AAPL Stock: 118.03 ( -0.85 )

Printed from

PayPlay offers DRM-free tracks for $0.88

updated 02:20 pm EDT, Tue May 29, 2007

PayPlay takes on iTunes

PayPlay.FM today began selling its catalog of 1.3 million audio tracks in unprotected MP3 format for $0.88 cents per song, beating out Apple's iTunes Store which charges $0.99 cents per track while matching the Cupertino-based company's efforts to offer DRM-free music. PayPlay works with Mac, Windows, and Unix platforms by providing music without monthly subscription services and without advertisements or plug-ins. PayPlay's browser-based interface and buy-to-own model deliver music in 192Kbps VBR sound, higher quality than iTunes' 128Kbps tracks which cost $0.10 cents more. Apple's iTunes Store currently dominates digital music sales, however, providing iPod owners with an easy way to purchase, load, and listen to tracks on the portable device as well as from the home PC or Mac.

Many industry experts have concluded that Apple's success is at least partially due to its near seamless music experience which allows customers to locate, purchase, and listen to songs without extra effort or headaches. Time will tell whether PayPlay.FM manages to take a significant slice of Apple's digital music sales through lower pricing and improved audio quality.

by MacNN Staff




  1. jpellino

    Joined: Dec 1969


    who he?

    Again, like emusic, who's ever heard of these artists. The Top country list has no one I've ever heard of.

    Good luck with that.

  1. chas_m



    Couple of points ...

    While I applaud PayPlay for their competitive spirit, I do think a couple of points should be made:

    1. 192Kbps MP3 is not, in any sense, superior to 128kbps AAC. Furthermore, Apple's DRM-free tracks (when available) will be 192Kbps AAC, which is significantly higher quality than 192kbps MP3.

    2. Don't go hoping you'll see any artists that you've ever heard of (unless you're an indie-rock college radio junkie like me). Nobody even remotely famous, no EMI tracks that I could find. Which is not to say there's nothing good there, just that it's "c" list material.

    A nice COMPLEMENT to the iTunes music store, but "beats it" is a REAL stretch.

    PS. Terrible navigation too.

  1. koolkid1976

    Joined: Dec 1969


    re: couple of points...

    Actually, Apple's DRM-free tracks will be 256k AAC, not 192k. So that's even better news.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: couple of points

    So, we criticize radio for pushing the big names down our throats while ignoring a lot of the indie and smaller artists, now we criticize music services that promote them because there's no big names on the list.

    Beyond that, supposedly Apple's DRM-free tracks will be 256kpbs, not 192, AAC files. However, they will also cost 42 cents more per track (and should we think that this is one of Apple's ways to prod people into getting bigger iPods?). However, in the real "huh?" part of the deal, supposedly albums will cost the same. Apparently getting individual songs from an album leads to those songs being shared more then someone getting an entire album.

  1. BDLatimer

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Catalog, and pricing

    This is a great move toward continuing to eliminate DRM from even more online music stores, and I applaud it.

    The PayPlay site admits that they offer "1,300,000+ indie music tracks", but the more folks recognize that DRM is problematic, the more momentum this movement will have with the Big Four (EMI is onboard; next stop... Warner?), and the better off the buying public will (eventually) be.

    Also, regarding the statement in the article: "...higher quality than iTunes' 128Kbps tracks which cost $0.10 cents more" First off, note that the iTunes DRM-free tracks will actually be $1.29, but will be 256 kbps. So, the PayPlay 192 kbps tracks are actually a VERY good bargain. However, um, shouldn't that either be "...which cost $0.10 more" or "...which cost 10 cents more"?

    This message brought to you by the Department of Redundancy Dept.

  1. BDLatimer

    Joined: Dec 1969


    256 is not 256

    Whoops: I had forgotten that iTunes will be 256 kbps AAC, which is considerably better than even MP3 at the same bitrate (as the above posters have indicated). Therefore, while the PayPay pricing isn't quite as good as it might be, it's still a good move in the right direction.

  1. dynsight

    Joined: Dec 1969


    this is good

    I will definitely check it out. This sounds like good way to locate new bands and find some favorites.

    For once, I agree with Testudo, who usually writes things to rile apple fans. I doubt PayPlay is going for Apple directly; they are filling a niche, and that is always good.

    I am just curious as to what the formula is for payments to artists (i.e., how many pennies from each sale goes to artist, label, payplay...).

  1. hayesk

    Joined: Dec 1969


    bit rate

    It's actually not valid to say AAC is better than MP3 at all bit rates. But at the same time, it's not even necessarily correct to say AAC at 128 is better or worse than MP3 at 192. Apple makes their AACs from sources at a considerably higher bitrate than CD. Does PayPlay use CD or higher quality sources?

  1. sixcolors

    Joined: Dec 1969


    You don't get it

    None of you get it. It's not about if this is better than Apple or not. This is about a new music model that will kill the record companies and distributers. Putting more money and power into the hands of artists.

    I'm pretty sure everyone who works on music at Apple is happy to see this happening.

  1. Starlight

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Could improve the site

    First off, I'll say that I'm all for this. It might not have the big bands, but there are plenty of smaller bands that you might never have heard of if it weren't for places like this.

    That said, the site itself needs some improvement. I browsed it for about 15 minutes and found two things that I would like to see changed (and that I will submit to them as feedback):

    1) When you browse by genre you can't choose to sort by artist (I might have overlooked something, but I didn't find a setting for that anyway).

    2) The album price is still 8.88 even for albums with less than 11 tracks (which is the point at which it makes sense to buy an album instead of the individual songs).

    Little things that can easily be fixed. Now I'm off to listen to some samples from these unknown bands :)

Login Here

Not a member of the MacNN forums? Register now for free.


Network Headlines

Follow us on Facebook


Most Popular


Recent Reviews

Ultimate Ears Megaboom Bluetooth Speaker

Ultimate Ears (now owned by Logitech) has found great success in the marketplace with its "Boom" series of Bluetooth speakers, a mod ...

Kinivo URBN Premium Bluetooth Headphones

We love music, and we're willing to bet that you do, too. If you're like us, you probably spend a good portion of your time wearing ...

Jamstik+ MIDI Controller

For a long time the MIDI world has been dominated by keyboard-inspired controllers. Times are changing however, and we are slowly star ...


Most Commented