, other than a series of firewire port errors that I fixed by resetting the ports (a very easy procedure that involves unplugging the machine for one minute and then turning it back on).

Sorry, but your complaints just scream user-side error (or admin-side error). As for your comment about XP -- dream on.
------------------------------------------------

By replying to this or any other comment in this thread, you assign an equal share of all worldwide copyright in such reply to each of the other readers of this site.
[ Parent ]

Factory HDs in Macintosh computers (none / 0) (#89)
by pin0cchio on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 02:51:32 PM EST

Why would you blame Apple for failing HDs anyway?

Because at least in late 1995, Apple was putting bad HDs in its computers. I had two Apple HDs die of heat-related issues in my Performa 6230CD, one under warranty and one after the warranty had died. How much has the situation changed since then?

Just put a good HD in there.

Then why do I have to pay for the factory HD, which may not be a good HD?


lj65
[ Parent ]
Uhh... (none / 0) (#159)
by SPYvSPY on Wed Apr 30, 2003 at 12:51:48 PM EST

...storage is less than a dollar a gig these days, man.

Performas were crappy amateur consumer machines, and, although it's not an excuse for Apple, the fact is that you get what you pay for. These days, you just BTO a PowerMac at the Apple Store and buy the least expensive HD and memory from Apple, then upgrade both via (cheaper) third party suppliers, and you're golden. I think Apple uses WD or Seagate drives now anyways.
------------------------------------------------

By replying to this or any other comment in this thread, you assign an equal share of all worldwide copyright in such reply to each of the other readers of this site.
[ Parent ]

Okay.. (none / 0) (#134)
by the77x42 on Wed Apr 30, 2003 at 12:15:41 AM EST

If you read the article, you would know that I have used macs for over a dozen years. I have used every Apple OS (even Rhapsody)... let me say that the only one that came close to being stable was 7.5.1.

I'm not only comparing my experiences with lab computers, I also own many macs of my own... I treat them all with love, respect, and their bi-monthly day of formatting and repairing. Face it -- the Apple OS pre-OSX is not as good as XP. I'm also not about to go out and buy the latest mac to upgrade to OSX. I have two macs currently that won't run it fast enough (a powerbook G3 and an iBook), and I wouldn't touch that shit on my G4 because I've tried so already three times. Emulating an older OS for compatability? Please.


"We're not here to educate. We're here to point and laugh." - creature
"You have some pretty stupid ideas." - indubitable ‮

[ Parent ]

Poseur. (5.00 / 1) (#161)
by SPYvSPY on Wed Apr 30, 2003 at 12:59:40 PM EST

So you *are* actually trying to compare OS 9 to XP? Please, if you are going to cling to 1990's technology, don't do us all the disservice of (a) comparing it to Microsoft's latest stuff, and (b) claiming to be a Mac expert. I mean, you can't even get OS X running, so what kind of Mac expert are you? That's just pathetic. It took me about two days to get used to OS X, and that was the public beta, and I've got zero background in Unix. Pick up a goddamn book, dude. As far as I am concerned, OS 9 has been utterly irrelevant since the day that it stopped shipping on new macs.

For the record, I've been using macs for nearly twenty years. I've owned everything from a 1984 128k to a Mac II to a 9500 to a Lombard to my Dual-800 G4 Quicksilver, and I've used every iteration of Mac OS. OS X 10.2.5 is so fucking solid, it's absurd.
------------------------------------------------

By replying to this or any other comment in this thread, you assign an equal share of all worldwide copyright in such reply to each of the other readers of this site.
[ Parent ]

What? (none / 0) (#180)
by the77x42 on Thu May 01, 2003 at 04:38:43 AM EST

Since when did I say I couldn't get it to run? I said I wouldn't put that shit on my computer, but I've tried to give it a chance on three separate occasions. You try doing video editing in Final Cut Pro 2 under an emulated OS 9. Forget about it.

Comparing XP to "90's" technology? Last time I checked, Apple was still updating it's 9.x OS. Yup, looks like the last time was in October of 2002. 2002 != 199x.

As far as OS X being solid, sure, since you have it running on a Dual-800 G4... comparing that to my g4-400? hah.


"We're not here to educate. We're here to point and laugh." - creature
"You have some pretty stupid ideas." - indubitable ‮

[ Parent ]

Are you being deliberately obtuse? (none / 0) (#181)
by synaesthesia on Thu May 01, 2003 at 07:24:12 AM EST

Or are you just trolling SPYvSPY?

You try doing video editing in Final Cut Pro 2 under an emulated OS 9.

You try running a DOS game, which runs fine on Win95, on XP.

Comparing XP to "90's" technology? Last time I checked, Apple was still updating it's 9.x OS. Yup, looks like the last time was in October of 2002. 2002 != 199x.

Hmmm. My grandmother was born in 1913. Last weekend, she was still breathing. Yet I reckon I could beat her in a 100m sprint. How could this be?!

As far as OS X being solid, sure, since you have it running on a Dual-800 G4... comparing that to my g4-400? hah.

If anything, it ought to be more solid on a single-processor architecture. You do know what 'solid' means, don't you?


Sausages or cheese?
[ Parent ]

I'm not going to argue this anymore (none / 0) (#189)
by the77x42 on Thu May 01, 2003 at 04:49:10 PM EST

My mojo has suffered enough.


"We're not here to educate. We're here to point and laugh." - creature
"You have some pretty stupid ideas." - indubitable ‮

[ Parent ]
OS 9 is DEAD! (none / 0) (#186)
by rantweasel on Thu May 01, 2003 at 02:50:46 PM EST

They had a funeral at Macworld and everything.  Coffin, sad music, etc.  No more updates.  No more patches.  And Final Cut Pro?  Run it under OS X, where it belongs, in native mode, the way it should be run.  OS X is solid, happy, and fast on my iBook 500, so it should be more than fine on your g4, especially if you have the ram you'd want for video editing.

Give OS X a real chance, run apps native and stop relying on a dead OS.

mathias

[ Parent ]

What? (5.00 / 1) (#166)
by rantweasel on Wed Apr 30, 2003 at 03:33:38 PM EST

7.5.1 was iffy, 6.0.8 is where it's at, and while 8.1 wasn't better than 6.0.8, it was certainly better than all of the 7s.  That's all moot though, since you really should be running 10.2.5 on that g4.  Ditch Classic altogether, since 99% of everything runs on OSX now.  I have yet to see OSX panic on anything but bad hardware, and I've been running it exclusively on my iBook for about 18 months now.

mathias

[ Parent ]

Mickey Mouse product? (none / 0) (#86)
by pin0cchio on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 02:44:48 PM EST

Apple, the gods of marketing a mickey mouse product into something people have to pay copious amounts of cash for

"Mickey Mouse product"? Apple CEO and Pixar CEO Steve Jobs hates Disney CEO Michael Eisner, and now that Finding Nemo is out, Pixar has begun to look for a new distribution partner.


lj65
[ Parent ]
"Mickey Mouse" (5.00 / 1) (#120)
by willj on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 07:09:06 PM EST

Mickey Mouse means half-assed where I come from.

[ Parent ]
That's not really the plan (3.00 / 1) (#98)
by 90X Double Side on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 03:29:55 PM EST

Apple is only using Mac users to test out the service; the PC version launches this holday season. It will be interesting to see how acceptance differs on that platform.

“Reality is just a convenient measure of complexity”
—Alvy Ray Smith
[ Parent ]
I still prefere OS X (4.00 / 2) (#116)
by SoupIsGoodFood on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 06:41:55 PM EST

Yeah, Apple can be a bit gimickly depending on who you are (iMovie etc are great for people who are just playing around with their handycams etc).

But they still make good software. EG. I have yet to come across a music player that is easier to use than iTunes.

As for HD failures. I'm not sure what you're on about there. Happens on PCs to, if not more requently.

And as for OS crap-outs. I think Microsoft still takes the cake there. Win2000 and XP are much better and more stable than say, win98 or macOS9. But I still find that they OS will fuck up occasionaly, forcing me to do a re-install.

[ Parent ]

Stability? (3.00 / 1) (#153)
by Amiasian on Wed Apr 30, 2003 at 11:35:45 AM EST

I want raw performance and stability. What kernel is XP based upon? NT, correct? And do you know the sole purpose for which NT was created? I believe the original wording was something to the effect of "build me an OS worthy of Mordor ...". I mean, "build me an OS as stable as UNIX". It was made to compete with Unix. Now, being that OS X is a Unix based operating system, one only needs to compare the stability track records of both OSes and ... uhm, you're really -not- getting what you want, if you're seeking stability. But, to each his own, right?

[ Parent ]
raw performance and XP (none / 0) (#174)
by YelM3 on Wed Apr 30, 2003 at 06:16:44 PM EST

Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.

How much memory do you have in that AMD to get all that "raw performance" out of Windows XP?

[ Parent ]

512MB (none / 0) (#179)
by the77x42 on Thu May 01, 2003 at 04:32:23 AM EST

With 200MB in use (including OS) when my server software is running.


