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iPod Users Buy CDs, Shun iTunes 550 550

twitter writes, "The BBC's summarizes a Jupiter Research study, 'iPod fans shunning iTunes store.' From the article: '83% of iPod owners do not buy digital music regularly... only 5% of the music on an iPod will be bought from online music stores. The rest will be from CDs the owner of an MP3 player already has or tracks they have downloaded from file-sharing sites... [T]he only salient characteristic shared by all owners of portable music players was that they were more likely to buy more music — especially CDs.' This is despite years of iTunes promotion and apparent success. Given the outright failure of other music services, it is clear that users prefer DRM-free music, and are willing to pay for it and take the trouble to rip it."
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iPod Users Buy CDs, Shun iTunes

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  • DRM is a hassle (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BWJones (18351) * on Saturday September 16, 2006 @10:23PM (#16122644) Homepage Journal
    This is exactly what I have been doing since the beginning of iTunes. DRM on my music simply does not satisfy for a number of reasons including 1) quality (I can tell the difference). 2) It's a hassle to have to deal with the inability of others on my subnet to not be able to listen to (share) the DRM encoded songs. 3) I already had a huge amount of music on CD and have relied on ripping to iTunes as a back up means.

    Interestingly, iTunes has increased my music purchases significantly, though on CD,

    • Re:DRM is a hassle (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Nutsquasher (543657) on Saturday September 16, 2006 @10:30PM (#16122683)
      Yeah, I've bought more CD's now than before not because of iTunes, but because of Pandora.com. Points 1, 2, and 3 are very valid. Also, you're unable to resell your iTunes music collection if you wish.

      I find it odd how I'm so anti-iTunes due to the stated reasons, but I'm more than willing to buy games on Xbox Live Arcade, seeing as they fit within similar restrictions. Well, only if they're original and not repackaged retro-games I've played to death.

      It probably has to do with the fact that Xbox Live Arcade games are only available through a restricted medium, where I can bypass iTunes and buy a non-DRMed CD and Vorbis it.
      • by hpavc (129350)
        Yeah, I am pretty sure the ITMS (and similar) music margins are so low that they really don't make much if any money off it. It has a nice steady pace to it in numbers (by track, how can that not be huge) and the number of 'tracks downloaded' has to be insane with podcasts if that is included.

        In the end its just a value add to the apple products and their brand long term.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Tony Hoyle (11698)
          I really don't buy their margins are low.

          A CD on itunes still costs more than a CD on the high street - and they have the physical costs of running a store, shipping costs for the media, etc.
      • Re:DRM is a hassle (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Redlazer (786403) * on Sunday September 17, 2006 @12:37AM (#16123193) Homepage
        Perhaps the reason youre more willing to suffer the same problem with Xbox Live Arcade is because its a different application, a different type of entertainment.

        Music and games are entertainment, but they fill different facets of the entertainment genre.

        Also, a video game seems "worth" more to the average person - you can get more out of it. A song is entertaining for the 3 minutes its playing.

        -Red

    • Re:DRM is a hassle (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 16, 2006 @10:31PM (#16122689)
      DRM on my music simply does not satisfy for a number of reasons including 1) quality (I can tell the difference).

      When is this faux-audiophile bullshit going to end. DRM does not change the sound of music. It does not sound any different.

      A DRMd 128kbps AAC file decrypts and uncompresses to the exact same waveform as a non-DRMd 128kbps AAC file. It sounds just as bad.

      A DRMd lossless format decrypts and uncompresses to the exact same waveform as a non-DRMd lossless file. It sounds just as good.

      You cannot tell the difference between a DRMd file and a non DRMd file all else being equal. End of story, no argument, thank you take the next gate out of here.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 16, 2006 @10:40PM (#16122724)
        lol. If you had ears worth a damn you would know that encryption of any kind irreversibly changes the data being streamed through it, and thus causes a definite change in the sound. I don't know the exact reasons for it, but you cannot deny that the data is being changed. According to Quantum theory anyway, you cannot help but change something like the resulting wave form simply by observing it, and you NEED to observe it in order to change it into an encrypted form, and then again in order to apply the unencryption key.

        In my experience it changes the music in odd ways different to the changes that compression cause. It gives a bass that's more harsh, and increases the midrange while levelling out in the high end. That's an issue totally separate to what happens when you compress with AAC or MP3 or whatever. If you want to test, make an mp3 and then make two identical copies of the file. Run one of the resulting compressed files through an encryption utility (it doesn't have to be Apple's fairplay, even sending it via PGP email will do) and then decrypt it. Play the never-encrypted file and play the encrypted then decrypted file one after another, you'll easily tell the difference.
        • Re:DRM is a hassle (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Yaztromo (655250) <yaztromo@mac. c o m> on Saturday September 16, 2006 @10:58PM (#16122808) Homepage Journal
          ol. If you had ears worth a damn you would know that encryption of any kind irreversibly changes the data being streamed through it, and thus causes a definite change in the sound.

          This is the biggest load of crap I've read on /. in a long time. Congratulations!

          Encryption makes the data appear pseudo-random, however the decryption will return the bits, before they are inserted into the audio buffer, to the exact same state they were in prior to encryption.

          Your own test bears this out -- just do a comparison of the resulting files. The computer has no way of knowing that the "encrypted" file was ever even encrypted (as you aren't replacing the bits -- you're duplicating them). If you can hear a difference, it's only because the voices in your head are getting louder. Or maybe your tinfoil hat is askew.

          Yaz.

          • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

            by Anonymous Coward
            Your own test bears this out -- just do a comparison of the resulting files. The computer has no way of knowing that the "encrypted" file was ever even encrypted (as you aren't replacing the bits -- you're duplicating them)

            Of course the computer will identify them as being the same, its job is to work with discrete components in the form of bits, where the human ear can hear on a lower level than that. I'm no digital maven, so I can't say the EXACT reason why, but I've been selling, repairing and setting up
            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              by Yvan256 (722131)

              As I said, my 17 years experience tells me there's an audio difference[...]

              Your 17 years of experience are indeed in the audio field, because it's quite evident that you don't know the difference between DRM/encryption and lossy CODECs.

              Or maybe you're just confused about the differences between analog/digital audio and digital lossy audio. We all know that digital audio is an approximation of analog audio, you don't need to explain such a topic on slashdot. That's at least 20 years old news to most of the p

            • Re:DRM is a hassle (Score:5, Informative)

              by Yaztromo (655250) <yaztromo@mac. c o m> on Saturday September 16, 2006 @11:34PM (#16122956) Homepage Journal
              Of course the computer will identify them as being the same, its job is to work with discrete components in the form of bits, where the human ear can hear on a lower level than that. I'm no digital maven, so I can't say the EXACT reason why, but I've been selling, repairing and setting up high end audio systems for 17 years. It's my job to know what sounds the same and what sounds different. Perhaps the bits themselves are longer or shorter than before encryption, or perhaps they're a bit (pun intended) higher voltage where a computer will still read it as a "1" when it's in a bass waveform, therefore things like md5sum will claim it's the same file, but if you knew anything about signals over a wire you'd know things like a waveform that can be represented digitally can look (and sound) very different depending on the size of the peaks and troughs.

              As it happens, I know quite a bit about digital signaling. I also know that that "bit" you're reading is going to be converted several times from when you read it fro the hard disk, by a variety of independent subsystems which set their own bit levels as high or low, based on their own signaling specifications.

              You read some bits off your hard drive. The bits sitting on your drive have no voltage -- they're simply a magnetic field. This field get translated into either a 1 or a 0 bit. The drive controller copies this into a voltage that it then transmits across the drive bus to a bus controller. This bus controller then copies the bit to the system bus. The system bus copies it to the CPU, which copies it to RAM, which is then refreshed thousands of times per second. This is then copied back onto the system bus, and send to your audio hardware, which feeds it through a DAC.

              Each of these transmissions is a copy operation on the bit -- not on the strength of the magnetic field, or whatever voltage was being applied to the transmitting component. So signaling in this case makes no difference -- so long as each field or voltage fits within the proper tolerances, it will be treated as a 1 or a 0, and will be raised high or low at the new voltage level as a completely new signal during each conversion. As such, it isn't the case that if the bit is magnetically weak on your hard drive that it will have a lower-than-normal voltage once it finally gets into RAM.

              Thinking of it another way, it isn't like using a tin-can-and-string telephone to transmit data. It's more like the telephone game, where someone says something to someone, who then tells the message to the next person, and so on until the recipient receives the message. It doesn't matter if the first speaker is male or female -- the last person to pass on the message is going to state the same message regardless, in their own voice. The only difference in the case of a computer is that most stages have integrity checking to verify that the message is received properly, and in some cases can either request a retransmission if the integrity checking fails, or can receive the data in a manner that it can be reconstructed with mathematical certainty by using appropriate data encodings.

              Encryption makes no difference. The system is not analogue -- it is digital. And the system only knows two digits. Each individual subsystem has completely different mechanisms for representing those bits, and that representation is completely independent of other subsystems. Reading an encrypted block from your hard drive causes the encrypted data to be copied into RAM, from which a decrypted copy is placed into RAM. This copy is generated electrically in exactly the same fashion if it had been read unencrypted from the hard drive. By the time it gets to the audio DAC, the data is identical from both a data and a signaling standpoint.

              I'm sure you can handily replace the needle on a record player arm, but you know absolutely squat about digital signaling.

              Yaz.

              • by supersat (639745) on Sunday September 17, 2006 @12:08AM (#16123085)
                I agree that DRM'ed music should sound no different, but let me play devil's advocate for a minute.

                It might be possible that the decryption algorithm introduces some jitter by taking a varying amount of time to decrypt a chunk of data [cryptography.com]. A poorly-engineered system might pass this jitter through to the DAC, resulting in degraded audio quality. It might also be possible that the decryption operations cause the CPU to introduce additional noise on the power rails, which might also impact audio quality in a poorly-engineered system.

                So, I don't think it's impossible that DRM affects sound quality. I'm just not convinced that it actually does.
                • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                  by Al Dimond (792444)
                  It's called a buffer. The decrypted data is written into this buffer. As long as the data makes it into the buffer fast enough to stay ahead of the DAC (this is not difficult, audio rates are very slow compared to CPU speeds these days) there won't be any "jitter" caused by varying amounts of time to decrypt things. At any rate, in a computer system there would always be varying lengths of time involved to get a chunk of audio data into the buffer, because of disk accesses and other processes running on
              • Does someone have to actually explain to you that the GP is a joke/troll? Just because someone includes technological jargon like signaling or if they discuss their career, doesn't make that person serious. Anyone who has the slightest concept of a bit won't really believe that a computer would play a bit-for-bit copy of a song any different from the original. Of course an encrypted file has to be decrypted at some point in the process, at which point it is exactly the same as the original (someone else
                • by Yaztromo (655250) <yaztromo@mac. c o m> on Sunday September 17, 2006 @01:18AM (#16123319) Homepage Journal
                  Congratulations to all who bit at this troll, and took it hook, line, and sinker.

