Ok it seems his has been around for a while (my pal bjorn blogged about it 4 days ago) but it seems that the british online music distributer OD2 (a.k.a loudeye.com) is canceling some of the licenses it has given out a while ago. initial reports suggested that the music bought (downloaded) under the 10-cents-per-song-for-unlimited-playback-on-one-computer-license option ‘possibly will no longer play’ after 1 jan 2007. the quote is taken from a translated letter to users of this licensing model, in which one of the resellers of the OD2 licenses even boasts that they have ‘succeed in allowing you to play the music until January 1st 2007’.
Today this story has been picked up by the Dutch daily het parool which claims that in the case of the 150.000 users of KPN music stream (another of the dutch resellers of OD2 and self-proclaimed market leader in online music distribution in the Netherlands) the licenses will be terminated on 3 april 2006, thereby rendering the DRM crippled files unplayable.
How sick is that? first they (and they is not some shady russian eBay operators, but a division of the biggest dutch telco) sell you a song for unlimited playback and then they disable it at whim. the article quotes the spokesperson of the biggest dutch consumer rights organization stating that at time of purchase it was not communicated to the users that this would be possible. KPN itself claims to be innocent (as they are only a reseller and OD2 apparently decided to terminate this license type at the pressure of the mayor record companies).
They do seem to understand that this situation might not be entirely welcomed by their customers and as a compensation they offer 10 euro vouchers (independent of the amount of songs downloaded under the old licenses) that can be used to buy songs from the OD2 catalogue with a license permits unlimited playback on one computer plus burning and playback on mobile devices (for 99 eurocent a song). Yeah right! Great deal thank you so much you responsible corporate entity! and when they cancel this type of license they will most likely offer you another €5 voucher that you can trade in in order to listen to your whole music library one last time before it autodestructs…
This is exactly why i have never downloaded a DRM crippled file and why i will NEVER do this in the future. This whole story actually makes me feel much better downloading music from the peer2peer corners of the internets (which is still perfectly legal in the Netherlands). The music industry has repeatedly equated downloading with theft which of course is bullshit. But maybe selling something to you for unlimited use and then taking it away from you should be considered theft? Sadly we are living in times where this kind of behavior is more likely to be called an ‘innovative business model’ instead. So i suggest going here for all your music needs.