"We're not here to educate. We're here to point and laugh." - creature
"You have some pretty stupid ideas." - indubitable ‮

[ Parent ]
Silly lack of foresight. (5.00 / 3) (#26)
by Kasreyn on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 05:12:56 AM EST

"The one issue I worry about most is data recovery. According to Apple, and confirmed by my own test, if the music has left your hard drive it's gone for good. There is no way to download purchased tracks a second time."

Since they certainly must have a database for sales and purchases, why can't they just link it up to a verification computer, so when you make the download request, it checks and says (in its anthropomorphised, Max-Headroom internal voice), "Ah, yes, he already bought this album, so he can redownload it whenever he wants, as long as it's not to a different machine. Access granted!"

And don't say the problem is with the security of the connection. This is the same connection that the original business transaction went along, after all. =P


-Kasreyn


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
Archive, Library etc. (none / 0) (#37)
by substrate on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 08:16:12 AM EST

I have an Audible.com account (which I'll probably cancel soon - I'd rather read a book than listen to it, but that's a personal preference. I found the service worthwhile except that I'm not a very good listener) and they operate with an archive/library feature. Any track which you have purchased is available in your Library, even if you cancel service.

[ Parent ]
The future mayhaps? (4.50 / 2) (#27)
by Graymalkin on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 05:38:17 AM EST

I thought today's annoucements were pretty impressive, both in capability and scope. I'm a pretty big fan of the iTunes/iPod combination and have been pretty happy with the abilities of both products. My iPod is my main MP3 storage device right now, I've got Firewire on all the computers I regularly use thus I've got my music just about anywhere I go. I've used a lot of MP3 players and organization schemes and thus far iTunes is probably the best end to end solution I've used on any OS. I've got a metric assload of music to rifle through whenever I want to listen to something, the smart playlist capability added to iTunes in version 3 helps me out in a big way.

The music service and integrated AAC support are logical evolutions of both iTunes and the iPod. I think the ability to download music is the only signifigant thing iTunes has really lacked as a product. It was already able to do local, remote, and streaming MP3s as well as manage your music collection. Now you can skip the drive to the store and pay too much for a record step involved in getting music onto your computer. Right now I think it would be worth while for me to pay ten bucks for an album that is going to end up on my iPod anyways, especially when the plastic version of the album will cost me several bucks more than buying it from Apple's service.

It is a great theory that I can see making major waves in the music industry. That is however if Apple had anything I wanted to buy right now. I just tried searching for bands I've either seen live recently or bought records from in the past couple months. Of Taking Back Sunday, Hot Rod Circuit, Cibo Matto, Propellerheads, Freezepop, Future Sound of London, and the Yarbirds only two and a half albums were available. All of Cibo Matto's Stereo Type A, a partial copy of Viva La Woman!, and a partial of a Yarbird's greatest hits CD. I echo the story's complaint about the lack of selection. If I were a pop fanatic the current selection would be really flash but I'm more of a don't hear it on the radio guy.

This point of the service is one I hope Apple really expands on in the future. If they allow record labels big and small to approach them with their libraries this service could be a huge win for the Little Guy©. Ten bucks for a really nice quality digital album is a deal people selling plastic albums would be hard pressed to beat. This would be especially true if Apple opened the service up to record labels with very limited production runs of CDs, the bands people scour MP3.com and the various P2P trading networks for, the bands that don't pay ClearChannel $50,000 per single for airtime.

It could be like MP3.com done right. Apple's music service isn't a replacement for the record label and all that they do, or don't do, for bands. It is instead a replacement for the over-priced plastic disc and the chain store gouging you for. Unlike MP3.com, Apple's service doesn't preclude music from bands who already have record contracts. They're just a distribution method, if not a model unto itself. Bands big and small could still benefit or detriment from record contracts* and have a distribution model which is a little more friendly to the internet enabled computer user.

I'm going to give the service a couple months to get a wider selection of music before I make any harsh judgements about it's quality. For a new service they've got an impressive number of songs and albums available, it seems like this will only improve with time. As for the iTunes and iPod updates they made me really happy. I'm this close, that is very close for those not telepathically inclined, to reencoding my iPod's contents into 128kbps AAC audio to save spave.

Real point (1.63 / 11) (#29)
by SanSeveroPrince on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 06:17:23 AM EST

Content... yadda yadda... performance... yadda yadda..... content... yadda yadda..

All interesting stuff, sure, and a decent write-up, but you failed to answer the question that every TRUE Mac user is pondering right now: how many colours does it come with, and does it make my penis bigger than Gates'?

----

Life is a tragedy to those who feel, and a comedy to those who think


Get with the times (5.00 / 1) (#42)
by fluffy grue on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 09:30:27 AM EST

Apple dropped the whole color thing a couple years ago. Now their choices are white, grey, and various metals.
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I love you.

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

get a sense of humour (n/t) (1.00 / 1) (#53)
by SanSeveroPrince on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 10:27:42 AM EST

If not the colour, it's the style...

----

Life is a tragedy to those who feel, and a comedy to those who think


[ Parent ]
Actually... (3.75 / 4) (#66)
by SPYvSPY on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 12:26:03 PM EST

...you just aren't funny.
------------------------------------------------

By replying to this or any other comment in this thread, you assign an equal share of all worldwide copyright in such reply to each of the other readers of this site.
[ Parent ]

+1FP!!! (5.00 / 1) (#207)
by mcgrew on Thu May 01, 2003 at 08:39:38 PM EST

every TRUE Mac user is pondering right now: how many colours

I loved that one!!

does it make my penis bigger than Gates'?

You do realize that Microsoft is the only company in the world to be named after its founder's sex organ, don't you?

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

While I'm pleased to see something like this... (4.00 / 6) (#33)
by Sleepy on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 08:03:43 AM EST

...I find it almost insulting that thay refer to this as offering "revolutionary consumer rights". No it's not. Letting customers experience the music in any way they choose is just common damn sense. And that includes not limiting the use to only three macs. If I own 22 macs, then it's my right to play the music I own on all of them. As long as Apple imposes restrictions in any way on the music they sell, they will remain on The Dark Side in my book. Consumer rights is not an Apple invention. In this case, the restrictions are.

That being said, I will be watching this closely and eagerly, and I will probably sign up for an account if it becomes available in this part of the world too.



It's only revolutionary (5.00 / 1) (#39)
by HypoLuxa on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 08:55:09 AM EST

... compared to other legal pay services. Compared to buying a CD, it's still a massive set of restrictions.

--
I'm guided by the beauty of our weapons.
- Leonard Cohen
[ Parent ]
It *is* buying a CD (2.00 / 1) (#82)
by pin0cchio on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 01:54:52 PM EST

Compared to buying a CD, it's still a massive set of restrictions.

You can burn the files you buy. How is this service not equivalent to buying a CD?


lj65
[ Parent ]
with a CD you can ... (5.00 / 1) (#84)
by HypoLuxa on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 02:25:53 PM EST

  • encode in any format you want
  • play encoded files on unlimited computers
  • burn unlimited copies
  • resell the used CD


--
I'm guided by the beauty of our weapons.
- Leonard Cohen
[ Parent ]
And... (2.00 / 1) (#96)
by 90X Double Side on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 03:24:06 PM EST

With a burned Apple Music CD you can:
  • encode in any format you want
  • play encoded files on unlimited computers
  • burn unlimited copies
It's up to the individual to decide whether they want to pay $6 more for the right to resell the album.

“Reality is just a convenient measure of complexity”
—Alvy Ray Smith
[ Parent ]
Sorry, but no. (4.50 / 2) (#101)
by HypoLuxa on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 03:36:27 PM EST

In theory, you could re-encode the AAC compressed song to an MP3 or OGG compressed version, but the loss and artefacts present by that point would be a huge drop in quality. It can be done, but produces shittty output. With a CD, you can encode anyway you want in any format at any compression level.

You can play your purchased music on up to three Macs, zero Windows PCs (for now), zero Linux machines, zero BSD machines, etc.

Apple says you are limited to burning an umodified playlist 10 times. This really isn't much of a restriction in practice, but it does exist.

--
I'm guided by the beauty of our weapons.
- Leonard Cohen
[ Parent ]

But (4.00 / 2) (#114)
by 90X Double Side on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 06:25:19 PM EST

Apple is using original recordings wherever possible, so the process in this situation would be that the master is encoded as an m4a file, resulting in degradation of the audio, then burned to a CD, resulting in no degradation of the aduio, then reencoded as OGG, MP3, etc., resulting in degradation of the signal. With a CD, the master is downsampled into an AIFF file, resulting in degradation of the audio, then burned to a CD, resulting in no degradation of the audio, then encoded as OGG, MP3, etc., resulting in degradation of the audio.

In both cases, the audio is compressed or downsampled twice, and while the downsampling to AIFF will result in less loss for recent recordings, this will not always be the case, especially with CDs mastered over 10 years ago. And as I said before, Apple is only claiming that the recordings are CD-quality, which is a very low standard by today's technology.

