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Music Media

Burn A Song For 99 Cents 433

tusixoh writes "CNN is running an article about an online music company,, who has signed deals with Warner Music Group and Universal Music Group allowing users to burn songs from both companies' catalogs (more than 75,000 available tracks) on Listen's Rhapsody music subscription service for 99 cents per track. Until now, Rhapsody had primarily offered only streamed music to subscribers from all of the world's largest record labels as well as several independent labels." The upside of this, of course, is that it won't be necessary to pay for songs that are just "album filler".
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Burn A Song For 99 Cents

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  • Neat. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MAXOMENOS ( 9802 ) <> on Thursday October 24, 2002 @06:21PM (#4525546) Homepage
    Now: let's see if they also allow independent artists distribute their music the same way.
    • Re:Neat. (Score:5, Informative)

      by Camulus ( 578128 ) on Thursday October 24, 2002 @06:27PM (#4525595) Journal
      Actually, there is something that pretty much does. eMusic [] has a massive list of music you can grab. They don't have all of the major artists on tap, but they have a lot of good music there from small/indie artists. 10$ or 15$ a month for unlimited completely legal mp3's (and no I don't work for them, just happy with the service). I have been using it for about 2 months now and it has worked great for me. I have downloaded around 10 gigs of mp3's so far and have listened to a lot of music I doubt I would have heard otherwise.
    • Re:Neat. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by geekee ( 591277 )
      Whos is this mysterious "they" you are referring to. Independent artists have nothing to do with the RIAA. They can distribute their music any way they like if they hold the copyright.
  • by unicron ( 20286 ) <unicron AT thcnet DOT net> on Thursday October 24, 2002 @06:22PM (#4525550) Homepage
    They're actually changing their business model to coincide with modern times. I'd like to believe music companies generally care about their customers. This may be the first step to realizing that dream.

    Honestly, from this point on, if I want an mp3, I'll check to see if one of those labels are the labels that the artist in question is on, if so, they get my 99 cents.
    • Stop Crying Damnit (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 24, 2002 @06:32PM (#4525639)
      This requires Windows. So, when Version 2.0 comes out and requires a Palladium-enabled version of Windows, how exactly will this be a good thing? Not to mention they've replaced standardized components with their own. What will happen when this software starts burning special copy-protected CDs only and your CD-R reaches the end of its lifespan?
      • by unicron ( 20286 ) <unicron AT thcnet DOT net> on Thursday October 24, 2002 @06:36PM (#4525673) Homepage
        That's a pessimistic view. I'm more realist. I really don't see the dark ages of computing just around the corner.

        And please, for the love of God please, no one respond with "well the DCMA got passed!". I get a massive laugh out of that.."Damn DCMA got passed..doesn't seem to have effected my download of 20 gigs of warez and mp3's a day, but it's still evil!"
        • by willfe ( 6537 ) <> on Friday October 25, 2002 @12:26AM (#4527453) Homepage

          It hasn't affected your downloading warez and mp3's yet. That's an important distinction to note. Remember, the RIAA and MPAA have both openly stated they fully intend to begin poisoning peer-to-peer networks with bogus files to deter people downloading content and go after individuals (that is, not corporations or groups -- but single itty bitty people like you and I) sharing their music.

          Of course they haven't started invoking the DMCA in all the evil nasty ways everyone here is predicting. It's too soon. It makes far more sense for this law to stay on the books for years, fall into obscurity, then suddenly reappear with big nasty pointy teeth to bite every music and movie sharing human right in the ass.

          That "dark ages" you describe is close and getting closer; the world's most prevalent computing platform (Windows, sad as that may be) is already chock full of "Digital Rights Management" functionality to limit what consumers can do with their music and videos. CPU manufacturers are already building copy-protection schems straight into their hardware right now; the next generation of CPUs will cheerfully obey the MPAA and RIAA's wishes, refusing to run binaries that aren't blessed by someone with deeper pockets than we have.

          Someone recently said it perfectly, that this "Trusted Computing" initiative isn't quite how it sounds -- Microsoft are pitching it to sound like we (consumers) can "trust" their operating system. In reality, it's an initiative to make a platform that the MPAA and RIAA can trust -- they can trust that it will only let us do precisely what they grant permission for us to do with the content we pay for, and nothing more. Do you honestly believe "compress to an unencrypted, open format with decompressors and players available for free on all platforms," "compress and transmit to my friends on AIM," and "store for future playback without the original media and license file" are going to be on that list?

          Getting back on subject (today's conditions), note that students have been thrown out of dormitories (and sometimes ejected from school entirely) for sharing music, companies (namely Napster) have been sued out of existence not for sharing music, but for enabling others to do the same, and ISPs are being forced to spy on their customers' activities just to avoid lawsuits and criminal prosecution under that lovely law that supposedly hasn't affected you.

          Remember: the DMCA created brand new crimes out of thin air. I can literally write "this string is encrypted", forbid you from decoding it without buying a license from me, and if you point out I've ROT26'd it, you've just violated the law. If an RIAA minion catches you handing a CD-R with a copy of a new album on it to a friend, you can be thrown in jail for copying and distributing the material, and your friend can be thrown in jail for receiving it. The DMCA is being invoked more and more every day. I imagine you might be pretty surprised if the cops break your door down to confiscate that evil, crime-breaking computer of yours that's sharing your favorite Pink Floyd tunes, and to haul you to jail for it. You can literally spend more time in jail for a criminal violation of the DMCA than you can for certain violent crimes.

          But you're right. I'm just being pessimistic. The DMCA doesn't affect us. Not one bit.

