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Amazon Plans Music Service To Rival iPod 161

Posted by Zonk
from the bringing-the-star-destroyers-around-for-a-broadside dept.
theodp writes "The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Amazon is in advanced talks with the four global music companies about a digital-music service that could be launched as soon as this summer. It would feature Amazon-branded portable music players, designed and built for the retailer, and a subscription service that would deeply discount and preload those devices with songs."
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Amazon Plans Music Service To Rival iPod

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  • They might want to check with the RIAA first to make sure that *that* is ok.
    • But wait! (Score:3, Interesting)

      That means that iTunes will have serious competition. It will be interesting to watch the battle. Competition is good.
      • Um- call it flamebait if you will, but is this like how A9 is slaying Google right now?
        Keep in mind that Wal Mart, the world's largest, most powerful retailer can't compete with iTunes with their music service. How many people even know Wal Mart has a music download service...
        Amazon is a great brand in many ways, but that doesn't mean they can roll right into a new business.
        • Actually Walmart is doing extremely well in competing with iTunes. They do it by selling the physical CDs in stores. Although some ./'ers may be suprised to learn it, Walmart actually is a much bigger (measured in revenue, employees and profit) company than all of Apple (and Microsoft, and just about every other high tech firm).

          Walmart moves a much greater revenue of music than Apple. So tell me again why they need a download service.

          Also, much like Apple uses iTunes to pull through iPod sales (or vice vers
        • Keep in mind that Wal Mart, the world's largest, most powerful retailer can't compete with iTunes with their music service. How many people even know Wal Mart has a music download service...
          Amazon is a great brand in many ways, but that doesn't mean they can roll right into a new business.


          Misguided, yes. Flamebait, no.

          What was the last TV commercial you saw that advertised Wal*Mart's music download service? Radio commercial? Commercial in their own in-store TV network? What? You haven't seen one?

          THAT
      • Marketing theory: Every new competitor that comes out helps the one in the #1 spot.

        Amazon will be fighting Sony, Microsoft, Yahoo, perhaps even the evil Google, and every other iPod/iTMS wannabe.

        They may have a business case, but they won't be aiming to overthrow Apple in the #1 spot. Every advertising dollar they spend will benefit not only themselves, but Apple. By increasing the choices and inserting even more noise into the equation, even more people will flock to the #1 choice.

        Reminder to competitors s
        • Marketing theory: Every new competitor that comes out helps the one in the #1 spot.

          So does this mean that every dollar Apple spends on marketing the Mac OS also helps the Windows OS?
          • If the first statement were true it would seem to imply the truth of the second. Wonder what the fact that the first one is utter bollocks implies?
          • Well, first off I don't see Apple advertising the OS very often. Never seen a commercial, radio or otherwise. They advertise their hardware & software, which together as a package, Microsoft doesn't offer. At this point, that would leave them competing with the likes of Dell, etc, and my guess is that Apple has enough brand recognition to seperate themselves to the consumer at this point in time.

            However, I'm not defending the theory, it's just that I happen to see how it wouldn't be an issue here

  • by VJ42 (860241) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @09:19AM (#14732278)
    With Apple having such dominance of the market, will they be able to compete? Afterall, even now every commonplace mp3 player is oten referred to as an iPod, so won't people just think of this as an "Amazon iPod"? Unless they have a few tricks up their sleeve, some people will take this as a cheap copy and want "the real thing (tm)"
    • Afterall, even now every commonplace mp3 player is oten referred to as an iPod, so won't people just think of this as an "Amazon iPod"? Unless they have a few tricks up their sleeve, some people will take this as a cheap copy and want "the real thing (tm)"

      This is the mistake every mp3 player manufacturer is making. They assume that Apple's iPod represents the state of the art, and all they can hope to do is compete with substandard products priced lower than the lowest iPod.

      It's a nonsense of course. These
      • Yeah, I don't know why they don't just use their magic powers of extrapolation and come up with a vastly superior product like you just did. I don't get what's wrong with them....
      • As it is, why would I pay $200 for a shoddy 2GB flash player, when I could just pay $400 and get a 40GB video iPod.

        No moving parts? I waited for the nano specifically for the lack of an HD, as I dropped my discman about twice a year.

      • Excellent points! My personal experience is that there are many segments of the market that are not being explored at all. I searched for a portable mp3 player for months before finally buying a Nano a couple weeks ago. While it was indeed a stylish, nice little device, it was completely unsuited for my needs so I took it back and bought an iRiver T10.

