Remember a few years ago when Microsoft released a music DRM system called PlaysForSure? The idea was that a load of online music stores would sell music in this format, and lots of different MP3 players would support it, and so if a customer bought “PlaysForSure” music they could be sure it would play on their “PlaysForSure” music player.
(Of course, if you want music that really does play for sure, get it in MP3 format, since that is supported by essentially all music players and computers. PlaysForSure, because it’s a DRM system, is intrinsically about preventing stuff from working, rather than making it inter-operable. So Microsoft’s name for their system is essentially fraudulent.)
Anyway, some people fell for the Microsoft lies and bought PlaysForSure music, although the system was never a big success, and Microsoft didn’t support it for their own Zune music player.
But now, Microsoft are turning off the servers which authenticate PlaysForSure music:
Along with that, Microsoft shut down its failed online music store, and now for the kicker, it’s telling anyone who was suckered into buying that DRM’d content that it’s about to nuke the DRM approval servers that let you transfer the music to new machines. That means you need to authorize any songs you have on whatever machine you want — and that’s the only place they’ll be able to reside forever. And, of course, any upgrade to your operating system (say from XP to Vista) and you lose access to your music as well. By now, hopefully, everyone is aware of why DRM is problematic, but it’s nice of Microsoft to give one final demonstration by basically taking away more rights for the music it sold people with the promise that Microsoft would keep the music available.
The moral of this story? Never, ever buy DRM’ed media or any DRM system — the companies selling it will fuck you up the arse as soon as they think it’s in their interests to do so. Instead, get media in an uncrippled format — either buy it, or if it’s not legally available in a non-DRM format, acquire it via a P2P network such as BitTorrent.