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MP3.com Removes "High-Bandwidth" Streams

Hemos posted more than 11 years ago | from the what's-the-future dept.

Music 154

mshiltonj writes "I noticed today that mp3.com no longer offers high-bandwidth streams for its genres or stations, although it looks like artists' playlists and individual songs are available in high bandwidth. mp3.com has lots and lots of free music that was free and legal to listen to online, and a good number of my "music bookmarks" were on mp3.com. I'll live (I've still got my favorite stream), but I don't think it's a good sign. Is streaming music doomed to die, not because of RIAA litigation, but because of expensive bandwidth costs?" I don't think bandwidth will be the determining cost - that's a price that has been falling and will continue to fall. But are things like iTunes store the future, or is it streaming?

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Summary: (3, Funny)

swordboy (472941) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338095)

Company cuts cost in down economy.


Summary of your Summary: (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6338107)


Re now i call this business 101 for kids (1)

pensivemusic (684597) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338243)

really, the whole thing with MP3s for free (not) and the RIAA suits (dumb) and the reality that any service needs to have a balance on the cost to revenue side is a great way to SHOW kids what a business is all about. my solution to offer things 'almost-free' is person to person... not peer to peer... i suggest kids just find a group of their buds and decide who will buy which CDs... each person buys a few, but no purchases are duplicated... each person is responsible for ripping the CDs they have and they share them in the group so everyone ends up with all the MP3 they want at a fractiono or share of the costs. when they have their own collections, they can share them privately with other groups who they TRUST. this cuts out the middle software-servers with the traceable and high cost litigation and bandwidth costs... kids learn to roll their own!

Re:Summary: (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6339109)

Here's a quick little heads-up.

* Look at how parent Company Vivendi Universal is doing. Not well, right? They've lost billions and have made clear in the press that they are selling off parts of their business.

* Mp3.com was the red-headed stepchild that was being sued before being bought. Is it profitable? As with most Internet companies, Not Yet.

* Mp3.com, emusic, mp4.com and rollingstone.com are all the same group - vivendi. Who's going to get the axe? All of them? One of them? Who knows.

My thought is: they're losing money, maybe cut their staff, and they're just waiting to get bought by Apple, Disney, or Viacom.

If you have music works on Mp3.com, might wanna find a new place.


Bandwidth has a cost... (5, Insightful)

rusty spoon (564695) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338103)

Of course bandwidth has a cost and sometimes it's just too much for a site to bear. A popular service can be punished by it's bandwidth costs. How many times do we see/hear of a site going down due to the /. effect...and probably a lot of them are due to bandwidth caps rather than fancy content delivery systems hogging CPU/drive.

Of course it's not a problem if they have a *real* revenue stream for their service as they should then be able to *pay* for their bandwidth needs.

I just think it's a sign of the times.

Re:Bandwidth has a cost... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6338136)

i download from mp3.com from time to time (never used their streaming audio), and they pop up adds for every download. i assume they get paid for this. and if their traffic is higher, shouldn't this equal more pop up adds, which equals more $$? maybe the reverse is true -- traffic is down (or never reached their expectations). therefore, they need to cut services.

a lot of people seem to forget ads are a legit source of revenue. that's how broadcast tv survives, so why can't websites?

Re:Bandwidth has a cost... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6338159)

I would say the iTunes is the better bussiness model.

Why? Well there are many reason and here's only one of them. Where I work you can't listen to streaming music (using the bandwidth at work, the internet integrity office would flag me for sure), but if I had mp3 or other music I could listen to it. I would rather pay a small cost and keep the song that have to pay over and over again anyway.

Re:Bandwidth has a cost... (4, Informative)

DeadSea (69598) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338272)

In my experience served bandwidth costs about $.30 per GB of transfer (depending on volumes of course). If you have 128kb/s (57MB/hour) stream of music that means that it costs the radio station 2 cents for you to listen for an hour.

While that may not be super expensive, it can add up.

Re:Bandwidth has a cost... (3, Interesting)

MrFredBloggs (529276) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338648)

I'd be interested to know why bandwidth is so expensive. Anyone here have any concrete answers? Surely with more and more of the world being connected, the cost should go down slowly, as there is just maintainance costs to deal with. Are we still paying for the initial road digging, satellite launches etc?

Re:Bandwidth has a cost... (1)

Nazmun (590998) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338724)

That is only for large sites as well. Most smaller sites and server renters usually pay around $.50 to $1 per gb. Also most sites don't make more then 1 CPM nowadays which is $.001 per hit.

yeah, I have noticed that bandwith is an issue. (4, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338109)

I have recently been listening to Shoutcasts at work (of mostly live, allowed, recordings). The three major ones I listen to are at 128k. 1 of the shoutcasts boasts a # in the 100s at 128k. They also offer a bunch of live shows for shoutcast at 128k in addition to their random one.

I find that the server is CONSTANTLY having me rebuffer the stream making it increasingly difficult to listen to (I have a broadband connection at home and at work).

I switched to a shoutcast stream that has only 10-15 people at 128k and it seems to handle it much better.

Radio doesn't sound like 128k to me, what's the difference if MP3.com isn't offering that to it's listeners?

Re:yeah, I have noticed that bandwith is an issue. (3, Interesting)

somethinghollow (530478) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338228)

Linking that to the RIAA-hates-file-sharing, no one at RIAA bitched when people were trading tapes, but they get their panties in a wad over trading high-quality rips and copies. Maybe if everyone swapped 96k MP3s they wouldn't bitch as much... or maybe they would anyway.