      • I like this idea, and I will buy several (many?) songs as they become available.
        If they go Palladium, I'll stop buying their music.
        If enough of us do it, they'll have to wake up and smell the coffee...
    • by Anonvmous Coward ( 589068 ) on Thursday October 24, 2002 @06:35PM (#4525661)
      "Honestly, from this point on, if I want an mp3, I'll check to see if one of those labels are the labels that the artist in question is on, if so, they get my 99 cents."

      You know, a couple of years ago when this started to heat up, I would have been the first customer in line to use this service in order to prove that I'm willing to be legit about music. When they started doing things like proposing the SSSCA and accusing Apple of promoting piracy, they made me mad. So now my attitude is 'screw them'.

      Am I being rational? Not really. Consider this my way of saying "I want the RIAA to apologize to Apple for their accusations, and to all of us legit consumers who were never given a chance to show their good will." I doubt that'll happen. Hopefully I'll grow up one day. heh.
      • Im with you. The RIAA will never get another dime. Ill use the Library and burn CDs i like -- if im not happy w/ the mp3s i dload.

      • I think that attitude - and I totally agree with it BTW - is the best indication of what the music industry giants have done to their marketplace.
        People see these media giants as pirates holding their monopoly by any means available, and the law as just another tool they use to do this.
        Consequently they no longer respect the law.

        I also think that breaking the law is a valid and effective means of protest. I smoke marijuana too :-)

    • by TheTrunkDr. ( 516695 ) <[xavier] [at] []> on Thursday October 24, 2002 @06:50PM (#4525777) Homepage
      except now you're paying $1 a track, and a full cd will run you about $15-$20, so about the same it costs now... but you're providing the media, and doing the replication yourself. hmm now the price is the same, but now there's no packaging, no shipping, no reproduction costs, no nice art on the CD or case. Sounds to me like they've just figured out how to keep the cost the same and totally cut their overhead resulting in larger profits for RIAA. If it's costing that much less, why isn't that saving passed on to the consumer? It's not worth the price if you ask me! should be closer to $.25.
      • No because for me and people like me instead of buying 10 cds to get 10 songs that I like I can now pay $10 and get one cd that I can listen all the way through. This is passing savings onto me. So while I won't be using this cause I don't run winders at home it is still a cool concept.
    • by !splut ( 512711 ) <sput.alum@rpi@edu> on Thursday October 24, 2002 @06:56PM (#4525814) Journal
      Yes, it's a model that adapts to modern times... But that's not why Warner and Universal have signed on. With CDRW drives all but standard with new computers and CD burning so popular, offering this (which is priced to compete with CDs, not CDRs) won't put an end to home CD burning. And they know it.

      To me, it looks like these two giants are making a small investment now so that if and when Palladium and trusted security prevents the average non-techie home Windows user from burning his or her own CDs, Warner and Universal will have ready a business model and the associated infrastructure capable of filling the ensuing vacuum. Then it's just sit back and reap the rewards.

      • if and when Palladium and trusted security prevents the average non-techie home Windows user from burning his or her own CDs

        And that's a big if, to which the answer is "probably not." Microsoft has repeatedly stated that Palladium will not interfere with any applications that don't know anything about Palladium, such as CDex [] or CDRDAO []. The only way your scenario will play out is if a future version of Windows places CD audio extraction and recording into a Palladium vault, which I don't see as likely to happen given the big stink that users raised about CD writing software not working with Windows XP. Microsoft doesn't want another black eye.

    • by krogoth ( 134320 ) <> on Thursday October 24, 2002 @07:22PM (#4525979) Homepage
      No, no, no, and no. As far as I can tell, that's not how it works. If you want an MP3, you'll have to go to a filesharing program. If you want to buy music from them, you'll have to (1) run windows, and (2) download their proprietary bloatware player.
  • by richlb ( 168636 ) on Thursday October 24, 2002 @06:22PM (#4525552)
    Then, all you have to do is buy 10 more songs at our regular price of $2.99 and you're done. There is nothing more to buy... ever!
  • by sm0kes ( 597785 ) on Thursday October 24, 2002 @06:22PM (#4525556)
    Now I don't have to bother will all those inconvient P2P networks.
  • by kryonD ( 163018 ) on Thursday October 24, 2002 @06:22PM (#4525557) Homepage Journal
    Metallica S&M would run over $20 on this. I'd rather pay the $16 for the CD and be able to burn it in the for4mat of my choice. (i.e. ogg)
    • Metallica S&M would run over $20 on this.

      Metallica's S&M CD is a 2 CD set. It retails for $25.

      $ .99 * 21 songs = $20.79

      You save $4.21!

    • Metallica S&M would run over $20 on this. I'd rather pay the $16 for the CD and be able to burn it in the for4mat of my choice. (i.e. ogg)

      This is better, because now you have a choice. If you want a whole album, you get a discount by going to Wal-Mart and purchasing the CD for $16. If you just want one song off the album, you pay 99 cents.

    • by mr_zorg ( 259994 ) on Thursday October 24, 2002 @06:35PM (#4525666)
      Previous comments about this being a 2 disc set retailing for $25 not withstanding, let's pretend this actually was a $16 CD.

      Yes, if you like the whole album, then go down to your local music store and buy the whole album. But how many times have you spent $16 on a CD for only 3 good songs? Would you rather spend $18 for a CD of 18 songs you like or $108 (3 songs x 6 CDs x $16/CD) for 18 songs you like?

      Come on, we've been harping on the RIAA and music labels for some time to give us this very thing. Let's pat them on the back for finally doing it.

