My Principles Will Lose me Money

Isn’t that how it always is?

It looks as if Amazon has finally allowed us to buy music in a way that doesn’t suck. None of their songs are DRM’d, they’re encoded at 256 kbps, which is quite good, and they’re using the power of the tubes to give us CDs and songs at much lower prices than what they’d be in stores. On top of that, they’ll almost inevitably be a credible competitor to iTunes, so song prices should continue to drop in the long term.

This costs me money because I no longer have a principled reason not to spend more money on music. A combination of rampant extortion in the sales of physical CDs, combined with DRM through iTunes had given reasons to curtail one’s participation in ordinary channels of music distribution until now. You can call that opinion self-serving, and there’s certainly something to that charge, but it’s also true that without the piracy produced signal that the old ways were screwed up, there was not much of an incentive for the major players not to rob people blind. By the same token, to the extent that it’s there are reasonable options on the table, anyone who downloads music should participate in them.


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