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iTunes, One Billion Suckers Served? 653

Posted by Zonk
from the drm-ftw dept.
Thomas Hawk writes "Apple is out hyping their one billionth iTunes download today, but is building your music library in a format that could be obsolete in the future really the best strategy? Will the consumer once again have to someday replace their iTunes track just like they had to replace their LP, cassette, and CD only to get their music on their hot new non Apple mp3 phone of the future? "
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iTunes, One Billion Suckers Served?

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  • you can burn all your itunes tracks to AIFF or MP3,
    and then backup that as many times as you would
    ever want... so what's the problem??

    • as long as there are format wars, there will be translating. I'd convert to good ol' WAV myself, it's the Red Book standard encoding as found on CDs worldwide.
      • Sweet lord, No! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Marc2k (221814) on Saturday February 25, 2006 @07:46AM (#14799734) Homepage Journal
        When Vorbis first came out, a large portion of files available online were conversions from 160kbs or [usually] less MP3s, and thusly, everthing sounded like crap. Seriously, the last thing we need is the impending threat of obsoletion to goad everyone into converting their lossy-compression files into a different lossy-compression format with different properties, and brings out the worst in both formats. Don't do it!
    • by DreadSpoon (653424) on Friday February 24, 2006 @10:52PM (#14798498) Journal
      Converting to any other format is going to cause a loss of quality. Even if you go to WAV or CD Audio, if you ever want to rip it back into some compressed format, you're going to lose quality.

      Also, if you rip to WAV or CD, you lose all the meta-data for the track. So if you want to know the Artist, Title, and Album, you're going to have to re-enter that info on your own.

      There's also no clean/easy way to export to MP3. Even if you jump through the hoops to do it, though, you're back to loss of quality.

      I just went through the hell of exporting all my iTunes-purchased songs into Oggs so that I can play them on my Linux box, which has the nice sound system. That took quite a few burned CDs and I still haven't gotten the Oggs all retagged yet. Plus there's the quality issue, which while I've only noticed anything in a couple songs, that's still more quality issue than I would prefer.
      • Linux can play .m4a files.
      • by johnrpenner (40054) on Friday February 24, 2006 @11:00PM (#14798537) Homepage

        > Converting to any other format is going to cause a loss of quality.
        > Even if you go to WAV or CD Audio, if you ever want to rip it back
        > into some compressed format, you're going to lose quality.

        the quality you get from converting from aac > aiff will BE what you hear,
        because the aac file has to decompress for you to hear it!! -- so it is not
        less quality doing your aac backup to AIFF (and then you could convert
        back to apple-lossless encoding if you want to save some space).

        your second point, however, is correct -- you will lose quality
        if you convert back from aiff TO some other lossless format,
        due to dithering and artifacts.

        in short:
        i) lossy (aac) -> lossless (aiff) = no quality loss
        ii) lossy (aac) -> lossless (aiff) -> lossy (mp3/ogg/whatever) = quality loss

        • Out of curiosity, would an AAC -> AIFF -> AAC conversion reduce quality? Or would the second AAC sound exactly like the first?
          • by Cybert14 (952427)
            Remember, it's AIFF -> AAC -> AIFF -> AAC. The first AIFF is the original, and the second AIFF has lost some of the information. Keep doing it and you probably end up with a concert A sine wave :) .
            • I think his point was that AAC tends to throw away certain types of information during the compression process, and once that information is removed the first time, further attempts at recompressing may not cause as much damage.

              And while that's true to an extent, after removing information, certain artifacts will appear in the compressed version. Those artifacts are what will cause degradation in the next compression step.

              For example, consider an lossy image format that compresses by clipping any colors bel
        • Try saving a JPEG at 85% quality. Then open the saved copy. Then save it again. Repeat about 10 times over and get back to me.
        • by TubeSteak (669689) on Saturday February 25, 2006 @12:21AM (#14798844) Journal
          Literally, I cringed at how many commentors thought they were soooooo clever for burning to a CD then re-ripping to MP3.

          I remember (when I had just discovered MP3s in 9th grade) re-encoding them to a higher bitrate. I thought I was clever, I mean, higher bitrate right?

