Thursday, August 03, 2006

DRM and Apple's iTunes

Okay I've heard a lot of complaints about DRM and most of them I agree with; It limits accessability to others, to yourself (you can't load the song on any other player), and it limits competition (again because you can't load it on any other player). But I have to ask myself this question: how has it effected me? The answer is that it hasn't. I do not buy music from iTunes. I steal it, I rip it from CD, or go out and listen to the band play. The last example doesn't work too well for bands that are no longer around but the idea is the same: if you do not like the Apple Store use something else that gives you MP3s and not DRM encoded AAC files or support the band directly. It is really easy and luckily the iPod lets us load non-DRM encoded MP3s.

Apple created a new market for music and I think musicians are relatively happy about it. Any start-up producer, or band, with a buisness license can get a song on iTunes and promote it to a new audience that would not have been there strictly with peer-to-peer file sharing or CD sales. In fact I now use iTunes to listen to 30 seconds of a new artist's song that I wouldn't have heard otherwise, and if it sounds remotely interesting to me I will then go and download it via a P2P network. If I really like the band I will go and buy the CD (never will I buy anything from Apple's iTunes Music Store, or for that matter any other store that sells DRM encoded MP3 files). I am happy, however, for Apple for being so successful with this market and I hope they continue to be so, so long as it doesn't ever impede upon my ability or avidity to get new music.

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