Are we just greedy about quality? I think the mindset is something like "why shouldn't I have 128K stream?" I guess the spread of broadband is the answer. More multiple simultanious streams causes the server to split bandwidth down too low to actually stream. Funny that the spread of cable/DSL broadband is making cable/DSL broadband more obsolete.

Re:yeah, I have noticed that bandwith is an issue. (1)

perimorph (635149) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338322)

"no one at RIAA bitched when people were trading tapes"

The recording industry did their best to fight against dual cassette boom-boxes, if i recall correctly..

Re:yeah, I have noticed that bandwith is an issue. (1)

somethinghollow (530478) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338340)

Maybe it was Metallica that didn't bitch over tapes but did over swapping. They seem, oh, so related in my mind.

At any rate, I hadn't really heard of the RIAA before Napster (hence I didn't know they fought the dual cassette boom boxes...I guess I still don't know it). Perhaps that counts for something. Perhaps not.

Re:yeah, I have noticed that bandwith is an issue. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6338430)

plenty of bands allow the free trading of concert tapes/CDRs. They do NOT allow the free trading of their commercially released stuff.

Re:yeah, I have noticed that bandwith is an issue. (3, Informative)

Blue Stone (582566) | more than 11 years ago | (#6339701)

"...no one at RIAA bitched when people were trading tapes..."

You mustn't have seen all the skull & crossbone symbols, on LP sleeves from the late 70's onwards, with the skull made out of a compact cassette, and bearing the legend, "Home taping is killing the music industry," then.

The RIAA, or equivalent have bitched and whined, wailed and gnashed teeth at every single technological development that has had anything to do with their business.

Re:yeah, I have noticed that bandwith is an issue. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6338229)

Bill Rhail sucks the major cock and balls every day. Go give your daily rim job billy boy! BYE !

Re:yeah, I have noticed that bandwith is an issue. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6338329)

Who's Bill Rhail?

If you are going to make fun of someone, at least spell their name right.

What a bunch of crap (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6338111)

Who writes this rubbish for your front page? Full of lies. They haven't had high bandwidth streams of genres for a long time.

Is broadband doomed? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6338112)

P2P under attack...high bandwidth streams no longer available...Windows Product Activation...everyone would be back on 56k modems if it wasn't for pr0n!

Why Slashdot it again??? (5, Funny)

jkrise (535370) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338115)

Here's mp3.com removing High-bandwidth streams, and now we go and slashdot it to oblivion! What next? We get 128kBps AAC from mp3.com??

Well, imagine that. (5, Interesting)

binarytoaster (174681) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338116)

MP3.com discovered that legal fees and bandwidth costs couldn't be covered by the very very small amount of cash coming in from ads.

Rather than go to a pay model they just decided to drop their higher streams... Maybe they should have had a system where you can pay some negligible fee (25 a year, perhaps) to hear the high bandwidth streams, and the low ones are free?

Re:Well, imagine that. (3, Informative)

Guttata (35478) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338306)

Well, they do have a pay model of sorts - that is emusic [emusic.com] . Emusic charges $14.95/month, or $9.99/month, depending on the duration you sign up for (3 months / 12 months). MP3.com and Emusic are both owned by the same comapny (Universal, I believe).

Re:Well, imagine that. (2, Interesting)

binarytoaster (174681) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338344)

Why are they keeping these separate? Maybe that's what they need to do - combine emusic and MP3.com ... a membership to one is a membership to the other. If you're subscribed to emusic you get high quality streams off MP3.com, and are able to download music straight from emusic... sounds like a nice deal to me.

Re:Well, imagine that. (1)

perimorph (635149) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338407)

Advertisements aren't the only stream of revenue for mp3.com -- they've been doing their best since January to get artists to sign up for so-called "premium" services.

Also, one of the major goals of mp3.com these days is to act as an advertisement for Vivendi-Universal's signed mainstream acts. Perhaps we should think of it as an advertising campaign that isn't working as well as they had hoped for.

That's not the point, here's the real point (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6338129)

Some tunes are available only if you pay, but you can stream in hi-fi quality (128 kbit/s). Now, why would anyone pay for the tune, when they can just capture the hi-fi quality stream into an .mp3 file??

Before you call this stealing, think. It's just capitalism in action. Greedy agents acting on behalf of their own interests and agenda. If they can get something for free, they will. Morality has nothing to do with this.

It's business. It's the same thing the companies have been pulling, but now consumers can actually leverage their greediness directly.

Sucks to be the artist, though. But they would make peanuts with mp3.com in any case (been there, done that).

Re:That's not the point, here's the real point (1)

Have Blue (616) | more than 11 years ago | (#6339377)

Thanks, I'm glad to know shoplifting isn't stealing either. I mean, if I can get it out of the store, then I deserve to have it for free, right?

Re:That's not the point, here's the real point (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6339756)

Your analogy sucks.

It has nothing to do with shoplifting. A more relevant analogy would be the magazine stand in a store, where you can read the magazine (or the relevant parts of it) on the spot instead of buying it.

Re:That's not the point, here's the real point (1)

rajohn (73702) | more than 11 years ago | (#6339774)

Actually, you ARE paying, in the same way that you are paying when you listen to the radio, by being subjected to ADS. The advertisers are paying for your listening pleasure, in exchange for your listening to their inane ads. Streaming this to a MP3 file is really no different than saving a broadcast TV show to VHS. Now, if you DISTRIBUTE that saved copy then you have a problem. The artists are NOT getting shafted in this case, as far as my reasoning goes.

