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Yahoo! Sells, Advocates DRM-Free Music 244

Posted by Zonk
from the could-have-picked-a-better-lead-artist dept.
prostoalex writes "Jessica Simpson's 'A Public Affair' will be sold on Yahoo! Music in MP3 format with no DRM attached. According to Yahoo! Music blog, this is a big deal for the major online music store: 'As you know, we've been publicly trying to convince record labels that they should be selling MP3s for a while now. Our position is simple: DRM doesn't add any value for the artist, label (who are selling DRM-free music every day -- the Compact Disc), or consumer, the only people it adds value to are the technology companies who are interested in locking consumers to a particular technology platform. We've also been saying that DRM has a cost. It's very expensive for companies like Yahoo! to implement. We'd much rather have our engineers building better personalization, recommendations, playlisting applications, community apps, etc, instead of complex provisioning systems which at the end of the day allow you to burn a CD and take the DRM back off, anyway!'"
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Yahoo! Sells, Advocates DRM-Free Music

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  • please explain (Score:4, Informative)

    by yagu (721525) * <yayagu@gmai l . com> on Thursday July 20, 2006 @07:05PM (#15753411) Journal

    Please explain to me what this really is. I visited the page, and what it looks to be is the users' ability to download an unfettered "customized" mp3 from Simpson where (I assume) a laundry list of common names are inserted into the mp3 (dubbed, no doubt)... giving the customer the illusion of some connection with the artist. (So far, it appears a more correct headline would have been "Yahoo advocates DRM-free music, offers one DRM-free song from their catalog!)"

    Obscene marketing and subterfuge aside, I find nothing in the general Yahoo Music offerings to suggest the rest of their music is offered unfettered, free of DRM. Indeed, the FAQ includes the following info:

    1. Yahoo! Music does not permit copying or transferring music files to other users. Share function available only for subscribers to access another subscriber's Yahoo! Music Unlimited music files.
    2. Using Yahoo! Music Unlimited subscription music with a portable device requires Microsoft Windows XP and is subject to an extra monthly/annual subscription fee and is not included in this free trial offer. See details during registration.
    3. Yahoo! Music Unlimited: $59.88 per year, billed annually (that's just $4.99 per month); or $6.99 per month, billed monthly. Yahoo! Music Unlimited is available to U.S.-based subscribers only.

    There is also a "requirement for Windows Media Player 9.0 or higher mentioned on the Yahoo Music home page -- sheeeesh!.

    Any information/explanation or evidence to the contrary would be greatly appreciated, because, other than the free advertising, I'm not seeing any change in direction from Yahoo on this one.

    • Re:please explain (Score:5, Informative)

      by Bryansix (761547) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @07:19PM (#15753502) Homepage
      Yahoo! Music Unlimited is a subscription based service. This is not what the article is refering to. It is refering to the actual selling of music files. With the service you do not own any music but simply pay a fee to be able to access Yahoo!'s collection of music. If you bought the song in question then you would own it outright.
    • by hackstraw (262471) * on Thursday July 20, 2006 @07:20PM (#15753512)
      Re:please explain

      I second the motion.

      WTF? Being a good slashdotter, I did not read the article before checking out the posts, and then I read the parent post and had to check this out for myself.

      So, for $2 I can have my name embedded somehow in a music file of Jessica Simpson? Maybe having her titties embedded in my face, I might throw down $2, but after reading the two links, I still don't see what the extra $1 gives me over a standard $1 track.

      I'm all for the token statement against DRM. Its dead on. Yes, DRM free stuff is sold every day. Yes, its still practically illegal or at least easier and better to get MP3s the old fashioned way that are free of DRM. But I have no clue what the point of this Yahoo! thing is besides a slashvertisement astroturfing or whatever you call marketing today.

      • Re:please explain (Score:5, Informative)

        by cliath (978599) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @07:59PM (#15753704)
        The big deal is that Yahoo! actually got the record company to allow them to sell DRM free music.
        • by Zemran (3101)
          Great, so now we can buy stuff we don't want the way we want it but we still cannot buy stuff we want.
        • Well said, I was about to point that out!

          Seriously, I hope this is not a one off, and I hope people actually BUY this song, even if just for the sake of helping Yahoo proove this model of DRM free music actually *works*.
      • WTF? Being a good slashdotter, I did not read the article before checking out the posts... Maybe having her titties embedded in my face, I might throw down $2, but after reading the two links, I still don't see what the extra $1 gives me over a standard $1 track."