          Fark I was stupid & so is every n00btard who says "burn it and re-encode it."

          I think part of the problem is that people now have something 'invested' in iTunes or their iPod and because of that, they'll defend it. Even if you give them proof they may have made a bad choice.

          Remember folks, denial is the first step.
          Then comes anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

          I'm not saying iTunes is bad, but the people who have invested money/time/credibility into Apple will have a lot of trouble stepping back and looking at their decision objectively.
          • Why have I made a bad choice? I am not trying to create some sort of enduring music collection. I just want songs, its super easy to find them on itunes, the price is right and i have an ipod. If I cared that much about having a collection of music I could listen to ten years from now I can still buy cds. I think people know what they are getting into with itunes, really. I think it is an instant gratification thing, not an objective "what is the best format for me" thing. The songs are lossy encoded alread
      • Even if you go to WAV or CD Audio, if you ever want to rip it back into some compressed format, you're going to lose quality.

        Converting to CD audio ("AIFF") format is not going to lose anything. it's the conversion process back to MP3 (recompressing) that is going to cause quality loss. And if you are thinking future, do you really think we will be bothering to compress anything in the future? (do you really need to compress your 60mb AIFFs to 9mb MP3s to fit them on that 6TB mini CD?)
      • by bcrowell (177657) on Saturday February 25, 2006 @12:13AM (#14798806) Homepage
        I think what people lose sight of in the discussion of DRM is that even with DRM, you can still have some, but not all, of the following: cheap, easy, high quality. For example, no DRM scheme is going to stop me from pointing my camcorder at the screen of my TV and copying a movie, and if I'm doing it for my own use, I'm not even violating the law; however, it will be a pain, and the quality might only be good enough to keep my kid happy on a long plane ride. Likewise what you've done by converting your itunes stuff to ogg was cheap, and high enough quality to satisfy you, but it sure doesn't sound like it was easy.

        The reason to be opposed to DRM isn't that it totally prevents you from doing things. It doesn't totally prevent it, it just gives you a worse selection of choices in terms of cost, ease, and quality. The real reason to be opposed to DRM is that it moves us further and further down the slippery slope to a world in which there is no commons, and it takes control of technology out of the hands of individuals and puts it in the hands of big corporations that buy a politician like I buy a quart of milk.

      • Did you try jHymn? I'm deliberately staying on iTunes 5 so I can un-DRM the stuff I buy with jHymn. My Linux box plays AAC quite happily so I'm not going to the extra step of converting them to ogg. With jHymn you get to keep all the metadata too.
    • Yeah, I can think of no better way of spending my time than burning and re-ripping everysong I own.
    • I love the line: "is building your music library in a format that could be obsolete in the future really the best strategy?"

      Name a format that will never go obsolete! We make "progress" in going from records to 8-tracks to tapes to CDs to DVD-A to the next 7.1 surround-sound format, while going between AIFF to MP3 to OGG to AAC and back again. To which I impulsively say, "shut up, pick one that works, enjoy the music."
      • Name a format that will never go obsolete!

        Sure, the physical media my data are on will go obsolete. That's the whole point: if DRM locks me down, I can't copy it over. Investing in a music collection only playable on one brand of equipment is a huge mistake. If it were anyone but Apple, it would be obvious to everybody.

        No, the mp3 and ogg formats will not become obsolete in our lifetimes. Unlike 8 tracks and tapes, digital formats can store whatever your ears can hear and don't degrade when played

  • Not very likely (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Calibax (151875) * on Friday February 24, 2006 @10:47PM (#14798483)
    I understand how media can be obsoleted when players for that media are no longer available. However, it's much more difficult to make a data format unuseable.

    Surely that can only occur if the format can only be read by a non-open source application that is only available in binary format and where the hardware to run that program becomes unavailable. I suppose it could also happen if the media you use for your iTunes storage becomes obsolete and you don't remember to copy your music to another media format.

