Saturday, March 31, 2007

Online Music and DRM models

There was an interesting review of online music stores posted on slashdot today.

It was a review of some of the popular online music stores and their approach to DRM.

I find it interesting that I buy books online with DRM for my palm pilot but I won't buy DRMed music. I prefer Baen's model which is DRM free. Plus they've got their free library where they put some back catalogue book. This model has sneakily gotten me to buy a lot of their online books of authors that I would probably not have read otherwise.

For other publishes, I do get mobipocket and palm reader DRMed books normally at

I think my internal logic is if I want ensure an artist gets at least some money with my purchase and it's music, I can buy the CD, rip it and get it into my preferred format - and we're both happy. The CD isn't very big.

Books are different. I don't have enough room in my bookcases for all the books I read as it is. At the moment I'm in Switzerland. Each time (twice now) we've returned home we've had to post back books that we wanted to keep that we've bought for going on planes or trains. Plus I like reading on my palm pilot - I don't have to carry a book around, I don't have to worry about finishing one because I can always have some more. I can always download them from the site again.

So I download a lot of books. The only way to download a book and ensure that the author gets at least some money in most cases is to get a DRMed copy. Plus the DRM on mobipocket is based on my palm pilot ID and as I've had palm pilots since about 2000 now, it's not been a major problem for me.

I was talking about that with Dear Reader yesterday and hadn't manage to formalize my reason. I feel better now :-)

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