This fight between Apple and Real over who can sell license music for the iPod is absurd. Let’s look at what’s happening, starting off with a quick recap of the story.
Apple sells iPods and sells licenses music through their iTunes Music Store. They make most of their money on iPods, and a little from the store.
Meanwhile, Real makes money by making it really hard to find their free player, and play around with the idea of making money off of music files the way Apple does.
So Real created a way for iPod owners to put the music they downloaded from Real on their iPods. This upset Apple, who makes money when people buy iPods, because it made the iPod more attractive to potential buyers. They vowed to stop Real from making more music available for their iPod.
In response Real, banking on all the customer loyalty they’ve built by hiding their free download, installing all sorts of popup adware and junk desktop icons, thought it would be a good idea to start a grassroots campaign.
What they didn’t count on was the fact that the mac faithful have grown by leaps and bounds thanks to reality distortion field generators embedded in white earbuds. The zealots responded including such biting bon mots as

You people are wrong, wrong, wrong. If we wanted ‘choices’ like yours, they wouldn’t have to be foisted on us. Most of us, given a real choice, would rather see you and your tactics go away. ‘Competition’ doesn’t give you any right to reverse-engineer when you feel like it, but come down on those that hack into your IP rights. It’s theft, pure and simple.

Apparently the author isn’t aware that Real doesn’t actually come to your house and install Harmony on your computer at gunpoint. He is correct in surmising that Real is acting hypocritically which is, you know, unheard of for a large corporation. Luckily Apple is above hypocrisy. OK that was a cheap shot, but how is this different from Apple using the reverse-engineered Samba in OS X?
Real also temporarily dropped the price of their songs to $0.49, which really pissed people off. I don’t know why people who don’t own Apple stock or get an Apple paycheck would be upset at the idea of getting the same product for half price.
This also lead to people saying that Real is losing money by selling songs for less than $0.99. This seems really weird to me, considering the cost of reproduction is nil. I know amateur music collectors who have more than Real’s 200,000 songs archived, I don’t think storage is that expensive. Bandwidth doesn’t cost $0.10/meg in the developed world. I’m not saying that they aren’t a loss leader due to licensing costs, I just think it’s weird to think that something virtual can be a loss leader. It’s not like they have to spend a lot of money mining raw materials.
As we move through closer and closer to sanity, we get people who call for Real to just license mp3s the way eMusic does. What seems to be missing is a call for Apple to do the same, which seems odd. Well not that odd, if you consider that a lot of these people are newly formed Mac fanboys who haven’t learned that Apple can be a bit of a bitch goddess. They’ll fight for Apple no matter what, thanks to the mind control properties of their white earbuds.
The funniest part to me is the fact that none of this should be unexpected. The whole purpose of DRM is to give companies artificial monopolies over their marketplaces. That’s right, that link is important enough for a whole sentence and then some.
Of course all intellectual capital is, is an artificial monopoly framework. DRM just takes that framework and making it more or less impossible to bend the rules.
To pick sides in this battle is absurd, as neither party is in the right. Both are dumb, both want to lock you in, both see you as a potential criminal instead of a potential customer and neither deserve your business. On that subject, does anyone have any complaints (aside from selection size) with eMusic?

10 responses to “More on the retarded Apple vs. Real”

  1. Ben says:

    so thats why i don’t wear the ear phones that came with my ipod. i knew something felt weaird in my head when i have those on.
    eMusic is great. The download app doesn’t work too well under linus thats not redhat but other wise it’s great. except as you said for select, but they are aiming for the indie group of music listeners.

