Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Give them something, then they mess it up or complain...

" Apple is having problems with content from independent UK artists, according to a report by The Guardian. "Thousands of tracks by independent artists, including the single certain to top the charts tomorrow and all the songs by the Mercury prize winners Franz Ferdinand, are still unavailable on iTunes, three months after its UK launch. Independent record labels spoke of their frustration last night that, despite an agreement to license their music to iTunes, Apple had still not made their work available to fans."

You know, it took Apple a pretty long time to get iTunes perfect here in the US. It also took almost a year for Apple to implement indie artists into the US iTunes Music Store. You can almost be assured that Apple wants as many songs as possible to sell. I say, give it time, and just quit yaya-ing.

"Consumer watchdog, the Consumer's Association (CA) has complained to the UK's Offer of Fair Trading (OFT) that Apple's iTunes Music Store is ripping-off consumers, reports Macworld UK. "The complaint relates to how much Apple charges UK iTunes customers for tracks - 79p, approximately 1.2 Euros. But Apple's French and German customers are charged just 0.99 Euros - a 20 per cent difference for an identical service." 

Look, I'm sure Apple wants to make the pricing as fair and as cheap as possible so they can compete. Because the UK has the wackiest licensing terms and the craziest VAT [ Value Added Tax ] - Apple has to price the songs differently. If you don't like the price, don't buy them! It really bothers me when people say, "gimme gimme gimme" then turn right around and say, "but I want this and more and that, and it's not fair" No, what's not fair is that you ruin it all for ALL OF US. The iTunes Music Store International is more expensive for another subtle reason - having to hire international lawyers to deal with all this whining and PR blather!

"RealNetworks plans to release new software this week that allows songs purchased through its online music store to be played on Apple's iPod -- the first time a company other than Apple has sold songs with DRM (digital rights management) that will work with the popular device. The new technology, called Harmony, was created without Apple's authorization. In April, RealNetworks chief executive Rob Glaser sent an e-mail to Apple CEO Steve Jobs, asking him to license Apple's Fairplay digital rights management technology. Jobs never replied, so RealNetworks created Harmony, Glaser said. "

AND

"Stirring controversy is the development and release of the open source project known as Playfair. Playfair is an application that strips the digital rights management (DRM) info from protected AAC's purchased at the iTunes Music Store, resulting in an unprotected AAC that can be played on any machine. From the project site:

Playfair takes one of the iTMS Protected AAC Audio Files, decodes it using a key obtained from your iPod or Microsoft Windows system and then writes the new, decoded version to disk as a regular AAC Audio File. It then, optionally copies the metadata tags that describe the song, including the cover art, to the new file.

The application is able to strip the DRM information by reading a key found in the user's system, which means that an individual can only deprotect his/her own AAC's. Playfair is a sourcecode download and must be compiled before it can be used."


Wow, Windows and Linux people complain for a year that Apple won't make an iPod specifically for them. Almost immediately after after Apple releases a Windows iPod - multiple sources come out and crack the Digital Rights Management. They ruin it for all of us by adding development costs, attorney costs, and public relations problems. I say if you are going to do something illegal - in this case, reverse engineer a copy protection - why not just do something less complicated and continue to get songs off of LimeWire or Kazaa?

As for Real, the CEO of this company is just a clod. I see his moves as actually a good thing for Apple. I see Real out of business within 2 years time due to his poor judgement and bridge burning .... buffering....7%....buffering .....16%.......

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Your point about VAT in the UK is incorrect. Remember that the UK VAT value is 17.5%. Now take into account that, for example, the French TVA value is 19.6%, a full 2.1% more. Now ask where the extra fourteen pence come from that Apple add on to the UK iTMS price.

Licensing reasons I accept are an issue, but this is an issue for Apple to deal with. If they can't get the prices low enough, that's their fault, and not one to transmit to the user. Especially when, of course, it could well be illegal. You'd imagine they'd have considered this beforehand, really.

I love the iTMS, but the difference in price between the UK and the French and German stores is poor value from Apple.

Mike

fixyourthinking said...

"Licensing reasons I accept are an issue, but this is an issue for Apple to deal with. If they can't get the prices low enough, that's their fault, and not one to transmit to the user. Especially when, of course, it could well be illegal. You'd imagine they'd have considered this beforehand, really.
"
I'm not taking up for Apple or trying to oppose you - but Apple has every right to pass licensing costs on to it's consumers - it's up to you to vote in elected officials who will revise/reform/regulate this licensing scam.

Now I agree that Apple MIGHT should consider just making less money on tunes from the UK instead. But NEVER think that Apple didn't try their absolute best to get it as low as possible.

Also consider, that it's groups that sue in the UK that also increase costs!!