back to article Police raid ends allofmp3.com vouchers

Police have shut down an online voucher system allegedly used by Russian music download website allofmp3.com to get around the recent removal of its card processing facilities in the UK and Europe. An unnamed 25-year-old man, allegedly the UK-based European agent for allofmp3.com, was arrested under the Fraud Act following a …

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  1. Adrian

    Double standards

    It makes me laugh, when I see how much effort is put into to shutdown this site.

    The worse case of double standards is that of the Credit Card companies. They stopped accepting payments from allofmp3 because it was illegal right?

    Yet when you hear of a major child-porn bust, more often than not the people are caught because they used a credit card to buy a subscription to the porn website.

    So if I understand this correctly:

    Buying child porn with a CC = Acceptable

    Buying mp3s with a CC = Not acceptable.

    Someone's moral compass needs resetting here I think..

  2. Ash

    BPI, RIAA et al

    "British music fans should beware of voucher schemes like this one that seek to prop up an illegal service that rips off artists."

    I'm sorry, WHO did you say rips off artists?

    This BPI spokesperson needs to seek medical attention for their Cranio-Rectal Inversion.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So what does this acheive?

    AllOfMP3 seem to be happily providing a service via www.mp3sparks.com. I topped up (er, I mean my firend topped up) using a credit card with no problems...

    Always one step ahead of the pigopolists!

  4. Ned Fowden

    Challenge the statistics

    I don't subscribe to this idea of illegal mp3's harming record sales, nope, not 1 little bit

    if it wasn't for illegal downloads, i wouldn't have heard of half the bands whose CD's i have actually bought.

    knowing a few downloaders myself, they all tell me they do the same...and that is, if there is an album they especially like then they'll go out and buy the CD.

    i would say that over the last few years i've probably bought around 100 CD's that i normally would not have and i know i'm not the only person that does the same.

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  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Allofmp3 is a big success

    How is it, that allofmp3 made a success from selling MP3s, but record companies claim that if you tried to sell MP3s, people would simply pirate the recordings to avoid paying for them?

    How come, allofmp3 can managed to generate $3-5 for a typical album sale (very similar to the wholesale US price for an CD album, including all the printing and production costs!!), and people will buy (and pay) for it, yet according to the record companies it would never work?

    Why don' t the Russians simply regularize the license for allofmp3 and make it a legitimate store that pays royalties back to worldwide collection agencies and become the world's iTunes.

    A success is a success. You can't ignore the fact it's possible to earn $3 to $5 an album for unprotected, non DRM'd, no-nonsense, give-the-customer-the-product -the-way-they-want-it, music!

    Allofmp3 was a success despite considerable obstacles put in it's way.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A crook is a crook

    So how does funding Russian criminals, ripping off recording artists and ripping off composers result in "Always one step ahead of the pigopolists!"? I'm really quite puzzled. We all know the record industry is a moral vacuum that screws over consumer and creator alike, however funding Russian crooks is absolutely backward in thinking this will force the record companies to change. Any comparison with child porn is frankly sick and disturbing; these sites presumably fly under the radar and use front companies to collect money, but it's basically irrelevant as all crime must be considered equally under the law. I think any talk about "moral compasses" is absolutely asinine when you're talking about funding crime in other countries. At least record companies pay their artists some money, allofmp3.com is raking in cash from material they invested no money in and ripping of the artists that made it. People seem to think music should be practically free, most CDs are at about the £6-8 level, about half the price they were ten years ago.

  8. kaiserb_uk

    Semantics

    "an illegal service that rips off artists."

    ...as opposed to legitimate services like iTunes which rip off artists.

    But then this has nothing to do with artists and everything to do with record labels desperate to claw back the huge advances paid to a minority of prima donna 'artistes'.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "an illegal service that rips off artists."

    As opposed to legal services that rip off customers? Has it not occurred to them that the appeal of allofmp3.com isn't the cost, but the lack of DRM?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Double standards

    "The BPI said none of its record companies have allowed ROMS to license the sale of their music via the internet either in Russia or anywhere else."