        Being a good Slashdotter, I have to ask if maybe the extra $1 will offer any tentacle interaction.
      • by identity0 (77976) on Friday July 21, 2006 @12:49AM (#15754681) Journal
        Bart Simpson: "Hello, I'd like to be included in the song please. Last name Diekoff, first name Aikatmai."

        Jessica Simpson: "OOOh, baby, I want you so bad, Aikatmai Diekoff! ... Damnit! Listen, you little saw-headed twerp, if I ever catch you, I'm going to shove my Botox needles down your eyeballs and sic my Pomeranian on your ass!"
    • Re:please explain (Score:5, Informative)

      by Luke Psywalker (869266) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @08:01PM (#15753712)
      The tracks have unique inaudible soundwave watermarks that can be traced back to the buyer if they are found on P2P networks. This is the only reason the labels are going for it. The tech comes from Fraunhofer [fraunhofer.de]

      • Do you have a source for that claim?
      • Re:please explain (Score:5, Interesting)

        by trewornan (608722) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @08:56PM (#15753918)
        Spread frequency watermarks are only effective with individual files (effective means that altering the file enough to guarantee removing the watermark causes an unacceptable loss in quality). If you've got lots of files with different data in the watermark (like the name of the buyer) you can remove the watermark from any file without significant loss in quality. There is (to the best of my knowledge) currently no watermarking system robust to this attack.

        You could therefore set up a system where the more people share a file the better quality file can be downloaded - and still guarantee removal of all watermarks specific to any one purchaser.

        It's theoretically possible at least but whether a workable system could be set up in practice I don't know.

        Less sophisticated watermarking systems (like least significant bit) are trivial to defeat and I assume no competent company is using them.
        • Re:please explain (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Cylix (55374)
          Assumming the only variance is the watermark and the tracks are sample for sample nearly the same... it would make it rather not-difficult to remove the water mark.

          Of course, unless there is some padding involved, the file hash will be different. So would that cause every variation to show up on a p2p network. ie, your search for "Bad Artist - Bad Song" produces 900 results. I'm assumming most P2P apps use a simple md5 sum or some such hash generated to match exact files.

          Now come up with an alternate hash
          • Re:please explain (Score:5, Interesting)

            by trewornan (608722) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @11:19PM (#15754407)

            I'm no expert and this stuff is cutting edge but I'll try my best to address some of your comments.

            Assumming the only variance is the watermark and the tracks are sample for sample nearly the same... it would make it rather not-difficult to remove the water mark

            It's not as simple as this comment seems to imply, spread frequency watermarks use transforms (obviously DFT was one of the first to be used) so you can't simply average two files and expect to remove the watermarks.

            the file hash will be different. So would that cause every variation to show up on a p2p network . . . assumming most P2P apps use a simple md5 sum or some such

            Identifying copies of the same file with different watermarks would definitely be a problem - you'd probably have to rely on uploaders entering accurate metadata of some kind - not ideal.

            such a setup might suffer from generational loss

            I don't see how this would be relevant you're not making imperfect copies of previous imperfect copies of previous imperfect copies . . . ad nauseum

            Artifacts are bound to slip in at some point in the mass sharing frenzy of an ant farm.

            It works the other way around - the more versions you have to compare the fewer artifacts will crop up, you get closer and closer to the original un-Watermarked version instead.

            you run the risk of generating too much data. In turn it could cause issues scaling

            I hadn't thought about this but you're right reversing a DFT is going to be computationally expensive.

          • Re:please explain (Score:3, Interesting)

            by AnyoneEB (574727)
            The "hashing" algorithm you are refering to is called MusicBrainz [musicbrainz.org]. I just started using amarok recently, and it works pretty well, although it usually gives a few unrelated choices.
        • Actually, the better attack would be the reverse of this: Many differing files with the same watermark (your name).

          Or, for example, knowing where to look. Watermarks have to be in some stable place (for example, in the lower bit of the 400Hz-1000Hz portion of the stream, holding a single character and a pointer to a different standard range per-frame. Not that I know. It's just the way I'd do it.)

