February 15, 2005

1,000,000 (DRM-Free) Songs In Your Pocket A theoretical look at how one might use Winamp to fill 252 CD's via Napster's 14 day trial period. Via Boing Boing

I have also heard that using the LAME Encoder can be used to create MP3's instead of WAV files.

  • That is correct. The LAME plugin works just fine for converting these WMAs to MP3 format. The only problem with this scheme is that Winamp names the MP3 whatever shows in its playlist when the file is created, which is usually something like "[Opening] YrMusicSucksKBye.wma". Or so I hear.
  • I have also heard that you can theoretically just download a load of albums off Usenet directly in MP3 format.
  • I think that the point of this, rather than getting music for free, is that the wonderfull DRM doesn't really do anything except limit what honest people can do with it. If you really want to any DRM can be circumvented and so all this DRM is pointless.
  • It also lets napster say to the record execs: Look! We have teh DRM! Do not take us to court please!
  • MP3 (and WMA) uses algorythms to decide which parts of the music is interesting and which parts can be thrown away. If you do this twice the wrong parts are thrown away and the resulting file will be really 'thin'. So I wouldn't re-encode the un-DRM-ed music. Not even with a lossless encoder.
  • MonkeyFilter: Look! We have teh DRM! Do not take us to court please!
  • There's really no reason not to use a lossless encoder. Really, when they say lossless, they mean it. It doesn't compress as well, but when you decompress it and compare it bitwise to the original, it's exactly the same thing. However, don't use two different lossy encoders. You can have worse problems than just "thinness".
  • If you convert a DRM'd mp3 to a wav file, then reconvert to mp3, the two mp3's should sound the same, correct? All you did was inflate the file, then use the same (or similar) algorithm to remove what had already been removed the first time it was encoded into mp3. Am I missing something here?
  • There is no such thing as a DRM'ed MP3. MP3 don't have DRM and can't. These are converting them from WMA to something else. So because the way WMA works is to throw away some data, if you take that and convert it to something like MP3, which also throws away data, but uses a different process to throw away data, it will make it sound worse because 2 sets of sound info have been thrown away instead of just one.
  • If you're encoding to a high enough bitrate MP3, you're not going to have any real problems even if the original format was lossy. 192K should work. It works fine for AAC files from the Apple store, anyway. 320K MP3 is "audibly lossless" and still a lot smaller than truly lossless audio formats like FLAC or Shorten. On the other hand, if the bitrate is too low, even re-MP3-ing files that were MP3s to begin with can make the music sound worse. Like JPEG, MPEG-2 Layer III audio encodes an approximation of the original source. Approximating an approximation doesn't necessarily result in the same approximation as the first time. Explaining why would require math I don't have, but you can see it by opening a JPEG, resaving it with quality 3, and repeating. By the time you've done it 10 times, there will be noticeable artifacts even though you've used the same quality setting each time.