February 7, 2005
Ah, Napster has started it's full on assault on iTunes with its Napster To Go ads.
Do the Math it says, and tells me how I can completely refill my MP3 player every month for less than $15.00US ($14.95 to be precise), whereas to do the same with iTunes, would cost me around $10,000.
However, this is all based on a ridiculous assumption...that you would want to completely replace the entire contents of your MP3 player monthly. This is a little extreme, and probably not a realistic usage pattern. Note: by
probably not a realistic usage pattern I mean
a completely absurd and inane statement. When you take a close look, you realize that Napster To Go isn't all that it's cracked up to be.
However it's worth taking a look at the difference between the two, so I'll do it based on a sample size of one: Me. Yes, I understand it's statistically invalid, and even somewhat ridiculous, but I do have the numbers for all my iTMS purchases over the last 14 months, from 1 January 2004 to 7 February 2005, so that's at least real consumer data, albeit limited.
Numerically, my iTMS purchases look like this:
Monthly Avg $15.31
An Excel chart of this appears below, note the bolded line at $15.00. That's the magic number here, since that's Napster's monthly rate.
Now again, I understand that this is ONLY my usage, but unless someone else wants to send me screen shots of their iTMS history, it's all I have.
Well what do you know...in my case, (setting aside the cost of getting a PC, since I don't own one, I only use them at work), Napster, in this 14 month period, would have only saved me $5.10US, or a grand total of $.36US per month on average. Now, if you look, there are some months where Napster would have saved me more, in particular Dec. of 2004, ($43.64), but there are nine months where it would have cost me more. A lot more, especially for those months where I didn't buy anything. That's right kids, sometimes you don't download any music. None. In those cases, Napster is effectively infinitely more expensive than iTMS, because if I don't play with iTMS, I don't pay. However, with Napster To Go, you pay, and pay, and pay, and pay...forever.
Now, lets pretend that the rest of 2005 I download nothing. An extreme case, but no more extreme than Napster's “Refill your player every month” schtick. Comparing total costs over two years we get:
Jinkies! Napster cost me $144.40 more than iTMS! Even more zoiks-worthy, let's look at the costs for the last ten months of 2005 assuming no additional music downloaded:
Wowzers! Napster's not such a bargain. You see, under a subscription model, your usage is immaterial to costs. You pay the same amount no matter what your usage is. So, in the months where you download less than $14.95 worth of music, (and as we can see, it's a real world occurrence), you're doing a little something I like to call giving money to Napster for free. That's right kids, if you aren't downloading your $14.95 each and every month, why, Napster's taking your money, and giving you nothing in return.
Napster likes this, and why not? Free money is OMGLOL!!!111KEWL!!!111 I know that if I could sucker convince a million people to send me fifteen bucks a month for the rest of my life, I sure as heck would in a heartbeat.
As well, Napster's not just going to trust that you're still paying now are they. After all, once it's on your MP3 player, it's off the grid. They can't do anything about that music you already have on your MP3 player. Just stop paying, and woohoo! Thousands of songs for less than twenty bucks! What a bargain!
Right. And I have some oceanfront property in St. Louis for you.
Okay, so first, if you aren't a Napster To Go member, you have to buy all tracks that you want to put on an MP3 player. So without Napster To Go, any thoughts of saving money over iTMS are fantasies.
But for the Napster To Go members, they can get stuff onto their MP3 players without buying. Of course, you have to connect that device to your laptop at least once a month. Why? Well, if'n you don't, then you can't play. It's called a Time Bomb, and it's a rather nasty way to ensure that Napster can keep picking your pocket in perpetuity, even if you never download a single song, ever. From the MacCentral story on Napster To Go:
Napster users can fill and refill compatible MP3 players with their choice of tracks, but must plug, or dock, the device into their PC at least once every 30 days into order for Napster to verify they are still paying customers. If users stops paying their monthly subscription fee, the music will no longer play on the device.
Oh, you thought you actually got something out of the deal even if you stop paying? Sorry Charlie, no. You stop paying, your music stops playing. Sure, you can buy that music from Napster: For an additional $.99US or so per track...just like iTMS. But surely you'll get a discount since you've been paying them for that music already, right? Because you only have to pay for the same music forever and ever if you subscribe. Once you buy it, you don't have to pay anymore, and $180.00US a year should get you some kind of discount, right?
Hmm...no. I don't see where that happens. Because if you buy it, then Napster doesn't get any more money from you for that song. That revenue stream ends, and if you're going to be an ungrateful little wretch, and stop paying Napster forever and ever just to listen to that music, then why should they make it easier for you?
Okay, just because someone will point this out: No, I do not represent the usage patterns of everyone using Napster or iTMS. It is perfectly valid to point that out.
It is also just as valid to point out that I do not represent the usage patterns of no one using Napster or iTMS. I may not be typical of everyone, but I'm not typical of no one either. So, while I can't tell you how many people buy music like I do, it's less than 100% and more than 0%.
