Washington Post: ‘restrictions and price remain iTunes Music Store turnoffs’

“A year ago this month, the music-downloading business came to life with the debut of Apple’s iTunes Music Store. By the numbers, the store has done outrageously well. More than 50 million songs have been downloaded off the service to both Windows and Mac OS X machines and the store is on track to hit 130 million songs a year, Apple brags,” Rob Pegoraro writes for The Washington Post.

“A flock of competitors, including stores from Roxio, RealNetworks and Wal-Mart, have followed Apple without catching up — not in ease, not in elegance and not in numbers of downloads. But the iTunes Music Store’s success hides a couple of unsettling trends. One is pricing — a lot of albums now exceed the store’s customary $9.99 price, and a few even exceed their cost as CDs in a store. The other is compatibility — though a variety of consumer-electronics devices could be made compatible with iTunes music files, the only one Apple permits is its own iPod digital-music player,” Pegoraro writes.

Full article here.

35 Comments

  1. I don’t know about the second point, but I agree with Rob on the first point. Too many albums I’m interested in far exceed the $9.99 price. Paying $12 or $14 is just too much for 128 aac files. I’ll just go get the CD. Another thing that ticks me off is the plethora of partial albums.

    For me, the iTMS is just a singles store. Which is nice, but it could be a whole lot more if they would just stick with the $9.99 album price. But I don’t suppose Apple is calling the shots on that, are they?

  2. apple should just bite the bullet and call those albums losses..they get charged more by the record companies for certain very very specific cases… and apple says that’s why the 999 is broken..

    they just just take the loss rather than screw with their simplicity

  3. Mark my words. I will never, never, ever pay anymore than 9.99 for an album from iTunes. And I will not go out and buy the CD. Mr. Music man are you listening? Probably not, so up your horker with a red hot poker!

    P.S. Where’s Slappy?

  4. Why all of the partial albums? If you were starting from scratch not knowing how it was going to go over you would select a highly marketable collection of songs. Nobody who had the full CD would download them anyway. Apple is reliant upon the RIAA member companies for content so their pricing flexibility is somewhat limited.
    The RIAA has already shown themselves to be pigs- instead of giving Apple an exclusive window for taking the first step they ran out and licensed everybody but Midas Muffler to sell music on the internet. They have no loyalty to anything but money and want it as soon as possible.

  5. What’s really going to suck is if the major labels go and get greedy again by jacking up the price of a song so that Apple has to charge something between $1.25 – 2.00 per download. Many people are (obviously) willing to pay $0.99 per song, but I don’t think that many people will stomach a “price hike” by the labels. Of course, Apple would probably be blamed for the price increase and not the record labels, who have absolutely no CD manufacturing costs in downloadable music, but could be willing to stick it to Apple and their customers by increasing song prices.
    I don’t mind paying about $12 for a retail CD. I stopped buying them after I got tired of paying $18 – 20 for a 12 song CD. iTunes has made me start buying CD’s again after a long hiatus, but I won’t pay any more than a buck for a downloaded song.

    Hey RIAA, remember the goose that laid the golden eggs; don’t get greedy or we all may lose a wonderful thing. The iTMS may not be perfect, but it’s a LOT better than anything else available.

    BTW, Pegoraro, if you want to download music from the iTMS, do yourself a favor: a) Throw your iRiver into a drawer. b) Bite the bullet and invest in an iPod. c) Download iTunes for Windows. d) Enjoy.
    It really is a lot easier to strike a match than it is to curse the darkness.

  6. John,

    You are cluless. You go ahead and download what you don’t know is good or not. Download trojan horses – whether they hurt Macs or not. Download lousy quality.

    Best option? For dorks.

  7. Very little of the music I listen to is on the itunes store … I have a large CD and LP collection — all of the CDs have been converted to 160kbps aac and I’m starting on the LPs (a really slow process).

    For new music I read (and listen to the samples) on grammophone and a few interesting radio stations (mostly on the net). I check with a huge used CD stores (Princeton Record Exchange) and regularly trade with them. I’m averaging about $5 per new CD added – complete with cover art and liner notes.

    I’m sure the RIAA isn’t amused at people who trade in used music, but the price is right.

  8. Other than for getting singles, iTMS is useful mostly if you are a Top 40 listener, or are permanently stuck in Dipshitville, USA,

    However, if you’re tastes are more non-mainstream, you aren’t going to find that much, or only partial downloads, at iTMS. If you live in a real city, or college town, you will likely have sources of used CDs where you can get whatever you would buy from iTMS for less than $9.99.

    I have yet to buy a complete album from iTMS–just a few singles and a couple of EP’s.

    Of course, if I lived in rural Ohio and was looking for some romantic music to seduce my cousin with things would be different…

  9. It seems I have a special version of iTunes that allows me to play my music not only on an iPod but on thousands of various models of CD and DVD players including the one in my car and the one at work. In addition, these CDs can be played ANY computer and converted easily into MP3 (or any other) files just as easily as any store-bought CD. Where’s the problem with incompatibility?

  10. Rob has been a great Mac advocate in the Washington community for years, and this is a rare–and well deserved–poke at Apple.

    As a longtime Mac admirer and avid user myself, I share his concern about the iTunes-iPod “closed” system. While this is clearly the best combo on the market, Apple should be willing to let the market decide this and not make the decision for its customers. Apple has only to gain by opening up its FairPlay technology to other devices. If it seizes the moment and does so now, I’m convinced that AAC with Fairplay will become the market standard for the long run, which it currently is. If it doesn’t, you can be sure that the market will work around the restriction and settle on a standard that works on the greatest number of devices. This is not just a truism of history repeating itself (as with the Mac), but it is the inevitable outcome of market forces.

    Apple, LICENSE FAIRPLAY NOW to whoever wants to use it!!!! You won’t regret it. The only company who really hopes you won’t is Microsoft.

  11. You know, having iPod clones out there that could use the iTMS bought music would not hurt iPod sales one bit. If anything it would keep the iPod team on their toes and keep their iPod designs at the head of the pack. Don’t license the DRM to other stores, license it to other players. These other players are not competition to iPod now. How would they be if they could use iTMS?

  12. Just steal the music. It is not like it comes out of your pocket. We have all lost our morals. I will not teach my children to steal. What happen to right and wrong? There is nothing wrong with paying for a product. All of you music thieves should be ashamed, where are your values. It is just like going to a farm and stealing food. There is so much produce on a farm if you take some and don’t get caught then I guess you think you’re right. Wrong. You should go and pay for it from a store like everyone else or grow your own. Start making music and let people steal it from you, I bet you wouldn’t like it then. I bet you wouldn’t like it if anyone stole anything from you. I think we should be debating over partial albums and the prices (although 12.99 is still cheaper than anything you can buy out on the market unless it is on sale). Of a product is cheaper somewhere else, just go there and buy it. Makes sense to me. Don’t steal the music and call yourself a music lover, or a fan, or even a decent citizen.

  13. lets put this into perspective:

    As a longtime Ford Mustang admirer and avid user myself, I share his concern about the Ford Mustand-Ford engine “closed” system. While this is clearly the best combo on the market, Ford should be willing to let the market decide this and not make the decision for its customers. Ford has only to gain by opening up its Engine technology to other Automakers. If it seizes the moment and does so now, I’m convinced that the 5.0 with Turbo will become the market standard for the long run, which it currently is. If it doesn’t, you can be sure that the market will work around the restriction and settle on a standard that works on the greatest number of Autos. This is not just a truism of history repeating itself (as with the beatle), but it is the inevitable outcome of market forces.

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