back to article Mandy quango says Apple, Amazon are too obscure

A group sponsored by Lord Mandelson’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills says more money should be spent telling Britons about iTunes and Amazon, because not enough people know about them. It says the music business should pick up the tab, though. Last week Consumer Focus released the results of a poll that showed …


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  1. irish donkey

    Consumer Focus/Consumer Direct is excellent

    If you are sick of some big company taking you for a ride.

    Watch a Customer Relations department fold when you put Consumer Direct onto them

    Not sure what they are butting into this argument for....... surely Lord Mandy has it all sewn up to our disadvantage and his advantage.

    £5000 a day Is that what the RIAA/Media Companies paid to Lord Mandy to get their own way. Our was it more....... A £20,000 Watch gets you a lot of help in changing laws I'm sure.

    Vote for a change and maybe get some change

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Div alert!

    Well surely if Apple and Amazon want more money they are big enough and daft enough to arrange their own advertising aren't they? Just 'cos you want to be seen to be doing something Mandy?! What a complete prat that bloke is!

    1. OffBeatMammal


      now call me a wrong thinking libertarian but .... since when did the Govt start deciding to waste taxpayers money to help big - American - companies market themselves?

      Where is the return on investment for the people?

  3. Dan 55 Silver badge

    What happened to good business surviving and bad ones failing?

    Anything else is just a waste of money, surely?

  4. lukewarmdog

    Doesn't go far enough

    Amazon and iTunes SHOULD advertise themselves more.

    On Google.

    Price discussion should be held on a private yacht with Mandy present, naturally.

  5. Mike Peachey

    Am I still here?

    I am still on the el reg site, right? Just I could have sworn it looks more like TheDailyWTF!

  6. jonathanb Silver badge

    Full research

    Did they ask how many people could name a non-legal source of downloaded music? In my experience there aren't actually that many people who can.

    1. Ivan Headache

      would hate do disagree Jonathan

      But I find Limewire on 90% of the computers I look at, (even computers belonging to grown-ups).

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    audiophiles aren't catered for

    I only buy from online stores that sell lossless formats. I wonder when amazon and/or itunes will catch up?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      re: audiophiles aren't catered for

      "I wonder when amazon and/or itunes will catch up?"

      Mmm, not sure if 'catch up' is quite correct - are the online stores you shop from bigger than the iTunes one?

      Realistically, not enought people give a damn - or even know about lossless format to make Apple think about offering them.

  8. Seanmon


    I mean, seriously? Or is my calendar off by 10 days?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Love the Consumer Focus website

    "About Us ... Consumer Focus has strong new legislative powers"

    Wow. And I thought Parliament did that sort of thing.

    Perhaps they mean "statutory powers". Maybe attention to detail isn't their strong point.

  10. Clarissa

    Ripe for the axe

    I think I've just identified £35m in savings that Alastair can announce on Wednesday and saved the taxpayer from 100 people in non-jobs at the same time.

  11. Jimmy Floyd

    'Free' market economy

    "We asked Consumer Focus why it was pushing an option that much of the market didn't really want..."

    Because NuLabour don't believe in market forces? It's all so messy, untidy and not controlled by central government.

  12. Gordon861

    Online Songs

    I have never bought a downloadable song from anywhere and probably never will unless things change a lot.

    I buy the CD and then rip it to whatever format I want.


    1. Normally cheaper or close to same cost.

    2. If I have a hard drive failure I can re-rip or use a backup.

    3. I get to choose how much definition I loose.

    4. I control what machines I can put it on.

    1. Fuzz

      maybe more advertising is required

      things have moved on in the download market, Amazon, Play and 7 Digital all offer DRM free music across the board. I believe Apple offer some DRM free music.

      If you want more underground stuff there are companies like beatport and juno specialising in dance music.

      All the music I have bought recently has been 320kbps mp3.

      Cost of buying an album is very similar to a CD or you have the option with most stuff to only buy the tracks you want.

      I'd say the download market is pretty good these days, the only people not catered for are those wanting uncompressed or lossless tracks but for those people the CDs are probably best.

      If you just want to sample music before you buy then spotify is amazing only slightly let down by only being supported (for free) on a computer.

      1. Craigness

        2nd hand

        Mp3s can't be bought 2nd hand and have no resale value, unlike a CD. I just visited Amazon, which was advertising Norah Jones' "Not Too Late" on the homepage. A 2nd hand copy can be bought for £4.23 (including postage), it will have maybe a few £s value in it for a few years to come and has all the advantages mentioned by the poster above. The mp3 album costs £7.99.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Some services do that

      Bleep for example, when Itunes was pushing out aac only at poor bitrates they were flogging standard 320kbit mp3, now they offer flac (and in some cases wav), they remember what you bought so you can always re-download it (provided they don't go bump). Sadly, they limit themselves to electronic music that a lot of people have never heard of. Depending on the record label, if you buy their output on vinyl, you can get the flacs for free.