  2. fluffy says:

    I’ve never actually bought anything off of the iTMS, and I also got tired of downloading their free “single of the week” which seemed to never be anything which actually interested me anyway. But whenever I have gotten a free single I’ve always unlocked it with Hymn, just as a matter of principle.
    I’ve been thinking about eMusic too, though the problem I have with pretty much all pay downloads is that they’re never encoded very well IMO. They all seem to use CBR, which is always either too high or too low (while VBR is usually Just Right) and so on. But I haven’t tried eMusic’s selection yet, so they might actually be sane. 🙂

  3. David Rolfe says:

    Real also temporarily dropped the price of their songs to $0.49, which really pissed people off. I don’t know why people who don’t own Apple stock or get an Apple paycheck would be upset at the idea of getting the same product for half price.
    Right, the reason it really pissed off the Mac user community (zealots, fanboys, rational adults, etc) is because Real runs their store for Windows users only. So even if they wanted to just play fair with the iPod and the iTMS and compete ‘free market style’ they were already being hypocrits. Freedom of choice for consumers!! As long as you choose Real, and use Windows!! I know you know this — I think we’ve talked about it on Slashdot 🙂

    Anyhow, buy CDs people, otherwise you aren’t getting all 44 thousand bits out of every second you purchased. It’s the value. Hm… interesting thought: What if the ratio of cost from CDs to encoded music was the same as the compression ratio?

  4. George says:

    Even though I’m a Mac user (G4 666 TiBook) I can’t be too upset over Real making a decision to launch on Windows. Aside from the enormous difference in market share, the Mac user community has a large collection of fanboys and zealots for whom no Real solution would ever be acceptable, even if it had twice the selection of the iTMS at half the price. In their minds, the Apple product would be superior no matter what, and Real would be fighting even more of an uphill battle.
    I agree that CDs are still the best bet right now, in terms of rights and future value. I was able to get the entire Master of Disguise CD from eBay for the same price I paid the iTMS for the one song I bought off that album. Of course eBay also means paying for shipping and handling and waiting a lot longer than a download.

  5. kiil says:

    Hello, apple does not use a reverse-engineered Samba. They use Samba plain and simple. It’s opensourced.

  6. George says:

    Kill – Open source, plain and simple Samba is reverse engineered.

  7. Dave Walker says:

    George, I was actually an Emusic suscriber for nearly 3 years. A fan of independent music would have no problems finding 40 quality tracks per month to download.
    Fluffy, Emusic encodes with LAME’s alt-preset standard (so does Warp’s Bleep), so the encodings sound great, at least to my club and concert damaged hearing.
    On the downside, Emusic’s customer support is abysmal, and their website is a bit of a nightmare.

  8. Slyguy66 says:

    Apple has created the ‘next big thing’ with it’s ipod. Like the Sony Walkman 25 years ago, the ipod changes the way we understand and use music. Suddenly we have the ability to transport / listen / share all the music we can handle. It’s smart, well designed, and it’s marketing is brilliant.
    I don’t understand why Apple insists on making their products so elitist. The technology market is all about compatibility right now. Consumers don’t want another ‘betamax.’ They want a DVD/MP3/MPG/WMV/itune conpatible player/recorder/mixer/ with voice mail.
    Apple would be wise to licence (sell) the right for others to make products for it’s ipod. They would lose some money in lost song sales if others are making them, but their brand is durable, having created it’s own nitch, it can loose a few song sales for licencsing royalties. It’s time to rent out space in that nitch they’ve created.
    The license profits would be around forever.
    As ipod evolves, so would the licenced produced others could make for it.
    People will pass on a product that only offers one flavour while every other brand is scooping out 36.

  9. Peter da Silva says:

    Since Apple recommends that people burn their iTunes music to CDs to ensure they can keep playing them if they run into trouble with their DRM, I don’t think there’s really all that great a distance between Apple’s music and MP3s.
    Or, for that matter, Real’s.

  10. John Jenkins says:

    Anyone ever try to get warranty work on an I-pod?
    Well I have and I can tell you that they don’t stand by their product.
    My sons display went bad and they said it was from abuse so they wouldn’t have to fix it. Funny thing is I can’t see any visible abuse on the outside of the unit. I asked how much it would cost to get it repaired and they said they can’t fix it. Bottom line is if you buy one of these and your display goes bad you’re out $300.00. His unit was only 3 months old.

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