    I think a billion downloads (and counting) will ensure that iTunes music will remain playable for a long time to come and will sound just as good then as it does now.
    • The songs bought in iTMS are DRM protected. They cannot be played on computers or devices that are not authorized by iTMS. So, if iTMS ever goes under, or you somehow lose the ability to access iTMS (only machines that run iTunes can do this), your songs will then only play on the devices they've been authenticated on. And when those devices are obsolete, you're stuck with no way to get the songs to play on your new devices, unless they're Apple-approved.
    • Agreed. Even if Cupertino were to drop off the face of the earth right now, HYMN or something like it would still exist, you could strip fairplay DRM and play your AAC MPEG audio on any modern media player. File formats and codecs don't vanish, they simply get old and get lumped in to giant lists of supported legacy garbage.

      The Moving Picture Experts Group has been around for a decade and a half, and most media players support their stuff religiously. AAC / MP4 is not going anywhere.
      • Re:Not very likely (Score:5, Interesting)

        by HairyCanary (688865) on Saturday February 25, 2006 @12:13AM (#14798809)
        HYMN does not work on the latest Apple DRM.

        And despite the fact that people routinely say "everything gets cracked," there is evidence to contradict that. DRM is going to get "Good Enough" that for all practical purposes it will not be crackable.

        • by arevos (659374) on Saturday February 25, 2006 @06:45AM (#14799634) Homepage
          And despite the fact that people routinely say "everything gets cracked," there is evidence to contradict that. DRM is going to get "Good Enough" that for all practical purposes it will not be crackable.

          Whilst it's not wise to take anything for granted, it should be noted that the DRM that has not been cracked offers no new content over formats that have less protection (e.g. CDs, DVDs). With the weakest link in the chain broken, there's less incentive for people to try and crack the stronger links. Once (if?) the chain is whole again, I suspect we'll see an upsurge of people hunting for the next weak link.

    • Re:Not very likely (Score:3, Insightful)

      by fermion (181285)
      Which is the key point and why the labels do not want music in non-DRM digital format. The problem is the youngsters do not realize the problem.

      When the wax cylinder went awasy, people had to buy the same music in a new format. When the 8-track went away, we had to buy the same music in a new format. When the LP went away, we had a choice of listening to degraded music on tape or buying the same music in a new format.

      With iTunes, this is the first time we can buy music, and, if the hardware does not

  • by cosmo7 (325616) on Friday February 24, 2006 @10:48PM (#14798485) Homepage
    But when the sun explodes your music won't play whatever format it's in! And what does Apple do about this? Nothing!.

    It's a class action suit waiting to happen.
  • Worst post ever (Score:3, Insightful)

    by xero314 (722674) on Friday February 24, 2006 @10:49PM (#14798487)
    This post is just stupid. It's full of lies. How did this get onto the main page?
  • Durability (Score:3, Interesting)

    by suso (153703) * on Friday February 24, 2006 @10:50PM (#14798492) Homepage Journal
    I think part of people's willingness to upgrade is that they see the obsoleteness of the older format. Its a little bit harder to see that CDs are lower quality and less durable than DVDs or mp3s. mp3s would probably last longer because they would just move from hard drive to hard drive and never lose quality.
  • Pimp my blog (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MyLongNickName (822545) on Friday February 24, 2006 @10:50PM (#14798494) Journal
    ... and post something ranting about DRM.

    Blogger admits he has never used service. Does not address the fact that you CAN covert to another format if you wish.

    Is iTunes perfect? No. But I have purchased 20x more music than what I would have otherwise.

    And even if iTunes shut down tomorrow, I would lose 0% of my music.

    Only thing I wish is that it would serve up a higher bit rate....
  • by fak3r (917687) on Friday February 24, 2006 @10:51PM (#14798495) Homepage
    Look, I have an iBook, but have bought very little from iTunes Store, however I think everyone understands Apple's decision to go with an audio format that would support a DRM; which they see as key to keep the people coming to them for tracks, and not to someone else who just bought them. It *is* annoying that you can only play the tracks on 'authorized' systems, and the other contrastrants, but people know this. By your arguement then people that bought games for Nintendo 64 were 'suckers' because they bought a game that was 'locked in' to a certain platform and wouldn't play on the Gamecube.

    In this throwaway society of ours I really think that for most people the idea that something they buy might not always be around forever is OK. Hell, I guess we could start talking about other things too, cars, cameras, hot water heaters, etc...
    • .....however I think everyone understands Apple's decision to go with an audio format that would support a DRM....

