Heidi has a great pair of posts about managing her downloads, and using her MP3 player with Rhapsody. Fred also mentions Rhapsody. When I start to read stuff like this, my mind naturally starts asking, “Am I missing out?”.
During the past couple of weeks I’ve installed iTunes on Windows. The sole purpose of installing iTunes was to enable Mugshot to let others in my network see what music I’m listening to (and by the way, when you all start adding “quips”, it can be quite an addictive and entertaining experience). I don’t own an iPod… my little USB stick music player just plays MP3 files, that’s all. I have lots and lots of CDs, but I don’t buy music on download (yet). I might sometimes grab a free MP3 download when one is on offer. At home I’ve got an old, old Linux server which runs some old, old software (ample) to stream a smallish set of MP3s, and I sometimes connect to that using Windows Media Player or iTunes. We currently don’t own a stereo. I’m far less sophisticated that I may sometimes seem 🙂
iTunes, then. Well it works well enough as a music player, and is OK for managing my library (love the flippy-CD cover view, although it is somewhat gimmicky). I got an iTunes store account so that it could fetch album artwork for me. I switched it to rip CDs as MP3s. If I buy stuff from the iTunes store it is going to be DRM’d and in .m4p format, which my player doesn’t recognise… so although I can see lots of stuff I might fancy in the store, there seems to be little point in purchasing it, as I’ll only ever be able to play it on this laptop. Ideally I want to be able to buy stuff online, without DRM (!), in MP3 format, and play it through any of my devices, and also then let Mugshot or whatever social software advertise it. Incidentally, I see that Google Talk also has some music sharing features, which work with a range of players (WMP included, which Mugshot doesn’t currently support).
I don’t think there’s a solution right now, but I’m prepared to be convinced. I’m aware of this last.fm thing, but I haven’t used it and I’m not entirely sure that I know what it does. I played with Pandora once upon a time. I haven’t even looked at Rhapsody, in fact I didn’t even know about it until I started to read my feeds over the past couple of weeks. Which company or service is the least “evil”? I don’t know *sigh*.
Frankly, the brave new digital world of music is a total minefield. And I’m supposed to understand technology. Allegedly.
I’ll close with the link that started it all – well, it was the one that made Heidi think twice – CDs vs Downloads, from Lifehacker.