The Day the Music Died…

07 Nov

I’m not a fan of online music sites.  Let’s just get that out in the open right now.  My view on online music is pretty simple… if it’s online the only thing I should need to do to play it – is click on it.

I have patiently avoided the Zune-iPod which is better discussion with the persistence of a one eyed peg legged magnet salesman crossing a mine field on ice.  But the time has now come for me to weigh in my voice on the whole "Music As A Service" thing.

One: Musicians should be paid – they should be paid large sums for their work.  Totally agree with that – what they provide is wellllll worth the effort.

Two:  Once I purchase something … I damn well better be able to use it.  That applies for a music as well as any other service. 

Three: If what you are selling me costs me in time, effort, energy – just to get it to work online over it usual method of reproduction… then by dog, you should give me a cost break.

Now, I don’t care if I play the song on my Zune, my Cellphone, my car – whatever… I paid – for that song.  If I bought the CD, and I made a copy of it – as I legally they tell me I have the right to do — then the same rules should apply to computers and the internet.

OH – BUT – BUT – BUT that leads to Piracy!!  You say.  Fine – then don’t make it legally available for me to download to my computer – so I can listen to music while I work – only for me to discover that if for any reason I have renamed this computer … my music does not work.

Let’s be clear about this… Do not promise me a product you cannot deliver.

I recently made a purchase or two through – and I’ll be honest the people there rock hard core.  Never have I seen a tech support staff work soooooo hard to make something work.  Here’s the problem… DRM is a system that is flawed and it doesn’t matter who implements it.  Microsoft or Apple or the MuggaMugga of Shalampeck… the whole concept of it is flawed.  I say this because this is not a computer program.  It’s music.

Something that consumers have – for years now – just loaded up into whatever cardboard box with tin speakers they had and it worked.  That is the expectation that people have of music.  I put it in the magic box – I press the button … and it works.

If you can’t do that – then the process is broken.  You have to adequately simulate the end user expected experience on 99 out of 100 tries… or the process… is broken. 

When I downloaded my music – I expected this process.  People have given me tons of mp3’s and they’ve always played just fine.  But – being the righteous and reborn soul I am – I decided to try the site because hey – it was time I grew up.   The process of selecting the music, downloading it – was almost flawless.  Worked so well I think I spent like $30 on files – I loved the fact I didn’t have to buy the album – I could just get the songs I wanted.  It was a awesome experience.  In fact, it worked great until about a week later. 

I had to rebuild my computer for work, so I backed everything up and reloaded it.  None of the music worked.  I would click on it – and it would go on line and try and verify who I was – and then … it would refuse to give me the nasty little file needed to play the song.

Allow me to say – that when I reached maximum frustration … I encountered this at EVERY MUSIC DOWNLOAD SITE – Yahoo, and FYE, and APPLE – all either required me to have some elaborate system to make the music play … orrrrr – they didn’t work if I backed them up without using some jump through the hoop method.  So it’s not MS’s DRM that’s the problem here – it’s the entire method used from bottom to top.

Here’s a concept… from now on – I’ll go to the store – I’ll buy my own music and I’ll rip it on my own.  It’s easier, it’s cheaper and it’s faster.

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Posted by on November 7, 2006 in Entertainment


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