        You see, I wanted an mp3 player for some hard-core fitness use. An iPod lpoks great attached to the arm (arm strap not included btw) of the hot chick wal

        • by molarmass192 (608071) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @11:16AM (#14733574) Homepage Journal
          People associate Apple with cool, edgy, and young. Meanhile, Microsoft is only geek cool, not nerd cool, and certainly not cool to the general population. People view Microsoft through the cheap, stale,retrictive, crap software they have to deal with at the office. Apple provides an escape from that. It's those flashy computers that you only see in cool Apple stores, not with a $300 rebate coupon at BestBuy. An iPod is a status symbol and the fact that it doesn't play WMA makes it that much cooler to nerds, I doubt the general pop gives a hoot about that lack. iRiver, while making better and even more expensive players, simply does not have the cachet of an iPod in a "that guy couldn't even afford an iPod ... what a loser" sense. It plays into the "low end luxury snob" trend that America is so deeply into these days with other non-necessities like Starbucks and high end restaurants.
          • It plays into the "low end luxury snob" trend that America is so deeply into these days with other non-necessities like Starbucks and high end restaurants.

            I love this trend. It enables me to live comfortably, despite my lower salary.
          • It plays into the "low end luxury snob" trend that America is so deeply into these days with other non-necessities like Starbucks and high end restaurants.

            Not quite sure which "it" you are referring to, iRiver or iPod? Funny you mention Starbucks though because that is in line with my mental stereotype of an iPod user. For lack of any better word, the iPod seemed rather metrosexual to me... very pretty, very stylish - but not very mannly in a rugged or 100-button remote sense. I'm not into style enoug

          • Please define "geek cool" versus "nerd cool". And then explain how Microsoft fits into it at all. TIA.
        • You see, I wanted an mp3 player for some hard-core fitness use. An iPod lpoks great attached to the arm (arm strap not included btw) of the hot chick walking on the treadmill at the gym - but try using an iPod while running intervals. I listen to language tapes a lot so am frequently pausing and resuming the player. This means I have to be holding the device and in the case of the iPod, looking at it you want to hit the right button if you are doing anything other than sitting down.

          'm curious, how did

          • 'm curious, how did getting an iRiver solve your problem? Surely it operates by physical contact, rather than telepathy? If your answer is 'I sued the remote,' then why didn't you just use a remote for the iPod? If you prefer the iRiver, then fair enough, your choice, but the iPod does seem to meet your needs here.

            I guess I didn't go into adequate detail but here goes... the iPod wheely-thing has not tactile feedback until you have pressed a button. You have to *look* at it to make sure your finger is ov

          • "You make that sound like a bad thing :^) Seriously though, why would you want to use WMA? Have you purchased songs from a WMA music store? It would seem odd if you encoded your own stuff in WMA, but then also want OGG support. Personally, I'm quite happy with AAC, but my entire collection is encoded in it and I've shopped at the iTMS."

            Because all music subscription services are offered using WMA. Either that or have Apple license Fairplay so others can support iPod.
      • This is the mistake every mp3 player manufacturer is making. They assume that Apple's iPod represents the state of the art, and all they can hope to do is compete with substandard products priced lower than the lowest iPod.

        I don't think the manufacturers are thinking that the iPod is 'the state of the art'.

        I think the manufacturers have figured out that everyone now knows what an iPod is, and generally don't have a clue what a 'portable MP3 player' is.

        People are familiar with it and what it does, and the na

    • by binaryDigit (557647) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @09:42AM (#14732505)
      What Amazon has that others don't that may allow them to compete effectively against the iPod/iTMS:

      - An established, well trafficed website. People already go to Amazon to shop for music and videos, allowing them to immediately download instead of purchasing a cd/dvd is an obvious evolutionary step. They don't need to try to drive people to use their service, people already do.

      - Purchase hardware directly from them. If they do indeed sell a hardware player as well, then this makes it even easier for the consumer. "Hey, I'm thinking of buying a mp3 player, I'll go over to Amazon and check them out". And lo and behold, you can purchase the Amazon player and get whatever music you order pre-loaded onto the sucker in one fell swoop. Even Apple doesn't offer this level of service.

      - Amazon already has relationships with the music industry and they are "established" enough to be a credible (in the eyes of the industry) alternative. Remember, Jobs and the music industry don't exactly see eye-2-eye on issues like pricing. I bet the music industry execs are chomping at the bit to play with someone who will bow more to their desires in order to establish a foothold.