          Truth is, though, scrambling the lower bits (or, better, antialiasing them so as to make the change while lo
        • Not necessarly true,

          If they have implemented the watermark correctly it is true that the best (statistical) way to remove it is to 'average' together lots of copies. But in most watermarking systems you will be able to retreive the ID of *all* the copies used to make the averaged version (albeit at a reduced certainty).

          To defeat this sort of system would probably require >>200 different copies.
      • by LBeee (605992)
        What I never unterstood with the whole watermarking stuff is how they can help to avoid people putting tracks on some P2P network.

        if the RIAA tracks down one of your songs you can simply explain it by "my pc got infected by a virus because MS didnt provide a patch for powerpoint. that virus had a P2P module that shared my whole hard drive on the net". alternatively you can say "i was in germany last month where copying tracks for friends is allowed. some of my friends must have given my track to some of the
      • by Shaper_pmp (825142) on Friday July 21, 2006 @06:41AM (#15755382)
        You know what? I don't care.

        There are two reasons to oppose DRM - "personal convenience" and "a licence to pirate".

        While I've been known to pirate in the past (hell, who hasn't?), my main objection to DRM is that once I buy the file I want to own it. I don't want anyone telling me I can only play it on certain makes of MP3 player, can't transcode it to Ogg Vorbis, stream it to other PCs in my house, etc.

        Finally a mainstream media company has somehow persuaded the idiots at the RIAA to allow unDRMed downloads on a trial basis. This is a good thing.

        Frankly, anyone who opposes DRMed music primarily because it allows them to pirate and distribute is a thief^H^H^H^H^H copyright violator, and should shut up and sit down now to avoid fucking things up for everyone else.

        While I appreciate the OP's information on the watermarking technology, it's completely irrelevant - there's no excuse for sharing the MP3 of this track, now there's an affordable (expensive, sure, but it's only a test), unDRMed cross-platform, mainstream outlet to legally purchase it from.

        Anyone pirating this track is frankly working against the chances of the RIAA dropping DRM - you will be ruining a brave (if overdue) experiment, and directly contributing to a future of omnipresent DRM lock-in.

        Regardless of what you think of the artist or the song, the sales figures for this track likely dictate the entire future position of the RIAA/music industry. Pirating it is the worst kind of short-term-gain idiocy.

        I hate Jessica Simpson and the MP3's overpriced, but I'll be buying this track - and if you're anti-DRM (as opposed to pro-piracy), so should you.

        </advocacy>

        (Let the accusations of shilldom fly... ;-)
    • What this means to me... Now why would they offer DRM-free only on a customized song? Clearly what they're thinking is that hey, if we're trying to sell someone a stupid trick, they're going to want to show their friends. There's no point if you can't. I don't need a copy of Jessica singing my name. It's not as if it was recorded with me in mind, just recorded for popular names. Oh how personal and wonderful that would be! Hah. If they locked it down, idiots couldn't MSN it to their friends to show off with
  • Wah!? (Score:4, Funny)

    by MagikSlinger (259969) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @07:06PM (#15753420) Homepage Journal
    I was taken aback by this. Something tells me they won't be allowed to succede, but it reminds of when WB tried selling a DVD without copy protection and discovered a) it was cheaper for them, and b) made no difference to their sales.

    But when I clicked on the link, it took me to a Jessica Simpson page. MINE EYES!!! *clutches eyes and runs away*
  • Great news!! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by aussiedood (577993) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @07:07PM (#15753426)
    Pity they didn't choose an artist I would actually want to listen to.
  • props to yahoo (Score:5, Insightful)

    by crabpeople (720852) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @07:09PM (#15753444) Journal
    Companies talk of thinking different, while others actually perform different. Tip of the hat to yahoo who may strangely become relevant again.

    • Re:props to yahoo (Score:2, Insightful)

      by LiquidCoooled (634315)
      hmmmmmmmm are you sure, fta:

      Which is why we're so excited about these personalized Jessica Simpson tracks. Not only is it pretty cool to have a version of the song which speaks to me (I was shocked to see they had "Ian", did they do that for me?), but it's in MP3 format, which I have no problem paying a little more for (though $1.99 is a premium price because of the PERSONALIZATION, not the DRM, the right price for MP3s is somewhere between $0.99 and there, IMHO).

      Am I reading this right, did they just manag
      • Haha, maybe DRM for a few years was an attempt to brainwash the public into thinking that ceasing to DRM music is somehow value-add (as opposed to removed value reduction). If you're eating only bread and water for a year, SPAM and Ramen noodles with a can of soda would be a gormet meal!

