The ethical morass of going to the record store

I’ve had like three posts I’ve wanted to put up today (including the open thread), and have been prevented from doing so by severe computer problems. Posting from the lab computer is somewhat more annoying (lacking my usual software and bookmarks) so I’ll write up the post with the fewest number of links.
So I’d decided to acquire the new album by My Morning Jacket, which ordinarily would have been a straightforward matter, but this time I ran into an ethical dilemma. The problem, of course, is that My Morning Jacket is on a Sony label. Hence:

  • If I buy the CD, I am implicitly supporting Sony’s harmful DRM practices. I won’t personally be affected since I have AutoRun turned off on my computers, and Z has the comparatively mild Suncomm DRM rather than the rootkit version, but one still shouldn’t buy CDs with such software on them.

  • Or I could buy the tracks off iTMS, forgoing CD quality, album art, and liner notes, and substituting Apple’s DRM for Sony’s. Well, at least Apple won’t try to hack my PC, but they do have a habit of unilaterally renegotiating the terms of the license agreement.
  • Or I could download them off a peer-to-peer service (for all the damage it does to paying customers, the DRM is easily worked-around and the tracks will certainly be available), but once again I forgo the packaging and now the band doesn’t get any money.
  • Or I could buy it on vinyl (if it exists in that format), but I still don’t own a turntable.

It seemed to me that there was no good solution, and I ended up buying the actual CD since this is my preferred medium anyway. But I’m still sort of conflicted about it.

5 thoughts on “The ethical morass of going to the record store

  1. Mason

    If there isn’t really a solution, I think getting the preferred aesthetic medium seems like a perfectly reasonable tie-breaker.

  2. Lemming

    The whole Sony rootkit thing pisses me off. I personally support iTMS because even though there are the issues you mentioned they come the closest to supporting the business model that I want.

  3. Lanth

    I support iTMS because I’m lazy and like instant gratification. I find converting CD to/from mp3 to be a pain, so I’d rather just buy in the format I’ll be using most often.

  4. Katie

    Thank you for considering the musicians. While the big profits always go to the record execs, musicians do earn a few pennies out of every CD sold. And most of us need it…

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