Re:That's not the point, here's the real point (1)

Blue Stone (582566) | more than 11 years ago | (#6339781)

" Morality has nothing to do with this."

Hate to burst your bubble, but morality has something to do with everything we do.

I don't buy your justification of the action you detail, at all. You cite the action of the agents as "greedy" a distinctly moral term, and then also say that morality has no bearing on the matter.

At least your post was moderated "interesting" rather than "insightful!"

Market Readjustment... (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6338134)

Now that more people have broadband access, it seems nuts to me that people are now removing higher quality/higher bandwidth content for financial reasons, although I guess that broadband is there for the consumer, not the supplier - mp3.com don't have anything to gain by streaming high quality audio other than... well, more customers and more used bandwidth.

So I guess this means one of two things will happen, either:

a) Streaming will continue to be lower quality and more people will drop their high quality streams, or
b) bandwidth prices will drop as more and more people get broadband, making streaming at high quality feasible.

Either way, the provider has to recoup expenses or prices have to drop, so the action mp3.com has taken isn't really that surprising.

cost has everything to do with it (1)

pytheron (443963) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338135)

When I thought a bit about streaming audio, and when it came to be (i.e pre dot-com boom), it was an exciting technology, and the sky was the limit with regards to earning potential (as was every other idea to do with content delivery).

Unfortunately, it never came to be, and I struggle to see where mp3.com can make revenue from this part of the business, since bandwidth indeed does cost $$. I'm impressed that they kept it going this long to be honest, and they probably did at some loss for some time, solely for the benefit of the communities that used the service. It's inconceivable that someone still thought they could make money from this model, and mp3.com is a business, of course.

Re:cost has everything to do with it (1)

You're All Wrong (573825) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338222)

"Kept it going this long"?
They've already been reincarnated once anyway.
This is MP3_v2.com.
Roll on MP3_v3.com ...

YAW. (purchaser of ~$500 worth of stuff from there)

For high bandwidth streams.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6338137)

You should pay them something like $1 a gigabyte. Easy on you, and they don't have to struggle to pay for bandwidth hogs.

Re:For high bandwidth streams.... (1)

digtl88 (681911) | more than 11 years ago | (#6339472)

That sounds good to me!

Distributed bandwidth (2, Insightful)

browman (191604) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338138)

Couldn't something like bittorrent fill the gap?

Re:Distributed bandwidth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6338300)

Yupp and guess what it alread exists!

Peercast [peercast.org]

PeerCast (1)

browman (191604) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338584)

As pointed out by the parent...

Re:Distributed bandwidth (1)

skinquad (671839) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338862)

Or multicast... (hey, everybody should switch to IPv6).

Stream or Download? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6338139)

As expenses ramp up independent streams will dry up. The moneyed should use streams as a sales tool for their stores. In short, both will continue to exist, but like any media over time the moneyed will eventually win out simply because the costs rise.

In the case of online music primary costs are bandwidth and licensing. If the moneyed own both they control industry costs.

Re:Stream or Download? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6338175)

I presume by 'moneyed' you mean 'Jews'?

Launchcast (4, Interesting)

sparkhead (589134) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338145)

I've found Launchcast is much better than mp3.com for streaming stations, though if you listen to more than a certain number of songs per month (350? 400?) it goes into low quality mono for the remainder of the month.

Highly customizable though.

new distribution channel needed! (0, Redundant)

cichli (683248) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338153)

I live in Sweden where we have the anti-P2P law coming and everything. I'm actually ready to quit using P2P since it's unfair to the artists, but I refuse to buy records as they are expensive, at least here ($20 for a CD).
I'm waiting for a new distribution channel where music is bought online. iTunes is a good start, but the royalties are only a fraction. Screw the record companies, sell music cheap and give everything to the artists!

Re:new distribution channel needed! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6338248)

I'm actually ready to quit using P2P since it's unfair to the artists, but I refuse to buy records as they are expensive, at least here ($20 for a CD).

HUH? hos is P2P unfair to the artists??

There are 3 local bands I know that thrive on P2P because they get their music out to people.. and if you set your keywords right people will download you. I.E. one of the bands sounds like Black Sabbath, so they use that name as a keyword on kazaa and they started getting downloaded, between the 4 band members, 3 of them have kazaa running at home with all their music being shared and they are getting downloads...

So it's unfair to them? in what way? or are you just trolling because you dont know squat and are just talking out your arse....

i'm betting on the latter... stop being an asshat.

Re:new distribution channel needed! (2, Insightful)

johndoejersey (679948) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338380)

In all fairness, this post is right. Radiohead's "kid a", "amnesiac" and most recently "hail the thief" were highly swopped on p2p networks. Still they hit number 1 INSTANTLY on release. Still they sell out tours all over the world. Bands/artists who bitch about p2p sharing dont have enough faith in their own ability. The bands who needs more coverage have a chance of getting it. The bands who dont get it anyways.

Re:new distribution channel needed! (1)

spankenstein (35130) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338938)

It's the same way with the movies. All the news articles talk about how the high budget sci-fi and action movies (Matrix, LOTR, Hulk) are the most pirated movies where 2 pages before that some "most pirated movie" also set some sort of sales record. Confusing? Sure is to me. It's really hard to prove that people watching a crappy copy of the movie had any effect on it.

mp3.com has gone down hill I REALLY miss the hi-fi streams as I can't stand the lo-fi. I used to just click on the punk stream and enjoy good NEW music while I worked.

