One way to make a declaration of independence is with an economic boycott.
If we’re not going to pay that tax for our tea, we’d should burn it or dump it in the sea instead. Music, like tea, is one of life’s great pleasures.
So although Apple’s user experience is generally solid, we should not get sucked into its Fairplay DRM scheme. Notice how Apple pulled a Clean Skies, No Child Left behind stunt there? Microsoft’s own example, meanwhile, of saying one thing and meaning the opposite is PlaysforSure.
But Fair play means Fair Use. (is that a slogan?)
Apple’s user experience is becoming more jagged. At least one extremely smart guy who is absolutely passionate about music, Fred Wilson, says iTunes sucks. Of course Fair Play sucks – DRM is digital lard, clogging the arteries of our digital lifestyle. (i liked the phrase so much I used it twice.)
According to Fred:
I will not buy music that I cannot remove the DRM from. And so I have not upgraded to iTunes 6 and I won’t buy music that can only be purchased from iTunes 6.
Why not join Fred?
The refrain – “what do you mean I can’t do that” will become increasingly common given Apple’s integrated aggravation strategy.
So what is the alternative? Mine is eMusic.
How about the complete back catalog of SST Records: Black Flag, Minutemen, Soundgarden.. or if you prefer Fugazi on Dischord.
There is a ton of great blues and soul on there, and electronic and classical music. Just a cornucopia of excellent stuff. eMusic may not offer every mainstream hit but its a pretty good example of a Long Tail business model. Where else do you know that has an extensive selection of Bhangra music available to download?
eMusic is doing the right thing- working with artists and labels to make great music available to consumers, which will play on any device.
Here is pricing information:
- eMusic Basic: $9.99 per month/40 downloads
- eMusic Plus: $14.99 per month/65 downloads
- eMusic Premium: $19.99 per month/90 downloads
The company is also focused on the blogosphere. When I recommended the service to Fred, a representative of emusic, Chris McBride, contacted me to offer me 50 free downloads. Thanks Chris. Well done for monitoring, and responding to, blogs.
One annoying part of the service however is the fact UK publishing rights are not always covered. Which means some downloads are only available in the US. Damned music industry!
Why not try a free trial? And if you want any music suggestions let me know – especially on the electronic side. In fact i might as well benefit – if you’re interested feel free to send me an email and I will send out an invite to you, via eMusic, which will mean I get some more freebies.
Its not enough to make declarations or complain in the press, we also need to vote with our wallets. That’s how to make companies reconsider DRM business models.
If its encumbered don’t buy it.