Joe Levi:
a cross-discipline, multi-dimensional problem solver who thinks outside the box – but within reality™

DRM’d Music/Videos bad for the Environment


Hank Green wrote a very good article over at that anyone that’s ever purchased digital music should read.

We saw the MSN Music store tell customers they were closing their doors (replacing it with the Zune Marketplace), then Yahoo! Music, and now Wal-Mart’s music store. Each one said they were “turning off their license key servers” which, in effect, means your licenses can never be renewed again. So if you upgrade your computer, your music goes away. If your operating system crashes, your music goes away. If your license key files get corrupt or deleted, your music goes away. This means that you either have to buy them again, be content with tossing your money away, or resort to “questionably legal means” to obtain the music that you already bought.

But that’s not what the article is about.

Being an EcoGeek article, it takes a “greener” slant: DRM’d songs and movies require 25% more power to play than non-DRM’d content. They didn’t comment on how much more power is required to prepare DRM’d content, but we can presume it’s approximately the same.

Each of the three have recommended “backing up” your music to a CD. In other words, if you want to keep your music you need to

  1. go to the store,
  2. buy some recordable CD media,
  3. go back home,
  4. find your DRM’d music,
  5. burn the DRM’d tracks to the CD’s in CDA format (which takes up a lot more space and requires a lot more discs that if you were to burn in digital (but still DRM’d) format,
  6. create a track-list of the songs on each one of your newly burned discs with all ID3 data in-tact,
  7. re-rip all the songs you just burned,
  8. manually enter the ID3 meta-data into the tracks,
  9. update any and all play-lists that may have referenced the old tracks to point to the new tracks,
  10. breath a sigh of relief knowing that you “saved money and resources” by being legal and buying DRM’d tracks.

Now you see where DRM is “defective by design” and why you shouldn’t support it.



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1 Response

  1. Going Green says:

    Yeah the words “environmental” and “Walmart” have become pretty much oxymorons.

    This will just become another issue that they’re going to have to greenwash with a new barrage of ads talking about how green Walmart is. But it’s not really sticking; There was an article in the Financial Times today titled, “Wal-Mart’s ‘green’ plan struggles to convince everyone.” There’s certainly a good bit of skepticism from many environmental groups as to the true intentions of the retail giant, and I doubt anyone is being fooled. The problem is is that they try to shove all the blame off on the suppliers, when in reality they have the necessary muscle to force their suppliers to adopt more environmental standards.

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