GM, Ford, Mazda, to drive acceptance of Apple's C.R.A.P. Coke to help market soak it up.

GM, Ford, Mazda, to drive acceptance of Apple's C.R.A.P. Coke to help market soak it up.

Summary: I couldn't help myself with the catchy headline this time.  Hey.

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TOPICS: Apple
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I couldn't help myself with the catchy headline this time.  Hey.  It's hot and I'm feely punchy.  So, the lowdown is that GM, Ford, and Mazda are apparently going to be iPod friendly.  According to CNET's Kevin Massy:

Apple is teaming up with GM, Ford, and Mazda to offer iPod integration in those manufacturers' vehicles for the 2007 model year. The partnerships--announced to CNET Car Tech this morning by Greg Joswiak, Apple's vice president of worldwide iPod product marketing--will mean that iPod connectors will come as options on all 56 GM models, all Mazda models, and most Ford models.

GM and Ford are expected to begin offering iPod support on their U.S. models later this year, while Mazda will offer integration on its entire global 2007 lineup. The new partnerships mean that iPod integration will be available in 70 percent of new vehicles in the United States for the 2007 model year, according to Joswiak, who said that iPod integration represented the "natural progression of audio in cars."

As with existing iPod partners, such as BMW and Acura, the new partners will offer glove box-mounted connectors to enable iPods to be simultaneously charged and navigated and controlled via the car's stereo or steering wheel buttons.

To folks like me that oppose the proliferation of digital rights management technologies (DRM) into the marketplace, this is devastating news.  Given the the obvious sense it makes to be able to consume MP3-player bound audio in a car, this move by the three auto manufacturers practically annoints Apple's DRM (known as FairPlay) as the undisputed DRM king.  As you probably know by now, I have a different name for DRM. I call it CRAP which stands for Cancellation, Restriction, and Punishment (ever since the Free Sofware Foundation's Richard Stallman helped to redefine it).  For more about CRAP, see CRAP, The Movie and CRAP, The Sequel.  Anyway, it's bad enough that so many people are walking around with some CRAP in their pockets. Now, they'll have CRAP in their glove boxes too.  Pretty soon, CRAP'll be everywhere.  Like on your soda.  

And, yes, as if the news couldn't get any worse, the Register reported:

Coca-Cola has teamed up with Apple to launch a new European music website, after declining sales recently caused it to close its own MyCokeMusic website....The new site will be launched in Ireland, the UK, Germany, Austria and Switzerland, with the roll out beginning next week. The launches will be accompanied by live music events, podcasts of which will be available on the new site....The partnership with Apple forms part of a new music strategy for Coca-Cola, which just weeks ago closed down its own online music store. iTunes' dominance in the online music market in Europe was cited as one of the main reasons for the failure of MyCokeMusic.com...As part of the partnership with Apple, Coca-Cola is planning a song giveaway on its products, with millions of iTunes music tracks up for grabs during the promotion.

So, "song giveaway" is what triggered my use of "soak" in the this post's headline. Apple and Coke would like you to think your getting an amazing deal by getting songs normally valued at 99 cents for free.  But alas, all is not as it seems.  To play those songs back, you MUST have an iPod or iTunes.  In other words, as the market soaks up the supposedly free music, it will either stimulate the sales of more iPods (to play the music back) or, it will make it even more difficult for existing iPod owners to switch to a different technology since it would force them to also part with their freely growing (with purchases of Coke products) music collections.

All of this demand creation for the iPod couldn't come at a worse time for a market that, at the very least needs at least one other really strong offering to bifurcate the market in a way that could make it come to its senses and demand a standard.  Microsoft was in that role until it very recently thrust its entire music strategy into a big question mark when it announced Zune (Update: Napster, one service that partially depends on Microsoft's strategy for music because of the way it's a Microsoft PlaysForSure-compliant music source, looks to be in serious trouble right now -- reflecting poorly on the strength of the PlaysForSure brand). If your Ford, GM, Mazda, or Coke, all that uncertainty around the Microsoft camp makes it much easier to just go with Apple which has been unwaivering in its strategy. Game over now that Apple has these conglomerate partners? Could be.

