Just pick one.

The number one album this week is Contraband by Velvet Revolver, and it is copy protected. The CD includes technology that blocks direct copying or ripping of the tracks to MP3 format. It does come preloaded with songs in Microsoft’s Windows Media Audio (WMA) format.

My sons have Sony ATRAC CD player and an Apple iPod. The Sony uses the ATRAC or MP3 formats. The iPod uses AAC, encoded known as MPEG-4. Neither are compatible with WMA. My son wanted to put a number of songs from his iTunes library onto an ATRAC CD. He has purchased all of the CDs so this should be perfectly legal.

iTunes keeps all of the files in M4A format. It can’t burn an ATRAC CD. The Sony SonicStage software looks only for MP3 files, and can’t see the M4A files. Neither tool could deal with WMA files. So he has no simple way to move these songs from one device to the other.

Now I know that the record companies don’t want him to be able to use the music that he has paid for any way he wants. They want him to pay for it over and over. I don’t want to argue that point right now. I just wonder, would it be too much to ask to have everyone get together and pick one compatible format?