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EMI and Apple to remove DRM from most of their music on iTunes

Reply #50
And about the topic, I think DRM free is great. It is a step in the right direction. But I still wouldn't buy lossy files for that much.

If their objective is beating piracy, then having lossy files that cost money is not as good as free, possibly lossless music on P2P. The record companies will never give out free music, so the only way to beat piracy is to offer higher quality music.


Of course, lossy files that cost money will never be more appealing than "free" music on P2P.  However, we're not talking about any music that is offered "free."  Piracy is what it is, and blaming it on the cost/quality of the music is really missing the point.

As one who was paying between $1-$2 for vinyl singles 30 years ago, $.99-$1.29 per track seems like a good deal, especially when the single was pretty much dead before digital downloads became available.

EMI and Apple to remove DRM from most of their music on iTunes

Reply #51

It neatly shuts Norway up about iTunes DRM.


There are more (and bigger) record companies than EMI in this world, and until iTS ONLY sells DRM-free files the ongoing case will not stop. Personally i hope that iTS will be shut down here just to make a point.


What point?  That Norway is ran and occupied by idiots?

EMI and Apple to remove DRM from most of their music on iTunes

Reply #52
As one who was paying between $1-$2 for vinyl singles 30 years ago, $.99-$1.29 per track seems like a good deal, especially when the single was pretty much dead before digital downloads became available.
Let's not forget that most of those "singles" contained two tracks.

What point?  That Norway is ran and occupied by idiots?
I don't know about that, but what percentage of Apple's market is in Norway?
Is 24-bit/192kHz good enough for your lo-fi vinyl, or do you need 32/384?

EMI and Apple to remove DRM from most of their music on iTunes

Reply #53
Fairplay DRM is broken and doesn't allow tracking of those that distribute files in the first place. A watermark on the other hand will. I'm pretty sure that they aren't getting rid of DRM, they're just going to use something else and not call it DRM.

EMI and Apple to remove DRM from most of their music on iTunes

Reply #54
As one who was paying between $1-$2 for vinyl singles 30 years ago, $.99-$1.29 per track seems like a good deal, especially when the single was pretty much dead before digital downloads became available.
Let's not forget that most of those "singles" contained two tracks.

What point?  That Norway is ran and occupied by idiots?
I don't know about that, but what percentage of Apple's market is in Norway?



Not big enough to matter IMO.  If logic is any concern you don't go after the licensee (Apple) regarding DRM you go after the licenser (Studios).  However it's now a moot point because if Apple's goal of offering %50 DRM free tracks by the end of the year how does one vilify Apple enough in court to warrant any indictments?

I'd be interested to see how many people can achieve %70 or better accuracy in double blind tests between a lossless codec and 256k AAC.  Hopefully we have some takers on HA for this.  It should prove interesting.

I'm still buying CDs but I love the option of improved iTunes songs and frankly with gas here shooting up to $3.25 a gallon It's cheaper for me to stay out of the car and persue some music online.

EMI and Apple to remove DRM from most of their music on iTunes

Reply #55

What point?  That Norway is ran and occupied by idiots?
I don't know about that, but what percentage of Apple's market is in Norway?
Not big enough to matter IMO.  If logic is any concern you don't go after the licensee (Apple) regarding DRM you go after the licenser (Studios).  However it's now a moot point because if Apple's goal of offering %50 DRM free tracks by the end of the year how does one vilify Apple enough in court to warrant any indictments?

Well, Norway had enough influence to make iTunes dump DRM in the first place, even though it would have happened sooner or later.
Quote
I'd be interested to see how many people can achieve %70 or better accuracy in double blind tests between a lossless codec and 256k AAC.  Hopefully we have some takers on HA for this.  It should prove interesting.
Not many. However, it would be more interesting to arrange an AAC 128 kbps listening test, where the source is either lossless or AAC 256 kbps.

edit clarification: Contenders could be :
1) Lossless -> AAC 128
2) AAC 256 -> AAC 128
3) Lossless -> Lame -V5
4) AAC 256 -> Lame -V5

EMI and Apple to remove DRM from most of their music on iTunes

Reply #56
Lossless ain't happening folks


You mean it's not happening on itunes. But it's happening for electronic music but still much expensive.

EMI and Apple to remove DRM from most of their music on iTunes

Reply #57
What point?  That Norway is ran and occupied by idiots?


Let's not start a discussion about what country in the world is actually run by a bunch of idiots now shall we. I think the recent year's happenings in the world pretty much sums that up.