Topic: Apple

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99 comments
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  • Overreaction

    As far as the cars go, the article I read said most are installing an input jack, which works with any audio device. There are some doing an optional iPod kit. Guess what, even with that kit, you can play music that has no DRM. Shocking, but true.
    tic swayback
  • I have an iPod

    99+% is MP3. Input jacks are a good thing.
    rpmyers1
  • Hardware, not software

    This is about hardware (iPod), not necessarily about software (DRM/C.R.A.P.). My iPod has 8,000+ mp3's, and absolutely zero DRM-encrusted files. The iPod happens to be the best mp3 player (IMHO). The fact that it can also play AAC or any format-- DRM or not-- does not alter how well it plays mp3.

    I would love it if my car could control the iPod through the built in controls on the stereo. Fortunately, the factory installed CD changer plays mp3 files on CDs (and no other format). How lucky I am to have been converting everything (vinyl, cassette, and CDs) to mp3 for the past few years. The CD changer can hold close to 1,000 songs, which is not too bad (but the iPod connector would be better).

    My un-encrusted collection works on EVERYTHING.
    RestonTechAlec
  • CRAP's not that bad

    SInce my son-in-law is in a band I tend to take a different look
    at reasonable DRM. He's probably had more songs illegally
    down loaded than paid for so approaches to legal music sales
    via the internet are welcome. Not all performers have multi-
    million dollar bank accounts.

    As to Apple's approach - if you buy music simple burn it to a CD
    (you do back up, don't you) and treat that CD the same as any
    other music CD. Not that big a deal.

    The other fact to understand is that not all music on an iPod
    comes from the iTunes Store. I have all of my CDs on my iPod
    and have only bought 3 or 4 songs via iTunes - and those were
    for my granddaughter. The iPod is basically there to allow me to
    have all of my CDs with me when I travel on business and to
    provide some disk space for a secondary back up.

    All in all I think Apple has done a fair job with their DRM - it's
    just that some people don't like the not-so-rich getting their
    wee pennies for their work.
    Ken_z
    • Sure it is

      [i]As to Apple's approach - if you buy music simple burn it to a CD
      (you do back up, don't you) and treat that CD the same as any
      other music CD. Not that big a deal.[/i]

      A regular CD has no DRM on it- hence MP3's can be created from it- what is being traded on p2p networks. It thus has 0 effect on "piracy". In the old Napster days where do you think they got the Mp3s - it sure wasn't from the labels.

      You have just pointed out that the Apple C.R.A.P. has nothing at all to do with preventing piracy. It has everything to do with making you think you are locked into buying an iPod. At worst it locks you into either Windows XP or MAC OSX as an OS as they don't produce iTunes for Linux, Solaris, Win 9x/ME, Mac OS9, Solaris, BSD, Ect Ect.
      Edward Meyers
      • wrong...

        If you dont want to deal with it, then use something else. All notice the name, iTunes with iPod. They go together. If you dont have an iPod, then dont use iTunes. Use Wal-Mart's music store. Deal with it.
        snowboardertom3
    • If Apple's DRM was the standard

      And you could play purchased songs on other devices, then I could live with it. But marrying one DRM with one device is CRAP.
      DarthRidiculous
    • Musical riches?

      [i]"SInce my son-in-law is in a band I tend to take a different look at reasonable DRM."[/i]

      If your son is in a band then you'll know how many wealthy musicians there are. Not many.

      DRM is not there to protect the musicians, it is there to protect the recording companies who usually hold the copyright on the songs and pay the musicians a pittance.
      bportlock
      • Agreed

        For a look on how the system works, check out this very informative link:

        http://www.austinchronicle.com/issues/vol17/issue41/music.labels.html
        dragontiger
    • Clueless, or what???

