Not wanting to be left out of the online music game, buy.com will introduce today their BuyMusic.com service, intended to compete with Apple's iTunes Music Service, according to this report from the Associated Press (carried by Yahoo!).
When I am able to actually access the system, I will update the comparison chart on this site, but until then, here are the rumors:
- Cheaper rates (as low as $7 for an album and $0.70 for a song) than iTunes
- Big five availability (like nearly everybody else)
- Windows Media Player DRM
- More restrictive rights than Apple's iTMS
- Non-uniform rights for songs (some can be burned, others cannot)
- 300,000 songs (rivaling PressPlay) Until the service opens, it remains to be seen what the compatibility is with portable devices, although WMP format pretty much guarantees that the service won't work on iPods without some serious end-run around Microsoft's DRM.
As a music lover, I'm up for it. This means one more player to show that people want per-song rights and on-demand availability.
As with the "personal computer revolution" that Steve and his cohorts like to exalt themselves as sparking in the 1970's, it appears that they have again sparked a revolution in an industry where nobody cared about downloadable music until the iTMS.
With luck, the result will be a continued reduction in the costs of per-song sales and an increase in the availability of music from various artists.
One sobering note, though, is the use of Microsoft's highly flexible DRM product. If anyone doubted the intent of Microsoft announcing that they would be doing WMP 9 for the Macintosh, it should be clear now. As they work on taking over the music market, they want to beat Apple at their own game, on their own platform, and defeat the iPod to boot. In order to do this, they need to concentrate their efforts on their proprietary DRM solutions, as they are the best way to lock people in to the Microsoft "family."