Red Herring reporter is quite confused about MP3 vs. AAC

Apple Store“Apple and EMI announced on Monday an agreement to sell higher-quality versions of the record label’s songs without digital protections through iTunes next month, a landmark deal that paves the way for other big labels to follow suit,” Michael Cohn reports for Red Herring.

“EMI’s decision to sell its entire music catalog without copyright protection software is a startling reversal by one of the key players in an industry that has fought fiercely to prevent Internet pirates from copying its songs,” Cohn reports.

Cohn reports, “The move, if emulated by other music labels, threatens to rock the foundation on which a growing group of startups have built their businesses in digital rights management (DRM) technologies… ‘It’s fantastic that one of the majors is moving in a direction that will significantly grow the industry,’ eMusic CEO David Pakman said. ‘This is what customers want, and they will respond by buying music in universal formats from a number of other retailers.'”

Cohn reports, “Mr. Pakman expects EMI to begin licensing the DRM-free, higher-quality music soon to other online retailers such as eMusic… He believes he can still compete with iTunes because eMusic sells music in MP3 format, which runs on a wide variety of digital music players, unlike Apple’s FairPlay format for the iPod.”

MacDailyNews Take: Cue record player needle scratching across vinyl. Contact: . Over half a decade later and over 2 billion tracks sold and still these “reporters” know nothing and seem to want to inflict their readers with ignorance. Google “AAC” and then “FairPlay,” read a bit of information, and then write, Mr. Cohn. Does Red Herring employ an editor? Ah, yes:

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Kevin” for the heads up.]

MacDailyNews Obligatory Note: FairPlay is Apple’s Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology. EMI’s DRM-free music sold via Apple’s iTunes Store will not use FairPlay. EMI’s DRM-free music sold via Apple’s iTunes Store will be in Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) format. AAC is the successor to MP3 and is supported by iPod and also a wide variety of digital music players, including also-ran devices such as the SanDisk Sansa e200R, Sony PlayStation Portable (PSP), Sony Walkman S series (and A and E series with firmware update), Sony Ericsson, Motorola, Samsung, BenQ-Siemens, Philips, Nokia Nseries and other Nokia multimedia phones, Palm OS PDAs, even the hapless Microsoft Zune, among others. More about AAC here.

Related articles:
InformationWeek blows it: calls AAC Apple’s closed format – April 04, 2007
JupiterResearch analyst blows it: ‘AAC isn’t supported by majority of digital music players’ – April 03, 2007
Apple’s DRM-free EMI deal ‘a master stroke that should cement Apple’s dominance’ – April 03, 2007
In Apple’s DRM-free EMI music deal, the big loser may be Microsoft – April 03, 2007
Apple’s DRM-free iTunes play trumps Microsoft’s huge bet on DRM – April 02, 2007
Norwegian Consumer Council senior advisor applauds Apple’s iTunes Store DRM-free music – April 02, 2007
CNBC video: Apple CEO Steve Jobs and EMI Group CEO Eric Nicoli – April 02, 2007
EMI’s Nicoli on DRM-free iTunes: ‘We have to trust our consumers,’ Apple’s Jobs: ‘right thing to do’ – April 02, 2007
Kudos to Steve Jobs and Apple for having courage to call for end of DRM and making it happen – April 02, 2007
Analyst Gartenberg: iTunes Store’s DRM-free music ‘a great win for Apple’ – April 02, 2007
Apple CEO Steve Jobs to appear live on CNBC within the hour – April 02, 2007
Apple: Higher quality 256 kbps AAC DRM-free music on iTunes Store coming in May – April 02, 2007
Warner’s DRM-loving Middlebronfman warns wireless industry it may lose music market to Apple iPhone – February 14, 2007
Monster Cable announces full support of Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ call for DRM-free music – February 13, 2007
BBC columnist doesn’t believe Steve Jobs’ Apple would stop using DRM if music labels would allow it – February 12, 2007
EMI may sell entire music catalog DRM-free – February 09, 2007
Recording Industry Association of America wants their DRM, calls for Apple to license FairPlay – February 08, 2007
Warner’s Middlebronfman: Jobs’ DRM-free music call ‘without logic and merit, we’ll not abandon DRM’ – February 08, 2007
Technology Review editor gets a lot wrong in his article about Apple CEO Jobs’ push to end DRM – February 07, 2007
Apple’s Jobs jolts music industry; Zune exec calls Jobs’ call for DRM-free music ‘irresponsible’ – February 07, 2007
Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ posts rare open letter: ‘Thoughts on Music’ – calls for DRM-free music – February 06, 2007


