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AOL Music Now Relaunches Music Service 73

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the lifetime-of-sins-to-make-up-for dept.
Planetrudy writes "Reuters reports that AOL has launched a new version of its Music Now subscription service. It's web-based, slick, performs well (fast page loads and downloads), and contains over 2.5M songs and 'thousands of videos.' This launch seems to be in line with AOL's 'tearing down the wall around the garden' strategy."
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AOL Music Now Relaunches Music Service

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  • Strategy? (Score:2, Funny)

    by slapyslapslap (995769)
    This launch seems to be in line with AOL's 'tearing down the wall around the garden' strategy

    Sounds more like their "copy a business model in desperation and be second rate" strategy.
    • Re:Strategy? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by alcmaeon (684971) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @05:53PM (#16003019)

      Let' see, AOL invented the $14.95/month from everyone forever strategy and it got them where they are today--the verge of bankruptcy. It sounds really good, but I'm thinking something is left out of the formula. Maybe they should add value for the expense. Or maybe "consumers" don't really like being a perpetual money drip for corps.

      Note to Microsoft: No one in his right mind will "rent" Windows Vista, but AOL would like company in its misery.

      • by \\ (118555)
        Let' see, AOL invented the $14.95/month from everyone forever strategy and it got them where they are today--the verge of bankruptcy.

        AOL didn't "invent" that, their hourly-usage-for-hundreds-of-dollars-per-bill plan reigned supreme until pure dial-up services started going for 20 bucks a month. AOL had no choice but to cave to a standard price point.
      • fyi.. AOL is nowhere near the verge of bankruptcy even though they are losing subscribers like mad. Time will tell if they can turn around their brand image and compete with yahoo etc.
  • Click (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
  • by Tackhead (54550) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @05:43PM (#16002913)
    > AOL said digital media on the service can play directly from a Web browser without the need to download a standalone software application, as with Apple Computer Inc.'s popular iTunes service. It is also compatible with Microsoft Corp.'s PlayforSure compatible portable devices.

    Translation: If you're using Windows, you have an MS DRM-compliant player (Windows Media Player) installed. You therefore don't need iTunes. It gives you DRM-cripped windows media files, and it requires that you run IE, with ActiveX and Javascript turned on.

    Tearing down the wall around the garden? Hardly. Just changing the name spraypainted on the Gates.

  • Always nice to have a bit more competition...whether the market is already saturated is another matter. Still, bravo to AOL for this.
  • by yagu (721525) * <yayagu.gmail@com> on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @05:44PM (#16002922) Journal

    Went to AOL's home page to check this out, and there on page one was the ad for 10 Million Singles! Thought, "Wow, four times more than the article stated!", then discovered it was a dating site advertisement, sigh.

    Aha, there is another link that goes to AOL's music service... Alas, it's one of those:

    1. 30 day free trial
    2. enter your billing information first
    kind of "offers", not my cup of tea.

    For those who care, the "Service Agreement" which you really should read before signing up is more than 5000 words long. Good luck reading and understanding what's new and different about AOL for this offering.

    Of course the very first provision of their service agreement is: " We may modify these Terms of Service at any time.... "

    YMMV

  • AOLs track record (Score:4, Insightful)

    by IflyRC (956454) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @05:45PM (#16002926)
    Personally I'd be afraid to purchase anything from them. With AOLs history, I'd expect to be signing up for one of those CD clubs where you get a CD every month for life and can't cancel. I can see that with AOL. Also, it makes me fear for my personal information. Should I cancel the service, will my information be sold? Leaked? How in-depth will their sales reporting data be?

    Last month you purchased the new album from SomeStupidArtist - we thought you'd like to hear the new release from a similar group called SomeStudidTeenAct
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      Yeah and if they release my music purchase history, I'm gonna be pissed.

      #45498734 purchased Yanni:Live at the acropolis
      #45498734 purchased Kenny G: emotional sax
      #45498734 purchased Rock eh?:The ultimate Canadian Rock anthology

  • by DreadfulGrape (398188) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @05:53PM (#16003014)
    Sorry, no sale. Three reasons:

    1) It's still pay-to-play (you stop paying, songs stop playing)
    2) Won't play on 78% of the players in circulation (i.e. iPods)
    3) It's AOL, for God's sake
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by OverlordQ (264228)
      1) It's still pay-to-play (you stop paying, songs stop playing)

      Well yea, it's a subscription service. If you go rent a rug doctor you dont get to keep it after your rental period is up.
      • You belabor the obvious. I may be nuts, but I just don't think people want to rent music.

        If the music marketeers really want to stick it to Apple they'd sell non DRM'd music that plays on any device (like eMusic does), but at a much higher bit rate, like 256K.

        "But gee, won't folks just swap those files? Wouldn't that kill the business?" This is the mentality the music companies have to overcome. If all the major labels did this, the business would explode, not implode.
      • Honestly, what advantage do one gets compared to buying physical media or even iTunes stuff.

