How did my legal digital music project go?

musicians-with-masks-1921Six months ago I set out to make sure all the music on my devices was legitimate. How did the project go?

Now there are legal and affordable ways to legitimately own digital music, there are no excuses for owning pirated material. 

Or maybe not, checking all the songs stored on my computer are legal proved harder than expected.

Just to be clear, illegal means songs I haven’t paid for but should have. If I own the CD, then rips for my personal use are legal. Songs downloaded from band sites or other legitimate online services offering free material don’t count.

When I started there were 15,000+ songs in my iTunes library. I guess most were illegal.

Today I’ve around 10,000 songs. Nearly all are legal. If I come across anything potentially dodgy, I buy a legal copy or trash the file.

I’d like to say all are 100% kosher, but that’s not realistic. I’ve deleted everything I know is dodgy. Where possible I’ve either purchased songs from iTunes, brought the music on CD or downloaded them from Auckland Library’s Freegal service.

One big problem is knowing for sure something is legal. iTunes songs are straightforward, I can tell from the app what was paid for and downloaded. With CD rips I can look at the physical media.

There’s nothing so obvious on the Freegal songs to tell me they were legitimate free downloads. The same goes for other legitimate free downloads.

The other huge problem is that Apple’s New Zealand iTunes site doesn’t offer many of the songs I’d like to buy – nor does Amazon. Generally I note the song and head off to TradeMe or Real Groovy to find a CD copy – most CDs cost under $10 and can be a much cheaper way of buying music than iTunes.

Where newspapers sit in the bigger picture

how mass is the medium 10.13.pptx 6


While the numbers will be somewhat different in New Zealand, the message is clear. Just three years after the first modern tablets went on sale, they are almost as popular as printed newspapers.

Newspapers still make plenty of money. I suspect that for every dollar spent on advertising to New Zealand tablet users at least ten times that amount is spent on newspaper ads.


Does digitl need social media sharing buttons?

My technology news site, digitl, officially opens for business on Monday morning. We started running news stories this week in preparation. If you haven’t already been there, please take a look.

Two readers contacted me asking if I could put social media sharing buttons on the site. The theme I use has a baked-in “tweet this post” button that doesn’t look too awful, but in general I worry social media buttons clutter up designs without adding much value.

Do buttons still work for media sites – what do you think?

And what about comments? Are comments useful on the site or would I better off using something like Disqus or finding a way to integrate, say, Google+ discussions with posts? I’ve seen arguments for and against these ideas and others as well.

What do you think?

Moving to digitl

For a sneak preview of New Zealand’s new technology news service, point your browser at Bookmark it, subscribe to the feed and tell your friends. You can also find the stories at partner sites Geekzone and Scoop.

The emphasis is on stories of immediate interest to New Zealanders and telling our stories to the rest of the world. That means deeper coverage of local technology companies and fewer of the kind of stories you might see on international sites.

Digitl looking for fresh story leads, don’t hesitate to get in touch if you’ve something newsworthy.

In the meantime I’m republishing some digitl stories here to give you a taste of what is to come.