“Reality is just a convenient measure of complexity”
—Alvy Ray Smith
[ Parent ]

What? (none / 0) (#121)
by rasmoh on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 07:25:57 PM EST

When you music from Apple you get a file that has been downsampled and compressed with AAC at 128 kbps.  When you buy a CD, you get music that has been tranfered from master to the CD uncompressed.  Plus you get it on a physical medium with no DRM, album cover, lyrics book, and acutal ownership of your copy.  The selection in a decent record store (or amazon.com) is not even approached by that in iTunes.  If Apple could get albums that were brand-new and selling out like hotcakes, then the AAC copy might be better than no copy at all.  Previewing albums is also a good use, but why not just use P2P, delete the file, and stay legal?

'Twas the pride of the peaches.
[ Parent ]
Re: What? (4.00 / 1) (#138)
by astrox on Wed Apr 30, 2003 at 12:41:13 AM EST

Apple gets AAC files directly from the source, and yes, it is compressed.  However, when you buy a CD, downsampling still occurs.  MP3 or anything else you can get out there is ripped from an already-degraded copy (a CD).  So Apple can get better quality by going directly to the master. The resulting files can actually be better than CD quality if the AAC encoding doesn't affect the particular song in a perceptable way.

Maybe Apple's Music Store doesn't give you a physical item, but you can create (burn) that for a few cents per album.  And you DO own the music.  You simply can't delete it and expect it to magically reappear on your computer.  I have no problem backing up my music.  You'd be a fool not to.  Whether you buy a CD or download the music, you won't want to re-rip or re-download.  And this is coming from a guy on a 70 megabit connection.

Steve Jobs promised that 200,000 was just the start and that they are adding more and more every day.  Besides, you can request an artist/song/album and I'm guessing that there's a 95% chance they will get it added within a few weeks.  Contrast this to Amazon.com, where you have to pay more and still wait for UPS/Fedex/whatever to deliver it, each and every time. Delivery time is invaluable for some people, especially when having to mess with a delivery service.

I wouldn't say that downloading music via P2P is legal, even when you delete it after the mythical 24-hour legal period ends. Most people are not going to download an album, then delete it and run to the retail store in delight at being able to pay for something they already have.  "Preview", my ass.

[ Parent ]

What. (3.00 / 1) (#144)
by synaesthesia on Wed Apr 30, 2003 at 08:18:48 AM EST

The resulting files can actually be better than CD quality if the AAC encoding doesn't affect the particular song in a perceptable way.

You're talking about the first generation of psycho-acoustic compression. You do realise that downsampling something twice and psycho-acoustically compressing something twice are very different, don't you?

And you DO own the music

So enlighten me: how do I sell it second hand?

Sausages or cheese?
[ Parent ]

LOL! (none / 0) (#211)
by mcgrew on Thu May 01, 2003 at 09:00:47 PM EST

You're talking about the first generation of psycho-acoustic compression. You do realise that downsampling something twice and psycho-acoustically compressing something twice are very different, don't you?

No, he doesn't. You might as well try to explain subatomic particle physics to a four year old.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

CDs aren't perfect (4.00 / 2) (#140)
by 90X Double Side on Wed Apr 30, 2003 at 01:08:09 AM EST

When you buy a CD, you get music that has been transferred from master to the CD uncompressed.

No you don't; the AIFF on CDs is not super magic perfect audio: it's digital bits, which necessarily only hold so much frequency, so many channels, etc. CDs aren't perfect; they aren't even very good by today's standards. To expand on what astrox said, you really need to compare a CD to a SACD/DVD-A from the same master to get a feel for the degradation that occurs when a song is downsampled to AIFF poorly. I agree that this isn't usually as bad as AAC encoding, but the difference is extremely trivial.

I'd also like to add that less than 1% of people have the setup to hear this difference: most people are listening to an analog output from an internal sound card anyways; to make any serious distinction of anything much better than well-encoded MP3 160, you need a TOSLINK/coax connection or an external sound board and some serious cable; the sound from an internal card has an order of magnitude more noise than any of these formats. I certainly respect people who would rather use a series of 300-disc changers or shorten files, but most of the folks complaining about AAC's quality are listening on equipment that's holding the music back more than even the poorest of MP3 compression.

“Reality is just a convenient measure of complexity”
—Alvy Ray Smith
[ Parent ]

Bullshit (3.00 / 1) (#213)
by mcgrew on Thu May 01, 2003 at 09:09:00 PM EST

I'd also like to add that less than 1% of people have the setup to hear this difference

Bullshit. I can hear the difference in my VAN's CD player. I make CD mixes, sometimes from vinyl, sometimes from variable bitrate MP3, sometimes from CD. The difference between the original CD and the copied CD is NONE- you are making a bit-to-bit digital copy, without ANY acoustics. You're copying NUMBERS.

The MP3s are very inferior, even to the sampled vinyl, which has the disadvantages of analog AND the disadvantages of digital, with the advantages of neither.

The difference is even more striking on the JBLs inside the house.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

You didn't listen (4.00 / 1) (#223)
by 90X Double Side on Fri May 02, 2003 at 02:18:20 AM EST

I was saying that few people have a setup where the difference between AAC at 128 (or VBR MP3 at 256, although I agree that you can hear muddiness in even very high bitrate MP3s) and AIFF makes any real difference. You'll still hear a difference if you listen very carefully, I'm just saying that it's odd that people get bent out of shape that their media format is distorting their sound by, say, 3%, when their speakers, electronics, etc. are distoring it by, say, 20%. The noise from an analog out on an internal sound card is worse than the noise on a 192kbps MP3; if your MP3s sound very inferior even in your van, you'd better start using LAME's presets and going with 256kbps.

You also still don't seem to understand this whole loss of quality in the mastering of a CD thing. You lose quality whenever you go to a lower quality format, and that is what this discussion is about: that both distribution methods have one step where quality is lost: Master->AIFF->CD or Master->AAC->CD. Obviously AIFF can be done better, since you're not compressing, but in reality most of the great recordings were put onto CD very sloppily in the early 90s and there is great opportunity to get better sound even out of a lossy format.

The point is, by today's standards, CD quality is crap, and the difference between AAC and CD-quality is not very significant in the larger context of the spectrum of qualities music is available in today. The nice thing about an electronic music distribution system is that it can easily scale to higher qualities without all the mess wer're getting trying to move to a new physical music format.

“Reality is just a convenient measure of complexity”
—Alvy Ray Smith
[ Parent ]

I don't think we're disagreeing here (3.00 / 1) (#231)
by mcgrew on Fri May 02, 2003 at 06:17:22 PM EST

I think we're misunderstanding each other.

I mentioned once before how and why a 16 bit copy of a 16 bit master is superior to a 16 bit copy of a 24 bit master, even though the 24 bit master is superior to the 16 bit master.

The limiting factor in ANY setup is the speakers. The more you spend on speakers, the better it will sound. What they used to call "woofers" and even "squawkers" they now call "subwoofers"... what's up with THAT? You're not going to get subaudio (<20hz) out of ANY six inch speaker! Twelves are barely good enough. But I'm rambling here...

Personally, I think if they went to 440k samples at 128 bits, that would be pretty damned close to analog. As it is, you get 2.5 samples in a 16k tone. How accurate can you graph a sine wave (or square or sawtooth) with only 2.5 points??

But like you said, you're going to get some noise, impedance distortion, etc.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

24bit vs 16 bit (3.00 / 1) (#234)
by The Smith on Fri May 02, 2003 at 07:45:29 PM EST

I mentioned once before how and why a 16 bit copy of a 16 bit master is superior to a 16 bit copy of a 24 bit master, even though the 24 bit master is superior to the 16 bit master.
You stated that it was superior, you didn't explain how or why. It seems pretty obvious to me that if all the mixing and mastering is done at 24-bit, and the result is downsampled to 16-bit as the final step in the process, that the resulting signal will be better than it would if the mastering was all done at 16-bit, because the noise introduced during mastering will be in the low order bits of 24-bit samples, not 16-bit ones. Surely the 24-16 downsampling doesn't really degrade the signal in any audible way? But if I'm wrong, please explain why.

As for people saying that "CD quality is shit compared to current technology", that isn't relevant to the overwhelming majority of the people here, because at the end of the line, where electricity becomes sound again, we simply don't have the equipment to notice the difference. And high quality speakers don't show any sign of becoming massively cheaper any time soon.

[ Parent ]

24-16 (none / 0) (#236)
by mcgrew on Sun May 04, 2003 at 02:46:34 PM EST

What is noise and what is signal? The recording doesn't know or care. So if it loses noise, it must by default lose signal as well.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

Signal/noise (none / 0) (#241)
by The Smith on Tue May 06, 2003 at 07:51:35 AM EST

The noise, being much much quieter than the signal, is confined to the low-order bits of the audio. Downsampling from 24 to 16 bits will therefore cut out the noise (which at that resolution will be completely inaudible), while having a neglegible effect on the signal.

