Re: [rumori] pho: Calling All "Financial Masochists"

From: Every Man (
Date: Sat Dec 08 2001 - 19:22:18 PST

I love this. Pay 10 bucks a month to join the RealOne service, pay another
10 to get music that you won't even be able to keep! Strictly genius.

Every Man

At 06:00 PM 12/8/2001 -0800, you wrote:
>Forwarded by Negativland.
> >
> >
> >
> >A Potential Hit And a Miss on The Music Front
> >By Rob Pegoraro
> >
> >Friday, December 7, 2001; Page E01 Finally, you can download name-brand,
> >major-label music off the Internet -- easily, quickly and in a
> >high-quality format. The wait is over!
> >Oh, wait: That's been possible since the late 1990s.
> >Now, though, you can get these songs legally, using subscription services
> >set up by major record labels. The first such venture, MusicNet, arrived
> >Tuesday, along with the program needed to access it, RealNetworks' RealOne
> >media player.
> >Both the software and the service constitute major changes. But only one
> >also counts as an actual advance: Real's new player is an effective
> >alternative to Microsoft's Windows Media Player, even if some key
> >weaknesses linger in this version. MusicNet, however, represents one of
> >the worst consumer bargains since the DivX pay-per-view DVD scheme.
> >In other words, there's a decent upgrade here if you can keep your credit
> >card in your wallet.
> >RealOne comes only about 15 months after RealNetworks' last big release,
> >but a lot has changed since RealPlayer 8. (Bear in mind that RealOne is
> >still a beta release, with a finished version not due until early next
> >year.) The new program ends the need to switch between separate player and
> >jukebox applications, combining tools for finding, downloading, playing,
> >copying and collecting music -- plus an Internet Explorer-based Web
> >browser -- in one window.
> >RealOne looks a good deal sleeker than its predecessors. The company's
> >designers took a belt sander to the standard Windows interface, rounding
> >off corners and polishing the menu bar. The result resembles a busier
> >version of Apple's QuickTime Player, with three frames for content,
> >context and marketing tie-ins.
> >(RealOne runs on Windows 98 and newer Microsoft desktop operating systems;
> >a Mac version is planned, but the company isn't talking yet about Mac OS X
> >support or Linux or Unix releases.)
> >RealOne also dumps the screen-hijacking RealDownload add-on and is less
> >aggressive about vandalizing users' desktops with links to Real and its
> >marketing partner, AOL Time Warner.
> >RealOne doesn't, however, offer any new compression schemes, so Web radio
> >at dial-up speeds sounds as tinny and metallic as before. It still doesn't
> >play back broadcasts in Microsoft's Windows Media format, although it can
> >open and save individual Windows Media files. Real says it's obtaining
> >rights for Microsoft's streaming-media formats; until it does, you can't
> >use this to replace Windows Media Player.
> >RealOne also doesn't offer a useful MP3 encoder unless you sign up for
> >either of two $9.95-a-month offerings promoted on Real's Web site. (The
> >free version is a little hidden; to get it, click the "RealOne Player"
> >link atop the company home page,, then follow the "Free
> >Player" link halfway down the next page.)
> >And here's where this software stops being such a bargain. One of these
> >options is a multimedia subscription service -- confusingly enough, also
> >called RealOne -- which seems targeted at broadband users who want to
> >watch news, sports and entertainment programming but have some aversion to
> >turning on the TV.
> >The other, RealOne Music -- Real's MusicNet option -- appears to be aimed
> >at financial masochists.
> >For that $9.95 fee, you can check out tens of thousands of artists, as
> >long as they're distributed by BMG Entertainment, EMI Recorded Music,
> >Warner Music Group or Zomba. (Pop quiz: Which multinational corporation
> >has your favorite artist inked a contract with?)
> >That makes browsing through MusicNet like shopping in the world's flakiest
> >record store. Only three R.E.M. albums show up, none newer than 1987. The
> >Rolling Stones are absent, but Keith Richards's solo work is available.
> >Funkadelic appears, but not George Clinton's other project, Parliament.
> >And so on.
> >The service could be useful for try-before-you-buy sampling, if you don't
> >mind essentially paying for the label's own marketing. For collecting
> >music, it's woeful.
> >Downloaded songs are available under the equivalent of a work-release
> >program. You can download 100 titles a month and listen to 100 songs in
> >low-fidelity streaming audio (an extra 25 downloads and streams are
> >available if you also get the RealOne service). Each download expires in
> >30 days unless you spend part of the next month's quota to keep it active.
> >You cannot make a backup copy of a song, write it to a recordable CD or
> >transfer it to a portable player.
> >If your hard drive gets trashed or you want to move your collection to a
> >new computer, you must call customer service to ask permission. You may
> >even need to call the help line if you alter too much hardware on your PC
> >-- like Windows XP, RealOne inspects your computer's configuration and
> >decides for itself if it's still on the original machine.
> >Let's be clear: These Dogbert-esque restrictions didn't come from Real or
> >other companies, such as AOL, developing MusicNet services. The record
> >labels behind MusicNet made this choice, electing to sacrifice convenience
> >and choice to copy protection. Those behind PressPlay, a competing
> >subscription system, seem on their way to making the same mistake.
> >Should you stick with MusicNet and accumulate 100 songs that you like,
> >it's not clear what you could do next. You could cease further downloads
> >and simply pay rent on those 100 tracks until the end of time. You could
> >buy the CDs containing each song, eating your subscription costs to date.
> >You could open a second account and sink deeper into the quicksand.
> >Or you could just copy the songs off a friend's collection or a
> >file-sharing service. That may not be legal, but the major labels can't
> >expect people to choose anything else if "bargains" like MusicNet are the
> >best they can offer.
> >Living with technology, or trying to? E-mail Rob Pegoraro at
> >
> >
> >
> > 2001 The Washington Post Company
> >
> >
> >
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