Posts Tagged ‘squeezebox’

Why can’t I buy decent music?

Sunday, August 29th, 2010

First, a qualification: good as in audio quality, not musical content. The latter is subjective, the former is absolute.

I’m stuck in the middle of everything.

I’m not a parasitic downloader/filesharer who amasses stuff for free just because I can. I’m not an iTunes/Apple slave. I don’t have a Spotify account. I am familiar with The Pirate Bay. I appreciate excellent audio quality. DRM offends me. I don’t buy CDs anymore (I’d just rip ’em and sling ’em). I do have a high-end hard-disk music system (squeezebox) with all my old CDs rippled to FLAC format. I do not listen to compressed crap, mp3 AAC et al. I want to download top quality music on my terms.


I want to support musicians.

So here’s the deal: I want a lossless audio format that I can download.  And I want to pay for it. I better repeat that, I WANT TO PAY FOR IT! But I can’t because the only option available to me is to download crappy mp3 format or give my first born to Apple. No thanks.

Here’s how it works: I often have Radio Paradise playing around my house through 3 squeezebox players, and whenever I hear a tune that I really like I jump on the artist’s website and check to see if I can buy their offerings in FLAC format. 99.99% of the time the answer is no. The 0.01% was today when I checkout out Blackstratblues. Clicked on Download, selected FLAC format – followed a link sent via email – downloaded their entire album (which is excellent) in 10 mins, then followed up their invitation to make a contribution to the band and fired off £5. Now that’s how it should work – the artists being rewarded directly for making great music. Nice.

I’d do this far more often if only it were possible. But it’s not. Apple have a lossless format for iTunes calles ALAC. Why have you done this Apple, why? You’ve done it again – tried to castrate an existing technology for your own market greed (just as Microsoft did with all those internet standards and protocols – note to Mr S. Jobs: Microsoft lost those battles and so shall you). Why not just use FLAC and not reinvent something that’s not quite as good just to include evil DRM?

My money is ready to be spent but nobody’s listening.