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Sony Media Music Your Rights Online

Sony's Idea of DRM-Free Music 370

Posted by kdawson
from the about-as-expected dept.
edmicman writes "Leave it to Sony to mess up DRM-free music downloads. What is the point of DRM-free tracks if you still have to go to a retail store to buy them? From the Infoworld article: 'The tracks will be offered in MP3 format, without DRM, from Jan. 15 in the U.S. and from late January in Canada... The move is far from the all-digital service offered by its rivals, though. To obtain the Sony-BMG tracks, would-be listeners will first have to go to a retail store to buy a Platinum MusicPass, a card containing a secret code, for a suggested retail price of $12.99. Once they have scratched off the card's covering to expose the code, they will be able to download one of just 37 albums available through the service, including Britney Spears' "Blackout" and Barry Manilow's "The Greatest Songs of the Seventies."'"
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Sony's Idea of DRM-Free Music

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  • by jacquesm (154384) <j@NOsPAm.ww.com> on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @06:46AM (#21951760) Homepage
    Has lots of DRM free sony downloads, without any of that hassle of going to a store :)

    coming soon to a bittorrent client near you...
    • Re:thepiratebay (Score:4, Insightful)

      by mwvdlee (775178) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @06:59AM (#21951856) Homepage
      Odd as it is, there is a point to your comment though.

      Non-paying people get a BETTER product all-round than paying consumers.

      • Re:thepiratebay (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Kirth (183) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @08:44AM (#21952470) Homepage
        Absolutely. And you not only get a product without limitations, but a better product too, because you can download something other than Britney Spears.

        It's a complete misunderstanding on Sonys part on how basic economics work:

        An illegal copy basically is a COMPETING PRODUCT, with no limitations, for a better price.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by mi (197448)

          An illegal copy basically is a COMPETING PRODUCT, with no limitations, for a better price.

          Although Sony should study the rest of your and GP's comment to end the stupidity, your last sentence reveals an alarming lack of either scruples or thought.

          I mean, would you accept the availability of low-cost stolen car stereos and GPS-devices as a valid argument for why the electronics manufacturers should lower their prices?

          • Re:thepiratebay (Score:5, Insightful)

            by JoeFromPhilly (792856) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @09:53AM (#21953086)

            I mean, would you accept the availability of low-cost stolen car stereos and GPS-devices as a valid argument for why the electronics manufacturers should lower their prices?
            Absolutely. Or they could design stereos that are more difficult to steal. Or they could work with police to shut down the markets for stolen goods. But they are competing with stolen goods. Pretending that they aren't doesn't solve the problem.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by operagost (62405)

              Or they could design stereos that are more difficult to steal. Or they could work with police to shut down the markets for stolen goods.
              And so that's why we have DRM and the DMCA. Thanks for the insights, Hilary Rosen.
          • Re:thepiratebay (Score:4, Interesting)

            by Ender_Stonebender (60900) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @10:12AM (#21953284) Homepage Journal
            No. But there is a major economic difference: If a car stereo costs $200 at retail, chances are that divides up as something like $125 for parts and assembly cost, $25 transportation costs, and $50 profit divided among manufacturer, middle-men, and retail outlet. For a digital download, "parts and assembly" costs (payment for studio time, session musicians, etc.) are a few thousand dollars ONCE, then never needs to be paid again, transport is dirt-cheap (on the order of pennies per track, even lower in volume), and once the initial costs are recouped, close to 100% of the consumer's cost is profit to the record company. (iTunes has a lower profit margin for the record companies as Apple gets a cut as well.) You will NEVER find that with a physical product.

            And I would happily buy a car stereo (or GPS device) that retails new for $200 for $50 at a pawn shop - assuming that I'm fairly certain the owner of the pawn shop was not knowingly in receipt of stolen goods.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Eivind (15695)
              pennies per track is an overstatement even in low volume.

              Let's see, cheap entry-level hosting let's say with DreamHost is $6/month, and that includes 5TB of bandwith. The average song is aproximately 5MB, so this works out to a million songs downloaded for $6. So not only does it not cost -pennies- per track, infact it doesn't even get close to a single penny for a track.