  13. censored

    I wonder...?

    How many people could name where to buy music in their town centre? Out of the whole population, I mean.

  14. Plasma

    A. Title.

    Maybe I LIKE that shopping for music no longer has to take a whole afternoon, or take me to one of the horrible new churches of capitalism. I don't want sleeve notes or artwork, I want DRM-free lossless music!

  15. Anonymous Coward

    A whole new level of stupidity

    There is a growing problem with metal being stolen for raw materials.

    I plan to go into town and survey the general public to see if they know legal sources of buying large amounts of metal.

    If they don't - the government should advertise.

    A stupidly inappropriate analogy is no reason not to spend MILLIONS educating the public.

    This article is depressing on so many many many levels. Should we educate people about life saving things like healthy living, safe sex, avoiding accidents ? some may argue against it on principle, but some people are stupid and a case for a net benefit for taxpayers can be made.

    But music ? Really ? Spot the odd one out:

    Industrial accidents


    Heart disease

    Illegal downloading

    Oh yeah. Sorry. Downloading music is the moral equivalent of spending money on cemtex to blow up primary schools while stabbing your granny in the face with a garden fork. Silly me.

  16. Anonymous Coward

    Get a real job Mandy!

    Why do you suppose some rich idiot wants to use my Tax money to encourage people to put more money in the hands of Foreign businesses? I thaught the idea of *british* taxes were to help *british* taxpayers and businesses.

    Personally, i use Amazon all the time, I dont use ITunes because i like having the physical CD (Cos there about the same price, and i dont have to re-buy it evertime Bills b*stard child has a brain-fart)

    You know, those US right up their arse conservatives are wrong. We dont have a socialist system, We still have a bleeding Aristocratic system, just the Arisos have changed.

  17. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

    Must admit

    that I find more music that I want to listen to on Amazon MP3 downloads that I do in my local (25 mile away) HMV store.

    Even the majors, and I must admit that I can only think of HMV as remaining, having lost Virgin/Zavvi, MVC, Our Price (OK, I know it was a long time ago), and Woolies, and the jumped-up News Agents like WH Smiths and the Supermarkets, only stock items that they think they will sell. Hardly any back catalog at all.

    I don't choose to listed to what the Music Industry think I want to listen to.

    But I do miss analogue music formats. I'd probably still buy vinyl if I could!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Stuff 'em!

      Exactly mate, sick and tired of this demographic codswallop!

      I am a 40 year-old IT tech, married with one child, drive a Honda, own my own house. What should I listen to, to fit your mold?

      Well Mr MusicMan, I listen to anything from Bach to Bathory, with stops in Ozric Tentacles, Seal, Jean-Michel Jarre, Kraftwerk, Runrig, Elgar, Lamb of God, Opeth, Coldplay, Type O Negative, Immortal, Impaled Nazerene, Gorguts, Death, RamJam, Mud, Malefice, Sweet, Sylosis, Zero 7 and sodding All Saints!

      So how does that fit? It doesn't, does it? You see MusicBiz people, quite a large number of us who enjoy music, will listen to anything and everything, we have had years to refine our musical tastes and we simply don't care about what you think we should listen to. We grew up experimenting with different music and there is nothing more satisfying than coming across something new by accident. I love MySpace, just like an online version of Our Price! Stuff all over the place and you will find a gem sooner or later!

      I love buying CDs, either online and old high-street. Take a stroll down Wardour street and pop into the old music places, you can still buy second-hand vinyl and used CDs. Something very nice about handing over the empty case, watching someone else who loves music too, handle your purchase with the care and respect it deserves. Then going home and knowing it has a physical presence and hopefully it will out last you.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Up

        Love it

        Are you me? You sound very similiar ;)

  18. heyrick Silver badge

    If I want a song...

    I Amazon it. Okay, it's MP3 but it is a respectable 256kbit. This might not be acceptable to those who use gold-plated audio leads into a serious amp... but I'm a child of the tape era listening to the song on my Zen. It is good enough for me.

    What I'd like - slightly cheaper. I mean, 99c/song is not expensive, but if you pick'n'mix a CD's worth of songs (say, 10-12), it would cost more than a CD. Perhaps they could offer a reduction based upon units of 5? Just a thought...

    I specifically like Amazon, and don't touch iTunes with a bargepole, as I am handing over my credit card details in return for a DRM-free MP3. My browser is good enough for the bank, it is good enough for Amazon (purchasing singley), it ought to be good enough for iTunes. Understand this, I am NOT a big music purchaser, I do _NOT_ want to waste my precious disc space (it's an eeePC so I don't have silly capacity for filling up with stuff like that) on some software to help me download music. I don't NEED help. Take my money and provide a link, anything else is just faffing around...