        Just conjecture, but this particular song made the news (here anyway) no because of the personalization, but because of the DRM free download.
      • "why should we pay MORE for the mp3 when just above they said DRM has a cost, if I can get a protected DRM file right now for $0.99, shouldn't I be able to get the mp3 for less?"

        The theory is that non-DRM means easier to pirate, so prices go up to compensate for this. So, the crippled version ends up being cheaper. I agree with you, though, that this would make more sense if the non-DRM came first at $2 and the DRM version came out cheaper. The reality is that they're charging you more for a percieved im
      • Re:props to yahoo (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Shaper_pmp (825142)
        You're missing the point.

        This is a test, to see if unDRMed music is viable from the RIAA's point of view.

        The price is irrelevant, but tells you a lot - if the RIAA was right behind unDRMed music they'd have debuted it at $0.99 and made a packet. The fact that Yahoo's had to twist their arms into doing it, and when they do it retails for $1.99 tells you this is a highly speculative toe-in-the-water attempt, and I think we'd all agree the RIAA would be entirely happy if it failed miserably. Certainly it wou
    • I personally never saw the point of DRM anyway. I mean lets face it, it was/still is possible and relatively easy to get the music you want for free off the Internet.

      The reason people pay for digital downloads is that it is convenient and fast. If I was going to copy the song, or give my friend a copy I would just download it from the usual places as an MP3.
      • Re:props to yahoo (Score:5, Interesting)

        by anagama (611277) <obamaisaneocon@nothingchanged.org> on Thursday July 20, 2006 @08:25PM (#15753807) Homepage
        I personally never saw the point of DRM anyway. ... The reason people pay for digital downloads is that it is convenient and fast.
        You forgot another important reason: to compensate the artist. Believe it or not, some people feel good about compensating others for work they find enjoyable (or in the case of linux: useful). I know this is not exactly a popular sentiment here, but I don't really have a problem with DRM. It isn't like I have natural god-given right to have someone's music on my terms alone -- the owner naturally has a say in whether he/she wants to avoid DRM and in all likelihood, give up a significant amount of direct compensation for the recording. Now, DRM-free music may very well be of great benefit for the artist in other ways, but we'd all be fooling ourselves if we thought nobody would take advantage of a DRM-free situation. And even if DRM-free distribution would make an artist the greatest thing in the world, it isn't our choice. People need to be allowed to make lousy decisions.

        Personally, I avoid DRM'd music anymore because I got sick of the issues associated with it (I'm thinking of iTunes specifically, emusic is so much simpler), but whoever owns the music gets to make that DRM decision. I can be dissapointed, but I can't really blame them either. Very few people are willing to give as much as those in the GPL world do -- those who let most direct compensation go in exchange for indirect compensation.
        • Re:props to yahoo (Score:3, Insightful)

          by bnenning (58349)
          I know this is not exactly a popular sentiment here, but I don't really have a problem with DRM.

          I don't have a problem with DRM per se; we can always just not buy the crippled content. I have a problem when proponents of DRM make technologies illegal because they *could* be used for copyright infringement.
          • Re:props to yahoo (Score:3, Informative)

            by anagama (611277)
            Now that's a whole other issue and I agree with you completely. Just because a tool has a potential illegal use is no reason to make the tool illegal. Practically everything in existance can be used illegally, right down to red plastic cups. Even though underage kids can drink beer in them, it isn't a remotely valid reason to make them illegal.
        • You forgot another important reason: to compensate the artist. Believe it or not, some people feel good about compensating others for work they find enjoyable (or in the case of linux: useful).

          Then I suggest you try reading a couple of articles, like this one [jimdero.com] or this one, [weblogsinc.com] both of which describe how artists get very little from legal downloads. I believe that record companies actually have the gall to charge a deduction for "breakages" on downloads.

          • I've probably read those already. I am well aware that recording industry screws artists, but it is the artists who signed over their interests in the music in the first place to a known evil. Regardless of who has the rights, it is still true that some entity does. That entity gets to decide the means by which it will distribute its product and while I can wish they would be more open and fair, I still don't have a right to receive the music in a form other than how the copyright owner or the law grants
            • Wow. I think you forgot to prepend IANAL there.

