Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Daily Mail tries to cope with digital world

The Daily Mail, it's only fair to point out, doesn't have a weekly technology supplement so perhaps it's unsurprising that its coverage of 7Digital's signing up of the last of the majors to its DRM-free service leaves it overstating and a little confused:

A music download revolution - making tracks available from the world's big four record companies without a digital lock - has been unveiled.

The new upgraded service from the web music giant 7digital.com is the biggest challenge ever faced by Apple and its iTunes store.

But as the Mail eventually admits, 7digital has been selling stuff from the other majors DRM free for a while, so it's actually an old challenge to Apple getting a little sharper, rather than a new challenge. And even if it is seen as a new challenge, 7digital selling a few tracks in the UK surely is less of a challenge than the Amazon mp3 store?

Still, let's allow the Mail its excitement. Although it's not excitement which accounts for this:
In the past, Apple and other official download sites have sold music with a digital lock which meant it could only be played on a single device and could not be copied.

Let's leave aside the official download sites which sold music sans locks - eMusic, for example - and the DRM free tracks which Apple has been selling from some sources, and just look at the second half of that sentence? Only played on a single device? Then how are you able to play the same tune on your Mac or PC and your iPod? And a second iPod? Or another Mac?

And can't be copied? But what is burning the tracks to CD if it's not copying?

I'm no fan of DRM and love the 7digital propostion. But the worry here is that the Mail clearly doesn't know what it's talking about. Fair enough, these are details in a story about music files. But if you can't trust the paper's description of what DRM does, what does that say when it reports on stories where the science is even more complicated - say, when it's talking about the causes of autism, for example?


Alex B said...

The Mail has never been famed for having a clue what it's talking about. Years ago they did an article about British bands making it big in the US....and the most successful band they chose to illustrate the article? Los Angeles own Jane's Addiction! Clueless I tell ya...

Anonymous said...

I remember such an article in the Mail on Sunday, circa November 1991, dealing with the US success of EMF and Jesus Jones - was that the one you mean?

Good point in the last paragraph. I have far more respect for Peter Hitchens than I have for any other right-wing columnist - he talks a lot of nonsense, of course, but his comments last Sunday about the media and government ratcheting up the supposed terrorist thread so as to increase support for their own repressive measures, and his observation on the loathsomeness of the photos of the New Tories in Tatler and the idiocy of the anti-Brown, pro-Cameron media frenzy, would have been worthy of any left-wing columnist. But when he makes out that Asperger's Syndrome doesn't really exist (and that is merely the tip of his iceberg) I want to strangle him, along with all his colleagues.

Alex B said...

That's the one, though I saw it in a weekday edition (guessing they reprinted it)

Chris Brown said...

I think the saying is, it's only when they write about something you actually know about that you realise how dubious their writing about everything else is.

That said, the press release they presumably copied this off may have intended "one device" as a reference to the iPod. And it certainly did pee me off when I had to take my MP3 player back to the shop and I'd lost one sync right from some of my tracks.

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