- Although online retailer BuyMusic.com will offer more than 300,000 songs from the five major recording labels, users of the service will not necessarily have the freedom afforded customers of Apple’s iTunes service. That service permits transfer of music to multiple computers, portable devices and compact discs.
….The service has about 100,000 more songs than iTunes but comparable to pressplay, which was acquired by Roxio and is expected to undergo a relaunch later this year under the Napster brand.
BuyMusic is charging between 79 cents and $1.29 for individual song downloads. The charge for downloading a full album starts at $7.95 and can go as high as about $12. The iTunes’ service charges $9.99 for most full albums.
BuyMusic downloads are in Microsoft’s Windows Media format.
Still, BuyMusic suffers from some of the same licensing drawbacks that the other PC-based digital music retailers have.
Jobs secured uniform licensing deals from all the recording companies that allow all iTunes songs to be burned onto CD an unlimited amount of times, save for a restriction for making multiple CDs with the exact song lists. All songs on iTunes can also be transferred to up to three different computers and to the iPod, a portable digital music player.
Songs purchased at BuyMusic can’t currently be played on the iPod.
Blum was not able to obtain uniform licensing rights from the recording labels and artists. As a result, different songs on BuyMusic have different restrictions for how often they may be burned onto CDs or copied to other PCs or portable music devices. They can all be burned onto CDs at least once. [AP]
Price: fair, headed in the right direction
DRM: onerous, way wrong direction.
LA Times is not kind:
- Blum’s new venture won’t be able to duplicate the simplicity that some analysts say has been crucial to Apple’s success, in part because BuyMusic.com doesn’t have the technology or the licenses Apple does. Every song sold by the iTunes music store carries the same price and limits on copying, but tracks offered by BuyMusic.com will come with a range of prices and restrictions.
For example, the downloadable songs BuyMusic.com will offer from Universal Music Group can be burned onto CDs an unlimited number of times, but they can’t be moved directly to other computers.
By contrast, other record companies may limit the number of times a song can be burned onto a CD, though they may allow some songs to be transferred to one or two PCs.
….Sources said Blum, unlike Apple’s Steve Jobs, didn’t press the record labels to relax their usage rules. Instead, according to one record label executive, Blum’s main concern was to get the service going as quickly as possible and beat rivals such as Amazon.com to market.
….BuyMusic.com’s tracks will be delivered in Microsoft’s encrypted Windows Media format to deter piracy, rather than the easy-to-copy MP3 format found on file-sharing sites.