Digital Music Downloads – Not Forever?

There have been a few stories lately talking up digital music downloads (iTunes not coping with demand, music charts being changed to reflect the nature of digital downloads) but I’m not so sure about it any more.

I have downloaded a couple of things from iTunes: Engima’s Voyageur was virtually impossible to buy over the counter, and I also grabbed a couple of Neil Diamond’s tracks as it was convenient just to get the few I was after and not have to buy a whole album.

Convenient? Yes. Fast? Yes. However:

  1. I have paid for these tracks but I’ve only got them at 128 kbps. The quality will never be any better than that. Okay on cheap equipment, but I recently shouted myself some quality headphones and now I can tell the difference.
  2. Recently I reformatted my hard drive. Sure, I backed everything up, but iTunes would not play these purchased songs until I “authorised” my computer.

Now there’s a trap – the songs can only be played on “authorised” machines – and I can only authorise 5. Actually only 4 now, as I didn’t de-authorise before reformatting last time.

Now, if I lose a hard drive unexpectedly, there goes another machine. And what if I want these tracks on a work computer and a home computer?

I dunno – I think that in a few years’ time I won’t be able to play these tracks anymore. Might have to burn them to an audio CD and re-rip them back into iTunes.

Second thoughts, just fire up and buy the CD…


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