Virgin Digital UK to launch iTunes Music Store competitor on September 2

“Virgin’s digital music service, Virgin Digital UK, launches on September 2,” Macworld UK reports. “The new service will offer over one million tracks with both a subscription and a download service. Subscriptions will cost from 40p each day, while permanent downloads cost from 79p. The service uses Windows Media, so will work with devices supporting that standard, but iPod owners are locked out.”

Macworld UK reports, “Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, said: ‘With a strong music heritage behind us, as a record label and a retailer, Virgin has a huge advantage, and platform to launch a digital service that will become the ultimate destination to buy, stream, burn and enjoy the best the music world has to offer.'”

Full article here.
Can’t make it with the razors, try selling razor blades instead. Too bad those blades don’t fit the “razor” most people own/want to own.

Related articles:
Analyst: Apple will sell 7.1 million iPods this quarter – August 26, 2005
Over half a billion songs have been sold from Apple’s iTunes Music Store – July 17, 2005
Apple’s iPod has blood on its Click Wheel: Virgin Electronics is dead – March 08, 2005
The de facto standard for legal digital online music files: Apple’s protected MPEG-4 Audio (.m4p) – December 15, 2004
French court rejects Virgin’s case, won’t force Apple to open up iTunes – November 10, 2004
Virgin unveils ‘iPod mini killer’ and openly chides Apple for not allowing iTunes support – October 12, 2004
Virgin Mega files complaint against Apple over FairPlay licensing – August 05, 2004
BusinessWeek: Virgin Digital ‘a digital-music challenger to be feared’ by Apple – March 09, 2004
Virgin Digital President predicts Apple iTunes Music Store demise – March 08, 2004


  1. i’m sick of you addicts thinking that Apple is an end all for all. don’t you guys get it is actually good for us consumers when there is an open-standard, open architecture that will drive down new features, new development and more importantly cheaper prices.
    if iTunes were open, don’t you guys think we would already have had movies by now, subscription services, games and PDA.
    blah, blah, blah. go ahead flame on. I love the Mac. but common, that does not make me a cult member.

  2. Apple is already on record as saying it doesn’t make money on the “blades” (iTMS). The margin is made by the record conglomerates (who want even more….another story)

    So why not allow anyone to provide blades, and continue raking in the dough on the razors? Look what happened to losers that got locked in a format war:

    Edison’s cylindrical phonographs (supposedly better quality)

    Sony’s Betamax, mini-disc, ATRAC

    AM Stereo (capable of very high quality)

    DVD-RAM vs. DVD+R vs. DVD-R

    Divx discs

    Quadraphonic sound

    A large advantage in compatabilty consistently trumps a moderate advantage in quality. Apple will lose long-term if they don’t open up. How would you like it if iPhoto only workded with photos taken with an Apple QuickTake camera? So short-sighted.

  3. me: Yeah, it would be great if there was an open standard. But Microsoft doesn’t offer one, you are locked into Windows. With Apple, you’re locked into iPod, but lets face it, Apple got where they are because they were the first to offer what consumers really wanted. Apple is fighting the Windows Media juggernaut the best way they know how. Apple won’t license Windows Media Player for the iPod, because Mac users are locked out of WMP. Apple doesn’t want to widely license Fairplay because they recognize the market is still too small for them to share their sales with everyone else out there.

    Now that the MP3 format has DRM extensions, I wonder why none of the big media companies don’t launch a music store based on MP3 DRM. Seems to me if MSN, Napster, WalMart, Sony and all the rest of the companies can’t make a buck using closed formats, one of them would try something different, but unfortunately they won’t. So much for innovation. Seems to me Apple is the only company that was willing to work their asses off to produce a great product. All the others (with the exception of Sony) just want to take the easy Microsoft way out and open a store based on pre-packaged technology.

    Competition is great for innovation, and there is tonnes of competition out there, but unfortunately, they are constantly getting it wrong. Thankfully Apple still seems to do enough innovating by themselves to make up for the lack of creativity coming from the rest of the market.

  4. “i’m sick of you addicts thinking that Apple is an end all for all. “

    Well you are certainly welcome to not read these boards.

    “there is an open-standard, open architecture that will drive down new features, new development…”

    It IS an open standard. I can play any song I want on it using MP3 or unprotected AAC formats. They arent forcing me to do anything I don’t want to do.

    “… and more importantly cheaper prices.”

    Ahhh i see what this is really about. Perhaps getting a better job than ‘fry guy’ at your local burger shack would help alleviate that problem for you.

  5. Andy C.: “Apple doesn’t want to widely license Fairplay because they recognize the market is still too small for them to share their sales with everyone else out there.”

    I think this is the perfect time for Apple to license Fairplay. They have 80% market share of players. If they could get everyone to use Fairplay they could corner the market before the Windows Media catches on. For example, if Apple licensed Fairplay to the other player manufacturers, everyone would go to the iTunes store. That would make iTunes an extremely important web portal and put Apple in position to get more favorable deals from the music companies.

    Apple has won the player war so far by making the best player, and can continue to do so by being innovative. Remember, iPods were “hot” even before the iTunes music store was available. Licensing Fairplay would be to Apple’s advantage.

  6. Did anyone consider that MAYBE Microsoft is forcing other music player manufacturers NOT to go Apple AAC way? “Either us, or them. And if it is THEM, than we have means to make you regret the decision.

    I might be paranoid but I would bet money that we will NEVER see a player that is BOTH compatible with iTMS (AAC) and Windows Media format.

  7. You can make your own music, listen to other people’s music for free
    in many ways (including piracy), you can buy and own your music from
    a store in one form or another, you can listen to music using a subscription model, and lastly…you can purchase what you want with a
    download from an online store, such as Apple’s iTunes.

    The formats are all different. They all work. Some are considered
    better than others. Some require more energy to achieve than others.

    Apparently, Virgin feels they can provide an online service to thier
    customers and can afford to risk failure. If so, they always have Apple
    to fall back on.

    Although, the iPod & iTunes are a great one two punch…some Windows
    users aren’t using them and therefore, Virgin is providing a solution
    for those who opt for the alternative. It doesn’t have to work for
    Apple Macs because Virgin sells thier music through iTunes as well.

    They can make more money and they can test new waters. Good for
    them. I can’t say enough about doing it for yourself…but with
    Microsoft??? That IS funny! ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”confused” style=”border:0;” />

    CT =======]————– Flava Flav’s world renown…AND you know it!

  8. Would Apple make money if they licensed Fairplay? Maybe if they charged 1 cent per download. I wonder how much M$ charge for WMP. Probably nothing because what they really want is to have their software on every PC.

    The question is could Apple charge enough money for Fairplay so that it would be financially viable.

    On one hand, this would mean the non-iPods could play songs bought from iTMS. Therefore iTMS market could increase by 20%.

    On the other hand, non-iPod MP3 players could be more attractive and Apple could lose sales of Pods.

    On the third hand (!), other music sites could undercut iTMS and Apple could lose money from iTMS revenue.

    The way I see it, is that unless Apple make significant dosh on licensing, they will suffer from loss of sales from other music distributers and MP3 player makers.

    The only thing it will achieve is to reduce uptake of WMP. But M$ have many ways of getting that software on PCs, so it probably wouldn’t be effective.

    My bet is that once iPod sales start to plateau or drop, Apple will licence Fairplay. By that time there will be 50-100 M MP3 players sold and Apple’s revenue from iTMS will be significant. At the moment 1 billion iTMS songs is eqivalent to 50 M bucks revenue for Apple. Not much compared to several billion dollars from hardware sales. If Apple start selling 5-10 billion per year then thats more money at reduced overheads.

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