in no particular order...
- the new windows media player (11) is stellar. there's nothing mindblowing about it, just a collection of little usability features that make it really easy and visually appealing. for example, it auto-grabs album art, flexibly and visibly arranges a music library, and when burning it creates folders by album and artists automagically. again, nothing crazy but it's fast and has a bunch of slick features. i'm using it now instead of itunes.
- easy means around itunes DRM: just burn your little mp4s to disc and then rip them back off as mp3s. no muss no fuss. why bother cracking the crypto??? thanks to kun cuz for this no brainer trick.
- and i have to say i'm increasingly impressed with the breadth of music offered on itunes. apple has done a nice job including some pretty obscure stuff in their catalogue. from fat freddy remixes to old susumu yukota, they have it covered. not bad...
- the criminals in the recording industry are keeping a lid on their wholesale digital music prices, which are likely absurdly high (67-70 cents per track). so now instead of suing their customers to try and make digital music go sway, they're squeezing the margins so thin no one can make money off it. from an industry that was found guilty of price-fixing CDs, this should come as no surprise to anyone.
-oh and this isn't to say they aren't suing ppl still-- allofmp3, the russian walmart of pirated tunes, is now their fave target. this is certainly not without reason, as allofmp3 is completely illegal by us laws but claims they're peachy by russian standards. either way, it always sounds a little funny to hear the recording industry up in arms since they've collectively systematically overcharged their customers via price-fixing, sued their customers, rootkitted their customers via DRM with software they didn't properly licensed (sony), screwed their partners with ultra-slim margins, etc.
boohoo. in the software industry we write off a portion of our revenue to piracy and routinely sunset products as well as change biz models, get over it.