October 25, 2004

Headlines Lie, or... 4 in 5 myopic marketing executives agree, MP3 is a dying protocol.

Today's crappy headline award is awarded to MSN, for their article "MP3 losing steam?.There is a lot wrong with this article, but lets just start with the Headline, which then leads to this opening sentence in the second paragraph:

"MP3 is still the overwhelming favorite of file traders, but the once-universal formats popularity has been going quietly but steadily down in personal music collections for the last year."

So, okay, I guess through some logic where mp3 downloading goes from 95% to 94% of all music file downloads, you might consider that losing steam, but the article wouldn't give such numbers, you might assume. Why not? Because, of course, anyone giving such numbers would immediately reveal themselves as being frauds, right? I mean, no one can logically expect us to believe that they know how many songs are being "traded" via bittorrent, kazaa, remote shares, IM and email? Right, I mean, only a shyster would expect us to.....you know what, I don't even have the heart to point out how wrong this article is.

Let me put it this way. If someone comes to you in print (as this article does), on TV or online and tries to assert they know how many people are downloading what kind of media on the internet. It is very safe to ignore them. It's like someone coming up to you and saying "I know how many clouds are in the sky." It always changes, its untraceable, and the diaphanous nature of it makes it difficult to classify, much less accurately observe. These people probably think Heisenberg is a German margarita or something.

Here's the justification they give for the headline: Since people are buying more music via itunes and other services, they're less likely to delete those paid for, drm-wrapped files as compared to mp3s which apparently people think nothing of deleting and do so all the time. How they maintain this last bit is beyond me, from what I've experienced people rarely delete music so long as it reaches some level of decent tagging. My pals are way more likely to buying enormous IDE drives.

Also, people commonly rerip their drm wrapped songs to mp3 so they can play and burn them onto any device. This is not so much the case for the end-to-end ipodders, but for the people who use other 'services' like Sony's or others, there's definitely some transcoding going on. (I hate transcoding, the end result is often repellently poor quality...kind of like atrac on mini-disc)

The really weird thing about this article is that, mid-way through it starts contradicting itself. Something I've been prone to do, but always with a warning.

Pathetic DRM bugs me.

Chris DiBona
Posted From: San Jose, Ca
Posted Via: Blogger Interface

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