      It was the record companies that insisted on Apple providing DRM on the ITMS. It is the integration of ITMS, the iPod and iTunes that made Apple successful. If the RIAA would allow Apple to drop the DRM today, the number of iPods sold would not diminish, but likely increase since then other music services would be accessible to the millions of ipod owners. Apple makes most of its money on ipods,
    • by wootest (694923) on Saturday February 25, 2006 @04:36AM (#14799423)
      Your argument is fallacious.

      Apple went through hoops to add DRM to the files - it was a requirement from the **AAs - whereas N64 vs Gamecube was just a fact of progressing technology. AAC (MPEG-4) being incompatible with MP3 (MPEG-2, Layer 3) because of technological advancements would be a more apt comparison to N64 vs GC here.

      I was going to bring up how, with DRM, we'd need to repurchase the same damn songs on new media, but in fact that's just the way it's always have been, even without DRM. Media, regardless of it being books, music, movies, games, etc, is consumed and will always come out in new forms, just like any other case of consumption. (However, DRM and crummy quality is most likely the labels' way of making sure they can continue to resell you the same stuff tomorrow, despite how they could actually do something that we could conceivably play, no problem, on a computer in 100 years.)

      At the end of the day, DRM sucks, and we all know this. However, I'm also confident that Apple's one of the vendors least tied to DRM, because Apple only offers 'buying', and not 'subscribing', which literally hinges on DRM - otherwise you could just keep the music, like with 'buying'! Apple's simultaneously the most and least likely to speak up against DRM: most because they use DRM, hate it and could say "all these sales we racked up for you? we could make them stop coming unless you offer DRM-less music"; but also least, because they know the labels would just make up a new store and Apple would lose profits itself (and it actually does make a slim profit on the store).
  • ...to the world of free software. If ever the iTunes format becomes obsolete, someone will just write a conversion algorithm that will convert your entire library to the new format.

    And, since I seem to recall that copyright law allows you to convert any digital media you purchase from one format to another, this will be a perfectly legal activity, regardless of how much DRM the software writer has to break through to do it.
    • It's a good thing you can convert from one lossy format to another without making your music sound like crap.

      Um, oh yeah...
    • Re:Welcome... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by abbamouse (469716) on Friday February 24, 2006 @11:11PM (#14798571) Homepage
      I seem to recall that copyright law allows you to convert any digital media you purchase from one format to another

      Then you haven't looked at copyright law since the mid-1990s. Prior to the DMCA, US law worked as you remember. But post-DMCA, the mere act of decrypting your own files or any other way to circumvent a content access control is illegal. You have the right to copy, but not to break the DRM to do it.

      The analogy I give my students is that when a friend has your CD you have the right to get it back. You do not, however, have the right to break into his house to get it. The analogy is imperfect, since the DMCA bans you from breaking into your own house, so to speak. But you get the point: No bypassing copy protection ever, for any reason, without explicit consent from the content provider. Oh, and it also turns out that simply downloading the tools to break DRM ("trafficking" in the law's terms) is also a felony, even if you never actually crack the DRM.

      It's a brave new world, folks.
    • this will be a perfectly legal activity, regardless of how much DRM the software writer has to break through to do it.

      Uh-huh. And you've heard of the DMCA, right? Breaking the DRM is illegal, regardless of whether you think your cause is noble or not.

      -S

      • But who uses or creates free software except for hippies and social deviants? Surely they wouldn't mind breaking some silly law laid out by THE MAN.
  • by WatertonMan (550706) on Friday February 24, 2006 @10:53PM (#14798500)
    Why not just run your purchased songs through Hymn to remove the protection?
    • Good plan ... unless you "upgrade" to iTunes 6+, in which it won't work anymore. Stick w/ iTunes >6.n if you wanna do this.
  • by ScentCone (795499) on Friday February 24, 2006 @10:53PM (#14798502)
    I always find it amusing to hear people use the word "sucker" when talking about a person paying $0.99 for a bit of portable entertainment they like from a musician they respect... as they drive in their car - which they'll never fully own, on which they'll pay thousnds in interest - to a friend's house, where they'll talk about how smart they are ("Ogg Vorbis, dude!") while they drink $2.00 imported beers that will only be in their collection for about an hour.
    • Hate to tell ya, but I own my car, bought it straight up. In my belief if you dont have the money to pay for it up front, you dont need it all that bad.
    • actually, unless you think everyone leases their car, your analogy just proved the author's point. you can buy a car, sell it to someone else, even let your friends borrow it. but that song you "bought" is locked down with drm.
  • I haven't had to replace my turntable, cassette player, or CD player to listen to my previously purchased music. All of those songs on all of those medias play just fine on the appropriate devices (well, the tapes aren't all so hot - least reliable media, indeed).

