View Full Version : musicgiants hi-res WMA files

2006-02-16, 23:52

Will I be able to play these files on the SB3? www.musicgiants.com

I know I could just try it and see, but it costs money to join this service, would be nice to know in advanced.


2006-02-17, 05:26
At the present time the SB doesn't play DRM protected music, so you are out of luck on that front. There is probably ways to either get round the DRM (burning to audio CD and re-ripping) or removing the DRM.

This is an interesting site though, i'm surprised to see this already, i figured it would take another couple of years to see lossless downloads. good find.

Pale Blue Ego
2006-02-17, 09:56
Here's something I wrote last summer when the MusicGiants was announced:

There's a new music service, http://www.musicgiants.com/, which promises to be the first one to offer "high-fidelity downloads from all record labels". At first glance, this seems promising - after all, who likes paying full price ($1/song) for compressed music?

The company sees themselves targeting a much different clientele than iTunes or Napster. They want to sell to audiophiles and music lovers who have substantial home systems and who care very much about sound quality. Digging deeper, it's easy to find problems, though.

One issue is that of price - the tracks will cost $1.29 each, and albums will be $15.29. In most cases, that is more than the actual CD would cost.

Another serious issue is that the files are in a proprietary format, Microsoft WMA 'lossless'. So the customer needs a computer running WindowsXP, Windows Media Player10, and a high-speed internet connection. Anyone with a different operating system, or an older version of Windows, is out of luck.

OK, but how does the customer listen to the music on his $20,000 high-end system? Does he have to put a computer in his listening room? Ah, the customer can BURN CDs and CARRY them to the listening room! Sure, there are restrictions on the number of times tracks can be burned...and doesn't it seem REALLY STUPID to buy restricted tracks for more than the price of an unrestricted CD and then have to use your own blank CD-Rs to get the music to your stereo? And still, you end up with a disc labeled with a Sharpie pen, no graphics, no lyrics, no liner notes, not even a jewel box to keep the thing in. Where, exactly, is the convenience? The beauty of digital music is that you can access thousands of songs and build interesting playlists. But to play this music on a real audio system you have to burn to CD-Rs holding a maximum of maybe 15 songs. This is so...1986.

The real deal-breaker is that even at this high price, you do not OWN the music, and you are not free to do as you please with it. The content providers decide what you can do with each track, how many times you can burn it, which portable players you can transfer to (your iPod is useless here) - and they can change the Terms Of Use at any time in the future - meaning they may later decide that your music can NOT be burned to CD-R, or they may decide that your portable player is no longer supported. Too bad.

Oh, and there's a $50 annual fee to use the service - so if you try out the service, buy a few songs, then decide it's not for you, those few songs will cost you dearly. MusicGiants will waive the $50 fee if you spend $250 per year in music purchases, but it's clear that before you hear the first note of music, you have to spend a non-refundable $50. That's like Wal-Mart charging $50 at the door, whether you buy anything or not.

The MusicGiants software also searches your computer for any other music files you may have, and lists them along with your MusicGiants-purchased tunes:

"If you click the 'Go' button, it's going to complete your collection in high fidelity and purchase any music that you may have beenówe'll just say that you're 'borrowing' it."

Let me get this straight. If I have 20,000 mp3s on my computer, and click this "Go" button, MusicGiants is going to charge my credit card $25,800? What if those mp3s were created from CDs which I OWN? I guess that's another "too bad", because "ALL SALES ARE FINAL. We will NOT issue refunds."

The only thing I can conclude about MusicGiants is that it's a giant step backwards.

(the quoted portions of this article are taken from the MusicGiants Terms Of Service, and from an interview on the Stereophile website).

2006-02-17, 10:22
> One issue is that of price - the tracks will cost $1.29 each, and albums will be $15.29. In most cases, that is more than the actual CD would cost.

Agree the album price seems out of whack but the track price is very reasonable IMHO for those who buy individual songs vs. whole albums. I can't remember the last time I bought a CD that had more than a track (or two at best) that was worth listening to (excluding purely instrumental purchases). The ability to buy just the tracks that appeal to me vs. a CD that contains a bunch of filler has saved me big time dough and the option of getting these at full quality vs. compressed for just an additional $0.30 (vs. iTunes) is very appealing. The real question is the catalog.... how big is it?... and I'm not eager to pay $50 just to find out they only have 100 songs to choose from.

2006-02-17, 11:20
From the MusicGiants privacy policy on their website:

" If you have registered with us, we collect information about what music files you possess on the PC you use to sign up with our service and any other PC's networked to that PC. We also collect information regarding where you obtained that music. We may collect information concerning licenses to access music obtained from third party providers. We collect information concerning the bit rate of the encode of music files contained on your PC and/or any PC connected to that PC. "

Wow, that's pretty broad, especially since it doesn't say how often it will scan the network. For example if you go to a coffehouse or library and use their WLAN, will it attempt to scan the computers of everyone else on the network? If you connect to your company's network, will it scan all the corporate computers? In fact, it doesn't even say "local" network, so that could perhaps be extended to mean every computer connected to the internet.

Thank you Pale Blue Ego for pointing this out. I wonder who owns this company; if they are a subsidiary of another company, or it they get bought, then that company could have access to all this data.

Pale Blue Ego
2006-02-17, 11:25
The $50 seems so crazy. You pay up front for the priveledge of paying for each download?

I could see how the service might be of some value if you really wanted only a few tracks from a lot of albums, and bought hundreds of tracks per year - then burned them to CD-R and ripped them to an open format like FLAC.

But then how do you decide which tracks are worth buying?