    So, similar to the way in which a number of independent artists haven't authorised the RIAA’s collection body, SoundExchange, to collect royalties on their behalf in the US?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The "old" days

    Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

    I remember back in the late 70s and early 80s the record companies screaming the same message about audio cassettes. MAny attempts were made to tax the sale of blank tapes but were met with vigerous campaigns by the people who counted - musicians. The industry's slogan was "Home taping is killing music" and this was subverted by the thousands of bands who relied on the audio cassette both as the recording media in their home PortaStudios and then for their distribution (sales at gigs, mail order, retail etc). Indeed, the "Home taping..." message was subverted and widly used in the recording industry with a very subtle edit "Home Taping is Skill in Music".

    This whole MP3 issue is a red herring for the record companies who are unwilling to acknowledge that the goose who led the golden egg has fled the nest and they need to acknowledge this and come up with a new business model before too many more artists do it for them. The Internet is a far more powerful distribution medium for recorded music than gigs/mail order/retail ever was.

    It is within the power of any musician to record and release high quality music and make it globaly available. All it takes is a few good reviews and a TV appearence on a quality music show (Later for example) and the seeds of success are sown. Quality music will always shine through.

    The message to the record companies has to be "Wake up and smell the coffee", they need to work on a new distribution model. Why the heck should I pay nearly full price to download a product when there is no tangible media required, no packaging, no artwork to be printed, no product to be distributed, no wholesaler to pay and no retailer who needs 30% margin just to cover costs.

    Ah well - rant over - edit judiciously I know this is a long rant.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Missing the Point?

    I think the record industry is missing the point here all together, very much in the same way they did with Napster. AllofMP3.com, whether you agree with their legality or not, provided the consumer with a service that allowed a choice of quality and format that then made the price flexible to your budget. Tie that in with the non DRM element.

    The idea of secondary piracy is a little weak, for this service to capture 14% of the UK market surely points to the fact that consumers are happy to pay for this service.

    When are they going to take note that services like iTunes do not meet the market needs and are only used because consumers are forced to combine it with a certain majority player....

  13. Gav

    Crime Pays

    "How is it, that allofmp3 made a success from selling MP3s"

    It's amazing how successful a business can be when you have zero production costs and pay your producers whatever you feel like, not what they ask for. You'd need to be an idiot to fail with that kind of business model.

    No-one actually involved with a legal business can match that kind of profit margin, so its ridiculous to hold it up as some kind of example.

  14. Daniel Ballado-Torres

    allofmp3

    Hm... allofmp3.com has been my haven for dropping out spyware-riddled p2p or an endless search for torrents, while downloading legal-in-Russia music, and paying a decent price for it.

    Actually, here in Mexico, allofmp3 would even be competitive against the *real* illegal market: Pirated CD's sell at MX$ 10 (thats about US$ 0.96), being of dubious quality. Though then again, many Mexicans are still weary of buying online, or don't have credit cards.

    And, allofmp3 is open worldwide, while iTunes *isn't*.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who is the real mafia?

    The record companies and RIAA are showing who the *real* mafia is. Allofmp3 is not ripping off artists. The record companies have been doing that for decades. The grind here is that the clever Russians made this great site and they are cutting into the record companies' payola. Now the RIAA is reacting like any crime family would when someone moves in on their turf.

    Maybe geeks at Allofmp3 will partner with the Russian mafia and then we will see some dead fishes in rolled up newspaper delivered to the RIAA. =)

  16. Phil

    Oh dear, where do I start?

    There's no evidence that I'm aware of the allofmp3 is run/financed by Russian criminals, aren't they just businessmen who saw a demand and a loophole in local law that would enable them to supply it. If a similar loophole existed in UK or US law, respectable members of the business community would be all over it.

    Sleezebags who run porn sites know how to conceal their identity from credit card companies, but Russian mp3-gangsters don't? Something adrift there.

    I'm old enough to remember the days of "pirate" radio in the UK, when Radio Caroline and London broadcast from ships off the coast. There was no legal alternative to the service they provided and they thrived, with the support of advertisers from the upstanding UK business community. The government closed them down just because they didn't fit within the antiquated broadcast licensing regime. Instead we got BBC Radio 1 (give me strength) and licenced commercial radio, as a result of which the entire FM waveband in the UK is taken up with stations all broadcasting the same mindless drivel. That is what happens when you let the government and the music industry loose on entertainment. Give me Russian gansters any day.

