Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board




re: Listen.com..

I still don't agree with the "rent-a-song" concept.  The Entertainment Industry is trying every possible method to convince people that they're only allowed to enjoy music/video/etc. for as long as the Entertainment Industry allows you to.

When I purchase a written work, whether it be in PDF/eBook format or hardcopy, I expect that a year (or ten years) from now I will be able to go back to that work and read it again if I so choose.. withOUT paying for it again.

Unfortunately, it seems the Entertainment Industry is trying to move away from this model.  I know there are still CDs and DVDs, but I just don't understand these type of services (Listen.com).

Marty Eichelman
Thursday, July 18, 2002

I think the recording industry's business models are limited by technology.  They might be willing to sell you an .MP3 file for $1/song, but it's a little too easy to give it to your friends.  Streaming audio is difficult to capture into a file and gives them some protection.  As long as 90% of people can't figure out how to pirate the tunes, they probably feel safe.

Obviously, the $20 per CD music model has got to go and its days are numbered.  I can't really blame the music industry, though, for holding onto this for as long as possible.  You don't kill the golden goose, after all...

Bill Carlson
Thursday, July 18, 2002

Marty, what about movies? One can rent movies OR buy video/DVD. Both models coexist happily. If renting movies is OK, why renting music is bad?

Igor Krivokon
Thursday, July 18, 2002

There must be ways to capture the data that's streamed from Listen.com.  If so, what's the quality of the resulting music file?  As good as if you ripped it from a regular CD?

Anonymous coward
Thursday, July 18, 2002

I've been subscribed for a couple of months.  It does offer a nice selection, though there are still plenty of songs missing (even though they have a lot of artists, for some artists they might only have one or two CDs).

The music streams are 128-Kbps.  That's good enough for my ears.  You can get something like TotalRecorder at http://www.highcriteria.com if you really want to save them permanently..

For the most part I listen to music at the computer so 'renting' isn't too bad.  However, there's always the possibility of rights to songs expiring and being suddenly removed.  And I got this nice friendly message at 9 last night:

"We're sorry, Rhapsody is currently down for scheduled maintenance and upgrades.

This maintenance period will be over at approximately 12:00am, Thursday July 18 PDT

We apologize for any inconvenience. Please check back in a few hours."

Also, I really wish they'd create a web service interface to their catalog so I could write my own client.  I can't stand the user interfaces to most of the music services.  Rhapsody is tolerable but it's partially browser-based and hence slow to navigate.

th
Thursday, July 18, 2002

"This maintenance period will be over at approximately 12:00am, Thursday July 18 PDT"

Is 12:00 AM noon or midnight?  And if it's midnight, is it assigned to the day that's ending or the day that's just beginning?

Stuff like this drives me crazy.  I hate ambiguity.

Anonymous coward
Thursday, July 18, 2002

Hah, there is no way to tell as 12.00 AM and 12.00 PM (or 0.00 AM and 0.00 PM) do not exist. As AM means 'before noon' and PM 'after noon', noon is neither before or after. It's either Noon or Midnight. Just one more reason to use a 24 hours clock.

Don't take my word for it:

http://www.boulder.nist.gov/timefreq/general/misc.htm
http://greenwichmeantime.com/info/noon.htm

Gertjan de Back
Friday, July 19, 2002

to be honest, with a lot of the music the record companies are putting out there, it makes more sense to rent.

A lot of it is shite that you will not want to listen to again in six month's time.

Very few cd's/dvd's are worth buying ... read watch more than once!

tapiwa
Friday, July 19, 2002

[Streaming audio is difficult to capture into a file and gives them some protection]

Anyone can rip a stream and it's not hard. I can setup winamp/shoutcast with a ripper easily. The tools are out there. BUT some companies try to protect their investment with proprietary encoding that can only be played through their application. Everything can be reverse engineered but that makes it harder. The latest scheme coming out of redmond plans to build Digital Rights Management (DRM) into the hardware all the way down to the CPU so you can only play "authorized" media and use "authorized" applications. Kind of a hard pill to swallow, giving an outside authority the right to determine what I can and cannot do on my machine. I wonder what ever happened to trusting the consumer.

Call me crazy but I like the idea of ownership and all the restrictions they want to place on consumers simply so they can milk another nickle is getting old. If coporations had their way we will all rent our lives from them. It's bad enough that we have to finance everything, but now we can't even own anything.

Ian Stallings
Friday, July 19, 2002

My guess is that the record companies are not afraid of Ian Stallings (previous poster) and his audio capture software.  Their afraid of 12 year old girls E-Mailing the latest n'Sync single back and forth.  They're taking a risk, but it's a measured risk, like credit card lenders.  Some people are going to rip them off, but the odds are in their favor.  All they have to do is make it a pain to download music.