Of course I'm not saying that the recording will sound better after downsampling than before; that would be ridiculous. My point is that if the mastering process was carried out at 16 bit resolution, the noise introduced during that process will be louder, in absolute terms, than would have been produced at 24 bits. The final 24-16 downsampling step does not introduce noise.

[ Parent ]

Nyquist-Shannon sampling theorem (4.00 / 1) (#245)
by pin0cchio on Sat May 24, 2003 at 12:18:27 AM EST

How accurate can you graph a sine wave (or square or sawtooth) with only 2.5 points??

Perfectly, provided it's a pure sine wave.

Fourier's theorem argues that all signals can be represented as a linear combination, or weighted sum, of pure sine waves. The human auditory system filters out substantially all of sine waves with frequencies greater than 20 kHz (median of individual humans; I personally can't hear over 17200 Hz). The Nyquist-Shannon sampling theorem argues that perfectly reconstructing a pure sine wave requires greater than 2 points per cycle, and 2.5 points per cycle is greater than 2 points per cycle provided that your post-filters (digital oversampling and analog low-pass) are good enough. Two points per cycle at 20000 Hz equals a theoretical minimum rate of 40001 Hz; adding a little safety margin provides rates in the neighborhood of 44100 Hz (CD, MP3) or 48000 Hz (DAT, AC3).

It might not be good enough for your dog. Canine auditory systems have a low-pass characteristic at a much higher cutoff frequency. But do dogs buy stereo equipment?


lj65
[ Parent ]
Er, no. (none / 0) (#210)
by mcgrew on Thu May 01, 2003 at 08:56:58 PM EST

10 years ago the master was 44k @ 16 bits- exactly as the CD is. Only recently have they began sampling at 24 bits for the master- but I'm not going to repeat my earlier explanation of why this results in WORSE sound quality in a CD or rip, not better.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

And (none / 0) (#208)
by mcgrew on Thu May 01, 2003 at 08:50:06 PM EST

-With a CD you get CD quality
-You get a jewel case
-Cover art & liner notes
-The CD is printed, not marked with a sharpie
-YOU DON'T HAVE TO BURN THE DAMNED THING YOURSELF!

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

and... (4.00 / 1) (#237)
by FisheBulb on Sun May 04, 2003 at 06:44:26 PM EST

-jewel case that ends up in my closet due to the cd booklets for my car.
-cover art and liner notes,  very rarely above a yawn.
-cd's printed are often difficult to tell what it is.  sharpie is easy to read.
-is it that difficult to burn

these are my opins based on how i listen to cd's

[ Parent ]

How good is your car stereo? (none / 0) (#242)
by mcgrew on Mon May 12, 2003 at 04:02:30 PM EST

If it is a quality 6 speaker system, you wasted your money on it if you're only listening to CDs made from MP3s.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

two reasons (none / 0) (#243)
by FisheBulb on Tue May 13, 2003 at 05:59:18 PM EST

its of reasonable quality.  the fact that i use 192+ mp3s for my cds makes it good enough.  combined with that road noise, it is good enough for me.

i would rather concentrate on the road.  it sounds far better than the radio, so therefore I DONT CARE if its audiophile

[ Parent ]

That's true (4.00 / 1) (#244)
by mcgrew on Wed May 14, 2003 at 09:21:44 PM EST

An MP3 at that quality DOES sound better than FM. FM shares the same restrictions, actually- bandwidth. Plus dynamic range is deliberately reduced in an FM broadcast.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

ps- What's your time worth? (none / 0) (#209)
by mcgrew on Thu May 01, 2003 at 08:51:13 PM EST


"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

Seems like an interesting effort (3.66 / 6) (#36)
by substrate on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 08:13:04 AM EST

I think Apple has tried to appease the music industries copyright concerns while not being to abusive of a persons fair use rights. I only played with it for a little while last night but the biggest restriction seemed to me to be that I can't use these tracks on other devices unless I burn a CD. So if I had an mp3 player in my car I'd be SOL.

The maximum of 10 CD copies without changing the playlist seems reasonable to me for two reasons. First, I can't think of why I'd want 10 copies of an album. Second, even if I did I can make an ISO of the CD and make copies directly from that. In fact, most likely, that's what I'd do anyway to avoid the overhead of translating from AAC to WAV. So to me that looks like an example of a measure to appease copyright holders that has an easy work around.

I'd like to see MP3 at say 192 kbps or something rather than AAC but I can understand why it's done  this way. The recording industry currently won't get behind anything that doesn't protect their copyrights. AAC can do this (for now) while still letting a user make archival copies etc. The only real restriction is that you can't share this AAC with 100's of friends.

At first 99 cents per track seemed high but then I thought about it a bit. This is for single tracks, sort of like 45s or CD singles. You pay a premium for that. If you purchase an entire album you come out better per track, just like purchasing a CD versus purchasing a CD single.

The maximum of 3 computers seems like a problem to me. I currently work on 5 computers, though only one of them was a Mac. But this means that I can easily imagine somebody who has more than 3 Macintoshes they routinely use.

Right now it's not yet mature, it's not fully populated with music for instance, but it's a good start.

Off topic note: I selected Spellcheck but it doesn't seem to do anything, even if I purposely insert a mispelled word.

Can use more computers (4.00 / 1) (#38)
by MilTan on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 08:41:29 AM EST

The way to work around the maximum of three computers is quite simple, and closely tied in to the other thing Apple rolled out yesterday: iTunes 4. iTunes now provides Rendezvous streaming, first demonstrated several Stevenotes ago, now actually available.

With this, you can either use Zeroconf to stream your music to several computers or connect directly to the IP. From what I have heard, iTunes will allow 5 simultaneous streams (presumably the limit is to stop people from becoming their own personal radio station). Thus, you can put your music on three computers and stream it to the other two if you need to. Even better, this saves hard drive space.

[ Parent ]
Maximum Possible (none / 0) (#247)
by Kadin2048 on Mon May 26, 2003 at 09:49:28 PM EST

What I think this effectively means is that you can play the same song on 18 computers simultaneously. While I don't have the equipment to test this (don't I wish) I'm pretty sure you could have the song resident on three computers, and then stream it out to five client computers each.

What I'm not sure about, and what maybe someone in a lab situation could test, is whether the iTMS system realizes that three computers are streaming the song, and reduces the number of total clients to five, or whether it allows five clients from each host with the song on it.

[ Parent ]

A DRM workaround (5.00 / 2) (#58)
by Mohammed Niyal Sayeed on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 10:41:20 AM EST

As you mention with the possibility of making an ISO, there's a real easy workaround for using the tracks you bought any number of times;

  1. Buy the tracks.
  2. Burn the tracks to CD-R (in Red Book format).
  3. Import the tracks from CD-R to mp3, at an appropriate encoding rate (say, 192).

Thus, you've moved AAC to mp3, and extracted the rather weak DRM involved. Sure, you might lose a little bit of quality, but seriously, if you're that concerned with what, according to my own testing on fairly nice studio monitors, amounts to an indiscernable difference from the AAC "original" and the mp3 two iterations later, you might as well buy the physical product and encode it yourself. Chances are good you'd be more bothered by shortcomings in the original recording, which can't be filtered out without access to the original ProTools session for the track. Personally, I'd love to have access to artists' master recordings, such that I could do my own mixes, but I know that's never going to happen. Ah, to have a copy of the entire Led Zeppelin catalog without Page or Plant...

Another route, of course, is to get a copy of Audio Hijack, play the AACs with iTunes, while recording them to .aiff in AH, and then import and encode them to mp3 that way. Purists will come up with whatever excuses they need to poo-poo the notion of paying for music, but I think for most users, the iTunes Music Store feature just might be satisfactory, provided they address the rather narrow spectrum of music available, which is really just a question of establishing business relationships with a larger variety of record labels.


--
"You need to get your own point, then we can have an elaborate dance fight." - jmzero

[ Parent ]
Yes it WILL happen... (3.00 / 2) (#185)
by Fen on Thu May 01, 2003 at 02:42:19 PM EST

Intellectual property is a doomed idea.
--Self.
[ Parent ]
Read the constitution (5.00 / 1) (#214)
by mcgrew on Thu May 01, 2003 at 09:11:49 PM EST

Article 8. It is NOT property.

"Intellectual property" isn't a "doomed idea", it's fiction.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

It can be both... (5.00 / 1) (#216)
by Mohammed Niyal Sayeed on Thu May 01, 2003 at 09:19:08 PM EST

Doomed ideas and fiction don't have to be mutually exclusive.

The framers of the consitution, Jefferson in particular, were pretty firm in their convictions that if you want to own an idea, the only true way to do that is to keep it to yourself. Short of that, once it's out there, it's out there. And since those who are squawking the most about protecting their "intellectual" "property" aren't the ones able to actually protect it, it seems to me only a question of time before the notion dies out. Companies that can't protect what they think they own eventually won't own anything, particularly when they run out of money to pay the people they think can protect it.


