Apple has been serving up previews of upcoming releases on iTunes for a while now. While it was Bob Dylan, Justin Timberlake and David Bowie in the past year, electronic music duo Daft Punk took the world by surprise this week by making their newest album available for streaming on iTunes. It has emerged now that a flaw in Apple's security system is allowing users to download these preview albums for free.
As discovered by 9to5Mac, anyone can find the URL where the stream is hosted using a tool to monitor HTTP requests. In effect, once you have the URL, you can save the high quality MP4 to your computers. Interestingly, since the album comes with Apple's FairPlay DRM, you will not be able to play it on any other device.
Both Apple and artistes have been trying to mull over ways to cut down on music piracy, especially pre-launch leaks. Albums about to be released have the most buzz around them and are likely to get leaked even as physical copies make their way into stores.
Apple has put up Daft Punk's much-hyped album Random Access Memories up for listening as a 74-minute long stream instead of single tracks. Right next to the stream you can find a button that urges you to pre-order the album if you liked the songs.
There is a good possibility that this preview streaming will push the sales of the album up. A listener who liked what he heard on the stream is probably more likely to want to purchase it than someone who has not heard the album. The idea is a great one, but only if it is free of security loopholes such as these. With Apple getting into full-fledged streaming with the iRadio app, it will need to seriously sort its security issues out.