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BuyMusic.com fall down, go boom

USA Today reports that BuyMusic.com’s first week in business has not been a bed of roses, as “early customers have found they can’t transfer the tunes they buy on BuyMusic.com to digital portables.” Whoops!

The problem: Unlike MP3 music tracks plucked from the Net from pirate sites such as Kazaa, music on BuyMusic is encoded in Microsoft’s Windows Media Audio format. The “digital rights management” coding limits what can be done with the files. The files will be recoded to allow for transfers, Blum says.
Well, there you go, yet another reason to avoid WMA. I know the AAC format Apple is using is somewhat proprietary, but it is based on the MP4 industry standard, available to all. Not to mention that I’ve yet to hear a WMA file that sounded as good as a straight MP3.
Say, BuyMusic.com, how’s the first week of sales been?
Apple has sold 6.5 million songs since April; BuyMusic won’t release figures, but “it’s not millions,” Blum says.
Everyone remember that Apple sold a million tunes the first week its iTunes Music Store was open? And that’s to what, 3% of the computer-using public? Less, really, since not every Mac user has upgraded to OS X, which iTunes 4 requires. (The iTunes Music Store requires iTunes 4 for access.)
Blum & Co. had 97% of the industry to pull from.
Finally, Ric Ford is reporting on Macintouch today the experience of musician Jody Whitesides (and I hope Ric doesn’t mind the copy/paste since he doesn’t have permalinks):
My name is Jody Whitesides, I’m an artist that is about to be brought to the Apple iTunes Music Store. Of course I recently heard about BuyMusic so I decided to point my Mac browser at it (with Javascript turned off you can see the site).

I did a search for one of my old CDs that will be going onto iTunes and it turns out my CD was there on BuyMusic.com, as were the CDs of several other bands that I’m friends with – all of whom were not contacted about being placed for sale there.

Here’s what I’ve deduced… BuyMusic.com (which I will refer to as BM) got their “vast” music library of 300,000 plus songs from a company called The Orchard. The Orchard is a distribution company that has consistently shafted artists

[…]

So, without the express consent of what is likely lots of The Orchard’s catalog, BM has put it up for sale at the bargain price of $.79 a song.

So, now they can tout they’re selling tracks at $.79, and they can say they have a library of music of over 300,000 songs. But what they don’t tell you is that it comes from musicians/bands who were not asked for permission, and who will likely not see a penny of any sale made through BM.

[…]

I’m currently looking into legal means to have my music removed from their site and strongly encourage users to not browse BM’s site nor purchase from it.
So: crappy file format, downloads that don’t work, and screwing artists out of royalties. Better luck with BuyMusic.com v2.0, hosers.
(via MacMinute)