I'll admit, I used Napster for a while.  When they closed, it wasn't point-click-download anymore and I quit downloading music.

Yes, the record companies are pond scum, but this isn't a moral issue at all.  They are going to hand on to the $20/CD model until it's completely run into the ground.  And from a business angle, they should.

Bill Carlson
Friday, July 19, 2002

Maybe it's a personal problem or even an age thing, but I can't work and listen to music at the same time.  When my head is bopping along to the tunes I find it really difficult to concentrate on something else. 

I think that means I would not use a service like listen.com... and when I do listen to music (which is quite a lot actually) it will be on my stereo for the higher quality.

I don't know where you guys are buying your CD's... but I have never paid $20 for a single CD... double or triple or sets maybe, but not a single CD!!

Joe AA.
Friday, July 19, 2002

Igor, you have a very good point.  I suppose what makes renting a movie more palatable is the 1-2 hours of enjoyment you expect from the rental.  The typical song is 3-4 minutes, and no matter how good it is I won't be playing it for 1-2 hours straight.  Then again, very rarely have I gone back to rent a movie that I've seen in the past, but I still play my old Stones albums every so often.

Ian, I'm with you.  Pretty soon Dell will come out with metered PCs.. 2 hour max and if you don't fill it up with change (quarters only, of course) before it expires, you lose all of your work.

Marty Eichelman
Friday, July 19, 2002

Yeah I guess I should qualify what I said a little more -  I have no problem paying for a one time view/listen/whatever. Especially if it's for a cheap one time price , like at the movie theatre. But when they want to charge me ownership prices I expect ownership, not rental. Listen.com sounds like a middle of the road alternative and I think they should keep moving in the direction. But i would like to be able to download and own specific songs from every artist. I hope one day we can get there.


Joe A.A. - i also get distracted by music but only if it has words. I find that certain types of music played over some headphones actually helps me focus on my coding. Especially classical and electronica, which tend to have very few words. One of my old coworkers said that music without words has been proven to help you think faster and focus better. Here's one quick link I dug up on music and the brain: http://www.epub.org.br/cm/n15/mente/musica.html


I don't know, but it sounds like a great excuse to put on the headphones.

Ian Stallings
Friday, July 19, 2002

Ian... I think I can understand that... at least for the general public, your point about words in music. 

However <laughing> I am also a musician, which means I try to play along with instrumentals!!  Maybe words with music really means everyone is a frustrated vocalist in disguise.

I would be interested in your link, but I can't get it to work.  I will try later, just in case it is a server problem, but I would appreciate you checking it.

Joe AA.
Friday, July 19, 2002

<tech support voice>hmm, it works for me. </tech support voice>

I found another link just in case: http://www.amc-music.com/brain.html


Basically I just went to google and typed "music brain"

Ian Stallings
Friday, July 19, 2002

12pm is noon.
12am is midnight.

Standardization Commitee Chairman
Friday, July 19, 2002

Joe,

$20 is normal for most of the chains excetp for new releases. Almost every single CD is either $17.99 or $18.99. Add tax and you're over $20 on average. New releases of big name artists are $13.99 or $14.99.

I buy considerable fewer Cds than I used to because they don't have this set at the right price point. That is quite foolish from a business standpoint actually. If Cds were $8.99 they would sell over three times as many easily. Marketing studies have been done that show this but they are not interested since riding the cash cow is what it's all about.

The fact that all the music they promote on radio stations is so lame I defenestrated my radio years ago is another issue. It's quite hard to find decent music. Surfing the web is one way to do it and when I find something good I do buy the album since I have golden ears and mp3s sound like garbage can lids beingdragged back and forth.

X. J. Scott
Friday, July 19, 2002

Come on now. This is just crazy. Lets be honest with ourselves here...

Like you guys have all this money to just throw around that you want to blow it all on supporting retarded business models like licensing songs off the internet?

Why in high holy hell anybody would do that is beyond me.  If people go around trying out and supporting baloney initiatives like that, its going to make these dumbass companies think they should keep exploring this idea. When they shouldnt, because its stupid.

Id rather go back to having to scan through FTP sites with ridiculous upload/download ratios, than have to pay record companies any goddamned more money than i have already shelled out in my lifetime.

tim
Monday, July 22, 2002

I don't know tim... People have always thrown away money on worthless things... and there is always someone ready to take it from them.

Joe AA.
Monday, July 22, 2002

well if you guys have all this money laying around, i can just give you my address ... i can even just send you an SASE

tim
Monday, July 22, 2002

12 AM is midnight. Duh.

Anonymous
Wednesday, July 24, 2002

"12 AM is midnight"

Nope.

When you throw a ball straight up in the air, and when it reaches its highest point, is it moving up or down?