--
"You need to get your own point, then we can have an elaborate dance fight." - jmzero

[ Parent ]
Very true (5.00 / 1) (#230)
by mcgrew on Fri May 02, 2003 at 06:04:39 PM EST

And thanks for bringing up Jefferson. Pisses me off that they keep talking about "intellectual property" as if they OWN it. NOBODY "owns" it. They only have a "short" term commercial monopoly.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

well it's an oxymoron... (none / 0) (#239)
by Fen on Mon May 05, 2003 at 03:46:30 PM EST

That's all the more reason to keep calling it "intellectual property"--to show how it's a contradiction. But this flies over most people's heads I guess.
--Self.
[ Parent ]
Curiosity (3.33 / 3) (#46)
by thadk on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 10:07:46 AM EST

How is the DRM handled? Is it stripped when it goes onto the iPod (doubt it) or can the iPod play the DRM'd AACs somehow?

I wonder if one could emulate the iPod's hardware and run the firmware to gain unlimited play? I know you could burn to CD and rip again but that's really too much manual labor.

Was there anything in the license agreement about the DRM?
Though would bypassing it be just as bad as downloading the same music? Worse from a DMCA standpoint, probably.

I find it disappointing that Apple has embraced the digital restriction schemes now too as we were all hoping they wouldn't. It's not as crazy-draconian as some co' have wanted it but it still pales to other services (e.g. eMusic) which have no locks for similar lossy quality and more or less unlimited quantity.

iPod is DRM AAC enabled. (5.00 / 1) (#49)
by HypoLuxa on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 10:17:25 AM EST

They did a software/firmware update for iPods to go along with this latest release. When the files are moved from the iPod to another computer, that computer has to be "authorized" to play those files, so you can't give them to someone else that way (unless you want to give them your Apple ID and password). I'm guessing the DRM is at the file level. As far as getting unlimited playback by emulating an iPod, I guess it would work, but I'm not sure if anyone has attempted it yet.

--
I'm guided by the beauty of our weapons.
- Leonard Cohen
[ Parent ]
As far as I know (none / 0) (#188)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu May 01, 2003 at 03:58:02 PM EST

iPod already had an anti-copying feature, that prevented it from swapping files except with it's "Mother" computer, although the feature could be circumvented by switching it to "hard drive" mode (i.e., mounting the iPod as a fire wire disk instead of as an MP3 player).


--
Fishing for Men, Trolling for Newbies, what's the difference?


[ Parent ]
Redownloading (3.00 / 2) (#60)
by br284 on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 10:43:38 AM EST

I thought that the Advanced->Check for purchased music menu option would download the tracks you have purchased to your machine. I'm not sure about this -- having not tested it -- but I suspect that this is the way to recover the songs after a reinstall or something similar.

My question is whether I can play the AAC files via my Tivo equipped with the Home Media Option.

-Chris

I tried this, no dice! (4.50 / 2) (#61)
by HypoLuxa on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 10:53:51 AM EST

I deleted the files from the computer and did the "check for purchased music" option, and it would not retrieve copies of the deleted tracks. Also, this AM I got on a co-worker's G3 laptop and signed into Music Store from there. It would not download the purchased tracks to the new machine, even if I was signed and they had never been downloaded to that machine before.

Currently, it looks like you get one download and one file. If anything happens to that, you are out of luck. This may change in the future though (I hope it does).

--
I'm guided by the beauty of our weapons.
- Leonard Cohen
[ Parent ]

Feedback (none / 0) (#105)
by br284 on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 03:57:38 PM EST

I used the feedback to send them this "bug" report. I cited MP3.Com and Audible.Com as sites with library functionality to follow for cases where users may have lost the local file.

-Chris


[ Parent ]

Re:I tried this, no dice! (none / 0) (#177)
by Dr Ted on Thu May 01, 2003 at 01:29:27 AM EST

<rant>Oh, come on! ow lazy are some people? Is it really going to hurt you to burn said tracks to a CD or two? And if you're lucky enough to own a superdrive, you could even burn them to a DVD-R. As I work in an AppleCentre, it really pisses me off when people complain that I couldn't save their data after a hard drive crash. This is as bad as public liability lawsuits. Apple says it's your data, so fscking well back it up for fsck's sake!</rant>

[ Parent ]
Are you talking to me, punk? (none / 0) (#183)
by HypoLuxa on Thu May 01, 2003 at 11:49:12 AM EST

Heh, check my other comments. After I downloaded songs that I payed for, they were rsync'd to another machine that gets backed up regularly. I also burned a CD to have in the car. I have data backups. I'm a professional IT nerd, so I know all about data backups (and the frustrations that you experience when users don't understand their importance).

Still, how hard would it be for Apple to let you re-download tracks you have purchased? I can imagine this being the most common feature request, and I hope that Apple will implement it in the future.

--
I'm guided by the beauty of our weapons.
- Leonard Cohen
[ Parent ]

Are you talking to me, punk? (5.00 / 1) (#219)
by Dr Ted on Thu May 01, 2003 at 11:22:17 PM EST

Not only to you, but also to everyone else having a whinge about this issue. Apple has offered the first workable pay-per-track download service. Now fair enough it doesn't every feature that we'd like to have, but take a step out of your living room and look at this from apple's perspective for a minute.

As you know, we all have to pay for bandwidth, whether it's the end user, the ISP or even the backbone's between each other. Now, you might say 'but I've only purchased 7 songs. That's not much', but that is one user. I it's first 18 hours of being online, apple sold 275,000 songs. Average track size: 3MB. That's 750,000 MB in 18 hours. And it's growing. Now, do you want to pay for 750,00 MB of re-downloads because people were too lazy to back up? I know I don't want to, and we would be paying for it if apple was allowing re-downloads.

[ Parent ]
Use Apple's Customer Support Form (3.00 / 1) (#238)
by ABassCube on Mon May 05, 2003 at 11:01:55 AM EST

I agree that Apple should allow for easy re-downloads of songs to "Authorized" computers, and I have sent feedback to them about this already. However, I think if you go to Apple's Customer Support page for the Music Store (in iTunes go to Help, then customer service), there is a form there for various customer service things. You can put in your purchase number, which you can find at any time by viewing your purchase history, and you can probably use the form to ask Apple to give you the songs you lose. But yeah,there should be an easier way. Adam

[ Parent ]
Only Major Record Labels.. (5.00 / 3) (#67)
by 1019 on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 12:37:23 PM EST

I know a lot of people have been clawing at the walls for all of their slightly less-mainstream artists to pop up in the Apple Music Store, but it's common knowledge that Apple started this with work from "the major record labels". This doesn't include everything, obviously, and first of all, this service has been public just over 24 hours.

My point is not to hold it against Apple for not having every record under the moon instantly at your fingertips. I'm sure if this becomes popular, they'll start expanding the works available.

As for my personal experience, the Apple Music Store doesn't seem to want to accept my credit card, so that -is- something I can hold against it. They must not want my money that bad...
---
"Voon", said the mattress.

In the "It Sucks to be Me" Department... (5.00 / 2) (#81)
by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 01:53:09 PM EST

Apparently, I can't download purchased music to my RIO 600. Possibly, only the iPod is supported?


--
Fishing for Men, Trolling for Newbies, what's the difference?


re: (4.00 / 1) (#85)
by 1019 on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 02:38:34 PM EST

Yes, as the files downloaded are in AAC format, which is only (currently) playable in iPods and in iTunes (and possibly devices that can play QuickTime 6.2)
---
"Voon", said the mattress.
[ Parent ]
Actually, that wasn't the issue. (5.00 / 2) (#90)
by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 02:53:51 PM EST

Allegedly the Rio supports AAC; apparently it's more a DRM issue.


--
Fishing for Men, Trolling for Newbies, what's the difference?


[ Parent ]
MP3 vs AAC (3.20 / 5) (#110)
by chbm on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 05:06:53 PM EST

AAC is basicly 2 generations ahead of 'mp3'. When people say mp3 they mean MPEG1/Audio Layer 3, AAC is MPEG2/Audio Advanced Audio Coded which is the development/test bed for MPEG4/Audio. In a nutshell,  it's totally diferent :) (as oposed to MPEG2 BC which is just MPEG1 with some extensions for multichannel).
128kbps AAC is supposed to be better than 192kbps mp3 but I never really tested it myself. However from what I seen of the theoretical stuff I recall you'd note a diferent on the lowest bitrate you're willing to endure, not on the higher bitrates (for stereo stuff at least).

-- if you don't agree reply don't moderate --
That sounds about right. (3.50 / 2) (#126)
by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 08:55:52 PM EST

In my "vast" experience with AACs (alright, one song I downloaded yesterday from Apple) a 128kbit AAC sounds pretty much like a 160kbit mp3.


--
Fishing for Men, Trolling for Newbies, what's the difference?


[ Parent ]
The true test of corporations (3.00 / 2) (#112)
by auraslip on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 05:33:11 PM EST

The fact that it has taken almost 5 years for a large company to come out with a "decent" music program shows how vastly unefficient corporations can be.
And remeber unefficient causes loss of money, resources, and jobs.

something to think about.
124

heh... (2.85 / 7) (#118)
by Run4YourLives on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 06:45:54 PM EST

  1. You couldn't find your first choice.
  2. Your second choice could only be downloaded as an "album"
  3. You're screwed if you lose your HD.
Yet "All in all, I think the experience was good."