    No format is "obsolete" as long as you have a device to use it on, or have an adapter... or in the case of digital music files, have a converter. You know, like the converter that's built into iTunes, the one that turns AAC files into MP3 files?
  • Lame. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by d3kk (644538) on Friday February 24, 2006 @10:53PM (#14798506) Journal
    "Personally I've never bought an iTune and I don't own an iPod."

    I stopped reading right there. It's kind of hard to criticize a service without actually ever using it.

    • you can critize the drm without buying into it.
  • Come on... the debate about iTunes' "might-be-obsolete" format and sorta-DRM has been had over and over on slashdot; is it really news every time someone posts a blog entry about iTunes? I'm an apple fanatic as much as the next guy, but what purpose is really served by another discussion about whether the most popular online music store is going to be "obsolete" soon?

    Heh... I guess more purpose is served by that than by me bitching about it, so I'll shut up now.

  • 1) Burn to audio CD
    2) Rip
    3) ???
    4) Profit
    • Re:Obsolete? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by sdo1 (213835)
      128 kbps lossy (which is sucky quality no matter how you slice it) to CD. And then you can rip it and compress it again (or even if you don't compress it, you're still stuck with that or original 128 kbps crappy sounding file, but now it's the size of an uncompressed file).

      No thanks. That's a non-solution.

      -S
  • What utter nonsense.

    My vinyl records didn't self-destruct when I got my CD player, and my CDs didn't quit working when I got my first iPod. I bought some albums on CD that I already had on vinyl because I wanted a non-perishable copy, but that doesn't make me a "sucker" for buying those records in the first place.

    -jcr
  • "Will the consumer once again have to someday replace their iTunes track just like they had to replace their LP, cassette, and CD only to get their music on their hot new non Apple mp3 phone of the future?"

    What, so you mean, we all expected Apple to break the cycle from the dawn of the gramophone? Music quality will continue to get better, music portability will continue to get better, yada yada yada. No-one forced people to upgrade their music libraries from cassettes to CDs, they did it because they wante
    • What, so you mean, we all expected Apple to break the cycle from the dawn of the gramophone? Soon enough, iTunes AACs will be superceded with something worthy of a switch, and we'll all buy our libraries again.

      OK, maybe I'm missing a few formats, but there haven't been that many
      * wax cylinders
      * LPs
      * 8-Track
      * Cassette
      * CD
      * MP3
      * DRM AAC

      And in the future:

      * DRM AAC V2

      Of these, only wax cylinders and 8-track are dead. Cassette is on its last leg, and LP will probably never really die. You can still play all of
  • by LupusUF (512364) * on Friday February 24, 2006 @11:03PM (#14798541)
    Maybe this will cause me to get nailed by mods, but I feel that it needs to be said.

    The blog rant that is linked to complains that apple's DRM is "terrible." I simply don't understand the argument. The DRM is as lax as possible while still keeping the music industry from having a fit. Sure there are limits to how many times you can burn a playlist, but if you change the list by only one song you the counter resets. How many times have you burned more than a couple copies of the exact same playlist anyway? Perhaps the sound isn't exactly the same as a CD, but it is good enough that it really doesn't matter on most sound systems. What the blogger really misses is the fact that itunes gives you what you can't get at the CD shop. The ability to buy just one song off of a CD. If an artist makes one good song and the rest crap, you only pay .99 and get that one song.

