Waaaaaah!

Engadget’s Ryan Block says Apple and EMI ditching DRM is good, but it’s not good enough (tip o’ the antlers to Gareth Flynn).

Was today’s announcement a real commitment dedicated to consumers’ digital rights? Or was it a play for disenfranchised music lovers’ hearts? We have a feeling the answer lies somewhere in the middle — although we can’t help but feel the whole thing is gestural at best, and subterfuge at worst.

Translation: there is no pool too big that I cannot try to ruin it for you by depositing my Baby Ruths into it.

We should be clear to start: we don’t believe Jobs is leading by example here — EMI is.

With his $4 billion+ stake in the media megacorp and his seat on the board of directors, you’d think Jobs would be quick to encourage Disney-owned labels, like Hollywood Records, Lyric Street Records, Mammoth Records, and Walt Disney Records, to “embrace [DRM-free] sales wholeheartedly.”

Well, do you know that he isn’t? Now that Steve Jobs has proven he means what he says about music DRM, let’s not believe him about something else! This first-person shooter game is awesome and has so many levels!

Perhaps Jobs and Iger don’t see as eye-to-eye as they previously postured, or perhaps Jobs is waiting to see whether this is actually the right move for the business, consumers be damned.

Yeah! Why, Jobs probably isn’t even a pescetarian! The Macalope bets he goes home and grills up a nice steak every Friday! And the Macalope has just as much evidence for that as Block does for his argument.

The finer details of EMI and Jobs’s announcement today were also dubious.

Dude, you sound like Martin Prince.

Despite the silver lining, which is that full albums should cost the same but will now default to DRM-free files, the two businesses still conflated DRM-free music with the discerning tastes of audiophiles.

If by “conflated” you mean “created value” then, yes.

Steve mentioned that 128-bit AAC just isn’t good enough for the sharp-eared, so uncrippled tracks are being bumped to 256Kbps. This gives Apple the ability to sell the music as a separate product and price point, while giving consumers the illusion of greater value.

It is a greater value, you numbskull! How is 256Kbps not a greater value than 128?! Arrrrg! The fact that albums are going to be in that format is something they’re giving you for free, not the other way around.

EMI CEO Eric Nicoli said, “Not everybody cares about interoperability or sound quality.” Since when did the two become so intrinsically linked?

Do you not know the meaning of the conjunction “or”? Maybe you should log on to LimeWire and download a copy of Schoolhouse Rock.

So why not make 99-cent 128-bit AAC tracks DRM free as well?

Why not give Ryan Block a pony?! Because he’d only bitch that he wanted a bigger, shinier pony.

Now take a look at Steve’s response to the question of whether TV shows will be sold without DRM.

No. The Macalope has said this time and time again. He does not agree with disconnect between music and video, but they are treated differently because the industry managed to get their hooks in the DVD specs. The landscape is totally different and you simply cannot argue both at the same time. Well, you can try, but you’re only going to waste your time and look like a jackass in the process.

In fact, the only other devices that we can think of that supports [sic] AAC are a handful of Sony players, the Sansa E200R, and the Zune — and good luck getting that to work with your Mac or iTunes.

Does Block not know that the majority of iPod and iTunes users run Windows? And, yeah, that whole dragging and dropping unprotected AAC files to another directory is a real pain in the ass.

The bottom line is this: we want to live in a DRM-free world, and while we’re not necessarily convinced that Jobs, Apple, Disney, and EMI do too, at least some of the players in this ecosystem are willing to look at it from the consumer’s point of view.

Yet you give credit to EMI and none to Apple and Steve Jobs.

Yes, the situation isn’t perfect, but yesterday it got a hell of a lot better and when sales of unprotected 256Kbps AAC files absolutely beat the crap out of the DRMed 128Kbps alternative — as the Macalope is sure they will — it’ll get even better. So quit your bitching.