                  Let's ignore your assumption that this person is a troll for a second (something which I do not necessarily believe, although I also can't discount it as a possibility). When a technical falsehood like this goes unchallenged, those who are less technically inclined are likely to believe it, and pass it on as truth.

                  Slashdot is known as a technical site. If such claims do not go unchallenged, there is a very good chance that someone out there is going to read this, and relay it to their non-technical friends and family as the truth, because they read it on Slashdot.

                  I routinely have to explain reality to far too many people around me because they read something that is physically impossible on the web, and then believe it (and pass it on). Certain family members in particular are highly susceptible to such claims. They wouldn't be able to spot it as a troll, however dozens of posts from respectable, knowledgeable people pointing out the falsehoods may cause them to question the veracity of the trolls claims.

                  Troll or not, falsehoods need to be challenged, especially in the technical realm, which is really just "magic" to the layman in the first place.

                  Yaz.

          • by wordsnyc (956034) on Saturday September 16, 2006 @11:19PM (#16122896) Homepage
            It's homeopathy! The bits remember being encrypted!
            • by ConceptJunkie (24823) on Sunday September 17, 2006 @12:11AM (#16123098) Homepage Journal
              Actually, it's worse than that. Encryption and decryption tends to stress the bits, so that rather than representing 0's and 1's, the bits can be off by up to 0.01, leading to degradation of the sound quality of the resulting audio data.

              Sony has patented a superior bit, which should be hitting the market in late 2007, but in typical Sony style, these new bits, which represent 2 or 3, instead of 0 or 1, will not be compatible with existing bits. So while audio files that utilize the new Sony bits will lose far less fidelity per bit from being encrypted and unencrypted (less than 0.001% according to laboratory testing), they will not be compatible with the iPod without an expensive bit adapter.

        • Re:DRM is a hassle (Score:5, Insightful)

          by cskrat (921721) on Saturday September 16, 2006 @11:03PM (#16122834)
          PGP is a lossless encryption whereas fairplay uses a watermark technique. Big difference in algorithms and quantum theory has nothing to do with it.

          The difference between a DRM'd song and one that you rip yourself is an issue of control. With iTunes you are stuck with 128kbps AAC encoded by their in house encoding/DRM software. When you rip a song yourself you have the option of using any one of myriad different encoders, algorithms, bitrates, configurations, and etc. I usually use 240-355 VBR WMA encoding for personal use.

          Personally I've only purchased one album from iTunes (unfortunatly I can no longer play it because I've changed computers too many times) and while their encoding method is fine for listening through earbuds, it shows noticable degredation vs. PCM on my 7.1 home theater setup. But it has nothing to do with watermarking DRM and it definately has nothing to do with quantum theory and schrodinger's cat, it is all about the bitrate and the encoding software. And Apple uses a substandard encoder set to a bitrate that is almost pallatable to AOL dial-up customers.
          • Re:DRM is a hassle (Score:5, Informative)

            by monoqlith (610041) on Saturday September 16, 2006 @11:28PM (#16122923)
            Personally I've only purchased one album from iTunes (unfortunatly I can no longer play it because I've changed computers too many times)


            Just so you know, there is a button in the iTunes Music Store account information page that lets you deauthorize all the computers that you've previously authorized to play your music. It only lets you do this once a year IIRC, but it's useful if you've reached your limit of 5 computers and can't get to an authorized computer to deauthorize it.

          • Re:DRM is a hassle (Score:4, Informative)

            by Yvan256 (722131) on Saturday September 16, 2006 @11:32PM (#16122945) Homepage Journal
            [...] I usually use 240-355 VBR WMA encoding for personal use.

            Personally I've only purchased one album from iTunes (unfortunatly I can no longer play it because I've changed computers too many times) and while their encoding method is fine for listening through earbuds, it shows noticable degredation vs. PCM on my 7.1 home theater setup. But it has nothing to do with watermarking DRM and it definately has nothing to do with quantum theory and schrodinger's cat, it is all about the bitrate and the encoding software. And Apple uses a substandard encoder set to a bitrate that is almost pallatable to AOL dial-up customers.
            Oh great, another Microsoft fan spreading FUD about Apple.

            First of all, WMA has been shown to be the worst (or second worst) CODEC in all the audio tests that have been done.

            Second, you can reset the list of computers that are allowed to play your purchased songs. In iTunes, go to the music store and click on your account button. If you have 5 authorized computers in your list, you should have a button next to "computer authorizations" which you can use to reset the list. You can use that feature once or twice a year AFAIK. You then simply re-authorize the current computers that you want to use. You don't need the old computers to de-authorize them.

            Third, AAC was developped by Dolby and was shown to be the best or second best CODEC in all the audio tests that have been done. As for the bitrate, AAC is more efficient with 128kbps than MP3 or WMA.
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              With iTunes you are stuck with 128kbps AAC encoded by their in house encoding/DRM software. When you rip a song yourself you have the option of using any one of myriad different encoders, algorithms, bitrates, configurations, and etc. I usually use 240-355 VBR WMA encoding for personal use.

              Oh great, another Microsoft fan spreading FUD about Apple.

              Aren't you jumping the gun a little? The way I see it, he didn't put any FUD about Apple - unless you can buy songs at a higher bitrate than 128kbps. Also, his st

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by pla (258480)
              Third, AAC was developped by Dolby and was shown to be the best or second best CODEC in all the audio tests that have been done. As for the bitrate, AAC is more efficient with 128kbps than MP3 or WMA.

              AAC does indeed do a great job at lossy compression. At 128kbps, it CAN beat every other 128kbps encoding out there - Key word, "can".