        Or stuff in non DRMed music shops (http://www.emusic.com)
        • by jb.hl.com (782137)
          Or stuff in non DRMed music shops (http://www.emusic.com)

          Mainstream music, that the sort of people who would be using AOL Music Now would buy?
    • 1) It's still pay-to-play (you stop paying, songs stop playing)

      Same with Napster and other similar services. The point is, with a reasonable broadband connection and an even moderate interest in new music, you can easily beat the price of, say, iTunes, or your neighborhood CD store.

      Stop paying, and they stop playing, but I don't think it actually deletes them, meaning you could start paying again and they'll start playing again.

      I believe the DRM is even broken now...

      Besides, how many services do you pa

    • 1) It's still pay-to-play (you stop paying, songs stop playing)
      2) Won't play on 78% of the players in circulation (i.e. iPods)


      You know all those shiny Apple DRM-crippled AAC files you paid for? Stop paying for iPods and eventually they'll "stop playing" for you portably.
      • Well, that's a moot point in my case because I don't buy music from iTunes. I rip MP3's from my own CDs at 256K (yes, it's a 60 GB iPod). I've tried 3 or 4 different players and I still prefer the iPod.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by JimDaGeek (983925)

        Stop paying for iPods and eventually they'll "stop playing" for you portably.

        No they won't because you _own_ that copy. You are allowed to burn an audio CD and from there you can convert to whatever the new audio codec is to work on whatever device you want.

        I don't personally buy any music with DRM so I am not saying Apple's method is "better". I am just stating that with Apple and iTMS you actually own your copy and you don't have to pay an MS-Tax/AOL-Tax/Napster-Tax/Etc to continue to listen to you

        • by meehawl (73285)
          You're not allowed to copy them. You're allowed to back them up, which is your statutory right anyway. Read your licence - you licence the original file for playback on Apple-authorised devices, and you can make archival backups.

          You do not own the song. Can you sell it? Can you bequeath it to your heirs? It is not property. You own nothing.
          • by JimDaGeek (983925)

            You're not allowed to copy them. You're allowed to back them up...

            Exactly how do you backup without making a copy? You are allowed to copy a copyrighted work for _personal_ fair use. Copyright laws prohibit _distribution_. Have you ever heard of anyone being sued for downloading a copyrighted work? No. All of the cases have been because someone has distributed that copyrighted work without permission.

            You do not own the song. Can you sell it?

            While you do not own the _copyright_ to the song, you do o

            • Yes you can sell it. Have you never been to a used CD store?

              Manufactured CDs are pressed by companies that have purchased mechanical reproduction rights to recordings. The physical object so licenced can be re-sold as property. However, the recording contained on it does not have any subsequent transferrable mechanical reproduction rights. You cannot legally sell your own copies of such-licenced CDs. What you would be selling are what are known as unauthorised copies, or bootlegs. Any copies you make of App
              • by JimDaGeek (983925)
                You should educate yourself on the law and not the propaganda that the media companies want you to believe.

                First-sale doctrine [wikipedia.org]

                The first-sale doctrine is limitation upon copyright recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1908 and subsequently codified in the US Copyright Act, section 109, as a limitation to which all copyrights are subject. The doctrine of first sale allows the purchaser to transfer (i.e. sell or give away) a particular, lawfully made copy of the protected work without permission once it

                • if the copyright owner licenses someone to make a copy

                  In the case of iTunes, the copyright owner has not licenced you to make a mechanical reproduction, or copy. With Apple's backup, there is no licensing of mechanical reproduction. That is why it is a backup, and does not enjoy first sale rights.

                  Your backup of Apple DRM-crippled files is not "a particular, lawfully made copy of the protected work". But hey, if you think otherwise, why not make a few and go around selling them? After all, why bother paying
    • by rearden (304396) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @08:12PM (#16003828) Homepage
      I wish people would stop listing "doesn't play on iPod" as a reason the service is no good. If the Apple Fan Boys are not happy that does it not play well with iPod - then complain to APPLE! This is not the sites fault, it is the fault of APPLE which REFUSES to license FairPlay to anyone. While this is Apple right, dont hold that against others. I dislike MS as much as most, but at least their system gives me SOME choices in different sales sites, different players, etc. Apple makes all the choices for me- iPod and iTunes - and nothing else. I for one would like say... a changeable battery!

      PS: Before you get all up in a huff saying "iPod's support MP3's" well yeah but like it or not (and I for one do not) none of the major RIAA companies will license music for non-DRM download. Get over it, that is not a valid argument as a way to have other sites support iPod and we all know it.
      • ...it is the fault of APPLE which REFUSES to license FairPlay to anyone.

        Apple licensed Fairplay to Motorola who currently sells two versions of their phones, the ROKR and popular RAZR, with iTunes playback capability.

        What is the difference between Apple "refusing" to license Fiarplay at a low price and 3rd parties (except for motorola) refusing to meet Apple's price for Fiarplay?
    • by misleb (129952)
      It does seem like AOL is just repeating their past mistake of appealing to the ignorance of first time users. Sure, 10 years ago, people needed an extremely simple way of getting "online," even if it was very restricted and controlled. But eventually people got savvy fewer people needed AOL. Similarly, people are going to start seeing just how restricted they are by using this new AOL service. I mean, it isn't like you can't get unrestricted music from other sources.

