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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    ConceptJunkie (profile), 6 Dec 2006 @ 6:51am

    Of course it's a good business model, for crooks..

    Of course allofmp3 has a good business model, hide in a country that has looser copyright standards and look the other way when you sell to customers in the U.S..

    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.

    On the other hand, eMusic has a great business model, although pricing per track regardless of length can lead to some odd situations (certain albums can be grotesquely over- or underpriced), but they are much cheaper than their DRM-shackled competitors, and if you aren't hogtied into the crap being excreted by the big labels and are willing to experiment and explore, they are an incredible value. I've been a subscriber for over a year and now get most of my music from them.

    DRM will continue to become more and more onerous until a large proportion of the customer base rebels, which may never happen. In the meantime, you should patronize a company that isn't a crook and doesn't treat you like a crook.

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