Damn right you're an Apple user.

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown

I AM TEH SMARTS! (3.00 / 1) (#127)
by HypoLuxa on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 09:20:08 PM EST

1. True. My big knock against them right now is a lack of catalog, particularly from smaller artists or independent labels. I think that will come in the future.

2. But I wanted all five tracks.

3. I have backups.

It's certainly not 100% of what I want, but it certainly has come far closer than any other services for my Mac, including most filesharing apps.

--
I'm guided by the beauty of our weapons.
- Leonard Cohen
[ Parent ]

haven't used legal music sharing software, have u? (4.50 / 2) (#165)
by hazehead on Wed Apr 30, 2003 at 03:03:29 PM EST

If you had used something like Musicnet or pressplay you'd realize that the limitations of iTunes are part of the landscape of these systems, and much less facist than the rules of it's competitors. But nice burn! At least your got your recommended does of ego bloat!

[ Parent ]
haven't looked at the big picture have you? (none / 0) (#184)
by Run4YourLives on Thu May 01, 2003 at 11:53:01 AM EST

Big deal, they're better than other "legal" services.

They're nowhere close to their competition, so how are they going to succeed again?

Yeah, thought so.

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]

haven't looked at _any_ picture have you? (4.00 / 1) (#233)
by hazehead on Fri May 02, 2003 at 06:51:59 PM EST

So by your logic Amazon and Wal-mart should compete with the rates of those that pirate brandname goods? Yes, it easier and cheaper for me to walk down to Chinatown and get a Louie Vitton bag for $35 but do they really form a basis of comparison to the boutique shops? Yeah, didn't think so.

[ Parent ]
I disagree (1.00 / 1) (#215)
by mcgrew on Thu May 01, 2003 at 09:15:55 PM EST

Damn right you're an Apple user.

No, he's an apple fanboy

Oh, wait, "apple user" and "apple fanboy" are synonyms, aren't they?

Never mind.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

Something else Apple is competing against (4.50 / 2) (#130)
by ZorbaTHut on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 11:04:37 PM EST

I've seen a lot of people comparing the price of a CD through Apple to the price of a new CD. But this doesn't apply, as many people have commented on. After all, there's the cost of the box, the physical medium, etc, but nobody has come up with a real value for those.

Well, I've got a real value for you - used CDs. I have a CD I'm listening to right now with a scratched-up case with a crack on the front. CD's still in fine condition - a bit dusty, but a quick wipe off and it's playing without a problem. From this CD I can (and will) rip good-quality Ogg Vorbis encodes, as well as play it as many times as I want.

I paid $7 for this CD.

Now tell me what advantage Apple has :P

Okay, Apple has a few advantages, mostly centered around ease-of-finding - and I'll cheerfully admit that the ability to purchase single tracks is a completely different beast on its own. However, when I can go to a used CD place and get a completely DRM-uninfested version of the exact same data - or *better* data, due to a lack of lossiness - as *well* as a physical item that I can keep safe, *and* cover art, *and* lyrics - the Apple service starts to look less useful.

The advantage ... (none / 0) (#131)
by HypoLuxa on Wed Apr 30, 2003 at 12:08:23 AM EST

... is a greater that 10% success rate. I don't know if they have some fantastic used cd stores in your area, but of the five or six that are convenient to me, I usually cannot find what I am looking for.

Whenever I go to buy used CDs, I pick up things that I think might be interested based pretty much on random chance. Where I look in the store, what catches my eye, etc. This isn't how I usually shop for CDs. Usually, when looking for a new CD, I know exactly what I am looking for, or at least a close approximation of it. When I have a clear idea of what I want (which is most of the time) used CD stores consistently fail to produce.

--
I'm guided by the beauty of our weapons.
- Leonard Cohen
[ Parent ]

CD purchasing habits (none / 0) (#133)
by ZorbaTHut on Wed Apr 30, 2003 at 12:14:15 AM EST

Good point. Personally, I actually *usually* buy CDs that way - "oh, I liked these people, I'll grab this", and going out to find something specifically is relatively rare. Which doesn't work nearly as well online, because browsing isn't nearly as random - it's much more geared towards what the site wants you to buy, and it's harder to scan quickly.

In that sense, having a searchable database of CDs is actually a downside for me, though I don't know how many people see it that way ;)

[ Parent ]

$2.00 advantage (5.00 / 1) (#169)
by Phelan on Wed Apr 30, 2003 at 04:03:11 PM EST

I'd pay $2.00 to not have to go into a seedy pawn shop to buy a used cd. :)

[ Parent ]
My hope... (2.25 / 4) (#139)
by Merc on Wed Apr 30, 2003 at 12:58:09 AM EST

... is that someone writes a AAC -> OGG or AAC -> MP3 tool that's really easy to use that essentially strips the DRM technology from the files. This could allow people to buy tracks and then instantly put them on file sharing networks. Why do I want something so subversive? Because I don't want this project to succeed in its current form.

Here's why. CDs are overpriced today. Nobody really disputes that. But at least there are some actual per-unit costs: materials, distribution, storage, and the various costs incurred by the store. Apple has eliminated every single one of these costs, but has barely reduced the price at all. I really hope they don't get away with claiming that a reasonable profit margin on a track is more than 2000%. If the price per track was $0.10 or less, then I would actually support this whole thing.

If moving from apple's site directly to a file sharing network is too subversive, how about this: I hope someone cracks iTunes so that you can buy files from another source. Let the market decide what the appropriate price per track is. The RIAA will try to push $1 a track, the file sharing networks will push $0 a track, and hopefully things will settle down at $0.10 or less.



Alternative solution (5.00 / 2) (#148)
by br284 on Wed Apr 30, 2003 at 09:15:02 AM EST

Rather than break someone else's hard work and ruin it for the rest of us (some of do like the service), how about you take your ideas and sign some musicians and start a competing service? If the market is truely the mechanism that will decide a fair price, you should have no problem making a popular consumer-centric service that will sell tracks for $0.10 a track while making money yourself. Don't forget adding support for popular MP3 players like Apple has done with iTunes.

What? Not feasible? Maybe Apple is right charging $1.00 a track afterall...

-Chris

[ Parent ]

Sure! (2.00 / 1) (#160)
by Merc on Wed Apr 30, 2003 at 12:55:55 PM EST

Lend me a few billion dollars and I'm sure I can make a competing service. What, don't have that kind of money to spare? Neither do I!

If you're happy with a $1 a track price... so be it. I think it's foolish, but I've already explained why.

But hey, if what I hope for does come to pass, nobody is going to force you to change anything. You can keep paying $1 a track on Apple's site. Other people will pay less, perhaps nothing, but don't let that stop you! In fact, once the world realizes how expensive $1 a track is, Apple may reduce its profit margin from 2000% a track down to say 100% or so, and start charing a more reasonable $0.10 a track... I'm sure they'll keep the option there for you to keep paying the $1 a track.

I'm not suggesting stopping the iTunes service or making them close their store, I'm just hoping they will charge a more reasonable price, so I'm not sure how that is going to ruin it for the rest of you.

As for "breaking someone else's hard work"... I don't really understand what you mean by that. Are you saying that Apple deserves to charge insanely high prices because they put a lot of work into developing the service? They're free to charge whatever they want, but just because they made a nice interface doesn't mean that people should be willing to pay $1 a track to support their hard work.



[ Parent ]
Costs (4.50 / 2) (#150)
by Amiasian on Wed Apr 30, 2003 at 11:03:55 AM EST

"Apple has eliminated every single one of these costs" You do realize, of course, that Apple has to pay for bandwidth, has to pay some sort of contract to the music publishers themselves, has to pay for the physical media upon which all of this is stored, the electricity to maintain it, etc? There are still costs.

[ Parent ]
Indeed (none / 0) (#158)
by Merc on Wed Apr 30, 2003 at 12:39:07 PM EST

But of those, only the bandwidth is a per-unit price. The per-unit price of bandwidth for a 5 megabyte file is, based on a quick calculation, 1 cent or so. If the royalties are absurdly high like 5 cents a track, and somehow the maintenance costs average out to an insanely expensive expensive 2 cents a track, they can still maintain a healthy 20% profit margin.



[ Parent ]
20% profit margin? (5.00 / 4) (#168)
by Phelan on Wed Apr 30, 2003 at 03:50:30 PM EST

So, you're saying that if it costs 8 cents per track for bandwidth/licensing/maintenance(which is a wild ass guess on your part, obviously) Apple should be happy with selling that track for 10 cents. You have no idea about business in the real world, do you?

