Two-Thirds Of Music Execs Say It Would Be Good To Ditch DRM... Yet It Persists

from the tipping-the-balance dept

DRM remains a hot issue, with the debate punctuated by all sorts of doublespeak from record label execs. But a new piece of research says that two-thirds of music industry executives think removing DRM from digital tracks would increase sales A couple of points here: first, we salute them on their keen grasp of the obvious, that making things easier for consumers and making their products more useful and valuable might help them sell more. Second, if the stats are accurate, we're once again left asking why don't they get on with things and start selling unrestricted tracks? Seventy percent of those surveyed believe that the best future for downloaded music is in tracks that can play on as wide a range of devices as possible. While we're stating the obvious, the best way to do that isn't to keep developing new DRM schemes, it's just to ditch it all together. The survey would seem to indicate that there's some recognition that things need to change in the industry, at least from some people. But to interpret that as a realization that the fundamental economics of their business has changed, and indeed that people will take some action, may be a stretch.

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  • identicon
    dataGuy, 15 Feb 2007 @ 10:05am

    History reperts

    I'm amazed that no one has given these execs a history lesson on Lotus 1-2-3 copy-protection. Being just one company and not a whole industry, Lotus was able to relatively quickly figure out the copy protection did more harm than good.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    hank, 15 Feb 2007 @ 11:03am

    why is everyone so upset over copy protected music

    why is everyone so upset over copy protected music? - i sorta get it and sorta don't, all the "tech" blogs and podcasts about consumer electronic devices - act like this is the biggest problem in the world today. I happen to agree that music ought to be sold unrestricted, but until then i just remove it myself via analog loop.

    it just strikes me as strange then over the past 2 years this seems to be the only thing anybody talks about. it was like 15 years ago when i started using computers heavily - started with apple - and i would buy the apple mags, and half the articles would be about who the CEO was and this and that with the market share and board of directors, and i was like, "hey can we review a few programs here, or give us some tips".

    "tech news" now basically means "our opinions on the marketing strategies of consumer electronic device manufacturers"

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Feb 2007 @ 11:12am

      Re: why is everyone so upset over copy protected m

      "but until then i just remove it myself via analog loop"
      Not everybody knows how to do that. As a matter of fact, I would say that the market consists mostly of peole that DON'T know how to do that. There is a whole world of consumers outside of the peole who read this blog.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Sanguine Dream, 15 Feb 2007 @ 12:20pm

        Re: Re: why is everyone so upset over copy protect

        I read this blog and I dont know how to use analog looping. Frankly I dont even know what it is.

        What bothers me is these the high and mighty people that covet their mad 1337 underground skillz/knowledge will in the same breath act like what they know is common knowledge.

        While I agree that it's almost impossible to find a tech site that covers media playback (in any) without a DRM discussion I also say that this is a real issue that needs to be addressed.

        Imagine what would happen if we all just hid and cracked the DRM in our basements. The RIAA would complain to the government that they need help to round up all the criminals that are sharing illegally and costing them lost wages. Since we are all too busy to notice this, the government bends to the whims of the RIAA and soon we have shock troops dragging computer geeks off into the night never to be seen again. Yes the government seems to bend to the whims of the RIAA today but think about how bad it would be there was no opposing them and music consumers weren't talking about the issue.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    _Jon, 15 Feb 2007 @ 11:26am

    I have a collection of over 5,000 songs.
    Lots of CD's with only a couple of good songs.

    I don't buy tracks 'cause I'm not going to deal with the DRM and I don't want to bother with "analog loop"ing.

    So I listen to it on the radio (and yahoo!) and have a lot of old songs on my MP3 player.

    But I *know* that if I could - hassle free - buy songs and do what I want with them, I would spend at least $20 / month on songs. I would listen to less radio, but I would buy a bunch of music that I don't buy now.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    cver, 15 Feb 2007 @ 11:27am

    RIAA contact

    Perhaps I am just an idiot, but I searched the entire RIAA website and for the life of me could not locate a feedback email of any kind. Perhaps they have absolutely no interest in what consumers have to say about whats going on.

    If you know the email, please enlighten me!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    mixlplix, 15 Feb 2007 @ 11:37am

    Looks like they read techdirt too.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    mix, 15 Feb 2007 @ 11:40am

    get all you mp3 needs at mp3stor.com

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    mp3stor, 15 Feb 2007 @ 12:41pm

    Yes it is. Enjoy. Its easy to get a DRM remover program for those of you who were fooled into iTunes. But dont sweat it, 'could happen to anyone. well....maybe not me

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    1337 u||d3rgr0u|| S|, 15 Feb 2007 @ 12:44pm

    analog loop

    Cheapest way I can think of is get a double ended headphone cable, plug one end into your speaker out port and one end into your mic in. Insert cd, start sound recorder, press record, press play in the cd player. Analog loop

