It Takes More Than A Single MP3 To Embrace The DRM-Free World

from the jump-in,-the-water's-warm dept

The Wall Street Journal is excitedly claiming that the recording industry, in a "turnabout," is now releasing unrestricted MP3s. From the headline, that sounds exciting, and would be really impressive if it were true that the industry was finally recognizing how much damage copy protection has done to their market over the years. It's given Apple tremendous power over the labels by putting them in the power seat, while shrinking the labels' overall market by limiting who could actually make use of the files and what they could do with them. So, plenty of people have been pushing for the big labels to recognize the value of moving to unrestricted MP3s -- and the success of both E-Music and Allofmp3 (no matter how legal or illegal it may be) in getting people to buy unrestricted files should show that there's a market for them. So, what's the evidence that these record labels have turned around their thinking? Apparently, it's the fact that one label has decided to release one song as an unrestricted MP3. It's not at all clear how that's a turnaround, or even a trend worth WSJ treatment. After all, it's not even new. Yahoo has already done a few tests with different labels and unrestricted songs -- and this is more of the same. While it's good to see some very, very tiny experiments, that's hardly a turnaround and it's hardly a recognition of the problems caused by copy protection. It's just a weak admission that these labels still don't know what they're doing so many years after it's become clear to plenty of other people that this is the direction they have to go in.

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  1. identicon
    Don, 6 Dec 2006 @ 7:51am

    Re: Of course it's a good business model, for croo

    Even if you don't care about legality, do you care about the artists not getting a cut? Granted, under the iron fist of the RIAA, they may get little or nothing anyway, but at least you're being legal about it.

    For one thing, looser legalities or not the site pays it's royalty fees like they are suppose to. If the RIAA and the major label's don't want to accept the royalty payments for fear of losing their iron fisted control of the industry that's not the website's problem.

    Secondly, the whole argument about the artist getting paid is a paper ghost to enlist sympathy that some poor down and out musician might be starving when the reality is that most artists see little or no money off their albums do to the payment structures the industry imposes on them. If anyone is stealing from the artists, it is the labels. If you really really want to the artists to get paid properly then stop supporting the RIAA.

    For myself I used to buy 100+ albums a year from 87-2001. From 2001-2006 I only bought maybe a dozen albums, and then only from the artists directly. So far this year I've bought maybe 60-70 actual CDs, but only from second hand stores or the actual artists themselves, and maybe 50-60 albums from eMusic (I'd buy from ALLofMP3 but I've had technical problems with the site since I first tried in May). And I will continue to buy exclusively from eMusic, secondhand stores and directly from the artists themselves (who generally get the bulk of their album sales in this case).

    The RIAA and the major labels are totally within their rights to sell their merchandise anyways they want. And I am perfectly within my rights to tell them their products suck and take my business elsewhere. If enough people do that, then eventually the bands/musicians will stop selling their rights away to the major labels when they find they can make more money by doing a little of the work themselves. Because under the RIAA/major label model the artist certainly don't benefit, and the comsuers certainly don't benefit. The only people that benefit are high priced executives and stockholders who had a little money to seed for a continual return on their investment for doing more or less nothing.

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