EMI launches Singapore’s biggest online music store; incompatible with Apple iPod

“EMI Music and Internet service provider StarHub launched Singapore’s largest online music store Thursday, allowing Internet users in the country to purchase from a catalogue of 50,000 songs by EMI artists. The portal, called Play, is the first in Southeast Asia to offer up-to-date tracks for sale,” The Straits Times reports.

“Songs by over 3,000 international artists will be made available for download as soon as they are played on radio — even before commercial release on compact discs,” The Straits Times reports.

The store uses Windows Media 9 technology and is not Mac or iPod-compatible.


  1. “The store uses Windows Media 9 technology and is not Mac or iPod-compatible.”

    EMI must have hired the same bozos that were hired to create the BUYmusic.com site.


    Consulting Firm:

    “Hey! Lets not support the most popular portable music player on earth!


    “Uhhhh…O.K. Here’s a couple of million to start development”


  2. “Hey! Lets not support the most popular portable music player on earth! “

    nor does anyone else…par for the course

    microsoft will not let any other music store support the ipod by design

  3. You know, I really don’t understand why Apple *doesn’t* make their iPod WMA-compatible. Think about it: they’ve said that the iTMS doesn’t make them any money, but just serves as a means to sell more iPods. So wouldn’t it be great for Apple if they didn’t even have to build or maintain iTMS, which must cost them a fortuen, but could still sell boatloads of iPods? Why not allow 3rd party music stores also be a driver for the iPod? Makes no sense. It’s beginning to feel like another stupid Apple mistake, this one.

  4. “I really don’t understand why Apple *doesn’t* make their iPod WMA-compatible.”

    If Apple includes WMA in the iPod it will only serve to make WMA the standard – not AAC/FairPlay (along with Quicktime). This is not about making money off downloads, this is about who controls the standard – Apple or M$. Right now, Apple is winning.

    In the long run, it will be better for Apple to open up FairPlay DRM to other players and stores. It will help make AAC/FairPlay the absolute standard.

  5. I have been concerned for quite a while that Apple does not own any of the product that it is distributing via the iTMS. The risk is that the media giants will allow Apple to pave the way, and then strike out on their own thinking that they can squeeze a little more profit out of each sale. If Apple owned a big slice of the music (and video?) library then it would provide an incentive for the other industry players to stay compatible. Otherwise their customers would be deprived of access to the Apple song library.

    Except for the possible backlash from consumers, the media giants might even (mistakenly) think that it is better for them not to use AAC/Fairplay because they can sell the same songs again in WMA format. Of course, any savvy consumer with AAC songs would burn them to disk and re-rip them to the desired format.

  6. hairbo,
    for the last damn time, Apple DOES make money from iTMS. Don’t buy into the fud that you hear spouted from the multitude of ignorant reports. THey have stated that they do make money off the store, but they down play it because they don’t want to seem like they are making huge profits.

    They make about $.10 profit on every $.99 song sold. At 50 millions downloads, that’s slightly less than $5,000,000. (accounting for album downloads that average at less than a buck a song.)

    You know what $5,000,000 profit buys you? some good R&D on next gen iPods. And besides, not only is the ipod the best player out there iTMS is the best store, player integration out there… and that’s why I support Apple, they are about doing the best, not what is ‘good enough’.

  7. Apple will make iPod WMA compatible–when the time is right. Not yet.

    I don’t blame EMI for using WMA. What else are they gonna use? They aren’t programmers, so they can’t come up with their own system. Microsoft offers a solution in one package, so why not use it? Besides, Apple is a competitor.

    That brings me to what is really bothersome about this. It’s the second label to open a music site that competes directly with iTMS. If Apple tries to take iTMS to Asia, do you think EMI will allow them to sell EMI’s music? Will Sony grant Apple the right to distribute their popular Asian music in their own back yard?

    I’ll bet that, when iTMS finally opens in Europe, popular Sony tracks will be very slow to appear.

    It doesn’t make sense, really, since the labels make a boatload from iTMS’s sales. I think it’s a control issue. iTMS has the control in the US for now, but I think the labels will resist Apple overseas. There’s still hope for Canada, at least.

  8. billy boy: Apple lost money on iTMS in the beginning. Profits rise with sales quantity. Much of the overhead is a set cost not dependent on how many are sold, so selling more increases the profit percentage.