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    chris, 15 Feb 2007 @ 1:01pm

    stuff

    The analog loop or analog hole is really just a way to record copy protected music. it takes time though as you have to play the music, say in iTunes, and at the same time record it with another program, like Adobe Audition or other recording studio software (Pro Tools, Acid, Cakewalk, etc...). Since you record the sound waves themselves in an analog fashion (as opposed to copy/pasting the file) the DRM is no longer on the file. Rather than spend all that time stripping files of DRM, it's much easier just to use a bit torrent program, or DC++ or eMule or whatever else is out there these days. You get a superior product for free, as opposed to paying for a product that has limitations on how you can use it. Now if only the record labels would put out a product worth buying...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jeff, 15 Feb 2007 @ 1:05pm

    Analog Poop

    If I can't play it whenever and wherever I want to play it...I am not buying it. It's a simple issue.
    I am not renting a book I purchase at Barnes and Noble. I am free to read it as many times as I want and even loan or give it to a friend. A Format on my hard drive doesn't mean I have to go repurchase the book. Yes, there are differences between a music file and a book...but the majority doesn't gives 2 shats what those differences are because they want ownership and free use of what they purchase.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Darve, 15 Feb 2007 @ 1:07pm

    "...for those of you who were fooled into iTunes"

    mp3stor, you sound like a pretty big tool. What's so bad about using iTunes?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Feb 2007 @ 1:08pm

    Random ramblings

    Interesting find, Carlo.

    Seems like the Record Companies are large enough that they wouldn't need to continue to maintain these additional layers in their value chain.. Consider selling music directly to their customers. Man, I've never seen an industry fight so hard to adopt a new technology, and sell their product direct. Soundblaster has been out since, err, 1987. Think of all the savings in operational costs by adopting this model. I've been waiting for the day I could go to say universal.com, and be able to buy anything from the catalog.

    But that leads to the next question- What purpose outside of awarding Platinum/Gold records would the RIAA have in a DRM-free world?

    Scary thought, but if you take this concept a few steps further, it seems hard to imagine that it would continue to exist long thereafter, unless they (sic) adapt their business model.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    errr, 15 Feb 2007 @ 1:19pm

    iTunes = DRM
    If you bought anything with DRM im sure you're the tool.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Craig, 15 Feb 2007 @ 1:28pm

    Analog looping degrades the sound.. Sure there are programs out there to crack the DRM, but 1) that's an extra step I shouldn't have to perform as a consumer and 2) You could be breaking the law by circumventing the copy protection.

    The other thing to think about is all of the money the industry as a whole wastes on this stuff.. Think about how much money it must've cost to develop the CD copy-protection scheme that you can circumvent with a Sharpie. That money came out of OUR pockets as consumers. The labels bitch about how they want to raise the prices on iTunes when they could recoup that money - and more - by dropping DRM entirely and selling direct to the consumer.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Steve, 15 Feb 2007 @ 2:03pm

    We need a better copyright mechanism

    I agree that the current DRM stinks. I found a tool that strips MS DRM if you own the license in the first place, which at least makes the file portable.

    At the same time, the music companies need some form of protection from rampant violations. I read about a new scheme that encodes information about the person who bought the file in the file itself. This poses no restrictions, but it does allow quick verification if one owns the file and provides traceability if the file is illegally posted on-line. Stripping the information would be proof by itself that the file has been tampered with.

    Given the nonsense built into Vista to protect DRM'ed content (I'm switching to Mac) and the limitations that DRM poses in general, I suspect a more reasonable approach to copright protection will emerge.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Chris, 15 Feb 2007 @ 2:16pm

    Uhh.. why?

    "Given the nonsense built into Vista to protect DRM'ed content (I'm switching to Mac) and the limitations that DRM poses in general, I suspect a more reasonable approach to copright protection will emerge."

    So instead of just retaining your current version of Windows XP, that at least for 6months, if not longer will be better than a new release of Buggy OS v2.0 er I mean Vista you'll purchase a Mac that cant intergrate with just about anything you've already purchased? So what you're saying is I dont want to continue using Windows because they limit my accessibilty to content? What the hell do you think you'll be doing if you get a computer made by a company that won't allow anyone else to offer content for them?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    dead horse, 15 Feb 2007 @ 2:53pm

    If the dim-wits out there would just STOP BUYING DRM ITEMS they would stop making it. If the idiots would quit buying from iTunes completely they would take it (DRM) off ASAP. I have about 100G worth of music and not one DRM track. Wise-up people. Also i'm not going to feel like a criminal for doing what i want to with the items i bought and payed for. IT'S MINE!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Feb 2007 @ 3:36pm

    More rambling

    People want to fill their iPods and Nomads with legitimate, licensed music, and also use it in multiple devices.

    The general public is not as tech savvy as the community here at TechDirt. Hell, I find myself correcting so called "purveyors of technology" at Best Buy, Circuit City, et al. all the time, and these guys are supposed to know the tech inside and out- it's their job. While I bet a bunch of us on here can bring personal experiences, but that's beside the original spirit of this article.


