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Posted on Tuesday, December 27th, 2005

Dave!I am growing increasingly frustrated with the iTunes Music Store. It is not living up to its potential (despite current success) and is destined for ultimate failure in today's global marketplace.

And, by "global marketplace" I am actually talking about "stealing music globally".

Most people probably expect me to go on an anti-DRM rant right now, because everybody and their dog are blogging about how much they hate Digital Rights Management, but I am not going to be one of those people.

Yes, I loathe the fact that the music I buy has DRM. Yes, I wish it didn't. Yes, I am frustrated by the restrictions it puts on what I can do with music that I legally purchase.

But I am realistic.

There is no way... NO WAY... that DRM is going away any time soon. Dumbass music company labels still have a stranglehold on music distribution and will not allow it. And when I hear people saying "well, if we just don't buy any music that has DRM, labels will stop using it" - I want to laugh my ass off. DRM is how these companies plan on maintaining their power in the digital age. Until these antiquated and idiotic bastions of a bygone era are kicked to the f#@%ing curb so that artists can control their OWN distribution... DRM is here to stay.

And don't think that I don't dream every night for all those powerful recording labels to finally DIE DIE DIE!!!!

And here's why...


a-ha Analogue

I mean, SHIT... COME ON!! IT WAS RELEASED ON NOVEMBER 14th for iTunes users in the UK!! Yet the only way I can get it here in the States is to purchase a $30 CD import.

Well, f#@% that.

Universal Music can kiss my ass.

Am I the only one who finds it ironic that a company calling itself "UNIVERSAL Music" doesn't release their shit UNIVERSALLY?

And yet I continue to see articles from "industry insiders" who are concerned that Apple has too much power in the music industry today. I find this funny because, to me at least, Apple doesn't have ENOUGH power over the music industry today. If they did, a-ha's entire music catalog would be available for purchase on the iTunes Music Store right now... no matter what country you live in. Such brilliant works as Lifelines and Major Earth, Minor Sky (the full album, not an EP) could be bought immediately, from the convenience of your own home, with the click of a mouse, for 99ยข a track.

So look, I will begrudgingly put up with the whole DRM fiasco that is forced upon me... yes, I am willing to be punished for legally buying my music... BUT AT LEAST LET ME F#@%ING BUY THE MUSIC I WANT TO BUY!

One day music company labels will be replaced by musician artist investors. These investors' sole function will be to support artists who do not have their own financing in return for a fair cut of any profits generated. They will not control or restrict an artist's distribution... on the contrary, they will do everything possible to encourage an expanding world market for the artist so that they can maximize their investment.

But people are going to have to stop buying CDs and Cassettes and Records first. Because the only way for instantaneous global distribution to happen is when everybody is buying their music digitally. Whether this be with iTunes, Napster, or even the artist's own web site... with or without DRM... the choice should be made by the people making the music, not some dumbass whose only thought is how to squeeze every last penny they can out of a "product" based on lucrative distribution licensing agreements.

Granted, this is an extremely simplistic scenario. There are numerous factors that have to be addressed (promotion is a biggie) that I haven't even touched on, but it's a start.

It also explains why I will be ignoring everybody screaming for me to boycott digital DRM music. I will continue to buy my music from the iTunes Music Store (when it's available) or steal it (until it IS available) and never purchase another f#@%ing CD ever again. I want no part of the blood that was spilled in order to get that toxic piece of plastic into my hands.

And once the almighty music labels are removed from the picture because they no longer control the music, something tells me that the artists making the decisions will be less likely to treat their fans like criminals (well, except for Metallica). DRM will, hopefully, implode as a result of cheap music being readily available and artists taking control of their own destiny (along with the profits their destiny generates). And if Apple or Napster won't let the artists sell their music without DRM, there are plenty of other places that will.

In the meanwhile, I will be waiting for the next "New Music Tuesday" email from Apple... hoping against hope that the music I am wanting to buy will actually be for sale.

Categories: Music 2005Click To It: Permalink


  1. Sayuri says:

    Aww Dave, I feel your pain….If you had just said earlier I would have purchased a copy for you and sent it over…crisis averted. (And a lot cheaper than an import…)

    Although I realise this won’t solve the problem and won’t end the tyrannical rule of the music companies, you, at least, would be less stressed!

  2. Dave2 says:

    Hah! You can’t TRULY feel my pain… because you probably HAVE “Analogue” and can listen to it whenever you want! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Sayuri says:

    because you probably HAVE “Analogue” and can listen to it whenever you want! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Guilty as charged…*scuttles into corner*

    Although you could purchase the CD here. Free International Delivery….only about $16. I know you don’t want to buy the cd…but if it’s the only way????

  4. Pauly D says:

    And why the hell can’t I order music from other iTunes stores? That’s the one problem I have with it. I’ve tried ordering credit cards from Australia, France and the UK in order to do it, but no one wants to give me one.

    How about you, Dave?

  5. Dave2 says:

    Try identity theft… it neatly avoids all the embarrassment of having to apply for the credit cards in the first place. Even better… identity theft knows no international boundaries! Want to be a 72 year-old French woman? No problem… simply steal the identity of said woman and apply for credit cards in her name! Then write off the trip to Paris as a “business expense”.

    Better yet, if you get caught, you can use the “it’s the record labels’ fault” and counter-sue for a mint! Classic!

  6. Dave: I just wanted to say – I think it’s adorable that you still listen to A-Ha.

    Really though, I’d never really considered the idea of music being “not available” on iTunes. There’s a girl from my effing college who’s stuff is on iTunes, but my best friend couldn’t buy an entire Joan Osbourne album – domestic origin, no less!

    I think you need a new tagline: “Blogography: endorsing identity theft since 2005.”

  7. Dave2 says:

    “Adorable?” Honestly, a-ha’s later efforts contain -stunning- works that transcend their “Take on Me” days. Hauntingly beautiful music that most people will never hear because of antiquated international distribution agreements.

    I’d tell you to go to the iTunes Music Store and take a listen to such songs as “Turn the Lights Down” and “I Wish I Cared” and “Velvet” and “Time & Again” and a half-dozen others… BUT I CAN’T BECAUSE THEY DON’T OFFER THEM FOR SALE HERE IN THE USA!!!

  8. Pauly D says:

    I like that idea of becoming a 72 year old French Woman.

    Would I hate Americans?

  9. Marc says:

    Are you aware of the fact that Metallica are already offering legal downloads of un-DRM’ed, FLAC compressed files of all shows from the last tour – and for a decent price?

    I think that it’ll only be a matter of time until they start selling new albums this way as well.

  10. Dave2 says:

    Gee… if Metallica can see the light, does this mean that there is hope for the rest of the industry?

    And Pauly, there is no need to become a 72 year-old French woman to hate Americans… you can do that now. Self-loathing is a God-given right of all citizens!

  11. Neil T. says:

    Totally agree with you Dave. It’s the same with DVD Region coding – you guys in the US often get DVDs far earlier than we Brits do, and yet they’ve tried to make sure we can’t play them if we go through the trouble of importing them.

    Of course, now a lot of DVD players are “region free”, either because they have been maunfactured to have no region or have been modded to remove the region setting (of which a number of legitimate retailers will now do for you, and give you a free replacement store warranty should it invalidate the original one). So we can import legitimate DVDs from America and watch them before they’re out here.

    I’m sure the industry would prefer us to do that than buy pirate DVDs where they get no income from whatsoever, but for some reason they still seem to encourage us to go black market because of this silly region coding madness…

  12. MRKisThatKid says:

    If you don’t mind funding the russian mafia you can get it from allofmp3 :-/

  13. Kevin says:

    But how much of this is actually Apple’s fault? I don’t think any of it really is. The DRM implementation is enforced by the RIAA and is really the only way in which Apple was able to gain their trust to be able to have such an extensive library of music available to users.

    And the fact that music is available in one region as opposed to another is also an RIAA (or foreign equivalent) imposition. Much like Neil said about region coding, we get some movies before they do and vice versa and the same goes for music.

    It’s always been that way. Shouldn’t be that way, I agree; but it is.