              I submit to you that copyrights should be deemed illegal, or at the very least repaired back to the nominal seven years. I'd make a host of arguments for the point, but they're rarely listened to, so I'll just submit the concept and you may take the discussion as you've likely heard before.
              • copyrights should be deemed illegal, or at the very least repaired back to the nominal seven years
                Before the Sonny Bono act, the copyright term was 56 years. I think you have confused patent with copyright. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sonny_Bono_Copyright_ Term_Extension_Act [wikipedia.org]
                • Bono is (not even) the latest in a long line of copyright extensions.

                  The first copyright law was 14 years ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright_Act_of_1790 ), and I'm sorry, but I think even that's too long. And corporations shouldn't be allowed to hold any of 'em.

                  Copyright is a granted monopoly. All a corporation would need is one hit media item (book, song, etc) to get enough money to lobby for extension. It's happened consistently across the world, to the detriment of the consumers and the public
        • ... whoever owns the music ...

          False assumption. You assume without justification they own every copy and therefore they get to control it. The point is, why do they get to decide what I do with my copy? I have it, I decide. They can decide what they do with their copy. Copyright is a government granted privilege, not a right, despite the name and that law is currently disadvantaging millions.

          ---

          DRM'ed content breaks the copyright bargain, the first sale doctrine and fair use provisions. It should n

        • Re:props to yahoo (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Brickwall (985910)
          I agree that compensation for the artist is important. My issue is how many times do I have to compensate the artist for the same work?

          For example, I bought Steely Dan's "Can't buy a thrill" twice on vinyl (both warped after a while), once on cassette (thrown out the window somewhere between Toronto and Montreal after being processed into an unreadable string of spaghetti), and once on CD (stolen while my car was in police impound). Now, I think Becker and Fagen are music gods, but how many times do I ha

        • Feh. Another human sans gadgets.

          Put it this way: I have a computer, a PDA, a PSP and an MP3 CD player in my car.

          Please ask yourself what the common format playable on those devices is. No, it's not WMA. And don't even start about iTunes.

          I'm not asking to be allowed to flop my collection on BitTorrent. I have no interest in it. I buy CDs for my own consumption. Though, if a personal friend asks for a copy, I'm happy to oblige.

          In the meanwhile, I've had the ability to play music on whatever device I can
          • Put it this way: I have a computer, a PDA, a PSP and an MP3 CD player in my car. ... I buy CDs for my own consumption. ... I've had the ability to play music on whatever device I can get to play an MP3 since lame v1.0 came out. As such, DRM-encumbered legal 'music' downloads don't interest me. ... for most of my devices, DRM-encumbered files are functionally indistinguishable from white noise.

            I agree with your sentiments completely. For my most recent purchase, I had the option of iTunes for $10, or us

    • Re:props to yahoo (Score:5, Insightful)

      by merreborn (853723) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @09:06PM (#15753943) Journal
      Tip of the hat to yahoo who may strangely become relevant again.

      I'm sorry, remind me how the web portal that's held the number one spot in traffic rankings [alexa.com] for years could ever be considered irrelevant?

      Sure, they haven't been in the limelight like google has in a few years, but they've still got more eyeballs than anyone else, still employ thousands, and still churn out new stuff all the time.
    • by Shihar (153932) on Friday July 21, 2006 @12:45AM (#15754668)
      Yahoo said:

      As you know, we've been publicly trying to convince record labels that they should be selling MP3s for a while now. Our position is simple: DRM doesn't add any value for the artist, label (who are selling DRM-free music every day -- the Compact Disc), or consumer, the only people it adds value to are the technology companies who are interested in locking consumers to a particular technology platform. We've also been saying that DRM has a cost. It's very expensive for companies like Yahoo! to implement. We'd much rather have our engineers building better personalization, recommendations, playlisting applications, community apps, etc, instead of complex provisioning systems which at the end of the day allow you to burn a CD and take the DRM back off, anyway!

      This translates into:

      OMFG, for the love of god, PLEASE LET US SELL OUR SHIT TO IPOD USERS!!1!!!!!!1!1111!

      Basically, what is happening is that all the non-iTunes are getting trounced by iTunes and the iPod. The music industry won't let them sell their music unless it has DRM. Apple isn't selling them the rights to use the DRM that the iPod uses and Apple sure as shit is not going to build in WMA DRM capabilities into the iPod. With iPods being roughly 80% of the MP3 market, this is a massive audience that Yahoo, Napster, Rhapsody, exc can't touch. They desperately want to sell, but they are not allowed to sell unless the music has DRM. Apple won't let them us an iPod compatible form of DRM.

