In fact, it hates you and everything you stand for. It doesn’t want to be played on anything but one player, and even then only a few times. It dislikes the fact that more than one person can listen to it, and that some even listen to it for free; the dirty scoundrels! So as a result it does all in its power to stop you. It has restrictions and constraints that stop you from playing it on more than one device, and in sending it to your friends.
These restrictions come under the heading of DRM; Digital Rights Management. You may have heard of DRM in the news lately, or you may not have; it depends how much you’ve been listening. But for some of us, this is a huge issue at the moment, and something we’ve been fighting against for a long time.
You see, DRM negates the very rights that many products take for granted. Look at books. You don’t have to pay every time you open the cover. You don’t have to pay to find it again. And you are allowed to loan it to your friends. With music, the big record labels don’t like you doing anything of the sort.
Even though it seems like the natural thing to do; the moral thing! If you want to loan a CD to a friend, then it should be ok to do so. If you want to back up your music on your computer, then that should also be ok! And if you want to play your CD’s on your iPod, or your digital songs on your iPod and your Zune, then that should be allowed too. The problem is, that you’re not.
At least, not until now. Amazon has just announced that they will be opening an online store selling digital music, without any of these restrictions. At the moment they have over 12,000 labels, none of which you will have heard of except EMI. Most are independent labels, but bringing to the table a lot of great talent that sometimes goes under the radar.
Amazon's approach as a provider of music without the vested interest of a digital music device maker (such as Apple), will likely create serious competition to iTunes.
This comes in the wake of iTunes hoping to negotiate DRM free music for their online store, and EMI agreeing with iTunes to sell some of their content without the mischievous restraints.
One can only hope that this sea-change we are seeing is the change we’ve been hoping for.
Posted by Josh Hill
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