June 3, 2007

Apple, iTunes, embedded metadata and hands in cookie jars.

You know, Apple meets people sort of halfway - I mean, ITMS actually has some leverage in the corporate world, now, right? And what do they do with it, but they start throwing it around for their benefit, naturally. But they also manage to make their goals align at least slightly with some goals that lots of people on the internet have been railing about for a long time - namely, the removal of DRM from purchased music. EMI steps up, or is thrown for the count, and Apple and EMI begin offering music at a higher bitrate, for more money, with no DRM.

And people start losing their shit.

Not all of them. But the complaints seem to boil down to two types: One, they're gouging me! and two, they've embedded my username and email address in this file!

No sympathy. In the first case, simple; don't buy it. You don't have to. You aren't even dealing with a monopoly; recent announcements of other DRM-free music stores have grabbed e-headlines. In the second case...

In the second case, leaving aside breathless wonderings about what nefarious things Apple might be encoding into the 'several hundred K of AAC metadata in these tracks other than the name and email' - um, I dunno, the album art? The lyrics maybe? TAG DATA? Dunno, somehow.

Also, try this one on for size. A couple of friends of mine and I (Hi petert! Hi luis!) were thinking about this, and I said "You know, I bet they've always encoded that data in the damn tracks. This outrage really strikes me as the blustering of a kid with his hand caught in a mousetrap left in the cookie jar."

Peter, bless his suspicious soul, immediately messaged me back:

 11:07pm petert: jbz: oh btw
 11:08pm petert: $ grep <username>01\ Working\ for\ Vacation.m4p
 11:08pm petert: Binary file 01 Working for Vacation.m4p matches
 11:08pm petert: the first itunes album i bought
 11:08pm jbz: hahahaha
 11:08pm jbz: and you haven't upgraded it?
 11:08pm jbz: oh wait
 11:08pm petert: nope
 11:08pm jbz: is that because it has a path in it?
 11:08pm petert: $ grep <username@provider> 01\ Working\ for\ Vacation.m4p
 11:08pm petert: Binary file 01 Working for Vacation.m4p matches
 11:08pm jbz: hahahahaha
 11:09pm jbz: yeah
 11:09pm petert: so much for outrage :)

Yeah. I mean, they have to populate that 'purchased by' field in Get Info somehow, right? Posted by jbz at June 3, 2007 11:05 PM | TrackBack

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