Music: A Personal View

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Some thoughts on the music issue – Nikita Chrystephan

Apple’s iTunes has now been released for Windows, and it brings with it the Apple Music Store. That brings its proprietary music format AAC, which is somewhat similar to Mp3 but adds DRM. As soon as I saw this, I wondered how long it would take for someone to make a program that would convert an AAC file to an Mp3 file and thereby make the whole DRM thing pretty much pointless. Of course, you already can burn to a CD and then rip that CD in Mp3. That may not even be bypassing DRM (which is illegal, as shown by holding the shift key – go HERE for an article on this).

I am a former p2per; I say former, because Kazaa is dying. More and more people are leeching and not sharing because the RIAA is succeeding in their mission to scare people. They scared me, and they’ve scared people I know who used to do p2p quite a lot. I am worried about this, because I tend to like obscure bands like Renaissance, Nick Vigarino, Terranova,and Fairport Convention. You can’t find those in most music stores even real ones.

With the online music stores that have less selection than your average Hastings, you simply can’t get these bands. I happen to live where there isn’t an actual Hastings within 100 miles of me, and it’s very inconvenient to travel that far to buy music. Thus, I am stuck with, which actually has a decent selection, but probably not as large as some people would like (I would like feedback as to whether everyone can find their favorite obscure groups there).

CD’s are not versatile. You get only certain songs, which are chosen by someone other than you. Many people do not want every song on that CD because, in their opinion, they aren’t all worth listening to (I have run into this myself from time to time, but I listen to talented enough groups usually that most of their songs have at least some redeeming qualities, which make them worth listening to at least sometimes).

Online music stores are versatile. You can download any song you want (albeit within their extremely limited selection). I like this, and I will eventually switch to buying music online partially because of this. However, I say this with a few reservations.

My first issue I have already brought up – the very limited selection of music is a serious problem, which will probably go away within a few years.

The second problem is worse: they are asking about the same price you pay for a CD (CDs average around $13, or maybe a little higher and average about that many songs) for a downloadable file that is little better in quality than an Mp3, if at all. This is far worse quality than a CD. The DRM on AAC files is pretty loose and I find I could live with it, if only because you can burn the files onto an audio CD and do away with those DRM controls entirely (I’ll explain why this is important to me later).

Yet, even with the lower quality on AAC, the prices are still the same as if you were buying a much higher quality song. I have quite a good stereo setup, with which I can hear the difference between and Mp3 and a CD quite clearly, and I don’t want pay the same for less.

The third problem with online music is the DRM.

As I recall, AAC lets you copy the file three times from the parent machine and onto an audio CD. However, if you happen to back up your AAC files by directly copying them onto a CD (without converting them to regular audio format), it will use up one of your copies; and if you format your original machine for whatever reason without first de-authorizing, you will have to download the song from Apple again. Then you’ll only have two uses left, having used one up (and you cannot get three uses from a copy of the originally downloaded file). From personal experience, I know that I cant always prepare like that for an unexpected system crash because it is *unexpected* Backing up I can do, de-authorizing is less realistic.

What I Would Like

Cheaper music downloads (remember I am used to getting this music for free, so even agreeing to the principal that I ought to pay for music at all is a major adjustment). I would not mind paying 50 cents a song, but I would really love an all-you-can-eat option, where I pay $30-40 dollars a month and get access to all the songs I want (note I am on a dial-up here). That’s way more than they make off me now and way more than they ever made off me in the past from record sales. Before, they probably made $50 a year, if that.

I expect selection to go up constantly, until it is greater than the offline selection, because they don’t have production costs. It doesn’t cost them very much to have a file sitting around on a hard drive somewhere. Next, there really should be a way to save your lost/reduced-sharing files if you lose them unexpectedly, yet still find a way to minimize/eliminate people trying to extend the use of their or other people’s AAC’s.

I always knew that eventually p2p would die, and I knew that I better get while the getting was good before it was all gone. Ever since Napster was shut down, I had prepared myself. However, I want to say that from personal experience, even though I have far more music now than I ought to for the amount of money I spent over the last few years on music, I think I spent more on music than I otherwise would have because I was exposed to music I hadn’t heard before and then went out and bought the CD, because it sounds better.

I am not a person who has ever spent a lot of money on music, though, so maybe people who did spend a lot on music spent less after using p2p than before, and probably people who either don’t notice or don’t care about sound quality spent less after p2p, but I didn’t.

Now, after I have voiced my opinion on the music scene, you may flame me all you want.

