Gimme Some Of That Sweet DRM-Free Seoul Music
from the if-they-can-do-it-there dept
It’s pretty clear, from anecdotal evidence alone, that DRM makes media less valuable, as it restricts what a user can do with it. It’s possible that businesses realize this, but still deem it worthwhile to restrict content, out of fear that piracy costs will outweigh the benefits of providing DRM-free media. In Korea, the music industry is actually attempting to quantify the difference in value by making DRM-free tracks available at a 40% higher price point than the locked down alternative. This is a clever use of price discrimination; the people attracted to the DRM-free material will be those who really want to listen to music on multiple devices, while still selling music at a lower price to less demanding consumers. This may not even contribute to piracy, since there may not be a lot of people willing to pay more, just so they can give it away. Of course, it remains to be seen whether the price ($.50 vs. $.70) is cheap enough to dissuade users from file trading, but the industry should be commended for experimenting. In the past, the Korean music industry has tried anti-consumer tactics worthy of the RIAA, so they seem to be getting the message. If nothing else, the music industry here would be wise to watch how the Korean market unfolds, to consider adopting a similar approach.