Tuesday, February 08, 2005

You wanna keep your music? You gotta pay protection

Over at the excellent Daring Fireball John Gruber reports on a disturbing issue: it seems that a lot of people do not realise that music downloaded on the Napster To Go service is only available for as long as you maintain your subscription to the service. If you cancel your subscription, you lose all your music.

John discovered this due to the volume of email he has been receiving regarding a previous article about the new Napster service. It's disturbing that a significant proportion of the readers of a blog subtitled "Mac nerdery, etc" have not picked up on the essential nature of the service, and it points to what might be characterised at the very least as negligent marketing by Napster; some might even see a deliberate attempt to mislead.

The marketing geniuses at Napster may be hoping to achieve "lock-in" of their customers, who (they probably think) will be "dissuaded" from cancelling their subscriptions once they discover the awful truth. I doubt that most customers will see it that way. Nobody likes to be blackmailed or held to ransom. I suspect a significant number will cancel their subscriptions and will have nothing more to do with Napster. And having been bitten so badly by DRM, they are likely to be twice shy about DRM in the future. (Here's hoping, anyway!)

6 Comments:

Blogger Gary said...

I don't think the subscription service is a particularly bad thing per se - it's the DRM that bugs me (which is why I won't buy music from the iTunes music store either). A DRM-free subscription service would get my vote.

8:29 am  
Blogger Gary said...

Oh, and I like the new logo :-)

8:29 am  
Blogger Stephen said...

DRM-free subscription? You mean, we let the thieving bastards - sorry, I meant to say "valued customers" - download and keep forever as much of our prrreciousssss copyrighted stock as they want, for a paltry few quid a month? Are you mad? What sort of a record industry exec are you?

9:55 am  
Blogger Maria said...

Let me say this, I understood that I wouldn't be able to play the music anymore, but not only is the downloaded music missing from my music file (Can they do that??!?), all the music that I've had for the last 3 years is gone as well. What the heck is up with that?????

2:08 am  
Blogger Maria said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3:20 pm  
Blogger Stephen said...

Well, I don't understand the exact mechanism by which you lose your ability to play the music, but I would have thought the file stays on your hard drive but refuses to play: I don't see how they could actually delete it off your hard drive. I also don't think they could have removed the rest of your music. Maybe some virus is responsible?

11:09 am  

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