AfterDawn: Tech news

Total Music aims to dethrone iTunes

Written by Rich Fiscus (Google+) @ 12 Oct 2007 9:41 User comments (12)

Total Music aims to dethrone iTunes According to a report in the online edition of BusinessWeek, unnamed music industry insiders claim Universal Music Group CEO Doug Morris is working on a new music licensing model that would allow them to offer a music subscription model subsidized by media player manufacturers.
UMG's intention to knock down Apple from the top of the music download hill has played out very publicly this year. Contentious negotiations with Apple that led to a month-to-month contract replacing the extension of a longer agreement sought by Apple. Morris is unhappy with Apple's control over online pricing, and the mobile media player market.

His plan for the service, dubbed Total Music, would be to charge portable media player manufacturers a $5 monthly subscription fee for each unit sold that supports the service, giving consumers "free" access to music from different labels. So far they've enlisted Sony BMG as a potential partner and are in talks with Warner Music Group.

Although player manufacturers who have yet to successfully compete with Apple's iPod for market share would certainly be interested in a model that puts them on equal footing, a bigger question at this point is whether enough sales can be sustained to pay for the ongoing license fees.

While some industry estimates show a lifetime cost of $90 per device, figuring that the owner will upgrade every 18 months. There are some obvious problems with this estimate, which really only takes into account the buying patterns of current mobile players under current (per download) licensing as the dominant delivery method. Arguably, the transparent, one-time licensing fee the consumer has already paid when purchasing the device would increase its useful life and resale value.

Since device manufacturers would be responsible for the up-front financial risk of essentially collecting a private levy from consumers for music labels it seems more logical that the long term risk of player life vs. royalty payments should be the responsibility of the music labels. Instead of monthly payments, a single payment equal to royalties over the expected lifetime of the player could be collected for the labels to subsidize the cost of creating new content.

Source: BusinessWeek

Previous Next  

12 user comments

112.10.2007 10:29

so these manufactures will bump there prices up about $100 to cover the cost of this agreement with the consumer essentially still pay the fee.

Might be a tough sell on the consumer end when it comes time to fork out the money for a player. People interested in paying less will do so and still head to the p2p networks, others may decide to pay the price to be 'legit'.

Question is when the RIAA comes knocking are they going to accept the receipt for said device as proof of compensation and leave that consumer alone? Are the rights to download only going to be for a certain service or will the 'licensing fee' allow a consumer to argue that they can download from anywhere since thhey have paid they licensing fee to do so in the form of a higher priced device that includes the licensing fee.

212.10.2007 13:51

I will not pay a subscription for music, I hate all the control these idiots have

312.10.2007 15:06

and if i choose never to use their service for downloading music, will I get a reduction in cost ? I bet not.
I will not buy a device which has artificial price inflation.
And like always the music will be infected with DRM, not worth the money at any cost.
Now if i could pay a little extra money that gives me the right to download music free of DRM then that sounds ok to me.

412.10.2007 16:03

regular payments never work cuz stuff u don't want to be attached to stuff but i think a similar system to itunes would be great, cuz they would be fighitng against each other like a dollar 90 cents and that could work but that i don't think so

513.10.2007 2:19

is this story from the onion? Its FREE but you are charged for it, did i read that correct? lol, they keep trying to push this lame service that no one wants with their subscription based, propertarian media locked to a single device at reduced quality that can also expire, so they can force apple out the way so they can resume price fixing.

i can see this working, thanks anti consumer f**ks but we say no! we are not steve, we have a brain and see through your marketing scams.

NEW YORK?Sony Corporation chairman and CEO Howard Stringer gave the public a first glimpse of Steve, the latest model in the company?s highly anticipated line of ideal electronics consumers, during the Sony Corporation of America?s annual stockholders meeting Monday.
Enlarge Image Sony Customer

The new Steve will buy Sony products.

The 72-inch, 195-pound consumer?a 34-year-old unmarried financial analyst?is smaller, lighter, and swifter than last year?s beta-model consumer, Larry.

?Larry was much less mobile, which worked well for electronics enjoyment but less so for purchasing,? said Hideo Ichimonji, head of the design team for the Ideal Consumer Project. ?Also, the Larry?s decision-processing became jammed when forced to choose from more than one potential Sony product. By implementing parallel-purchasing solutions and simplifying its personality traits, we?ve ensured that Steve will always be a loyal Sony customer without any annoying system shutdowns or buying freezes.?

Sony expects Steve to usher in a whole new generation of ideal consumers.

?With Steve, we?re introducing a range of cutting-edge consumer attributes that other electronics manufacturers can only dream of,? Stringer said during the half-hour demonstration, in which Steve smoothly and quickly selected high-end Sony home-theater components it researched on a Sony VAIO laptop while interfacing with Sony customers worldwide using a Sony Ericsson mobile phone.