Firstly, I'll dispute your "2 cents per track sold" maintenance figure. Of course, that's just a number you pulled out of your ass. The customer service/tech support alone would push costs beyond that, in my own opinion. Server upgrades, hardware failures (which do happen), system admin and loss recovery (like when some punk decides Apple is charging too much and decides to hack the server) all add up to costs. So do the payrolls for the wage-monkeys who have to update the music site and add tracks. Even at minimum wage, which we can assume they wont be making, even a small department of data entry personnel starts to add a lot of salary overhead 10 data-entry people at $12/hour alone would add nearly 3 cents in overhead to each track if apple sold ten million tracks a year. That's not including the costs of paid vacations, insurance, or any of the other perks most people feel they need with a job. There are utility costs (Cooling server rooms ain't cheap, and your employees will appreciate running water when they have to take a leak). It all adds up.

Your average furniture store in the real world, for instance, may sell a bed for $1000 that it bought for $300. That doesn't mean they make a $700 profit. After costs, they make far less than that. But, they DO still make a profit...so I suppose that's a good enough reason for you and your buddies to go steal furniture and give it away for free, eh?

Of course, I dispute some of your other assumptions too, but I think I've already made you look foolish enough.

[ Parent ]

Speaking of numbers pulled out of one's ass... (3.00 / 1) (#220)
by Merc on Fri May 02, 2003 at 12:43:02 AM EST

Just why did you choose 10 data entry people? And how about the 10 million tracks a year? If my numbers smell of crap, so do yours. As of 2 years ago, Apple had 35 million customers worldwide. So to reach your number, in one year one out of 3 Apple customers would buy 1 track. Doesn't that sound like it would be a complete failure of their service? In fact, in their first 18 hours they sold 275,000 tracks, so right from the start they're on track to sell 100 million tracks a year.

Suppose they aim for a reasonable 10 to 30 tracks per Apple user per year. Some users will buy none, some will buy one or two and not keep using the system, others will love it and buy 5 or more a month, so this sounds reasonable. At that point they are looking at more like 1 billion tracks per year. What are their costs for doing this?

Now selling bits is not the same as something tangible like CDs or, I don't know, furniture, so I won't make an absurd comparison between them. Instead let's look at costs for moving and storing bits. Right now they have 200,000 songs online. If we use an average size per song of 5 MB that's 1 terabyte. Sounds big right? But if you wanted to supply that storage all in the form of Apple's 30 GB iPods you'd need only 34 of them for all of it. If they did that and spent $500 per iPod that storage would cost them 17000 -- but I'm sure they can find a cheaper way to store 1 TB. If they moved 275,000 tracks in 18 hours, let's assume they move 500,000 a day. That's 20,000,000 Mb a day, or 230 or so Mb/s. So they'd need an OC-12 or so. Those cost several hundred thousand dollars a month, so let's pick a rough number of $300,000 a month. Well guess what, they've made their bandwidth costs by the very first day, plus they have a lot of bandwidth to spare.

So what do these 10 data entry people of yours do exactly? Do they have to process people's credit cards? Nope, that's done electronically. I guess they'd need people to make sure the servers stay up and running, but even if they went with the 34 iPod cluster, that would be 1 guy for ever 3 iPods... Ok, now, seriously, there will be some tech support needs, and somebody to do backups, and even someone to add new tracks (although that may just mean popping a CD into an apple computer and hitting the "import" button) You may be right that this will require 10 people or more, but with another $15 million a month in revenues they can probably afford to pay them.

Notice so far that the only revenue I'm mentioning is from people buying tracks. From Apple's site it is clear they're also going to be trying to make money by advertising too, as well as the traditional Apple method: selling hardware such as Apple computers and iPods.

Remind me, because I'm so foolish, why is it that $1 a track is a reasonable amount?



[ Parent ]
numbers (4.00 / 1) (#224)
by Phelan on Fri May 02, 2003 at 03:23:23 AM EST

Just why did you choose 10 data entry people?

It was merely a guess on my part, and I thought I made it clear that I was just guessing. Granted, it's a somewhat educated guess, but one nonetheless. (I've got 12 years developing in large-data applications, I've been intimately invovled in a few start ups, I have 3 patents to my name. I've seen where the money goes in a business.) 10 people, more or less, sounded like a reasonable number, costing about $250,000 a year in salaries. Lets throw in some perks, such as insurance and stuff, and just make another guess that data entry costs $300K a year. If Apple's adding files as fast and furious as they claim, this seems fairly reasonable. How many developers do you think are working on their software and website? 3-5? That's a pretty small number, but if so, we're looking at another 450K a year or so for them...developers command larger salaries than data entry personnel, that's for sure. How about tech support people? 1, a dozen? a score? a thousand? Let's say a dozen devoted to this issue, though that number is probably very small. Again, that's about $300K a year...so we're already looking at a million a year in overhead just in labor costs.

Granted, these are just wild ass guesses, but seem pretty reasonable to me, and account for overhead costs you didn't account for.

In fact, in their first 18 hours they sold 275,000 tracks, so right from the start they're on track to sell 100 million tracks a year.

Oh what utter crap. If they sold a quarter-million tracks a day, sure, they'd do a hundred million in a year. But an AAC file is not a big mac. Everyone who bought a track today isn't going to buy one tomorrow. I'd expect there to be flurry of initial interest, due to the newness and the hype. But, much like a box office opening, things will taper off. After a few weeks or months, we'll have a more realistic expectation of how much business they'll do. But I'm willing to bet it's not as the hyped up grand opening first day. I'd imagine 10-20 million tracks to be more reasonable than to expect the first day frenzy to continue for every day of the year until this time next year. Your estimation of one billion tracks per year is just plain rediculous. It's those kind of 'reasonable' (heh) predicitons that made dot coms fail.

The comparison between bits and furniture is not as absurd as you may think. Then again, a lot of dot-coms who didn't realize that failed because of it. Once you factor out the raw cost of the item (in furniture's case, it's what the manufacturer charges you..in Apple's case, it's what royalties they pay), the costs of overhead are more similar than not. And if you think 34 ipods could act as servers and storage for their entire music service, you're just plain ignorant about how data moves around the 'Net. But, lets use your WAG bandwidth figures. At $300K a month, that's 3.6 million a year, adding THIRTY SIX CENTS A TRACK to the cost of overhead if they sell 10 million tracks a year. If they instead move your much inflated guess of 100 million tracks, that's still nearly 4 cents a track in overhead that you didn't account for at all in our "2 cents a track" guess. If we split the difference and guess 50 million, it's still nearly 8 cents a track in overhead, 400% larger than your initial guess.

what do these 10 data entry people of yours do exactly?

Uhm, enter data. Or do you think Apple is going to keep only the tracks they have and never add another song to the service? It's my understanding that they're expanding the service rapidly. Or perhaps the Music Fairy will sprinkle their 34 ipods with her pixie dust and the music will magically appear there. You ever rip a CD? 2-3 minutes per track is around what I average, depending on song size, and accounting for time shuffling cds in and out of drive trays, lets say that someone can digitize 150 or so tracks a day. Granted, if they get the files pre-ripped, there's less "rip time" but the data (song names, titles, tracks, etc) still has to be entered into their database to link up on their service. And someone still has to eyeball the stuff and decide prices (since by all indications pricing is not uniform), so ripping or not, spending a couple minutes per track seems reasonable. Now divide those 200,000 tracks by 150 and you get 1300 man-days. Put 10 people on it, and it takes about 5-6 months (guessing about 22-25 work days per month, no time off for vacation or sick days). One of the biggest complaints I've heard is that the database is shallow...not very many complete albums. You think they're not going to keep adding songs at a quick pace? And again, that's not counting tech support, customer support, software developers, maintenance, DBAs and all of the salaries that go with that. These higher-paid, more skilled workers will easily cost much more than the data entry people below them. And then factor in the costs of middle and/or upper management to oversee it all. You think those managers make the same as the data entry people? Even without doing further math, it seems pretty easy to see that salaries will take up about 20%-30% of their sale price. Which puts things exactly in line with a traditional, realisitc business model. Add in costs for the structural overhead (server/database clusters, etc, utilities, cost of rent or purchase of land to house the facilities and employees) and it seems reasonable that the price per track on 20-30 million tracks a year might be as high as 40-50 cents a track. You could add another 10 or 15 cents a track for advertising the service, but that might be somewhat offset by the advertising revenue you're talking about. But maybe not...as the dot-coms found out, advertising on the internet doesn't really bring in all that much money. You seem to be stuck in dot-com math, where nothing digital costs anything, and revenues are 50 times realistic expectations. Of course, we all know what happened to the dot-com bubble.

Now, so far I've been assuming your 5-cents-per-track royalty is accurate. Based upon what I've seen so far about your ability to guess real-world business numbers, I wouldn't count on it though.

[ Parent ]

Just a real world number for ya (none / 0) (#235)
by Phelan on Sat May 03, 2003 at 01:26:54 AM EST

Accoding to the RIAA, there were less than 1 billion CD's sold to all consumers in america in 2001. In 2002 and 2003, numbers continued to fall. CD singles were always reported in the tens of millions, until the RIAA stopped reporting them at all in 2001. (www.riaa.org was toast when I tried to get the figures directly from their website, but a nice summary is here.)

