Apple Stomps On The Labels & Sets Consumers & Their Music Free

By tonyhughes Hughes, in , posted: 8-Jan-2009 09:27

With so many people deriding Apples recent Macworld appearance as a bit lacklustre, with mention of a "few nice upgrades" but no stunning announcements of new products, I can't help but get the feeling that the announcement of DRM being wiped clean soon from the iTUnes Music Store is somewhat momentus.

On one hand, we have the massive consumer backlash against DRM, and people in the know flocking to torrents in their hordes, with the people who are too scared, not tech-savvy enough, or just want an easy solution with their iPod, using iTunes.

Sure, there are a whole lot more solutions out there, but I almost never hear from from friends that they just got the latest Kings of Leon "Sex on Fire" single from 'Digirama' or wherever (in fact, I had to log on just now to see if still existed).

Freetards, FOSS advocates, normal consumers, Geeks, pirates, moms, teenagers, all want one thing.

They want their music to just work.

They want to buy music on CDs & online, and be able to store them on whatever computer they use, use whatever music playing application they want, and choose their music playing device. They want to burn CDs for parties, for the car, and hell - sometimes they will even want to burn them for friends.

By the time the dust settles, I think you will find, that when offered up as professional an offering as the likes of iTMS, unencumbered with DRM, that *most* people will choose to acquire their music legititmately.

Its actually far easier to buy music from iTMS than it is to pirate it (for me anyway). I click one button, and a few seconds later, I own the song. Plug in my iPod, and bang, its there.

Of course iTMS may not be your thing, you may depsise Apple/Corporate-America/Corporate-anything, but make no mistake, Apple inking the non-DRM deal is primetime news.

Also, now that DRM is not going to be an issue, perhaps Apple will look at releasing a Linux version of iTunes. Though I am not holding my breath.

Now, if only iTunes would support more brands of MP3 player. I do see the possibilities here, because although it may cannibalise some iPod sales by allowing other players to hook into the iTunes app, at least those consumers would now be exposed to, and hopefully purchasing from, Apples store.

Apple dumping DRM is the compelling event that will actually begin the real demise of DRM in our music as we know it now.

Thanks Apple.

More info about the actual ins and outs here: iTunes store & DRM free music - what you need to know ( article)

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Comment by freitasm, on 8-Jan-2009 10:45

Not without a tax - they charge a fee to convert your existing DRM collection into DRM-free collection...

Author's note by tonyhughes, on 8-Jan-2009 11:02

This can be done for free. Simply burn your DRM music to CD, and re-import. You will take a slight quality hit (compressed to CD back to compressed). But its hardly noticeable.

I only ever bought about 7 albums and 20 or 30 singles from ITMS till now. Once they kill DRM, I will start using it heaps more.

Comment by grant_k, on 8-Jan-2009 12:30

@ Tony:  "Simply burn your DRM music to CD, and re-import. You will take a slight quality hit (compressed to CD back to compressed). But its hardly noticeable."

If you burn your tracks to CD and then re-rip them at 256kbps or 320kbps, it is practically impossible to notice any difference at all.  I have done this in earlier times with all the WMA tracks I bought, but now that DigiRAMA, Amazon and others have MP3 unprotected tracks, I won't buy WMA versions any more.

I agree 100% with your sentiments that we owe Apple and Steve Jobs a big debt of gratitude here.  Without him and his crusade, DRM-free music would still be a distant dream.

Regarding support for different player devices, I don't own an iPOD and am unlikely ever to bother with one.  My Motorola mobile phone has a good MP3 player and the built-in speaker sounds better than my cousin's iPhone that I heard yesterday (not that speaker quality is great from either device, but at least you have a tune in your pocket if you forgot your headphones).

What type of headphones do you use with your iPOD Tony: Wired or Bluetooth?

If iTunes supported any old plain vanilla MP3 player via an export function, I would switch in a heartbeat.  WMP is clunky and adding your album art is much more difficult than it should be.  Sometimes the art disappears again and you are left with the default blank CD symbol which is rather annoying.  Considering that this is WMP 11 I am using, I would have expected better from MS by now.

For in-car use, I find it so easy to dump several artist folders full of music onto a CD-RW and Voila, we have around 10 Hours of music to enjoy on our next lengthy road trip.

If I am not using my Desktop or Laptop (both of which have my whole music library loaded) I will have my mobile phone with me, or will be in the car with an MP3-capable CD player, so an iPOD doesn't really give any benefit over the devices I already have.

Comment by James Stringer, on 8-Jan-2009 14:03

Its going to cost me $90 to convert my 27 iTunes DRM albums to iTunes Plus.  Ill drop it next week or something, But ill end up converting it all back to 128kbit, just because i want to pack my iPhone full and I don't really notice the bit rate difference.

Comment by James Stringer, on 8-Jan-2009 14:08

I lie, its actually $101 dollars, hell...  Maybe I'm not so interested.

Author's note by tonyhughes, on 8-Jan-2009 14:23

Of course there is no requirement to convert your current tracks... a lot of people simply wont need to.

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