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The cost of music downloads

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Phil Smith, Apr 27, 2006.

  1. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    I've been trying to figure out why iTunes and other music download services charge .99 for songs and a site like www.mp3sugar.com charge .99 for an entire CD and .10 for a song. How are they able to do this? If it's all legit, why is iTunes and others charging so much?
  2. flatwoundfender


    Feb 24, 2005
    They're a Russian company like ALL of Mp3. The laws there make it legal, they're not paying any money to other the artists or record companies.
  3. fookgub


    Jun 5, 2005
    Houston, TX
    I don't think it is legit.

    On a slightly related note, I think iTunes pricing structure is all wrong. For a buck a pop, I'd rather just buy the CD.
  4. IanStephenson

    IanStephenson UnRegistered User

    Apr 8, 2006
    While I think iTunes is expensive - it's no cheaper to buy an album in iTunes than on a CD, Apple have been relativly open about their revenue model - they don't make any money. I can't remember the exact figure but they RECEIVE about 0.20 per song - the rest goes to the record companies.

    For $0.20 the have to run the servers, and bandwidth, and develop/support the software. They've said openly that they have no fear of a legitimate competitor being cheaper, as they make NO money at all on iTunes downloads. While you can argue that $0.2 x 1 billion is a lot, I believe them when they say the store makes little or no money.

    The store is a loss leader, which sells a lot of iPods, and makes apple look cool, both of which sell Mac's.

    As a CD costs $0.20 for the disk, what's the saving in electronic distribution? (OK - there are lots, but they're not that big).

    Personally I'd always buy the CD. The iTunes store is cool, but the Quality isn't as good as CD, and there are DRM issues which are going to REALLY bite people in a few years.

  5. I subscribe to emusic.com. While they only offer independent label selections, I have found some great new (and old) fusion there. They have all genres, but it's ideal for fusion fans as there is an abundance of independent label fusion releases and will most likely continue to be in the future.

    I've grabbed CD downloads from Holdsworth, Brian Bromberg, Mike Stern, John Scofield, Niacin, Chick Corea... the list goes on.

    I pay 9.99/month (40 downloads max) = .025/track
  6. WillPlay4Food

    WillPlay4Food Now With More Metal! Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2002
    Orbiting HQ
    That would be $0.25 per track, not $0.025 per track.
  7. Yeah, that's what I meant it to read. Hmmm, I better double check my taxes! :eyebrow:
  8. fr0me0


    Dec 7, 2004
    Winnipeg Canada
    what exactly is a DRM issue?
  9. +1 for eMusic. I'm a subscriber too ($19.99/month for 90 downloads/month). I've scored some great classical, jazz, African, and Brazilian music there.
  10. Chances are you'll upgrade/change your computer a few times over the coming years... iTunes downloads can only be registered to (I think - correct me if I'm wrong) three computers before you have to pay for them again. The only answer is to burn them to CD, then re-rip them on the new computer, but you'll suffer a loss in quality. This applies too if you keep upgrading your iPod to the latest model - the downloads can only be registered to (I think, again) 3 iPods.

    Despite this, I love the iTunes Music Store. :D
  11. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    I buy & prefer cds...I did just get on a DSL, so I have been buying a few things from iTunes(mostly single cuts vs. buying the whole album).
    What I have noticed-
    Some of the Oldies are not 'right'...I don't know if it's a bad re-mastering or what, something's not 'right'.

    On the bright side, iTunes does have Chicago's Live In Japan...I bought it & burned to a disc.
    I almost bought Steve Coleman's Resistance Is Future double album for $9.90...I pussed out & bought it at B&N for $32.
    I did see Yes' Relayer, all 3 pieces, for $2.97 at iTunes. That's a deal!
  12. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    I think this is covered by being able to de-authorize a computer.
  13. IanStephenson

    IanStephenson UnRegistered User

    Apr 8, 2006
    DRM - Digital Rights Management.

    You can 'de-authorize" a computer, but that's reliant on the computer still being up and running to do it with (and there being an iTunes store to handle that authorisation). A dead computer can't be deauthorised.

    Anything that you buy from iTunes or any other on-line vendor is locked in some way, and they provide the software to unlock it as it plays. What happens when you get a computer than apple don't want to support? I can't play iTunes store songs on a whole bunch of devices I own. Apple could wait five years until everyone has got a whole bunch of songs, then stop producing a PC version.

    What if they started charging for the iTunes player? What if the player starts charging $0.01 per play (at first). They can do that, and there's nothing legal you can do. Apple have already retrospectivly changed the terms of the music store license, so the music you've bought can't be used in the ways it could previously. They've also removed functionality from iTunes to restrict the ways you can listen to your music. That can/will continue. It's not that Apple are particularly the bad guys here - many of these changes are being driven by the labels or even government, and Apple are just the high profile front men.