I have recently started using Emusic again and have found it to be well worth the money (I realise that it's the same company). I've downloaded quite a few albums; some I used to have but lost, some are new, some are trying out new bands. It's really good and I hope they continue to expand the catalog and keep the price down.

I think things like iTunes is just WAY too expensive. $.99/track? Some of the CDs I listen to have 20 - 25 tracks. That would essentially be a $25 CD. Not when I can buy it the next time the band is on tour for $10!

Re:new distribution channel needed! (0)

cichli (683248) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338516)

Sorry, I was not clear enough. I love P2P too, I listen to very obscure music that's hard to find in the stores but easily with P2P. However, I wish there was a way I could donate a little money to encourage and enable these people to continue their work.
Now that you say, I did put it in a stupid way.

And in related news (3, Interesting)

thelandp (632129) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338156)

Rumor [fuckedcompany.com] has it MP3.com recently laid off 40 people, roughly 15%.
When: May 08 2003
Maybe people just find Kazaa to be so much better.

Re:And in related news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6338348)

as fast as Kazaa is for downloading MP3s, I can't see it as a replacement for streaming music.

Kazaa is only better because people are interested in KEEPING the music that they download (yes, I am aware of the ability to save streams which most people are uninterested in bothering with). Not only that but Kazaa offers music from those artists that aren't giving their music away for free (yes, there are exceptions, but they are a very small minority).

Ogg Vorbis could save them quite a bit of money (2, Insightful)

motown (178312) | more than 11 years ago | (#6339249)

An even better way for mp3.com to save money would be to switch to the Ogg Vorbis format. That would have two advantages:

1) better quality at the same bandwidth or equal quality at a lower bandwidth (therefore saving bandwidth costs without sacrificing any quality)

2) no longer having to pay royaltees for MP3 patents

On the other hand, it would be pretty bizarre (not to mention confusing for some people) if a site called 'mp3.com' only offered OGG files for download. ;)

In this market..... (2, Insightful)

caffeinex36 (608768) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338161)

I'm sure it was either cut bandwidth...or people....or both.

With RIAA breathing down everyones backs, I'm sure it would take a small lawsuit to put these guys in the negative earnings.



Re:In this market..... (2, Informative)

perimorph (635149) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338342)

Actually, mp3.com is owned by Vivendi-Universal which is a RIAA member. I don't think the mp3.com folks are overly concerned about being sued by RIAA.

Um. Yeah. (4, Insightful)

superdan2k (135614) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338166)

But are things like iTunes store the future, or is it streaming?

There's this really weird mindset that seems to take hold in techie circles that there's only one given solution to an issue...that aside, why is only one of these going to be the future? Christ, AM/FM survived alongside records, cassettes, and CDs...why's the Internet going to be any different?

Re:Um. Yeah. (1)

bazmonkey (555276) | more than 11 years ago | (#6339492)

There's this really weird mindset that seems to take hold in techie circles that there's only one given solution to an issue...that aside, why is only one of these going to be the future?

Let's call it "wishful thinking". The fact that Windows, IE, etc. still exist is because we techies let the normal folk have more than one solution to given issues, worse ones at that.

We're not naive, we're "hopeful".

Subscription radio stations (2, Interesting)

pubjames (468013) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338167)

This has got me thinking. Why isn't there such a thing as a subscription radio station?

The annoying thing about radio is the adverts and the rubbish DJs. In Spain they have at least one radio station that just plays music with no breaks all day. It rocks. But I'm not sure how it pays for itself.

I guess the problem with subscription radio is that the receivers would need descramblers. But can anyone offer any insight as to why this has never happened? Or if it has in any part of the world?

Re:Subscription radio stations (2, Informative)

Saganaga (167162) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338216)

XM Radio [xmradio.com] is a subscription-based "radio" service.

I don't actually have it myself, but I have heard good things about it.

Re:Subscription radio stations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6338358)

I have XMRadio and it's great. Only in my truck for now, but I'd consider using it in the house, too.

Does anybody know a good, easy way to capture XMradio streams to MP3? I'd hate to have to store 10 hours of wav files and then convert to MP3. It should be possible to do it on the fly. Right?

Re:Subscription radio stations (1)

pubjames (468013) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338393)

XM Radio is a subscription-based "radio" service.

I was referring to standard broadcast radio. Of course it is easier to do subsciption "radio" with other technologies - easy to do with the web for instance, or satellite. I just wondered why it had never been done with ordinary radio.

Re:Subscription radio stations (1)

sh00z (206503) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338459)

Of course, there's public radio, which I guess qualifies as nagware. I'd buy XM or Sirius if it would let me turn off the NPR begging after I made my pledge...

Re:Subscription radio stations (1)

Veovis (612685) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338519)

So, if we did this as standard radio via subscription, will the RIAA sue me for listening but not paying? (Considering theres no technology limiting my access to the content, so it couldn't be a DMCA, but just the thought of, oh my, FREE music? RIAA would be after me)

Re:Subscription radio stations (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6338460)

i live in england where we have the bbc if you have a TV you pay £100 a year the bbc then gives you 4 radio stations 2 tv channels and they put on mucis festivels (one big weekend etc) that any one can just turn up at free and the best part is there all totaly 100% add free and there are laws to ensure it stays that way all these things are avaidable to everyone only people with a tv pay the licence its kinda an institution dateing back to when tv first started some people complain about it but personaly i think its a joy to watch the simpsons all way way through with not a single add or listen to a radio station with non stop music long live the BBC

Re:Subscription radio stations (1)

pubjames (468013) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338569)

listen to a radio station with non stop music

Erm, which Radio station are you referring to? Radio one? Isn't that the one with f***ing annoying DJs that talk rubbish all the time? I've never heard it play non-stop music. But you're right that it doesn't have adverts. The annoying DJs make up for that though.

