Downloading: The Next Generation

The Washington Post looks at the next generation of the music downloading industry and file sharing battles: Downloading: The Next Generation

Dislodging Kelly and millions of her peers from services that give them all the copyrighted music they want, free of charge, is challenge enough, but the record labels realize that it’s also only half the battle. Entertainment-industry leaders know they’ll never stamp out illegal file swapping on the Internet, but they hope they can tarnish the experience enough to drive otherwise law-abiding users off of the underground peer-to-peer — or “P2P” — services and into the waiting arms of licensed digital services like the remodeled Napster, Rhapsody and Apple’s iTunes.

After attempting to help my sister get music from Windows Media Player into iTunes and iPod, I am convinced that as long as Apple, Microsoft and Real promote competing DRM flavors, MP3 downloading will remain more attractive, as it is the only format that will play for sure on all computers, portable players, phones and other devices.