DRM always hurts in the end

Once upon a time, Microsoft set up MSN Music, a store for selling limited rights to listen to DRM-encumbered music. It turns out that Microsoft are retroactively cancelling customers’ ability to, you know, actually listen to the music they’ve already forked out money for.

As ever, Mark Pilgrim nails it in his description of the situation, and what it means for people in the unfortunate position of having “bought” music from MSN Music. (Summary: once your existing computers have died or been reinstalled, your MSN Music tracks will turn into so much binary sludge.)

This isn’t the first time such things have happened, of course. At the risk of sounding like I’m gloating, I’d just like to point out how pleased I am that I’ve never bought DRM-encumbered bits that I couldn’t already break the DRM on at the point of purchase.

The moral of this story is the same as it always has been: DRM-encumbered data is not yours when you’ve paid for it, regardless of what you might think.