Monday, September 25, 2006

More fuel for the digital rant

Further to what I was saying on Thursday ...

Most of my downloaded music collection comes from allofmp3, which I have yet to see a convincing argument is illegal. Prior to that it came from, which is indisputably legal but has the annoying habit of slapping DRM protection on its files. Before playing each track it has to check with HQ that you are in fact the genuine owner. But at least you can move tracks between machines, as long as they're connected to the internet, though this does preclude playing them on portable players or converting them to other formats.

I also had three tracks, for some reason, from Napster - the reborn, legal version which is even more paranoid and requires you to install its software on your machine before it will let you play a track. Move machines, reinstall software - or so I thought. I reinstalled the software at the weekend. When I try to play those tracks I get the message:
"Sorry, this track is not currently available in the Napster service. We are working hard to make it available so please check back later."
In other words, it turns out I didn't purchase the tracks way back when - I simply hired them.

Okay, the loss of Hazel O'Connor's "Will You?" and "Eighth Day", and (ahem) They Might Be Giants's "The House at the Top of the Tree" doesn't leave a bleeding hole where the heart of my collection used to be. But it's one more item of evidence, if one were needed, that the best way the corporate downloaders could get one up on allofmp3 would be to scrap their paranoid, overprotective and frankly insulting DRM. Dunno why, but something deep within human nature resents forking up money and STILL being viewed as a potential criminal.


  1. Couldn't agree more, but I've never bought off allofmp3 because I'm worried about the payment security side of things... Russia's a bit Wild West these days, no? How do you pay?

  2. By card. I know what you mean but I took the plunge after learning that the colleague who pointed me in that direction had never had any problems. And neither have I, so far ... As far as I can tell, encryption etc is done via an accountable western hemisphere-based service whom I reckon would pull the plug quickly if shadiness happened.

  3. I was just about to blog a discovery I have made. is a free uk based website that offers music WITHOUT DRM, for about 22p a track. I can't recommend it from experience because you have to pay per month for a minimum of 40 tracks for £8.99. I don't buy that much music a month and wouldn't want to commit but the idea sounds good. if you buy that much music it would be worth it.

    There is also a free trial of 25 tracks so I may try it at some point just for those.

  4. And just out of interest with all the DRM on tracks could someone still potentially burn the tracks and give it to their friends anyway?

  5. Funny, I thought I'd posted this but it seems to have disappeared. If two substantially similar comments appear from me, that's why.

    Anyway, thanks for the tip. emusic will be checked out.

    I think you can burn your downloaded DRMd files to a CD (or just put them on a stick) as straight data and give them to a friend, because that's how I get the same collection on work and home PCs. You couldn't convert them into an audio CD because of the write protection.


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