  17. Morely Dotes

    "At least record companies pay their artists some money"

    Since when? Other than the bland, talentless boy bands that are created by the labels, most artists get absolutely NOTHING from the CD sales - and I have been told by several that they actually got a huge bill for studio time, so they *lost* money by publishing a CD.

  18. This post has been deleted by its author

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So far behind it's un-flippin-believable ...

    I wish people would stop going on about itunes, allofmp3 and p2p networks ... it's so far behind what's going on it's untrue ... the geeks (in this case, real music lovers) have their nice walled gardens for a very very long time indeed ... they're called private trackers. I'm not talking about that political, sunken-ship-of-a-mess - The Pirate Bay.

    Places where FLAC is common and Lame V0 is the acceptable low sized, high sound quality MP3 alternative. Music turns up there nicely tagged, with art work sometimes, and most importantly those long since deleted gems can be found - 'Credit To The Nation' any one?

    They're so far ahead of the game it's untrue. If the BPI / RIAA really knew what was really going on ...

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I Stopped buying CDs

    I agree with Ned. I started downloading mp3's in 2002 prior to which my CD collection was less than 10.

    In one year of illegal downloading my CD collection grew to 150, and continued to grow right up until I stopped downloading, when I could no longer get WinMX to work a couple of years ago.

    Guess how many CDs i have bought since? That's right ZERO.

  21. Franklin

    Yes, it's true the pigopolists suck...

    ...and yes, its true that the success of AllOfMP3.com proves that the arguments that online music can not be sold without DRM is ridiculous nonsense.

    Yes, it is also true that the recording labels treat artists very poorly, that the entirety of the record distribution business is essentially the world's biggest scam, and that the artists and consumers both have been and are being royally screwed. The entire industry is a shambles, the record label executives are as greedy as they are immoral, and we all lose.

    None of that makes it OK to give money to Russian organized crime.

    Buying music from Russian organized crime does not help the artists. Buying music from Russian organized crime does not change the ruthless, reckless immorality of the music labels. The fact that the labels are wrong does not justify allowing Russian criminals to pirate music.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Success is US Wholesale CD price

    "It's amazing how successful a business can be when you have zero production costs and pay your producers whatever you feel like, not what they ask for. You'd need to be an idiot to fail with that kind of business model."

    What do you think a CD at $12 costs when sold to Walmart? I've been told the distribution margin (which the big guys get as both retailer and distributor) is 65%, about $4.20.

    In other words, if the record companies switch to the AllofMp3 model, they'd be making *more* money than they do now. Not least because they lose the expensive packaging and production costs.

    Of course they can't do that, they have existing contracts with Walmart and can't lose that channel, but new record companies without those existing ties CAN do that.

    It means a market is possible, and $4 an album without any packaging costs is no small change.

  23. Colin Wilson

    Tom Robinson got it right...

    ...and you can download a load of his music for free from http://www.tomrobinson.com - his reasoning goes like this:

    "Free Downloads: iTunes downloads cost 79p per track. Writer/publisher get 6p, Performer 6-8p, Visa/Mastercard 7p, Apple 12p, and Record Company almost 50p. Sod that. Help yourself to my songs & share them with your friends: right-click (Mac: ctrl-click) on titles to download. Optional: if you'd like to help with hosting costs, click below"

    Incidentally, I hadn't heard much of it before, and will happily make a donation to his site :-)

  24. James Cleveland

    oink

    our society is run on greed our society is run on greed. Burn these pigs.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who's ripping off who?

    Music pirating doesn't "rip off artists." Music companies do.

  26. heystoopid

    But Then Again!

    But then again , if you read all the fine print of the standard recording contract that the Big 3 Mafiosi of the industry put out from A-Z , it is nothing but a license to steal money from the poor unfortunate artist at every level imagineable(see the sex pistols blog over the crap awards scam they currently run)

    Don't forget that the alleged cost breakdown blurb at itunes shows apple retains a mere 20 cents to own operate and pay for the internet bandwithd, the balance of 79 cents paid to the big 3 mafiosi of the industry (multiplied by 1.2 billion sold thus far=12 tracks per Ipod sold) and of which a mere one cent is paid to the recording artist , but even this is subject to the usual industry usery account fees and charges!(these days due to the excessively high industry fees and charges(includes the cost of outright bribery to both the DJ's and chain Radio staion conglomerates(Eliot of NY 1 industry nil all)) the recording artist needs to sell a minimum of 1 million cd's to break even and may receive the royalty payment many years later after the fact!

