August 25th, 2007
For many avid downloaders of music who are conscious of the illegality of free downloads, nothing other than the iTunes music store will do – it is reliable and offers a huge library. However, worryingly ITunes has been dominating the world of music downloads for a long time now and there are a number of niggling problems with it. All tracks downloaded, for example, are in special format called Digital Rights Management (DRM) and so they cannot be transferred outside iTunes and Ipods with ease. Because of such problems, big names such as Universal and SonyBMG have started to release their own rival software that is supposedly better than what Apple has to offer.
One of the best programs that is coming out of these initiatives is Gbox by Universal, which is becoming hugely popular. Gbox sells tracks without being formatted with the copy protection technology which is the ultimate downfall of iTunes tracks. Not only are the tracks more flexible in this way than those offered in the iTunes music store, but each track also costs less, at around 50p per track (whereas iTunes charges about 79p). As Gbox starts becoming more popular, it is also benefiting from special advertising with Google, whereby when particular songs are searched for with the search engine, adverts for Gbox will appear. As Universal Music Group chief executive Doug Morris says,
“We’re committed to exploring new ways to expand the availability of our artists’ music online, while offering consumers the most choice in how and where they purchase and enjoy our music.”
Finally downloaders can rest assured that there are other programs available that will cut the cost of their downloaded tracks and make them easier to copy. Perhaps now that iTunes is losing its monopoly over music downloads, more people will be keener to stop music piracy by buying tracks at reasonable costs elsewhere.