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.

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Comments on “Gimme Some Of That Sweet DRM-Free Seoul Music”

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Tyshaun says:

I like the idea...

I’d be willing to pay a bit more for music that is DRM free and undeniably legal. As long as the price difference isn’t that much, I can see it working.

I dont think it’s all that much an indictment against DRM as it is an attempt to dissuade piracy. People steal music for a variety of reasons, if prices were cheap enough to get DRM free stuff, I think people would go for it.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, although I think the tactics of RIAA are horrible, I cant see music existing without some form of major corporate backing. Sure some artists can survive without the deep pockets of the music industry, but most need the advertising money to get enough publicity to be financially salient.

Moogle says:

Would you be so critical, those of you who feel this is just a way to charge more, if a 3rd party somehow managed to get permission to sell straight high-bitrate MP3s, sold only those, and charged a higher price?

My guess is no. Certainly, they should be watched with a critical eye, but there’s still a chance they might not hang themselves with this rope.

John says:

Re: problem

If this was happening in the US, as soon as consumers started purchasing the DRM-free versions, the RIAA would decide that it means that people are willing to pay more for for each track, so they’d raise the price of the DRM versions.

Then, once people begin to buy less of the now more expensive DRM tracks, they’d blame it on piracy.

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