Rhapsody, iTunes, Zune & some @#%&*! smiles about @#%&*! Smilers :-)

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2008/05/30 00:16 -04:00, original URI: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/michkap/archive/2008/05/29/8561477.aspx

So there is good news and bad news. Gather around boys and girls and I'll tell you what's what....

The good news?

Aimee Mann's upcoming new album (@#%&*! Smilers, which I mentioned previously in When in doubt, blame it on the @#%&*! SMILERS), is available to be streamed from Rhapsody.

You can check it out here....

I cannot verify any of this due to the requirement to install a "Real" player and all, but that is just a "me" issue, I assume most of my readers won't have such a philosophical problem

The bad news?

It is reportedly not available if you are outside of the US. :-(

In other news, if you are an iTunes kind of person then a special version of @#%&*! Smilers that is iTunes-only, with three bonus tracks that are not even available in the special limited edition copy of the CD:

Meanwhile, th Zune store only has the Freeway single so far. Way to hustle there, people.

The good news is that Zune content is at least available in three languages and the site is available in at least two -- and at least Canada is also supported now. I know there is a long way to go here but both two and three are greater than one, so at least it is the right direction. :-)

(The Zune store, like SiaO, is a Microsoft-hosted venture.)

In case anyone doubts that online music is changing the shape of things, online music and the many ways one can package a CD make my old habits (e.g. buying imports to pick up extra tracks) seem pretty tame.

But when the music is perfect I'll buy 'em, and when it is good I'll pick the most appealing package. :-)

Hopefully the "US only" thing from Rhapsody is an aberration, though I suspect the licensing issues have not quite caught up to the online world just yet....

This blog brought to you by(U+266d, aka MUSIC FLAT SIGN)

Ken on 30 May 2008 5:18 PM:

Note that the support page still says that Zune Marketplace is not available in Canada.

Kjartan Þór on 1 Jun 2008 12:30 PM:

There is an additional problem with online content stores, people who live in small markets don't get to enjoy them.

For example, I live in Iceland, it's a very small market so it's realtively expensive to distribute music and videos physically, but there are a few companies that do so. But since it's such a small market the only content available is the content that is most likely to be bought/enjoyed by about 90% of the people, (remember we are only about 300 thousand here.)

So the companies are part of groups like the RIAA and MPAA, and by contracts they try to watch out for RIAA and MPAA interest in Iceland and have in return exclusive rights for distribution in any shape or form. This also goes for TV shows, TV stations have been known to buy popular shows and not broadcast them here becouse the show wasn't liked by the person/s putting together the schedule.

There is one on-line music store that allows downloads of music (www.tonlist.is), but that store is not allowed to sell music or content that is not Icelandic, but at the same time the big online stores such as iTunes, Zune and Rhapsody will not sell content to Iceland becouse of copyright issues regarding the companies that have distribution rights in Iceland.

I have no legal way of buying digital media other than Icelandic music, I can not for example buy episodes of my favorite shows digitally, I can buy them on DVD's from Amazon.com but that is technically not legal either since Amazon does not have distribution rights in Iceland and we are in a different DVD region than the US.

So in other words the current state of affairs with regards to copyright and distribution rights is still in the stone age, and needs to be reimplemented otherwise small markets will remain hotbeds for illegal downloads, since if people want something they can't get by legal means and don't see it as someone getting hurt, will use illegal means, such as bittorrent or usenet to get there content.

Sorry for the long comment.

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