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BuyMusic.com, New legal MP3 site...but with a twist...
Zaraza
post Jul 22 2003, 16:24
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So, buy.com has started an iTunes-style download store.
Went to check it out...here's what I got (I'm using Mozilla):

Thank you for visiting BuyMusic.com.

In order to take full advantage of BuyMusic.com's offerings you must be on a Windows Operating System using Internet Explorer version 5.0 or higher.
Download Internet Explorer Here.

Hm...I see this service being a huge success amongst Mozilla, Linux, Opera and Apple users.

I see buymusic.com is off to a false start already.
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ff123
post Jul 22 2003, 16:28
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Well, if you don't want your music in WMA format with DRM enabled, you'd be better off to look elsewhere.

ff123
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rpop
post Jul 22 2003, 17:21
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This should be posted under General, not Tech - MP3.


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spoon
post Jul 22 2003, 21:56
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USA only and 128Kbps DRM protected WMA files, no thanks...

I feel sorry for the people who are going to burn those files to a CD and re-rip them to get rid of the protection.


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DaveSimmons
post Jul 22 2003, 22:49
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The WMA files are also tied to a particular install of Windows, so if you buy a new computer you get to lose all the music you paid for.

No thanks.
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spoon
post Jul 22 2003, 23:29
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This site has interesting results for WMA and Ogg qualities:

http://www.cdburner.ca/digital-audio-forma...-audio-test.htm


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rjamorim
post Jul 22 2003, 23:36
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QUOTE (spoon @ Jul 22 2003, 07:29 PM)
This site has interesting results for WMA and Ogg qualities:

http://www.cdburner.ca/digital-audio-forma...-audio-test.htm

I'm starting a 128kbps public listening test tomorrow.

WMA Pro is going to be featured.


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saratoga
post Jul 23 2003, 00:14
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QUOTE (DaveSimmons @ Jul 22 2003, 01:49 PM)
The WMA files are also tied to a particular install of Windows, so if you buy a new computer you get to lose all the music you paid for.

No thanks.

With plain WMA DRM you can simply carry the key with you to new machines. I don't know if this is different, but i don't see how it would be.
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ezra2323
post Jul 23 2003, 01:15
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QUOTE
I see buymusic.com is off to a false start already


More legitimate music download sites = more variety = more competitive pricing. I do not see why people are bashing this site already.

Is it due to a deep hatred of MS or is it legimate?

Is Apple's 128kbps CBR AAC sound quality that much better?

Its obvious the corporations favor WMA. Our energy would be better channeled helping them fix what we percieve to be wrong with WMA then simply bashing everything associated with it. Obviously I am not referring to DRM. If you don't like that, too bad - it is the future. I'm referring to sound quality. Can we recommend VBR 192 as an alternative to CBR 128. Is VBR 192 not good enough? What then?

And by the way, I love OGG, MP3, and MPC - its the music industry, not me, that favors WMA. I say better to help them give us something we want (quality downloadable music) then simply bash their preferred codec.
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High Frequency
post Jul 23 2003, 01:39
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Well, it appears quite obvious that the music industry is rather clueless, and grasping at straws. IMO the danger is that if downloadable content in some degraded format is proven to be financially successful, then I worry about their incentive to provide better (lossless) quality content, even if some form of DRM could be included. Would they then risk the burning/transcoding? Or would they try to make a profity from every penny and save the bandwidth it would require? It's all we can hope for to get today's CD's mixed well, let alone packaged in a format that highlights that.

I agree that DRM is the future, but I have issues with purchasing content that either limits or complicates my ability to move it with me, play it where I like or otherwise. Someday you may be telling your kids how you used to be able to transport, trade and play your "unlocked" library of CD's without limitation, and they'll look at you in disbelief.

This post has been edited by High Frequency: Jul 23 2003, 01:43
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ezra2323
post Jul 23 2003, 01:43
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QUOTE
IMO the danger is that if downloadable content in some degraded format is proven to be financially successful, then I worry about their incentive to provide better (lossless) quality content, even if some form of DRM could be included.


