I’m sure the Apple-bashers will be all over this one.
Starting in April you can get music tracks OTA on your BlackBerry. And they’re DRM-free. And you can transfer them to your computer. And all is right with the world. And iTunes is going out of business. And the iPhone is dead in the water.
Or something like that.
This is all courtesy of Puretracks Mobile Edition. Let’s forget the obvious bad parts:
…Licensed to provide over 2 million songs from major record companies and leading independent labels from around the world
Initially, the mobile tracks are from EMI and indie labels. None of the “big three” labels yet, though they say they’re coming.
OK, so the selection is a little weak, but what else could possibly be wrong?
The Puretracks Mobile music service we have developed for the BlackBerry platform is an innovative mobile music store for North America that employs DRM-free, 64 kb AAC/AAC+ file
64kb?Are you serious? Hey, I’m a fan of AAC, and think Amazon (among others) should have used that format instead of MP3. However, at 64kb you’re talking some seriously weak quality here. Yet the price is the same 99 cents Apple charges.
You see, the reason iTunes’ WiFi music store requires WiFi is because the files are too large for the average cellular network to download in a reasonable time. Puretracks and RIM are getting around this by chucking quality out the door and delivering small sizes of crap instead.
I’m sure all the labels will sign on to this. After all, with quality this low they figure people will eventually buy the tracks a second time anyway. In fact, they may even buy them a second time from Puretracks:
Future additions to the Puretracks Mobile Edition music service will include support for Wi-Fi capable handsets, enabling BlackBerry smartphone users to download MP3 files over Wi-Fi connections.
That’s right. In the future Puretracks Mobile will provide reasonable quality (obviously the MP3 files will not be 64kb), but in a different format because they aren’t smart enough to continue taking advantage of MP3’s successor. They hope you’ll buy your tracks from them again, only this time in good quality. Oh, and one more thing, in order to get this quality you’ll need WiFi!
I wonder how many BlackBerry users will fall for this?
Meanwhile, how many people who blasted Apple (wrongly) for using AAC will even mention this about RIM? And how many will call them on this “we can download tracks on a cell network because we cut the file sizes in half” strategy? Or will most of them be like this article, which makes it seems as if RIM has actually accomplished something, and stole a move on Apple?