    What happens in 20 years when iTunes is long gone? How you gonna play them then? Ripped CD's are in standard formats, so you can convert them, and players will be around forver. Downloaded songs not so. Think I'm kidding? I've got photo's from an 8 year old Apple digital camera - they can't be viewed, because apple kept the format the format locked.

    Even if you keep an old machine, that authorization/deauthorisation relies on Apple keeping the iTunes system running IN ITS CURRENT FORMAT. When the major labales stopped supporting records, we could still play them on the turntables we had because they were a simple, documented format. When Apple turns off the iTunes store we're in real trouble.

    Even now DRM is what stops you taking a song to a friends house. Most would agree it's fair use to buy a CD, and take it to a friends house so he can here it - maybe even leave it there over the weekend. Maybe I'll make a compilation to listen to in the car? DRM stops or restrict's these things - the record companies certainly want to stop you.

  14. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 18, 2002
    General Manager TecPadz LLC
    Relative to the cost of iTunes, it really depends on what you are looking for. I've been in and out of cover bands trying to find the right one over the past 2 years, and finally settled on one. But, during that time, I had to learn a bunch of tunes. The most efficient and legal way I could find was iTunes. Sure, the CD is better if you want to own the whole piece of work; but, honestly some of those covers are fine to play, but I don't want the CD. So, for this purpose at least, I believe it is the best legit option. If someone has a better suggestion, I am all ears.

    The one area I fault iTunes on is that they are not as comprehensive as would be expected. I've run into a bunch of "hit" tunes that are not in their inventory. This presents an additional dilemma, because after iTunes, the legit sources fall off quickly. And I really don't want to go out and buy whole CD's just to get one tune under my fingers. That is the area where the whole system breaks down. I wish there was some deal somewhere so that musicians could subscribe to access to the entire musical inventory for purely learning purposes - like an audio library. But, I'm equally sure there are gazillions of reasons that can't happen. Oh well.
  15. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 18, 2002
    General Manager TecPadz LLC
    Maybe I am missing something, but I've put the tunes I purchased off iTunes on standard ripped CD's. Are you saying that is not legal or not technically possible?
  16. Justin V

    Justin V

    Dec 27, 2000
    Alameda, CA
    IME, once you transfer an iTumes purchased song to a different hard drive (like mine does automatically), almost all of the DRM protection goes away. Except for the authorization stuff. But you can import it into an audio editing program and change it to whatever format you want.
  17. Kruton


    Aug 20, 2005
    Ocean Springs, MS

    This makes me scared. I think after my itunes money is gone, I'm going to buy CD's from now on. Is there any possibility that this might change down the road? I mean come on, I payed the record company to listen to it, now why can't I. The Music Industry is so frustrating.
  18. IanStephenson

    IanStephenson UnRegistered User

    Apr 8, 2006
    iTunes allows a purchased song to be burned to a CD, but there are already restrictions on this - like how many times you can burn a playlist. You can't make a playlist of songs that you're planning to learn and burn a copy off for each band member.

    You can burn a CD, but what I meant by "take it round to a friends house" was take the original file without recording it. I can take my CD and play it in my friends CD player. I can't copy a song to my iPod, take that round to a friends, and play that on his computer.

    Exporting and re-importing is a workaround, but at the cost of quality. Try transcribing a bass line from a re-imported song, and you'll find it's not quite as easy as from the original.

    Some of what I'm sugguesting is worst case - maybe everything will work out fine, but we're already loosing "fair-use", a few nibbles at a time. We've lost a little so far, and the RIAA wants more. DRM is something that the industry wants to keep quiet - they tell you they're just stopping the bad guys, until you realise they've stopped you doing things you should be able to do.

    Things I've lost so far that hurt me:
    1) I can't play purchased songs on my lounge media player, as Apple don't license the protection - why can't I play songs I've bought ANYWHERE I CHOOSE.
    2) I can't use my airport express with anything other than iTunes. This is HARDWARE I bought, but it has DRM software installed, so it refuses to play anything other than official Apple generated music.

    I can see a small step to ripped CD's being DRM locked to the computer they were ripped on (SONY already tried this - they put a VIRUS on their audio CD's whihc infects any computer its loaded into!).

  19. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    According to this link, they are:


    As for it being legal...

  20. Has anyone here used mp3sugar before? The prices are definitely appealing. The only thing that worries me is it being based in Russia...the fact that it's a foreign company makes it more likely that they'd misuse your credit card account, etc.

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