Music and the Internet

Well, tomorrow Napster will be re-launched as a pay service. Arguably, Napster is the most well known brand name of P2P services that have come out since the advent of the MP3. When Napster was first out, I used it quite a bit. It was an exciting new way to obtain music. Now before some of you call me an outright thief, I want to explain myself.

First of all, I am a huge music fan and collector. I own over 2000 CD’s, 500 tapes, 200 vinyl records and about 50 mini-discs. On average I spend about $100 a month on music. What I used services like Napster for were to download rarities, live cuts or simply digital versions of many of the old music I already owned. I also used it to sample music from albums before I decided to buy. To me, the digital revolution of music was a godsend.

As evidenced by the money I spend on music, I don’t have a problem paying for downloads. The problem I have with the music industry are the draconian controls they are trying to place on online music services.  Most of these paid services severely limit your ability to use a simple MP3.  Through some sorts of digital rights management, these companies are only allowing you to have the song on a couple of devices or machines, and some even limit your ability to burn the music to a CD.  This is absolutely insane to me.

If I buy a music file, I want to be able to use it on any device or machine I have.  I want an unrestricted MP3.  I mean, the companies doing this are idiots anyway. For example, I can always record the ANALOG stream of music and save it as an unrestricted file. I can get around their controls so easily that it is laughable. So WHY put them in place in the first place? If the industry would just concentrate efforts on producing better product and adding value-add to CD’s, they would do so much better than limiting music downloads and suing their customers.

I could go way more in-depth, but I’ll hold off for now. What do you think? Are you on the “all P2P users are thieves” camp or the “screw the RIAA” camp?  I’m interested to know what my Domino geek peers think about this…