      Not to say that this Amazon player is a shoo-in, but I think it's probably the most credible challenge to the Apple "monopoly" that has come around in a while. It will indeed be interesting to see if they can gain some measure of success vs the iPod/iTMS steamroller, or if they just end up sucking up all the after rans, in effect winnowing the market to two players.
      • I bet the music industry execs are chomping at the bit to play with someone who will bow more to their desires in order to establish a foothold.

        If Amazon sets up a store that gives the RIAA a bigger piece of the revenue, either: (a) Amazon charges more than iTMS in order to make the same profit; or (b) music prices are equivalent, and Amazon makes less money than Apple. Case (a) means that people will continue to buy music from iTMS due to its lower prices. Case (b) means that Amazon will make less mone
      • by Qwavel (733416)

        Amazon might be able to distinguish itself from iTunes in the way you've described, but Yahoo already has many of these things: one of the internet's most popular web sites, the ability to tie together a set of offerings, a subscription model and better prices than iTunes.

        So how is Amazon going to compete with Yahoo when Yahoo has a years head start?

      • - An established, well trafficed website. People already go to Amazon to shop for music and videos, allowing them to immediately download instead of purchasing a cd/dvd is an obvious evolutionary step. They don't need to try to drive people to use their service, people already do.

        Apple has the same thing. Only you can purchase music in the same player you are listening to the music in - a step closer to the consumer.

        - Purchase hardware directly from them. If they do indeed sell a hardware player as well, th
      • Amazon already has relationships with the music industry and they are "established" enough to be a credible (in the eyes of the industry) alternative. Remember, Jobs and the music industry don't exactly see eye-2-eye on issues like pricing. I bet the music industry execs are chomping at the bit to play with someone who will bow more to their desires in order to establish a foothold.

        This I can't wait to see. Amazon is already going to be playing catch up competing against iTunes as it is, they're really goi
  • by creimer (824291) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @09:20AM (#14732286) Homepage
    I like buying books and DVDs from Amazon. But there's no coolness factor associated with having a music player from a warehouse operation. The iPod, on the other hand, is a cultural icon that everyone must have..
    • That's BS. It's funny that most mac zealots like to be overcharged. They always justify it by claiming the "cool factor". Music is Music. If people can get a better deal from somewhere else they will. When you hear the music playing it's not like you can tell where it was purchased from anyways.

      • When you compare iPod to their nearest competitor, the Creative players. iPods are actually CHEAPER that their creative counterparts.

        The argument that iPods are overpriced doesn't hold water anymore...
    • The poster hits it right on the head! There's a whole slew of MP3 players out there, all of which do exactly the same thing... They play music. Some have some nifty features as well, others have longer battery life, smaller size, yada yada... But Apple has built in this "coolness" factor. If you have an iPod, you are part of the "in crowd", doorways open, and girls want to make sweet sweet love to you!
    • And for how much longer will the coolness factor last? The problem with fashion is that it goes out of fashion, and that will happen to the iPod as well. The iPod was cool two or three years ago, these days, it's getting rather stale. Apple will need to renew the lineup, as it has done successfully with the Nano, and rather unsuccessfully with the white chewing gum thingy.

      But it's still not enough. Most people are followers, but they don't want to be perceived as such. Thus, they follow people who are able
      • Don't be two quick to think Apple will let that happen. I agree, that the current iPod will eventually go out of style, but NEVER underestimate Apple's ability to understand cultural trends, and be able to reinvent their image on the fly: it's called Steve Jobs, and it's what makes him a genius. Apple has been able to keep its public image as "the underdog ready to fly in the face of corperate mongers" since it's debut. They hold it today just as much as they did when they launched the super bowl ad back in

    • The Coolness Factor...

      After reading that subjectline I was expecting an intellectually stimulating lecture on the intricacies of modern refrigeration technology. Now I am disappointed...
  • Partnership (Score:5, Informative)

    by Billosaur (927319) * <wgrother@OOOopto ... inus threevowels> on Thursday February 16, 2006 @09:20AM (#14732289) Journal
    Among the manufacturers Amazon has mentioned as likely partners for a subsidized hardware offering is Samsung Electronics Co., whose flair for stylish design is raising hopes among music executives that the initiative could create a strong alternative to iPod. A representative at Samsung's headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, couldn't be reached for comment.

