Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
brownie

Unrestricted digital music on the Internet

9 posts in this topic

Coming our way soon...

From The New York Times today:

RECORD LABELS CONTEMPLATE UNRESTRICTED DIGITAL MUSIC

By VICTORIA SHANNON

Published: January 23, 2007

CANNES, France, Jan. 22 — As even digital music revenue growth falters because of rampant file-sharing by consumers, the major record labels are moving closer to releasing music on the Internet with no copying restrictions — a step they once vowed never to take.

Executives of several technology companies meeting here at Midem, the annual global trade fair for the music industry, said over the weekend that at least one of the four major record companies could move toward the sale of unrestricted digital files in the MP3 format within months.

Most independent record labels already sell tracks digitally compressed in the MP3 format, which can be downloaded, e-mailed or copied to computers, cellphones, portable music players and compact discs without limit.

The independents see providing songs in MP3 partly as a way of generating publicity that could lead to future sales.

For the major recording companies, however, selling in the MP3 format would be a capitulation to the power of the Internet, which has destroyed their control over the worldwide distribution of music.

Until last year, the industry was counting on online purchases of music, led by Apple’s iTunes music store, to make up the difference.

But digital sales in 2006, while 80 percent ahead of the year before, grew slower than in 2005 and did not compensate for the decline in physical sales, according to an industry report released in London last week.

Even so, the move to MP3s is not inevitable, some insiders warn.

Publicly, music company executives say their systems for limiting copies are a way to fairly compensate artists and other copyright holders who contribute to the creation of music.

But privately, there are signs of a new appreciation in the industry for unrestricted copies, which could be sold as singles or through subscription services or made freely available on Internet sites that support advertising.

The EMI Group said last week that it would offer free streaming music on Baidu.com, the leading Web site and search engine in China, where 90 percent of music is pirated. EMI and Baidu also agreed to explore developing advertising-supported music download services. This summer EMI licensed its recording to Qtrax, an ad-supported music distribution service.

Experiments by Yahoo — last year it offered a handful of tracks from Norah Jones, Jessica Simpson, Jesse McCartney and Relient K without any digital restrictions — will continue this year, David Goldberg, vice president and general manager of Yahoo Music, said in an interview at Midem. Two of the major labels, Sony BMG and EMI, agreed to the tests in 2006.

In a handful of European countries, especially in France, consumer frustration has led to government proposals to legislate interoperability.

“There is a groundswell, and I say that on the basis of private conversations,” said Rob Glaser, chief executive of RealNetworks, which sells digital music protected against piracy through the Rhapsody subscription service.

“It will happen between next year and five years from now, but it is more likely to be in one to two years,” he said.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmm. I had never heard of baidu.com.

This is very relevant as my brother's band, ILAD, is currently mixing their second LP at SOMA Studios this weekend. I had proposed to them that they release the album in a limited quantity of heavy vinyl, and allow owners of the vinyl access to downloads so they could have the music in a more portable format as well.

I still think it is difficult NOT to have a CD, especially for promotional purposes, so we are discussing details there as well.

Any ideas?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I still think it is difficult NOT to have a CD, especially for promotional purposes, so we are discussing details there as well.

Any ideas?

why not CDrs with some Artwerk.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

since few weeks Linnrecords is as well providing all of their catalogue as download without ANY DRM at all. They as well provide artwork with it for downloading and printout as well after successfully loading a record.

What I found rather promising is the fact that they as well provide you with different quality for different price model so that you can choose between MP3/320k and WMA lossless but for some they as well provide hi-res WMA download comparable to their SA-CD quality (right now, its 5 records only, but who knows).

Best regards, Oliver

Edited by tjobbe

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If they got rid of that DRM crap, I'd be buying a lot more music in file form. I'm a happy eMusic user, but I wouldn't touch anything from the iTunes store for that reason.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i was gonna mention what kyo just did: emusic has no DRM, never has, and i believe it's the second largest digital music service on the net.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

DRM is commonly used by sites that allow unlimited downloading/streaming of their entire catalog but burning is disabled without purchase of the tracks. Aside from iTunes, most sites use WMA files (or Real Audio in some cases). The DRM can also block the track from being transferred to a portable device.

Unfortunately I worked as a Program Manager for one of those services for a couple years...and the DRM technology is "Twitchy" at best. I left with little faith in the technology.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What I found rather promising is the fact that they as well provide you with different quality for different price model so that you can choose between MP3/320k and WMA lossless but for some they as well provide hi-res WMA download comparable to their SA-CD quality (right now, its 5 records only, but who knows).

That's very interesting and promising, but the current pricing scheme is illogical:

http://www.linnrecords.com/recording-vival...lvira-sacd.aspx

The SACD (the currently best sounding disc format, with multichannel sound) is 16€, and the "studio master" download (24bit WMA files) is 24€.

According to the explanations, the WMA files are made from the 24bit PCM master used (converted) for the CD transfer, so I suppose they are lacking multichannel sound (I'm not sure if multichannel WMA files exist).

Who will buy such a download, which is not better than the cheaper disc? The only sonic improvement over SACD would be the lack of PCM-->DSD conversion for a 24bit/96kHz PCM recording, but the effect of that conversion is marginal.

These WMA files can be played on the PC, and be archived on a data DVD-R. But I guess audiophiles would also like to make a DVD-V with 24bit/96kHz sound, to be used with a high quality DVD player (no need to use a PC to play the music). But in order to burn such a DVD. the WMA files must first be converted to WAV. Not very practical.

In fact the SACD is really cheap compared to the other formats, which all have some kind of restriction (low resolution and/or lack of multichannel sound)

Hybrid SACD: € 16

Studio Master WMA: € 24,00

CD Quality WMA: € 14,00

MP3: € 12,00

Studio Master. The format we offer is lossless WMA at various high bit rates (check each title for actual details). This file type is suitable primarily for use on a PC. These files can be played on a MAC, but with limited use. They cannot be imported directly into iTunes on a MAC. This download is offered for those who desire the best sound possible. The quality is identical to that of an SACD. The format will be dependent on the actual recording method we used originally. No DSD files are offered as it is not possible to play them back on a PC so an equivalent PCM format is offered. These files offer true "studio quality" and are what was used by Linn to produce the production version of our CD releases. Be sure to check compatibility with your PC sound card etc before you download a file and note that large amounts of storage space are required for each track.

http://www.linnrecords.com/linn-formats.aspx

Edited by Claude

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

yes Claude have seen that as well, that pricing schema might be now a bit weird but there are two interesting aspects

a) download and Hi-res can go together and there will be an alternative. I believe that there are/will be hi-res streaming clients soon as well that have high quality DAC's build in

b) that a record company (though being indipendent) is explicitely mentioning to avoid any DRM

That is a promising signal...

Cheers, Oliver

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.