“Experts think confusion over [conflicting formats between the major players in digital music] is hampering the conversion from sales of physical CDs to all-digital sales. Mike McGuire, research director for digital research company Gartner G2, sees digital downloading sales increasing from an estimated $335 million to $1.4 billion in 2009, which is pretty impressive but still only 10 percent of CD sales,” Phil Kloer writes for Cox News Service.
“And if or when Amazon launches a highly publicized new service that, like all the others, is not compatible with the iPod, it will only exacerbate the problem. Although still a blip on the national radar, digital music incompatibility has made enough of a noise that the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing to look into it this summer but took no action,” Kloer writes. “From a business standpoint, Apple has little incentive to make nice with the competition. There are more than 60 types of portable digital players on the market, but 59 of them are jockeying for less than 10 percent of the market, and one, the iPod, has 90-plus percent. ‘It’s a whole bunch of others grappling for leftovers at this point,’ McGuire says.”
“Complicating the scenario even further for the consumer are the different models of downloading. Apple sells songs for 99 cents, which the buyer then owns, to burn onto CDs or listen to on an iPod. But several new services are trying to convince people to rent music rather than buy it. Yahoo, Napster and Rhapsody all offer monthly subscriptions where you pay a monthly fee ($7 to $15) and can download all the music you want — thousands of songs if your computer will hold them,” Kloer writes.
Kloer writes, “The catch is you have to keep paying the fee forever to keep the music; as soon as you stop, a code makes the song vanish. It’s as if you canceled a magazine subscription, McGuire says, and the magazine sent someone to your house to take away all the back issues. ‘Most people want to own their stuff,’ says McGuire, who is not bullish on the rental model. (In addition, the songs won’t play on iPods, and you have to pay extra to burn them on a CD.)”
Full article here.
First of all, how can there be confusion over conflicting formats between the “major players in digital music,” if there is only really one major player, Apple, and a bunch of also-rans “grappling for leftovers?” Second of all, Apple’s iTunes jukebox software and iTunes Music Stores in 20 countries (with the world’s largest libraries) are the only cross-platform solution for both Macs and Windows PC users . The also-ran services are all Windows-only, Mac users need not apply (not a smart business model, by the way, since studies show Mac users tend to be better educated and make more money than Windows PC users and therefore have more disposable income), yet these same closed music services whine about “openness” and “compatibility.” Hypocrites.
The only entities with a “problems being exacerbated” are those online music outfits trying to sell music for portable players that nobody wants and hardware makers trying to sell portable music players that won’t work seamlessly with the world’s leading legal online music service and jukebox software. Consumers have choice, the only problem is that the Microsofts, Napsters, and Creatives of the world just don’t like the fact that they aren’t the consumers’ choice.
Apple needs to keep on doing what they’re doing, crumpling up and tossing the Rios and the BuyMusics of the world into the trash as they go about their business. A song is a song is a song, and the only place where both Mac and Windows users can get them for their portable players, most of which happen to be iPods, is Apple’s iTunes Music Store: the most open legal music service available.
Want to avoid any so-called “confusion?” Most people have already figured out how to do so: buy an iPod, use iTunes to rip your CDs and transfer to your iPod, and buy online music from the iTunes Music Store via your Mac or Windows PC. What’s “confusing” about that?
iPod, iTunes, and iTunes Music Store competitors lack Apple’s ‘seamless integration and ease’ – August 28, 2005
Apple’s roadkill whine in unison: ‘incompatibility is slowing growth of digital music’ – August 13, 2005
The New Zealand Herald serves up a steaming pile of iPod FUD – August 11, 2005
FUD campaign against Apple’s iPod+iTunes fails to stick – April 08, 2005
Apple’s iPod and iTunes competitors continue whining about FairPlay – February 07, 2005
The de facto standard for legal digital online music files: Apple’s protected MPEG-4 Audio (.m4p) – December 15, 2004