              Instead, you can serve up 1500 tracks -- and pay a single penny for the bandwith consumed by all of them in sum.

              Physical distribution over
          • Re:thepiratebay (Score:5, Informative)

            by FunWithKnives (775464) <ParadoxPerfect@t ... t ['ror' in gap]> on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @11:58AM (#21954798) Journal
            It depends. Are these magical, self-cloning car stereos and GPS devices? No? Then your argument holds no water. It is not even a question of apples to oranges. At least those are both fruit. Copying and stealing are completely different. As much as I do not want to explain this yet again, I will. When you steal my car stereo, you have deprived me of it. I must then purchase, at my own cost, a new one. When you copy my entire music library, there is no deprivation involved. I still have my music library, and you now have an identical reproduction of it.

            Once you realize the differences here, the situation becomes a purely moral one. Is it ethical to share what you have with others, if doing so deprives you of nothing? What about the corporate music industry? Is it ethical to deny these major labels a profit on something which can be so easily reproduced with such a miniscule amount of labor?

            Musicians, on the other hand, are different. They are the ones who create the art. Even so, however, that does not mean that the creation of this art fits the established definition of "labor." Any musician who plays or sings for the love of it, which is as it should be, does not view what they do as labor. Creating music is not the same as an eight hour day in the cube farm. It is not a chore. It is something done out of love and often necessity. You could compare it in some ways to why Open Source and Free Software developers do what they do. It is like an addiction.

            Still, artists should be compensated accordingly for their live performances, and donations in exchange for copies of their recordings would also be nice, though not necessary. The issue is that musicians are regular people as well. They should not be treated as some sort of royalty and end up millionaires. They should be able to bring in enough from their music to support themselves, of course, but twenty cars, four mansions and a private jet is absolutely ludicrous. Also, what most major artists make is a drop in the bucket when compared to what the music executives take. Food for thought, that.

            To wrap it all into a neat little bundle: Cheap recording equipment, along with peer to peer and other technologies made possible by the ubiquity of the Internet, should be utilized to cut out middle-men completely. The antiquated music industry should be completely destroyed and replaced with a system that allows free copying and trading of music. Artists would become popular by, what a novel idea, the people deciding whether or not to listen to them. They would support themselves via live performances, merchandise if applicable, and donations from fans.

            Buisinessmen should not have control over an art-form.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by truesaer (135079)
              Is it ethical to deny these major labels a profit on something which can be so easily reproduced with such a miniscule amount of labor?


              I honestly can't believe people even consider this an ethical question. Lots of stuff is made with miniscule effort, that doesn't mean the person who makes it doesn't deserve to be paid. Go take an economics class.

      • by Fred_A (10934)

        Odd as it is, there is a point to your comment though.

        Non-paying people get a BETTER product all-round than paying consumers.
        Yeah right, as if you could get Barry Manilow on P2P...

        Um, on the other hand, never mind.

    • Re:thepiratebay (Score:5, Interesting)

      by jacquesm (154384) <j@NOsPAm.ww.com> on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @07:02AM (#21951872) Homepage
      bad form to reply to my own post, for those who can't wait to get their hands on the amazing content listed in TFA and that are currently not in a position to get their card from the local store (due to financial, weather or ethical constraints) here you go:

      http://torrents.thepiratebay.org/3823582/Barry_Manilow_-_The_Greatest_Songs_Of_The_Seventies.3823582.TPB.torrent [thepiratebay.org]

      http://torrents.thepiratebay.org/3958971/Britney_Spears_-_Blackout_(2007)_Dance_%5BBYANOUS%5D.3958971.TPB.torrent [thepiratebay.org]

      Seriously though, when Sony decided it was ok to include a rootkit with their music I think they did not realize just how much damage they were doing to their brand.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Dogtanian (588974)

        Seriously though, when Sony decided it was ok to include a rootkit with their music I think they did not realize just how much damage they were doing to their brand.

        The rootkit fiasco may be well-known and unpopular amongst Slashdot readers, but I'm really not convinced that it's had that significant an impact amongst the public in general.

