April 28th, 2003


Apple's Music Sharing Solutions

weather: sunny
outside: 12°C
mood: half impressed
I was just watching Steve Jobs' live webcast about Rendezvous and the ability to stream music from another person's machine on your LAN which, emphatically, isn't copying the music "because that is verboten" >KD

The big thing, though, was the new iTunes Music Store. It's open now. I don't have the URL, but I'm sure the servers are way packed right now anyway. =) Apple has gotten together with The Big Five music distribution companies and worked out what looks like a new-ish business model for the sales and distro of music.

You have access to a "gigantic online music store" with over 200,000 songs/tracks (and growing). You can look up songs by artist, genre, title and all that. You get a free preview of the first 30 seconds of the song. You buy individual tracks for (USD)$0.99 each which is about on par with buying a CD. The advantage is that you don't have to buy the entire album just to get the one song you want.

They're in high fidelity AAC audio (thanks for catching that, kvance) that is built into the MPEG-4 format that is (will be?) available on the iPods. So, CD quality or better (because for some of these tracks, they got right from the master tapes that the distro companies had in archive).

Purchasing can be done with the 1-Click Shopping thing (Amazon patented it, Apple licensed it). After you've purchased it, you can burn it onto as many CDs as you want. The only catch for this is you have to change the burn playlist after every 10 burns. Most people aren't burning it to resell (in North America anyway), they're just burning it for themselves and maybe a few friends, so that's essentially unlimited.

You may copy the the tracks onto 3 Macs (I can't remember if they all have to be iPods...). There will be a registration/authorization mechanism online to "tell them" which 3 machines you're using to play your tracks. Again, most people only use a few workstations, so this is essentially "unlimited"... that's Steve's argument anyway.

There's no PC support for AAC audio right now (I don't think), so I don't know what this means for PCs.

And all this is touted to be The Solution against online music piracy. Collapse ) If that offends you, well, it was nice knowing you... =)

But this is a step forward. It makes sense to start changing the business model because, obviously, the old model isn't working and is causing nothing but lawsuits. I'll be watching how this progresses.