Nikita Chrystephan


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  1. A month and no one addressed this. Not a big issue I guess.
    1) What do you think of the information presented in the article, do you share the same opinions
    Many of the same points, yes. But while I understand not liking to buy a CD because you only want some tracks, there the matter of artistic integrity. Certainly some CDs are just compilations of stuff, but in others the artist spends a great deal of time picking the songs to include and the order that they are in.
    The quality is another issue. Getting an MP3 of a song is not the same quality is the original and shouldn't cost anywhere near the original.
    2) Is peer to peer dying due to the RIAA tactics or has the file sharing community moved elsewhere ?
    Don't know, not being a P2P person.
    Yes, p2p is dying, as it probably should. I'm a p2p user and know the difference between theft and use. Most of what I've used on the per to perr networks I've stole, and vice versa. It's a breeding ground for getting what you need without having to pay for it.
    Bottom line, if there's ever money to be made in writing software and/or making and recording music or movies, then p2p must die. As an artist who PAYS to have my music available to the public, I can atest to the frsutration in knowing I will likely NEVER make a dime off my work.
    I don't think their tactics will do a thing...the chances of getting caught still remains very minimal. Only ~200+ people have been caught, compared to the millions of users...!
    Second, I don't see how apple will ever make it in this realm. I know they are doing decent, as regular people are buying it. I would be very surprised to see 1 person switch off of kazaa to buy the songs. Imagine...spending $1/song when you get d/l it for'll never fly with the file sharing people. Especially when I know people that have 4000+ songs d/l...of course they wouldn't buy that stuff. I don't necessarily condone any file sharing...but you have to understand it's the most logical path. It's like paying $600 for Office XP Pro...or d/l it in a few hours.
    Originally posted by zabomb4163

    i got my copy for 22$ shipped thank you :p

    So your copy of XP Pro was pirated. There's no difference between buying a pirated copy and downloading one.
    Well, maybe one. You can delude yourself with the polite fiction that the software you bought was legit.
    ordered it directly from i'm pretty sure its not pirated :p .
    i'll a nice picture of the hollogram on the cd if you'd like. its 100% legit.
    1) some yes, some no
    2) no, but it is harder to find mainstream files from sharers (they are not going after downloaders), but there is a big movement towards trading live recording files from bands with open taping and trading policies (dispatch, phish, guster, oar, etc...). However, many of the people that trade legal tapes of this nature don't like the mp3 format because it is lossy.
    3) some yes, some no
    4) my opinion of these services (for the most part) is that they are the pirates. I should pay them same $$ for a cd when I get lower quality and a host of other issues. Try reasonable pricing and then we'll talk.
    What they need to make CDs reasonably priced. THAT will fix their 'declining CD sales' (which, btw, is a load of crap...maybe they've forgotten that we are just now recoving from a recession. Were they expecting sales to skyrocket?) A CD should cost around $5. That is what they should cost. Not 16.99 or whatever. Right now, I only buy like one CD every year tops. And its a band I really, REALLY like. Why? Because I'm not an idiot and I know that paying 18.00 bucks or whatever for one song thats currently popular and I'll be sick of in a month is a bad investment.
    I think the pay online services are a move in the right direction...but they aren't really enticing me with their prices or selection. I only want obscure stuff enough to pay for it, and they don't usually have that for sale.
    The Verizon case form earlier in the year was overturned recently. Have fun swapping again (until the RIAA figures out what to do next to seize grannie's pension).
    If money is to be made, writing software, and you are loosing money from P2P activities, then you are probably writing games... Which is the one and probably only downside to writing games. the big money is made on the Corporate CCT, in with the big boys like MS, SUN, IBM and the likes....
    ever wondered why Microsoft never really bothers with piracy protection on there stuff.... I have(wondered over it) and came to this conclusion..... They want as many people to be using there stuff at home after work as possible, because that makes for a workforce that would demand Microsoft at work, and it is there that MS is making the big killings. Companies will never use pirated stuff, It's not wort it. they much rather pay for it and have it add up for tax deduction perposes....
    my opinion is as it stands, just my opinion. :)
    I dont mind a 20 dollar or even 15 dollar price tag. What bothers me is bands dont get money. My new darkseed album import was 25 bucks. I woudlnt mind if the band got 15 bucks, store got 5 and the lable got 5. Even if the band got 10 and the rest was split up god knows how. If the music industry just gave artists a fair deal, i think alot of their problems would be solved. Oh yea plus it also goe on the musicians themselves. Do i really want to support someone like 50 cent?! (then again comming from a guy who supports bands that burns churchse *EmperoR rocsk!!*)
    ordered it directly from i'm pretty sure its not pirated .

    Sounds like someone works for Bestbuy or Circuit City! Best damned benefits ya get in those places. Although I wonder why the hell ATI has been trying to give away mini-fridges, and not video cards...
    What bothers me is bands dont get money.

    Here here! I have to agree 100% with that statement. If you remember back to the whole fiasco over the chick from TLC burning down a house and declaring bankruptcy, you might remember the question of income from CDs being raised many times. If my memory serves, a band is lucky to pull 50 cents per album... that's per band, not per member.
    Originally posted by DrSlinky

    Here here! I have to agree 100% with that statement. If you remember back to the whole fiasco over the chick from TLC burning down a house and declaring bankruptcy, you might remember the question of income from CDs being raised many times. If my memory serves, a band is lucky to pull 50 cents per album... that's per band, not per member.

