Thoughts on Buying Online Music

It looks like has announced it has an online music store called “Rhapsody”. This will be used I assume, to compete with the Apple Music Store.

Still no love for me.

Apple Music Store

  • Mac hardware only, and I’m not going to pay $2000-4000 to get what I admit is a decent app in iTunes.
  • $0.99 USD a song for basically unlimited and fair use (not completely unrestricted, but close enough).
  • US only.

Real Music Rhapsody

  • $0.79USD a song, plus $9.99, plus some ambiguity about if you have to pay for each time you burn.
  • Windows only.
  • US only.
  • Real has a history of shitty interfaces, intrusive software and a “lets push ‘content’ at the user until they want to put their head through the monitor” attitude.


  • Free
  • Most formats available
  • Minimal file integrety checking (ie: misnamed songs, no assurance of complete tag info… things to be expected when leeching others mp3 collections).
  • Music, movies, software.
  • Marginally legal, depending on how you spin it (“I bought this album years ago”, “try before you buy”, etc).
  • Can run on any OS.
  • Can run in any country.

Sorry, still waiting for a winner that will not cost me $4000 to join or give me the software equivelant of an anal probe.

I’d almost be tempted to say that music online is new, or at least the selling of it is, but it’s not. Many others (emusic, etc) have tried and, IMHO, failed because basically they can’t compete with the free and illegal methods. I’d love to use the Apple music store, but I can’t. It has the “best” combination of fair use and music industry friendly, but it’s got the highest barrier to entry for us PC laden folks. It’s nice to see that Rhapsody is there for competition, but I really don’t expect it to last that long.

The sad thing is that the music industry will see any failures as a way to say that selling music online doesn’t work. They are wrong. Selling music online using a completely out moded way of thinking doesn’t work. They have to either adapt to the changing times or die, simple as that.

2 Comments on “Thoughts on Buying Online Music”

  1. When you said:
    “Sorry, still waiting for a winner that will not cost me $4000 to join or give me the software equivelant of an anal probe.”
    Was that an either or thing, I am sure you can arrange for a cheaper “anal probe”.

  2. I agree with you. Sure, KaZaa and Gnutella aren’t perfect, but they are free and with just a LITTLE time spent, you get what you want.
    iTunes is SWEEEEEEET…. but like everything Apple, you pay for it, usually through the nose.
    Also, while Apple is doing a better job than most at keeping the DRM hounds at bay, they have already had a little setback with iTunes 4.01. Namely, you can’t stream your music over the internet anymore unless you set up QuickTime Streaming Server (which defeats the purpose of it being easy while simultaneously not stopping anyone from sharing. Stupid.)
    I think what the studios don’t understand is that the whole concept of paying for recorded music is pretty much doomed. What they need is a business model that is not based on that idea, like a distributed patronage system, the street performer system, or the various other systems that were talked about seriously before the .com crash. Will they do this? of course not, because when you look at it, the record industry and record execs are pretty much useless, and recorded music is a great smokescreen.
    Getting music for free is just going to get easier and easier as more and more people have huge archives of mp3s online and the various kaZaa/gnutella/bittorrent interfaces become better.