    Point is that the average person doesn't mind ponying up $9/CD on iTunes because it's more convenient than ripping a cd, using a DRM removal tool, or using a torrent search. iTunes $9/cd is pinned in relation to manufacturing costs of CDs, which are nearly nonexistant in the digital world. Essentially by buying a DRM album, you subsidize the manufacturing, packaging, and shipping costs, which, well, don't happen.

    What there is though, is new costs involved in datawarehousing, license management, controls, all tied to the DRM technology itself. On an aggrigate level, these costs may be around $.10- .20/song. Plus there are bandwidth charges... Heck, I could go on, but ah f***it.


    Here's the point I'm trying to make- On iTunes I can pay $.99 for a 4mb DRM song which my ears can enjoy, or, IMHO, buy something better- a 1 hour, 500mb TV show for $1.99 which my eyes and ears can enjoy. It's all about the experience, and the more senses involved, it's supposed to be better, right?

    The awesome thing about all of this is that the **TV NETWORKS GET IT.** They understand that their media doesn't have to be repackaged, and will drive more people to their TV, and in my opinion, the TV show gives me more entertainment value for the money.

    The best thing that has me laughing all the way is that the Music industry has fought this tech for so long, and Video/Film Industry has embraced it (at least on the surface), and I can honestly say that I just can't value music as highly as a good "The Office" episode.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Darve, 15 Feb 2007 @ 7:26pm

    stop being such snobs about this issue

    Too many of you are acting like a bunch of elitist bastards about this. Not everybody who listens to digidal music has the time or the need to join in this massive protest against DRM. It appears to be painfully obvious to all of us that DRM is a bad thing and can be very very annoying, but we aren't the norm. When somebody implies that one has to be fooled into using iTunes, it pisses me off. There are a lot of smart people out there who use iTunes not because they were fooled but because it fills the need that they're looking for. Bottom line: for someone looking for the simplest solution for enjoying digital music on a portable player, why would he not go with an iPod/iTunes combo? Your average doctor probably doesn't have the time or the interest in learning how DRM will limit his ability to share his music, because it's most likely an issue that he'll never run into. Chances are the issues that DRM poses aren't going to effect the average user who just wants something that he can use to listen to his music. And that's where I feel that the disconnect lies between the average consumer and people who post here. Most people aren't burdened by the DRM imposed by iTunes because they aren't doing anything with their music and players that violate the terms of the agreement. True, DRM on their music is still restrictive and the world would be a better place if it weren't part of our digital media, but that by no means makes them fools for using iTunes. So my point in all this is: keep opposing DRM, keep spreading awareness, but don't belittle people in the process of trying to get your point across.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Darve=Tool, 16 Feb 2007 @ 8:27am

    "Not everybody who listens to digidal music has the time or the need to join in this massive protest against DRM."

    -It doesn't take any time NOT to buy something.

    "When somebody implies that one has to be fooled into using iTunes, it pisses me off. "

    -Misguided energy. You should be pissed off that they are trying to control you just to perserve there buisness model. 90% of iTune DL'ers have no idea what DRM is. Thus, they were fooled into it. Smart ppl can be fooled.

    "Bottom line: for someone looking for the simplest solution for enjoying digital music on a portable player, why would he not go with an iPod/iTunes combo?"

    -The simplest solution would for me to be able to put it on whatever i want.
    Example- Lets say my hard drive has to be formatted. ERRR game over. I just lost all the song from iTunes. Anybody see a problem with this besides me? More over, you can't take the ones on your ipod (ones remaining after said format) off!

    "Your average doctor probably doesn't have the time or the interest in learning how DRM will limit his ability to share his music, because it's most likely an issue that he'll never run into."

    -Most of us in the world don't make a Doctors salary to have such peace of mind.

    "Chances are the issues that DRM poses aren't going to effect the average user who just wants something that he can use to listen to his music. "

    -Oh, like say my ipod AND my in-dash car stereo...ERRR game over again. Not with DRM.


    "Most people aren't burdened by the DRM imposed by iTunes because they aren't doing anything with their music and players that violate the terms of the agreement."

    - You just said "imposed" then "agreement"...does not compute.

    "True, DRM on their music is still restrictive and the world would be a better place if it weren't part of our digital media, but that by no means makes them fools for using iTunes. "

    -Um, yes it does make you a fool. They have played you like a fool because they (record co.) know you are either too stupid or too lazy to care.

    "but don't belittle people in the process of trying to get your point across."

    -I do it to drive the point home. Maybe you will not forget. Maybe you'll even tell a friend.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    robroy, 16 Feb 2007 @ 4:54pm

    Paying for prerecorded music is SOOOOO20th century

    I haven't bought a CD since 1997. I didn't start downloading until about four years ago. I haven't paid for pre-recorded music since 1997 in any form except some stuff from garage sales.

    I'm in a band. We get paid on the pre-20th century model - by performing.

    I do buy dvd's of concerts though.

    If an audio recording is not available for free, I will just never be exposed to it. The sun will still come up tomorrow. I will still like my car, and love my wife. I will still enjoy playing music.

    After all, recorded music is now just a commodity - something you get free with a happy meal.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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