Follow-Up to my DRM-Free Downloading Entry

Last week I wrote a congratulatory entry praising the music industry to start allowing their customers to buy song downloads that are not crippled by software that chains it to a single device. My desire is that I can buy a song and listen to it on whatever devices I have at that point and any point in the future.

Within 24 hours I heard from two trusted audiophiles (Bay Taper, and Tim Prattwho are frustrated by the low quality of the DRM-free downloads. They are right. DRM-free tracks are about the same quality as good mp3 files, which are nothing like the originals Why, they ask, can’t we buy and download lossless file format without any compression, especially as we’re paying more then the crippled track we buy at the same quality.

To be honest, now that I know that, it seems like the publishers are up to their same old tricks of selling you a copy locked to a format that may become outdated in 5 years. Just as a cassette is pretty much useless today, perhaps in 5 years music players will be so good, having anything but a lossless file format will be useless?

So from here on out, I’m not going to praise the inudstry’s DRM-free options. I will buy them when it’s convenient but I’ll prefer the CD as it offer higher quality options and cheaper. The absurd thing is selling digital downloads has got to be one of the cheapest distribution options capitalism has ever witnessed. Zero inventory, zero transportation, zero packaging. But still, the industry does not trust me with the same files it sells me on a CD.

The time for baby steps by the music industry is well over. They have to meet their customers half way. If they want to sell us the song, sell us the song. If they want to cripple it, cripple, but if they want me to buy the song, I’ll want to buy the whole thing, not just the parts they think I won’t miss.