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No Disc?

July 1, 2009

Image courtesy of Fabricio Scaff ( have a question and I would like to know what you think. I read about how the world is moving to digital downloads for music, films and games I am told it’s the way of the future and the day of physical media (i.e. CD’s DVD’s & Blue Ray) are all numbered but when you look at the DRM systems in place and the comments and actions from those rights holders I wonder is this the way forward?

Now just to clarify, I do not believe that the internet means that all digital content should be free. If somebody has invested time and effort (even money) they should be suitably compensated for their work.

However these are my concerns, I have just had the overwhelming desire to purchase a Music CD, so I have purchased one in a Digital only Format and one as a physical item. Here is how I See the Pro’s And Con’s.

  • With the physical product,
    • The cost of the item is between £10 & £20*.
    • I will get a copy of physical media and a protective case and an informational inlay.
    • I can use this media in my Hi-Fi, DVD Player, Computer, Car, Personal Media Player and it will generally just work.
    • As I have the physical disc I Can convert the CD to any format that is required Wma, Mp3, and Ogg (just to be clear, subject to local laws).
    • I have the physical product so if I lost my digital version I simply re-encode.
    • I am in control of my physical copy; the rights holder cannot remove it from me.
  • With the digital product, 
    • The cost of the item is between £10 & £20*.
    • I get to download the digital Media.
    • I can use it on the computer that it was downloaded to and perhaps a personal media player. If I want to use it anywhere else I need to burn it to a disc (at extra cost and assuming that any DRM allows me to do so) I Know that you can now get DRM free music but it normally costs more and you still have to burn to physical media for it to be to flexible.
    • Generally most purchased music is DRM protected so the file format is not easy to convert if needed.
    • Without the physical product, if I lost my digital version, would I have made a backup (DRM allowing) or would I be able to download again would there be additional charges. It would appear that every retailers policy is different, there for no continuity will I be able to track what I Can and cant do, what if they change their terms of use?
    • Again as demonstrated in the past by some big names in the music film & software business that with DRM they can quite easily kill any licensing server and effectively make the digital product that I purchased useless.

* I am aware that this is dependent on Artist and Title.

Now there are no doubt points that I may not have covered but these are my main points, now the question is,

Why would I wish to give up all the benefits of having physical media when I am not making any monetary savings?

It seems that the only winner in the digital age is the content provider.

Please let me know, I am interested in your thoughts.

Image courtesy of  Fabricio Scaff (


3 Comments leave one →
  1. July 6, 2009 10:55 pm

    Great post!

    • July 9, 2009 3:11 am

      Thank you for your kind comment. Regards Jim

  2. Emma permalink
    July 9, 2009 7:27 pm

    I beleive there are benefits to both products, there is nothing better than buying a new CD and listening to it while reading the lyrics or looking at album art, but nowadays it all comes down to convienence. Many people would rather download an album than jump onto a bus and visit HMV (which is the only competitor really left when it comes to music stores) and look for an album wich they may not even stock, however having the physical copy is the most versatile and rewarding to have. I enjoyed reading your post, thanks.

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