To DRM or Not to DRM


My reason for this rant is to expose you to some sites out there that offer unrestricted MP3 music. The prices are the same (or cheaper) than services like iTunes and once you download the song, you can use it however you want.

OK, so by now you know I like the iPod, I like iTunes. What I do not like, however, is DRM. What is DRM, you ask? It stands for digital rights management and it’s the reason, for example, you can’t play purchased songs from your iTunes through anything but iTunes or your iPod. They use a proprietary audio format different from MP3. And, yes, I know you could rip a CD, then re-rip to MP3, but that loses quality and is a hassle.

I see why companies “need” DRM. They don’t want folks swapping files over programs like Kazaa or Limewire and such. I don’t blame them. But, I have other devices I’d like to use (like cell phones, TiVo, other MP3 players) that I can’t use with copy protected music. This is why I’ve only bought one album through iTunes (Don Williams hits . . . awesome, by the way).

The first site I’ve seen with unrestricted music is Audio Lunchbox (www.audiolunchbox.com). The selection isn’t too mainstream (you can find older artists), but you just might find some stuff you like. The other site is Emusic (www.emusic.com). They have a higher amount of popular music (still adding more and more every day). Emusic also has a promotion for 25 free songs for trying them out. They are based on the subscription model – you pay $10 per month for a certain amount of downloads. And, like Lunchbox, you keep what you download to play wherever you want.

I don’t know how DRM is going to pan out. I know that I’ll gladly pay for something if I can use it how I want (which is why I mostly by CDs still and rip to my iPod). And that’s the thing, if you’re the kind of person that will pay 99 cents and get a song, it’s likely you aren’t going to give it away and/or share it with others illegally. That’s my opinion anyway . . .

Hope you enjoyed this post. CDs will only be here so much longer . . . let’s hope they figure out an acceptable solution for a replacement.

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