I’ve lately been in a music appreciative mood. My collection of music isn’t fantastic, and I was wanting to add songs to it. Going out and finding a CD store that’s open at 3am is sort of a drag, plus with the cool new interweb thing it ought to be a cinch to buy music online. Well there’s option 1, the itunes music store. Here you get a lossy compressed single track of audio of 128bit AAC goodness. Forgetting for a moment that I’d have to transcode to get it to play on my mp3 player, this piece of music that you’ve “bought” can only be played on devices that apple wants you to be able to play it on. Contrast that with buying a CD, where you get uncompressed audio with pretty much no fair use restrictions at all.
So the ideal situation would be buying a CD on line and having them ship it to you and simultaneously allowing you to download digital versions of it. The ideal would probably mp3s, since they play in anything, but I’d even be happy with DRM encumbered files as long as I could play them until the CD arrived. This way, I still have to buy albums instead of single tracks, much to the delight of the RIAA, and I can impulse buy CDs. Seems great for the recording industry and artists, and it allows me to my music instantaneously. Some pioneering company should do this and make a gazillion dollars.
Oh wait, a company tried that and got sued for $118 million dollars for willful infringement of copyright. Not because anyone was getting music that they didn’t have the right to, but because mp3.com had a business model that threatened the stranglehold the RIAA had on the recording industry. So now I can’t give record companies my money to buy their albums without driving to the store during it’s opening hours.
Yet another example of how copyright needs to be updated for modern times.