    Since you can burn your ACC files and then rip them to mp3 if you want, there is no danger of not being able to play your music in the future like the blogger claims. Yes you have to pay for the songs, yes there are some restrictions to prevent piracy, but itunes is still a great thing. It should be something that slashdot readers support, it gives us cheap music and DRM that has plenty of flexibility.
    • It's terrible because the iPod is only the tip of the iceburg. You now own one (1) device that plays digital music files. In five years, every last single piece of consumer electronics (phone, stereo, car stereo, television, game console, etc etc) will play digital music. Unless, of course, you bought that music in the "wrong" place -- in which case people find that they have been screwed out of something they paid for.

      So one of either two things happens. Either Apple licenses their stuff to a lot of people
      • Every digital music device on the market today (with a smattering of minor exceptions) will play MP3. Burning a CD from iTunes and then ripping it back to MP3 is trivial. If you can't afford the media, get a CDRW. The whole rant is "you'll be locked into Apple's proprietary format!!!" and that's bullshit. Even if Apple *doesn't* provide a way to migrate forward, the aforementioned "work around" is very likely to be sufficient.

        The DRM is exactly what the Music Industry specified.

        Yeah, that's why the "w

        • by NutscrapeSucks (446616) on Friday February 24, 2006 @11:34PM (#14798661)
          Burning a CD from iTunes and then ripping it back to MP3 is trivial.

          (A) It's not trivial compared to dealing with music files. Let's see you do this with 100s of songs and see how long it takes.

          (B) It sucks. Have you tried it? The quality is horrible. RIAA/DRM tracks (iTMS) are intentionally low enough bit rate to make this an unattractive option.
        • by sdo1 (213835) on Friday February 24, 2006 @11:42PM (#14798700) Journal
          Every digital music device on the market today (with a smattering of minor exceptions) will play MP3. Burning a CD from iTunes and then ripping it back to MP3 is trivial. If you can't afford the media, get a CDRW. The whole rant is "you'll be locked into Apple's proprietary format!!!" and that's bullshit. Even if Apple *doesn't* provide a way to migrate forward, the aforementioned "work around" is very likely to be sufficient.

          And burning a sucky 128 mbps file, ripping it, and recompressing it makes a SUCKIER sounding file.

          So no, this isn't viable workaround to rid the file of the DRM.

          The SOLUTION is to refuse to buy DRM'd files in the first place. If everyone would friggin' wise up and do just that, Digitally Restricted Media (DRM) would be history. But they've convinced the world that a little DRM is OK and your comments show that you've bought right into that too. It's just a little DRM now. And then a little more and a little more and a little more until 20 years from now, you'll look back on your comment and wonder how on earth transporting media that you purchased to another format or another player was so easy and FREE those 20 years ago.

          But 20 years from now you won't be buying music with any expectations at all of being able to move it from one device to another without paying more. You'll be licensing it and maybe it will be inexpensive to play that album in your car, but it'll cost you a few more cents. Play it at work... a few more cents.

          But that'll all feel fine and dandy because you never noticed the rights you once had creeping away. And Apple's oh-so-friendly DRM is step one.

          -S

        • One more thing:

          because the Music Industry wants that to be possible. Riiiight.

          Everything about iTunes Music Store is completely 100% approved by the RIAA.

          If you don't understand that, there's something that's seriously not working correctly in your brain. Sorry. It shows just the lack of very basic, fundemental conceptions of society's legal frameworks.
  • "awful DRM" ? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by YrWrstNtmr (564987) on Friday February 24, 2006 @11:03PM (#14798543)
    I think Apple's DRM is awful and represents a major step back for us all.

    Got something better[1]? If so, don't just bitch...do it!

    [1] Something that meets the needs of both the user/consumer and the creator/owner.

  • I am not a sucker -- I have not consumed the iPod Kool-Aid. I do like the iPod from an embedded-systems point of view -- good use of resources, space, and they have a good design. Unfortunately, the unit does not have the features I want (FM Radio, FM Transmitter, Scheduled FM recording, Line-In recording, mid rec). My El Cheapo Cowon U2 player works just fine for my needs.

    No, I don't download MP3s, and I don't have a big CD collection. I mostly listen to SomaFM [somafm.com]'s stations, and the news FM station. No nee
  • That's like just your opinion, man
  • is dictated by what the RIAA and the studios are willing to accept in order to make the music available, and since they have a history of happily selling the same damn music over and over again as media becomes obsolescent, I'd say that, yes, buying Apple's proprietary format is a bad idea if the long-term survival of your music collection is an issue for you.