    Yes these business icons make the management at allofmp3 look virtuous and honest in comparison!

    Quite frankly , to be fair the industry should be paying us to download the songs in the lossy mp3 given the annual deluge of the ten thousand or so formula unoriginal rubbish or visual pollution(MTV/TV POP IDOL Shows) they release on an annual basis!

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pigs and fishes

    Okay, I've never used AllOfMP3.com, but I've had a good look around a couple of times, (and I know a lot of people who've got nothing but praise for it).

    I was very impressed with:

    o the speed of the site - even during the much-publicised "slow downs" (RIAA DDoS perhaps?) it was faster than Wippit etc;

    o the range - want some old Joan Jett, Sigue Sigue Sputnik? Yep, they're there, and in a variety of formats and qualities;

    o kind of complimentary to the above - the site is easily searchable;

    o the prices. Presumably they're not running at a loss, and yet they make all the "legal" services look very, very, very expensive. Even if you were to add a generous allowance for payment to the artists, and a modest payment to the record companies, the prices would still be less than ITMS, etc - why?

    o DRMless. Look, if I buy something I expect to be able to use that one copy whenever AND WHEREVER I choose. Not have to license a copy to play on my PC, and another if I want to play on my iPod, and maybe one for the car (for those times I'm not using the iPod FM transmitter) is a huge plus.

    So instead of relentless persecution, maybe the record companies should use this site as a pattern for their own ones! If I'm any guideline then it'd be a fantastic way of getting a lot of music (back catalog stuff perhaps) out there and keep interest in the bands going, plus extract a healthy amount of cash from the punters. I'm also concerned that the industry seems to only option of "close down" for the site, never has there been any discussion about moving AllOfMP3 onto paying reasonable licensing fees. Or wouldn't that fill up the RIAA trough enough? <grin>

    Lastly, where has the equation of AllOfMP3=RussianMafia come from? Surely if this was the case then the Russian police would have no problems in closing the site down. As this doesn't appear to be the case, to my suspicious mind at least this accusation sounds suspiciously like record industry inspired FUD.

    Hopefully the person who's been arresting the UK for "fraud" will get a good lawyer who will be able to point out that knowingly buying vouchers for AllOfMP3 does not square with a common-sense definition of the term "fraud". (He says fully expecting to get flamed by lawyers etc pointing out that it's in the Act so there's no common sense involved <grin>!)

  28. Albert

    It's all about the change in spending habits

    Go back to the 80's and early 90's and people were buying CDs and videos with a small number of games for their entertainment.

    Not DVDs and Games are big business. The funds have to come from somewhere and I believe the slump in CD sales is directly related to the growth in the DVD and gaming markets.

    We have more choice so the funds are spread more thinly.

  29. Robin Cook

    It generates sales.

    I have bought many many CD's after discovering an artist through mp3 sites/downloads. I have even gone as far as to import albums that aren't avaliable locally.

  30. michael cartoscelli

    The WTO is shutting down allofmp3.com

    Basically the guys at allofmp3.com DO pay royalty fees. It's the people they pay them TO, that aren't paying the artists.

    Russia wants to be part of the World Trade Organization. The US being led around by the RIAA says, you can only join if you shut them down. Blah blah now allofmp3.com is suddenly in trouble.

    As someone who works for a music company, I can tell you that music exec's are terrified of this type of service. It takes away the absolute control over every possible sale of digital music. No DRM, full CD for a reasonable price, not the "iTunes" standard of a dollar per track.

    If they were smart they'd either set up a shop just like allofmp3.com and offer songs or cut a deal with them for royalties.

    But that won't happen because management is too damn old to be able to think outside ancient business techniques, and too scared to be able to embrace a new technology...that's what 10 years old?

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