Totally agreed! That would be a shame! So what can we do to convinc ethem to use higher quality WMA OR convince to upgrade the entire codec? If all we do is bash, our suggestions will go unheeded.
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phong
post Jul 23 2003, 05:12
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QUOTE (exra2323)
I am not referring to DRM. If you don't like that, too bad - it is the future.

I don't mean to encourage illegal activities, but this simply is not ture.

<rant>
Software companies have been trying DRM forever (it used to simply be called "copy protection".) It has come attached to games since the beginning of time. It has NEVER worked. It is always cracked. Hell, sometimes, the cracks for games come out BEFORE the games do. There are programs for automatically generating cracks for new games. Even phone-home schemes don't work. They never, EVER stop pirates. The better the scheme, the more desire pirates have to break it, if only for the purpose of "sticking it to the man." The only positive thing they do is occasionally stop a couple of the least savvy floppy copiers. Piracy isn't slowed in any real way.

Meanwhile, actual paying users suffer because they can't use what they purchased. The crappy viewing/listening program doesn't support features they need. Maybe they have to diagnose some hardware in the licensed machine and hate calling up Microsoft every time they swap something out. Perhaps the ridiculous Autocad dongle is keeping them from using their printer. I find it humorous that corporations pay millions of dolars to companies like Macrovision for this snake oil that serves only to infuriate their most honest customers.

DRM didn't work the first 10,000,000 times they tried it; forgive me if I'm skeptical about #10,000,001.

The good thing about DRM is that it gives bullheaded media CEOs a warm happy feeling. As an example, many were very reluctant to going to DVD for fear of piracy. The inept CSS encryption and region coding eased their fears. Of course, it was cracked in short order. The scheme can't be changed for the sake of backwards compatibility, and now that DVD is the standard, they can't stop publishing them. The result is that we can use the media we purchase in the manner of our choosing. Movie studios feared VCRs over piracy, but they turned into a whole new revenue stream. DVDs are giving them a chance to sell the same stuff a second time. Everybody wins.

In the end, the thing that decides what formats become standard is convienience. If cost and quality are "good enough", the vast majority of people will choose the format that is most convienient for them. VHS didn't beat Betamax because of some technical quality aspects. It won because a whole movie fit on one tape (apparently Beta had this later, but it was too late by then). CDs didn't beat vinyl because they sounded superior on a reference level system (at the time, it wasn't even that clear). They won because they're easy to use. Getting the most out of vinyl is HARD and expensive. Acceptable sound can be coaxed out of CDs more easily, they don't wear out as quickly and don't require such careful handling. For many people, the quality of DVDs was secondary to their smaller size, no rewinding, etc.

MP3s are winning today because they're convienient. They're easy to get, easy to play and they're supported everywhere. DRM protected formats will ultimately lose because they are less convienient than CDs. People aren't going to go en-masse to pay just as much for something that is lower quality and has more restrictions on use. Ditto for SACD and DVD-A.

I wouldn't be surprised if the half-assed attempts at online sales by record companies are intended to fail as a ploy for more legislation. They might even get away with it. That is, unless somebody comes up with a Better Idea™.
</rant>


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ScorLibran
post Jul 23 2003, 06:18
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I have to agree with phong...and if I may add something...

I don't think media companies (record labels, game manufacturers, etc.) are trying to maintain a choke hold on piracy, but rather I see them as simply trying to maintain a balance of warding off *enough* piracy so that their bottom lines are for the most part protected. I believe the most sensible corpexecs have to realize that they're never going to completely prevent anyone from "cheating". They are really only trying to make it just hard enough to prevent 99.99% of the people from creating cheat methods, and to keep at least 95% of the general public from using those methods. And lets face it, the majority of the population still doesn't know how to defrag their hard disks, not to mention reverse-engineer runtime files and use hex-editors to hack them (or even how to use a program that would do it for them).