    Apple is probably making a nice percentage at this point.

  9. Thanks Kenny, but I’m well aware of how their profit depends on quantity sold.
    And on average, they are making a dime a song.
    $.65 goes to the label, and a quarter towards maintenence and overhead costs. And obviously, as sales go up, the average per song towards maintenence goes down. But this is just being conservative.

    all in all, this “no profit” music store nonsense is just annoying because it’s what you hear from places like cnet and Enderle and Thurrot

  10. I really don’t understand why so many people obsess about WMA support in iPod!

    If Apple legitimises WMA, it effectively creates a reason for people to buy WMA tracks; once people have a reason to buy WMA tracks, it gives [B]ALL[/B] WMA players a greater opportunity to find a price/performance combination that works in the marketplace.

    The key here is to use iPod to stop the WMA standard dead in its tracks.

    The iPod family’s distinction is that it’s the digital music player that doesn’t look like its been designed by commitee of propellor-heads for the benefit of nerds and the same this is true of iTunes.

    By refusing to acknowledge the existence of WMA, Apple effectively says to the market “WMA is an ugly compromise that has no place on a thing of beauty like the iPod”.

    Let the WMA market – all of those competitive stores – chase each other downmarket: Now it’s 99�, Wal-Mart says 88�, soon, someone will say 75�.
    And because none of them are shifting volume, [B]ALL[/B] of them are making a loss and will continue to make a loss until commercial sanity prevails and they shut down.

    Apple is the sole source of AAC/Fairplay; it guarantees income to the labels and quality to its customers. The price is stable, the volume is high as it’s a sole source, so it has a real capability to make a real profit.

    Let WMA die screaming in agony, and compromise the confidence of the few customers that it has in Microsoft as a provider of digital media solutions effectively creating the question in people’s heads: “WMA was a dead-end, why should I buy into WMV in any way ?”

  11. Whell all of you talk about who is making what format available you are doing nothing other than pulling shit out of your asses. Shut the fsck up already.

    There is no evidence that Apple has made licensing AAC/Fairplay an option for any of the iTunes competing services. There is no evidence that Apple has made licensing AAC/Fairplay an option for any of the iPod competing devices.

    Without evidence of either of the above, y’all have no basis for any of the bullshit you have been posting.

    If I want to start an online music service and Micrsoft will licence me WMA and Apple won’t license me AAC/Fairplay I have two options–WMA or give up the business before it starts.

    If I want to make a digital player and Apple won’t license me AAC/Fairplay and Microsoft will license me WMA, again two options–give it up before I start, or license WMA.

    Until you have some evidence that AAC/Fairplay is a team company X had the option of joining don’t bitch when company X goes for WMA.

    It would be the same as complaining that a computer maker was licensing XP instead of OS X; one’s an option, the other isn’t.

  12. Didn’t mean to lecture, billy boy.

    Steve said there was no profit in iTMS last summer sometime. That’s why everyone thinks there is no profit. Since he said that, conditions have changed for the better, but everyone still has the idea that there’s no profit. With respect to all other music stores, they’re probably right. Only iTMS enjoys the mass of sales that would bring a good profit, IMHO.

  13. “microsoft will not let any other music store support the ipod by design”

    While this wouldn’t surprise me, I’d like to see some evidence to back that up. Hell, I’m sure iRiver et al would love to build something that would work directly with music downloaded from iTMS. The question is, are they not building it because (a) Apple won’t license AAC/Fairplay (likely), (b) Microsoft will only license WMA if it is not used with competing DRM technology (possible), or (c) all of the above.

    I’d also point out that this is Singapore where the only store you can buy music from support WMA–last I heard, there was no iTMS for users in Singapore. So this is a smart move by EMI.

  14. What iTMS offers is consistent pricing and DRM. My understanding is that this isn’t quite the case for WMA shops just yet.

    Does it matter what the audio codec is? If I can get my music for 99 cents a song and play it on my music player, that’s all that’s important. The iPod/iTMS combination makes this easy for even non computer users. We’ll have to see if the WMA camp can come even close to this product offering.

  15. Another thought… I wonder if we will one day see a player that supports both standards (and maybe even the Ogg supporters in the crowd). If you want to truly support “choice” shouldn’t this be the natural evolution.

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