Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Open Music

For those of you who buy songs from the
Apple iTunes store, you may come to know that they are practically non-transferable. Meaning you can't copy these songs over to other ipods or other portable players like your cellphone or another brand of mp3 player. The technology that makes sure that you cant is called "DRM" or Digital Rights Management. Both Apple and Microsoft have their own way of placing DRM unto the music they sell online.

This is the only way the record companies have agreed to selling music online at a low price, it protects/assures them that you can only listen to what you paid for and where you can only listen to it, on your ipod only.
This is one of the reasons why some may still hesitate to purchase legal music over the net and opt for free pirated music from peer to peer networks like limewire or torrents.

Apple's big honcho Steve Jobs wrote a letter supporting the move to selling "DRM-Free" or "copy protection free" music on their store if it weren't for record labels refusing to try this new concept out. Fortunately, one music label namely EMI (who carries the Beatles music) has taken the leap into agreeing to free their songs of DRM protection.
The conditions "to be" for selling DRM-free music on the iTunes music store would be:

- You'll pay a 30% premium for them to remove the DRM that you didn't want in the first place
- But in return for audio files that you can move across multiple computers and devices
- You'll also get higher quality sound: the $1.29 tracks are encoded in 256 kbps AAC format as opposed to the DRM-tunes at 128 kbps in AAC
- You can pay an additional $.30 a track to "upgrade" tunes you already own to higher quality.

Which labels are next to follow? More importantly, which on-line music stores will offer the same or do they need to? Will folks just buy the DRM tracks from iTunes and move to their Microsoft Zune players or cellphones? whatever the effect will be it will still be a win for the open world we live in today, thanks to the champions of the IT industry.

more on this issue...

No comments: