TechPublishing Now MS Certified

TechPublishing Now MS Certified
Professor Robert McMillen, MBA Microsoft Certified Trainer and Solutions Expert

Saturday, April 7, 2012

DRM-free music

DRM-free music

By Robert McMillen
This week we received a question about DRM free music. Everyone wants it but many people don’t know why. If you were lucky enough to grow up in the 1970’s when you couldn’t understand what anyone was singing on the radio, then you were the product of a decade of poor quality music (and politics).  But it wasn’t all about the mush- mouthed musicians that caused our ears to completely miss what they were singing. It was also because we were playing our music with vinyl scratched by a needle. Now that we are much more enlightened, we can understand just about everything sung, with the exception of any really fast spoken rap music.
Question- “What is DRM music? I know it’s better than without DRM but I don’t know how.”
                                                            Frank P. from Portland
Answer- To be frank, Frank, DRM stands for Digital Rights Management. Because of recent laws passed by the government after heavy lobbying from the Music and Recording Industry (some call them payoffs and bribes), creators and owners of music can choose to put limits on music you buy.
If you remember the freewheeling Wild West days of Napster, you could legally download music files on the internet for free. You could then burn them to CD, copy and email them, or even alter them any way you wanted. Not so much anymore. The music industry and the music distributors such as iTunes, Rhapsody, and others, choose to sell you the MP3 music files to only be able to use them on the medium for which you purchased it. For example, iTunes songs could only be played on an IPOD and you couldn’t make a copy or send it to anyone except yourself on your own computer.
The public revolted at such limitations and many started to illegally crack the DRM limitations and tell their friends on the internet how to do it. This is America and we want to do what we want to do with what we buy with our hard earned money. One of the first distributors to remove the DRM restrictions was iTunes, and now you can move your music around to CD, other computers, and your IPOD.
You could also copy it, sell it, or give it away, but unlike in the Napster days, that would now be illegal.
Is DRM free music any better than non DRM free? Well, it generally costs more but the quality is not determined by the DRM status. It’s determined by the bit rate. Check that out before downloading because anything less than 192 BR is not going to sound that great to music aficionados.
So, Frank, now you can buy your MP3’s with confidence if it has the “DRM free” label. If it has DRM limitations you can buy that also, but just know you can only use it the way the seller has intended. I cannot tell you legally how to crack this in the posting. It would be wrong. But I might tell you if you buy me lunch. I may be wrong, but I’m hungry.
For more great tips, check back here each week and listen to me on the All Tech Radio show at 9:00 Sunday mornings on AM 1360 KUIK, or listen online at http://alltechradio.com.
If you would like your technical question answered here, just email rmcmillen@koin.com. Even if it doesn’t get answered in the column I will always answer by email.

Published Tuesday, October 28, 2008 10:15 AM by Katatkoin