    Samsung makes excellent products. I own a Samsung laser printer and microwave, and used to have one of their cell phones till my wife got me a Motorola upgrade for Christams two years ago. Their products are pretty reliable and robust, and if thay can create a decent MP3 player for Amazon, it should give the iPod a run for its money, though I suspect Apple's lead will shrink but never disappear unless they make some crucial marketing mistake.

    • oh.. i always found smasung products, particularly their cellphones, lackng in refinement... and i think that could be even more important in an ipod competitor..
    • I own a Samsung laser printer and microwave

      I like their all-in-one laser printer / copier / scanner. The most surprising Samsung item I own is a refrigerator and I must say, as far as refrigerators go, that it "totally rocks".
  • by Shag (3737)
    ...smaller than a Nomad. ...no support for OGG Vorbis. ...I forget the other "fault" that was noted when the iPod debuted. ;)
  • Headline (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Gatton (17748)
    Amazon Plans Music Service To Rival iPod

    I assume you mean to rival iTunes? As far as I know Apple isn't selling their own brand of hardware player. Should be interesting. The digital music download space is getting pretty crowded.

  • iPod and iTunes (Score:4, Informative)

    by acaben (80896) * <bstanfield&gmail,com> on Thursday February 16, 2006 @09:22AM (#14732305)
    An iPod is a one of several small portable units used to listen to digitial music on. It is not a service. The iTunes Music Store is an online venue where you can purchase music. It might be considered by some to be a service, and is what Amazon is actually competing with. And even then, it's not really competition. Amazon is going to offer a subscription service. iTMS allows you to buy individual songs and albums and own them for perpetuity, as long as you agree to their crappy DRM.
  • ipod killer huh? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by minus_273 (174041) <aaaaa@SPAM. y a h oo.com> on Thursday February 16, 2006 @09:23AM (#14732308) Journal
    ipod killer huh? how many times have we heard that recently. It is interesting though that amazon is now in the hardware business. Oh wait, the article title "Plans Music Service To Rival iPod" is wrong.

    Oh crap. they are getting into the hardware business.. and the article title is from the WSJ not slashdot. The summary says nothing about that though. i wonder how many people who didnt RTFA are going to post something like the paragraph above. :-p

  • DRM (Score:1, Flamebait)

    Is it going to be so crippled with DRM that I can't so much as plug a second set of speakers into my PC to listen to it on? This is all from the same company that stocked those Sony rootkit CDs. Do you really want to trust your system to them?
     
    • I'm sorry but I think the Sony comment was a little harsh. I totally detest what Sony have done, and I have since refused to buy Sony CDs, but to blame Amazon is just plain petty. Every online and offline mainstream CD dealer under the sun will stock those Sony CDs, before an after the scare.

      I'm not one for sticking up for big business (yes, I'm one of the socialist liberal communist terrorists you all seem to hate these days) but I can honestly say I've never had reason to complain with Amazon.

  • by solidtransient (883338) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @09:25AM (#14732330) Homepage
    call it iMazon... no wait...
  • Our local record store just closed down, what a great shop it was too. Now this Amazon shop is coming, somehow I don't think it will exude the same charm that I got from our local shop. Hmm, I guess I should bought more records there and spent less time flirting with the cute girls behind the counter, darn.

    But on another note, I wonder much kicking and screaming the record company execs did as they were being dragged by collars into this by the many smarter people around them?
  • They Might Have to (Score:2, Insightful)

    by slashbob22 (918040)
    If we bow to RIAA's pressure, then Amazon's CD sales may be in trouble. "Even if CDs do become damaged, replacements are readily available at affordable prices." [ RIAA [slashdot.org]]. While Amazon does sell at decent prices, the mere fact that you cannot backup your purchases may signal the end of an era.

    The CD medium has been a double edged sword for RIAA - the popularity of music on CD's over the past decade has increased sales and the influx of technology has made copying CD's easier. While I will argue that there a
  • by pubjames (468013) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @09:28AM (#14732371)
    It's just struck me that an interesting trend is occuring. During the 90's, the company that owned the software was the winner, in other words, Microsoft became so dominant in the PC industry because they dominated the OS space, the hardware just became a commodity. They (and pretty much everyone else) though the same thing would happen in the mobile and 'living room' spaces. But it's not - the hardware is becoming more important - Microsoft realise that they only way they are getting into people's living rooms is coming out with their own hardware (the X-Box). Similarly in the mobile space, it's the ones that control the hardware that are going to win - so to compete in the digital content market Amazon is having to make its own version of the iPod, and Microsoft is also considering it. So we have software companies and online shops turning into electronics manufacturers.

