So Ricky Gervais has picked as the supplier for his new pay-per-listen podcast series. What a huge mistake. I’ve never had the displeasure of listening to stuff from Audible before, so I thought I’d give it a go. First up I was asked to pay for a subscription to Audible before I could download free stuff. Excuse my French but you can go and get fucked.

I managed to get around that by following a “UK residents click here” link (hint: I’m not a UK resident) and signed up to Audible for free. “Right”, I thought “now I can download an mp3 of Ricky’s show”. No. No you cannot. You have to first download the “Audible Manager”, a ponderous piece of software that seems to simply be some glorified ftp client. OK, alright, let’s humour them a bit. Right, I’d like to download the free Ricky Gervais preview to play on my Pocket PC. The formats available are:

  • Telephone like
  • AM Radio
  • FM Radio
  • MP3

Sweet. I’d like to download an ‘MP3’ like quality version for my pocket pc please. No fuck off. You only get ‘FM Radio’ quality, which is mono and sounds like shit. If you want ‘MP3’ quality, go buy an iPod. Seriously. Audible’s compatibility list says that only Apple iPods will play format ‘4’, the MP3 quality format. I guess it must be some hacked up version of AAC then.

Profanity be damned. is the biggest piece of shit service ever. I would happily pay $5 per episode to get an unencumbered, standard MP3 quality file of the new Ricky Gervais series, but instead I have to pay $1.95 to get the crappiest, DRMed, proprietary, barely audible version. Thanks but no.

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  1. When you get ‘free’ content, you usually get what you pay for. I’ve had an Audible subscription for several years, and it’s been one of the best things I’ve ever purchased. True, their software has a few quirks, but on the whole, it’s easy to use. My wife uses it, and she’s completely non technical, wouldn’t know what to do with a torrent.

  2. It has nothing to do with free or paid content. The simple fact is that Audible only provides a decent bit-rate in AAC format, which is locked down to iPods only. If your player doesn’t play AAC, you’re going to get a crappily compressed file, regardless of how much you pay.

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