iTunes Bad, WMA Good

“After immersing myself in audio codecs (as research for a future article) and re-ripping most of my own collection, I’ve come to the conclusion that I really like WMA—and I really don’t like the whole iTunes/iPod thing.

AAC is a perfectly fine audio format. It sounds good. I don’t really want the music I pay money for to be encoded at 128k, but none of iTunes’ competitors are offering a higher bitrate, so I don’t have much choice there. The problem with AAC is that it doesn’t really have digital rights management, so songs you buy through the iTunes Music Store have an Apple-specific proprietary digital rights management scheme called FairPlay attached to them. AAC may be a format that many desktop applications (like Winamp) can understand, and it’s certainly possible for non-iPod portable players to build in support for it, but iTunes and iPods understand FairPlay. If I buy music through the iTunes store, it will only play on iTunes or an iPod. That’s it, until the end of time.”

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