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Rented Music?
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Feb 3, 2005, 01:55 PM
 
Story about renting music.

"This is potentially the first serious challenge that the iPod is going to face," said Phil Leigh, president of Tampa, Fla.-based Inside Digital Media. "What these devices are going to be able to do is attack iPod where it's weak."





Yahoo story
( Last edited by Seattle; Feb 3, 2005 at 02:01 PM. )
     
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Feb 3, 2005, 02:23 PM
 
Is there a practical solution for putting rented music on a handheld ?
How does it determine if the subscription is still active ?
What if you don't synchronize any more ?
Can you then keep the rented music forever ?

=> IMPRACTICAL

Rented music as a thread for portable music player ? Nah....

-t
     
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Feb 3, 2005, 04:39 PM
 
It's the only way the iTMS competitors will ever be able to win.

If a person can download all the songs they want for $15 a month, that would be more attractive than $1 per song.

Still need to find some way to combat the average person's preference of the iPod over other devices. Without a killer product to download the music to, who cares if you can download all you want for $15?

I don't think MS and Napster will let details like subscription timeouts get in the way of this, because if they do, they are defeating their only way to surpass iTMS.
     
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Feb 5, 2005, 07:37 AM
 
Originally posted by turtle777:
Is there a practical solution for putting rented music on a handheld ?
How does it determine if the subscription is still active ?
What if you don't synchronize any more ?
Can you then keep the rented music forever ?

=> IMPRACTICAL

Rented music as a thread for portable music player ? Nah....

-t
This "music rental" scheme requires consumers to purchase a new WMA player that supports the subscription technology called "Janus". It will require that you sync it regularly (every day? every week? I don't know) so it can check to see if your subscription is still active, or the player will disable all rental songs on it. When you cancel your subscription, your music disappears. Microsoft is going to try hard to liken it to cable TV but I really don't think anyone will buy that... it's a horribly confusing technology and I can't imagine it actually taking off.

What Napster et. al. don't seem to understand is that the iTMS is popular because it is beautiful in its simplicity... 99 cents to own a song and have it auto-synced to your iPod is something people instantly understand. I'm not saying people CAN'T understand the rental subscription model, I just think that given the choice between that and the iTMS solution they will choose iTMS, and in part because they want an iPod.
     
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Feb 7, 2005, 05:53 PM
 
Does anyone remember DIVX which competed with DVD for about 6 months. Circuit City was a big supporter. Where is divx now. People like to own thier music.
     
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Feb 7, 2005, 05:58 PM
 
Originally posted by memory-minus:
This "music rental" scheme requires consumers to purchase a new WMA player that supports the subscription technology called "Janus". It will require that you sync it regularly (every day? every week? I don't know) so it can check to see if your subscription is still active, or the player will disable all rental songs on it.
Great. So if I travel for more than that time and have no chance of connecting to my computer and internet, I'm toast ?
That's my point, it's a stupid idea...

-t
     
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Feb 12, 2005, 12:21 PM
 
Can "rented" music from Napster be burned to a disk? If not... isn't rented music just a form of pay radio??
     
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Feb 14, 2005, 01:19 PM
 
Originally posted by lou91940:
Can "rented" music from Napster be burned to a disk? If not... isn't rented music just a form of pay radio??
IIRC, it is $ 1 per song to burn rented music to a CD.
Then you might as well buy it from somewhere else, like iTMS...

-t
     
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Feb 14, 2005, 01:30 PM
 
Originally posted by Dalhectar:
If a person can download all the songs they want for $15 a month, that would be more attractive than $1 per song.
It would if you got to keep the songs (and play them) indefinitely.

But you don't.

Look at it this way - you pay $15 a month to keep all the music you want to play. If you stop paying, your music stops working - you can't play it anymore.

