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
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Dec 2006 @ 10:33am

    I don't understand why...

    Artist makes the songs. Label provides funds for the songs to be recorded. Artist records songs. Label provides funds to market and distribute albums. Artist make little money, Label makes a killing (if artist does well) - I think we can do better than that.

    Let's say that a big name group like the "Goo Goo Dolls" decides that they hate their label and want to do things on their own. If they were to fron't the money to record the album, anywhere between $500,000 and $1.5 m (depending on the studio and producers and such) - they could release their music in digital format for practially nothing online. Let's say they release their album online and charge $.99 a song or $10 an album. All they would need to sell is 150,000 albums to break even. Everything above and beyond can go into producing the actual cd's. Not to mention what they bring in from concerts.

    The point is to kill the middle man - out with the labels.

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