      Let's say, for argument sake, you're not a clueless idiot endorsing CRAP you know nothing about...

      Once you place music on an iPod, how do you get it off, to "back it up"??? The short answer is "YOU CAN'T"! The long answer is; someone has finally come up with a HACK to allow people who were foolish enough to buy an iPod to back up what's on it.

      As long as I'm on iPods; iPods are CRAP, and so is everything associated with them! The ***ONLY*** thing Apple does well is *marketing*. Period! They suck at engineering. Remember the batteries with crappy life, that were NOT replaceable? How about the screens that scratch when you so much as look at them? Apple couldn't even design their own UI. They had to steal it from Creative (though many people "think" it was the other way around). Not so! I could go on... The fact is; Creative makes a FAR better product, so does Cowon (and so do many other competitors)! The only way Apple holds onto their empire is through aggressive marketing, and then screwing you with their CRAP. Here's how it works; If someone were to show you (for example) an iAudio X5, you'd discover you were an idiot for buying a piece of crap iPod. So, now you want a decent (more features, more durable, less money) player, but it's too late! If you switch units, you lose all the music (and/or video) you've already bought. So the cycle of iPod sales continues...

      Anyway - back to CRAP. Note the word "probably" in your post. What do you base that "probably" on? You *can't* possibly be supporting CRAP just on a hunch, or we'd have to wipe out the assumption I made in the first sentence. So what are the actual numbers of stolen downloads versus the numbers of actual sales?

      BTW - I'm one of those people who actually buys their own music, and I have yet to buy a song online. I buy full CDs only! I also register my shareware. I've spent hundreds of dollars on Palm-based shareware. So - I'm not opposed to paying for something. I *am* oppposed to someone telling me where and how I can play the music I've bought, by imposing their CRAP on me!

      The bottom line with CRAP is: it is a way to get around "Fair Use" laws, and make people pay for the same thing over and over. I don't know how anybody who really understands this can support CRAP. The *ONLY* right way to protect music against theft is to change people's attitudes towards stealing...
      rgoers
      • re: Clueless, or what???

        I can only imagine that if you are so angry about Apple, iPods and iTunes, and there CRAP that you must be a very happy windows user. because reading your rant you have absolutely no appreciation for things that work. Long live windows....
        shidokan@...
      • Who's clueless here?

        "Once you place music on an iPod, how do you get it off, to "back it up"??? The short answer is "YOU CAN'T"! The long answer is; someone has finally come up with a HACK to allow people who were foolish enough to buy an iPod to back up what's on it."

        Answer: A software product (not a HACK) called Tune Transfer has been out for a LONG TIME now, is available to backup your iPod song files as mp3s to your hard drive.

        As far as other CRAP issues are concerned:

        Play your favorite .AAC (mp4, whatever) file on your computer. At the same time, run a professional recording program (Adobe Audition, Cubase, Cakewalk, etc.) to record the song being played in raw format. Save recorded version of song as mp3........

        WHAMMO!!!!!!! NO CRAP !!!!!!
        bjohnson15
      • So stick with other brands

        Why get that worked up over something you aren't going to buy?
        Do you buy a Honda and go ranting about Fords?

        I could care less about getting music OFF of my iPod. I have all
        of the CDs I've paid for and they are loaded into iTunes - and
        downloaded into the iPod. I can change the songs on the iPod
        easily by changing the playlist in iTunes. Not an issue if you
        have the CDs in hand.

        On quality, it's in the users eye. I'm happy and I don't even rant
        about the problems I had in the PC world (from the days of DOS
        through XP) before switching.

        Relax & enjoy your iAudio X5.
        Ken_z
        • iPods aren't "all it"...