      As for your ogg comment, please. You'd be ripping it to ogg from what? A CD . And what do you make using this service? A CD . Duh. Burn the freakin' CD and then rip it to ogg.

    • Yes, albums with lots of short, good songs are probably better purchased in the normal fashion. Take for instance: They Might Be Giants' album Apollo 18. That has about 20 song tracks collectively entitled "Fingertips". Each song is 5-20 seconds long, and together they are a great listen, but this and similar albums aren't the best candidates for this service. What I like is that now we have a CHOICE between doing it the old fashioned 'buy the whole cd' way, and just buying the music we want way.

  • This is wonderful news. I think this is what I wanted all along: good songs for a decent price. Seems like the record industry is finally coming to the point of realizing that people aren't out to rip the artists or the music labels off... just have a good deal for their music.
  • by Quasar1999 ( 520073 ) on Thursday October 24, 2002 @06:23PM (#4525564) Journal
    make it 25 cents a minute. Canadian!!! I can't afford 99 cents per track... That's like $18 a cd!!!
    • Not if you are buying Wagner....
    • Yes, but it's 18 dollars for 18 tracks you WANT, instead of 18 dollars for 2 tracks you want and 17 tracks of filler. Doesn't sound too bad to me.

      Oh wait. What's the catch? There's gotta be a catch. $5 shipping? 3 weeks to make? Unrippable? Not supported by Apple? there's ALWAYS a catch.

      • Yes, but it's 18 dollars for 18 tracks you WANT, instead of 18 dollars for 2 tracks you want and 17 tracks of filler.

        Wow. SOMEONE (ahem. me) should've hit preview.

        (runs in fear from rabid MathTrolls)

      • by pcidevel ( 207951 ) on Thursday October 24, 2002 @06:36PM (#4525668)
        Yes, but it's 18 dollars for 18 tracks you WANT, instead of 18 dollars for 2 tracks you want and 17 tracks of filler. Doesn't sound too bad to me.

        You could do like me and only listen to bands that make full CDs of good music. I can't imagine only wanting to buy a part of a CD. IMHO a band isn't worth listening to unless they build a decent albumn. In fact, a good deal of the best CDs in my collection are intended to be played from start to finish as one full serving of excellent music, not as a collection of individual songs.
        • Oh, I can think of tons of discs like that - Ben folds five's "Whatever and Ever Amen", Shawn Colvin's "A Few Small Repairs" and, well, obvious ones like "Dark Side of the Moon", but that doesn't mean there aren't songs out there I've heard and wouldn't mind paying a buck for but would steadfastly refuse to pay $18 for ('cuz that's essentially what you're doing - buying an album for one song you know you like, hoping there's something worth the cash on the rest of it.)

          Personally, I've got nothing against random play, but you can listen to your tunes in any manner you desire. :)

        • You could do like me and only listen to bands that make full CDs of good music.

          Oh, I'm sorry. I'll change my musical tastes today so I stop liking songs unless I like EVERY song by that artist on that album.

          Sometimes, I like a pop song. I don't want the album, but one track may catch my ear. And how exactly do you know beforehand? What happens when a band you like releases a third album with a poor track? Do you throw it away?

          Your post just sounds haughty. Not all people only like music that comes as "one full serving".
  • Not viable yet. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dildatron ( 611498 ) on Thursday October 24, 2002 @06:23PM (#4525567)
    Business models such as this, while they may be a step in the right direction, are simply not viable yet.

    Nothing will succeed when there is a free alternative. Sure, it may not require as much work, but the artist selection is more limited, and the CD's are about the same price as normal ones (you just like more tracks on the CD).

    Without getting into the legality of P2P-music-downloading, it is simply too widespread and commonplace for something like this to work right now.

    Most non-techie people I know really never even question the legality of downloading music, they just know how to do it and burn it to CD's. They never consider the moral or ethical reasons not to. With a market like that, it will be an uphill battle to make users want to pay for something they get for free right now.
    • by SlashChick ( 544252 ) <> on Thursday October 24, 2002 @06:58PM (#4525833) Homepage Journal
      "Nothing will succeed when there is a free alternative."

      Oh, that must be why Linux has 95% market share on personal computers...

      And why all those free web hosting / free 30-pound bags of pet food shipped to your door / free postage, etc. companies are thriving against the companies who actually expect to make a profit on the aforementioned items...

      The phrases "Worth every penny" and "You get what you pay for" come to mind. A company wants to send me full-quality (not 128KBps) music that has no restrictions for 99 cents a track? I'll pay for it, and so will most others. It's all about perceived value and convenience -- things that most people will happily pay for.
    • Re:Not viable yet. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by kzinti ( 9651 ) on Thursday October 24, 2002 @06:59PM (#4525845) Homepage Journal
      Nothing will succeed when there is a free alternative.

      I agree with you that the offering isn't going to compete with the free stuff. But it's a step in the right direction.

      The free alternatives come with their own problems, and a suitably designed pay-per-song download would succeed and would make the record companies a lot of money if most music fans think like I do.

      The problems I have with the free protocols: they don't have everything all the time. Some nights I can find what I'm looking for, many nights I can't. The quality is spotty. Some songs are of good quality, both in terms of the rip and the encoding (bitrate and the like), but most are not. Many songs have glitches in the ripping or are encoded at lower bitrates than I like (I prefer 192, 160 minimum). And downloading is slow; it might take hours to download just one song because I'm competing with all the other "customers" downloading from the provider's PC.

      Those complaints reflect my use of Limewire (GNUtella), but as I remember, Napster was pretty much the same.