              You have to consider, though, that "AAC" doesn't really refer to just one specific way to encode music, though - More like handing someone a toolbox and blueprints for a ho
      • True, but... (Score:2, Informative)

        by cskrat (921721)
        ... you can definately tell the difference between a 128kpbs song from iTunes and a song that you ripped yourself at 192 or more kbps.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by bcat24 (914105)
          Indeed. AAC is transparent for my (somewhat lame) ears at about 160 kbps VBR. 128 kbps CBR is listenable, almost always sounds a little bit bad to me.
          • iTunes really should drop the bitrate crap and use quality-based encoding like LAME and oggenc. Using "--preset standard" on lame some tracks encode below 128 and other encode above 224. It all depends on what the song needs. The level of quality is the same, to where I cannot tell a difference between that and the original. This way you're not wasting bits on files that can be encoded at lower rates or losing quality on files that need more bits. Each get what's required.

            At the very least it should de
        • by LKM (227954)

          you can definately tell the difference between a 128kpbs song from iTunes and a song that you ripped yourself at 192 or more kbps

          I actually did some blind tests about a year ago. I encoded a music piece in different formats at different bitrates, jumbled the names and tried to figure out which one was which. It's definitely possible to hear the difference between a 128 MP3 and a 192 MP3. Interestingly, I wasn't able to hear the difference between lossless, 192 MP3 and 128 AAC. Now I'm not saying that wi

      • Re:DRM is a hassle (Score:5, Informative)

        by BWJones (18351) * on Saturday September 16, 2006 @11:04PM (#16122836) Homepage Journal
        DRM does not change the sound of music. It does not sound any different.

        No, but I cannot purchase from the iTMS songs that are encoded at higher rates. That was my point.

      • by Rix (54095) on Saturday September 16, 2006 @11:12PM (#16122869)
        Ssh.

        It may not be rational, but if it gets the plebes to opose DRM, it's good for everyone in the long run.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Deliveranc3 (629997)
        You are missing the Super Tasty Stolen Candy Factor.

        DRMed files are larger or require decryption, that is bandwidth or processing power better used for more quality.
  • by marz007 (72932) on Saturday September 16, 2006 @10:24PM (#16122649) Homepage
    Why do I need to buy all those again, if I buy, I'll probably buy via iTunes, but I've got a large catalog already purchased. This isn't shunning.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by syousef (465911)
      Well enjoy buying them each time your DRM fails to validate, your computer or iPod crashes etc. People should just stop buying DRM shite now and save us about 20 years of bullshit because I guarantee people aren't stupid enough to continually rebuy the same thing with DRM after they've had 1 or 2 crashes or computer system changes that wipe out their collection.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Mononoke (88668)
        Well enjoy buying them each time your DRM fails to validate, your computer or iPod crashes etc.
        Thanks for the warning, but some of us are smart enough to back up our data files.
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Saturday September 16, 2006 @10:24PM (#16122652)
    So appearantly the majority prefers freedom over convenience? Well, at least it keeps my hopes up for humanity.
    • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

      by Cylix (55374)
      Don't worry!

      Humanity has many more chances (infinite really) to destroy your faith in it!

      I know the future seems glum now, but just wait a few more days and I promise it will be even worse.

      Anyone who brings up that tired old argument that humanity has an equal number of chances to prove itself is just a silly troll and I won't hear it!

      I know, I know, you are thinking, "But if humanity has a choice to prove itself wrong... there must be a postive choice!" To that I must offer a scenario. There is an extremel
    • From the summary:

      Given the outright failure of other music services, it is clear that users prefer DRM-free music, and are willing to pay for it and take the trouble to rip it.

      I love Slashdot. It injects its agenda into every story. Nothing implies or suggests that CD sales outnumber iTunes sales because users are buying music that is "DRM-free." More likely, it's simply because online music sales are still a very new market, CDs are still a much more well-established medium, and you also get printed cover
  • by conner_bw (120497) on Saturday September 16, 2006 @10:26PM (#16122656) Homepage Journal
    The majority of music bought by owners of iPods may come from CDs but the majority of iTunes music stored on the device probably wasn't bought.
    • by shaitand (626655) on Saturday September 16, 2006 @11:13PM (#16122873) Journal
      Who cares? The article also says that ipod owners were shown to be more likely to buy music in general. That means that regardless of how much of their music collections is pirated the music industry is alienating their best customers with DRM.
    • by soft_guy (534437)
      What evidence do you have of that?

      All the music on my iPod is legal. Plus, there are a ton of records that I have purchased MORE THAN ONCE (LP + CD or LP + iTunes). So, I am somewhat offended by the idea that I'm not being "honest".
  • by HatchedEggs (1002127) on Saturday September 16, 2006 @10:26PM (#16122663) Homepage Journal
    Never... and I don't really plan on doing so. I just like having a CD of my music, produced professionally, etc. Perhaps I'm behind the times, but the only stuff I get from iTunes is my podcasts.

    If iTunes remembered online that I owned the rights toa piece of software and could download it again at a later time perhaps I would use it (thats me speaking blindly, I haven't even looked into it that much). My wife has downloaded a few songs from iTunes if I recall, but we both have a decent CD collection and tend to support the artists that we like by getting their whole CD.

    Is it just me, or was the new iTunes release a step down from the last one? I just don't like the interface as much.