    Sure, you can "rip mix burn" and put your tracks on a CD, but let's be realistic: the bulk of iTunes users (particularly those with an already-larg
  • Sorry, but I'm having a hard time thinking of any audio-recording format or technology that doesn't become obsolete.

    Off the top of my head, I've only been able to think of wax cylinders, vinyl, reel-to-reel, 8-track, cassette, CD, miniDisc, DVD-audio, then various digital formats stored on hard disks, flash memory, or whatever.

    Every single thing I listed suffers from degradation over time. Most of ones toward the start of the list have already suffered from reduced availability of playback equipment.

    So...
  • Ask someone who bought an "HD-ready" big-screen TV. It's not going to work with Blu-ray players, because the DRM isn't compatible.

    Sucker!

  • You see, this is why I back up my iTunes purchases to a Studer 2-track open reel deck [blastingroomstudios.com] and then store the tapes in a temperature and humidity controlled vault guarded by ninjas trained by Chuck Morris. It's the only way to be sure.

    I'm not a good enough coder to write my own AAC codecs, should that format no longer be supported on comtemporary computers, but I can keep that Studer running until the heat death of the universe.

    Plan B involves hexadecimal, a chisel, and a shitload of stone tablets. I've heard
    • ninjas trained by Chuck Morris

      Ah, I have spotted the flaw in your security system. You should have had Chuck *N*orris train your ninjas.

      Ninjas trained by Morris just arch their backs, howl and make their tails all bushy. And they run under the couch if you squirt them with a Super Soaker.

  • So.. we have someone ranting that AAC and FairPlay might become obsolete at some unspecified time in the future. That makes perfect sense if we ignore the facts that:

    1. if Apple falls off the face of the Earth tomorrow, I'll still have all the songs I paid for.
    2. AAC is an open standard.
    3. As of today, there are tools that will strip the DRM off the files.

    Meanwhile, we have competing services that run on a subscription model, where everything I've paid for disappears:

    1. if the company goes out of busi
  • No format is immune. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mnemonic_ (164550) <jamec.umich@edu> on Friday February 24, 2006 @11:37PM (#14798676) Homepage Journal
    AAC is as vulnerable to obsolesence as any other technology. CD's are still around, and with the relative ease of maintaining software compatibility (rather than hardware which requires material support) I'd guess that AAC will be around for a while longer. The article provided no convincing evidence that AAC is more likely to die out before any other technology. Red Book audio has been around for 20+ years, why not AAC? With CD sales dropping and iTunes constantly gaining new customers, who's to say that CD or plain mp3 support won't disappear first?
  • How can I mod down the article? as in FLAMEBAIT, TROLL?
  • Then put the crystal clear polystyrene CD case and the crystal clear polycarbonate disk onto my tower of old dusty CDs?

    Plastic sucks.

    Digits rule.

  • Anyway.

    Let's start:

    There are a dozen reasons people developed the MP3 format. For the same reason pkzip was created. Remember? I do - when a 1 gig hard drive was just incredibly large.

    So what, zonk, were you born in 2006? Don't remember floppy disks?

    How DARE people create casette tapes when cd's would outdate them. How dare people create CD's. Seriously.... why on gods green earth was this even posted?
  • by balloot (943499) on Saturday February 25, 2006 @12:57AM (#14798983)
    I think it's stupid to pay $15 for most new CDs. I think it's stupid to pay for an entire CD when you want only one song. I think it's stupid to have to clear out a lot of physical space in order to hold your CD collection. I think it's stupid to force yourself to either a) go to a store to buy a CD or b) wait days in order to receive your purchase when the whole process can happen instantly. So I buy songs online. The DRM isn't really an issue to those of us that have actually used iTunes and know that it is very possible to get mp3's out of your m4p files.

    Oh, and about the author's brilliant scheme of buying CDs and returning them the next day - if I wanted to get music while screwing the artist out of any money, I would just download the song for free.

It isn't easy being the parent of a six-year-old. However, it's a pretty small price to pay for having somebody around the house who understands computers.

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