And seperate from the copy-protection discussion, I've seen more and more people referring to streaming and licensed downloads as the "future" of music (and eventually movie) distribution, and even if this someday becomes a widespread reality, CDs (and DVDs) will endure for quite a while in the interim. I predict that among the reasons will be (in the case of CDs, anyway)...

-- CDs are easier for computer-illiterates to buy and play than albums will be to download or stream. And even though this is 2003, there are still *many* computer-illiterates in the world (most of my family are included).

-- Many people still want something "tangible" when they spend their money...you can hold a CD, you can read the liners notes, you can enjoy the occasionally included poster, you can show off your collection lined up on the shelves. Ever try to hold an MP3? And pointing to your computer screen to show off your "collection" just isn't as impressive...

But getting back to stopping piracy...software and record companies will never realistically "beat" all the pirates in the world. They will stop the majority not so much out of technical prowess, but by counting on a lack of expertise combined with the fact that most people are generally *good* by nature. And I believe they know that. DRM probably wasn't intended as the be-all-end-all of piracy prevention, but rather a speedbump to slow down the trend.

CDs also have very distinct advantages for digital audio hobbyists/professionals that are not shared by John Q. Public, like the ability to create a perfect WAV file from any song at any time, which can then be encoded into any format to fit any preference. By contrast, there's just not much you can do with a WMA 128 file. Recommendations that a better format be demanded make a lot of sense, but until that format is lossless, there will always be limitations. Maybe we should focus on both pushing for a better standardized format *and* educating more people on digital audio compression techniques (and making techniques even easier to use/more integrated). That may eventually ensure that a high enough percentage of the population will demand lossless, too.

Personally, I will prefer CDs until (at the very least) *lossless-format* music available for convenient and legal distribution is the standard. And even then, I'll still bitch about not have liner notes I can flip through... tongue.gif
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rjamorim
post Jul 23 2003, 06:20
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New Encryption Makes Copying CDs Impossible


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ScorLibran
post Jul 23 2003, 06:38
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QUOTE (rjamorim @ Jul 23 2003, 01:20 AM)

See, now that irks me.

[enraged rant=on]

When are record companies going to realize that "copying" does not equal "pirating"?!?!? My car, for example, is equipped with a Music Keg. A 20GB hard disk that I can't seem to fit a physical CD into, so I am forced to rip and encode my music in order to listen to it in my car. Would the record companies rather I fumble with switching CDs in my head unit in heavy traffic, rather than pushing one button to switch disks? It is ***perfectly legal*** for me to rip a CD and copy it to my Music Keg...otherwise Music Kegs would be illegal to produce and sell.

Then there is the same issue with portable MP3 players...I haven't been able to successfully stick a CD in my MP3 player..anyone else?

[beads of sweat=on]

Unless I'm mistaken, violation of copyright law for music occurs only if someone copies *and* distributes music to other people who have not paid the record companies and artists to have that music. When I buy a CD, I have the legal right to listen to it in my car, over my home theater and on my portable devices. All of those methods first require that I rip and encode the music from that CD.

Record companies should focus their efforts on preventing downloads, or uploads, or something else to *directly* prevent illegal distribution. Instead, they're punishing people like me, who have *never in my life* downloaded or traded a single item of music illegally. Piss off the law-abiding citizens and guess what will happen...they won't be law-abiding for long, not out of spite, but simply to continue listening to the music *they paid for*...

[/beads of sweat]

[/enraged rant]


(Edit: Not mad at Roberto for posting the link, obviously, but mention CD copy-protection after I've spent so much $$ on digital playback devices and I always get riled up...)

