17 November 2006

iTunes, networks, and digital music

As I mentioned in this post earlier, the current trend in digital music seems to be toward developing closed platforms (or vertically integrated systems). While this enables the provider to capture the value of networks and to lock consumers in, it also creates powerful incentives for consumers to find work-arounds. Given the market dominance of Apple's iPods, it isn't surprising to find some workarounds.

Certainly converting to analog and re-converting to MP3 is one way of doing this, it results in a loss of fidelity. A "cleaner" way of doing this, and one that would not involve the loss of fidelity, would be to circumvent the controls digitally. This is basically what is reported in this article.

On a related note, you will find this article, over at Telecom Liberation Front, in which Adam Thierer talks about the benefits of incompatible platforms.

What do you think the implications are for Apple? What about for the other music services? What about for the non-iPod MP3 players? Do you think that Apple will react? What kinds of reactions would you expect from them?

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