        I bet that the majority haven't heard of it, or at least have forgotten most of the details (including Sony's involvement), and that most of the others don't consider it that big a deal, even though they should.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by sm62704 (957197)
          You're right. Nobody I know in meatspace knew about it, and when I mentioned a "rootkit" the answer was "huh?" I had to explain what a rootkit was. I finally gave up.
      • by sorak (246725) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @10:49AM (#21953790)
        Oh great, Pirate Bay is going to be slashdotted now...Their sys admins will report that Manilow, spears, and sucky music in general have become a cultural phenomena. The word "manilowed" will become a verb meaning "was crappy for fifty years, and, for no apparent reason, became incredibly popular".

        The "Encyclopedia of Crap that Never happened" (not to be confused with the O'Reilly factor) will attribute it to Sony's "It's cool to be old and curly-haired" campaign, but we'll both know the real reason.

        I hate you more than you'll ever know.
    • Re:thepiratebay (Score:5, Informative)

      by ThirdPrize (938147) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @07:28AM (#21952038) Homepage
      Yeah, but is it any good? Browse music and sort by #seeds (only guarantee of being able to download something) and what do you get?

      Amy_Winehouse-Back_To_Black_(Deluxe_Edition)-2CD-2007-UKP
      Alicia Keys - As I Am [2007][CD+SkidVid_XviD+Cov]192Kbps
      Top 40 singles Uk 06.01.2008 DHZ.Inc Release
      Ministry Of Sound The Annual 2008
      Kanye West - Graduation (2007) 224kbs
      Timbaland-Present_Shock_Value_(Deluxe_Edition)-2CD-2007-SMO
      Juno Soundtrack
      Alicia Keys - As I Am (2007) Soul And R&B [BYANOUS]
      Lupe Fiasco-The Cool (2007) Rap & Hip-Hop [BYANOUS]
      The_Killers-Sawdust-2007-404
      Daft Punk - Alive 2007 + Encore [Splitted into tracks]
      Britney Spears - Blackout [2007][CD+SkidVid_XviD+Cov]192Kbps
      Billboard 2007 Year End Top 100 Charts (Pop 100 and Hot 100)
      Rihanna - Good Girl Gone Bad [2007][CD+SkidVid+Cov]192Kbps
      Linkin Park - Minutes To Midnight [2007][CD+SkidVid+Cov]192Kbps
      Robert Plant & Alison Krauss - Raising Sand (256Kbps)
      Foo Fighters-Echoes Silence Patience & Grace[FullCD+Video][320kb
      Top 1000 Pop Hits of the 80s (4.32gb)
      Leona Lewis - Spirit [2007][CD+SkidVid_XviD+Cov]192Kbps
      Radiohead - In Rainbows
      Top 40 singles hit 40 Uk best of 2007 DHZ.Inc Release
      The Rolling Stone Magazines 500 Greatest Songs Of All Time
      Michael Buble - Call Me Irresponsible [2007]
      Birdman - 5 * Stunna
      Wyclef_Jean-Carnival_Vol_II_Memoirs_Of_An_Immigrant-2007-404
      Tiesto-Club_Life_037-Cable-12-14-2007 -Legal-Ups
      Bob Marley Discography
      Gorillaz-D-Sides-2CD-2007-OURLEADERiSSiTEOP_ORLY
      OneRepublic-Dreaming Out Loud[FullCD+Video][320kbps]-FiNsTeRc
      Now That's What I Call Music 68

      I would have to call that a fairly random selection of commercial rubbish. for more alternative music it's still easier to get it from a shop or on-line. And yes, I did once leave my PC on for a wek trying to download one album.
      • by nmg196 (184961) * on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @08:41AM (#21952442)
        > yes, I did once leave my PC on for a wek trying to download one album.

        Open your firewall then. The albums will download about 10 times quicker.
        • by nmg196 (184961) *
          Why has my comment been modded "funny"? I was serious... If you open your firewall for incoming torrent connections, the download speeds are much better. The same is true of pretty much any peer-to-peer application. Additionally VOIP applications like Skype perform much more reliably. Not quite sure why anybody thinks my comment was "funny" - but maybe I've missed something.
      • Clearly you are looking in the wrong places. Here's a top ten from a popular tracker; (the final number is the number of seeds)

        Morphine - Cure For Pain [1993/MP3/V0 (VBR)] 1025
        Rage Against the Machine - Rage Against the Machine [1992/MP3/XING~256 (VBR)] 937
        Nomak - Calm [2007/MP3/V0 (VBR)] 920
        Moving Mountains - Pneuma [2007/MP3/V0 (VBR)] 916
        madisonave Archive - Lights [2006/MP3/V0 (VBR)] 915
        Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - Greatest Hits [1993/MP3/V0 (VBR)] 906
        The Delgados - The Great Eastern [2

      • by AvitarX (172628)
        A week?, that's nothing.

