Yahoo Seriously Considering Unrestricted MP3 Downloads?
from the that-would-be-nice... dept
Back in February, a Yahoo exec spoke up at a music conference saying that the recording industry should start selling unrestricted MP3s, rather than continuing down the path of the DRM-encumbered music files. This makes sense for a variety of reasons. First, the industry already sells DRM-free versions of most songs when they sell CDs. Second, adding DRM is basically assuming that your customers are criminals. Most importantly, though, copy protection doesn’t even solve the problem the industry claims it’s solving. All it takes is one file to be available for the song to be available everywhere, and any copy protection will be broken pretty quickly. So, DRM only acts as an inconvenience for legitimate customers (and, in some cases, only encourages them to go out and get unauthorized files). Also, despite the claims that unencumbered MP3 files would kill the industry, there’s plenty of evidence that’s not true. eMusic and Allofmp3.com have both shown that people are willing to pay for unencumbered MP3 files, even if they’re available for free elsewhere. People will pay for convenience.
So, with the Yahoo exec saying those things back in February, the obvious followup question was why isn’t Yahoo doing this? It appears they might be trying. Hans Mast writes in to let us know that Yahoo is surveying some of its Yahoo Music subscribers to see how they would feel about unrestricted MP3s. Hans interprets this to mean that Yahoo is about to do so — though, that’s not entirely clear. Yahoo runs surveys of this nature all the time, but it doesn’t mean they have anything planned. If anything, perhaps they’re just going to use the data to go to the recording industry and plead their case that this is a good idea. Of course, the questions also indicate that they want to charge $1.09 for the unencrypted MP3s, so perhaps they’re trying variable pricing with DRM-free music costing a bit more.