Meewella | Fragments

The Life of P

7digital Somewhat Quells My Financial Rage

My reaction to today’s financial “rescue” announcement was unimpressed to say the least. Livid would not be inaccurate. Fortunately I shall not dwell on it in this post because it would inevitably devolve into a barely coherent rant. The short version of my view is this: although we will not see the results for a week, Brown has probably succeeded in restoring some confidence in this colossal banking disaster, for which he is in no small part responsible due to the ill-conceived regulatory reforms enacted in his previous role. However the upshot is that, while the bankers may breathe a sigh of relief, I would strongly recommend that no one in this country falls ill in the next two to five years. In fact, public services generally ought to be forgotten. Better yet, we’ll probably get to pay extra for the privilege too. In fact I can certainly see why this move was apparently so politically uncontroversial. It’s genius.

Instead I want to talk about something I ought have mentioned several weeks ago, given that I praised PlayDigital‘s okay offering at launch. Online music store 7digital pulled off a major coup recently, becoming the the first UK store to sign DRM-free deals with every major record label. That’s a massive range of music at competitive prices, all available in mp3 format without any of that horrible copy protection malarky. Why should you care? Well, because you will always be able to listen to this music in the future, and you’ll be free to choose whatever software and music player you like to listen to it. Quality is impressive, with everything I have looked at being encoded 256-320kbps CBR. VBR would be welcome, of course, but it’s a minor gripe. The bottom line is this: if you are still buying locked-in music from iTunes at this point, you’re a moron. Switch now.

Amazon have been offering a similar service in the States for some time and the UK launch is due soon, which will hopefully awaken a wider audience.


  1. Please don’t tell me that you believe a Tory Chancellor would have done things any better.

    And give me a average 192 kbps VBR over a 256 kbps CBR any day – there’s simply no excuse in the 21st Century.

  2. To be honest it’s not a party political gripe but anger at the entire situation. What particularly annoyed me was the hideously misguided view that nationalising Northern Rock would somehow resolve the entire situation when they really needed to be formulating a viable long term plan. I know I’m not alone in thinking they picked the worst of the 3 available options, and yesterday really proved the point, necessary or not.

    As you know I’m totally with you on VBR being the “proper” way to encode mp3 but the insistence on CBR from virtually all mp3 stores leads me to think the issue is one of communication. It is far easier to advertise quality in terms of fixed bitrates than variable ones, which are always at best an approximation. Particularly, of course, when consumers are largely ignorant as to how their digital media is prepared/seasoned/cooked.

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"Civilization now depends on self-deception. Perhaps it always has."

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