Digital is the New CD

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Music distribution has undergone an interesting evolution. After a series of format upgrades ranging from record players to 8-tracks to cassette tapes to CDs (ad nauseam), no one wants to have to cough up more money just to purchase one’s music collection (again!) in the "latest and greatest" format. After all, we been upgrading for the past 50 years!

The solution to the problem is to remove the format all together. The only way to collect music these days is in its pure, digital form. Up until the past couple years, however, a method for legitimately purchasing digital (read format-less) music didn’t exist. Apple was on the right track when they introduced iTunes in 2001. While their concept was sound, their execution was just a little too flawed for many users, especially those who considered the pricing to be too high ($1 per song) and the DRM copy protection a little too strict.

Just when things were looking bleak, out of the frozen tundra of the Russian landscape comes Their humble beginnings showcased a poorly designed website and a small collection of Russian songs. However, due to the popularity of their pricing scheme (2 cents per megabyte; therefore a 6MB song only cost 12 cents) and the ability to download non-DRM music in multiple formats at various encryption rates, interest began to grow. As interest grew, so did their music catalogue, which is now second only to iTunes.

How do they get away with it? By licensing music at "Russian prices", AllofMP3 has been able to pass along that value to its customers. And what a value it is! Thanks to AllofMP3, I haven’t purchased a single CD in the past 2 years.

Unfortunately, there isn’t always a pot of gold at the end of every rainbow. If you follow the rainbow in this case, you more likely find a pot of crap, and by crap I talking about the RIAA and the office of the United States Trade Representative. After years of battling over the legality of AllofMP3, it looks like Big Brother has finally won out and is forcing the site to shut down for good.

It’s a shame. I’ve spent hundreds of dollars on AllofMP3, resulting in thousands of songs. At least my music collection is in the format and encoding of my choosing, and since it lacks DRM copy protection, I’m free to play the music wherever I want. Boo yah!


Anonymous Qwaider قويدر said...

It's illegal Music Dave, I'm sure many illegal "stuff" are tempting, but that's the case with many other very promising technologies.
Many of my friends received official letters from the law enforcements telling them not to download from these Russian sites and a bunch of torrents (for copyrighted materials)

You claim iTunes is second to none? Remember Napster? I doubt iTunes is as rich as many other services, yet it has gained huge popularity nonetheless.
I think the future will have something like subscription services where you will subscribe to the music you like, for life, and this music will "come to you" on what ever device you have, and not the other way around. Downloading, burning, recording ..etc will be a thing of the past. Tunes will find it's way to you, vial Sirius/XM like services and you're ALWAYS in tune to your favorite music for a little $/month

11/30/2006 11:07 AM  
Blogger Dave said...


Not illegal; just questionable legality. The point is that it was still legal, and I was going to take advantage of that cost-saving legality for as long as possible.

I didn't claim iTunes was second to none. I personally don't care much for iTunes and would love to see a more effective, cost conscience, non-protected service with greater options.

11/30/2006 3:57 PM  

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