I know big businesses in general like the subscription model (hell - look at MS), but I don't think it's going to knock off "owning" your own copy; that once you pay for it, you can play it forever; etc.
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Feb 14, 2005, 02:23 PM
 
I think it will depend on how much music you purchase. Personally I would rather pay Apple $15 a month to download every song from iTMS than pay $1 a song. Paying a flat rate for unlimited music would allow me to experiment more with music and make more impulse decisions on what albums to download. At the cost of potentially losing music if I stopped paying for it, I would rather have the ability to experiment. And no, a random 30 second cut doesn't do a lot a music justice.

I think for the average person, the question should come down to do you spend $180 (15 x 12) on music per year or not. If the answer is no, then either iTMS, offline purchases, or pirate sources are probably your best option. If the answer is yes, then subscriptions might be the right option. Regardless, a subscription based model puts a ceiling on how much you spend on music, and I could see how that is a good thing for people who listen to music. For me, I have about 210 purchased songs from iTMS, so I would have saved $30 with the Napster model if iTMS offered it.

It's not like you own the music you download from iTMS. Can you sell iTMS music to someone else? Is hymm legal? You get more ownership rights by buying a CD than iTMS or Napster's subscription and that should be the focus of our attention.

Ultimately, what we are asking is how should the customer be screwed. While iTMS has its advantages- like linking to the iPod, 5 computer licensees, Mac compatibility... it is far from ideal. My biggest complaint with Napster is that it requires WinXP and that the music won't play on most MP3 players. Anything that offers less flexibility than iTMS is an inferior solution.

What I would be concerned with if I was a Napster customer is the likeliness of that monthly price going up. It's one thing to pay for a subscription like a cell phone service- you stop paying your cell phone bill and your cell phone stops working but you have a contract that guarantees you a fixed price and often that price is renewable so if the price to new subscribers goes up you can keep your low rate. It's something else to see the rates go up like a cable bill, that's bait and switch.
     
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Feb 14, 2005, 03:10 PM
 
Agreed.

If you browse through the Napster site, they offer two versions:

Napster Light which looks remarkably like iTunes service:

Code:
Cost: CDN$1.19 a track Starting at CDN$9.95 an album Search and browse :30 second clips for FREE Listening Options for Purchased Tracks: Burn to CD Transfer to portable device Play on your PC Napster Cost: CDN$9.95 a month Free 7-day trial Subscribers save over 15% (as low as CDN$1) when they purchase multiple tracks at the same time Type of Service: Month-by-month subscription No contract Listening Options: Listen to hundreds of thousands of full-length songs on-demand Collect songs to your hard drive to listen to offline Purchase tracks to burn to CD, transfer to a portable device or listen on your PC
Doesn't say much about cost of burning to CD or what happens if you are offline for extended periods of time.

What is discomforting to know is that:

TERMINATION
Napster may in its sole discretion terminate this Agreement or suspend your account at any time without notice to you in the event that you breach (or Napster reasonably suspects that you have breached) any provision of this Agreement. If Napster terminates this Agreement, or suspends your account for any of the reasons set forth in this paragraph, it shall have no liability or responsibility to you, and Napster will not refund any amounts that you have previously paid.
Cheers.

Originally posted by memory-minus:
It's a horribly confusing technology and I can't imagine it actually taking off.
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Feb 14, 2005, 03:13 PM
 
Originally posted by Dalhectar:
I have about 210 purchased songs from iTMS, so I would have saved $30 with the Napster model if iTMS offered it.
Well except that at the end of the year, you'd have to pay another $15 each month to keep listening to it. (In other words, the $30 you "saved" would be gone by February of the following year, and you'd be losing money starting in March...)

You can listen to the iTunes music you bought without paying a cent for the rest of your life.
cpac
     
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Feb 14, 2005, 03:43 PM
 
Your model only takes effect when a person decides to never uses the service to download another song. If iTMS offered such a service, I probably would want to continue using it until I stopped using the iPod. For the potential Napster customer, it probably will be valuable to them as long as they used a Napster compatible mp3 player.

