Most "legal" services are either very vague about format, quality and DRM, not available in my country and/or have a limited collection.
The effort involved in buying something legally and DRM-free is just ridiculous, and the notion that I can trust pirates more to be honest, transparent and upfront about their offering really takes the cake.
Only in the copyright exploitation industry is the legal business more shady than the "criminals".
Alternatively, I can go to a not-so-legitimate website, and be presented with 10+ different versions of the same album (originals, remastered editions, reissues, international releases, vinyl rips, etc.), each of which is typically available in all the popular formats (FLAC, MP3 320kbps, V0, V2, etc.)
I can plump for the FLAC, along with which I will often get high resolution scans of the source material, as well as a LOG file to verify the veracity of the copy. If I want to re-encode it, I'm free to do as I please.
Then to top it off, the legal services have the audacity to charge as much as a physical copy of the CD. I despair...
In the end, they created the product. Under US law, they have the right to sell it any way they like. They could charge $10000 per digital download and load it with DRM. If you don't like the rules, don't buy the product, that's the choice. But please don't play the victim and justify what you're doing with a "it's their fault for dressing too damn sexy".
I'm only referring to 'alternative' means of acquiring music as a benchmark to elucidate these service issues. I'm not interested in justifying copyright infringement, and I have better things to do than get dragged into that tired old debate.
There are companies which do geo-IP checking on their web site. If you're out of the US, you can't see anything. Just a page saying "we don't want you as a customer".
If you're a US person, with a US credit card, and a US billing address, tough. You need to be in the US to buy. People in the rest of the world are treated worse.
Look at Kodak (http://www.google.ca/finance?cid=10501). They've lost 90% of their value in the last 5 years because they didn't sell what customers wanted. They kept an archaic product, and then went into chapter 11.
If they were able to prevent competition through legislation, they would have. That's the main reason why the music labels are still around.
I don't like their rules, but I have no choice, because they have biased the legal framework against me. It's not the customers "fault for dressing too damn sexy". It's the music labels fault for jumping on me, rifling through my pockets and underwear... then claiming to be a victim.
I also disagree with your point about playing the victim, because with the current state of affairs, legitimate consumers are the victim. They're the victim of criminalisation by private companies, who choose to employ all sorts of tactics to stop piracy, all of which affect the legitimate customer more than the pirate.
Yeah man. That's the spirit. I propose everybody does that to the digital things you sell too, if they don't find the format, the price or any service detail conventient.
I'm not foolish enough to be in the IP business.
They also have a Linux client that works perfectly for me which is also a huge bonus.
As long as it lasts.
I want my music collection to be accessible also when Spotify will go out of business, sued into oblivion or acquired and shut down.
I back up my music collection locally, and I have double-redundancy of sorts (it's backed up to a RAID 5 array on a file server, so in theory it could withstand the failure of the original drive and one of the back up drives), but if worst comes to worst I could just acquire everything again.
With a couple of exceptions they're just lossless copies of widely available music recordings...
That would be a viable back up strategy, though. Have a rare copy of a recording? Make it widely available, then if your copy is destroyed, the odds of you being able to acquire an identical copy again are much improved.
Plus, I'm sure they are breaking some ridiculous patent somewhere anyway.
Even read TFA? It has no DRM at all, this is a BS misunderstanding by the blogger.
I have updated the post accordingly.
"Update: You can simply rename the .m4p extension to .m4a and the file will play fine."
No DRM whatsoever.
There is an update to the article:
Update 26 December, 12:12 UTC: You can simply rename the extension from .m4p to .m4a and the file will play fine. There appears to be no DRM at all. I have no idea why Apple would do this since many apps and devices don’t recognize the .m4p extension, which only leads to unnecessary confusion (and posts like this), but whatever.
Yeah, I can infer the fact that it is non-DRM from the mp3 format, but other than that it's still shadier and less informative than the average piracy side.
Not to mention insulting and utterly useless to me and 16 million fellow countrymen in one of the richest Western nations, were, oh surprise, piracy rules.
To be honest, I download the track elsewhere always and pay for it if I think it's worth it and delete it if it's not.
You can't tell much from a 30 second clip most of the time, especially when the motivation is still to produce albums filled with padding (shit).
They need to just release singles and do away with the whole album principle.
As for quality - if you want that, you need to buy the damn CD and rip it how you want. Most of the decent quality mp3 rips are rubbish enough to notice if you have a high end setup but for casual/normal users and ears, it's fine.
Perhaps they should ship as one mp3 with a cue file?
Why would you trust Apple not to do it though? They haven't exactly been trustworthy on any front over the years.
1. The report is only that the files have the 'm4p' extension. There seems to be no-one confirming that the files actually have DRM, just that they have the extension the old DRM'd files used to have.
2. Reports of people being able to convert to m4a from within iTunes. A DRM system that has a "remove the DRM from this file" option... isn't DRM.
Which makes me wonder whether they're just the same normal non-DRM'd files, but being offered up with the wrong extension.
I did open one of the .m4p tracks in VLC.app and it played back fine.
DJ online music stores such as beatport and stompy sell WAV or FLAC files. I really don't understand why iTunes and Amazon don't sell lossless. The bandwidth is there, the demand is there, I guess FLAC isn't supported by major players but at the very least have iTunes sell ALAC... Please.