In Canada we can’t yet use the iTunes Music Store, which is bad enough, the only legal download site is called Puretracks. Trouble is, when I go to the site I get the following message:
Thank you for visiting Puretracks.com
Currently our website supports Internet Explorer 5.0 and above on the
Windows operating system (Win 98SE / ME / 2000 / XP / 2003),
and is available to Canadian residents only.
We value our Mac audience, however the Windows Media player for the Mac
platform is not currently compatible with Microsoft protected audio content.
Puretracks is currently working to make our service available to Mac users.
There are several problems with this. First of all, saying you value an audience while locking them out is NOT valuing that audience. More importantly, though, I think the companies trying to make a go of online music that tie that effort to a proprietary platform are making a big mistake and can’t, in the long term, succeed with such a strategy. The encoding method used by Apple, on the other hand, is available to anyone who wishes to use it, with no approval or license required from Apple. Tying DRM to the encoding itself is a serious conceptual mistake that a lot of people are making, and no matter how many companies signed up to play in the Microsoft sandbox I don’t think they can do well.