Rhapsody for Macs
ron at fuzzsonic.com
Fri Dec 16 10:14:08 EST 2005
Nathaniel Florin wrote:
> --- stablenet at nc.rr.com wrote:
>>Apple doesn't care if you use a Rio or an iPod -
>>they will sell you an MP3 regardless.
> Unfortunately this isn't exactly true. The iTunes
> Music Store sells you MPEG-4 AAC (Advanced Audio
> Coding) files which have a Digital Rights Management
> code built in that, among other things, only allows
> you to play them on an iPod (though you can burn them
> to a generic audio CD as well).
That's right, Apple's iTunes Music Store (iTMS) doesn't sell MP3s.
MP3s don't have DRM, iTMS tracks most definitely do. They are encoded
to a different format MPEG4-audio (M4A) and then wrapped up with an
Apple-owned Digtial Rights Management (DRM) protection layer. Adding
this wrapper converts them from the relatively open M4A format into the
very much closed format M4P.
Why? It's the only way Apple was able to convince the major label
content providers to agree to let them sell their music online. The
major labels just aren't (yet? hopefully) willing to sell music on the
net in non-DRM forms.
If Apple were willing to license their M4P technology, then Rhapsody
could offer pay-to-download tracks in that format. Apple currently has
the lead in the DRM platform dominance race and has decided on a
strategy of not licensing its technology.
Which effectively means that if a service like Rhapsody wants to sell
downloadable major label tracks, it only has one choice of format:
protected Windows Media Audio (WMA) files. These files don't play on
iPods, and I'm not sure, but I doubt if there is any support in iTunes
and maybe even the MacOS platform in general.
So what Rhapsody has done, and what Glenn is talking about, is to focus
on their streaming audio service instead of download service. Using the
stream service, you don't buy and own the songs, you buy a monthly
service that allows you to play the songs from the net. And until
recently, this required a piece of downloadable client software from
Rhapsody that wouldn't run on a Mac. But they've just released a
variant of the service that can be run directly from a web browser,
which does work on a Mac.
I've been tempted by this service myself, but have been waiting for
someone to integrate the new Rhapsody stream service with the SqueezeBox
software so that I could control these streams through my little digital
music devices and conveniently listen to them through the big stereo
rather than the computer speakers. But that's another story.
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