?The integration of Steve?s simultaneous multi-credit-card-processing capabilities with its high earning capability allows our new U.S.-market flagship consumer to purchase our entire North American product line in a single clock cycle.?

Steve sports larger, pre-calloused thumbs and is fully backwards-compatible with Sony?s complete line of merchandise, extending back to the Trinitron television and cassette Walkman. Its debt threshold is also nearly two-thirds higher.

Several thousand Steves will be shipped to Asia and Europe for test-shopping next month. Steve will come in six different colors, with analysts expecting the white and yellow models to be much more successful than the black version.

Designers say Steve?s recharging capability is an improvement over Larry?s bulky and cumbersome charge port, which resembled a La-Z-Boy recliner.

?Steve can recharge on any reasonably comfortable surface, including a couch, desktop, floor, futon?anywhere that?s within range of a Sony product,? said Ichimonji, who also described the automatic sleep mode that activates when Steve has been out of contact with a Sony product for more than 30 minutes. ?The Steve also has the power to consume our products on-the-go for up to three days on one charge. It?s also got a friendlier interface and improved social skills, and loves talking about Sony products in any social setting.?

Added Ichimonji: ?Or you can just put Steve in front of an HDTV or send it on its way with a Sony PSP, and you?ll forget he even exists.?

Industry experts have praised the redesign, particularly the enormous numbers of visual, aural, and purchasing-suggestion inputs Steve can support. But the most talked-about feature seems to be its built-in anti-obsolescence feature, which enables it to continuously upgrade its preferences for Sony merchandise.

?Steve definitely looks to be an improvement,? said gaming enthusiast Jennie Weathers, 28, who planned to attend a demonstration at a Las Vegas electronics trade show this weekend. ?The Larry was clunky, slow, and always making noise. Steve has a lot more free time and the flexibility to adapt to Sony retail stores and shopping sites like SonyStyle. And it seems like he?ll require very little upkeep or attention, but he?ll still be there when I just want to chill out and watch DVDs on my Sony WEGA HDTV or need some quick cheat tips for Kingdom Hearts II.?

Analysts say that Steve?s only real competition comes from Apple Computer?s own ideal consumer, the iBuy. But because the much more expensive iBuy is designed only to purchase and enjoy the pricier, but limited Apple product line, and is not intershoperable with other systems, Steve?s appeal will likely prove much broader.

Steve is scheduled for release in August, and Sony plans to have hundreds of thousands of models perusing store shelves by Christmas.
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 13 Oct 2007 @ 2:27

613.10.2007 3:41

VIACOM: Good luck with that one.

Please read: It will never happen! it is nice that they try.......

713.10.2007 10:28

how much do you want to bet that the battery is a closed unit and will cost almost the same as a new unit and will last about a year!

now if its drm free and a good quality and the files will not expire and you are able to move them to other devices you own that would be great but it will never happen!

Originally posted by ars link:

The razor blade magnate King C. Gillette was alleged to have said that he would give away the razors for free if he was guaranteed to sell replacement blades. Manufacturers of inkjet printers have been operating on this model for many years now, selling printers at very low cost while raking in profits on the sale of replacement cartridges, some of which cost nearly as much as the printer itself. Now San Francisco-based Cryptography Research Inc. (CRI) is developing chip technology that can be included in inkjet printers to prevent owners from using third-party ink cartridges.
Related Stories

* Study: Inkjet printers are filthy, lying thieves

The chip technology, dubbed CryptoFirewall, is designed to be made using standard fabrication processes, reducing the cost for printer manufacturers. It is designed to obscure its inner workings to hackers, with large portions of the chip dedicated to redundant and obfuscated features. "You can see 95 percent of the grid and you still don't know how it works," Cryptography's vice president of business development Kit Rodgers told While the chip uses known technology such as private-key encryption to prevent unauthorized ink cartridges from working in printers, the company claims that it generates separate, random codes for each ink cartridge, making it difficult for hacking groups to find a general workaround.

Of course, this sort of problem hasn't stopped hackers from breaking similar protection schemes in the past. When the North Carolina-based Static Control Components developed third-party cartridges that worked with Lexmark printers, Lexmark took them to court, claiming that the reverse-engineering involved violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). However, the courts ruled against this claim. Lexmark appealed the decision, but to no avail. The court's position was that reverse-engineering inkjet cartridges was not the "original-expression side of the copyright line" and violated the spirit of the DMCA.

The ruling prompted printer companies to try and develop more intricate forms of copy protection for cartridges. Companies that merely offer refilling services for existing first-party cartridges have largely escaped the legal wrath of the printer companies, so even if the technology works, there will still be alternatives for those wanting to pay a reasonable price for their ink.

