Experimenting With Legality

As wary as I am about casually experimenting with the dangerous and potentially life-threatening business of the law, today I lost some of my virginity and bought (with money apparently) some legitimate MP3s. Afterwards I did feel slightly dirty, and violated, but the process was so simple and professional that I might even do it again.

Let’s get the bad stuff out of the way first:

  1. I had to download a closed source app in order to get hold of the MP3s; that’s unnecessary and dangerous in my book. But at least it was happy with Linux.
  2. It was overpriced: $8.99 for an album is too expensive for physical media (like a CD, with a booklet and Jewel case) so how can they possibly justify charging the same price for a bag full of fuck-all ? Too expensive.
  3. I wasn’t thrilled with the recording too much…but that’s more a problem with the product rather than the merchant.

But from a more positive perspective:

  1. I went from thinking “I really wish I had a copy of XXXX” to listening to it in a shorter time than has ever been possible; Audiogalaxy, Napster, BitTorrent, Gnutella notwithstanding.
  2. The downloader app is wrong in so many ways, but at least this particular example is pretty unobtrusive and does what it’s supposed to do without coating your entire computer with evil slime
  3. At the end of the process I had a directory full of plain old MP3s – well produced, free from crappy transfer errors and more importantly

    FREE FROM ANY DRM BOLLOCKS

The ideas my dad and I discussed when I was a kid have been realised! Now we can literally get music “down the telephone line” without needing to leave the house. In all, I’m pretty happy with Amazon’s current setup. You want music, you can get it now with no strings, and pay the artists (and a vast number of undeserving middle-men admittedly) painlessly. In fact it’s so painless that it’s almost disturbing. I didn’t have to sign anything, click “I agree to this payment” or anything. Download and you’ve already been charged via your preferred payment method. We live in the future.


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