Amazon vs iTunes, a Matter of Trust

AmazonvsItunes.pngTo get their iTunes service to market Apple had to make a significant compromise – they had to add DRM onto the downloaded tracks. Was it necessary? or was it their choice? We’ll probably never know but it has, at least for me, had a significant impact on “dirtying” the trust I may have otherwise had in the Apple brand and thus the iTunes service.

Despite their efforts this past January to go back and remove this Digital Rights Management (DRM) security from their music I have found myself remaining cautious about buying any tracks from Apple. When considering the purchase I am thinking about things like – are all of these tracks now DRM-free (in all countries?) or are some still encumbered? where do I check to be sure? can I be sure Apple won’t change the rules again (to my detriment) going forward? with increasing operating system fragmentation can I be sure the AAC format will be as widely supported as MP3?

Yes – many of these answers are obtainable but the fundamental problem is that the original inclusion of DRM has infused enough confusion and uncertainty into the service that it is just simply easier to go to another source untainted by the dark cloud of DRM. With the Amazon MP3 service none of these questions (my purchasing criteria in this case) exist – they are all the de-facto standard MP3 format and most importantly I can trust that the rules of usage on these files will never change since Amazon has never encumbered their music files with DRM nor do they have the control to do-so once they are on my computer.

Ultimately I am sure I would get just as much use out of the Apple files, but for the cost of typing in a different URL in the browser I am willing to go to another provider and eliminate all of this uncertainty.

Filed under: Business, Media | No Comments

Death of DRM?

It has taken a while but it seems that the days of Digital Rights Management (DRM) encumbered music may be coming to an end. Apple’s announcement at MacWorld that they are to remove DRM from the music sold on iTunes is good news for consumers and online music sales in general.

After hearing the news I got to thinking about an article and presentation from a few years ago – the links are below and most definitely worth the time to go through:

Tim O’Reilly: Piracy as Progressive Taxation
Lawrence Lessig: Free Culture

These two pieces relay in incredible simplicity why DRM is unnecessary, and the risk associated with the technology to infringe on our fair-use rights. It remains to be seen how the disappearance of DRM on music may influence corporate decisions on DRM for other types of media in the future but both Tim O’Reilly and Lawrence Lessig deserve significant credit for us at least arriving at the beginning of the end of DRM in music.

Filed under: Media | 1 Comment