          The point is; (and you've already verified that it worked) you're stuck with crApple products from now on. Try exercising your "fair use" rights and transferring a song from your iPod to your wife's or kids music player. You'll find that - unless you jump through hoops to defeat it - CRAP has taken away your ability to share music with your immediate family or even among your own devices (i.e. Palm, phone, iPod, MP3 player). Maybe you don't want to go jogging with your brand new $400 iPod, or maybe you'd rather take that $25 MP3 player to the beach instead. CRAP says "you can't"! That's why I'm sticking with MP3 format. It may not compress as well as others, but it also does not contain any CRAP. Unfortunately - crApple products won't take an MP3 directly. You have to convert MP3 files before you can use them (unlike Cowon, Creative, and others!). Yeah, like I really want to do that... no thanks, crApple.
          rgoers
          • Now that's funny

            [i]Unfortunately - crApple products won't take an MP3 directly. You
            have to convert MP3 files before you can use them (unlike Cowon,
            Creative, and others!). Yeah, like I really want to do that... no
            thanks, crApple.[/i]

            Funny I have many MP3 formatted songs on my iPod. Are you
            lacking in skills (reading and comprehension)? Or are you just a
            windows [b]Zealot[/b] raging against the competition?
            Rick_K
          • Buy a clue

            Funny, many of the songs on my iPod are MP3s. Not converted or antything like that.

            And I have many songs my wife purchased on her MacBook loaded onto my iPod connected to my Powerbook. You see, if you opened your eyes, you'd see you can share your music (authorize) 5 computers. Mine is authorized to play her music and they go to my iPod.

            Did you also know you can take your iTunes purchased songs and make real genuine audio CD's with them? And you can do that as many times as you like. Sure, you can burn the exact playlist only 5 times, but you can delete it and create the exact same one to get 5 more times.

            But then again, none of these facts refute your agenda.... Guess you should get a clue.
            ITGuy04
          • What you're doing is illegal!

            "Sure, you can burn the exact playlist only 5 times, but you can delete it and create the exact same one to get 5 more times."

            This is circumventing crApple's DRM, and that's illegal!!!

            I can't figure out why crApple zealots think that anyone who hates iPods' (non)technology has to be a Windows lover... I hate Windows!!!

            I also hate *any* DRM. I refuse to support it! You iTuners are unwittingly driving DRM forward, and we all get screwed in the end! You're only helping support the (already rich) music industry. It may be 5 burns today, but tomorrow you'll be paying over and over for the same song. Just wait...
            rgoers
    • Best have your son review his contract

      iTunes is a raw deal for musicians, not from Apple's doing, but from the way the record companies are screwing over their artists on royalties:

      http://www.htmlforums.com/showthread.php?t=77241
      tic swayback
  • You're free to not buy iTunes

    I can't believe people (like you) are getting so upset about DRM
    and in particular, Apple's Fair Play. Your anger and unfairness
    about a completely optional buying decision is way out of
    proportion to the (asssumed) problem. Not only is it DEAD EASY
    to circumvent their DRM, it is just as easy to find all the songs
    you want on peer to peer file sharing sites. I saw a statistic that
    of all the iPods out there (60 million), and with 1 billion songs
    sold, that means the average iPod has only 1 album's worth of
    iTunes bought songs (16 songs). I don't think the vast majority
    of buyers of iTunes songs even care one bit about your
    overblown arguements.
    btw: your grammar sucks. You're not using "your" correctly in
    several places in your post.
    snailerzd
    • Then why is it there?

      [i]Not only is it DEAD EASY to circumvent their DRM,[/i]

      FairPlay and really all DRM systems are not there to prevent piracy. It is there to control the user. In the case of FairPlay it is to restrict what device the songs will play on (iPods and certain phones). It does not exist to prevent copyright infringement but rather lock you into one player over another.

      DRM/C.R.A.P. is not about stopping piracy. It is all about controlling law abiding users preventing them from easily performing things that are legal - like re-selling tracks or play their "purchased" tracks on other players.
      Edward Meyers