Comment of the Week

We love it when you leave a comment on our posts. No really, we do – it takes this blogging thing into a different dimension when we have some interaction with the people who read our thoughts.

We get some brilliant comments here, so we thought it would be cool to have a Comment of the Week, as an occasional feature. We’ll run this when we think it’s justified – not necessarily automatically every week – but then we think there’s something worthy of your attention in case you missed it.

The rules (as Butch Cassidy said) is that there are no rules. We’ll just post stuff which catches our eye. You don’t have to agree with us or write a 500 word essay.

No prizes, just a little whuffie.

First winner is Mike Rhee, who posted this about Carlo’s widely quoted post Why DRM will Kill Mobile Music:

Carlo-
I think some of your points invalidating DRM are true. Currently,
it’s mostly used as a tool for exclusivity in both software and hardware,
limiting the user’s ability to use music freely. But the problem is no different
than the evolution of the phonograph to the cassette or the cassette to the CD.

As we all move towards a physically intangible digital medium of music, each of
our personal collections are going to be slowly decimated. We have to deal with
that. I know some people who are still "getting around" to converting their LP
collections. Sometimes it’s hard to let go, I know. As far as DRM goes, it’s
still a technology in it’s early phases. Eventually the choices will narrow
down, by nature of the market. We’ll have to see if the best technology
prevails.

I think your overall argument that DRM is choking the future of digital music
is flawed, primarily because it’s grounded in the now fading era of the LP. A
record used to be something you owned, could physically touch, and look at,
unfold. The idea of the album as a physical entity is dying. But with that, we
enter a realm of access to music that’s unlimited, instant, and unbounded by
physical or temporal limitations.

Take the digital rental music service paradigms
that are out there now; Rhaphsody, Yahoo, Napster. These services take the
ownership element out of music, an element that didn’t belong in the art form
anyway. I think people shirk from the idea of renting music because we lose the
tangible element. Even psychologically, it’s kind of weird. At least with an
iTunes purchase we can rest assured the songs will be there for as long as we
maintain the file on some storage medium.

Using digital music is going to
require a shift in mindset for all of us who grew up buying CD’s and leafing
through the booklets while it spun in our players. But the idea of sharing music
as a digital community, constantly circulating new songs that link to other new
songs, passing over one album to the next, finding new artists, all without the
constrictions of availability or individually purchasing each record, is a
fascinating idea. This Utopian music fantasy is a ways off, I know. But if this
is where music is heading, it’s going to be an exciting place.

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