I hear a lot of people saying that the music industry dropped the ball on online music. That in the hayday of online music piracy, they should have jumped at the opportunity of changing their business model. I'm no music industry insider, so I'm not sure if they did or did not - but here's my latest great experience.
I love the online music services. I'm a member at Puretracks and Napster. I'm also always looking for new sites, so please send my way. It's exciting to see the music industry go through so much change, and to see technology playing a leading role. I burned 3 CDs this weekend, paid a grand total of a about $45 CDN. Amazing. For the cost about 2 CDs, on which I may have truly enjoyed 3 songs, I now get 40 songs that I love.
Digital Rights Management (DRM) is a great technology. Many of the online music services use DRM to protect the music, and grant users differing levels of ownership. Napster for example, leverages Windows Media Player, and allows me to stream or download an unlimited numbers of songs for a monthly fee. This doesn't mean I own them, I'm simply a Napster subscriber, and as a subscriber, I have access to the all the streams and downloads I want, while being a subscriber. You see, if I stop my subscription, the songs no longer play - the license I have for each song doesn't allow me to play without having a subscription. When I want to burn a track, to perminant media (CD, DVD, Card, PPC, etc.) I pay the track fee, and then I own it, like I bought it off the shelf.
I'm not claiming to be a DRM expert, not even a little bit, and I'll probably get corrected on the above paragraph. The labels have taken a great step forward, and trusted that the technology is ready. I'm not sure what the artist's take on all of this is, but from a technology lover's standpoint, I'm in.