        I once waited 6 weeks for someone with the last 10 MBs of a TV episode (this was of course completly legal home made TV show).
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by sm62704 (957197)
        And yes, I did once leave my PC on for a wek trying to download one album.

        That illustrates something I've been trying to say here for a long time, and that is that downloading isn't that damned convinient. Pirate Bay or Morpheus are good for indie music, but if you're looking for the top 40 the easiest, cheapest, and still legal way is to plug your radio's headphone jack into your sound card, sample a top-40 station [kuro5hin.org] and spend five minutes showing EAC where to make the cuts.

        If you live in St Louis you can ha [kuro5hin.org]
    • by JordanL (886154)
      I think Sony decided they would take the "CD Key" approach to DRM.
  • failure (Score:5, Insightful)

    by spatialguy (951355) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @06:46AM (#21951762)
    And in a few months time, they'll evaluate and state that the consumers aren't ready yet for DRM-free music.
    • by IndustrialComplex (975015) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @07:18AM (#21951986)
      Actually this sounds like some suppliers twisted Sony's arm in a failed attempt to keep the 'brick and mortar' style music store alive. I'm certain that the eventual failure of the 'pirate-friendly' mp3s is a pleasant side effect.

      Kind of like how release dates for most games are tied to the physical retail releases.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by deniable (76198)
        Well, those stores are only in the US and Canada. This is a low tech solution to region locking. You have to be in one of those countries to buy the card. It was probably easier for Sony than checking IP addresses.
  • With such quality music, how is it possible they're losing market share??!
  • by drspliff (652992) <harry.roberts@NOSPAM.midnight-labs.org> on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @06:50AM (#21951790)
    What a load of bollocks, so I go in-store, and instead of purchasing the CD and ripping them myself, I get a lower quality version already ripped.. wait a minute... this is going to be cheaper right?

    Some other shops have got it right, like my local Virgin Megastore who let you pick any cd or 7/12", scan the barcode at a listening station and listen to it before I buy the physical cd... if I can't even do this in their stores, then they've got the completely wrong idea and are so disconnected from their own customers that I really feel quite sorry for them.
  • by Rik Sweeney (471717) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @06:50AM (#21951796) Homepage
    instead of going into the retail store, turning right and picking up the platinum pass, I'm going to turn left and pick up the CD.
    • Best idea (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sqrt(2) (786011) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @06:55AM (#21951836) Journal
      I'll stay home and get the torrent with the FLAC files.

      That is, if any music Sony put out was even worth downloading.
      • by Rik Sweeney (471717) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @08:25AM (#21952356) Homepage
        True, but doing it my way means you get some exercise and fresh air.

        Granted, if you drive or use public transport you probably won't get much exercise. And if you live in the city then it'd probably be better for you to stay inside.

        Plus I have to spend money.

        Shit, your way's much better. I'm going to do that instead from now on.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by squiggleslash (241428)
      Are you sure you want to do that? This is Sony we're talking about, the music publisher who thought rootkits were a legitimate thing to put on music CDs...
  • by Hal_Porter (817932) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @06:51AM (#21951798)
    I dunno, I'd pay to hear a Britney cover of "Wait for the Blackout". Particularly now she's a lot fucking crazier now than Dave Vanian ever was.
  • Dear Sony (Score:5, Funny)

    by AbandonAllHope (211475) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @06:51AM (#21951800)
  • Subject? (Score:2, Funny)

    by DirtyHerring (635192)
    There is no way, this could possibly fail.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Hennell (1005107)
      What if sony were to slap a blu-ray player on it?
      ---
      Contronyms: for people who are chuffed by antonyms
      ---
  • Great move (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bud (1705) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @07:01AM (#21951868)

    [...] first have to go to a retail store [...] they will be able to download one of just 37 albums available through the service, including Britney Spears' "Blackout" and Barry Manilow's "The Greatest Songs of the Seventies."'"

