26 Comments

Summary:

I’m a geek and a Mac fan. I admit it. I’ve read Job’s letter four times already. I’ve read countless rebuttles, analyst opinions, and blog posts about Job’s Thoughts on Music. Yesterday the solution to the problem of DRM hit me. Stop buying DRM’d music. We […]

I’m a geek and a Mac fan. I admit it. I’ve read Job’s letter four times already. I’ve read countless rebuttles, analyst opinions, and blog posts about Job’s Thoughts on Music. Yesterday the solution to the problem of DRM hit me. Stop buying DRM’d music. We can demand this because its our dollars we give to these failed DRM schemes.

Yes, I’m asking all the Apple iTunes users to do us all a favor. If we, the consumer, want and demand DRM to go away, we have to stop buying it. It’s not a letter from Steve that will make this happen, as he points out the idiodic recording industry demands DRM. It isn’t some companies like Monster and Yahoo who back his ideals. So join me in boycotting DRM and let these clowns know we won’t be controlled because of their own insecurities. DRM had its trial run in the industry and it is a failure. I’m not saying that intellectual property doesn’t deserve to be protected, but I am convinced that there is no technological answer that does not step on customer toes.

DRM failed for one reason. It did what it was supposed to do. Wow, what that must be like to have a customer base you can’t trust. Would you buy from someone who shows contempt for the usage of the product they sell?

Let’s make this clear what I’m asking, because after all these analysts and the other camps spewing crazy statements it is hard to know what is real and fake. Not buying DRM’d content means the iPod still works. I know, I know. It might sprout legs and run back to Cupertino if it isn’t fed DRM’d things to decode. It also means that there is no reason to perform technical voodoo to get the purchased content to actually play. It will just play. Amazing concept? I bet Jobs is an audiophile and wants to sell higher quality content in the store, but due to DRM he can’t offer it. How about Apple Lossless downloads and H.264 encoded Hi-Def movies? DRM has blocked this from happening, not Apple’s technical capability.

I like good technology. AAC is good technology. Ogg is good technology. MP3 is good technology. Apple Lossless is great technology. Protected AAC is not.

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  1. i stopped buy iTunes music a long time ago and switched to eMusic, DRM-free.

    and then, since they have a limited catalog, i buy the CD if i want some tunes that iTunes doesn’t have, so i live a DRM-free life.

    will start buying on iTunes again when they drop DRMs.

  2. Excellent suggestion! It would be interesting to see this actually take off and watch the market shift to actually demand non DRM’d downloadable music! Sweet!

    On a related note that bugs me about this whole DRM and iPod only fiasco is that no one makes people buy from the iTunes store. Why don’t people complain about the DRM that keeps PlaysForSure on specific players? I had an experience where I bought an MP3 player that didn’t play Yahoo! music.

    That’s my rant. Thanks.

  3. I totally agree with you, and I’ve stopped buying DRM’d music myself.

    I also would agree that Steve is an audiophile, and would no doubt love to offer higher quality music for download. I doubt, however, that such downloads would be Apple Lossless. The files are just too big, especially for those of us with big libraries on small hard drives.

  4. I’ve been doing this as well… One resource I thought would be nice, that i’ve been planning on posting on my blog, is a list of DRM-free stores. Below is what I have so far, but I’m sure this site could be generating a bunch more than I can.

    Here’s what I have:
    http://www.emusic.com
    http://audiolunchbox.com/
    http://www.roughtrade.com/
    http://www.insound.com/
    http://www.bleep.com/
    http://www.mindawn.com/
    http://magnatune.com/
    http://digital.othermusic.com/ (coming soon)

  5. The DRM in iTunes is a bit of a red herring. I buy music from iTunes on my laptop, burn a CD, and then just import it into iTunes on my desktop, which syncs my iPod. No DRM – and I can move anything from my iPod to any other Mac using Senuti.

  6. You really want to make an impact? Stop buying ALL music from the Big 4. Buy Indie. The music is better, and you can get a lot of it unencumbered with DRM. The only way better than not buying the crap is to buy something else.

  7. I agree that it will be great to have DRM free content on iTunes, but who is willing to front the extra 6 to 7 dollars per album that I buy in a record store. If you aren’t pirating music, then why complain so much about DRM?

  8. The record companies will be very pleased if people stop buying iTunes, and by CDs instead. If you want to boycott DRM, listen to public radio instead.

  9. All that this process will achieve is to strengthen the record companies, they don’t like Apple iTunes’ deathgrip on the market – weakening iTunes will strengthen their resolve to impose DRM at will! Surely buying from and thereby strengthening iTunes helps Apple in its proposed discussions with the big 4 to remove DRM?

    I dont like DRM either but I really can’t see how you can say it is a failure. iTunes is completely based on DRM, and dominates the market, yet before it the music download market was floundering.

    BTW – burning an AAC track to disc then re-ripping to MP3 degrades the tracks audio quality in a similar way that resaving a JPEG several times degrades its image quality. So although the resulting file may be reasonable it is still not anything like the quality of the track that you originally purchased. I would guess that the Fairplay DRM removal hacks that are about also result in a similar degredation of quality due to the process actually re-ripping the already compressed files?

  10. Boycotting the iTunes Store will do nothing. Let’s get real – arguments against DRM have been out there for a long time, studies show that sales would likely increase were DRM to be dropped, and Steve is calling for it. After all that, you think studio execs will listen to something like a .01% drop in iTunes sales?

    Even if the drop were more significant – 30% over last year, for instance – do you think that public outcry over DRM would be blamed? Think again. You’re not dealing with the sharpest (nor the most honest) tools in the shed here – they’d blame Steve, Apple, iTunes, piracy, etc. They would NOT blame themselves.

    This call for a boycott has the same entertaining premise as most online boycotts: it says that something like backing from Apple and Yahoo won’t make DRM go away, but a call to action from a blogger will.

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