      Give me a download site that has all the record catalogs: everything ever recorded, or at least a large fraction of the popular stuff, with the promise of the "minor" stuff to be added on an ongoing basis. Give me good-quality songs at my choice of bitrates (and encoding: mp3, ogg, or whatever). Give me servers that can keep my poor little ol' 128K ISDN connection running at full speed. Give me the freedom to do anything I want to, for personal use, of my downloads: burn them to CD for my home jukebox, or copy them to my iPod for the office.

      Give me all that at a reasonable price and I'll gladly give up p2p downloading. I want to get my songs legally. I want lots of choices, speedy downloads, quality encoding, and most of all the freedom to use my downloads fairly. I want to be able to find that old Sanford Townsend Band" album, pay five to ten bucks for it, and download the whole thing as fast as my connection can bear.

      Maybe my hopes are naive, especially for a complete catalog. But how many of you, like me, would give up your "pirate" p2p downloads if you could get all I've listed above?

      --Jim, Not A Pirate
  • by jimson ( 516491 ) on Thursday October 24, 2002 @06:24PM (#4525570) Homepage
    We're always saying people would pay to download songs, now......will they??
  • I think this is a beautiful step in the right direction. Have the record companies finally changed their buisness model? Will SOny sign on, as they have a huge amount of copyrighted stuff? And the quality isn't cut in any way is it? I hope these are "Red Book" compliant and not crippled. I just hope the other companies follow suit.
  • suspicion (Score:5, Interesting)

    by an_mo ( 175299 ) on Thursday October 24, 2002 @06:25PM (#4525581) Journal
    The thing looks fishy. First, they don't let you browse the catalog until you subscribe. Second, the cd burning feature is "not yet available" even to subscribers.

    Wait and see..
  • It seems that once you "burn" the stuff onto CDs, you can use it as you see it fit, though they don't state that explicitly anywhere.

  • What for (Score:2, Redundant)

    by Joe Jordan ( 453607 )
    Why would I want to pay $0.99 when I can already burn songs for free?
    • Because you get what you pay for in this world. when I download an mp3, it might not be at the bitrate I prefer.. but it's hard to find more than a few copies of it, so i get it anyway. Or you get to the end, and there is no end. The reason I never used napster (not once) is b/c the idiot filter just wasnt there for me.. way too many kiddies who didn't know how to encode worth shit.

      I'm not saying I will jump to sign up for $9.99 a month, or use at all.. I'm pretty bitter about the RIAA's behavior in the past few years, it will probably take me a while to get over it, but at least now I *can* pay for an mp3 and I know that if I pay for it, there better be a fsking ending on it, and maybe even a selection of bitrates to choose from.

    • Re:What for (Score:3, Interesting)

      by SideshowBob ( 82333 )
      I can think of 2 reasons:

      1. Existing p2p networks are slow and unreliable. I hate getting half way through a download only for the guy at the other end to disconnect from the network

      2. The quality of rips varies *wildly*
  • by Da J Rob ( 469571 ) on Thursday October 24, 2002 @06:26PM (#4525587) Homepage
    Please God!

    Please don't let them get Alf and Terry Bradshaw to do thier commercials.

    I can't take that anymore Lord.
  • by cweber ( 34166 ) <cwebersd@g[ ] ['mai' in gap]> on Thursday October 24, 2002 @06:26PM (#4525592)

    I have two problems with this new service:
    Their client, Rhapsody, is Windows only, and you can only burn []
    10 songs per month. Nice try, but lame.

  • by linuxbaby ( 124641 ) on Thursday October 24, 2002 @06:27PM (#4525596)

    EMusic [], for that same price, lets you download fully unlocked standard MP3 files.

    $9.95 a month gets you unlimited downloads - not an additional 99 cents per song. You can burn 'em and do anything you want with 'em.

    Emusic a very underrated site, now that their big-advertising VC stuff has gone. Really wonderful. (NO I'm not affiliated.)

    • that's who i use too. It's not unusual for me to download 10 albums in a weekend (not every weekend)
    • yep. i just downloaded another gig from emusic today.

      at emusic you truely get what you pay for. unlimited downloads for a flat monthly fee. they are all in 128kbit/sec mp3 format. ie: not really CD quality but plenty for most uses. (and if i want full quality on anything i can always bend over and get the CD)
    • Yes, emusic would be really wonderful if they started using a decent encoder. Right now they use lame 3.88 @ 128 kbit/s, which sounds terrible in headphones. Luckily they give you a free trial period so that you can see for yourself if it disturbs you or not.
  • So I'm confused how this works. Is a customer to look at their catalog, decide which songs they want to purchase, select those songs, and then a cd is sent to them that have those custom-selected songs burned on them already (at $.99 / song)? Or is this a situation where if you purchase the songs you get some sort of portable file sent to you over the net? If it is the latter, I wonder what encoding scheme they are using...mp3, wma, ogg? The article was a little low on details.

    These aren't exactly the best prices I've ever seen on tracks, but it is nice that one can have the opportunity to only get the tracks they want. I think this is definitely a step in the right direction.

  • hold on (Score:4, Interesting)

    by psin psycle ( 118560 ) <> on Thursday October 24, 2002 @06:29PM (#4525610) Homepage
    Do you need to subscribe to one of their monthly plans first? This could cost you an additional 9.95/mo or 4.95/mo depending on the package they make you buy. $0.99 per track doesn't seem like such a good price anymore...

  • I don't get all this talk about "album filler." No, I don't doubt that there actually are albums out there with only one or two good songs -- but I know I don't own any. Doesn't the average Slashdot reader have musical tastes that preclude this sort of bait-and-switch marketing? Or do we decry artists like Britney and N'Sync, while turning around and buying their albums? I mean, avoid the Top 40 and you should be pretty safe.

    And if you're going to argue with me, you have to own up to at least two CDs you bought "with only one or two good songs" that we can make fun of you. :)

    • I don't get all this talk about "album filler."

      Me neither. Some of my favorite songs are the "deep tracks" that never make it to the radio, which is why I never buy "best of" CDs, and why I wouldn't pay per track.

      And one of my favorite albums [] makes a lot more sense if you listen to all the songs, in order.

    • Off the top of my head, when a band sinks, they usually put out one of those albums. Metallica's black album, REM's "Monster", U2's Zooropa.

      Bait and switch... maybe. But don't attribute to conspiracy anything which can be more easily explained through simple blunders.

      The only way to avoid the top-40 these days is to visit small local bars.

    • it happens (Score:5, Interesting)

      by MrChuck ( 14227 ) on Thursday October 24, 2002 @09:48PM (#4526745)
      You're in a studio. You've spent WEEKS laying out a 10 tracks. Everything is fine. Except the contract with the evil record company says "at least 11 tracks" and you're short some minutes.

      Okay, that song you've been toying with a bit gets recorded. Its ok, not ideal. But if you spend another week in the studio, you're paying even MORE for the time and your contract says this will be ready to be mastered by next week.

      You're not proud of it, but it's good enough to slide in between tracks 6 and 8.

      It happens. Really.

      Bad is when you have 4 - 6 songs like that.

      The grateful dead cut side two of an album up into several tracks to meet warner brothers contracts requiring "n tracks" per album.

      Music and law meld as well as music and big business.

  • by KaiserSoze ( 154044 ) on Thursday October 24, 2002 @06:33PM (#4525643) Homepage
    I'd better not hear one peep out of the Slashdot crowd on this one. All anyone ever says on here is "well, I would buy the songs if they were cheap and by the track so I didn't have to buy a whole album". Put up or shut time, /. Most of the posts I've seen so far have been either "they had better let indie artists do it too" or "they don't have anything I want".

    Personally, it's nice to own the music I listen to, and if this makes it so I get the songs I want for $15 on one cd rather than for $225 on 15 cds, great. Now, the article seems rather slim on the facts in this case, but I would hope that (a.) the music is in a machine readable format (not copy-protected), or (b.) available in MP3 or some other open format as well.
    • by Kevinv ( 21462 ) <kevin@vanhaa r e> on Thursday October 24, 2002 @06:35PM (#4525658) Homepage
      i don't think a dollar a track is cheap enough for online delivery. that's still $15 for 15 tracks which is pretty typical for most CD's. I'm paying for the CD and my part of the bandwidth and my burn time....

      good start though.
      • While I don't think this is a good idea (CDs are over priced, and they CD Burning option isn't even available yet on this site) I do think they're heading in the right direction.

        Take into consideration that most people pay a flat rate for thier bandwidth and don't use all of thier available bandwidth every month. Also, they are also paying for bandwidth.

        Also consider that you don't have to pay for gas to goto the record store, and with blank CDs going gor about 30 cents now, there's the money you would have spent in gas. And you don't even have to leave the house! Nor do you have to wait for the CD to be delivered.

        I could see this idea working if they got rid of all the DRM crap and let people download plain old high quality MP3s.
    • You know what? Reading other posts, I can admit when I'm wrong. It seems the article was a bit short on information. I saw the 9.95/mo price, but did not realize that you could only burn 10 songs per month. Apparently my $1 per track is only good up to a limit. Following another post, I checked out EMusic [] and it seemed cool at first, though I don't see a whole lot of enticing selections from their sample pages. For example, I like urban/hip hop so I did some searches for artists. One Eminem song, no Dr. Dre songs, no Ludacris. On the other hand, if you are looking for more non-commercial stuff I found 3 Dilated Peoples compilations, 3 Atmosphere compilations, etc. So, if you are looking for commercial, mainstream stuff, Emusic probably (though not definitely) doesn't have it. Yeah, I know there will be many derogatory comments about hip-hop in general, but I like it. I apologize.
  • Are the record companies actually starting to wake up? Have they realized that it is easier to adapt then it is to lobby for laws that strip the public of their basic liberties and transform modern computing into a one big right-restricted mess owned and operated by Microsoft?

    I doubt it. Likely, there are a clever people at that marketed this out of Warner Bros and friends, but will have no effect on the RIAA and MPAA's attempts to take over the world Pinky!

  • Two questions... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by yamla ( 136560 ) <> on Thursday October 24, 2002 @06:36PM (#4525669)
    Why $0.99 per song? That seems excessively high to me. I mean, most new CDs here with, say, ten songs on them sell for $14 Canadian (around $8.50 U.S.) while even non-new CDs rarely retail over $17 (about $10.50). It seems to me that this company doesn't provide the same nice CD inserts and the like so really, shouldn't they be charging less? Also, I am assuming they provide you with the uncompressed music burnt onto a custom CD for you. If it is MP3 and/or you download it yourself, $0.20 or so seems more reasonable. And yes, I would pay that. Perhaps a little more, say $0.25 or $0.30, for uncompressed music burnt or pressed onto a CD and sent to you.

    Secondly, how much of this money goes to the artist? On the assumption that $1.00 of each regular CD goes to the artist, I would expect to see about $0.10 from each track be paid directly to the artist. Yes, that's while I'm paying approximately $0.20 per track. I don't want to pay per track if the artist simply will not see any revenue whatsoever from this. At least if I buy a CD, there's a chance the artist will see some profit from me.
  • by ChaosDiscord ( 4913 ) on Thursday October 24, 2002 @06:37PM (#4525675) Homepage Journal

    It sounds so good, then I see the details.