Anyhow, regarding going after Apple because of DRM; Why not? It's not just Norway, it's Denmark, Finland, France and Germany aswell. They all agree. Consumers agree, nobody like's DRM - and guess what - Apple is in a monopoly situation regarding online sales of music through their iTunes Store, so ofcourse it makes sense to go after Apple.

This is not about DRM either, it's about the iTunes+iPod lock-in. Apple's FairPlay DRM system is totally closed. Only Apple can use it. Microsoft does a much better job in this regard, they license their DRM system to others. If Apple would license out their FairPlay DRM technology to other companies making portable music players (Creative and such) this case would never excist in the first place.

So you see, it makes perfectly good sense to go after Apple. They are dominating the online music sales market, they are locking their customers into using Apple hardware for the rest of their life, otherwise their purchased music tracks are totally useless since they cannot be played back on ANY other device simply because Apple does not want to license out their FairPlay technology to other Hardware makers like Creative, iRiver, Samsung and so on and so on...

Get it?
myspace.com/borgei - last.fm/user/borgei

EMI and Apple to remove DRM from most of their music on iTunes

Reply #58

Lossless ain't happening folks


You mean it's not happening on itunes. But it's happening for electronic music but still much expensive.



True.  I'm undecided about how I want to persue lossless for my own audio. I don't have the speakers that can resolve audio to my level of satisfaction.  Hopefully I'll upgrade in a few years and decide which direction.  Good news is FLAC is coming to Quicktime so it'll be an option from this year on out.


What point?  That Norway is ran and occupied by idiots?


Let's not start a discussion about what country in the world is actually run by a bunch of idiots now shall we. I think the recent year's happenings in the world pretty much sums that up.

Anyhow, regarding going after Apple because of DRM; Why not? It's not just Norway, it's Denmark, Finland, France and Germany aswell. They all agree. Consumers agree, nobody like's DRM - and guess what - Apple is in a monopoly situation regarding online sales of music through their iTunes Store, so ofcourse it makes sense to go after Apple.

This is not about DRM either, it's about the iTunes+iPod lock-in. Apple's FairPlay DRM system is totally closed. Only Apple can use it. Microsoft does a much better job in this regard, they license their DRM system to others. If Apple would license out their FairPlay DRM technology to other companies making portable music players (Creative and such) this case would never excist in the first place.

So you see, it makes perfectly good sense to go after Apple. They are dominating the online music sales market, they are locking their customers into using Apple hardware for the rest of their life, otherwise their purchased music tracks are totally useless since they cannot be played back on ANY other device simply because Apple does not want to license out their FairPlay technology to other Hardware makers like Creative, iRiver, Samsung and so on and so on...

Get it?


  Touche.  Glad I didn't vote for the idiot.  Please accept my apology on behalf of the sane Americans. I totally think Norway is right.  Why sell lossy audio online when CDs themselves aren't protected.  That standout makes sense but I think their beef is with the studios and not Apple.  The problem with singling out Apple is that you're simply going after the largest provider.  If DRM is to fly it needs to be a specification that isn't created by one company.  DRM needs to be interoperable if it is to fly.


EMI and Apple to remove DRM from most of their music on iTunes

Reply #60
Quote
I'd be interested to see how many people can achieve %70 or better accuracy in double blind tests between a lossless codec and 256k AAC.  Hopefully we have some takers on HA for this.  It should prove interesting.
Not many. However, it would be more interesting to arrange an AAC 128 kbps listening test, where the source is either lossless or AAC 256 kbps.

edit clarification: Contenders could be :
1) Lossless -> AAC 128
2) AAC 256 -> AAC 128
3) Lossless -> Lame -V5
4) AAC 256 -> Lame -V5
Agreed.  I don't think 256kbps is a good option for portable files, and I'm pretty sure that 128kbps was adequate for me, so it would be good to see how they fair as a transcoding source.

The problem is, a lossless archive goes further than being able to hear a difference; it's that warm glow that a lossy source can never achieve.
I'm on a horse.

EMI and Apple to remove DRM from most of their music on iTunes

Reply #61
Another plus (for Apple) as a result of this announcement of 'premium audio' 256K bitrate is that they should now sell bigger flash and hard drive iPod models to current iPod owners who desire to upgrade to new models.

I listened to the ~hour long audio webcast of this announcement this morning, and Steve Jobs said that with ram/hard disk prices coming down and iPod prices lowering, it was the "riight time" to make this "switch" to higher quality (hence 256K) bitrate audio files. A reporter during the Q&A time asked him how many files/songs the iPods would hold, and he agreed it would take double the size for 256K audio files.

