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Do you really think DRM is the problem with online sales?

I've bought some iTunes. They don't sound bad, but they don't sound as good as a CD do they? The CD comes with actual (and all of the) artwork and liner notes. Not so iTunes (or Rhapsody, Zune, Music Match, or whatever). Real CD's have a larger catalog than any of the online stores. Do a little bargain bin shopping and you can get your favorite CD's for close to online prices with all of the goodies just mentioned; better sound, better artwork, and liner notes.

I've bought iTunes. I've burned 'em to CD and played the CD in my car, in my annoying Windows computer at work, in my daughters boom box (Halloween Mix) while handing out Halloween candy. They worked fine ... no real DRM hang ups. Personally, I think this whole DRM brouhaha is whining started by a bunch of tight wad techno geeks who like their music like they like their software - free and open source! Then media/bloggers looking for ratings/hits rolled this "terrible" injustice into a big deal.

If DRM was such a big, fat, hairy deal Apple's iTunes store would not be the decent sized hit it has become. If the digital download offered a more comparable package to the CD it would probably be an even bigger hit. I like my liner notes: Who is the sax player on that track? Is that Michael McDonald doing background vocals on yet another album? What are the lyrics on that song?

Trust me, it is the value equation. Saving only about five bucks on an digital album (especially when there are not the manufacturing, packaging, or transportation costs for the music labels when distributing online) in exchange for audio quality, nice & complete artwork, and liner notes is the reason downloads haven't completely destroyed the CD - not DRM.

Thanks for your thoughts. I do think to some extent that DRM is holding back online sales, but I don't think it's necessarily just bloggers who are complaining about it. Don't forget it's the European Union that's been on Apple's back about proprietary DRM. Nor have I noticed any difference in music I buy from a store versus music I listen to on CD (or import into iTunes), but I would grant you that each person's threshold is going to be different in this regard.

Nonetheless, you certainly make valid points and I thank you for contributing to the conversation.


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