  1. Maybe he’s trying to throw us a red herring.

    MP3 format requires a license fee and takes more space than AAC.

    Plus AAC can be DRMed if neccessary.

    What? Is Apple supposed to wait for the developers of MP3 to come out with a DRM format just to license it to others and break the iPod DRM scheme and thus lose the contracts with the music labels?

    How about all of a sudden a license fee hike because iTMS is now successful?

    Oh no, Apple had to get a new completely free standard with absolutely no complications.

    AAC can be easily converted to MP3 if necessary, but the shear amount of iTMS songs sold with this format will enable device makers to include this format in new and already present products.

    So there is no need to fear, the end of DRM is near.


  2. Sent to RedHerring Editor today:

    Your reporter Michael Cohn is to be congratulated. In one, seemingly innocuous, sentence (“He believes he can still compete with iTunes because eMusic sells music in MP3 format, which runs on a wide variety of digital music players, unlike Apple’s FairPlay format for the iPod.”) he has destroyed the credibility of your publication. It will no longer be possible for me (and probably a great many knowledgeable others) to believe anything I read in your publication. You guys might as well pack up and call it quits.

    Goodbye and don’t forget to have the last guy out turn off the lights,


  3. Other gems from the article.

    “I don’t think it’s right that they’re charging you more for taking DRM off,” he (James Davis, a spokesperson for Escape Media Group, which runs GrooveShark) said.”

    “However, he (Rob Lewis, chief executive of Omnifone) does not believe that simply selling DRM-free music is a big technological advance. He thinks that mobile access and arrangements like the one offered by his company still leave Apple with some catching up to do. Even though Apple’s iPhone is set to debut in June, Mr. Lewis pointed out that the iPhone will need to have a Wi-Fi connection nearby to download music on the fly.”

  4. I know that most of you will follow MDN’s lead and try to crucify Mr. Cohn. But if you read the original article, Mr. Cohn’s statemetns are more baffling than inflamatory.

    The key statemetn in the article: “(Mr. Pakman) believes he can still compete with iTunes because eMusic sells music in MP3 format, which runs on a wide variety of digital music players, unlike Apple’s FairPlay format for the iPod.

    What strikes me as very odd is that it sounds like Cohn’s quoting or paraphrasing Parkman. Which makes no sense. Parkman would surly know better than to make that statement. Admitedly, Cohn should know enought to challenge Parkman on this statement. But is possible that it’s Parkman making this statment? That’s how it reads to me.

  5. Big Al: but MP3 isn’t MPEG3. It’s MPEG 1 Audio Layer 3. I think that MDN meant AAC is the successor of MP3 in the sense that in near future it’s the default format of compressed digital music, just like MP3 has been.

  6. There is a major point to be gleaned from this article.

    1) There is FUD out there in an attempt to minimize the impact of Apple iTunes

    2) There needs to be an education of the public bu Apple on what AAC really is.
    Most of the public thinks one of the “A”s in AAC is Apple – and this perpetuates the idea that this is a closed format to Apple.

    3) The major news sources should be held accountable to get this right.

    4) We that know the difference should constantly challenge and enlighten those news sources that get it wrong and correct them

    – For all we know M$ might be the instigator in these articles to take the positive press away from Apple.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.