xine and iTunes Plus

It’s not really a fresh news, but the past month Apple launched their iTunes Plus service, 256 kbit LC-AAC tracks without DRM to be bought on their iTunes Music Store. The idea is intriguing, considering the number of artists for which they chosen to distribute this way.

Today, I decided to fire up my MacBook Pro and take a look to their offer, and found interesting Essential: John Coltrane album for about €10, I wanted to see if their DRM-free tracks actually worked in xine, so I decided to give it a try (besides, Jazz music is a veeery nice background when I’m working on job stuff).

After downloading the tracks, copying them to Enterprise and adding them to Amarok.. they play very nicely. The result is really good, even if they are not lossless, the quality loss seems to be very limited. I’ve also found Colors by Hikaru Utada while I was browsing, so I got that to try too (now you can see why I try not to browse through music and book stores too much).

For those who think that this is unethical.. well it can’t be less ethical than buying a normal CD or a DVD at an usual music store, and I find it certianly more ethical than downloading, as long as the price is fair for the quality you get. I’d be very glad to buy TV Series through the iTS if they sold them without DRM and in Italy too. And for those complaining about the tracking ID inside the files (apID entry in the MP4 container, at least there I found my username in ASCII format), well, I don’t care about it myself, I don’t want DRM because it disallows me from playing the tracks on my Linux box, or any other of my boxes that don’t run OS X or iTunes, not because I want to put them online.

My next project would then be to improve xine’s support for M4A files (I think only basic metadata is fetched now; it would be cool if there was a way to show as a visualisation the cover of the file during playback.

Anyway, now it’s late and I’ll probably have dinner and then resume my work with labels and envelopes (sigh); oh and I suppose that now I could also accept iTunes Gift Cards to the side of the wishlist 🙂