    Justin
    http://hatchedeggs.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com]
    • You're not off your rocker. iTunes is nice, and i think it's the best software out there, and the online store is a nice option. However I enjoy having DRM-Free, physical media. I just have to rip it to my computer once and I get a free unencumbered file, and i till have physical media I can play in my car. Even though it costs more, I wouldn.t change. Freedom is worth the extra $5 bucks per album at the cash register, and the ability to rip to lossless files, or any type for that matter, doesn't hurt/
      • Good post Spartacus, I agree with that. The mobility that having a CD gives us is definitely worth something.
  • they made it easy to 'import' CD's into your itune lib by ripping stuff to a digital format. Most folks, I suspect, have a pretty good size collection of CD's. I'll buy music, but tend to do a CD (and rip to mp3 or other formats) rather than buy something digital from the go.
  • by Watson Ladd (955755) on Saturday September 16, 2006 @10:29PM (#16122677)
    A lot of iTunes users had large CD collections before iTunes. So saying that most of their music is on CD is a pretty misleading statistic. Better is to look at music bought in the last n weeks.
    • FTA:

      However, the report into the habits of iPod users reveals that 83% of iPod owners do not buy digital music regularly. The minority, 17%, buy and download music, usually single tracks, at least once per month...
      Perhaps the only salient characteristic shared by all owners of portable music players was that they were more likely to buy more music - especially CDs.

      It's even covered in the summary

  • No, no, no (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Saturday September 16, 2006 @10:30PM (#16122681)
    "it is clear that users prefer DRM-free music, and are willing to pay for it and take the trouble to rip it."

    I have an iPod, I rarely buy anything from the iTunes Music Store, and it has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with DRM. The albums I want to buy are quite often in the $12-$13 range on iTunes, and I can get them in CD form at the same price or even cheaper. When I buy the CD I get a) higher quality, and b) a permanent backup I can store in a closet or cupboard.

    I think what's really going on is that people can see the obvious: the price structure (digital vs. physical medium) is currently way out of whack. You don't save anything by buying the digital version! Why would you do it? It's not like I ever find myself saying "I just HAVE to own the new Audioslave, and I can't BEAR to wait 3 or 4 days for it!"

    • by supabeast! (84658)
      "I think what's really going on is that people can see the obvious: the price structure (digital vs. physical medium) is currently way out of whack. You don't save anything by buying the digital version!"

      I agree that the pricing is screwed up, but not because it's more than retail. I find that I often would save by purchasing albums on iTunes, as most of the albums I want are $9.99 - but $9.99 is too much to pay for 128kb AAC files. Too many of the albums I purchased with iTunes sound like crap - so I'm don
  • Of course, I am not sure I count considering I don't have an iPod, I run linux and I don't have to deal with the DRM.

    SharpMusique rocks ;)
  • by winkydink (650484) * <sv.dude@gmail.com> on Saturday September 16, 2006 @10:31PM (#16122688) Homepage Journal
    1) Most iPod user don't buy using iTunes
    2) Every other online music store is a failure

    Therefore, people don't like DRM.

    Yeah, I see how that conclusion follows those two assumptions. How about, iTunes is successful because the iPod is successful and yet, that said, most people prefer to own a CD version of their digital music. Perhaps because they can encode either lossless or at a higher bitrate than offered by iTunes?

    The average Joe most likely thinks that DRM is one of those new pop bands he's heard about.

    • by Rix (54095)
      Yeah, I see how that conclusion follows those two assumptions. How about, iTunes is successful because the iPod is successful and yet, that said, most people prefer to own a CD version of their digital music. Perhaps because they can encode either lossless or at a higher bitrate than offered by iTunes?

      I think most people don't consider it "buying" unless they get something physical in return.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      most people prefer to own a CD version of their digital music. Perhaps because they can encode either lossless or at a higher bitrate than offered by iTunes?

      Good point. And yet, why doesn't the iTunes music store offer higher bitrate stuff?

      I'm guessing this has to do with the mentality. Stores which are used to locking customers in (DRM) aren't likely to go out of their way to provide choices (higher bitrate). Stores which exist to provide choices (no DRM; Magnatune) seem much more likely to provide ch

  • Apparent success? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kuwan (443684) on Saturday September 16, 2006 @10:34PM (#16122695) Homepage
    Just because everyone that buys an iPod doesn't buy music from the iTunes store doesn't mean that it (iTunes) isn't successful. Success is measured in different ways. If they are making a profit then they are successful. You don't have to dominate sales to be successful. Also, given that Apple has like 80-90% market share for all legal music downloads then I'd call them successful.

    It's going to take a while before downloads overtake CD sales (if ever), but that doesn't mean that a new technology in a new market isn't successful.
    • by Yvan256 (722131)
      It's going to take a while before downloads overtake CD sales (if ever), but that doesn't mean that a new technology in a new market isn't successful.
      At the last Keynote, Steve Jobs announced that the iTMS was the 5th biggest seller of music (top four were selling CDs, like Amazon, etc).

    • by shaitand (626655)
      Does that 80-90% include allofmp3.com? After all, they are technically legal.
  • Free Music (Score:2, Informative)

    by SniperClops (776236)
    Music will soon be free [spiralfrog.com], you just have to watch ads as it downloads.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Yes, watch ads while it downloads and go back and watch ads every month thereafter *forever*. Otherwise, your license expires on the songs you've downloaded. This was discussed in TWiT #67 [www.twit.tv] by Wil Harris of bit-tech.net.
  • by thefinite (563510) on Saturday September 16, 2006 @10:34PM (#16122699)
    "Shunning" is such a silly word to use for this. Just because the iTunes store has not entirely replaced the CD in its few years of existence does not mean that users are shunning it. Their business is growing faster than CD sales are growing. Steve Jobs even said in the recent Apple Event that they are the first music downloads store to crack the top five sellers of music in any form. He also said they are now passing the 1.5 BILLION song mark.