I believe Apple is wanting to offer this new "premium option" of non-DRM music to help encourage sales of their soon forthcoming iPhone and newer iPod models, as well. We should see larger hard drive and larger flash RAM versions of Apple's entire msuic player line (and maybe even the Shuffle) soon.

EMI and Apple to remove DRM from most of their music on iTunes

Reply #62
Yep, this announcement is the perfect time to change the default iTunes AAC encoding to 256kbps and to all the sudden offer new iPods with higher hard drive/flash sizes.
iTunes 10 - Mac OS X 10.6
256kbps AAC VBR
iPhone 4 32GB

EMI and Apple to remove DRM from most of their music on iTunes

Reply #63

I'm kinda confused by all of this. Why would Apple release music in AAC at 256kbps?

Headroom for the watermark?


Interesting...This may be it. So they could be removing DRM, but at the same time making the files traceable.
Also, more bitrate, more space. Ipod fills up. Now you need a bigger and latest one.

If they really want to increase audio quality, why not spend 1 dollar a unit in decent headphones.  And not the crap that ipods come with.  Oh, but then they could not sell you the upgrade...

EMI and Apple to remove DRM from most of their music on iTunes

Reply #64
Now that Apple has tipped their hand about making M4A/AAC files the new non-DRM replacement for the aging MP3 audio files, I think software developers of audio apps other than Apple should be lining up to license from Coding Technoligies their AAC/AACPlus MPEG 4 Audio codec(s). Nero may benefit some from this as well (if they ever allow users to select/specify .m4a for the default MPEG 4 audio file extension instead of .mp4, and make sure their codecs remain iPod/iTunes format and tagging compatible).

I predict it won't be long before Spoon with his dBpoweramp will have to license/include a 3rd party AAC/AACPlus encoder/decoder solution. The free Nero thing won't satisfy the casual user who doesn't know how to setup/run CLI apps for encoding/decoding.

A recent example of this is how Poiko licensed from Coding Technolgies their AACPlus encoder/decoder for his Easy CD-DA Extractor program. Winamp also licensed the CT AACPlus/M4A encoder and decoder. Yes, the price of some software may go up a few bucks to get commercial AAC/AACPlus encoders/decoders, but this is peanuts in my opinion compared to the benefit to the end-user to have a quality, full AAC/AACPlus support in their audio players, rippers, converters and other audio apps.

Now if only Adobe Audition bundled native AAC/AACPlus support compatible with iPods/iTunes...

Looks like both Coding Technologies and Nero will be busy lining up software developers to support their iPod/iTunes compatible AAC/AACPlus implementations.

Another benefit of AAC over MP3 is that no end user royalties on content are required to be paid. MP3 requires many content distributors to pay licensing fees on the actual content they distribute, but when AAC was standardized they made the decision NOT to require any AAC audio licensing fees from content distributors. See MP3Licensing.com for MP3's content distributors royalty fees.

 

EMI and Apple to remove DRM from most of their music on iTunes

Reply #65
This simply rocks!!! No DRM. 256kbps AAC is transparent. $1.30 to buy ONE song at transparent quality that I can play anywhere (that supports AAC). A great day for digital music!!!

...and yet still certain people at HA complain. Some things never change.

EMI and Apple to remove DRM from most of their music on iTunes

Reply #66
This simply rocks!!! No DRM. 256kbps AAC is transparent. $1.30 to buy ONE song at transparent quality that I can play anywhere (that supports AAC). A great day for digital music!!!

...and yet still certain people at HA complain. Some things never change.

I agree with you ezra, it is good that Apple is upgrading to no-DRM and 256K bitrate for AAC files. There will always be people who steal things (in this case music) and gripe about pricing.

I think the new pricing is fair (especially the album prices staying the same). But if I just want 1 or 2 songs off an album I still have that choice at a fair price (in my opinion). Being a music publisher myself with 8 albums for sale on iTunes (for those interested, I am listed on iTunes under artist name: Prays), I feel a music publisher and artist should be compensated for their efforts. I like iTunes because I can bypass the "big 4" publishers and self-publish or be an indie music publisher.

EMI and Apple to remove DRM from most of their music on iTunes

Reply #67
This is merely a marketing gimmick.

I believe Ryan Block, a writer on Engadget, states my thoughts perfectly.

