Monday, September 06, 2004

try bleep

Adactio: Journal - more on downloading...

"Waiter, there's music in my DRM"

Another interesting post on the whole iTunes / Microsoft digital rights management question over at Jeremy's Adactio blog. He writes

"If music services are serious about stopping piracy, they need to meet music fans like myself halfway. I want to give these services my money. All I ask in return is to be treated as a customer, not a potential thief."

He really needs to go and have a look at, who boast

"The impressive uptake and acceptance of download sites such as Apple’s iTunes shows that there is a demand for high quality ‘legally’ downloaded digital music - fans that do not want to buy a CD just to rip onto their iPod, or fans unwilling to pay full CD price for a new artist are now able to get a low price high quality downloaded album direct from a clearly accessible recognised source without having to rummage around P2P servers for a week.

At the moment labels have skirted around the whole issue of making their catalogue available, often introducing various poorly-supported formats and DRM (digital rights management) complications in the process.

Bleep has two distinct advantages over other stores and P2P services which we hope will see warp fans downloading directly from Bleep. We are at present the only store to offer very high quality MP3 files. The tracks are encoded with LAME using the ‘--alt-preset standard’ VBR setting - widely acknowledged to currently give the best trade-off between transparency and file size, but with the emphasis more on sound quality than file size. Bleep MP3s have an average bit rate of around 205kbps VBR, while the majority of MP3s found on the internet are 128kbps. Secondly, Bleep music has no DRM or copy protection built in. We believe that most people like to be treated as customers and not potential criminals - DRM is easily circumvented and just puts obstacles in the way of enjoying music. Apple has even privately stated that they decided to use a weak form of DRM solely to get major labels onboard."

In addition, although Bleep was originally conceived as a way of selling material by Warp records artists only, you can now download music by artists on Domino, One Little Indian, Big Dada, Ninja Tune and others. Which means you can download (or just listen to) tracks by Bjork (whose new album is remarkable, if heavy going), the Junior Boys, Franz Ferdinand, Pavement, Roots Manuva and Mouse On Mars. So perhaps it's understandable that I haven't got to iTunes yet...

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