     
    • It's NOT changing technology that is driving this. It's control. Be it DRM or whatever. Companies have started to realize they can "lock in" customers by vertically integrating hardware and software (and DRM). In the past, this didn't work because there was always an alternative that you could switch to. But with the new laws and new business practices for commerce, this has all been turned on it's head.

      It's not that all the technologies CAN'T work together. It's that the companies producing the u
    • Microsoft may want to change their name to Microhard.
  • by jav1231 (539129) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @09:29AM (#14732388)
    "Amazon looking to dump tons of cash on HUGE tax write-off!"
  • by Sunburnt (890890) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @09:31AM (#14732405)
    What, exactly, is Amazon going to be banking on by branding a line of music players? Their history for making functional, attractive gadgets? Hmm...no, that's Apple. Is the consumer expected to look at an Amazon-branded MP3 player they've never seen before and think, "Ah, Amazon! They do such a good job shipping gifts on or around Christmas, I'll bet their digital music service rocks?"

    This has all the trappings of another expensive mistake.
    • What people on /. seem to forget is that on average they are on the upper-end of the income curve.

      Not everyone can afford to drop $200-$300 on a fancy iPod, that's why there is still a market for $30 CD players at Walmart. But if Amazon's supply chain can bring the cost of an iPod-alike down to $70 or below, they will capture that whole other market segment Apple has ignored - the ones that don't care about trendy and hip, the ones that care about value. AKA the majority of the populace.
      • "the ones that don't care about trendy and hip, the ones that care about value. AKA the majority of the populace."

        I don't think so. You're talking about small gadget-ey consumer electronics devices. Trendy and hip IS the name of the game. The majority of the populace does want the cooler device, totally explaining the massive iPod sales.

        But what about humans on this planet that don't own an iPod? Easy. They don't care. They don't want or need a digital music player. Not everybody has an iPod, but the
      • Ummm, you can buy a genuine iPod Shuffle for $69.
    • Is the consumer expected to look at an Amazon-branded MP3 player they've never seen before and think, "Ah, Amazon! They do such a good job shipping gifts on or around Christmas, I'll bet their digital music service rocks?"

      Amazon is evolving into something like the Sears, Roebuck catalog, which was in every middle class home for 100 years. I think this can work.

    • "What, exactly, is Amazon going to be banking on by branding a line of music players? Their history for making functional, attractive gadgets? Hmm...no, that's Apple. Is the consumer expected to look at an Amazon-branded MP3 player they've never seen before and think, "Ah, Amazon! They do such a good job shipping gifts on or around Christmas, I'll bet their digital music service rocks?""

      Apple is run by a bunch of pricks that don't play fair, or is that Fairplay. So you can't sell music for an major record l
  • by Overzeetop (214511) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @09:31AM (#14732411) Journal
    DRM. And I mean ugly, tight, restictive, ball-in-a-vice DRM.

    There was no mention of compatibility with iPod, or any other player, that I read. This sounds more like an Audible-like service, but for music. Near total lock in to the Amazon format, without any portability.
    • And this is different to iPod/iTunes, how?

      I would be surprised if you would not be able to rip your own CDs or add existing MP3s you already have.
      • And this is different to iPod/iTunes, how?

        Uh, it doesn't have 80% of the mp3 player market share?

        -Eric

      • How? (Score:4, Informative)

        by SuperKendall (25149) * on Thursday February 16, 2006 @12:29PM (#14734374)
        And this is different to iPod/iTunes, how?

        I can burn a CD from protected AAC files today, as many times as I like. Think you'll be able to do that with the Amazon songs?

        How many computers will the Amazon songs work with (this is more likley to match ITMS, but it's a good question).

        Can I go to Bolivia for a month and keep playing my music? Not if Amazon is a subscription model, it will have to phone home with regularity to make sure I own what I am playing. Apple doesn't collect stattistics on what you are playing, but Amazon could (admittedly with a low sampling interval).

        Basically, do you like owning or renting? That's the difference.
        • by daBass (56811)
          That is a little short sighted. First of all, it's speculation, you don't know what will happen when you go to bolivia with the music on your laptop or how many computers you may use. My suspicion is that it will keep playing what you have until instructed otherwise, it is not going to check every single time you press play, so let's wait and see.