      -matthew

  • I know that its fashionable to bash AOL, I participate in it myself. I have found though, that for newer users especially seniors citizens find alot of what AOL has to offer less intimidating than being let loose on the wilds of the internet. Opening up that for all and going to a branded advertising base could really turn things around for them. Most already make concessions for AIM, how long until other AOL services and features are more accepted now that there isnt a price tag attached? I suspect mor
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by suv4x4 (956391)
      I have found though, that for newer users especially seniors citizens find alot of what AOL has to offer less intimidating than being let loose on the wilds of the internet

      It's so much cosier to sleep in the sh*t we're in right now than try something new, isn't it.
      Here's another cruel and unpopular view: if AOL is for senior citizens, does it mean AOL will die along with them?
      • by grapeape (137008)
        I understand your point, as I said I find aol beneath me as do most I know but for some its like training wheels they refuse to take off their bicycles. If its free I can no longer use "
        paying extra for crap you dont need" as an excuse to pry them away. Seniors was just an example of a market that finds comfort in whats familiar, there are many others. I have a neighbor for instance that has a cable modem but still cant wrap her head around the idea that she doesnt need to sign into aol first to use the
  • AOL's music service (Score:3, Interesting)

    by suv4x4 (956391) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @06:04PM (#16003101)
    AOL Music Now Launches Music Service!: noone cares

    AOL Music Now Relaunches Music Service!: noone cares still

    BTW I really enjoy their pink "only works in US" creeping bar.

    It's about time music is sold from a single retailer worldwide, online. It's not that we have a local Britney Spears to translate and resing the songs, so what's with that non-sense? Only shows how desperately out of tune with the world the recording/movie industry is.
    • by jb.hl.com (782137)
      It's about time music is sold from a single retailer worldwide, online.

      You mean like this one [amazon.com]?
      • by javachip (934245)
        Perhaps you do not realize that there are many country specific flavors of amazon. AFAIK, it's because of issues like the above. Perhaps someone (significantly) more in the know than myself could shed a little more light on this.
  • Only in the U.S. (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    In bold red text at the top of the page: "At this time, AOL Music Now is only available for use within the United States."

    What a nice thing to see the first time I visit.
  • ...would I give AOL my credit card information. I don't want to be marketed at, and I believe that having my private info stolen/sold/released/shared would be a near certainty should AOL have access to any of it. I mean, that's even if I did want DRM-hobbled music for a "compatible player" I don't (and likely never will) own.

    I think I'll stream from home, thanks. Because when I get back home from work I won't have to worry about whether or not music I own can play on my audiotron, any of my linux boxe

  • The gods demand that you view what AOL has done wrong! Well, anyway it will be interesting. http://home.comcast.net/~plutarch/malfy.html [comcast.net]
  • Since this is AOL-branded, I suppose it'll basically be stocked with 2.5 million versions of entries from Britney Spears' & Jessica Simpson's discography.
  • Cripes, first there's an article on how 'good' some AOL commercials are, and now this. What, is it 'advertise AOL' week?

    Strangely, my 'confirmation' word to type at the bottom of this is 'promote'...
  • I don't know how this is possible, but the encodings sound *worse* than XM streams. It's WMA, so of course it's going to sound bad at any bitrate below about 150kbps, but the clips I listened to were around 32. Why do they even bother?
  • You have new DRM! I can't wait to see the log of user searches, coupled with music downloads... (7457865865) search string: cheating wife (7457865865) song: "eminem - kim"
  • by wizzahd (995765) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @07:50PM (#16003727)
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  • "This launch seems to be in line with AOL's 'tearing down the wall around the garden' strategy."

    Right in line with their "think outside the box" and "make the pie higher" strategies.
  • Just like the AOL account I had a few years ago that was free for the first 90 days. Tried canceling the service after 45 and they still got 15 bucks out of me by the time I was finally able to get them to cancel the account. IMHO, AOL's "recent" track record with badware, giving out search results etc.. etc.. is nothing new. Their business model is not about their customers it's about the buck and there is no way I will ever give them another one. I will give them credit for being one of the pioneers of th
  • I tried my usual searches for a couple of slightly obscure bands (e-type, sonata arctica) and got no results. Same as every other commercial service. This is what I mostly used P2P for, to find songs that were impossible to find commercially in my country, so this service is fairly useless to me - same as the others.

    ALso, the site seems to have collapsed now - nice first impression guys, fail under load on your relaunch day.
  • Winamp can do some damage to iTunes. IF AOL markets it wisely, IF the make the interface as easy as iTunes, IF they make their music store as easy as iTunes, IF they can get their service to work with 70% of the music players out there, then yes, then can hurt iTunes.

    But if AOL was so compenent, they would not be near bankruptcy would they?

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