      This isn't a marketing ploy to pretend to be anti-DRM when they are not, and this is not being done because they "want to work on other stuff". This is being done because DRM free music is the only way Yahoo and company can break into the monopoly iTunes has over the iPod, which itself has a near monopoly on MP3 players.

      This is a play of self interested corporations. Apple wants to lock down the iPod not because they want to set music free, but because they want a monopoly over the service that fills iPods. Yahoo wants to sell DRM free music not because they give a shit about how irritating DRM is to you and me, but because they want to sell music to iPod users. The RIAA, well, they are just evil and eat babies.
  • by hsmith (818216) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @07:10PM (#15753448)
    ~~~ zomg drm is like so sucky

    although, there aren't many musicians opinions i would respect. but good to see at least some "major" artist is pulling against it.
  • by IBitOBear (410965) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @07:12PM (#15753458) Homepage Journal
    Because when the track doesn't sell for shite (because the content is shite) then everybody will wave and wail that _clearly_ once the track was out there, the reason it didn't sell was that The Pirates(tm) turned it to the P2P dark side.

    You know what I am getting at here. 8-)
    • Why don't you buy a copy then? Even if this track is crap, it gives a better chance that a decent track will be released DRM free in the near future.
      • When I first saw this story I was excited, Yahoo for Yahoo!

        I have no interest in Barbi Simpson stuff, but I knew it was just one song so far and I was still all revved up that they were FINALLY getting a clue and finally letting people buy the MP3s they want to buy. So I didn't much care when I saw it was Barbi Simpson, and I was thinking of buying a download just to buy MP3 downloads.

        Oh, did I say Barbi Simpson? Sorry, I mean Jessica Simpson.

        And then I see the ASSHATS want to rape us for DOUBLE THE PRICE f
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 20, 2006 @07:13PM (#15753466)
    i think the original article read:

    "According to Yahoo! Music blog, this is a big deal for the major online music store: 'As you know, we've been publicly trying to convince record labels that they should be selling MP3s for a while now. Our position is simple: Jessica Simpson doesn't add any value for the artist, label (who are selling Jessica Simpson-free music every day), or consumer, the only people it adds value to are the technology companies who are interested in locking consumers to a particular technology platform. We've also been saying that Jessica Simpson has a cost. She's very expensive for companies like Yahoo! to implement. We'd much rather have our engineers building better personalization, recommendations, playlisting applications, community apps, etc, instead of complex provisioning systems which at the end of the day allow you to burn a CD and take the Jessica Simpson back off, anyway!'"
  • by minuszero (922125) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @07:15PM (#15753478)
    Is the music industry starting to see sense?

    I'm not going to be a /. pessimist and go searching for the loopholes. Sometimes it pays to be an optimist, and I reckon Yahoo et al. are going to need all the encouragement they can get to convince record exec's that this is a Good Idea (TM).

    Then we might see some decent music being released unrestricted!
  • Ah great! (Score:5, Funny)

    by The Munger (695154) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @07:17PM (#15753488) Homepage
    Ah great! Now I have to balance buying a non-DRM'd product to show the people in charge that it can actually work against owning a Jessica Simpson song. The agony of these modern times.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 20, 2006 @07:20PM (#15753510)
    I just hope they keep Ashley Simpson's msuic DRMed.
  • iTunes take note.. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BawbBitchen (456931) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @07:21PM (#15753520) Homepage
    I love iTunes. And I love the music store. Lately I have found myself buying CDs that I downloaded from the music store because I wanted non-DRM copies so I can share them on my home network that includes non-iTunes using boxes. I do not think I will be buying anything else from iTunes.

    www.beastproject.org
    • by TomHandy (578620)
      I'm confused, I can understand you making the decision to buy CD's from now on - but why did you buy CDs that you had already purchased through iTMS? Wouldn't it have been easier to burn CD's (which iTunes does let you do) of those purchased tracks, and thus had a physical CD that would be like what you bought again?
  • For some this may be good news, but for others it may be "Jessica Simpson's music is so crappy that they don't even need to DRM it, cause no one will even want to waste their bandwidth to pirate it."
  • Usenet! *GIVES AWAY* DRM-free music.

    But keep it to yourself...