    But I guess no one will read an article that says "iPod users gradually adopting iTunes Music Store to supplement CD sales."
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by rolfwind (528248)
      Yes, but when CDs first came out, did they find that over 80% of people who bought CD players were still buying tapes and not buying CDs?

      I'm actually surprised sales aren't higher. People usually want only one track they hear off the radio and can buy that from iTunes for $0.99 instead of an entire CD or an overpriced single CD.

      I still don't know why the music industry doesn't sell FLAC (or other CD quality lossless) with no DRM online. It's not like it's going to contribute to P2P as it only takes one ri
      • by dangitman (862676)
        Yes, but when CDs first came out, did they find that over 80% of people who bought CD players were still buying tapes and not buying CDs?

        Irrelevant comparison. CD players are not compatible with audio cassettes. However, the iPod is compatible with both downloads from the Music Store, and with CDs. The iPod does not force one to change formats. When the CD was released, there was no way for the consumer to burn CDs "ripped" from their existing audio cassettes. In fact, many people replaced their existing c

    • by Rix (54095)
      But I guess no one will read an article that says "iPod users gradually adopting iTunes Music Store to supplement CD sales."

      I doubt very much this is happening. I would suspect there is a very low crossover between the sets of people who buy CDs, and the people who pay for iTunes.

      CD sales aren't growing because they *can't*. The only way to increase the number of people in the developed world who have CD players is through birth and immigration. You may as well be comparing it to phone use. Everyone has one
  • by Kjella (173770) on Saturday September 16, 2006 @10:37PM (#16122710) Homepage
    ...but it also matters the reason you got them. You can easily get gigs and gigs of "assorted music" to fill up the space, for example by copying the collection of a friend. That means you'll have a lot of music that is basicly filler too, either because it was your friend's filler music or you don't like the same music as him.

    That, and it basicly comes down to this: You can have water (silence) or mixed soda (P2P) for free or pay for brand soda (iTMS). Of course you'll have a ton of people that never wanted to buy a soda in the first place, but who'll happily take one if it's free. And if it's one they hate, all they lost was a little time in line.
  • ...at least, it precisely parallels my personal usage.

    My iTunes library contains 2977 items, of which 215 were purchased from the iTunes Music Store.

    Most all the rest were: ripped from CDs and/or transferred from LPs, but:

    There is also a considerable smattering of "personal content" including home recordings of my brother's piano recitals, radio shows recorded off the air with a Griffin RadioShark and "time-shifted" (I play them on my iPod in the car, then delete them), some downloaded public domain materia
    • I didn't mean that I have 100-200 cylinder recordings, but that the "smattering of personal content" comprises about 100-200 items total.
  • I'm an eMusic subscriber (no DRM, VBR MP3, but only independant artists), and I still buy CDs. In fact, I buy CDs that I have downloaded through eMusic. There are a lot of songs that I'm quite happy to have as MP3 only, but occasionally I'll find certain gems where a FLAC CD rip is in order. Especially true of with electronic music, you just don't get those crystal clear piercing synths and airy vocals with lossy codecs.

    However, DRM is still a big issue, which is why I will forgo commercial artists in an iT
  • This strikes me as a rather insane abuse of statistics.

    First, don't we expect a vast majority of music on an iPod to be from CDs even for people who buy a lot online? I mean the iTunes Music Store is only a few years old, yet most CD collections are a decade or two old. It would take me a long, long, long, long time of buying online music to equal my CD collection.

    Second, the article says just 17% of iPod users are regular online shoppers of music. In my experience, a small percentage of people buy ever


  • Water remains wet, the sky is blue, the sun is hot, and the RIAA are jerks.
  • 5% is very significant. Especially considering the context:

    1. Most people already have a collection of CDs. So of course all their music will not be from iTunes.
    2. Legal digital downloads are a very recent phenomenon
    3. Many countries do not have access to the iTunes Music Store yet, as the roll-out has been slow.

    Given all these factors, I'd say that 5% of music on iPods being from the iTunes store is actually a huge success. How many people have 5% of their songs from the same independent record label?

    • by Rix (54095)
      How many people have 5% of their songs from the same independent record label?

      I don't know about that, but I'd imagine you'd find most people purchased a lot more than 5% of their cds from one store.
  • = a pretty damn big number--1.5 BILLION songs (at ~$.99 per song) sold. Even if Apple only keeps 5% of that, that's seventy-five MILLION dollars.

    And I don't think most users give a shit about "DRM-free music." I think it's this:
    - buy a CD, rip it: super-easy
    - buy a song online, burn a CD: not as easy
  • Bullshit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 7Prime (871679) on Saturday September 16, 2006 @10:56PM (#16122788) Homepage Journal

    I was totally with the article up until the last sentance, which makes a stupid, spun, assumption based on a causality. "People are buying CDs more than online music," great. "People PREFER buying CDs to online music," still good. "Online music has DRM," yes. But "Therefore people must not be buying online music because of the DRM," is NOT a good proof. DRM is one of MANY characteristics that separate CDs from music downloads, and I would argue it to be one of the least important to people. Even the "lossy/non-lossy" arguement is a very small, elite few, compared to the masses, of whome hardly care about the quality of their music. No, the three biggest reasons why CDs are still more popular is: tradition, the regularity of going to shop at a place, where you can then pick out music. And the third, which I think is probably the biggest, is the ownership of a physical object after purchase.

