wife got me hooked on diet soda. Each morning I'll
grab a Diet Dr. Pepper, Diet Pepsi or Diet Vanilla
Coke. They stopped making Diet Vanilla Coke which
was my favorite so I bought a big stockpile when
I heard the announcement. Unfortunately, I learned
that diet drinks go bad fairly quickly. Unlike their
sugar laden counterparts which last a long time,
the Aspartame in modern diet sodas has a short shelf
life. I learned to look at the date on the bottom
of the can to avoid a mouthful of brown soda water.
for some music lovers their music library could
go flat as quickly as a soda. In 2004, Coke launched
an online music store called mycokemusic. They quickly
became the #1 online music store in the UK. Well,
a lot changes in a couple of years on the net and
what was once a shining success is now a distant
player behind iTunes UK. So, Coke has decided to
shutter the service by the end of July.
problem for customers is that mycokemusic sold digitally
restricted files in Microsoft's Windows Media format.
When buyers play their songs they are required to
phone to the mothership and request authorization.
But Coca Cola's announcement means the mothership
is going away. With no authorization those purchased
songs become digital flotsam because they will not
play at all and the consumers entire music investment
vanishes. It's a stark illustration that buying
DRM songs is really a rental not a purchase because
someone else controls your access to the property.
in mycoke's defense they have told customers another
company has said they will step in to continue the
authorization process. But what if they hadn't?
And how long will this second company commit to
do this given the fact that there's no financial
incentive for them to do so? It's just a matter
of time before some of the vendors of DRM files
goes bankrupt and in the process deletes entire
personal music libraries in the process.
is an alternative that an increasing number of consumers
are turning to and that is to only purchase digital
tracks from vendors selling non-DRM tracks. While
Apple infatuated press focus entirely on iTunes
with a token reference to Napster, there's a number
of digital music vendors selling tracks in MP3 format
with solid success. Sites like Magnatune,
emusic all sell tracks that will never evaporate
even if the seller does because they do not have
DRM. Once they are purchased they are truly owned
by the buyer not rented. (MP3tunes
continues to operate an MP3 store although more
of our focus is on our Oboe
music locker business.)
friend of mine just bought the deluxe home music
system called Sonos. While he raves about his Sonos
system's brilliant engineering and ease of use,
he lost hundreds of dollars of music in the process.
He was an iTunes customer and none of his purchases
will play on his Sonos system because it's not a
device from Apple. So he'll have to repurchase all
that music or go through the cumbersome process
of burning CDs and re-encoding his music. He's vowed
to never buy another DRM track after this experience.
think DRM tracks should have expiration warnings
printed on them just like Diet Cokes. Like diet
soda cans, all DRM tracks will eventually go flat
and stop working. It may not be on a specific date,
but sooner or later you'll want to play them on
a device that the DRM supplier (Apple or Microsoft)
doesn't approve (see Sonos example above) or from
one to many "authorized" locations or
the vendor will simply go out of business. Everyday,
consumers are losing music purchases to DRM expiration.
Your insurance is to buy CDs or frequent online
music vendors who sell in open formats and then
put your music into an online
locker where you can always access it from any
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