DRM is the BEST!

September 3, 2010

Remember DRM? That finickity old system which locked down the music files you owned so you couldn’t share, burn or generally use them where, when and if you wanted?

Much debate was had in the early 00’s over the relevance and necessity of DRM for music – “You’re pissing off your customers!” opponents would cry, “We need to be properly compensated for our work!”, label and artist advocates would respond. Services who insisted on DRM (such as Rhapsody) were roundly snubbed in favour of those who were more lenient.

It certainly seemed a dead issue once Apple stopped using DRM to a large extent. Eventually, label after label dropped the more restrictive forms of DRM and the launch of Amazon.MP3s entirely DRM free service seemed to be the nail in the coffin of the debate.

But a recent tweet exchange with the ever adroit @jherskowitz made me realize that DRM is still very much with us. And WE LOVE IT.

If you use Spotify, you’re using a DRM-laden, freedom sapping monster. Well, not quite. But it is still DRM – you stop paying your £9.99/month, and your freedoms with the music are severely restricted, particularly your ability to use the playlists you’ve compiled on your mobile device.

I suppose that means both sides of the DRM debate were right. People will pay for something if the service is compelling enough – and you don’t screw people around.


Spotify iPhone App – Just Not Good Enough (For Me)

October 1, 2009

So, I’ve had one month with Spotify‘s iPhone app, and I’m cancelling my Premium subscription today. Below are some of the reasons why.

– Doesn’t run in background. When streaming music or playing the songs which you’ve previously cached (which is admittedly a cool feature), Spotify effectively disables your phone. You can’t do anything else while the music is playing and this is HUGE, given the myriad of tasks you can accomplish on an iPhone. You CAN, however, listen to your music on your iPhone from your iPod. Hmm, anything to do with WHY Apple approved the app in the first place?

– the caching is a very slow, even over wifi – this maybe more to do with how I interact with music (see below) but it’s just not going to be worth it for me to either a) remember to cache that Kanye West remix playlist the night before or b) wait 10 minutes while the playlist caches over my wifi network. Sue me for being demanding, but it’s just not good enough for how I work and consume music.

And that’s the major killer point here – the appeal of Spotify FREE is the instantaneousness of it. Think of a record, and it’s right there. But I don’t need to pay £9.99/month for that.

– Music recommendations are not intergrated or in any way useful. Partner with LastFM already, coz I’ve had it darting between the two to sample my new recommendations. This is a minor quibble, but could be a deal breaker in getting me back into the Premium fold.

All of the above, I’ve discovered, is related individually to how I prefer to consume and discover music, which is inherently different for each person (cool, huh?). Me? I want access to the music I love on a whim, and without having to pre-plan what music I’ll take with me on a trip. If I want to hear Phoenix all of a sudden on a run, I want it to be there on my iPod ready to go. And I damn sure want to check my emails while I’m on the bus listening to Common.

I just re-upped with eMusic today. It’s the best solution for me.

The pre-planning necessary with the Spotify app at the moment is too reminiscent of having a 12-disc CD holder to take with you on a plane, and invariably you’d be flying without a record that you REALLY want to listen to. Ah, the bad old days.

Are you using Spotify on iPhone? How’s it working for you?

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]