Why Music Downloads Suck

I hate Digital Rights Managed (DRM) music. For one thing, once I buy some music, I want to be able to move it to other devices or other computers without having to check with the rights management server every time.

The other reason to hate DRM music is this:

Yahoo e-mailed its Yahoo! Music Store customers yesterday, telling them it will be closing for good–and the company will take its DRM license key servers offline on September 30, 2008.

So, if you bought music from Yahoo, won’t be able to transfer it to new computers any more. On the other hand, if you bought your music on CD, you could then rip it to any computer you want.

That’s what Yahoo suggests you do with your music: Burn it to a CD so you can rip it later. Of course, since you’re re-compressing your music, it won’t sound as good as if you ripped it from a factory CD, and you’ll lose all the catalogging information. On the other hand, if you’d traded ripped MP3s, you wouldn’t be having any of these problems.

Google cancelled their DRM video business a while back, but they had the good graces to refund all their customers money, and when MSN Music went out of business a few months ago, they at least agreed to keep the servers running for a few more years. Yahoo’s less-than-customer-friendly approach will probably be more common as more DRM business models collapse.

(Hat tip: Balko)

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