    A dollar per track is a bit high, but I would certainly be interested in buying some tracks for that price. However, that price is "in addition to paying a monthly subscription fee of $9.95." I can't imagine buying more than ten songs per month. Once that's worked in we're up to two dollars per track. Two dollars? Too much.

    Furthermore, I expect that this new functionality will be available through their proprietary software []. I don't want to deal with your unknown software (even if it did run under my primary operating system: Linux). I want to open a account with some money, then download songs off your web site until my account is empty. Nice and simple. Do it for one dollar per song and I'll very occasionally use it for catchy tunes. Do it for fifty cents and I'll regularly use it. Do it for twenty five cents and I'll make heavy use it, regularly buying music on a whim.

    • Right on -- at 25 cents per high-bitrate MP3, it's not worth my while to chase the same song all over the net. At 50 cents -- well, I'd restrict my use to cuts I'm already sure I can't live without *and* can't find on a used CD somewhere else.

      Additionally, let me browse the catalog before I sign up, so I know whether there's even anything in it that I want, and offer low-bitrate (64k mono is fine) free samples, so I can check out stuff I've never heard of.

  • This sounds like a step in the right direction. It is the kind of music pricing/distribution paradigm that makes the most sense to me. I only hope that this can also lower the barrior for new artists. If they will give new artists a chance on their web site it could decrease the power of the <evil>record companies</evil>.
  • by tps12 ( 105590 )
    How can they possibly control what I burn? Do they come into my house and install a coin slot on my CD-R drive?

    The company also plans on introducing a service allowing you to brew coffee for only 30 cents a cup.
  • by Hershmire ( 41460 ) on Thursday October 24, 2002 @06:39PM (#4525697) Homepage
    $.99 a song? That's great! For a CD with 15 songs, why that's only ... $15 ...

    Hey, wait a minute!
  • In order to register for Rhapsody, you must use one of the following browsers:

    * Internet Explorer 5.0, or newer
    * Netscape 6.0, or newer

    (Please note: In order to use Rhapsody, you will need Internet Explorer 5.0 or newer.)

    Oh well.
  • by Frank of Earth ( 126705 ) <frank@fperk i n s .com> on Thursday October 24, 2002 @06:41PM (#4525708) Homepage Journal
    As a few people have already mentioned this; when is the record industry going to realize that the product they are trying to sell isn't worth the money when compared to other items you can buy.

    For example, on you can buy Mariah Carey's Glitter cd [] for 13.28

    Even if you're a die hard Mariah fan, there are really only one or two tracks that made it onto the charts. Not to mention that two of the songs on the CD are the same, where one is just a remix.

    Compare this to the The Lord of the Rings [] for 17.97.

    Hrm.. a cd that probably was thrown together in a month [free nervous break down included] compared to a movie, like LOTR, which I won't even begin to comment on how magnificiently it was created.

    Add in the fact that it would take about 10 minutes to download and create your own glitter cd for free. Unless you're buying this as a gift, most people would just download the one or two popular songs and be done with it. Currently, it's a huge pain in the ass to download avi files. It's easier just to buy the dvd.

    Anyways, the worst part about this post is now Amazon is reminding me on the left hand side that I looked at the Glitter cd. If it starts recommending ...
    • I started to make a similar point in a similar story but realized it's not really a fair comparison. Movies make most of their money in the theater run, and DVDs, pay-per-views, premium cable runs and so forth are secondary revenue streams, so the DVD production has been subsidised by the box office income. A music CD production doesn't have any such subsidy I can think of; it's the primary revenue source.

      I still believe CDs are way overpriced, though. And I got burned a few times buying a band's CD from hearing one good song on the radio only to find out I paid $15+ for one good song that constantly plays on the radio plus 10 really crappy songs. So I have bought hardly any CDs lately. I'll only buy if I know there are several songs I like.
  • by m.lemur ( 618095 ) on Thursday October 24, 2002 @06:41PM (#4525709)
    [trying to sign up for trial] "Please upgrade your browser. In order to register for Rhapsody, you must use one of the following browsers: Internet Explorer 5.0, or newer Netscape 6.0, or newer (Please note: In order to use Rhapsody, you will need Internet Explorer 5.0 or newer.) Get the latest version of Internet Explorer Get the latest version of Netscape"
  • According to their website, these guys are distributing music from .MP3 format -- they use lossy compression, which devastates the quality of the audio.

    If you want to see how bad the loss is, load up CoolEdit or Audacity [] and view your mp3s under "Spectrum View" with a range up to 22050 -- I promise that just everything above 16000 will be missing and black, though the original CD audio will have all that quality intact. It's what gives MP3s their "flat" sound on any decent equipment.

    I know CDNow uses the original data for their custom CDs, so just buy it from them.
  • by BigJimSlade ( 139096 ) on Thursday October 24, 2002 @06:41PM (#4525715) Homepage
    The upside of this, of course, is that it won't be necessary to pay for songs that are just "album filler".

    The down side is that $8 punk album I just bought would cost $29.69 online.
  • How is this going forward? I can walk to the record store and purchase a CD with 16 tracks for about $12 - cool case, cool cover, lyrics, everything.
    Or, I can spend my time searching for the tracks I want, pay for my own blank CD, bandwidth, wear on my burner, and end up with a crappy copy (marked with a Sharpie, of course) and a few more files in my playlist for a few dollars MORE!
  • by mcc ( 14761 )
    $10 for the month's subscription, plus $12 for 12 songs.. $22 for a 12-track mix tape, seems to me like not a *great* deal, but that's really not bad either since i get to pick what the 12 songs are. I'd almost be inclined to say they "get" it. In fact, i'd be inclined to say, "yeah, i'll pay for that."

