TTTMS #5: Windows Media Audio

Things That Threaten My Sanity: Windows Media Audio

I fell into the WMA format like an arranged marriage. I wanted to rip music from CDs onto my hard drive. Windows had set me up with Media Player, so I used it. This was long before I even entertained the idea of getting an mp3 player, so compatibility wasn’t a concern. I just wanted to be able to listen to music on the computer and burn some mix CDs (for personal listening in a confined area far away from all other human beings… please don’t arrest me). WMA was as good as anything.

By the time I started caring about different audio formats a couple years later, I already had a couple thousand songs in WMA format. I learned that MP3s would give me more flexibility, but at that point it seemed more practical to deal with the limitations than to re-rip all my music or convert it and sacrifice some sound quality. When it came time to get my first mp3 player, I bought one that played WMA. No big deal. Four years later, that player is still working perfectly. In that respect, I’ve had no reason to switch sides. I’ve never had any problems with Windows Media Player, either. It’s not hip, but it’s functional and now even quite handsome in its eleventh version. I like it.

Recently, though, the limitations have been bugging me. I don’t necessarily want to buy an iPod or adopt iTunes as my music management software of choice, but I sure wouldn’t mind having those options available to me. Having a sizable music library in WMA format is like being locked into a relationship with someone who’s pretty okay on their own but never lets you talk to other people. I wish I had turned back at 2,000. Now I’m up to ~10,000, which makes the prospect of re-ripping or converting my entire library more burdensome than ever. What’s a guy to do?

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  1. John Maglite says

    Wouldn’t that take an extraordinarily long time? The couple times I’ve started, it seemed to be pretty slow going. I don’t have the patience to let it run for a week. I probably should give it another look, though… this is kinda ridiculous.

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