Re:Subscription radio stations (2, Informative)

Xouba (456926) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338530)

The spanish radio you say is probably Radio3 [www.rne.es] . It's part of RNE, Radio Nacional de España (Spanish National Radio), and so it's paid by the state. There are 5 of these radios, each having its own realm: Radio5 (or was it Radio1?) is "only news", and Radio2 is only classical music, IIRC. There're also TVE1 and TVE2 (national TV channel 1 and 2, respectively; though TVE2 is usually called "La 2", "The 2nd [channel]"). TVE1 is your typical mass-media TV channel, with news reports, films and TV shows of varying quality. TVE2 is more "alternative", with a lot of documentals and more limited audience shows. BTW, while radio usually hasn't got any ads, TV is full of them. TVE2 has a little less, but in the whole there are a shitload of them anyway.

There would be no standard commercial way for this radio to survive if it were a independent one. But being all of us (tax payers, I mean) the ones that pay a bit for it, it's still there. And it rocks :-) I don't like some of the music they play, but they are the ones to listen if you want to hear indie music (or not-so-indie). They also patronize concerts for indie bands, and some other musical events.

I've got the impression, and correct me if I'm wrong, that in the USA you won't like having a radio like this. Too many people will complain about having to pay taxes for a radio that they won't listen. Also, many people would complain that a "state radio" couldn't be truly independent (in the sense of being not biased to favour govt's issues); and I agree with this, but in real life the supposed "independent" press and radio are quite biased too, without the govt having anything to do with them :-)

Anyway, I'm quite happy that a little part of my taxes is not spent only paying the 99% of useless politicians that we have in Spain ;-)

Use Ogg! (0, Offtopic)

malaba (9813) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338181)

I find that Ogg at 64kbit/s VBR (variable-bit-rate)
beat mp3 at 128kbit/s (constant-bit-rate)

That mean 50% saving already.
And for broadcast that don't need high quality
you should check Ogg as low as Ogg 32 kbit/s VBR.

I made my test with mp3 vs Ogg from 32 kb/s to
~200 kb/s and ogg beat mp3 at low bit rate.
(at high bit rate any codec will do anyways...)
When I say beat I mean "kick the crap out of mp3
really hard!" 32 kb/s to 64 kb/s mp3 is a no-no
even for my grand mother.

So why these brodcast doesn't use Ogg ?
Also it is patent free, and quite well supported.
(Winamp support it natively and by default)

my 2 cent

Re:Use Ogg! (2, Interesting)

henele (574362) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338445)

On the higher bit rates (160+) ogg does loose its edge, but in the 'streamable' bit rate range it is very adept...

Another benefit of ogg is that to a degree they are adaptive - during silence and voice the bitrate drops, adding additional savings...

The biggest name to recently add ogg to their armoury is Virgin Radio, which you can listen to here [virginradio.co.uk] .

Re:Use Ogg! (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338649)

Yes, it's interesting how they remove a feature before looking at alternative solutions. I agree about that... :-/

uh... (3, Funny)

MacJedi (173) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338676)

The website is called MP3 DOT COM! If they don't stream mp3s, then who will?!!


MOD UP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6338971)


The answer is simple. (2, Interesting)

torpor (458) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338198)

I run ampfea.org, a collective of thousands of musicians which, for the last 6 years, has been providing online archives and storage for individual artist mp3's.

We're moving to bittorrent. That sorts out the entire problem.

Check This. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6338202)

I'll tell you why mp3.com is going down the pan - because there is just no point to it whatsoever. You can get most music from kazaa/p2p, and unsigned acts can host their own music and promote their own sites as free webspace is widely available.

I'm not actually trolling, this is the way I see it, and I would post under my username if my karma would allow it.

Re:Check This. (1)

sh00z (206503) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338508)

MP3.com is a convenient portal for finding the talent, by genre, location, or whatever. What do you suggest I do: Google for "unsigned ska band Houston?" No way. I've bought two CD's from mp3.com, and I guess it's time to pick up several more. Anything to keep the site going. We NEED this resource! P.S. And just where are the free web hosts that will let a band serve up anywhere near 1 GB a month (and that's only for ~250 downloads)?

A better resource.... (4, Informative)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338208)

I U M A [iuma.org]

This is what mp3.com used to be but a bit better.. if your signed. you CANT be there.

so you get a nice untainted pool of real artists.

mp3.com has sucked for over 3 years now. I haven't been back there cince mid 2000.

Re:A better resource.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6338232)

I agree, my band is on there, it's pretty exhaustive as far as resources go.

I have to ask though - does anyone just 'browse' these kind of sites?

Re:A better resource.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6339131)

"I haven't been back there cince mid 2000."

What, MP3.com or your English classes?

High bandwidth over rated (5, Insightful)

daBass (56811) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338227)

I used to be CTO of a now defunct online radio service in the UK (puremix.com), way back in 2000/2001 and worked at various radio stations before that.