Anonymous coward
Wednesday, July 24, 2002

" I buy considerable fewer Cds than I used to because they don't have this set at the right price point. That is quite foolish from a business standpoint actually. If Cds were $8.99 they would sell over three times as many easily. Marketing studies have been done that show this but they are not interested since riding the cash cow is what it's all about."

I've heard this argument so much, but it has never made any sense to me.  You're saying that record companies would make more money by lowering the prices, but they don't do that because they want to make more money.  That's a contradiction.  Unless the record company exists solely to torment the music-savvy public, they *would* lower their prices if it would make them more money.  Sure, they would sell more CDs if they priced them at $8.99, but they wouldn't necessarily sell enough to cover their revenue losses (~50%!) per CD.

There are enough people out there who do spend $20 per CD that it is still economically beneficial for the record company to keep their prices that high.  The only way that will change is if those people, the ones that are buying CDs right now, stop.

Matt Bridges
Monday, July 29, 2002

Are you on crack?

At its apex, the ball isn't moving.

At 12:00AM, it's midnight.

These aren't phiosophical questions.

Dunno Wair
Tuesday, July 30, 2002

Phiosophical (adj.): 

1. Any area of human inquiry not dealing with the laws of time or motion.

2. A word made up to justify a careless typo.

Dunno Wair
Tuesday, July 30, 2002

"Are you on crack?
At its apex, the ball isn't moving.
At 12:00AM, it's midnight."

Your second statement above is inconsistent with the third.  There is no such thing as 12:00 AM (or 12:00 PM, for that matter).  There is only midnight and noon.

Anonymous coward
Tuesday, July 30, 2002

Errr...I think it's the first statement you need to address.

You might as well be saying there's no such thing as 11:50AM, only 10 minutes to noon.

A day begins at 12:00:00AM and ends at 11:59:59PM ...always has, always will.

Dunno Wair
Tuesday, July 30, 2002

"You might as well be saying there's no such thing as 11:50AM, only 10 minutes to noon.

A day begins at 12:00:00AM and ends at 11:59:59PM ...always has, always will. "

I think I'm being trolled, but I'm not sure.

Speaking of cracks, midnight falls in the "crack" between the end of one day and the beginning of the other.  Sure, you could just arbitrarilly decide to assign midnight to the day that's starting (thus making midnight equivalent to 12:00 AM), but there is no objective reason to do so.

A day most certainly doesn't end at 11:59:59.  That would leave one second unaccounted for in every 24-hour period.  A day begins at midnight, and ends at midnight 24 hours later.

Noon *does* have a specific date attached to it, since it falls in the middle of the day.  However, it would again be arbitrary to give noon an AM or a PM designation.  We could all get together and decide to define noon as equivalent to 12:00 PM, but this would be just as arbitrary as the midnight example.

To summarize:

Midnight has no date, because it falls between two days.

Midnight and noon have no AM or PM designation attached to them.

Anonymous coward
Tuesday, July 30, 2002

I thought I was trolling, but now I'm not so sure either.

There is no unaccounted-for second.

11:59:59 refers to the entire second from 11:59:59.0 to 11:59:59.999...

The system of time measurement we've developed for daily use, although arbitrary, is intended to be discrete and complete.  There is no need to define an 'instant velocity', as with physics.

Unless you've got an atomic clock strapped to your wrist, I can't understand your objection to it.

Dunno Wair
Tuesday, July 30, 2002

"11:59:59 refers to the entire second from 11:59:59.0 to 11:59:59.999..."

I guess that's OK, as long as you state your assumption up-front, and your intended audience understands the assumption.  You never stated your definition up above, though, when you first made the statement that a day ends at 11:59:59 PM.

"The system of time measurement we've developed for daily use, although arbitrary..."

It's only partly arbitrary.  The length of a day is dependent on the rotation of the earth.  This is not an arbitrary length of time.  Dividing a day into 24 discrete segments is arbitrary.  Making midnight equivalent to 12:00 AM would also be arbitrary.

"Unless you've got an atomic clock strapped to your wrist, I can't understand your objection to it."

The atomic clock example is irrelevant here.  We're not discussing accuracy or precision, except, perhaps, as far as they pertain to language.

My objection is that the use of such terms as "12:00 AM" is ambiguous.  If my friend called me and said, "Meet me at Joe's Bar and Grill at 12:00 AM", what does he have in mind -- a late dinner, or lunch?  If my friend said, "Meet me at Joe's Bar and Grill at midnight on July 1st", would I want to arrive there at 11:45 PM on July 1st, or at 11:45 PM on June 30th?  It's not at all clear to me.

Ambiguity creates difficulties in communication.  That's my objection to the AM/PM/date question.

Anonymous coward
Tuesday, July 30, 2002

Ummm...okay.  I'll allow myself to be convinced, if only in deference to your passion for debate.

Chicken or egg?

Dunno Wair
Tuesday, July 30, 2002

*  Recent Topics

*  Fog Creek Home