    Furthermore, please _PLEASE_ sort out the cross-country licencing balls. The different Amazons list different MP3s. However, can I buy a track from the UK that isn't listed in French Amazon? Absolutely not. Yet, when I contacted Amazon US to ask about a DVD only listed there and if I could order it through my own Amazon, they said why, just set up an account with us and order direct. The two seem to be inconsistent to me. And, if I may have my 2c worth, idiocy like this is what is likely to cause people to look for less than legal downloading. I mean, do you think I *care* about what licencing issues the recording companies have? Sony, Universal, blah-de-blah, they're international giants right? So explain why we're still stuck with region-specific lists of music?

    Maybe the government would be much better wasting taxpayers money encouraging the media companies to set up something like (maybe that's taken, whatever...) in which all of the rightsholders list all of their music along with the price-per-track, and a raw WAV option for the audiophiles. No pay-per-bitrate, no annoying adverts, just a listing of pretty much everything that they have to offer (with the only region-specific difference being the currency displayed) which takes your cash and returns a list of links to personalised downloads. No requirement for specific software. Just a big global easy-to-use music site.


    BTW, in reply to the suggestion of "why many people know a site for downloading music illegally"... would anybody need to? Surely it would suffice to just use a search engine? Visit our favourite search and type in "uk top 40" and wait a mo. You'll see it, fifth suggestion down - "uk top 40 torrent"...

    1. Will Leamon


      But then you have to know what a torrent is, how to load it into a client and then tell the thing to stop seeding when you're ready. I've noticed most users will throw their hands up if the instructions have more than 2 steps.

      No wonder cooking is dead.

  19. JP19

    Gordon's ranting about high speed internet again

    I see on the BBC Gordon is ranting about high speed internet again today.

    Hmm let me work this out. 100Mb/s means I can download 320kbs MP3s from iTunes 312 times faster than I can listen to them. I can download 5 minute 79p tracks from iTunes at a rate of, errrm £2957 worth per hour.

    OMG how great is iTunes and Gordon's high speed internet for all. Minimum wages types who Gordon is rescuing from social exclusion will be able to blow their entire income on iTunes in less than 10 minutes a week.

  20. adam payne


    Put DRM all over your tracks and I simply won't buy them from you.

    I pay for the music, it becomes mine and i'll do what I like with it. As long as I don't distribute it what's the issue?

    1. Maliciously Crafted Packet

      iTunes may have it's shortcomings...

      but DRM is not one of them. Last I checked iTunes music was 100% DRM free.

      I found this paragraph on the internet.

      "On January 6, 2009, Apple announced at the 2009 Macworld Conference & Expo that it had reached an agreement with major record labels to sell all music on the iTunes Store free of DRM restrictions."

      Anyone got any evidence to that says it ain't so?

  21. Jonathan


    given that my taxes seem to be used to advertise an awful lot of things - like who the police are and when to call them and to sponsor "the business inspector", i'm quite relieved that they aren't proposing to spend my tax money teling people that amazon and iTunes exist

  22. Individual #6/42

    brand recognition

    Weird how having an advertised brand is apparently less effective than being an underground service (paid for through advertising?).

    And apparently the people with ( and who paid for) their (copy) rights are to be asked to pay (again) in order to support these branded services?

    Truly my head hurts when I conceive of the intelligences at work here.

  23. Jonathan

    why can't people just look it up?

    what exactly is supposed to happen?

    are amazon and iTunes (who decides who) going to "encouraged" to advertise more?

    are they going to mandated to?


    good god, can't the people who want to legally download music and don't know where to just... i don;t know.. look it up?

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    How many people can rattle off the names of main streat music stores? How many of them buy music with any regularity? Oh right, this is government spin so accuracy in numbers, let alone the numbers mean anything at all, is not required.

    Still and all, if the music industry wants monies for its music, it is not unreasonable to expect they sell the music, so they'd better back their (online) shops and make sure people know where to go to buy the music, ie advertising. Sounds sensibe to me. The sad thing is that this is the government telling the music industry it ought to do the bleeding obvious, and that this is apparently making sense, useful, and necessairy.

  25. John A Fotheringham


    The kind of people who've never heard of Apple and Amazon are precisely the sort of techno-luddites who'd never want to use their services anyway?

    What planet is this man on?

    1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Surely...

      Exactly. I thought 6 out of 10 was pretty good.

  26. kain preacher


    Those that don;t know about I tunes or are in a Cage . Were I live at you see Itunes adds and o ther apple products on buses, bill boards and on TV.

  27. Ashley Stevens


    When iTunes or Amazon start offering lossless downloads, preferably 24 bit and 96KHz or higher I will buy music from them. Until then it has to be CDs (or one of the few lossless download sites, but they tend to have a very very limited selection). Instead of trying to persuade consumers to buy something they don't want, Mandy should be trying to persuade music retailers to offer something consumers do want!