  • by Anonymous Coward
    ...nobody steals my dog's crap out of my front yard! It's just sitting there. No lock on it! Plain sight. Anyone could take it.
  • by pentapenguin (904715) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @07:38PM (#15753611) Homepage

    I never thought I would live to see the day when a major (really major) company not only publicly supports but actually takes the plunge to sell non-DRM infested music. What's next? Sony will release a $199 PS3? (Har har...)

    This kinda reminds me of Gmail. Back when it came out it was just unthinkable that a company would give you more than a few MBs of storage for free let alone a whole GB! Nowadays, everybody gives you at the minimum of 200MB. I think that Yahoo, like Gmail, just might profoundly shift the paradigm of online music distribution like Gmail changed the way we think of free email.

    Is this the beginning of the end of DRM? Not quite yet IMO because the RIAA and MPAA are still run by idiots, but I think the day may come sooner than we think if more major players like Yahoo come on board.

    • mmm, I dunno. After Sony fucked up with their rootkit, it seems CD protection is slowly going the way of the Dodo. Or the way of Dido, who seems also to have disappeared. But that's irrelevant.

      Still, it's a good first step. Now they just have to get a good artist's stuff non-DRM'ed to get a reading of the most ravenous target market for such a move (i.e.: Geeks.)
  • by jevvim (826181) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @07:58PM (#15753699) Journal
    iTunes sells DRM-encumbered music for $0.99 per song. This Jessica Simpson song (which, for now, appears to be a one-off in MP3 formwat) is priced at $1.99. Assuming that you put no value on having "your name" in the version of the song you download, should we consider this a test of the price consumers will pay to be able to do what they want with their music?

    I've seen reports that record companies aren't "happy" with the royalties they're getting from iTunes. Could higher-priced, DRM-free releases be part of their solution? Skeptical though I am, I hope so. Even though I have a Mac, an iPod, and many tracks I've bought from the iTunes store, I'd rather Apple not be the "only game in town" for music on my iPod. Absolute power corrupts absolutely, even through a reality distortion field I expect.

    • "I've seen reports that record companies aren't "happy" with the royalties they're getting from iTunes. Could higher-priced, DRM-free releases be part of their solution?"

      Are you serious? Those greedy fucks only want MORE MORE MORE. Getting higher prices would make them less mad, but they'd STILL want more.

    • From the article:
      $1.99 is a premium price because of the PERSONALIZATION, not the DRM, the right price for MP3s is somewhere between $0.99 and there, IMHO
  • Wait, Yahoo! has an online music store? /Not really trolling, actually didn't know about it until now, or at least, forgot about it.
  • Jessica Simpson... who's that? Wasn't her name Lisa? Whatever.

    I could imagine that this is yet another move to prove that non-DRMed music can't be sold. I mean, who's gonna buy that song? If it was from some artist that has global relevance, ok. I could see a truely comparable result. So, the result will be that DRM is a key requirement for selling music online, because we'll clearly see that the latest Robby Williams (with DRM) will outsell this Jessica Simpson song by magnitudes.
    • Jessica Simpson... who's that? Wasn't her name Lisa? Whatever.

      I believe she is the fourth, undocumented Simpson child. Observe:

      Homer. Saxamaphone. Viomolin. Macamadamia.
      Jessica. Platymapus.

  • About Jessica (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MyNameIsEarl (917015) <assf2000 AT yahoo DOT com> on Thursday July 20, 2006 @08:35PM (#15753844)
    While she may not be high on the average Slashdot user's, i.e. male, perhaps older than 20, I believe the 13-16 crowd like her music and will beg mommy and daddy to get them the new Jessica song. Remember folks as much as you want it to be true the people who post here are not the majority in this country. I have a feeling this won't do that great because it is not offered by the iTunes Music Store but it is still a step in the right direction.
     
  • by xigxag (167441) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @08:45PM (#15753883)
    This much should be blindingly obvious. However, for the benefit of the people on the 8-bit bus:

    1) This is a trial balloon. If it sells well, it may convince some retailers to experiment with further DRM free tracks. If it sells poorly, it will serve as "proof" that DRM is needed.

    2) There's at least somebody on the command chain who wants this to fail. Hence the $1.99 price.

