RIP AoMP3

Well, it finally happened. AllOfMP3.com is dead. Killed by the Russian Authorities, apparently at the behest of the music industry, in a manner that looks more like a gangland hit than a legal process.

For those of you who didn’t know, AllOfMP3 sold music via download. The music was completely unprotected, with a wide range of options of format and quality. Unlike the music business, who charge by the song, they charged by the megabyte. This meant that a high-quality MP3 costs more than the same song encoded at a lower bitrate.

Firstly, AoMP3 broke no laws – they insisted that they were operating within Russian Law (the IP folks thin that US IP laws should apply worldwide), and successfully defended against several legal challenges. That was before the Russian Government shut down the company under pressure from the US. Apparently AoMP3 had to die before Russia could join the WTO – the World Trade Organization.

Their web page is non-existent – not even a static page to explain what has happened. It’s as if they were wiped off the face of the Earth.

I am sure that the people behind this are laughing today; but I am also sure that this action, like so many of their tactics in recent years, will not save them. Why? Because they missed the point. That allofmp3 was never about piracy.

Think about it. People paid for their allofmp3 music. Music that they probably could have gotten elsewhere for free. The only difference was the price.

The music business consider themselves art dealers, and price their wares accordingly. For the rest of us, music is no longer an art form. We no longer listen to music as a pastime – gone are the days when we would sit around and listen to music. It is normally a background to something else; working, playing, exercising, driving. In these enlightened times we listen to music while doing something else. Music has become essentially devalued… and the music business seem to have missed this. They are still complaining that $1 per song is too cheap for them, though it is too expensive for the rest of us.

Sell me unprotected music the way I want it at a reasonable price. 25-50c per track – twice what AoMP3 charged – is reasonable. $1 for a DRM-infested song is not.

AllofMP3 was not in the art business, they were selling data. And they were selling it as the disposable commodity that it has become, not as the irreplaceable art that it used to be.

More here.

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