Apple's music store: one step in the right direction, five steps back

Apple has built a great music store, but it’s not enough to get me to switch.

For the cost of a “CD” from Apple’s music store, I can by a real CD from Amazon.

Apple’s CD has DRM built in. A real CD isn’t copy protected (yet).

Apple’s CD doesn’t come with liner notes and lyrics. A real CD has all its information.

Apple’s CD uses 128bit lossy compression. A real CD sounds better.

Apple’s CD can only be played back on iPods. A real CD can be made to play back on all MP3 players, including iPods.

A lot of Apple CD’s don’t have all the tracks. A real CD has all the tracks of the original (and sometimes more).

David Galbraith is right that Apple’s music store hasn’t changed the economics of the music business. It may be a big step forward, but until the business itself is changed, consumers are still going to take it in the neck. In the meantime, I intend to insist on physical CD’s without DRM.

6 thoughts on “Apple's music store: one step in the right direction, five steps back

  1. I don’t about the current situation in the states, but here in France all the CDs I had wanted to buy in the recent months were copy protected (Ben Harper, Placebo, many others).
    So they don’t work in my car, I can’t make a copy to keep in my car, I can’t rip them to MP3 for my iPod…
    The music industry is actually stopping me from buying CDs…

  2. Yeah, Apple has made huge strides in selling music electronically, but they’re stuck with the same suppliers. The good news is that steps like this will (ultimately) transform the industry. Especially if Apple becomes a channel for bands that aren’t on the majors.
    BTW, I somewhat underestimated the price of CD’s on Amazon. Moderate-priced CD’s are $13.49 on Amazon (no tax or shipping) vs. $9.99 on Apple. I think it’s a no-brainer, but your mileage may vary.

  3. “Apple’s CD has DRM built in. A real CD isn’t copy protected (yet).”
    The DRM is weak. You basically get to play your tunes on 3 different Macs. Any more and you have to “authorize” the other computers you want to add. Big deal.
    “Apple’s CD doesn’t come with liner notes and lyrics. A real CD has all its information.”
    Woop dee doo. I make my own cd’s by converting my mp3’s to audio cd-r. They don’t have liner notes either. Most people who have an mp3 collection don’t have liner notes. Most people who are downloading mp3’s aren’t stopping because the songs don’t have liner notes.
    “Apple’s CD uses 128bit lossy compression. A real CD sounds better.”
    AAC is much higher quality then mp3’s or even wma files. There is no low cutoff like wma however, plus the file size is smaller then wma. AAC sounds as close to the real thing as any codec available. I would challenge anyone to compare the difference between an AAC file and an Aiff or Wav. Here is a review of the waveforms of an uncompressed wav and mp3, wma and aac.
    http://www.tomshardware.com/consumer/20020712/2u4u-05.html
    “Apple’s CD can only be played back on iPods. A real CD can be made to play back on all MP3 players, including iPods.”
    That is a lie.
    Ever hear of the Panasonic SV-SR100? No?
    Then you don’t know what you are talking about. Why do you put out such rubbish like this without doing any research and making ridiculous statements such as this????
    Not only are there cd players that can play mp3,wma and aac files; you can convert the aac files to wav or aiff and then burn those files onto cd-r if you really need to play it on all cd players.
    http://www.video-direct.com/panasonic/digitalmusicplayer/sv-sr100.html
    “A lot of Apple CD’s don’t have all the tracks. A real CD has all the tracks of the original (and sometimes more).”
    Apple doesn’t offer CD’s for sale through the Music Store. It’s up to you to burn the aac files to disk. And I can store hell of a lot more aac files onto cd-r then comes on a normal cd. Whereas you are listening to 12 songs, I’m listening to hundreds upon hundreds of songs. Yeah, I’m missing tracks alright. Seems to me that I am missing only the tracks that are crap and I don’t want to listen to. lol

  4. A couple of points:
    Weak DRM is DRM. Apple’s is better than Sony’s. It’s worse than nothing.
    I don’t expect Apple’s Music Store to compete with free MP3’s downloaded off the net or copied from a friend’s CD.
    128 bit AAC may sound better than 128 bit MP3, but it’s my understanding that it is not as good as 192 bit MP3, which is what I’m using and can creat e if I own the CD.
    Converting AAC’s to other formats is going to result in worse sound than if you rip them from a CD. I recognize that CD is not the best way to carry music around, but it is the best current format for putting files in portable formats and archiving them for more than few months.
    FWIW, I have thousands of songs in my iTunes library and my iPod that were ripped from CD’s I own. Maybe I’m just old fashioned, but owning the CD makes me feel a lot more secure. There is no guarantee that Apple won’t change the level of protection on their currently “weak” DRM. Check your license agreement, it’s in there. My CD’s don’t come with license agreements. Yet, anyway.

  5. My only problem with the AAC format is the fact that I can’t burn it to an MP3 CD with iTunes, plus even when and if I can, I would most likely have to get a new car CD player that can play the AAC format. I don’t like how Apple’s “inovation” tries to force you to buy Apple products in order to enjoy music. I shouldn’t have to buy an iPod to have the opporunity of having a library of songs in my car.

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