    Indeed, which is why many artists wish to produce their own records (Eminem and Kid Rock stick out prominently in my mind). This is also the main reason why concert tickets, concert t-shirts, etc. cost so much, too.
    Music is Waaay overpriced. Where I live I pay about 29$ for a new album. I always buy my stuff(when I buy) from small stores. Don't like the chain stuff, cuz their selection is crappy.
    P2P won't die, it changes too. It all started with napster, then morpheus now kazaa. What will be the next big thing? Freenet or similar? RIAA is fighting a loosing battle. Copy protecting cd's have IMO failed big time.
    Online Music stores like iTunes have a good idea, but is still to limited and expensive. And I will NEVER pay for music compressed to a lossy format. If I pay I want perfect sound, cd-case,cover,etc.
    All in all, what ever the music/movie industri does there will be someone out there who finds a way to break it. Anyone heard of DVD-jon?
    ok first off, i'm really offended by all those a**holes out there who keep looking down their noses at me because they think im a warez junky p2p pirate, or some s*** like that. Get off your high horse.
    And secondly, the reason that p2p is such a huge thing is because of the vast corruptness of our society.
    Capitalism, quite frankly, is about the poorest form of society there is. I mean, it seems ok in theory, but so did communism, and we all know how that one turned out right?
    Capitalism, as you all know, is based on the principle of the free market. Companies vie for the consumer dollar, and that competition keeps the price down and the service up, because customers wont give their dollar for crappy service and a crappy product.
    The problem with capitalism, however, is that once that "free" market has been destroyed, the whole system collapses in on itself. And that free market begins to erode as certain corporate machines start to become a little bigger and tougher than the others.
    Companies such as microsoft, and the major recording industries in the united states. Microsoft is so massive and powerful that any attemps at trying to vie for its marketshare are nearly completely useless. How can a new company compete when huge corporations have the power to simply mass advertise around them, cut their prices to below what that small company could possibly afford, or hire off all their employees.
    And what is there to stop them? Notice how that huge lawsuit dropped so quickly as soon as the next Presidential elections were over? We'd all be nieve to think that that had nothing to do with such a quick resolution to the case.
    What am i trying to get at with all this? It's that theres so many corporate goliaths out there crushing any chance for competition that competition ceases to exist. So does the so called "free market", which has now become a dominated economic dictatorship. No competition to keep the prices down. No competition to keep the service up. So they just keep feeding us the same repackaged bs they've been giving us since the start, and the same crappy service.
    When microsoft starts charging over 200 dollars for yesterdays operating system with a pretty new gui, or record companies start charging us 25 bucks for some plastic priss in a latex bikini who cant sing worth a ****, or some prepackaged band with a cd full of catch phrases so obviously geared as another worthless marketing scheme to scam money of impressionable teens, then you know our societies gone to crap.
    And then they start blaming their own customers for turning away and "stealing" their products, since their prices are so high, their products are so crappy, and there's no alternative since all the competition has been crushed ages ago.
    You want my money RIAA? you can pry it out of my cold dead fingers.
    Charging me 200 dollars for a poorly written operating system that leaves me open to worms, viruses, hackers, spamming, and only god knows what else sounds like theft to me. Charging someone 20 dollars for a no talent band/singer singing formula bull****, and dancing around like their b#lls are tied to the ceiling fan, or jumping up and down whining about how their mommies dont understand them and the world is unfair cuz some stuckup priss wont go out with them? That sounds like fraud to me. What about nike employing little kids in third world countries to make our shoes for a dollar, then charging at least 400% markup just because they have so much marketshare and advertising power that people "trust their product over the competitors"
    Sure, downloading warez and mp3's is technically stealing, but look at the big picture. Aren't there laws against half the crap microsoft and the RIAA are trying to pull? But they can get away with it because they have lots of money, and money walks. Money opens doors otherwise closed. That theyre crushing the competition with their massive amount of wealth so that they can continue to charge through the roof is theft too, and the only difference between their thieving and our thieving is that we re small, and theyre big. They have enough money to pay off the judges and the politicians, and to backpedal and throw bull**** at the media to take eyes off of their wrongdoings, while making coalitions and campaigns against p2p and whatnot to punish us for ours.
    P2P will never die until either the music/software corporations stop overcharging and abusing us, or the means of accessing those p2p networks is pried from the cold dead fingers of every filesharer on the planet.
    I'll say it again, if they want my money, theyre gunna have to beat it out of me, cuz its not leaving my pocket until they make a product that deserves it.
    If bill gates was here id spit on his soon to be wrongfully knighted face.
    I agree with captain. If something can be obtained by a cheaper means, it will be. It does not matter if we are talking about a pair of socks, intellectual property, someones artistic endeavor, or porn. If the necessary means for the reproduction of such work exists and is widely available, then the work will be reproduced. The same arguments about peer to peer sharing could be made about the Xerox machine... and are equally irrelevant.
    If I could borrow my friends car, copy it, and reproduce it for free, I would. And so would you.
    i wouldnt mind buying music if any music worth a crap was being produced these days...
    I already have all the music worth owning
    i think the recording industry needs to focus on their artists more than their lawyers