    If people put money down on something, they want to be able to physically "hold it in their hand" (so to speak). It's human nature, we're used to dealing with physical objects. Being told, "now you have it, now go have fun" without any physical evidence doesn't naturally feel as ligitimate has being able to spend money, and hold in your hand the item you just bought. This may change, but currently people are comfortable exchanging money for items, admissions, but we haven't yet completely bought into this "paying money for non-physical data" thing.

    I remember a study that showed that the majority of computer users didn't consider illegally downloading software or media to be anywhere as offensive as shoplifting. Similarly, I would suggest that people don't consider purchasing something online to be of the same legitimacy as buying something in a store.

    Give me a decent, unbiased study that shows me that the common person gives much of a shit about DRM, and I'll listen, but this says nothing at all.

    • by Rix (54095)
      Try explaining how iTunes works in laymans terms to people, and you'll find they don't like DRM very much.
  • There is other article that does not make connection, i have read elsewhere. Connection that people buying portable mp3 players specifically dislike buying DRM-ed because they prefer music. I should buy one of those "Jump to conclution" mat from this balding dude at the office, that got run over by the car ... for the publishing gang.
  • I really started ripping my CDs back in the day when CDDB was just getting popular. All of my track listings, and I don't have to type them in? Sweet!

    But I didn't know anything about compression back then. 128 bitrate? Sure. Why not? The shareware ripping program I'm using says it's CD quality. Good enough for me!

    Because I'm lazy, I long ago gave away all of those old CDs (over 100), or lost them, or threw them out because I didn't feel like packing them for a move. Over the last few years, my CD

  • In most cases, it's not the lack of DRM that keeps people away from music downloads, it's the lack of a tangible physical product. People don't trust their computers these days - in the eyes of most common computer users, viruses and other disasters routinely kill computers and destroy data. On the other hand, people do trust CDs. They know that, as long as they take care of it and keep it mostly scratch-free, the CD will always work; it's clear that pressed CDs (recordable CDs excluded) last for a very lon

  • magnatune.com (Score:5, Interesting)

    by steveha (103154) on Saturday September 16, 2006 @11:24PM (#16122915) Homepage
    If you would like to buy music from an online store, but you don't want DRM and you want top quality, check out magnatune.com [magnatune.com]. They let you download CD-quality (either as uncompressed wave files, or as FLAC), MP3, or Ogg Vorbis. And you can listen to everything before you buy. (128 kbps MP3, lower quality than you get when you pay.)

    Not only do they not have DRM, but they encourage you to give away up to three copies of the music you buy, as a form of advertising.

    They have a sliding scale on prices: you can choose what you want to pay, within a reasonable range. (I just checked, and at least for the album I checked, the range was from $5 to $18.) If you only like one song on an album, pay less for the album. If you really want to encourage an artist to make more albums, pay more. That's cool.

    When you buy an album, the artist gets 50% of whatever you pay. Not 50% of the profits, and then they cook the books so they "don't have any profits"... 50% of the gross income. That's outstanding. I love their slogan: "We are not evil."

    I have no connection to them, other than being a satisfied customer.

    steveha
  • All of it legitimate, and less than 1% of it was purchased from the iTMS. I prefer to have a fully uncompressed original, that I can then encode at my chosen bitrate, and then keep as a backup. I'm not going to spend money on compressed music that I have to then backup on my own. If Apple starts offering Apple Lossless downloads, I might think about it, but otherwise, I'll just keep buying CDs.
  • not about DRM (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bcrowell (177657) on Saturday September 16, 2006 @11:29PM (#16122930) Homepage

    Given the outright failure of other music services, it is clear that users prefer DRM-free music, and are willing to pay for it and take the trouble to rip it.
    The DRM on iTunes isn't that onerous. You can still convert to MP3. I guess what some people are upset about is that there's no lossless way to convert AAC to a non-lossy format. I doubt that the average person cares. The sound quality on an iPod, after all, is limited mainly by the earbuds, not by the compression scheme.

    I suspect the main reason people don't buy much music digitally is the same as the main reason people never bought e-books: price. People just aren't willing to pay the same amount of money for a string of ones and zeroes as for a physical object. They want a discount to reflect the fact that the digital thing is worth less to them than the physical object, and they also know damn well that the publishers can afford to give a discount, because they don't have any distribution costs.

    The last time I started up iTunes on my wife's mac (I don't use it much myself), it gave me a little informative message suggesting that I make a habit of backing up all my music regularly. Uh, and what would I back it up onto? CDs? In that case, why not just buy a CD? Sure, a lot of people prefer to buy pop music a song at a time, but personally I buy mostly jazz and classical, and I'm not interested at all in buying single tracks.

  • First of all, CDs are still how most music is sold. Second, most folks' existing music libraries are in CD form (except for the ones who still have vinyl). Third, Apple from the beginning has positioned the iTunes store as a tool to sell iPods (and last I heard, they were pretty good at selling iPods). The fact that they have 3/4 of the music download market and make some profit on it is a bonus. It doesn't matter how iPod users get their music per se, it only matters to Apple that they sell more digita
  • by noidentity (188756) on Saturday September 16, 2006 @11:50PM (#16123012)
    Why would anyone want the cold, lifeless sound of digital music when they can have the warm, refreshing sound of a compact disc?
  • by TheRealStyro (233246) on Saturday September 16, 2006 @11:54PM (#16123024) Homepage
    While I don't doubt that a lot of PMP (personal media player) owners get music on the players via the old tried-and-high-quality methods of ripping CDs, I still like downloading from the iTunes store. Yes, sometimes the sample of the music is too short or was taken from a poor section of the recording (solution would be to allow three 30 second samples per track as long as song is over 2.5 minutes long), and the quality is somewhat low for complex pieces (for example, always rip Pink Floyd and The Crystal Method - PF deserves it and TCM requires it), but the price is right for legally purchased tracks.

