Cory Doctorow is really worked into a lather in his recent post about the lockin of buying digital music with DRM. I pretty much agree with him down the line. Cory is capable of some awfully rocking posts when he isn’t lulling me to sleep with his umptyhundreth one about Disney or himself.
I haven’t bought any iTunes music, partly because I don’t have an iPod but also because I don’t like the restrictions on it. I’m going to buy some music from Magnatune soon. I like their music but I love their business model – make files of mid-level quality freely available, allow access to higher quality files with a “donation” with amount to be set by the customer, split the cash such that the artist makes more if you “donate” more thus incenting the fans to want to pay more. There isn’t much incentive to trade the high quality files on Kazaa when anyone that wants a copy can go get the mid-level files at any time. The appeal is on the moral dimension. Magnatune understands that it is a very small technical challenge to trade these files, but keeps the discourse such that anyone that enjoys the work of the artist is encouraged to help keep them paid and creating more music. I like the approach of allowing honest people to be honest, rather than pursuing those who wander outside the tight boundaries of Big Media. The latter is adversarial, the former communal. We are all in this together, bound by our common love of the music of these musicians, and thus they put out their music and we donate money for it. This isn’t woowoo hippie crap, it’s just plain good business, good living and a fine way to be.