Dear Cory Doctorow…

Eat my shorts.

Steve Jobs

ADDED: Michael Gartenberg writes:

It is a good step forward for consumers but more importantly, it showed Apple at the forefront of acting as “champion” for consumer interests. After all, it wasn’t Rob Glaser or Bill Gates up there with EMI.

Indeed. Which is why Doctorow owes Jobs and Apple an apology. Haven’t seen it yet.

  • huxley:

    Cory seems to be enjoying the shorts … at least chewing them good-humouredly.

    This is some of the best news I’ve heard all year. DefectiveByDesign is soliciting ideas for a thank-you gift to Steve Jobs. This may just be a sneaky way of hiking music prices, but hell, it’s a whole lot more than I thought we’d get. What’s more, Apple pricing DRM-free music at $1.29 means that the $0.79-0.99 DRM-free MP3s from competing indie music stores will get a huge price advantage.

  • Tim:

    “competing indie music stores will get a huge price advantage”

    What is this price advantage thing when they are selling different goods?

    on the other hand, take my money EMI!

  • Awesome. Just awesome. Upgrading my library now!

  • Notjustlaw:

    Cory is a little quick to claim a competitive advantage for other sites. First, why wouldn’t they raise prices to match Apple or go just below (that is the reason in the first place for $.79 downloads anyway)…Second, Apple’s tie to the iPod and now with DRM free music, will simply increase the competitive advantage. Why try and find a work around to get DRM free music when you can just get it through iTunes and put it right on the iPod.

  • Follower:

    Don’t eat them, Cory! You need a new set of shorts to accentuate your wardrobe.

  • Quix:

    RIP, WMA. We hardly even knew ye (and never really cared).

    Hats off to Jobs and EMI. I was hoping for lossless, but who am I kidding – I can’t really distinguish 192 kbps AAC from the uncompressed source most of the time, so 256 kbps is enough to make me happy. I’ll happily pay the premium over 128 kbps (which I always considered sub-par and not worth my $$$).

    Next up, 720p video downloads in iTunes? Yes please!

  • Billy K:

    I think this is just a snaeky way for the Big Labels to get the price bump they’ve wanted for so long. I bet accepting two-tiered pricing was hard for Steve to swallow. It marrs the “simplicity” of one-price-for-all.

    That said, you can bet I’ll be buying the 256kbps versions.

  • Huh.

    “What’s more, Apple pricing DRM-free music at $1.29 means that the $0.79-0.99 DRM-free MP3s from competing indie music stores will get a huge price advantage.”

    Haven’t they HAD that advantage the whole time?

  • Everyone has been saying that they wish that it was lossless. I just can’t see Apple justifying that bandwidth for the tiny amount of people who can a) tell the difference or b) have equipment on which it is going to make any difference. Besides archiving which I’m going to argue that if you want to do that, buy a CD.

    This is obviously a way for Apple to give EMI the price increase that they’ve been wanting, although it’s a benefit to us because of the increase in bitrate. It’s going to be confusing for some for a while, well, relatively, but when the other music labels come around it’ll all be one happy homogenous DRM-free world on iTunes.

    Hats off to Apple and EMI.

  • Blain:

    And I honestly thought the cape and goggles thing referred to here was a joke!

    That said, it’s two tiered, but I still bet Apple holds the cards. Note that it’s not two-teired in the way the labels were wanting. If it was ‘big name’ vs ‘small name’, the label could exert some pressure on the musicians. Now, it’s ‘Everyone at 99 cents AND 129 cents’ as opposed to ‘Push this group at 99 cents and punish this group by going 129 cents.’ Instead, we have a battle of DRM vs Non-DRM.

    You can probably bet Apple was the one who suggested the non-DRM at a higher quality. This tilts the scales even more so. Very awesome.

  • Nick:

    Cory Doctorow? Oh, who cares what the self-promoting idiot thinks about anything at all? It’s a shame we have to pay any attention to the Enderles, Thurrotts, Ous, and Doctorows of this world at all.

    And that’s a weaselly comment about independent stores. As if he cares a fig for them. Wasn’t Doctorow attempting to grandstand on a demand that Apple drop DRM on material from independent artists that was *already* *available* free from DRM elsewhere from independent stores? That would hardly have been likely not to damage those independent stores business.

    But Jobs cracking EMI is another matter. I think the news is very welcome.

    However, I don’t know it will affect me much. As Jobs said at the press conference, this *isn’t* something new, because 90% of the product in the industry is already being sold in DRM-free form in the form of CDs. I can’t see there’s any compelling reason for me to prefer downloads to CDs, so I shall probably stick with them. But this is great for those who want to buy in this way. Well done, EMI.

  • I can’t see there’s any compelling reason for me to prefer downloads to CDs, so I shall probably stick with them.

    Wow, really? Convenience? The ability to buy just one track?

  • Daniel:

    And if I buy an album DRM free at 256 kbps and burn it, then I have the CD and the downloaded album in my computer, without leaving my ass-indented chair…

  • Sigivald:

    Mac: Well, some of us don’t value just-buying-one-track very much (as we either want the whole album to try out, or like the whole thing, or like the ability to have tracks grow on us over time).

    And while downloadsd have immediate convenience, many people prefer having something physical, with notes and a cover, and the ability to encode it any way they want.

    Different strokes, and all. Features that are compelling to you or to him may be valueless to someone else.

    (Heck, I’ve never bought a track from iTMS. I prefer buying CDs and encoding them to MP3 myself. [AAC is not bad, but MP3 is just as good for my needs and much more portable; my car stereo doesn’t do AAC/MP4, but it’ll do MP3 just fine.]

    Part of it is also that I can get many CDs used for $8.50, which makes them $1.50 cheaper than iTMS. And also lots of the things I like (sadly, usually not used for $8.50) aren’t available at ALL on iTMS.)

  • Scopi:

    Will I lose anything if I convert the 256kbps tracks to 128kbps? My whole library is in 128kbps, and I’ve never had a problem with that. I doubt on my iPod with my $10 headphones I could tell the difference.

  • The whole 256 kbps thing is a trojan horse. This way, it’s easy to spot DRM-free files that might have been “shared”. If they were 128 kbps like other iTMS downloads, they’d just blend in.

    Wait — that’s what SCOPI was getting at, wasn’t it? We’re on to you!

    I’ll take my tinfoil hat off now, okay?

  • Dai Jones:

    If Doctorow is serious about a thank you gift for Jobs, he could do a lot worse than apologise for casting aspersions on Jobs’ sincerity previously. Dick.

  • Blain:

    @Biff: It probably could be even easier than that. If I recall, these are AAC, not MP3. The downloaded AAC could have an account tag in them added on download, like Fairplay was added. And when iTunes finds the new AAC that you ‘appropriated’, it could phone home.

    It’s technically doable. Whether or not Apple’s actually going to do this is another story. In the mean time, pass the tinfoil.

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