iTunes Announces DRM Free Music
For those of you who are not familiar with the concept, DRM is basically copy protection. The way this works is that with some services you have a limited number of computers or devices to be able to install your media on. Once installed the media file has to authenticate on a sever somewhere on the internet to play. Once you reach that limitted number of devices and you try to play your music on another device, your music simply will not play.
Remember the good old days when you bought your favorite album on cassette or CD and you could listen to it in whatever deck or CD player you wanted? Or if you had a friend that you wanted them to hear a song and you lent them that cassette? Well in a miserable attempt to stop piracy several online distributers of music came up with this ideal of DRM. Seems like a good ideal from a business prospective but then people would pirate music just because it was DRM free. Lets face it, DRM is a bad ideal and only hurts the people that legitimately purchase their music though online distributors. The pirates out there will still get their music DRM free so this really doesn't solve any problems.
There have been ways to rip the DRM from the files themselves but it has always been such a pain. Also why should the consumer be limited to how many devices they can play their music on. Or have to rip out the DRM?
I never have purchased music online. The reason, well I prefer tangible media. You know the CD. I always felt that purchasing my music though iTunes, apple somewhat had my media held hostage in the sense that one day my music just stop playing. I mean lets say that 10 years from now apple announces that they are no longer offering online music and that they are going to shut their authentication servers down. I would have had hundreds of dollars of music that I couldn't play. It almost happened with Walmart's DRM servers. I mean Walmart. A big company. Imagine all the people who legitimately purchased their music instead of using P2P networks, waking up to find that they can no longer play the album they purchased yesterday. Again, This is a case of DRM hurting the legit consumers.
CDs have never really had the copy protection that digital media has been plagued with. With tangible media I never worried about one day my music ceasing to play. Also there has always been so much CD ripping software out (iTunes included) there that I could alway convert my CDs to MP3s or what ever other format I wanted. Now maybe, just maybe I can put my iTunes account to good use.
Anyways, sorry to turn this into a rant on DRM.
Apple my hats off to you for finally doing the right thing. The only thing you could have done to make it better was to allow your customers to upgrade their previously bought DRM media for free instead of charging .30 cents a song. I can handell the new DRM free music being $1.29 per song but don't you think we have paid enough?