We streamed 64K Real Audio and it sounded great. The secret to making it sound good is audio proecessing, just like an analog radio station does. I am not advocating New York style maximizing of loudness at all cost, but any signal needs some work.

That work is missing on most not only amateur, but also professional streams or it is done by very bad software solutions. Online music services are often created by people who love and know their music and are geeks. Few of them are actualy audio wizards. (Even at radio stations, engineers are often under valued because the "creative" people don't understand what's involved) The result is that even peak signals are below maximum modulation and missing (multiband) compression and limiting makes sure there is no consintancy in quality and loudness between songs, which brings out encoding articfacts much more. And that is a real shame.

Dumb comparison (3, Insightful)

jdreed1024 (443938) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338265)

But are things like iTunes store the future, or is it streaming?

That's not a useful comparison. That's like saying "Is Stop & Shop (a supermarket, for those of you outside the northeast) the future, or is it farmstands on the side of the road?".

They serve two different markets. Streaming is totally different from purchasing a song and burning it to CD. Also, I believe MP3.com did not cost money. So if you're talking in the short term, yes, for-profit business are the future compared to those losing money. However, comparing free streaming to the iTunes music store is like apples and oranges.

MP3.COM should Napsterize (2, Interesting)

richieb (3277) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338273)

To save on bandwith MP3.com should just index their MP3 files and distribute them using a Napster style client. Then the use of bandwidth is distributed among all the users.

Would they ever do that? I'm not holding my breath :)

Streaming: Worst of Both Worlds (2, Insightful)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338967)

> To save on bandwith MP3.com should just index their MP3 files and distribute them using a Napster style client. Then the use of bandwidth is distributed among all the users.

MP3.com can't do that; their business model is presumably you seeing banner ads while there's some sort of network connection between you and them.

But that brings me to the part about streaming I never understood: Why the hell bother?

On one hand, you have "download, burn, play". Zero network bandwidth consumed. At 128, 10+ hours of music on a CD-R. Sounds like crap? Encode it at 320-stereo! Now you "only" have 5 hours per disc. Zero pay-per-use issues. Got a favorite disc that got scratched? As long as you have at least one copy of the music back on your hard drive (and you do back up your hard drive, don't you?), just burn it again. Got a favorite band whose website just went dark? No problem, you still have the MP3s they gave you.

On the other hand, you have "streaming". Think of an office with 50 users streaming 128k streams. We're talking metric buttloads of bandwidth burninated, and it all goes to /dev/null :) Sounds like crap? Tough! Take what your stream provider offers you! Pay-per-use - either in bandwidth, or in the fact that if you wanna hear a song again, you gotta beg the server to send it to you again, or in the fact that the server can insert ads - just like radio. Got a favorite streaming server and it goes down or cuts to 64k to save its bandwidth costs? You're... screwed! The best band in the whole universe's web page is now 404? You're... screwed!

Streaming gives you the worst of both worlds - the bandwidth wastage of P2P, with the DRMness of pay-per-view. Maybe I'm a Luddite around here, but when it comes to streaming, I Just Don't Get it.

Re:Streaming: Worst of Both Worlds (1)

richieb (3277) | more than 11 years ago | (#6339080)

Streaming gives you the worst of both worlds - the bandwidth wastage of P2P, with the DRMness of pay-per-view. Maybe I'm a Luddite around here, but when it comes to streaming, I Just Don't Get it.

I agree with you. On internet streaming is stupid. Internet is not radio...

Music distribution infrastructure economics (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6338399)

This touches a fundamental issue of RIAA and music economics.

Music distribution bandwidth definitely HAS a cost: Hardware to be set up, administration, electricity. Closing one's eyes on this is living somewhere in immaterial space and not realistic.

The music industry is supplying bandwidth in it's own way, they distribute CD's via shops and other distributors. Most of it's revenue goes to many people working in this industry, only little to the artists. Many people get paid.

What happens with P2P is that this distribution effort is shifted from one group of people and hardware (shops, their employées, etc.) to another (people doing this for themselves). Is one method better than the other? That's not the issue.

It's all about choice. After all, if I get the files on CD from a shop or via internet from peers, the end result is the same.

What is not the same is WHO benefits: employees of the music industry or employees of my infrastructure chain (PC manufacturers, electrical power companys, HD and CD-R suppliers).
And don't forget ourselves: we pay for our own infrastructure and runnings costs we use. In this respect, economically, there is a part which is a direct competition between some big monopolies and ourselves doint the very same work. Let's not forget that all these people need a living, too (just as we do).

Another thing which is not the same: Who selects the titles to be distributed. The music industry's music selection is mastered by certain people, and our own music selection is mastered by ourselves.

So finally all this boils down to who's in control. Will we stay slaves of other's decisions, or will we gain back control of our life's decisions and create the society we want?

Bandwidth costs not falling fast enough (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6338408)

DSL and cable make it look like bandwidth is cheap but it isn't. Try buying 1.5 MBytes from a major backbone and you'll see it cost between $500-750 per month including transport (that's what your ISP is paying, it would be $850-1200 if you tried it). Seven years ago the cost was $2000-2800. Seven years ago the average modem user used 500 b/s. Today the average DSL user uses 4000 b/s, but the average for P2P users on DSL is 128,000 b/s.