-----
And also..."A focus group of listeners agreed unanimously that *NSYNC's latest album Celebrity sounded much better after it had been encrypted using NoAudio." I'll bet NSYNC *did* sound better with no audio. I wonder why they didn't post their ABX test results, though... laugh.gif

This post has been edited by ScorLibran: Jul 23 2003, 06:48
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rpop
post Jul 23 2003, 06:46
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It just occured to me that I can mass produce audio CDs using this technique too, and no one can tell them apart from the encrypted originals laugh.gif laugh.gif


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PoisonDan
post Jul 23 2003, 09:17
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/me wonders if ScorLibran really knows what the purpose of the BBspot website is. rolleyes.gif


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rjamorim
post Jul 23 2003, 15:16
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QUOTE (PoisonDan @ Jul 23 2003, 05:17 AM)
/me wonders if ScorLibran really knows what the purpose of the BBspot website is.  rolleyes.gif

/me wonders also. :-P


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phong
post Jul 23 2003, 15:52
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60 million Americans use p2p (source). I pretty sure there's demand for a new distribution method to replace (or at least supplement) CDs. Losslessness is not an issue for most folks, convienience and distribution is. The person who finds the right business model for bridging the gap between compensating artists (something which CDs generally don't do) and trading music completely for free is going to get filthy stinking rich. My children might look at my stacks of CDs the way I look at my parents LP collections. Their much larger music collection will be in their pocket.


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Madrigal
post Jul 23 2003, 16:56
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QUOTE (ScorLibran @ Jul 23 2003, 12:38 AM)
QUOTE (rjamorim @ Jul 23 2003, 01:20 AM)

See, now that irks me.


Lighten up and read the article carefully, ScorLibran. It's hilarious.

Regards,
Madrigal
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ezra2323
post Jul 23 2003, 17:22
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QUOTE
Losslessness is not an issue for most folks, convienience and distribution is. The person who finds the right business model for bridging the gap between compensating artists (something which CDs generally don't do) and trading music completely for free is going to get filthy stinking rich. My children might look at my stacks of CDs the way I look at my parents LP collections. Their much larger music collection will be in their pocket.


I just have to quote when I see a post that so accurately conveys what I have been trying to say.

Even though I'm 33 - I'm with your children!
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FrDakota
post Jul 23 2003, 19:07
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I was wondering if the song's previews on BuyMusic reflect how are encoded the sold WMA.

If it does,Yuk! I did a compare with the same headphones of the same titles on BuyMusic and iTunesMS. And streamed both on Mac (so same sound output) Definitely uncomparable.

The AAC was great! But WMA sounded like a maelstöm of noise (and flatter).

The WMA is streamed at 20Kbps. And since they don't advertise that their preview are of the same quality of the sold tunes, I wonder.

As for DRM, Apple's is simpliest. The key is in the song, you only have to refer to Apple to transfer rights. One file to backup.

With Windows, if you forget to backup the rights, you'll have to buy again. Two files to backup (non experienced people will be had by this)

Another difference apparently, Apple warn of Explicit/Cleaned lyrics. biggrin.gif For those who care.
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saratoga
post Jul 23 2003, 19:14
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QUOTE
The AAC was great! But WMA sounded like a maelstöm of noise (and flatter).


I'm going to have to ask for ABX results before I accept that 20kbps WMA is worse then 128 AAC tongue.gif

Anyway you probably didn't need to mention that 20kbps audio sounds crappy. A few of us are aware of that wink.gif
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FrDakota
post Jul 23 2003, 19:33
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That's what I thought....

But why don't they say it?

I know, they're ashamed... laugh.gif They should be :x
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ScorLibran
post Jul 23 2003, 22:16
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QUOTE (PoisonDan @ Jul 23 2003, 04:17 AM)
/me wonders if ScorLibran really knows what the purpose of the BBspot website is.  rolleyes.gif

Got me!

I read it again...and after rubbing the gullability out of my eyes, I see now it's a joke. But I've just seen so many (serious) news stories in the past three years about copy-protection, that I'm ready to pull out my Pre-Packaged RantŠ for use at any time. tongue.gif

The quote "There were no more annoying dance tunes or formula ballads getting in the way of my enjoyment,", or the reference to TotalAttenuation should have made it obvious to me. Wasn't the first time I've been duped by reading too fast.

*Never take BBspot seriously*...I'll have to write that down... rolleyes.gif
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