I am not a thief. I've never shoplifted. I once took a candy bar from my sister, but felt so guilty that I confessed and paid her back — three times. I feel bad taking more than one sample from the cheese platter at Whole Foods. I'm an honest person. As such, I've always felt that stealing music was wrong. Very wrong.
Before becoming a writer and audio engineer working in the TV biz, I was a recording engineer struggling to make a living in the music business. My paycheck was directly influenced by album sales. If someone stole the music I recorded, I wasn't gonna eat. Neither would the receptionist, or Ernie, the guy who swept the studio floors.
So why am I so enthusiastic about the recent announcement that EMI, one of the biggest labels in the music biz, is going to let their music be downloaded through iTunes without DRM (digital rights management), the copy protection that's kept a tight leash on music use?
Until now, trying to move protected music that you've legally purchased from iTunes to any non-iPod is just about impossible without jumping through hoops. Now, with DRM-free music, you can move your legally purchased music to all your portable devices (as long as they can play AAC files) and easily move it from computer to computer. I could have my purchased music on my laptop and my desktop. Novel idea, right?
When music was confined to the iPod, lower quality was acceptable — well, maybe not acceptable, but we just didn't have a choice. Now, with everything from home theater systems to car stereos being 'iPod Ready,' the quality of your music matters more than ever. Granted, these better-sounding music files will be larger, take up more space on your computer and portable player, and take longer to download or transfer. But for a lot of people, it's well worth those inconveniences.