I've been following the discussions on ISP-PLANET [isp-planet.com] and Internet providers are pretty concerned over this trend as it breaks the economic model the Internet grew-up on. Articles there are looking at changing pricing from the flat-rate structure we have now to everything from pay per MB to using dynamic bandwidth shapers to reduce the speed of large data transfers to kicking high bandwidth users off their networks entirely. The last is the most common remedy in use now.

I admit I'm an ISP. Since only 10% of users use P2P or streaming, I kick P2P users off my network. My competitor didn't and I stole half his broadband customers because his network became too congested. Now he is madly trying to block P2P after telling his customers he doesn't restrict their usage - he had thought that would get him our customers and it did get some, namely, those I didn't want because I was losing money on them. Many of the P2P types switched to cable after Adelphia started offering it here six months ago and the throughput on Adelphia's local network has dropped to less than a dial-up modem because of the congestion.

P2P and streaming (especially video or high-bandwith audio) is too expensive. About the only thing currently doable is multicast audio like Internet radio but unfortunately the RIAA want's 1.5 cents per listener per song (according to a local radio station ower who checked into it) making it infeasable for most radio stations.

MP3.com is just facing economic reality and it is doubtfull bandwidth costs will fall fast enough to allow them to resume high-bandwidth streaming of free tunes.

Membership (1)

NeB_Zero (645301) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338467)

Does MP3.com offer a membership? Maybe with this membership, high bandwidth streams are available.

One words solves this: (1, Insightful)

BuffPuff (685861) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338491)

Multicast. When providers start running multicast protocols between them, the whole streaming\bandwidth issue will lessen dramatically.

"Music that's legal to listen to" (2, Insightful)

kaltkalt (620110) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338532)

Take a huge step back from all this, and realize the big issue is that, here in America, there is now music that is illegal to listen to. Fucked up, isn't it? "I killed my family... what are you in for?"

I think many of you are missing the bigger picture (5, Informative)

Funksaw (636954) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338555)

Mp3.com was aquired by Vivendi Universal (RIAA member) in a lawsuit.

Since then, Mp3.com's goal has gone from promoting individual (mostly unsigned) artists to promoting Vivendi artists.

Which is why Vivendi won't reconcile the accounts of Mp3.com members who are owed less than $50 (most of them) and why Vivendi artists get top billing.

Cutting the streams isn't new - Mp3.com also limited bands to uploading only one song recently, in a move that angered everyone but Vivendi Universal.

See, I'm sure the bandwidth costs were a factor. But you have to understand, you only cut those expensive items that aren't critical to your business.

Before Vivendi Universal bought Mp3.com, streams were a priority. They allowed new bands to be heard. Multiple songs were also a priority for Mp3.com, because their business was promoting new music.

Now their business is promoting Vivendi Universal music - and compared to returns (since Vivendi can afford to put their music on the radio) it's not that big a deal to them. So it - and the bands it promotes - gets shafted.

mp3.com, emusic.com, VUNet (1)

dpille (547949) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338997)

There's a lot of truth to the parent post. I'd want to take it somewhat broader and just stress that the days of mp3.com (and the other properties in Vivendi Univeral Net USA's portfolio) being anything beyond the usual abhorrent RIAA-loving media companies are well over.

My own experience with emusic.com (which I won't get into, but feel free to help me burn down my buddy's condo with the partial account here [ulman.net] ) suggests that VUNet as a whole is relatively desperate to avoid any kind of high-cost service delivery, yet unwilling to really fess up to its consumers or potential consumers like we might expect out of any business that hopes to grow. Honestly, I don't know how to put it, except that I think the management of the company thinks they're drowning and are flailing about. I suspect the proper summary of the original article is 'giant media company in trouble, internet subsidiaries no longer given carte blanche to be underperforming asset.'

The Vivendi board meets today, I'm sure that with the attempt to restructure their huge debt load, any subsidiary like mp3.com needs to show some relatively large cash flow improvement to be retained.

Are you sure this is new? (1)

recursiv (324497) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338616)

I could have sworn it's always been this way. How do you know they had hifi genre streams before?

Re:Are you sure this is new? (1)

Ikeya (7401) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338881)

Yes. They did have hifi genre streams before. I used to listen to them all day at work. :)
Quite a nice feature!

About the last sentence... (2, Interesting)

Kjella (173770) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338618)

But are things like iTunes store the future, or is it streaming?

Long-term, I think the answer is streaming, but not the way a commercial company wants. Even on broadband, my upload cap 256kbit is too low for what I'm thinking of, but I know what has been happening on student campuses, student homes etc. 100mbut to the wall, and people use those around them as their "extended hard disk"... They stream music, video etc. from other people instead of actually downloading it. Ultimately, that's where I think the Internet is going too, but for now it's too slow to work out, it's send/recieve instead of stream.

Of course, that all depends on how badly RIAA/MPAA/BSA will crack down on it, but even so it'll exist in a form of "friends" network.


Interesting (1)

blinder (153117) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338632)

I've been using this site [diysearch.com] for a lot of my searching for indy-music and what-not, and I guess recently they posted a poll about the possibility of setting up an MP3 service like mp3.com's for indy-bands and unsigned bands.

It'll be interesting to see if a non-commercial site could pull something like this off, at least if they stick to unsigned bands they can get around the whole RIAA crap.

The point is, that there are alternatives out there to mp3.com. Hell, a lot of the better independant labels out there actually provide full mp3's of their bands for free. I'm a big fan of Victory Records [victoryrecords.com] . You can download full songs by almost every band on their roster. Not too shabby.