    Uhh... great artist selection, there. If I have to walk down to the retail store and then choose between Britney and Barry Manilow, I would rather save my hard-earned money.

    Within a couple of months Sony will "accidentally" leak the sad numbers of their non-DRM trial to select members of the press, who will then write scathing opinion pieces about how the rampant piracy is so widespread that even removing DRM can't help the music industry.

    --Bud

  • by Brummund (447393) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @07:02AM (#21951874)
    tried to design a HD movie distribution system.

    Oh, bummer.
  • by eclectro (227083) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @07:03AM (#21951890)
    Britney Spears and Barry Manilow is a rootkit for the human brain.
  • 37 albums (Score:2, Insightful)

    by scafuz (985517)
    quoting TFA:

    In contrast, online retailer Amazon.com offers 2.9 million DRM-free tracks in MP3 format from the catalogs of EMI Group, Warner Music Group, Universal Music and a host of independent record labels. Apple's iTunes Store has around 2 million DRM-free tracks in the AAC format supported by its iPod and many mobile phones. No store visit is necessary to download those tracks, and an album typically sells for $9.99 or less.

    i don't think it's a smart move from sony.. but hey....at least there's not spyware in it...

  • by dkh2 (29130) <dkh2&WhyDoMyTitsItch,com> on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @07:07AM (#21951914) Homepage
    So, they want me to go to a brick-and-mortar store and spend $12.99 to buy a secret code that will allow me to download MP3s of one album that I could have purchased at that same store for, um, $12.99. Nevermind the fact that even if the downloads are all ripped at over 256kbps they're nowhere near the over 720kbps I'm going to rip from the actual disk in .flac or .ogg, and once you've downsampled in a lossy format there really is no going back to full quality.

    Yeah. Right.
  • ... you can be tracked and you can be treated as a criminal!
  • In Summary (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Crypto Gnome (651401) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @07:10AM (#21951942) Homepage Journal
    • US and Canada only
    • retail Brix-N-Mortar visit required
    • Purchase a "Card with secret code"
    • Card enables download of one album from a selection of 37 (another album means another visit and another card)
    • TFA says "MP3 format" but for all you know it's encoded as mono@32kbps with literally zero info in the ID3 tags
    • For all those hoops you just jumped through, not significantly cheaper than just purchasing the CD
    • does this work on Linux? MacOS? BeOS? AmigaOS? (before you whine about "it's just a download" you've *all* had some site you went to where it simply did not work on "your OS and browser of choice")
    Or you could read the short version: MultiNational MegaCorp with a History of fair-use violating DRM enforcement and downright corporate shenanigans (rootkit, anyone?) releases DRM-free program more difficult to operate than the-clock-on-your-vcr and of actual negative value to end-customers.

    Consensus seems to be that 6 months from now SonyBMG will issue an "I Told You So" press release claiming they went all out to allow DRM-free downloads and nobody wanted it.
    • by SharpFang (651121)
      TFA says "MP3 format" but for all you know it's encoded as mono@32kbps with literally zero info in the ID3 tags

      MONO?
      Next step: .sid instead of .mp3 format.
    • Re:In Summary (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ddrichardson (869910) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @09:02AM (#21952606) Homepage

      Consensus seems to be that 6 months from now SonyBMG will issue an "I Told You So" press release claiming they went all out to allow DRM-free downloads and nobody wanted it.

      There are quite a lot of people saying this and it may well be true but it makes no difference, it's the buying public they are now trying to shoehorn into something they don't want not just a bunch of people trying to justify peer-to-peer but their actual buying customers that they are now alienating.

      Take my wife (please) - would never dream of pirating anything and is completely technophobic. Yet when she cannot put the CD she just bought onto her MP3 player, she sees no reason for me not to get it from a torrent site. She has even started saying some things we've said for years, only last night we watched a DVD and when that irritating "you wouldn't steal a handbag or a car so why steal a DVD" unskippable advert comes up she points out the obvious - why is that on a DVD I bought?