Quote
The finer details of EMI and Jobs's announcement today were also dubious. Despite the silver lining, which is that full albums should cost the same but will now default to DRM-free files, the two businesses still conflated DRM-free music with the discerning tastes of audiophiles. Steve mentioned that 128-bit AAC just isn't good enough for the sharp-eared, so uncrippled tracks are being bumped to 256Kbps. This gives Apple the ability to sell the music as a separate product and price point, while giving consumers the illusion of greater value. But we don't believe having free, usable, uncrippled media is a feature -- it's what we deserve, and we demand it. Asking customers to pay 30% more for no DRM and a higher bitrate is a distraction, a parlor trick to take our attention away from the philosophical issue: EMI is still selling DRMed music. EMI CEO Eric Nicoli said, "Not everybody cares about interoperability or sound quality." Since when did the two become so intrinsically linked? Sure, not everyone cares to vote either, that doesn't mean it's a premium privilege


Source

EMI and Apple to remove DRM from most of their music on iTunes

Reply #68
Yep, this announcement is the perfect time to change the default iTunes AAC encoding to 256kbps and to all the sudden offer new iPods with higher hard drive/flash sizes.

I was going to say much the same thing - the issue of AAC256 not being portable is clearly a push to further take money from the "discerning audiophile": firstly they're saying that if you care about quality then you have to pay more for singles, and secondly, you really want to buy a bigger ipod so that you can carry around all your bigger "audiophile"-quality tracks with you.

The memory market at the moment is really quite happy. Firstly you've got the release of Microsoft "Better make it 3GB RAM mimimum if you actually want to do anything on your computer" Vista, then you've got various manufacturers starting to produce 40GB solid-state flash harddrives for laptops (ok, so expensive atm) and now you've got this. I reckon this will be a good year for memory manufacturers...

EMI and Apple to remove DRM from most of their music on iTunes

Reply #69
It is obvious as other have pointed out 256kbps will make you want to upgrade and buy a newer larger size ipod. I suppose this would mean a new ipod coming out in may?

Another questions is someone mentioned that itunes music are actually compressed from a lossless image of the production CD. Is that true?

Would be interested to know how 256 AAC compare to 320 Mp3. And is 256 VBR or is it still CBR? Has apple actually been doing any active development on the AAC encoder?

EMI and Apple to remove DRM from most of their music on iTunes

Reply #70
The problem is, a lossless archive goes further than being able to hear a difference; it's that warm glow that a lossy source can never achieve.
Aren't you saddened by the fact that there might be a better (e.g. 24/96) master and your lossless archive is basically based on "lossy" (16/44.1) copies ? 

EMI and Apple to remove DRM from most of their music on iTunes

Reply #71
The problem is, a lossless archive goes further than being able to hear a difference; it's that warm glow that a lossy source can never achieve.
Aren't you saddened by the fact that there might be a better (e.g. 24/96) master and your lossless archive is basically based on "lossy" (16/44.1) copies ? 
No.  But nice try.
I'm on a horse.

EMI and Apple to remove DRM from most of their music on iTunes

Reply #72
Would be interested to know how 256 AAC compare to 320 Mp3. And is 256 VBR or is it still CBR? Has apple actually been doing any active development on the AAC encoder?


We probably won't know if it is VBR/CBR until Apple starts selling the new encodes in May.

I know Apple has been doing development on their encoder, but I would have guessed more in the 128kbps range (since that is the default for iTunes and the iTunes Store).
iTunes 10 - Mac OS X 10.6
256kbps AAC VBR
iPhone 4 32GB

EMI and Apple to remove DRM from most of their music on iTunes

Reply #73

Would be interested to know how 256 AAC compare to 320 Mp3. And is 256 VBR or is it still CBR? Has apple actually been doing any active development on the AAC encoder?


We probably won't know if it is VBR/CBR until Apple starts selling the new encodes in May.



It was specified in the article that it is CBR. About being 48/96Khz... do the ipod's support those sample rates?

Quote
EMI’s DRM-free tracks will be encoded using 256 kbps non-variable AAC encoding, which Apple says is the same quality level as the original in-studio recording.

EMI and Apple to remove DRM from most of their music on iTunes

Reply #74
hi. my first post.

I totally agree with ezra.

I've been purchasing DRM-free Music for some years now, first on Fraunhofer's Potato System, then on the very fine German Indie label finetunes. They offer cool new bands of all kinds, stuff you'd never find on P2P networks. The mp3s are watermarked, 192 kBit/s CBR, but well tagged (just ReplayGain missing). Oh, and for the 9,99 € there's not even cover art included. But I still love it, 'cause it brings me music I'd never discovered by myself.
Still I was sad when I wanted a new album from a major label they hadn't (I don't like CDs. They take too much space). I hope iTunes will close this gap.
There's only one thing than prevent me from buying tons of music at iTunes now - being forced to install their crappy software!

 
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