So as long as you like downloading new music (15 songs a month to be exact) you still come out ahead. And considering that the marginal price of each additional song is zero, the number of songs you would download from a Napster would probably be much greater than iTMS.

as legacyb4, Napster can revoke your license at will. I remember that e-music did that to people who in their eyes downloaded too much music. That would be bad. It would be in Napster's interest to punish people who download a lot of songs. For Napster, their best customer isn't the person who uses the system the most, but who uses it the least. Napster can just say, there's no way a person can listen to 1000 new songs a month and kick them out, and the customer will have no recourse, except for a civil lawsuit- and even that will be iffy.

Originally posted by cpac:
Well except that at the end of the year, you'd have to pay another $15 each month to keep listening to it. (In other words, the $30 you "saved" would be gone by February of the following year, and you'd be losing money starting in March...)

You can listen to the iTunes music you bought without paying a cent for the rest of your life.
     
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Feb 14, 2005, 04:10 PM
 
Originally posted by Dalhectar:
So as long as you like downloading new music (15 songs a month to be exact) you still come out ahead.
Actually, as long as you like downloading 16 songs a month - and that must go on forever.

If you *ever* want to stop the Napster thing, then you've got nothing - zero - zip to show for your investment. I never need to pay Apple another cent, or download another song, and those I have will always play on my iPod, or from any CD I burn them too... etc.
cpac
     
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Feb 14, 2005, 04:13 PM
 
Originally posted by Dalhectar:
Your model only takes effect when a person decides to never uses the service to download another song.
Right.

But your average user is more likely to download a huge number of songs right off the bat, and then slow down, and then realize that all the money they've spent means nothing if they ever want to stop paying it. Any month they download fewer than 16 songs, they could have gotten the same things on a permanent-basis from Apple, and are thus losing money, and if they ever stop paying the monthly charge, they lose it all.
cpac
     
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Feb 14, 2005, 05:09 PM
 
The other thing that People are missing is that with Napster you must "purchase" the music before downloading it. In other words they get you going both ways. You can listen to it but if you want to have a copy on CD you have to buy it. So not only are you paying 15 dollars a month but then if you want to burn the song you have to pay the price of the song. Your "subscription" is now more expensive than iTunes. With iTunes you only pay once.
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Feb 14, 2005, 05:40 PM
 
You have to pay the $1 fee not before downloading it, but getting the right to burn to CD. You can download all the music you want, listen to it on your WinXP PC, and copy it to a compatible mp3 player for $15. If you want to burn it, pay a dollar extra. If I can hook up that portable player to my car radio, home stereo, etc, what would be the point of burning it to CD, except to archive? If you have line out from the mp3 player, it will sound better from the mp3 player than burned to CD anyway.

A music downloading service is only as effective as the hardware you use to connect it to. The reason iTunes is nice is because it works with the iPod. Without the iPod, how many people would bother to pay to download music from iTMS or the wannabes?
     
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Feb 14, 2005, 05:44 PM
 
Originally posted by Dalhectar:
Without the iPod, how many people would bother to pay to download music from iTMS or the wannabes?
Probably all the people that currently download from the wannabes since you can't play any of their music on an iPod anyway...
cpac
     
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Feb 14, 2005, 05:57 PM
 
Originally posted by Dalhectar:
If you have line out from the mp3 player, it will sound better from the mp3 player than burned to CD anyway.
BS.

Linout -> Line:
Digital to Analog to Digital conversion.
2 conversions, each conversion will lower the quality.

MP3 -> CD:
Digital copy on CD (as good as MP3)
then Digital to Analog conversion for listening.
-> only 1 !!! conversion

-t
     
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Feb 14, 2005, 06:01 PM
 
All 14 of them right? But that number might increase to 18 since some of them might have the right player to use the subscription player, or 20 since some might "think" they have the right subscription compatible player.

The reason Napster has to offer the subscription service is because they are bleeding money right now, they don't have enough customers to support the $1 per song model. iTMS barely makes even, but barely making even on iTMS + making a killing off iPods means Apple can rake in the cash.
     