          Secondly, you can be sure that any music on your "aPod" will keep working wherever you are for as long as you want.

          Thirdly, you don't own anything with buying from
    • There was no mention of compatibility with iPod, or any other player, that I read. This sounds more like an Audible-like service, but for music.
      Actually, Audible works with the iPod [audible.com] however this is because Audible got their software onto the iPod rather than getting Apple to license Fairplay.
  • What sales tactics? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Fe11Drake (945093)
    I'd be more concerned with how Amazon might push CD sales with this scheme... imagine: Buy our flashy .com branded player, and we'll preload them with music for you! ... provided you first buy the album from us in retail form, at "deeply slashed" prices. as for individual song sales, how can they find a sales model to rival iTunes? And is Amazon going to go proprietary in regards to file format, or will they stick with .mp3? I'd imagine they'd have to license that out too, if you wanted your A-maz-pod to
  • Enough (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Luscious868 (679143) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @09:33AM (#14732428)

    Until something actually rivals (or is beginning to rival) the iPod / iTMS combination, can we please stop having these stories? If I see one more iPod / iTMS rival and/or killer story then I'm going to throw up. They are just about as annoying as latest story on the next new thing that Google is supposedly working on.

  • by museumpeace (735109) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @09:33AM (#14732429) Journal
    it puts the lie to claims, now greenlighted to go to trial, that Apple Ipod/Itunes is a monopoly. Well, of course Amazon will seek to make the music files it sells iPod compatible. Right?
  • Does it play mp3's?
  • by Shag (3737) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @09:42AM (#14732511) Homepage
    Dear Mr. Bezos (can I call you Jeff?),

    I think the idea of selling music players preloaded with music is really, really great. Totally. But I don't think you need to cannibalize your existing business to do it.

    Take a look at your company's "Top Sellers" page for electronics [amazon.com].

    Note that six of the top ten are iPods. (The others are lower-price, and probably lower-profit, items.)

    (You might also note that seven of the top ten items on your company's "Top Sellers" page for computers [amazon.com] happen to be Apple products. See a trend?)

    You, of all people, know that people want iPods. And you're more than happy to sell them to them. Lots and lots and lots of them.

    Soooo... I hope you're also talking to Apple about this idea. Yes, their DRM doesn't really work well with the idea of a new portable device showing up with music on it that's not on the user's computer... but then, does anyone's?

    But if you asked, I bet they'd be willing to help you set up some sweet bundles of iPods and high-ticket iTunes Music Store cards, with a nice margin built in for you. After all, you move a lot of kit for them.

    And maybe Steve and Bono would even let you be on stage with them sometime. Wouldn't that be neat?

    • "Note that six of the top ten are iPods. (The others are lower-price, and probably lower-profit, items.)"

      There's an interesting dichotomy here on Slashdot. I imagine we all stand up for ourselves in real life, but when discussing (a) record companies or (b) potential iPod competitors, the consensus is "go ahead and curl up and die already." Would we tolerate such wimpy behavior from our friends, our loved ones, our children?

      "You, of all people, know that people want iPods. And you're more than happ

      • Apple would likely play the "okay, we're not going to sell you ipods k thx bye" card.

        No, they wouldn't. It would not only be stupid, it would be a real anti-trust violation - not like the wanky false accusation of anti-trust in the "iPod-iTunes lock-in" whine.

  • Not impressed (Score:3, Interesting)

    by BewireNomali (618969) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @09:43AM (#14732525)
    This won't be competition for the ipod/itunes.

    the itunes issue isn't about cost. music is anonymously free all over the net. people WANT to pay for itunes. an amazon branded electronics device won't be competition for the ipod for two reasons: (1) its going to have to be spectacular to compete with the ipod on looks/UI alone (harder than it sounds), and (2) people like to know who is making their products (i.e. a brand). Amazon isn't known as an electronics maker - it's like Walmart selling a DAP.

    I haven't read the article, but if Amazon expects its brand to move DAPS, they are mistaken. If they think they can honestly compete with Apple on heart-share (Apple succeeds in establishing an emotive connection with its users, thus inspiring loyalty - it's like a wierd kind of nationalism or something) or on design - it seems like a fools errand.
  • No reason why they shouldn't succeed... provided they get a UI at least as good as iTunes, and mp3 players that at least match iPods for ease of use. Those are two very big ifs but Apple won't be number one forever. There have been endless debates about why no one else is able to compete. Think we've pretty much established why iTunes and iPods are successful. To replicate it would be difficult but not impossible.
  • iPod players make up 80% of the mp3 player market. Amazon's songs won't play on an iPod. Doesn't take a genius to do the math here.

