AOL revamps online music outfit; still iPod- and Mac-incompatible

Apple Store“Internet giant AOL has revamped its Web-based music download service, adding music videos, streaming radio and user community features,” Alex Veiga reports for The Associated Press.

Veiga reports, “The new version of AOL Music Now is scheduled to debut Tuesday, offering some 2.5 million audio tracks and thousands of music videos, the company said. Audio tracks can be bought individually for 99 cents, while music videos cost $1.99 each. The service offers unlimited downloads at a monthly rate of $9.95, or $14.95 for the ability to transfer songs to compatible portable music players.”

“Among the new features are more than 200 AOL radio stations and XM Satellite Radio channels along with tools for users to browse the playlists of other subscribers,” Veiga reports. “Amit Shafrir [president of AOL Music Now] declined to say how many subscribers the service has.”

“The redesign of AOL Music Now comes as the field of licensed online music services has been growing,” Veiga reports. “Earlier this summer, MTV Networks Inc. launched its own music subscription service. Other online music services such as Yahoo’s Music Unlimited, Apple Computer Inc.’s iTunes Music Store, RealNetworks’Rhapsody and Napster Inc. have also been vying for a bigger piece of the market.”

Full article here.
AOL Music Now requires Microsoft Windows XP, Internet Explorer 6.0 or above, and Windows Media Player version 10 (CrackedForSure); otherwise known as “The Unholy Trinity of Death.” It is also iPod-incompatible which, as we all know, is “The Kiss of Death.” Accordingly, they should’ve renamed it “DOA Music Now.”

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22 Comments

  1. I can’t understand why mac user’s think lack of choice in the iPod+iTunes world is a good thing.

    Sure, the iPod+iTunes combination creates a refined, integrated user experience for most. However, this is America, and most people are use to having a choice of stores, etc. from which to shop from. If Apple iTunes is so damn good, why is Apple afraid of competition from 3rd party vendors? I think this is the iPod’s biggest weakness.

  2. Just like Dubya…
    I live in an area served by Time Warner Cable and most of the ‘features’ that are packaged with their cable internet service are Windoze only. Mac users have to pay the same price, thereby subsidizing the free AV/Malware software they distribute to the PeeCee crowd.

    Our community is supposed to be switched to Comcast under the deal Comcast and Time Warner worked out to carve up the former Adelphia. TW and Comcast are swapping whole systems to consolidate their holdings. Maybe they will be better.

  3. “But Apple shouldn’t open up the iPod for third parties to dilute the user experience.”

    True… Apple shoudln’t open up the iPod completely. But, heck, I would LOVE to download XM radio programs to my iPod.

  4. I’m an unabashed Apple and iPod fan but please explain to me how any rival service is supposed to make themselves iPod compatible? Apple won’t license the only DRM scheme that works for it and the bid music publishers won’t sell music without DRM of some kind. As such, stores are forced to either go with Microsoft and the players that work with it or to make their own solution. I suppose AOL could ask Microsoft to make their stuff Mac compatible but they have enough problems with their own software let along making something work on a Mac.

  5. I disagree Nick, why is iTunes considered incompatible ?
    It includes all users Mac & PC what other service does that?
    Burn your tracks and use them on any player you want.
    This is the only business that cry’s foul in this way.
    Do Toyota parts fit on Fords? NO. Do Gillette razor blades fit into Schick razors ? NO
    So why does Apple get crucified for this ?
    It’s because most PC users are used to paying for cheap quality on all hardware, theiPod is quality and it cost’s a few bucks more and PC users want everything for nothing. Hardware software EVERYTHING. just my 2¢

  6. M.X.N.T.4.1,

    Perhaps iTunes also-rans should make Mac-compatible services or force Microsoft to make their DRM Mac-compatible before they agree to use it?

    Apple offers cross-platform parity. Why is Microsoft incapable of doing the same?

    MDN MW: “deep” – These aren’t “deep” questions, but they strike at the heart of the matter.

  7. If third party solutions want to beat Apple’s iTMS and be compatible with the iPod, all they have to do is dump Windows Media DRM. Start selling unprotected MP3s and you are instantly 100% compatible with every iPod ever sold. Really simple! If they did that, I’m sure their sales would skyrocket, and they’d have a very good chance at beating Apple at their own game.

  8. marko – music is music.
    apple (and whoever else) takes the basic music and encodes it so it will only play on their player.

    gasoline is gasoline.
    it would be like toyota taking basic gasoline, then doing something to it so that “toyota” gasoline will only run in toyotas.

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