AfterDawn: Tech news

Amazon opens its DRM-free music store

Written by Andre Yoskowitz (Google+) @ 25 Sep 2007 14:51 User comments (8)

Amazon opens its DRM-free music store Amazon today launched the public beta of its new DRM-free digital music store, starting with a 2 million song offering.
Many believe the new store could prove to be a strong competitor to iTunes as it features tons of songs, but all DRM-free. All files are in MP3 format and encoded at 256kbs. The tracks are compatible with most portable devices including the iPod.

The new store will also be more affordable then iTunes as Amazon will offer all individual songs for 89 to 99 cents and albums for $6 to $10 USD. iTunes, in comparison, charges $1.29 for DRM-free tracks and $12.99 for albums.

Noticeably absent from Amazon's store is all labels under Sony BMG however, which includes Arista, Columbia, Epic, Jive and RCA records. Due to contractual obligations, all their tracks must include DRM.

Source:
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8 user comments

125.9.2007 17:37

Great I wont be held ransom for not having drm. Still wish they were 320kbs but for the price thats a good deal.

225.9.2007 21:13

Well it's about freakin time :-P

Hopefully this will prove so profitable that ALL drm-locked sites will pay attention and unlock purchased tracks. I understand rented tracks like Napster-on-the-go, but the rest should be open.

326.9.2007 0:04
webe123
Inactive

Originally posted by H0bbes:
Well it's about freakin time :-P

Hopefully this will prove so profitable that ALL drm-locked sites will pay attention and unlock purchased tracks. I understand rented tracks like Napster-on-the-go, but the rest should be open.

I don't understand the reasoning behind ANY rented music! That is just a very stupid idea to me.

But this service IS giving better choice to consumers. Though it is still going to be a drop in the bucket compared to free p2p.

426.9.2007 6:04
hughjars
Inactive

256kbps isn't bad at all.

$6 - 10 for an album is simply grossly & outrageously expensive
(considering the buyer has all the overheads of downloading and physical production).

Just because it isn't the day-light robbery of iTunes doesn't make it 'value'.

A step in the right direction on quality and a very tiny gesture towards sane pricing IMO.

526.9.2007 7:18
duckNrun
Inactive

I once again feel compelled to reason out music subscription services (aka rented music) by comparision to other things we 'rent' and with the help of simple math.

First off, if one extrapolates the concept of renting something as being the situation where one loses the right to use said product when they stop renting it then there are many forms of rented products that people don't balk about. Essentially we all 'rent' our cable tv services (unlimited usuage as long as we pay the monthly premium), our phone service (unlimited usuage as long as we pay the monthly premium), internet (unlimited usuage as long as we pay the monthly premium), movie rentals via netflix et. al. (unlimited usuage as long as we pay the monthly premium), satelite radio (unlimited usuage as long as we pay the monthly premium), people lease vehicles (which is essentially a rental with an option to buy at the end of the lease via a balloon payment) and other items as well. But as soon as people start talking about a service where you can download, carry on a portable device, listen to in your car all the music you want to as often as you want to people start foaming at the mouth. I just don't get it. Yes you do not own the music your are 'renting' but you are also not losing anything when you stop paying the 'rental fee' except access to the 'rented' product. As opposed to buying DRM'd music where you also essentially DO NOT OWN the music. Why do you not own DRM music... simply check out the definition of the term ownership and compare it to what you can and cannot do with DRM-- not taking into account what happens when the store selling you the DRM'd music shuts down or when they decide to no longer support that type of business (see google video) or when they update the terms of service (see iTunes). 'Nuff said.

Secondly the simple mathematics of a subscription based music service. Even at $15 a month over the life of a music fan the cost vs gain ratio is CHEAPER than buying the amount of music one can get on subscription. IF a person was to start renting their music at say 10 years of age and live to the average life expectancy of say 75 that means they would pay for 65 years of subscription. For instance:

$15 x 12 months = $180 a year
$180 x 65 years = $11,700 a lifetime

Now divide that lifetime amount by an average cost of a CD of say $10 and multiply it by say 10 songs per CD (which roughly equates out to iTunes 99 cents per song):

$11,700 / $10 = 1,170 CD's
1,170 CD x 10 songs/CD = 11,700 songs

For that same $11,700 spread out over the life of a music fan they can have access to and listen to MILLIONS of songs in their house, their car, the portable devices, a friend's house etc.