    -Eric

  • by Rogerborg (306625) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @10:14AM (#14732829) Homepage

    So, let me try and get this straight. I can't sell my current player on eBay with pre-loaded tracks, but I can buy a new one from Amazon with pre-loaded tracks? OK, fine, what happens when I want to sell the Amazon one? Can I sell it with those pre-loaded tracks (and only those, and how do I know several years down the line which ones were pre-loaded) or do I have to strip them off as well? Can I copy them off and back them up? If the device dies and needs a hardware replacement, can (and will) Amazon pre-load the new hardware with the same tracks, or do I have to pay for them again? Will my insurance cover the cost of replacing these tracks (and any others that I've downloaded) as well as the device if it's broken or stolen, and even if does in theory, how can I prove that they were actually still on the device when it was lost?

    It's a bit rich for music megacorps to demand that we respect copyright law when an informed and educated person can't in all honesty figure out what the law is, or specifically how it applies in cases like these.

  • The thing that scares me about this scheme is the statement that you can continue to play the preloaded music as long as you continue to pay your monthly fee.

    I was absolutely shocked when I discovered this same method with my DVR (through Rogers). When my credit card expirey date came, they promptly shut off my cable and told me to contact the support line (pretty rude if you ask me... should have just asked me to contact them on my previous bill). But even ruder was the fact that *I couldn't view the mat
  • by h2d2 (876356)

    "Preloading" here doesn't mean there gonna load their Mp3 Players with "goodies" like those promised used iPods from eBay. Instead, it means that you will be able to by a bunch of songs along with your Amazon Mp3 Player that will be loaded on to the player prior to delivery. And I am sure this would be a introductory special offer, like by an Amazon Mp3 Player and get 50 free songs (or 25; or 100!)

    Oh, and before you go on and bash this service to be "loaded with DRM bullshit", please tell how exactly is Ap

  • by Churla (936633) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @11:50AM (#14733951)
    Your music "service" is for an unlimited number of downloads for a flat fee per month. (As others are doing)
    Your music doesn't "expire" if they cancel account. (That's just a crappy thing to do, might as well go the iPod route then.)

    And the kicker to hook people in.. You go to Amazon to shop for a CD, for an extra $1 when you buy it you can download all the songs from it into your device right then so you can listen while the CD is being shipped. This could be with or without subscription. (Make it free if you have a subscription so that someone buying 5-10 CD's at amazon might be better off getting a months subscription which hooks them on your service!)

  • ...Amazon announces they are gonna FUCKING KILL GOOGLE!

  • Apple uses iTMS to promote iPods. Amazon wants to discount portable music players to promote a subscription service. I'd prefer a subscription service for online music. Who wants to "own" a DRMed file. Might as well just rent them.
  • by Radak (126696) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @02:44PM (#14735825) Journal
    There is one way I can see an Amazon-branded player/service work, and that is for Amazon to pair digital downloads with physical purchases, at least optionally.

    We are all impatient when we buy a new CD. We want to hear the music right now. For a lot of people, this means stealing a copy of the music to hear in the interim. Unfortunately for the industry, for a lot more, it means stealing the music outright and never paying for it.

    So what if Amazon let me buy a CD on their site and then immediately download all the tracks to my Amazon-branded player, and then a few days later, the physical disc arrived in the mail for me to add to my collection, at which point I could erase the digital copy from my player, or just leave it there and continue to listen to that copy, secure in the knowledge that I have a physical copy, with artwork, securely stored at home?

    The ability to buy online and listen instantly *coupled* with the ability to own a physical CD copy of something is the one thing every digital download service thusfar has failed to deliver and is the one reason I don't use any of them. I have an iPod, but I've never bought a single track from iTMS. I still buy CDs and rip them to mp3 to fill my iPod, and yes, sometimes I P2P a copy of something I've just bought, because I want to hear it without waiting for it to arrive.

    If Amazon provided this kind of service, paired with a high quality, functional Amazon-branded player, I would seriously consider dumping my iPod for their player. I don't see any other program being successful for them.

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