DRM-Free Music Sells, Major Labels Keep Pretending The Jury Is Still Out

from the annoying-customers-isn't-good-business dept

The idea that DRM-free music might just make good business sense smolders along, as eMusic is announcing they've managed to sell 100 million unprotected songs without the world coming to an end. As part of the promotion, the customer who purchased the milestone track will have a song written about him by the Barenaked Ladies, who'll include the song on as a bonus track for their upcoming album. The record labels have consistently claimed you can't be successful selling music that isn't copy-protected -- but eMusic's second place showing (behind iTunes) shows that's clearly not the case. They continue to sell more music than Rhapsody, Napster and MSN Music combined, all while catering to indie music fans by avoiding major label content. 2006 saw a growth in smaller content providers arguing that DRM-free content can be part of a sustainable business model, but there's still a shortage of major industry players acknowledging DRM's limitations. Meanwhile the major labels continue to pretend either that the idea has no legs -- or that they need to conduct further experiments to see if demand for DRM-free content actually exists. There simply can be no talk of a trend toward unprotected content en-masse as long as the music industry continues to pursue the idea in half-assed ways.

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  1. identicon
    Don, 14 Dec 2006 @ 5:27pm

    Yeah, and the only reason eMusic numbers aren't higher is because they have a "cap" on there downloads. there top plan only allowed for 90 tracks (now 75 for "newbies") a month (for $19.95, or $191.50 if you got the yearly plan), although they do allow up to $75 worth of "bonus packs" a month (you could get packs of up to 50 tunes - now 30 - for $14.95. Hell I've been a member for maybe six months now and I've already loaded up on close to 60 albums, most of them from very well known bands (sevendust, powerman 5000, black label society). Frankly, even if the major labels did suddenly start selling their music DRM free I'd likely still continue to buy from independent labels and sites like eMusic whenever possible. Well except maybe for Roadrunner Records. If Roadrunner ever signed a deal with eMusic I might go broke. lol

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