    Except, oops, it looks like you have to have windows [] in order to do any of this stuff. I don't own windows, just this macintosh. My college does have some WindowsXP labs with CD-Rs drives, but the since the user-permissions policies here are currently in the process of changing i'm not sure if i'll actually be able to use their client there. And i do not feel like badgering one of my friends to let me take over their computer for a few hours each month so that i can compose and make for myself mix cds.

    Looks like just lost a customer. Too bad they chose to tether their downloads to DRM technology.. then they wouldn't have to limit themselves to customers who use one software platform.

    In the meantime, this emusic [] thingy that i found linked on this same slashdot forum looks *great*. Looks like i'll be taking my $9.99 over there instead..
  • More for less (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Rip!ey ( 599235 )
    It's just more for less. A step in the right direction, but still somewhat disappointing.

    What do I mean?

    It's simple. $0.99 for each song. That's in American dollars so for me that comes to around $2.00 each. Add it up and I'm paying the same as I would if I purchased a new release at the local retailer. This is based on the fact that if I look through my CD collection, they average around $25 - $30 each (new release), with an average of 10-15 songs.

    If it's an old release, I'm paying more.

    At the same time, the pressing and distribution costs for the distributor have substantially decreased. So it adds up to more profits for their bottom line.

    Will that in turn mean more money for the artist? Somehow, I doubt it.

    Not having to pay for the album fillers is about the ONLY benefit here I can see. Thing is, for most of the music that I buy, I really don't find to many of them.

    Am I being pessimistic?
  • Too bad (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Tuffnut ( 618438 )
    Its too bad all those P2P kids don't have credit cards, otherwise this would be a good idea.
  • this is bad. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by 1lus10n ( 586635 ) on Thursday October 24, 2002 @06:47PM (#4525752) Journal
    this is bad. not good. for one simple reason - you are still getting hosed. $.99 is a rip off when you have to pay for the bandwidth, and the materials (blank cd) to make a single track usefull.

    not to mention the only reason i use p2p is to find non-mainstream non-commercial stuff. if i wanted to listen to some friggin skinny blonde chick sing about her teenage crush i would go buy her CD ! i want indie artists and sampling.

    if you dont own the CD how are you supposed to know what you want to download ? pay $.99 per track off the album plus for your bandwidth and the blank CD ? so ....
    15 songs 15 x .99
    1 blank cd 1 x 1.00 (guessing)
    bandwidth .30 (guessing)
    = $ 16.15 per CD.
    wow that sounds like its STILL A FRIGGIN RIPOFF !

    ill give them credit when they come up with a better soulution for ME ! the CUSTOMER. NOT THEM the EVIL MEGA-CORP.

    although i will give them credit for trying. albiet a shitty attempt.
  • Burn? Not exactly. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Eric Seppanen ( 79060 ) on Thursday October 24, 2002 @06:47PM (#4525757)
    The article title "Burn A Song For 99 Cents" is misleading. They're offering the same crap we've seen before; encrypted DRM-laden tracks that you can't use anywhere but your machine, without their approval. Check out their FAQ:
    9. Can I burn CDs?
    Yes. If you subscribe to any catalog that offers CD burning, you can burn up to 10 tracks a month.
    10 tracks per month? That's not even one whole CD! Give me a break. And it's pretty obvious that not all of their "catalogs" will allow burning. This is a perversion of fair use: "oh, you want to take it with you? Well, that'll cost you another $___".

    I will never pay a single dime for crippled formats.

    • by bmarklein ( 24314 ) on Thursday October 24, 2002 @07:31PM (#4526048)

      There's no information on Listen's site about Rhapsody 2.0, which will feature burning. The FAQ you list applies to their current service, specifically the Naxos Classical subscription.

      The new service will have no DRM, and you will be able to buy as many tracks as you want at 99 cents each. The interesting thing is that they are going to stream PCM audio directly to the burner. So, DRM won't be the issue, buffer underruns will be when their streaming servers can't keep up with your CD player!

  • by systemapex ( 118750 ) on Thursday October 24, 2002 @06:48PM (#4525760)
    Read the FAQs []. This is horrible. You can't even burn one average-sized album onto a CD. Not to mention the proprietary CD burning component isn't available yet.
  • ...but I will lament the lower circulation of "other" tracks. In my experience, there is usually a track or two on every album that are grossly underestimated by The Recording Industry(tm) and thus don't receive the advertising, airplay, or circulation that they deserve.

    It used to be, once I got that album home to listen to, these provided a pleasant surprise, and often became some of my favorite tracks.

    Now I (and I presume everyone else) will be significantly less likely to hear those tracks (because we'd have to pay for them before receiving, and are unlikely to have heard them through 'regular' channels) and even more excellent music may be lost to the common consciousness.

    How do we know whether a song is "filler" or "underappreciated gem" until we hear it?
    How do we hear it before we pay for it?
  • Curious (Score:3, Interesting)

    by limekiller4 ( 451497 ) on Thursday October 24, 2002 @07:01PM (#4525858) Homepage
    I'm wondering what stops someone from doing this exact same thing for 1/5th of the price from a country that does not respect the United States intellectual properties laws.
  • album filler, etc (Score:5, Insightful)

    by syrinx ( 106469 ) on Thursday October 24, 2002 @07:06PM (#4525883) Homepage
    I *still* like my nice packaging and nice looking CDs, rather than a CDR with "Bob the Box - I Like Potatoes" or whatever written on it with a Sharpie.