Not anymore... (2, Funny)

JF (18696) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338780)

> I've still got my favorite stream

Great idea, post a link to a 150-listener station on /.

Now I'll have to listen to crappy music until it goes off the front page and I can get the stream back! ;)

It's not streaming... (2, Interesting)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338884)

The high-bandwidth "streaming" was actually distributing m3u playlists that linked back to where they allow you to download these songs. I think the problem is not technically "streaming", where they only need enough bandwidth for one stream (each packet contains the ip address of all recipients and routers split it up into copies later) but because they don't use that kind of "stream" or radio station. They need enough bandwidth to allow everyone listening to the "stream" to download it every time.

It would help if they had actual internet radio at that quality somewhere -- I have 768k DSL, so it doesn't even break a sweat at this (128k mp3s), yet it's so far the best substitute I've found for really high-quality internet radio. Does anyone know of another free service that does something like this?

The decline of MP3.com (3, Informative)

Com2Kid (142006) | more than 11 years ago | (#6338929)

After MP3.com started paying artists a mere fraction of what they paid them before, many artists fled from MP3.com, rightfuly noting that no longer was releasing their work onto MP3.com a profitable venture.

Because of the lack of new artists signing up for MP3.com, MP3.com in general has been in decline. :`( *sigh* was once a great place for Indie artists to make some spare change.

p2p makes it better (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6339085)

Isn't it really the same? Bits of sound flow from server to you, bits of sound flow from another p2p user to you. P2p is like a radio/tv station that caters to you, but you have to do the work instead of passively watching any old crap.

Streaming:radio::MP3:CD (1)

boatboy (549643) | more than 11 years ago | (#6339110)

are things like iTunes store the future, or is it streaming
This is comparing apples and oranges. Music downloads won't replace streaming any more that CDs replace radios! They each have obvious pros and cons. That said, once the high-speed, global, mobile, ubiquitous network is in place, there'll be no need to download. =) Until then, I'll download what I want on the road, and stream when I have access and want somebody else to pick the music.

A few things... (3, Informative)

bazmonkey (555276) | more than 11 years ago | (#6339111)

1) It's been like this for a few weeks if not a month. Old hi-fi playlists are still working, with the exception of some songs being removed from streaming.

2) They're doing it because they have a membership service now, and hi-fi genre playlists are on the list of reasons to join. It's still not hard to get hi-fi songs from mp3.com, I doubt this changed their bandwidth usage very much. Besides, my reaction was to find the top ten artists on a genre, visit their page, load their hi-fi list, and compile them together in to one huge list. They sure as hell aren't saving money through me.

p2p streaming... (1)

mikevdg (579538) | more than 11 years ago | (#6339168)

One solution to the bankwidth problem would be to stream a playlist, where the items are fetched with one or another p2p client. You could insert ads too and make money.


Why isn't multicasting more broadly adopted? (2, Interesting)

coral256 (662687) | more than 11 years ago | (#6339297)

I can't speak to the whether MP3.com's moves are due to high bandwidth costs, but I think that we should address the larger issue of why streamed music/radio broadcasts are still unicast, with a per user increase in bandwidth consumption. Why isn't the world adopting multicasting? This would seem a win-win solution? Broadcasters could signifcantly reduce their bandwidth consumption while ensuring higher audio quality and reducing buffering due to server overload. ISPs could significantly reduce their IP traffic because they could proxy one stream for all their users. Users wouldn't be shut out of popular servers. Is the hold up still the router manufacturers? Or is it server software like Shoutcast, which is still unicast based?

And we should care because... (1)

DaveOf9thKey (599178) | more than 11 years ago | (#6339466)

Really, how long has it been since MP3.com has been relevant to the online music world? Since Michael Robertson sold out, MP3.com has been merely another web property floundering in the hands of some giant conglomerate that cares nothing for its customers. I'm surprised someone hasn't gone to VU with an offer for MP3.com or eMusic, given how little VU thinks of these sites anymore. Or are they simply refusing to sell off their online music properties separately from the total package?

It would be nice if someone like Yahoo or eBay made an offer for MP3.com, but I'm not holding my breath waiting for this site to mean something again anytime soon.

Uh, don't look to mp3.com for the future of music. (1)

Tom7 (102298) | more than 11 years ago | (#6339813)

Since mp3.com was bought by Vivendi, it has taken a nosedive into the shitter.

mp3.com used to be a place where low-budget hobbyists could get their songs on the internet and heard. That was great. They put ads on it to cover some costs, fine. They added some "premiere" services for bands that wanted to make it big, ok. They instituted dubious "payback" schemes where you get money when people listen to your music, but only if you pay them money first. Recently they capped free users to 3 hosted songs, which is when I stopped using them and moved my project [spacebar.org] elsewhere. Apparently, they are continuing to make the service less and less useful for hobbyists.

mp3.com, once upon a time, was a place that might have changed the future of music. People could make music at home, for very little money, upload it to the internet, and other people could download it and listen and enjoy it. The problem is that there's little need for record labels and radios in this future. Vivendi obviously knows this, and while it might not be a likely future, they sure aren't going to help it happen.

mp3.com today exists entirely to exploit hobbyists. Basically, if you're too small to get bilked by a real record label, they will screw you there. Sign up for their promotion tools, pay a subscription fee, start selling CDs on-line, and stop being any threat to the music industry. I wish I knew of a great place to upload your music for free, but the other sites like iuma and vitaminic are basically just up-and-coming mp3.coms.

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