Saturday, May 31, 2008

I'm glad that more and more music services are moving to DRM (Digital Rights Management) free music, but the change is slow in coming.

I subscribe to Rhapsody Music Service and have for years. Rhapsody is a streaming service. For a monthly fee I can stream nearly anything I like. If I want to own it I can download it for $0.89. This is 10 cents cheaper than Amazon and iTunes, two other services I use. Those two are strictly download services, though you can listen to a sample.

I’ve just started using Amazon, having just discovered it because of Pepsi points. All their music is DRM free and in MP3 format. Even at $0.99 I often download from them because Rhapsody does not have all its titles in DRM free MP3 format, though more and more of their music is. The music that isn’t is in RAX format.

In order to get it as an MP3 I have to burn it to CD and then rip it. This works but it takes a lot of work for Windows Media Player to recognize it and download the album art. Then it thinks it’s smarter than me so it tries to name the song using the album name. It’s a pain. If it’s in RAX I don’t buy there anymore.

iTunes also uses its own format. Usually all I get from them is their free songs of the week, since I mostly use the service with my iPod Shuffle (screen? I don’t need no stinking screen!). When I want to turn one of theirs to an MP3 it’s easy to burn it to CD and turn around and rip it to MP3 and iTunes remembers what it is—200% better than Windows Media Player!

So why download from Rhapsody at all? Coke points! I use my Coke points to download Rhapsody music that’s in MP3 and I use Pepsi points at Amazon for everything else. As you can see from above, a lot of my music is free. I love free, don’t you? I know, I know, I’m cheap.

Richard's main page

Wednesday, May 28, 2008