Sunday, January 09, 2005

DRM does work!

Ok - here we go again. Seems like I only post to this thing when I need to rant. Well that's not true, as my friends would surly tell you - if I posted every rant I'd wear out a keyboard every couple of weeks...

Current topic: Digital "Rights management". Jeesus what a euphemism that is! Rights apparently means the rights that the music industry seems to think it has to your wallet. Management refers to the effort of making sure you cannot play the music once you give up your cash.

Here's my saga. I heard a song on Sirius that I thought was real funny and topical (it's a rant in song form - ok?). I'm not about to buy a whole CD for one song but I wanted instant gratification. I really don't agree with distributing illegal copies of music on the net. So I had to choose an online vendor. My logic goes something like this... First of all I had to actually switch to a windows box (euew!). Then choose my poison. Itunes - don't have an Ipod. Real's product - well to tell the truth I am still P.O.d at them for all of the spyware and popups in their client (they are making points with the Helix project and hacking the Ipod though). Windows media - the mutha of all great digital evils. Finally MusicMatch - At least it has the AutoDJ feature and it's already installed on my box. So - off I go. Purchase the song without problem - until, the actual download.

For some reason I can do everything on MusicMatch except actually download. Must be blocking something at the firewall methinks. Sure - so I go digging through ALL of the help/faq files available. No mention anywhere of what ports/protocol they use. So I wait until that evening at home.

Decided to d/l and install on my son's win98 box. I grab the latest version of MusicMatch. Takes about 30min for it to finish (this is on a cable modem mind you). Another 8 to 10 min to run the installer and re-boot twice. Then I run it. First message that pops up is that this version will not run on 98 and I must get an older release... So back through the same steps again. This time -after the install and reboots - it runs but, for just about every click thereafter for the next 45min I'm told I need to update this plugin or that browser (IE6 - run screaming). So after 4 (count em) more reboots I discover that I can't d/l the song I already purchased. I CAN look at my purchase history but I can't actually get the song. So I think "Ok, Screw it $2 for a song. Fine - just GIMME!"

After the download - which works without a hitch - I can listen to my shiny new song (that I paid for twice btw). On this computer. That belongs to my son. In the corner of my basement.

I can't put it on my player - apparently because Iriver doesn't have a kickback arrangement with musicmatch. I can't convert it to a format I CAN move. My only choice is to burn it to a CD. Assuming that this box had a burner I could then blow an entire CD on one song - so that I could then rip it to a non-DRM format and then break the CD in half and use it to slit my wrists... Arrh! Next time I'll just blow the $20 on the whole CD!

Perhaps this is why CD sales are up 2.3% AGAIN this year. I guess DRM does work!