    The RIAA and the MPAA don’t realize, or are unwilling to admit, that it is their own actions that are resulting in piracy. Whether these actions be staggered release dates or just the simple act of consistently putting out crap that we are unwilling to pay first-run rates for.

    Fudge the RIAA and the MPAA!

  14. Dave2 says:

    Well… I’m not really blaming Apple… yet (on the contrary, in my entry I am actually saying I wish Apple had MORE power over record labels). As I said, I realize fully that it is Universal Music, not Apple, that is the reason I can’t buy the new a-ha album. Music labels are the real problem, and we’ll all be better off when they’re gone so artists can control their own music and distribution. I mean, seriously, do you think either Apple or a-ha is against selling “Analogue” in America? Of course not. Universal has lucrative foreign distribution deals and wants to get their money! Screw the artist. Screw the fans.

    However… in the future, Apple needs to provide an option for artists to sell music WITHOUT DRM. Those independent labels and artists who don’t wish to use DRM should have the option. But Apple doesn’t do that (at least not yet) because then people could take their music and put it on a device other than an iPod. Since the sole purpose of the iTMS is to sell iPods, it’s unlikely that Apple will ever allow choosing to drop DRM without significant pressure. Obviously, the major music labels will never pressure Apple to do this… it as to come from the independent artists and their customers.

  15. sandra says:

    I was trying to think of an enthusiastic enough way to say, “YES!!!” but came up short…so just imagine a lot of oomph behind my “Dave, you’re right”.

    I have a really inefficient system going, which involves me sending CDs to a friend of mine in Sydney when the music is only available in the States and him doing the reverse for me…but I am now bitter!

  16. melina says:

    Oh, dear Gawd, you have my heart…that’s my heartthrob Morten Harkett from a-ha! Oh my…

  17. James says:

    Is it bad to have a 30 gig ipod filled with songs I didn’t pay a dime for? I know nothing about DRMs or the itunes store..

  18. Marc says:

    James: Yes, I do believe that it is wrong to copy music without paying for it. After all, I assume that you don’t go into the gadget supermarket in order to grab an iPod for free.

    Someone created the music and if you listen to it, that someone deserves to be paid for her/his work.

    It’s just that digital content (music, movies, software) can be stolen easily and somewhat risk-free that people tend to think that it’s okay.

    It just isn’t. Someone makes a living from being creative and that’s no different from physical goods such as food, gadgets or cars…

  19. lizriz says:

    Yeah, the whole “country” concept is just really getting old, isn’t it? ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Seriously though, it does seem totally bizarre that there are different online music stores for different countries and that some Celtic music (my personal area of bumping into this issue) is not available to me because I live in America. I mean, it just seems totally illogical.

  20. Lisa says:

    Damn the man! I feel your pain man… went through a local shop here in CA to get my $30 import (well worth it of course), but seeing all the songs just sitting out there in Germany, Norway, UK, but er um (literally) Houston, we have a problem! Hopefully the label will wise up and make the effort to actually release a-ha’s work here. They are hitting hard in the UK right now promotion wise… we should be the logical next step! Fingers crossed… preach on brother.

  21. John says:

    You have 2 options. You can buy the import and enjoy this incredible, amazing, work of art called Analogue by an embarassingly underated band called A-ha. Or you can wait until it’s released here in the U.S. in which, if it continues to do well in the U.K. market, it will. I chose to pay the price for the import because this music is just too good to wait for.

  22. Dave2 says:

    I’m not going to buy anymore CDs unless there is no other option… this just supports the antiquated monopoly that music labels have over distribution. If the album is released here in the US, then undoubtedly the iTunes Music Store will get it, and I can buy it that way. Or, if a-ha were to sell digital versions on their site, that’s okay too. A real pity.

  23. Paul says:

    Couldn’t agree more about DRM and music distribution. Thanks to the internet we live in a very small world. There is a ton of music that we can’t get here in the UK that you guys get there in the USA. Don’t even get me started on the Video store, it’s pathetic here! I expect the problem with a-ha is related to their recent change of record label. It’s a crying shame that their whole back catalogue isn’t on iTunes. Memorial Beach is a nice album but isn’t there, although the video for ‘Dark is the Night’ is there! weird!

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