Yahoo Offers Refunds Or DRM-Free Music In Exchange For Shutting Down DRM Servers

from the that's-better dept

We were a bit surprised last week when Yahoo decided to shut down its DRM servers, rendering all sorts of “purchased” music close to worthless. After all, when Microsoft had done the same thing, public outcry forced Microsoft to keep the servers running for a few more years. Now Yahoo has leapfrogged that decision, promising either refunds or a replacement DRM-free version of tracks that you downloaded via its service. This may turn out to be expensive for Yahoo, but that’s what the company gets for agreeing to a DRM’d solution in the first place, rather than trusting its instincts and telling the labels to ditch the DRM years ago.

What’s more interesting about this is that retailers may need to start matching this offer. In other words, people are now (reasonably) expecting retailers to “future proof” their music, so that they don’t have to buy the same songs over and over again. If people are buying music, they expect to be able to continue to use that music no matter how the technology changes — and they’re pushing to make sure that happens. Yahoo’s decision to now make its music (even as its shutting down the music service) future proof should make the recording industry realize that the days of getting consumers to rebuy all their music every time there’s a format shift are long gone.

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Companies: yahoo

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Comments on “Yahoo Offers Refunds Or DRM-Free Music In Exchange For Shutting Down DRM Servers”

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29 Comments
Rather_Notsay (profile) says:

If the songs were a nickel each, no one would care that the DRM server went away. If they’re a buck, people are going to get royally POed when they get robbed. I suspect there’s more profit in the first model than the second, provided there were a way I could actually pay five cents for something. Micro-payments is the key missing link on the internet, and I can’t understand why it hasn’t been done a hundred times.

Buzz says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Format Change

Hm, I think format conversions are legal, actually. When you purchase a song online, you are essentially purchasing a license to that artistic creation; the format is technically irrelevant.

I agree with artists being compensated for their work, but it blows me away that music vendors have the audacity to sell “privileges” of things customers are plenty able to do for themselves. That’s like me selling a door but then telling people they cannot drill a hole in it without notifying me first; they aren’t trying to sell it to someone else (not that it’d matter in this case since the door is not digital).

If I pay for a song, I always rip it into a DRM-free format, but I don’t share it with other people.

Anonymous Coward says:

I would be quite PO’d if I was told I had to repurchase the 1500+ songs in my library, even if it was only a nickel each. Do the math .05 x 1500 = $75 It may not be anywhere near what I originally paid for the albums, tapes, and cd’s, but why would I be willing to pay another $75 to keep listening to music that I have already paid for?

Wolfgang says:

Re: Re:

But imagine what fraction of a cent the artists would get, I think that’s the biggest reason that the songs are usually a dollar. DRM is flawed since it relys on servers that could go down at anytime and unless there are countless failsafes you could end up with useless music too easily, I like that there are services that attempted to switch to DRM free, iTunes comes to mind, but it has been too little too late, plus iTunes charges 30 cents to upgrade to DRM free songs. I hate DRM and think it’s wrong, but I have to put up with it since I’m a couple hundred dollars bought into iTunes since I refuse to illegally download and have indie artists that I like not get paid for their work since I like to be paid for my work too.

Ben says:

re: Format Change

Unfortunately JB the media hasn’t changed, just how they protect it. It’s a big difference from your stupid vinyl. Your records will still play on a record player provided you keep them in good condition, so my music should still play on my computer, provided I don’t delete them. Right? Doesn’t that make sense?

And how does this encourage people to buy legal music? I’d much rather download free music illegally and never have to worry about this bullshit.

matt says:

never got this

why people “repurchase” the same things on different media. If I have it on tape, I don’t have it on DVD, and if I have the DVD, I’m not gonna buy the Blu Ray. I’ll keep up with the technology and buy current movies in the current formats, but I never did understand people rushing out to replace their collections with the newest format.

tracker1 (user link) says:

Re: never got this

Honestly, when it makes sense, I’ll do some of my content in the newer format… VHS to DVD is a colossal savings in space… a full season of a TV series in DVD takes less space than two VHS tapes. When you have a few series in VHS it can take a ton of shelf space… going DVD frees several shelves… Tape to CD you got a bit better quality. DVD to Blueray, I don’t see the point for most things. CD to other formats is pretty quick and easy now, so often times might as well not re-buy them.

In 1998 you had to have a pretty fast computer to be able to rip/convert cd’s, and you often got skips etc, as it just wasn’t so good. Now it’s easy as anything.

I think if someone were to offer a $50/month media service that included movies and music, people would go for it… Otherwise pricing will need to drop a bit, and be without DRM schemes, for long-term success. iTMS proved that digital distribution can work… now it’s time to realize that DRM-free is cheaper, easier, and more effective in the long term.

Freedom says:

Re: Re: never got this

>> I think if someone were to offer a $50/month media service that included movies and music, people would go for it…

I sure would. Who the heck wants to worry about managing a library, backing it up, and so on. Just provide me an online “all you can eat” type service and pay royatlies based on usage patterns.

If you have cable or satellite than you probably have 100+ channels, do you watch them all, no, do you pay $50 to $150 a month, yep!

Freedom

tommi says:

DRM rip off

as a past (and probably future) legal music buyer, I was more than a little ticked at the thought of having to re-purchase all the music i have bought from yahoo’s service in the past few years. there have been several times i have already had to repurchase this music(replaced a computer once, yahoo screwed up my account during an upgrade once & its really a pain to “stay legal” re-syncing my player every few days, etc….
i wish someone would make it easy to keep the stuff i already bought and put it on my cd’s, update my mp3 player and enjoy the streaming subscriptions too. I am guessing raphasody will be just as much as a PITA, but i don’t want to buy hard copies from the music stores, (dont like having to buy whole cd’s just to get one song) and i don’t want to download illegally either.
would someone give me a viable option?

Anonymous Coward says:

“and i don’t want to download illegally either.”

Why not? By choosing to abide by the recording industry’s terms, you help perpetuate a system that does not bring value to the market anynmore. The only value they ever brought was marketing and distribution – the internet does that now, better and much cheaper.

some not-so-old guy says:

never got this - by matt

I can see your point on it being useless to repurchase something on newer media, just for the sake of having it on newer media. However, there is a reason for getting new media of the same item — age.

Yes, vinyl keeps well if you don’t scratch it or break it. However, VHS and audio tapes don’t naturally keep well for very long. VHS in particular degrades over the years, no matter how well you keep it. (Which is why so many broadcasting stations were previously pissed off and went back to Beta [so I heard.])

Personally, I have a collection of audio tapes that have simply lost their fidelity, and as such I repurchased them as CDs. I keep those CDs in good condition by archiving them and replaying the ripped content.

Snehasis (user link) says:

DRM and Ripping

I don’t like DRM of any kind and here in India Moserbaer(world’s 2nd largest optical disc manufacturer) is providing DRM(CSS)free movie DvDs,CDs at very cheap rate starting from Rs34(less than 1$).Moserbaer took this policy to stop piracy.I think this is a good solution to DRM,because the primary use of DRM is to fight piracy and protect the rights of the owner of the content.
http://www.moserbaerhomevideo.com/

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