Guest Column – Boycott Buy Music!

On August 19, 2003, in Opinion, by Tim Robertson

By BoycottBuyMusic.com’s Jesse Perry

(Publishers Note: A few weeks ago as I write this, I received an email in regards to a recent article I wrote about BuyMusic.com. The email pointed out a few good references, one of which was BoycottBuyMusic.com. I found some of the content there very eye opening, and contacted them with the notion of perhaps writing some of their findings as an article for posting here at MyMac.com. Jesse Perry graciously agreed.)

It’s amazing. It really is, how one man can create such uproar among Mac and PC users. It’s been over a month and already 3 websites, countless blog entries, and forum posts have popped up in protest against something so amazingly stupid. It’s not even that Scott Blum (the founder of Buy.com and now BuyMusic.com) really did much to get all this started. He didn’t need to, everything his new company was going to be, was already started. It can be debated, yes, but I don’t think there are many people that can say with a straight face that BuyMusic’s ideas were original. I help run a website and here we’re going to look at what we’ve found so wrong with BuyMusic.

What a good idea, get someone famous that’s been in prison to sell this service. I mean, everyone wants to buy music from an ex-con don’t they? Of course! Not only that, but Tommy Lee has been a hardcore Mac user in the past. What a great way to turn your back on Macs, by ripping them off! Let’s look at some other BuyMusic winning advantages over iTunes.

Well, for one, they have 300,000 songs. Wow, that’s pretty amazing that they got rights to so many songs in such a short time. Nahhh, I don’t think so. Anyone with a PC (or JavaScript disabled) can go to their site and just “List all”, and viola, with simple addition knowledge, something the folks over in Aliso Viejo, California are lacking, you come up with the nice figure of 200,069 songs. Suddenly, the comment “The World’s Largest Download Music Store” doesn’t hold it’s ground does it? That’s not even the half of it, how BuyMusic acquired some of those songs is worse. They bought them extremely cheap from a distribution company illegally. This distribution company, Orchard is also in trouble for not terminating artist’s contracts when asked. Here’s an excerpt from a letter from an artist by the name of Jody Whitesides:

“Here’s what I’ve deduced… BuyMusic.com got some of their library of 300,000 plus songs from a company called the Orchard. The Orchard is a distribution company that has not returned my CD’s when asked, nor terminated the contract. So, without the express consent of me, BuyMusic has put it up for sale at the bargain price of $.79 a song.”

I would hate to be in Scott Blum’s shoes when more people find out about this. Which also means that some of the tracks you do listen to from BuyMusic isn’t copied from their original master copy. Good sound quality? I don’t think so. Man, this service just gets better and better doesn’t it?

Only 79 cents you say? That’s a great price compared to iTunes! I could save so much by buying from them! An album for only $7.95? Wow, I surprised more people aren’t shopping at BuyMusic. Yeah sure, you want to get the latest tunes from Bach? Have at it Grandma! Enjoy those cheap prices! (After writing this article I noticed even Bach tracks are priced at 1.09 a pop) Want to get some music legally that’s been released within the past 100 years? Don’t think your going to save too much money. Hey, look at these money-saving price comparisons.

Clay Aiken’s two-track EP album
iTunes – 1.98
BuyMusic – 9.49
Mya – “My Love is Like…Wo”
iTunes – 1.98
Amazon (physical CD) – 3.99
BuyMusic – 9.99
Avril Lavigne – Live EP “Try to Shut Me Up”
iTunes – 4.95
BuyMusic – 9.49

Here’s something you might enjoy from the BuyMusic legal mubo-jumbo:
“All downloaded content is sub-licensed to End Users and not sold” Wait, so not only are you paying up to 1.29 for a song, but you also don’t actually own it? Wow, what a deal!

The security and privacy at BuyMusic isn’t that bad either. BuyMusic’s Privacy Policy proudly states that they don’t collect your private information (i.e. IP address, music you listen to, ISP, etc). Man, they’re pretty nice aren’t they? It sounds like they might care about your privacy. Ehhh…not really. An upstanding company ‘DoubleClick’ does all the gathering of info for them and they pay a crap load of money to BuyMusic for that privilege. Just think, every step you make on BuyMusic is being recorded and sold to any buyer interested. Makes you go to sleep better at night doesn’t it? I can’t say this without some backup so I found these for you in the privacy policy:

“We use a third party to provide digital music download samples for our customers. That service collects your IP address, browser type, ISP, platform, and a date/time stamp.”
“We may disclose, sell, trade, or rent your personally identifiable information to others without your consent”

Now let’s look at some great comments made by Scott Blum in the first few weeks of opening BuyMusic.com

“I expect to sell at least 1 million songs per day, and we plan to sell 200 million to 300 million songs a year” What did you say oh Scotty? Really? Not only did you contradict your self in the same sentence (or was that your poor math skills kicking in again?) but you took that comment back a week later “we are not going to report our first weeks download figures, but it’s not in the millions” Aww, poor Scott. Don’t you feel sorry for him? Yeah, me neither.

All this we’ve covered doesn’t even start to include BuyMusic’s first problems. For instance, the first few days you couldn’t even search for a song. And a few days later, when they made their first sale (There’s no other explanation to why they never discovered this earlier), people noticed they couldn’t transfer their songs to MP3 players. Whoops.

Hopefully, if you didn’t know what to think of BuyMusic, this article steered you in the right direction. If you so desire, let BuyMusic know what you think, their staff of highly trained monkeys will be glad to answer all your questions. And if you just can’t get enough of the BuyMusic bashing, check out our website for even more juicy facts. Of course, if you’ve found anything wrong with BuyMusic that isn’t mentioned here or on our website email me and I’ll make sure I get the word out.

It’s kind of ironic really, what BuyMusic.com is supposedly trying to reduce (stealing) they’re doing themselves everyday.


Tim Robertson

 

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