Why would Big Brother bother watching you if he can get his best buddies to keep tabs on your activities for him? While a recent announcement that eight major ISPs would voluntarily implement measures to combat cybersecurity threats seems relatively benign enough (and probably even downright helpful), those same ISPs will start policing their pipes another way by July 12; by then, most Internet service providers are becoming a copyright rent-a-cops for the RIAA and MPAA. What ever happened to the dumb tubes idea?
Ever since Amazon launched its music store back in September 2007, everyone assumed its discounted prices and DRM free catalog was a result of the music industries dissatisfaction with Apples dominance. With iTunes being the primary management software for the most popular MP3 player on the planet, Amazon knew it would need an edge to stay competitive. The 10 cent per track discount was a nice touch, but techies and audio enthusiasts alike were eager to switch if it meant we could free our music. Most of us assumed the DRM restrictions on iTunes would remain for the forcible future, but now that this has turned out not to be the case what else wasn’t true?
Well, according to unnamed sources cited by CNET, everybody selling downloadable music is also paying the same wholesale price. Though it has never been confirmed, many believe Apple makes but a few pennies per .99 cent download. If this is indeed true, anything else sold below this price might actually be a loss leader. Now with iTunes discounting its back catalog of tracks to a mere .69 cents, and at comparable bit rates, it’s well positioned to steal back business from Amazon. NPD senior industry analyst Russ Crupnick claims the two services don’t impact each other as much as we might think, but at the very least it certainly makes switching from iTunes to a separate web store much less desirable then it used to be.
Now that iTunes has gone DRM free, and has begun to discount its back catalog of tracks, can Amazon still compete?
iTunes has expanded its library of DRM-free music with the addition of 8 million songs devoid of any copyright protection. The move that was announced today at Macworld comes after Apple reached an understanding with the three largest music labels, Sony BMG, Warner Music, and Universal. It already has a similar agreement with EMI and has been providing music belonging to that label sans any DRM for around a year.
Apple is also going to allow people the luxury of ridding their iTunes music library of its copyright protection. But for that users will have to shelve out an extra 30 cents for every song they want to convert. Another 2 million DRM-free tracks are going to become available on iTunes in April.