People tout their storage devices and state 'it holds 50,000 songs..." but the cost of filling it up via purchased music FAR EXCEEDS the cost of filling it up via a subscription service.

Does it cost you a monthly fee to keep the music? Yes. But for the cost of 3 'gourmet' coffee drinks, or 3 value meals from McDonalds, or one meal at a family dining restaurant, 5 gallons of gas, the fee for XM/Sirius radio, the cost of a subscription for one month of Showtime or HBO, the music fan can have access to virtually all types of music (granted some won't be likes but others will be) that they can listen to at will, experiment with new artists they otherwise may not discover, and easily add, delete, or swap out tracks for different ones depending on their mood or current tastes.

If someone does not feel that a music subscription model is what they are interested in that is fine. They are free to support iTunes or another online store, or buy the physical CD and maintain TRUE ownership over their purchase. Most people still have that right thank God!

I do not buy physical CDs, do not use iTunes nor do I subscribe to any subscription service so I have no vested interest to 'defend' my choice or 'protect' my ego as related to maintaing my sense that I am making a good choice in obtaining music. In full disclosure however, I do use a certain LEGAL non US site to obtain high bitrate music at about 34 cents per song with no DRM. But if a subscription service popped up that gave me the same high bitrate on an all I can eat plan I would seriously consider it. After all I 'rent' so many other forms of entertainment products already. And maybe if I found new songs or artisits I liked I would go and actually buy the tracks or album so that I could 'own' it... but then based upon the math maybe I wouldn't.

-peace and sorry for writing a book lol

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 26 Sep 2007 @ 7:23

626.9.2007 8:18
webe123
Inactive

Originally posted by duckNrun:
I once again feel compelled to reason out music subscription services (aka rented music) by comparision to other things we 'rent' and with the help of simple math.

First off, if one extrapolates the concept of renting something as being the situation where one loses the right to use said product when they stop renting it then there are many forms of rented products that people don't balk about. Essentially we all 'rent' our cable tv services (unlimited usuage as long as we pay the monthly premium), our phone service (unlimited usuage as long as we pay the monthly premium), internet (unlimited usuage as long as we pay the monthly premium), movie rentals via netflix et. al. (unlimited usuage as long as we pay the monthly premium), satelite radio (unlimited usuage as long as we pay the monthly premium), people lease vehicles (which is essentially a rental with an option to buy at the end of the lease via a balloon payment) and other items as well. But as soon as people start talking about a service where you can download, carry on a portable device, listen to in your car all the music you want to as often as you want to people start foaming at the mouth. I just don't get it. Yes you do not own the music your are 'renting' but you are also not losing anything when you stop paying the 'rental fee' except access to the 'rented' product. As opposed to buying DRM'd music where you also essentially DO NOT OWN the music. Why do you not own DRM music... simply check out the definition of the term ownership and compare it to what you can and cannot do with DRM-- not taking into account what happens when the store selling you the DRM'd music shuts down or when they decide to no longer support that type of business (see google video) or when they update the terms of service (see iTunes). 'Nuff said.

Secondly the simple mathematics of a subscription based music service. Even at $15 a month over the life of a music fan the cost vs gain ratio is CHEAPER than buying the amount of music one can get on subscription. IF a person was to start renting their music at say 10 years of age and live to the average life expectancy of say 75 that means they would pay for 65 years of subscription. For instance:

$15 x 12 months = $180 a year
$180 x 65 years = $11,700 a lifetime

Now divide that lifetime amount by an average cost of a CD of say $10 and multiply it by say 10 songs per CD (which roughly equates out to iTunes 99 cents per song):

$11,700 / $10 = 1,170 CD's
1,170 CD x 10 songs/CD = 11,700 songs

For that same $11,700 spread out over the life of a music fan they can have access to and listen to MILLIONS of songs in their house, their car, the portable devices, a friend's house etc.

People tout their storage devices and state 'it holds 50,000 songs..." but the cost of filling it up via purchased music FAR EXCEEDS the cost of filling it up via a subscription service.

