Stuck in proprietary-land

Many years ago, I made the fateful decision to standardize my home music collection on WMA.  The bundled software in Windows XP, Windows Media Player, ripped my CDs to the WMA format, for free.

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.

Some C# obscurities