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Feb 14, 2005, 06:21 PM
 
I'm not making any claim w/r/t Napster's motivations. I just think the deal they are offering stinks and that like those that have come before, they are destined to lose.

THE ONLY WAY a music download service makes financial sense is if it is a loss leader for a highly profitable hardware sale. You're right that Apple, even with the iTMS's huge marketshare, is maybe only breaking even.

None of these other little start ups can hope to match the pricing/DRM offer of Apple and still make money. Napster not only doesn't match it, but I think is selling a product that nobody wants to buy - i.e. a subscription service that they take nothing away from if they ever decide to cancel. Napster, like those that came before, is doomed.

the bottom line is people want to own their music.
cpac
     
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Feb 14, 2005, 07:25 PM
 
What's not explicitly mentioned on the Napster site is whether purchased (and downloaded) tracks are still playable if you cancel Napster subscription?

They state clearly that:
*It is necessary to maintain a Napster subscription in order to continue access to songs downloaded through the Napster service.
but does this encompass purchased tracks as well?

I don't know why I really care, really, since I am an iPod/iTunes user anyway...
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Feb 16, 2005, 08:20 PM
 
Out of curiosity, I asked how long I could be offline and still listen to downloaded (not purchased) music and Napster replied with:

Thanks for contacting Napster Support.

You can play your music offline as long as you are a monthly subscriber and before your next monthly billing occurs.

Thanks for using Napster!
Jason S.
The Napster team
Cheers.
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Feb 18, 2005, 12:03 AM
 
I'd rather have XM. Imagine going through the hassle of finding music you like and downloading all of it, to miss a monthly payment and then lose it all.

F THAT.
     
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Feb 18, 2005, 12:22 AM
 
Here's the first response:

Thanks for contacting Napster Support.

Yes,your tracks will be defective until you renew your licenses.

Thanks for using Napster!
Jason S.
The Napster team
     
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Feb 19, 2005, 09:17 AM
 
Napster's point (I don't not support their idea by the way) is that subscription is cheaper than owning. For example, if you purchased 10,000 songs from the iTunes Music Store, that would cost $10,000. To spend that much on Napster's service ($15 a month) would take over 55 years, assuming (which you can't) that the subscription price never increases. And of course in that 55 years you'd have access to millions of songs, not just 10,000 (I'm playing the devil's advocate here). Not that I'd want all those songs, but a very much smaller selection that I'd actually like to listen to.

If you assumed a 2.5% a year increase ($15 the first year, $15.38 the second year, etc) for a monthly subscription cost, it would take about 36 years to spend $10,000 at that rate. (Compare that with skyrocketing cable bills!)

Of course, how many people are going to plop down $10,000 right away on their iTMS and iPod songs? People will rip CDs they already own. They will buy some from Apple. If you bought one album a week at $10 an album, that's $520 a year (vs. $180 a year via Napster for all you care to listen to), but would still take you (assuming prices remain constant, which they won't) almost 20 years to spend $10,000.

Using the same price increase (2.5% per year) to adjust the calculation (albums are $10 the first year, then $10.25, etc.), it would take about 17 years to spend that much.

Who seriously thinks not much is going to change in how we listen to music in 17 years? Or 36 years? The point is, it doesn't matter. If you want to subscribe and pay a monthly fee and keep paying it to listen to your stuff, do it! You won't be worse off. If you want to pay 99cents a track and own your music, do it! You won't be worse off. The difference is: Apple's way is easy to use, easy to understand.

I guarantee you that you won't be using Napster 36 years from now, and you won't have an iPod 17 years from now - there'll be something newer, better, faster, bigger, and maybe cheaper available.

P.S. AND IT WILL COME FROM APPLE!!!
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Feb 20, 2005, 02:19 PM
 
The major appeal of Napster is you can get all the music you want for one low monthly price. I would argue that over a few years, you would end up spending about the same amount on either system because people inherently have favorites.
     
   
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