Monday, May 09, 2005

You silly oaf, you mad galoot

Hilary Rosen, former head of the RIAA, is so clueless she thinks it's nearly impossible to convert purchased music from services other than the iTunes Store for use with her new iPod, and rails against Steve Jobs for being "anti-consumer": I spent 17 years in the music business the last several of which were all about pushing and prodding the painful development of legitimate on-line music. Now, the music fan is on the cusp of riches in their options - free of the viruses of the pirate sites. "Sites" typically don't spread "viruses." P2P programs often come packaged with spyware and malware, but that's a whole different set of terminology. She's fallen for her own erstwhile scare campaigns; no wonder the recording industry won battles but lost the war against music piracy, with someone as ignorant as she at the helm for so long. There are lots of places you can go for great music at good deals and with a deep catalog of songs from over the last 20 or 30 years. MSN.com, Rhapsody.com, aolmusic.com, even walmart.com. There are little players to make your favorite music even more portable than ever starting at as little as 29 bucks. Most every player device works at every one of these “stores” and it is pretty easy to keep all the songs, no matter where you got them, in a single folder or "jukebox" on your computer. But not the iPod. Most agree it is the best quality player on the market even if the cheapest one costs a few hundred dollars. The problem is that the iPod only works with either songs that you buy from the on-line Apple iTunes store or songs that you rip from your own CD’s. But those other music sites have lots of music that you can’t get at the iTunes store. So, if you have an iPod, you are out of luck. If you are really a geek, you can figure out how to strip the songs you might have bought from another on-line store of all identifying information so that they will go into the iPod. But then you have also degraded the sound quality. How cruel. Funny thing about that: it's not that hard. When the new, legal, Napster launched, there was a pretty easy way to circumvent their files' DRM. There'll always be a way, if you have the slightest idea what you're doing. Consumers fight back by being informed, and if someone desperately wants to use one of the godawful other stores with their iPod, they'll be able to, in some way; the information is out there, just waiting to be found, for those whose first inclination is to attempt solving the problem, rather than blaming Apple's marketing practices. Which is to say: Thanks, Ms. Huffington, for giving a clueless suit a forum in which to make a fool of herself. Let's see some more of this kind of thing in the future, hmm? (Via Instapundit.)

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