  28. zenkaon

    Panic breaks out in apple marketing

    The people in apple marketing must be having a fit at the moment, throwing iPads at pictures of Mandy etc etc

    All official security announcements and developer news MUST go through apple marketing first, it's all about brand image etc etc they are going to get a nu-labour hijacking!!!

    What's more, after the way apple has shafted the music biz over the years, the record execs are not going to be too happy having to shell out on apple ads.

    Big FAIL icon, any nu-labour policy/recommendation in a long time

  29. Chris Leuty

    No DRM on iTunes music

    fuzz/adam payne: iTunes doesn't have any music with DRM now. Everything is in iTunes+ format - 256kbps DRM-free AAC - and has been for very nearly a year.

  30. James 47

    Comes With Music

    If taxpayers are going to pay for private advertising why not add Nokia to the list, they employ thousands in the UK

  31. The Other Steve

    Root vegetables

    "Shopping online isn't much fun, either - it provides instant gratification but it isn't a Saturday afternoon social activity"

    I don't know where you live Andrew, but round these parts physically shopping on a Saturday afternoon is about as much fun as having someone repeatedly beat your torso with a large bag of carrots. Then again, that's what you get from a culture that is still pointlessly wedded to '9 - 5, Mon - Fri'.

    Not that stops anyone except for misanthropes like me, if Mr smarty pants from Consumer Focus wants to find the other 40% of his poor missing sheep, he might like to pop out one day and have a look at the queues in HMV.

    Then again, he could look a at few pop histos and perhaps notice that figure probably encompasses all those who are to old, to young, to poor - or just plain don't want - to buy music on line.

    I should think that Amazon and Apple will be over the moon with a 60% brand recognition.

    1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Root vegetables

      "I should think that Amazon and Apple will be over the moon with a 60% brand recognition."

      Quite so!

      And well over 80% among 15-34, who buy music. You're just not thinking like a gov-sponsored quango, though...

      1. The Other Steve

        Not only, but also ...

        "And well over 80% among 15-34, who buy music"

        And isn't the current headline number for 'illegal' downloading 30% or so, largely in the same demo, in which case a good portion of the 'illegals' do in fact know where they can get legal tracks, and choose not to, rendering the whole thing utterly pointless not just in an 'obvious to anyone' kind of way, but based entirely on an objective analysis of the BERRs own numbers ?

        "You're just not thinking like a gov-sponsored quango, though..."

        Thank heavens for small mercies.

  32. RW

    No problem too trivial for NuLabour to stick their noses into

    But lots of problems are too complex for NuLabour to understand, hence nothing is done about the things that really count.

    That's NuLabour for you: stupid, small-minded, ignorant, unimaginative turds.

    Undoubtedly this quango is staffed with idiots like those who promulgate the ludicrous, so-called "health and safety" rules. Horrible thought: NuLabour like quangoes as they provide a means of offering employment to the unqualified.

  33. Tom 35

    Carving up the world

    "Furthermore, please _PLEASE_ sort out the cross-country licencing balls."

    Why is it like that? The record labels (and movie studios) like it like that. You talk to them and they say it's because of the licence... like it's some natural law or something, well just who wrote the licence?

    I live in Canada. There are no MP3s on is quite limited compared to some other countries. But I can (and have) order CDs and DVDs from,, with no problem.

    What about people who live in smaller countries? Is there an iTunes or amazon mp3 store for island? How about immigrants? My co-workers looking for some music from back home don't have much luck on and can't use the iTunes store from their home country... so they torrent.

    So if the stupid control freak studios want people to pay for music, they should stop putting up walls and let the people who are willing to pay for music pay.

  34. heyrick Silver badge

    "Shopping online isn't much fun, either - it provides instant gratification but..."

    Shopping online is often challenging. I know Amazon are pretty quick off the mark. I have a place that sells good ramen (horribly overpriced, but the Real Deal) that ships quickly.

    You wanna read my list of online Fail? Certain home shopping catalogues on-line presences, woeful performance. A big chain not unlike a sort of PC World-meets-WHS has something I've had on order since the TENTH. Okay, it says there may be an 8(ish) day delay in handling the item I've chosen, but does this extend to the third day of not answering my query email? I gave them a virtual credit card number (the real card doesn't work online) and, foolish me, I had it expire at the end of the month. I figured twenty days ought to be enough to find one item, drop in it a Jiffy bag, sling it in the post. I guess I was wrong. If it passes into April with no news, I will let the card lapse, cancel the order, sulk like a child, and Google for alternatives.

    My mother often says I shop like a girl. I like to browse, look at things, compare things. Shopping on-line is only useful, to me, for the various things for which no alternative exists.

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