      Point is, I think that everyone is starting to get pissed off with being treated as a criminal.

    • Sony--the company that gave us rootkits, the company that fights homebrew tooth-and-nail on their consoles, the company that added not one, but TWO layers of DRM to blu-ray?? Seriously?

      Get used to it, though. If blu-ray wins the HD format war, you're going to be seeing a *LOT* more aggressive DRM than this.

  • by Farmer Tim (530755) <roundfile.mindless@com> on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @07:21AM (#21951998) Journal
    I see what they're doing. By making people choose between Britney Spears and Barry Manilow they're attempting to prove that popular music is no worse now than it's ever been.
  • by MattW (97290) <matt@ender.com> on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @07:23AM (#21952008) Homepage
    Just when you thought Sony couldn't demonstrate any more incompetence in the marketplace...

    Let's make our product:

    * Hard to get
    * More expensive than the (legal!) competition
    * Packaged in bundles consumers don't want
    * Install dangerous malware on our customers' computers (and get sued)

    Sony once again proves adept at charting a beeline directly for the scrapheap of history. About what you'd expect from the company that thought up the "Ringle".
    • by bhima (46039)
      Sometimes I wonder if the schizophrenia Sony displays is caused in part by owning both a music label and a consumer electronics division. However, this is clearly designed to fail miserably and thus give Sony the opportunity to spin the failure in some ridiculous fashion. So I don't think we can attribute it to the typical Sony schizophrenia.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Lemmy Caution (8378)
        Sony is, at the end of the day, a Japanese company, and Japanese companies seem notably inflexible when it comes to opening things up. It is entirely consistent with behavior I've seen from other Japanese vendors: they've never met a closed system they didn't like.
  • by seeker_1us (1203072) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @07:25AM (#21952022)
    Other than the fact that Sony is self-sabatoging their DRM-free sales.

    Buy a card from a retail store? Fair enough. That seems reasonable.

    Limited selection of music... well maybe they just want to test the waters. Although it sounds like the lack of quality (Britney Spears wasn't good even when she WAS good) may mean they are trying to purposefully set the program up for failure.

    None of this is unreasonable to the customer, and I'd do it to buy legal, DRM-free music.

    Except for the fact that this is Sony, which I have determined NEVER to give any money to again. These are the unrepentant bastards who infected millions of computers with rootkits (their executives should have gone to prison for that, but the corruption of the current government is for another discussion), put self destruct sequences in the Blu-Ray player specs, sell DVD's that won't play in many DVD players, shut down Lik-Sang, made digital music players that ONLY used a proprietary Sony music format, screwed the early adopters of HDTV (Blu-ray players won't work with non-drm'd inputs)...

    Sony is a bunch of asshats. Fuckem.

    • by IndieKid (1061106)
      Whether Britney Spears is any good or not is besides the point. The artists they have chosen are probably some of the better selling ones (Black Out debuted at #1 on the Billboard chart if I remember correctly), which seems a logical place to start if you want to make your catalogue available in a piecemeal fashion.
  • by xx01dk (191137)
    Why on earth would I want to pay for that? Why on earth would I want to even p2p that? Why on earth does anyone think this is even music, let alone good music? Barry Manilow, otoh...
  • Scratchcard are fine (Score:3, Interesting)

    by 91degrees (207121) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @07:38AM (#21952074) Journal
    It means kids can buy them rather than having to rely on a credit card. They take up no shelf space so a lot of convenience stores can offer them rather than just record stores.
  • by CaptainZapp (182233) * on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @07:43AM (#21952090) Homepage
    to when the "secret code" for some reason doesn't work. Oughta be fun to deal with sony-BMG customer "care".

    Folks that can't handle it, like obviously Sony-BMGs management, should really stay clear from an Absinthe bottle.

  • by Dan East (318230) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @07:48AM (#21952122) Homepage Journal
    Sony is trying to prop up the existing music distribution chain. Instead of going into Wal-Mart to buy a CD, you instead go there to buy a card. Either way, you still had to go to Wal-Mart to get your music. Obviously Wal-Mart will receive some sort of profit off of that sale, in lieu of profit off of an actual CD.