Cryptography Research is involved in many such projects, including working with the Blu-ray association to develop the new BD+ copy protection for Blu-ray discs. CRI says the printer chip technology will be available in early 2008.

813.10.2007 11:56

I'd pay 5$ a month for all the music I can download and play on any player I want.... what you mean I have to sell my soul, what you mean only on "X" player?

the media mafia is expanding their racket I see.

913.10.2007 12:42

Whateva they try they are not going to bring itunes down. Thats how its going to play out.

1013.10.2007 15:27

I've said it before and I will say it again...Never say Never. It could happen. Remember Apple was close to going out of business 10 years ago. Bill Gates donated $125 to help them get back on their feet, and in my opinion apologize for stealing the Windows platform from them. They have had a good run though, I think they are hiring some very creative people, but if you look at the questionable business descisions they are making who knows how long this run will last.

1113.10.2007 15:35

Oops I said $125...I mean $125 million dollars. Quite a difference. As far as the ink cartridge thing goes. What I do is open my cartridges and refill them. That way you don't need to buy third party cartridges, just refill the ones the printer came with. You can refill them many more times than they lay claim to. I have refilled the ones I have right now probably 20 to 30 times each.

1214.10.2007 0:35

Originally posted by rammstein:
Oops I said $125...I mean $125 million dollars. Quite a difference. As far as the ink cartridge thing goes. What I do is open my cartridges and refill them. That way you don't need to buy third party cartridges, just refill the ones the printer came with. You can refill them many more times than they lay claim to. I have refilled the ones I have right now probably 20 to 30 times each.
some brands have a chip in with an expiry date on and cannot be used past that date regardless of how much ink is left in the cartridge, kinda like expiring songs on some subscription based services!

and we already know what sony thinks of your rights!

Originally posted by eff link:
1. If your house gets burgled, you have to delete all your music from your laptop when you get home. That's because the EULA says that your rights to any copies terminate as soon as you no longer possess the original CD.
2. You can't keep your music on any computers at work. The EULA only gives you the right to put copies on a "personal home computer system owned by you."
3. If you move out of the country, you have to delete all your music. The EULA specifically forbids "export" outside the country where you reside.
4. You must install any and all updates, or else lose the music on your computer. The EULA immediately terminates if you fail to install any update. No more holding out on those hobble-ware downgrades masquerading as updates.
5. Sony-BMG can install and use backdoors in the copy protection software or media player to "enforce their rights" against you, at any time, without notice. And Sony-BMG disclaims any liability if this "self help" crashes your computer, exposes you to security risks, or any other harm.
6. The EULA says Sony-BMG will never be liable to you for more than $5.00. That's right, no matter what happens, you can't even get back what you paid for the CD.
7. If you file for bankruptcy, you have to delete all the music on your computer. Seriously.
8. You have no right to transfer the music on your computer, even along with the original CD.
9. Forget about using the music as a soundtrack for your latest family photo slideshow, or mash-ups, or sampling. The EULA forbids changing, altering, or make derivative works from the music on your computer.

then you get this bill "The SPY Act" will actually protect companies making intrusive drm like sony's rootkit, from prosecution!

Originally posted by link:
Act now to stop Congress from legalizing spyware!
Posted by Cory Doctorow, June 12, 2007 9:43 PM | permalink
The SPY Act, a new anti-spyware law, makes it impossible for consumer rights groups to sue DRM companies for putting spyware in their DRM (like Sony did last year, with its rootkit DRM). The irony is that spyware is already illegal, so all that this act does is immunize big media companies that sneak spyware onto your computer.

This has already passed the House, but EFF has an action alert for writing to your Senator to stop this before it becomes law.

The SPY Act is supposed to help stop spyware, deceptive adware, and other malicious software, but it is unlikely to do any good and could actually make things worse. If enacted, it would block lawsuits similar to the one EFF brought against Sony-BMG for infecting customers' computers with privacy-invasive copy protection. Don't let badware makers off the hook -- tell Congress to go back to the drawing board and draft a more sensible law.

Both the Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice have said that they already have the authority they need to go after badware vendors, and this bill doesn't add any funds or significant tools for federal enforcement.

At the same time, the bill would stunt states' enforcement, preempting most of their stricter badware laws. For acts covered by the bill, state statutes (including consumer protection laws) wouldn't be available to consumers themselves as grounds for a lawsuit. And it leaves enforcement exclusively in the hands of federal bureaucrats, specifically barring private citizens and organizations like EFF working on their behalf from using the new law to fight back in the courts.
so they can look on your pc with immunity and install what they like, makes you wonder who pushes these anti consumer laws through!

CLICK HERE to stop the spy act!
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 14 Oct 2007 @ 2:58

Comments have been disabled for this article.

Latest user comments

News archive