MTV’s song shop: from frying pan to fire

MTV’s Urge download shop is moving from Microsoft’s DRM-hobbled, won’t work on iPods technology to, er, Real Networks’ DRM-hobbled, won’t work on iPods technology.

The Inquirer makes an excellent point:

The Urge store – supposed to be the Volish play to head off iTunes – was announced, to great fanfare, at CES last year, with Microsoft rolling out Justin Timberlake to say how awesome the new store was going to be. [Then] Microsoft screwed most of its partners – launching its Zune player and its own-brand Zune music store, and ditching Plays For Sure compatibility – and Urge instantly went from Microsoft’s flagship platform to an also-ran. And being an also-ran to an also-ran to iTunes is not a good position to be in.

So DRM isn’t just bad for punters, but bad for providers too. Although it’s still bad for punters.

the company would stay on Windows Media Player 11 for a while and that discussions about phasing out the service were ongoing. Customers who bought music from the store will face a fun time – although Microsoft could transition their accounts to the Zune store, the DRM is incompatible and so will break their portable players.

As if you needed another reason to avoid DRM’d music your favourite music service deciding to hop camps seems to be one.

10 thoughts on “MTV’s song shop: from frying pan to fire

  1. rutty says:

    So – buying a CD and ripping it yourself remains the best way to get your paid-for music onto your portable player. What a surprise.

    I buy a bunch of indie-label stuff from eMusic. It’s great for jazz, classical, indie stuff, metal etc. Loads of little gems and it’s comparatively cheap compared to the opposition. However, no major labels onboard and you’re likely to run out of stuff to download every month (it’s subscription based) eventually. DRM free too, though on MP3.

    For everything else there’s my favourite on-line CD store. Stuff those that still insist on selling everything infested with DRM, or providing their music in platform-specific file formats.

  2. Gary says:

    To be fair, iTunes plus (and its soon-to-come rivals) is a big step in the right direction. But it’s still too expensive. £8 for a download when the album costs the same (or less, in the case of back catalogue) and comes with packaging, a disc etc is still too much, IMO.

  3. Stephen says:

    I dunno: some albums cost £12 these days, and I find shopping online a lot easier than in a HMV, that’s gotta be worth something…

    Biggest problem with Plus for me is that so few of the songs I look up on iTMS are in Plus…

  4. Gary says:

    It doesn’t look like that’s going to change either, with Universal etc selling through different places.

  5. Gary says:

    > I dunno: some albums cost £12 these days

    Sorry, missed that bit. Depends what you’re buying, I suppose, but most of the online retailers and the supermarkets are definitely sub-£12 for normal CDs.

  6. Stephen says:

    Yeah, I have bought CDs at the supermarket in the past, but it tends to be a hassle. Either the disks aren’t in the cases, which means a trip to Customer (dis)Services after buying, or else they have them outside the main shopping area, next to the ciggies etc (I suppose so the cashier can keep an eye on them) which means another queue while you hold your heavy shopping… Usually not a great selection either. Online makes the most sense I suppose.

    When I wrote my comment I had in mind my experience with Amy Winehouse: Look up on iTunes. Not Plus. Curses. Go to Brent Cross for something else entirely. Notice HMV. Wander in, find CD. Notice price. £12! Put back on shelf. Walk out. Make mental note to buy online. Forget about it completely.

  7. Gary says:

    I’m always amused by the CD prices in airports and the like. Because it’s clearly a big joke, and they don’t actually expect people to pay those prices. Er, do they?

  8. mupwangle says:

    Remember Our Price, who were on all the big stations. Every record was about 10% more expensive than everywhere else.

  9. rutty says:

    Most of the current albums in the charts can be bought on-line from CD-WOW or Play.com for £8.99 or less. Usually less, and I think there have been a few other entrants into the cheap-cd market too. Amazon are worth checking out for this too, especially Amazon Jersey.

    I’ve not looked into iTunes, but a quick Google shows that they’re going to be charging MORE for the DRM-free AACs. I can’t see that working, even if they are 256kb. $1.29 per track is too much in my book, but then I am a Yorkshireman ;¬)

    (I’ll concede that it’s an improvement, but they do have a way to go to convince me)

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