    I don't know if this is good or bad. On one hand, it may keep a music section in retailers a bit longer, providing a place to walk in and lay hands on a physical album set. On the other hand, that extra middle-man keeps the cost of music slightly higher. I think this is a fairly responsible thing for Sony to do, because it will help prevent a drastic change which could be detrimental in the short term.

    Dan East
  • So you need to have internet access AND you need to go to the store in person? Ridiculous.
  • I think it's very obvious why the chose this solution.

    The retail chains has many of the record companies by the nutsack since a vast amount of records and movies are sold through these chains. Also, I would speculate that those chains would object to Sony-BMG selling the music to the consumer directly.

    Hence this "compromise".
  • Better idea (Score:5, Funny)

    by noidentity (188756) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @08:01AM (#21952206)
    I've got a better idea, if it's something you have to go to a store to get. They could put DRM-free lossless versions of the songs on small optical discs (they'd be cheap) that you buy at the counter, no codes or anything. They might even be able to get them to play in current portable music players. They'd be digital, of course. Maybe some other company has tried this before?
  • This is a smart move. Submitter doesn't know what he's talking about.

  • The whole list (Score:5, Informative)

    by De Lemming (227104) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @08:22AM (#21952330) Homepage
    These are the 37 titles (from http://gift.musicpass.com/ [musicpass.com]):

    The initial slate of Platinum MusicPass titles is as follows:

    Platinum MusicPass Albums with Bonus Material (slrp $12.99):

    Alejandro Fernandez, Viento A Favor
    Alicia Keys, As I Am
    Avril Lavigne, The Best Damn Thing
    Backstreet Boys, UnBreakable
    Barry Manilow, The Greatest Songs of the Seventies
    Bob Dylan, Dylan
    Boys Like Girls, Boys Like Girls
    Brad Paisley, 5th Gear
    Britney Spears, Blackout
    Brooks & Dunn, Cowboy Town
    Bruce Springsteen, Magic
    Calle 13, Residente o Visitante
    Camila, Todo Cambio
    Carrie Underwood, Carnival Ride
    Casting Crowns, The Altar and The Door
    Celine Dion, Taking Chances
    Chris Brown, Exclusive
    Daughtry, Daughtry
    Elvis Presley, Elvis 30 #1 Hits
    Jennifer Lopez, Brave
    John Mayer, Continuum
    Kenny Chesney, Just Who I Am: Poets & Pirates
    Martina McBride, Waking Up Laughing
    P!nk, I'm Not Dead
    Santana, Ultimate Santana
    Sara Bareilles, Little Voice
    Sean Kingston, Sean Kingston
    The Fray, How To Save A Life
    Three Days Grace, One-X
    Tony Bennett, Duets

    Platinum MusicPass Compilations (slrp $12.99)

    Various, 70's POP HITS
    Various, ROCK OF THE 70's
    Various, SENSATIONAL 60's
    Various, COUNTRY GOLD: THE 90's
    Various, 80's POP HITS
    Various, CLASSIC ROCK
    Various, Everlasting Love

    Expanded MusicPass Titles (slrp $19.99 versions which include the complete album, bonus material, plus choice of one additional album from that same artist's rich catalog of recordings.)

    Kenny Chesney, Just Who I Am: Poets & Pirates
    Celine Dion, Taking Chances
  • by Bootarn (970788)
    You could rather go to a music store and buy a CD, then convert it to MP3 using ripper software. Perfectly legal if it's for personal use (at least here in Sweden). Additionally, you have the choice to onvert the CD to a lossless format such as FLAC. If downloading DRM-free music requires you to go to town to buy some card, you'd rather buy a CD . About the same price, more possibilities. Or you could just ignore it all and just download torrents or whatever.
    • by itsdapead (734413)

      You could rather go to a music store and buy a CD, then convert it to MP3 using ripper software.

      The key word there is "music store" - specifically one which has the CD you want in stock. If the Sony idea takes off then your local "Kwik-E-Mart" (or non-fictitious equivalent) can sell the cards - just like Apple already do with iTunes cards.

