Napster goes legit (for real this time)

napster.pngI had long ago completely written off Napster as a company that wanted me to 1) rent my music instead of buy it, 2) download music in Windows Media format that wouldn’t play on an iPod, and 3) volunteer to lock my purchases in the Windows Media DRM fortress. Yet today, they joined the ranks of iTunes Plus, Amazon and even Sony BMG when they announced they’ll be selling DRM-free MP3 downloads starting in Q2 of this year. They didn’t specify the scope of this move but I think they understand the industry enough to know that their entire catalog will sell better as MP3’s that are compatible with the millions of iPods filling pockets, purses and fuzzy “iPod socks” around the world. What a damaging blow to Microsoft’s Zune business, however, as Windows-only download services like this are a significant sales channel where the lack of competition makes them actually competitive (sound like a familiar Microsoft strategy?).

I’m happy to see the music business waking up and smelling 2002, finally. We’ve all been saying “consumers want a better experience and more for their money, not the converse” and it’s taken this long for business models to start to change. Of all the brands that it seems should have seen this coming, it’s Napster, but at least they’re arriving to the party while it’s still a party. I’ve got a 60GB iPod that’s only half full; Napster, I’ll be making a download account on March 1.

Cut out the middleman

Some funny guy prank called the RIAA – cause they SO deserve it – and even made up a little song about the experience, which i highly recommend you download and share all over the place over the internet for free. Now go see a live band and give them your money directly, they actually deserve it.

There’s still time to earn some moving karma

Well, moving day has finally arrived! I’m up early, cause i couldn’t sleep, and cause i had a weird dream that Ann Penner and i were neighbors and i was still unpacking and it made us both late for class. Weird because i’m not in school… Anyway, the gang will be here in 4 hours, and i have a few things to clear out before then, but i couldn’t start my day without a little internet time… and without talking to you all 😉

This is totally unrelated – just a warning. The record companies lost a lawsuit, and anyone who purchased a CD at a store between 1995 and 2000 is the winner. That’s probably you. They admitted to using price fixing and price inflation to make money illegally off of cd purchasers (again, that’s you) and the results of the court case are that you might get a check for up to $20. The official settlement page gives you a little more info, and an online claim form to add your name to the list of claimants and be included in any settlement payout. Rather than keep anything i get, i’m going to send it to these people, as they’re the ones we really owe for any small bit of rights we still have in this fight. “They” are the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and they’ve been taking on the RIAA and the MPAA for years, trying to keep our rights from being totally trampled. If we all send our $20 to the EFF, they can keep fighting our battles and (hopefully) win. Think about it, mkay?