In a departure from my normal stance on the subject, I think it is time people put a little money where their beliefs were and supported Amazon in its foray to DRM-free music downloads.
Amazon is selling MP3 music, free of any digital rights management crap, for as little as 59p a track. Now, for those of you who are used to music being free per track this might seem expensive, but it is cheaper than most of the services like iTunes – and more importantly this sells you the music in the right way… you are allowed to play it on your iPod, your Laptop, your old mp3 player etc. One of the things that used to constantly infuriate me (and ensure I would never actually pay for music there) on iTunes was the problem with how portable the music was.
I have an iPod, I have a phone that plays MP3s, I have a laptop, I have a car MP3 player, a windows PC, a linux PC and an MP3-enabled music station. If I buy a peice of music I am the person who chooses which device can play it, not Apple. When I had various CD or tape players, it was down to me as to which device was going to play the music. I didnt have to contact EMI for a new licence every time I bought a new cassette player so why should I start now?
None of this is meant to suggest the only reason people pirate MP3 tracks is to have more portability, but it is an element. It is important that companies like Amazon show iTunes et al., that giving the users choice can be a profitable business model. Is the brand name of iTunes really worth an extra 20p a track when you can only play the track on your iPod?
If you like the idea of DRM free music and if you think that 59p is close to a reasonable sum of money to pay for music you like, then please go to Amazon and download a track or two. It doesn’t have to be many! Unless people make the effort to purchase DRM-free music over DRM’d music, the industry will never change.
By the way – I am sure Amazon is not the only source of DRM free music at a reasonable price. Please feel free to advertise any other sources here. Play.com springs to mind, where are the others? Find one you like, and buy some music. Then tell your friends to buy some.
Footnote: I gain nothing by you buying things from Amazon. There is no affiliate-ID in the link. This is actually something I think is a good idea to support.