I look forward to revisiting this topic at a later date, with a nice "i told you so" much as I did the debate I had in october 2002 about how another iraq war would not mean door-to-door dug-in urban warfare that would lead to another vietnam. Heh :)

[ Parent ]

more real world numbers (none / 0) (#240)
by Phelan on Mon May 05, 2003 at 04:33:20 PM EST

Well, the first day's 270,000 sales have tapered off. If they sold that many every, as you used in your calcuation, It would have amounted to nearly 2 million sales in the first week.

They made half that. Granted, 1 million sales is still a lot, but puts the mark closer to the 50 million mark than the 100 million (or even billion!) that guess to be conservative numbers. Of course, the figures will taper off even more, so we will have to wait and see what the final yearly figure will be like.

But to give you an idea, Excite.com (ap) quotes the CEO of Universal Music Group was guesstimating 1 million sales the first month, which puts the yearly sales figure much closer to my guess of 10 million, than your guess of 100 million or a billion.

Now, if we freeze sales at this level, rather than assuming things will taper off, Apple's made about 50 million dollars (half the sales were in the form of albums, rather than tracks, so apple didn't make the full 99 cents per song on each track). At 50 million dollars a year, some of the numbers we were kicking about (a million for salaries, not counting management, 3.6 million for bandwidth) begin to add up to far far greater than your "2 cents per track" over head guess. Just on lower-level salaries and bandwidth, we're looking at closer to 10 cents at track, nearly 5 times your guess, and that's not including any of the physical overhead such as land, computers for the workers, utilities, server farms, etc.

I look forward to continuing to revisit this issue in the future as the numbers move closer to my predictions than your way over the top ones.

[ Parent ]

That's a very good point (none / 0) (#217)
by mcgrew on Thu May 01, 2003 at 09:22:44 PM EST

So I'll repeat myself.

Bandwidth.

On Quicksilver Messenger Service's Happy Trails album (which I doubt ANY of the services have, I'm not sure it's even on CD), there is the 44 second "Happy Trails" and the twenty three minute "Who Do You Love".

Why do these two songs cost the same?

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

No! (4.00 / 1) (#172)
by Canar on Wed Apr 30, 2003 at 04:31:49 PM EST

This is transcoding, and will make the resultant file sound very bad.

[ Parent ]
Excellent.... (5.00 / 1) (#141)
by nsayer on Wed Apr 30, 2003 at 02:36:34 AM EST

I give it about a week before detailed instructions are posted somewhere on the net on how to convert the AAC files to AIFF/WAV/MP3/Whatever without having to burn them to CD first.

One thing I've discovered so far is that this is now a fantastic way to get background music for iMovie. I have a video of a helicoptor tour I took once and have been meaning to make it into a DVD, but could never work out what to do about the soundtrack. "Flight of the Valkyries" was my first purchase... :-)


Didn't even take a week (none / 0) (#170)
by nsayer on Wed Apr 30, 2003 at 04:06:06 PM EST

Aparently, you can load a track into iMovie and then get it out as an AIFF. I've not tried it yet, so I'm not sure whether it's the fact that the track is stored as a clip as an AIFF or if it's just exportable as an AIFF. YMMV.


[ Parent ]
Who's Next (4.00 / 1) (#149)
by joeberk on Wed Apr 30, 2003 at 11:00:58 AM EST

>> Albums with 10 or fewer tracks are sold for 99 cents a track, but you can get all 24 tracks of Outkast's Stankonia for $9.99. I did notice a one album ("Who's Next" 2003 re-release) that was $19.98. According to amazon, this is a double CD release, so Apple may be charging more for those types of releases. <<

The album in question features the original 9 song album, 6 outtakes, and a 14 song live set from the time period they were working on the album.

So 29 songs for $19.98, in this case, isn't too bad in comparison to the usual rates, I suppose...

The math is simple (none / 0) (#167)
by Phelan on Wed Apr 30, 2003 at 03:34:35 PM EST

2 CD's in the set.
$9.99 per cd (which is evidently their 'standard' cap).

$9.99X2=$19.98.  Makes perfect sense to me.

[ Parent ]

Two amazing things people seem to overlook: (3.33 / 3) (#163)
by SPYvSPY on Wed Apr 30, 2003 at 02:32:37 PM EST

1. This is the first time iTunes has been used in a browser-style application. It looks great, and beats a web interface.

2. Apple has now established a slick, rock-solid, One-Click-based interface for directly purchasing downloadable media on a semi-micro-payment basis. This is huge, IMO.

3. The stuff downloads real fast. Even the samples are coming in fast, and the albums seem even faster.

4. It's fun to browse on this service. The user experience is very good.
------------------------------------------------

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Yes. (1.00 / 1) (#164)
by SPYvSPY on Wed Apr 30, 2003 at 02:33:26 PM EST

2+2=2. ;)
------------------------------------------------

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[ Parent ]

Some Tips (none / 0) (#173)
by Canar on Wed Apr 30, 2003 at 04:51:18 PM EST

Do not re-encode AACs to any other format. Seeing as how these AACs are 128kbps, the quality of the re-encoded (aka transcoded) file will be worse than the original, possibly by a great deal. Likewise, do not re-encode MP3s to AAC. It will be more effort to copy them straight from the CD, but the quality not lost by this will be significant.

It is uncertain what bitrate 128kbps AAC is equal to as an MP3, but probably somewhere in the area of 192. I've read that these files are actually ABR, so the quality is probably equivalent to a 170 or 180 MP3, properly encoded, of course. Vorbis and AAC are likely about equivalent in terms of bitrate, although AAC is more tuned than Vorbis.

As a side note, if you're looking for audio quality, try MusePack. It's been designed from the ground up to be transparent (sounds identical to the original), and has bitrates of around 180 for full transparency on 99.99% of samples (figure is probably pessimistic). There are very few samples that trip it up, and even when it does trip up, the artifacting is not obtrusive. I've found a few MusePack albums on eMule recently as well, and I'm currently sharing a couple I've ripped.

Downside, of course, is the fact that no portables run it.

Legal question (not the one your thinking of) (none / 0) (#178)
by aonifer on Thu May 01, 2003 at 01:50:49 AM EST

Now that Apple Computers is in the music distribution business, does that mean Apple Records is going to sue them for trademark infringement again?

I think they cut a deal (4.00 / 1) (#218)
by mcgrew on Thu May 01, 2003 at 09:27:45 PM EST

Apple records did sue apple computers in the early days and lost, because they were two different businesses. The judge noted that if apple computer went into th emusic business they would be in violation of trademark.

But Apple Records is an riaa label, and this was an RIAA deal.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

Did anyone else notice... (none / 0) (#187)
by steveftoth on Thu May 01, 2003 at 03:42:01 PM EST

that their cpu was being used by itunes a lot during the download?

The process viewer said the all of my CPU was being used during my downloading process of the files I bought.  It was really weird.  And this is on my 867Mhz G4 Powerbook, did this happen to anyone else?


Well CRAP (none / 0) (#190)
by mcgrew on Thu May 01, 2003 at 06:46:46 PM EST

If I'd have known you were not only going to post this, but it was FP, I wouldn't have bothered with this diary entry.

I did notice a one album ("Who's Next" 2003 re-release) that was $19.98. According to amazon, this is a double CD release, so Apple may be charging more for those types of releases.

Hmmm, I have the vinyl. It isn't even a double vinyl album, and you can fit two of most vinyl albums on one CD. The re-release must have a bunch of extra filler.

I paid $6.50 for the album. But that was a hella long time ago.

I noticed they had no complete Clash albums, except a remastered release of Combat Rock that was offered "By Song Only."

THAT sucks! Well, not really. Rather buy the CD at Recycled Records for three dollars.

So, you either must make $100k per year, or live with your folks, right? Because nobody that has to work for a living is going to let themselves be ripped off like that.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie

I spent $15 (none / 0) (#228)
by HypoLuxa on Fri May 02, 2003 at 12:38:50 PM EST

Which was enough to satisfy my curiosity. Like I said in the conclusion, I doubt it will become the primary source for new music for me.

And no, I don't make $100k a year. And no, I don't live with my parents.

--
I'm guided by the beauty of our weapons.
- Leonard Cohen
[ Parent ]

I can understand that (none / 0) (#232)
by mcgrew on Fri May 02, 2003 at 06:20:33 PM EST

Fifteen bucks isn't much for an experiment. I had the idea you signed up because it sounded like a good deal to you.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

One hit wonder's worst nightmare. (4.00 / 2) (#226)
by BrainFaucet on Fri May 02, 2003 at 11:28:44 AM EST

$1 a song isn't bad at all.

One of my issues with CDs is the whole "Okay, one song that we will get Mtv to make popular, then we'll fill the rest of the CD with crap and charge top dollar!"

Apple's "pay per track" method (not the first company to try, but it seems the only one that's using this successfully) makes the idea of making a crap CD with one "good" song a bad idea.

This probably won't effect me, though. I almost always buy used CDs.

-Derick
Walking through Apple iTunes 4 and Music Store | 245 comments (232 topical, 13 editorial, 0 hidden)
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