Does it cost you a monthly fee to keep the music? Yes. But for the cost of 3 'gourmet' coffee drinks, or 3 value meals from McDonalds, or one meal at a family dining restaurant, 5 gallons of gas, the fee for XM/Sirius radio, the cost of a subscription for one month of Showtime or HBO, the music fan can have access to virtually all types of music (granted some won't be likes but others will be) that they can listen to at will, experiment with new artists they otherwise may not discover, and easily add, delete, or swap out tracks for different ones depending on their mood or current tastes.

If someone does not feel that a music subscription model is what they are interested in that is fine. They are free to support iTunes or another online store, or buy the physical CD and maintain TRUE ownership over their purchase. Most people still have that right thank God!

I do not buy physical CDs, do not use iTunes nor do I subscribe to any subscription service so I have no vested interest to 'defend' my choice or 'protect' my ego as related to maintaing my sense that I am making a good choice in obtaining music. In full disclosure however, I do use a certain LEGAL non US site to obtain high bitrate music at about 34 cents per song with no DRM. But if a subscription service popped up that gave me the same high bitrate on an all I can eat plan I would seriously consider it. After all I 'rent' so many other forms of entertainment products already. And maybe if I found new songs or artisits I liked I would go and actually buy the tracks or album so that I could 'own' it... but then based upon the math maybe I wouldn't.

-peace and sorry for writing a book lol

Your argument that we rent a lot of things anyway, so why not music does not hold water! Last time I checked, you could not "package" a telephone call or "package" satelite TV...unless you want to talk pre-recorded shows on media like DVD's, the only "packages" they offer are subscriptions to a bundle of channels.

You can't even "package" the internet! Unless you refer to some subscription package your ISP gives you. Most of the things you mention, are not things you CAN package in a physical product like a music CD, so your argument does not make much sense!


It's not the same with music! With music, if you buy a CD or download a mp3, you have a product you can use over and over again, without being charged a monthly fee for doing so! AND you pay a ONE TIME FEE....not a monthly subscription!

Also, people are used to OWNING...... NOT RENTING music since it began! (Unless you want to talk about free radio in your car) Now you want to say it should be like a cable TV subscription or phone service, etc.?

Apparently most do not agree with your way of thinking, because most have had the option of buying a record, cassette, 8-track or CD for years before subscription services EVER entered into the picture! So of course the public is not going to accept some music exec saying renting music is a great idea! Even in the 70's when they had those columbia records 1 cent deals where you got 12 8-tracks free and paid for a couple over a years time...you STILL OWNED THE PHYSICAL PRODUCT! With renting what do you have when your suibscription ends? NOTHING! Absolutely nothing.

Sorry, I think it is STILL a stupid idea!

You can make all the excuses you want for how we rent other things, but music has not been one of them. People are not used to renting music and only now has the idea been thought of with the internet comming into play. But, why should the consumer be the one out in the cold when some subscription service goes belly up?

Don't get me wrong....if people want to rent music, hey it is their money....I just think it does not make sense when there are other ways to obtain music and KEEP IT, without wondering if your music subscription will be around when the company no longer is in business. Personally, I could care less to pay for a subscription to listen to songs that go "poof"..... when I no longer have a subscription.

With music, if you buy a CD or download an mp3, you have a product you can use over and over again, without being charged a monthly fee for doing so! AND you pay a ONE TIME FEE....not a monthly subscription.

If a music rental company goes belly up....as a LOT have... what do you think is the reason for that? It is because apparently, most people want to own a product like music...not rent it!

728.9.2007 21:55

This is defenitly amazing........they do more of this and Im sure piracy will be reduced. I for one, will easily pay 90cents for a song that I liked. but when there is DRM on it and i cant play it in my car (well unless i connect an ipod , and i really dnt like connecting external devices) then I simply start looking for the song pirated. I have no idea how they are trying to fight piracy when they are not making things exactly easy for us. Thanks Amazon for this great service. Im defenitly gonnna be one of your best customers :)

GO TO HELL I-TUNES!!

828.9.2007 22:18

These are good competitive rates however itunes does have a big share of the market and it will be hard to get a majority strong hold in the market that apple has taken over.

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