  • Lets all meet up at a store and I'll buy the Manilow songs and then give you all free copies.
  • I swear I will never ever buy a Sony product again. No discs, no games, no console, no TV. Ok, I've bought more Yamaha, Sharp, Samsung, Bose, equipment but Sony are just trying to hard to have a place in my brain between the waffen ss and mike huckabee's son, so I'll gladly let them there and consider their products accordingly.
  • And still the PS/3 fanbois don't understand why it is BAD BAD BAD that blu-ray is winning.
  • by BlueCoder (223005) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @10:10AM (#21953262)
    Before MP3's I wasn't into music that much. I remember when MP3's came on the scene years before the popular public had heard of them, ... downloading them by modem, this was before cable modems and DSL, it would take at least 15/20 minutes a song.

    At first I just downloaded but naturally every year or so I'd get a crash or something would happen and I would lose my collection. All the current stuff you can find at decent quality but not necessarily stuff from two or five years back. And not all rips are the same so I eventually found myself just buying the CD's just to rip them myself at higher quality. I never bought CD's before this. I fell into the pattern of downloading the new stuff and buying at least 2/3 of the stuff within a couple years by shopping for used CD's in stores and online. Usually paying no more than like $7 a CD but remember that chances are I only like 2 songs on the disc. I buy my music, maybe not how the music industry would me to; but non the less I do, it's on my terms and it works for me.

    Want do I want? Electronic per song transferable digital licenses. And with those access to the music companies online computers to download the music. And I want the FTC and FCC involved so that the licenses are locked in and guaranteed so that when the technology and protocols of the digital licenses change they are guaranteed transferable to the next technology. And songs are not locked into one account or device(as they are with apple), your free to sell and transfer the per song licenses to someone else in the free market. And it would be nice if the licenses covered all relatively close versions of the song sung by the same performer so they can't charge you again for acoustic, karaoke, different file formats, or higher bit quality. In other words you own the rights to listen to that song and your entitled to all versions of it. That would be worth something.
  • by thpdg (519053) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @10:25AM (#21953452) Journal
    You're missing the point of the physical cards.
    Similar to Wii Points, XBox Live Cards and iTunes cards,
    this is so that people without access to a charge card can still participate by paying cash money at a local merchant.
    Not everyone has a credit card to use on the Internet.
  • Barry Manilow??? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by JetScootr (319545) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @11:10AM (#21954094) Journal
    I'd pay 12.99 just to NOT hear him ever again...Sony must really really WANT this to fail. Perhaps they're trying to generate some ammo for political talking points.
  • Rewriting history... (Score:3, Informative)

    by argent (18001) <peter@slashdot.2 ... m ['nga' in gap]> on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @04:00AM (#21965988) Homepage Journal
    Smaller labels sold unprotected MP3 files through sites like eMusic.com, gambling that the increased sales and notoriety that would come with easier access to their music would outweigh sales lost through unauthorized copying.

    That argument eventually won favor with Apple [...]


    You mean "that argument eventually won favor with EMI". Apple was MAKING that argument to the music industry before they even opened the iTunes Music store, according to the Rolling STone interview with Steve Jobs just a few months after the iTunes Music Store opened:

    Because of their technological innocence, I would say. When we first went to talk to these record companies -- you know, it was a while ago. It took us 18 months. And at first we said: None of this technology that you're talking about's gonna work. We have Ph.D.'s here, that know the stuff cold, and we don't believe it's possible to protect digital content. -- Steve Jobs, 2003.

    More recently, after EMI finally made the break:

    We've always known Steve's view on the subject, long before his open letter. [...] We remain optimistic that in due course digital growth will outstrip physical decline. It hasn't happened yet but clearly we think this is a big step in helping to promote digital sales. Don't ask me to predict exactly when it will happen because I can't. It's important to say that digital is still very much in its infancy. Despite the sensational job that iTunes has done over the last four years, this is an industry in its infancy. The opportunity is massive. -- EMI chief exec Eric Nicolai.

    I don't see any link that has really been broken because people have always been able to take music that they've gotten from elsewhere, such as ripping their CD collection, and put it on iTunes or any other music player. People have always been able to buy music on iTunes, burn it to a CD, burn it and rip it, and put it on any player they wanted to. -- Steve Jobs

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