So, where can you buy music online? How about that there Napster.com. Well, Napster will let you download an unlimited amount of music for a monthly fee, but once you stop subscribing you can’t use the music anymore. You’re RENTING music. How about iTunes? A problem with both Napster and iTunes is that they use Digital Rights Management (DRM). DRM allows these companies to give you a file, but restrict the way you use it. I’ll say this now so I can say “I told you so” later: In the next 2-5 years people will be buying new computers to replace their current ones. The limited technical ability of most users will cause them to lose access to the music collections that they’ve payed for and they’ll be PISSED. I’m sure a cottage industry will spring up to help people make the transition (probably connected to cd ripping services). Non-DRM music guarantees that you will be able to play it on whatever device you want. In recent news an application has been developed to bypass iTunes DRM, of course Apple fought back, but was cracked again within two days. You still had to buy your music with this application, but it restored your rights to use it. Are there any non-DRM services? Mp3tunes.com provides music at only 88cents per song and 60cents goes directly to the artist. They may not have who you are looking for though. There are also Russian sites of questionable legality. So, completely disenchanted? Well here’s a treat: The South by Southwest music festival released a bittorrent of over 750 mp3s. I’ve been listening to these everyday for the last week and it has been awesome. I guess I’ll just have to go out and buy the cds to show my appreciation.
UPDATE: There is even a DRM blog!