At the time, MP3 ripping utilities cost money, or came with a boatload of spyware or malware attached. Windows Media Player also had a nice service where it automatically found media info from a central database and tagged your music files accordingly. This was nice as it can be a huge pain to manually edit each MP3 file’s ID3 information.
Looking back, I chose wrong. Why am I wrong? The number one portable music player on the planet, the iPod, doesn’t play WMA files. When I first started creating my music library back in 2001, the iPod wasn’t supported on Windows.
To date, WMA players have been pretty lame. I haven’t seen one yet that approaches the usability of an iPod, and buying WMA files from official channels has been a lesson in bad DRM policies.
So I’m now stuck converting my WMA files to some other format, which I’m still trying to decide what to go with. Although MP3 is a licensed technology, it’s so ubiquitous it seems like a good bet.
I absolutely refuse to purchase music with DRM, as recent debacles (Google Video and PlaysForSure) have shown DRM is a losing proposition, for both content providers and content purchasers.
I’ll be very, very careful in the future when deciding how to persist media I care about. If a music format can disappear at the whim of its creator, I don’t want to be stuck with useless bits and bytes.