Guerrilla MP3 Warfare

I enjoy music as much as anyone. I'd say my tastes are very eclectic. Right now I'm listening to Stevie Ray Vaughan and I've got John Coltrane cued up. Alanis Morrisette was playing earlier. But, I'm pretty fed up with trying to buy music these days. I don't think I'm alone. I used a music service for a while but as soon as I canceled it because I wasn't using it enough all the music I downloaded was no longer accessible due to this companies digital rights management. Somehow that just doesn't make sense to me.

So, I asked someone half my age what they do thinking they would have a much more elegant solution for obtaining their music. Here is their solution in their own words.

"Here's what I do for mp3s /iPod stuff — I sometimes have a subscription to eMusic (I cancel it for periods of time when I can't find anything on their site I want, since they don't have everything in there). I pay for the $15 option when I am signed up with them. Their downloads don't roll over from month to month, so I have to remember to cancel when I don't want anything they have.

I also buy things out of the iTunes store, but I always (well, I try to always) make sure to burn it to CD and re-rip it to mp3 so that the DRM is out of the question. I dislike trusting iTunes DRM with my money, so I don't do it very often — just when I can't find something I want on eMusic.

I also discovered that Amazon's MP3 store is pretty damn spiffy! My understanding is that they have no DRM there at all (experience bears this up) and if I had more money I'd probably be buying a lot more stuff that way.

Between these three options, I seem to be able to keep myself in music!

Also, every time I cancel eMusic I get a special offer a few months later for forty extra downloads or seventy extra downloads or whatever. Usually when that happens I sign back up to get the extras and then only stay subscribed if they have stuff I want. It's a strange cycle.

I don't actually fully trust any of these people; Amazon comes the closest because they haven't tried to screw me directly. iTunes is pretty good but I don't want to leave their stuff DRM'd; eMusic won't roll over and they don't really care if you download the tracks you pay for or not. So it's sort of like Guerrilla MP3 Warfare between me and my music. But that's my system."

To me this sounds like a failed system on the part of the music companies and distributors. I feel sorry for the artists who have to put up with this system. And, I feel for consumers who would be buying exponential amounts of music if there was a procurement system that actually gave us what we want and need.

There's got to be a better way and I think it is past due. Anyone out there have a better idea we can implement?

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