    I look forward to new music Tuesday to listen for new tracks by my favorite artists and for trying to find artists that deserve my attention. With radio being as commercial as possible, iTunes is about my only source for new and fresh music.
  • by singularity (2031) * <nowalmart AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday September 17, 2006 @12:17AM (#16123122) Homepage Journal
    The survey apparently compared (iTunes purchased songs) and (every other possible way of getting a song onto your iPod)

    My entire music collection is legal, but I can tell you one of the major way my friends get music - from their friends, through sharing their music collections.

    Everyone here on SlashDot seems to be saying "This survey shows that people would rather buy CDs than music online! This probably says they do not want DRM!"

    I think the article is saying "People will take *free* music their friends recommend over paying for music online."

    This is not at all surprising, and really does not speak to people's views on DRM.
  • Cost vs Time (Score:4, Informative)

    by Bones3D_mac (324952) on Sunday September 17, 2006 @01:50AM (#16123396)
    Playing around with my new 80GB iPod, I've learned quite a bit about everything involved in producing efficient rips of data stored on protected media like DVDs. Depending on the intended use of the content in question, you may actually find it more efficient in terms of time vs cost to simply buy iTunes video content than to attempt a rip yourself.

    I've been sampling different methods of DVD ripping since yesterday and have discovered the most efficient way to rip a DVD while retaining overall data quality is to go through a series of three different applications... at least on the Macintosh side of things.

      - Mac The Ripper [mactheripper.org]

    It seems there is a huge issue with trying to rip directly from the optical drive that often results in several hours of time used to obtain potentially buggy and incomplete data from a DVD. By using this utility to copy the raw DVD data directly to your hard drive, you'll find your DVD ripper will function much faster and much more reliably in a single pass, than it would with ripping straight from the DVD media itself. A 90 minute movie can be copied in about 10 minutes, and then ripped in realtime... rather than taking upward of three hours to obtain the same results.

    - Handbrake [m0k.org]

    This utility converts raw DVD data to a Quicktime-compatible format of your choosing. To ensure easy compatibity with the iPod, try out the new Instant Handbrake software. Despite being a bit buggy and in the beta stages, the results it produces are impressive. When used with raw dvd content stored on a fast hard drive, you can achieve a complete conversion in realtime or faster.

    - iSquint [isquint.org]

    This utility simplifies the process of ensuring your ripped files are in a format that conforms to iPod-playable standards. Depending on the intended use (portable viewing or viewing on a TV screen) you can store a full 90 minute movie using H.264 encoding within 250-500MB of space with very little loss in visual quality. This may add about 2 hours to the ripping process, but is easily worth it for the assurance you've performed the process correctly on your first attempt.

    All three of the above utilities are freeware/open source and readily downloadable at any time.

    As for CDs though, the ripping process is so trivial, there's no point in not buying a CD of a band you like, when you might well end up spending just as much on the individual DRM-infected tracks.
  • by Kapiti Kid (1003167) on Sunday September 17, 2006 @05:42AM (#16123898)
    As another result of the stupid regionalisation of the world brought about by DRMs and their like, Apple will not sell music to New Zealanders. Not unless they have a credit card with a billing address in another country, such as Australia. But I don't mind -- I've got 22 GB in my iTunes library so far. If Apple ever relented, I probably wouldn't use their store now. No need for it.
  • Analog CDs? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by evilviper (135110) on Sunday September 17, 2006 @06:31AM (#16124006) Journal
    From the /. summary:
    83% of iPod owners do not buy digital music regularly... only 5% of the music on an iPod will be bought from online music stores. The rest will be from CDs

    Ah yes, good old ANALOG CDs...

    From TFA:
    only 20 of the tracks on a iPod will be from the iTunes shop.

    Well no-shit. CDs have been around for decades, and most everyone owns dozens, if not hundreds, of them by now. Meanwhile, Itunes has only been around for a few years... It seems pretty significant that in that short time, they've sold so many songs as to bring decades of CD sales down to only 80% of the tracks on an iPod... though that could have something to do with people listening to OLD CDs less than new tracks.

  • by ProfessionalCookie (673314) on Sunday September 17, 2006 @02:52PM (#16125565) Journal
    and are willing to pay for it and take the trouble to rip it."

    It's never been any trouble to rip a CD- and usually not even to get artwork. The only real appeal (for me) of iTMS over used CD's on Amazon is instant gratification. That means I get to listen to a song as soon as I decide to buy it. Some times a friend will com over and say "have you ever heard 'X' " then we usually muddle over how it went, then I usually plunk down my 99 cents to get it now on iTunes; even if there's a good change I'll buy the whole CD later.

    Thats the total appeal for me. Same with the movie store- the appeal is that I can get it now.

    -Ed Palma [edified.org]
  • by Trillan (597339) on Monday September 18, 2006 @12:46PM (#16131086) Homepage Journal

    I expect most users use the store a lot like I do: We use the store to test new artists and for the occasional song that there's no way we'd buy an artist's album for. Personally, I find it shocking that the iTunes store makes up as much as 5% of the music on an iPod, when you consider an iPod can hold thousands of songs.

    But the slashdot spin on this story is even worse: People may shun the iTunes store, but I doubt most iPod users are shunning iTunes.

    I also don't see any link to DRM anywhere in these numbers. It's an interesting theory and may even be true, but it lacks evidence. So far as I can see, the story submitter just tacked it on for the sheer hell of it. Better standards should be applied (and no, I'm not new here, I'm just always midly surprised at how low slashdot can go).

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