    3) The record company couldn't stomach the idea of a totally naked mp3 so they came up with this lame idea of embedding the purchaser's name in the file. If course this is easily worked around, but so's regular DRM. This is to deter the teeming masses. If John Q. Moron decides to fileshare, he'll soon be indicted by a thousand copies of "Jessica Loves John Q. Moron" floating around. You might add that they were being slightly clever by selling this crude copy protection measure as a value added feature.

    I'd also speculate that might be meant to caution Microsoft ever so lightly. MS is openly scheming against its current music partners by introducing Urge and Zune. But it wants to keep them hooked on Plays For Sure while making sure their services are inferior to its own offerings. This is Yahoo's way of saying, "Look Microsoft, we might not need your crap DRM after all, so watch yourself."

    • If it sells poorly, it will serve as "proof" that DRM is needed.

      One comment on the Yahoo blog page says:

      I tried to purchase this song (to support non drm'd music on your recommendation) and it brought me to a URL which didn't actually do anything when I clicked "download". Customer support appears to be non existant. I am really annoyed, because there doesn't appear to be any way for me to get the song I paid for.

      ...which seems as a good a way as any for them to ensure it won't sell well!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 20, 2006 @08:58PM (#15753930)
    Before getting all excited about Yahoos altruism, think about the business side.

    Apple has what...80%... of the portable music player market?

    Until apple decides to share their DRM, everyone else (including Yahoo) is locked out of the iPod market.

    MP3s are their only way in. If they can manage to line up some labels, they will suddenly have access to a totally new and much larger customer base.
       
  • by FigOSpeak (990072) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @09:15PM (#15753979)
    I'm ecstatic that Yahoo wants to offer unencumbered tunes. But $2.00 / song? That's more than I pay for a 16-bit PCM CD. Besides, they don't have to package, distribute (old-skool distribute, that is) or keep brick-and-mortars. I might get interested/serious if it were $2 / album ... I've already spent $500 this year with allofmp3. I'm not opposed to spending, I'm just not going to play sucker to suckers.
  • by Jugalator (259273) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @09:26PM (#15754024) Journal
    1. What's the bitrate? It needs to be at least 192 kbps.

    2. Jessica Simpson's "A Public Affair"? Hmm, I was considering downloading just to show I'm supportive of a non-DRM model, even if it would need future tweaks, but just to try get the industry on the right track. BUT... Jessica Simpson? I really don't know if I can do this. :-(
  • Jessica Simpson != Music.
  • by schnablebg (678930) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @11:01PM (#15754364)

    It is nice to hear an Internet superpower talk about selling "plain old MP3s," but eMusic [emusic.com] has been doing this for years (well before the iPod even existed). They don't have acts like Jessica Simpson, or even Radiohead, but they do have a huge collection of quality, interesting music. Loads of Indie Rock, Underground Hiphop, old and new jazz, lots of classic stuff and new albums come in everyday. It's cheap and no watermarks, either.

    I'm a serious music collector and plain MP3s simplify my collection--DRM is a major headache when you just want to HAVE music and store it anyway you like.

  • "We'd much rather have our engineers building better personalization, recommendations, playlisting applications, community apps, etc, instead of complex provisioning systems which at the end of the day allow you to burn a CD and take the DRM back off, anyway!'"

    I want to give Yahoo! a big sloppy kiss now. That's exactly the kind of thinking that might make them some money in the music business.
  • RIAA can't lose (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Bandraginus (901166)
    The RIAA can't lose on this one. There's three possible scenarios:

    1) The track doesn't sell well: See? The pirates really ARE hurting the industry because Jessica Simpson is a mainstream artist and why wouldn't she sell well under normal conditions? We've released a track in good faith and the pirates HAVE to be supressing sales.

    2) The track sells really well: Ahh, the price-point for online music is really $2 per track, not $1 (as per itunes). Apple, raise your iTunes prices and give us the lion's sh
    • 3a) Hm. DRM makes no difference... but it is costing us a fortune... maybe we should try to do without. whaddya say guys? (guys): *shoots exec and replaces him with another android*
  • After some trouble with their website (a big fat banner was blocking access to any name between b and g) I was able to get my "personalized" version of the song. The name gets inserted twice in the middle of the song, but sounds kinda sloppy and she's not singing it, rather a backup singer / overdubbed. The mp3 is in 256kbit, but it's extremely quiet compared to other mp3s. I compared it with the version on iTunes and that one is at least 3-4 times louder. It's almost as if they used a non-mastered version

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