In any case, the one fact here is: With Napster, you pay forever and own nothing or you buy it. With iTunes, you buy it and you're done. So the question is, who do you want to pay, and for how long? Apple once, or Napster forever?| Comments ()
February 3, 2005
So today, I'm kind of bummed...
There was another one of these
Evil IT people arguments that cropped up on the Mac OS X Server List. (it's one of Apple's lists, check the archives recently if you want to read it all.) Now normally, I just ignore these things, because the truth is, my profession has, to a large part earned a lot of hostility. Even though I've tried to not do some of the dumber things my compatriots do, since I'm part of
IT, I kinda have to lump it.
But this one was different, because of the central accusation, which is: IT People hide information from newbies so that they can seem smarter and stay employed. As someone who has spent a lot of time over the last decade or so sharing damned near everything I know with anyone who asks, usually for free, that really...well...hurt. Because while I don't doubt there are insecure assholes who do that sort of thing, most everyone I've ever dealt with on every platform I've had to support is perfectly willing to share what knowledge they have if you ask them reasonably nicely. That's a part of IT that
outsiders don't see, and maybe that's a mistake. Because face it, most of us aren't the nicest people. Of course, the fact is, we're the hi-tech industry's janitors/plumbers/cops. Which can warp you.
We take care of messes, human and otherwise. We're expected to put in 60 hour weeks or more, then swing by people's houses to fix their home systems. If we talk about what we do, we either get treated like doctors at a party, (
I have this popup window that keeps coming up when I'm using the web...) or we get treated like cops at a party, i.e. shunned, not terribly welcome. You're probably never going to see an IT person on a stage at a keynote, no matter how important their contribution. Outside of IT industry rags, it's rare to even know an IT person's name.
We don't get lauded in game magazines, or art magazines. In fact, it's usually the opposite, so we get cast as the devil. To a large extent, a lot of my compatriots have richly earned this, i.e.
The Toxic Twins. But to tar every IT person with that brush is wrong. It's insulting as well, and it's insulting to a lot of people who bust their humps in this biz every damned day to make a bunch of really messed up concepts work well together.
Understand something...the best we ever really hope for is to not be called. To not be emailed. To not hear a complaint. That's a good day in IT...being ignored. There are a few, (too few) bosses who get that. Who remember uncommon phrases, especially "Thanks". Most of them used to do IT. Just as a blanket thing, to all the good bosses I've had, and still have...You're welcome, and thank you too.
But the worst part of the accusation is how wrong it is. We don't, by and large, hide information. We share it. Freely. We answer emails at all hours of the day and night. We spend hours figuring out someone else's problem because it's a cool problem. I'm talking about guys like Schoun Regan and Mike Bartosh who have helped me, and countless others out of our own silliness so that our networks work, and have never asked for any payment beyond a beer when I see them.
Guys like Dan Shoop, who have an amazing wealth of knowledge and experience, and even though they have a rather acerbic tone, always try to give a good technical answer. Sometimes I'd like to kick him, but whenever I've asked Dan for information, help, or a tip, he's always come through.
Guys like Iris Burdett, (no, Iris is definitely not male, but trust me, she's one of the guys), who patiently answer my completely moronic printing and color correction questions, because to me, all that crap is voodoo.
Guys like Chuck Goolsbee and Rus Pagenkopf, who run the Mac-Mgrs list. Chuck can be the most damnably annoying people sometimes, but he'll follow that with a pointer at a solution or a person that helps me out a lot.
Guys like Joel Rennich, who, if the Mac IT arena had any sort of awards, should have one named after him and AFP548.com. On and on...Mark Jeffries, Phil Slater, Debbie Gates, Pam Lefkowitz, Eric Ullman, Pat Lee, Mike Harvey, Sam Crutsinger, Julian Koh, Kong-Yuk Tan, on and on. It's not just sysadmins either...vendors are a part of this club too.
Note to anyone who thinks this is a
men's club. You're wrong. Period. These are a just a few of the hundreds of people who have helped me out over the years, and all they have ever asked, in exchange for me getting to tap their brains, is the same in return. I'm not sure why, they're all a lot smarter than I am, but if I've been a help to any of them over the years, then I'm glad of it.
They're not just brains in jars either. They're all really good people, who I would be glad to know in any capacity. Yeah, some of us are assmunches who live to cause misery. But we all aren't. Most of us do a damned hard, tedious, and all too-often thankless job, and we do it well. We take great pride in that by the way, doing our job well. One of the best compliments I've ever received was "John can be a completely infuriating asshole most of the time, but when there's work to be done, he gets down to it". It's a bizarre compliment to most people, but it was a huge one for me.
So when I see crap, even ignorant crap like that accusation at the beginning of that article, it kind of hurts. Not in a cry-in-your-beer way, but in a Huh...well that kinda sucks way. But maybe I was too busy trying to help some folks out to notice all the information hoarding I was doing.| Comments ()