    Also, as other people have commented, the whole "album filler" thing seems a bit off to me. In general, my CDs have one or two songs I don't like, or even songs that suck, but those are the minority.. I don't get the "one song rocks, everything else sucks" thing.

    And even if you could weed out the songs that suck, how would you know which ones suck and which ones don't, unless you already know them? Many times the best songs are the ones that hit me suddenly after weeks or months or years of having the album, and never really noticing it before, and suddenly, bam, wow, that song rocks, why didn't I notice it before?

    well, that's just my 2 lire (I don't presume to think that my opinions are worth as much as $0.02.. ;) )
  • by PhantomHarlock ( 189617 ) on Thursday October 24, 2002 @07:08PM (#4525894)
    Can someone provide a breakdown of that 99 cents, and what goes where? I'd rather use a service that interfaces directly with the artists, so that the artists get to keep 80 of those 99 cents. If a few major musicians band together and create something like that, many more will follow. Janis Ian are you listening? The catch is that the artists who have already signed their rights away to the labels in perpetuity will never have this option. The most often heard piece of advice for new artists negotiating contracts is "get a lawyer!"

  • by TheTick ( 27208 ) on Thursday October 24, 2002 @07:27PM (#4526024) Homepage Journal

    I'm happily pay for music (or movies or tv shows or books) I might download, but the details have to be acceptable.

    1. The cost has to be sensible. I'm not going to pay more for music than it would cost me to get it on CD, unless there is comensurate value added. I'll pay a dollar a song as long as I can listen to a sample version first and decide if it's something I want to have. (Wouldn't it be nice to avoid paying for the "filler" often found on an album?)
    2. I would much prefer to buy by the song than pay a monthly flat rate.
    3. "Space shifting" is my prerogative. There should be no limitations on my fair use of the content just because I'm downloading it instead of purchasing traditional media. I don't want to steal it and give it away to others, but I may want to burn it to a CD for my car.
    4. I don't want any special clients or software. I'm not a windows user, and I won't become one just to get some tunes. Just give me a web catalog with a sample link and an "Add to cart" link.

    These aren't difficult requirements to meet it seems to me, except by panicy and sluggish business entities that can't read the writing on the wall.

  • by maleficentgruel ( 620354 ) on Thursday October 24, 2002 @07:52PM (#4526161)
    Hey guys, I work for and am the main technical producer of Rhapsody. It's great to see such heated discussion and there are a lot of great points here. However, I gotta point out some misconceptions:

    1) the FAQ is OLD. We're launching on Monday with what we call "a la carte" CD burning. This means you can burn as many CDs as you want. No monthly restrictions, no restrictions at all.

    2) The audio format on the CD is regular redbook audio. No DRMs, no restrictions. They're yours after you pay the $.99

    3) If you want to check out Rhapsody without paying, just register and download it if you want to see the artist list. You can listen to 30 second clips and a selection of radio stations without paying us.

    (remember that this is not released yet. wait 'til next week. ok, back to QA...gotta burn me some CDs ;)

  • by NickV ( 30252 ) on Thursday October 24, 2002 @08:31PM (#4526376)
    If they supported my iPod, and I was even forced to download directly to the iPod and not even keep a copy of it on the computer, I'd be very happy.

    Don't they realize that the people who will sign up for this service are the cutting edge music-listeners, the ones that will probably own an mp3 player and not a discman for their portable music needs?
  • by the endless ( 412967 ) on Friday October 25, 2002 @06:27AM (#4528379)

    This still isn't good enough. Why? Oh, god, let me count the ways.

    1. Track length. I seem to be paying the same per track if I'm downloading Tori Amos's Boys For Pele album (18 tracks between 1:07 and 6:07 long) or Godspeed You Black Emperor's Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennae To Heaven (4 tracks averaging 22 minutes each, spread over 2 CDs). Personally, I'd happily spend a few quid for the twenty-odd-minute epic Storm, but I can't see how they can expect more than a small stack of pennies for the one-minute-seven Mr Zebra (even though it is a pretty good one-minute-seven). Disclaimer: GYBE! are not going to be on this roster. No, really. I don't even have to *look* to be sure of this... leading me neatly on to...
    2. Choice. Sorry, but I'm not really interested in this nice long list of major-label artists. There's only about eight major-label artists I pay any attention to (R.E.M., Radiohead, PJ Harvey et al). Everything else I listen to is independent label artists (Jennifer Terran [], You're Pretty [], Beth Thornley [], Vienna Teng [], etc etc etc). I wouldn't be interested until artists like these are on the roster... but hey, hang on, these artists are already offering some of their songs for free download anyway! And I've bought their albums on the strength of those free MP3s!
    3. Money. Where's the money going? To the artists? Really? Hang on a moment, my sides are splitting with laughter. When I buy CDs from CDBaby [], I know that a good chunk of my money is going to the artists. When I buy CDs direct from the artist, I know that a good chunk of my money is going into their pockets. When I see bands live (tomorrow is The Rock Of Travolta [], can't wait!), I know a good chunk of my money is going into their pockets. The RIAA can carp on and on about how we're ripping off artists, but we all know who the real rip-off merchants are.
    4. Availability. It's too easy to complain about the fact that I couldn't be interested in this shit even if I wanted to be, due to the service being "available to U.S. residents only". Oh well, better stick to my life of crime by not paying the RIAA-tax.

    In conclusion, I'm sticking with the indies. Go, baby [], go!

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