This Week In Techdirt History: October 11th - 17th

from the how'd-it-go? dept

Five Years Ago

This week in 2015, while one judge was calling everyone's bluffs about encryption, James Comey was insisting that "dozens" of terrorists have eluded the FBI because of it and Chuck Grassley was telling the DOJ to get back to the fight, and some were noting how just because the administration had said it wouldn't pursue backdoors didn't mean the next one wouldn't change course. Plus, we noted that the lack of fervor from the NSA on the issue simply suggested that they already had a way into people's phones. Meanwhile, the appeals court handed a clear fair use win to Google over book scanning, while the battle over the Happy Birthday copyright was gearing up for its next phase.

Ten Years Ago

This week in 2010, we looked at the rapid rise of copyright shakedown operations in the US — in fact, there were so many that they were starting to fight with each other over trademarks on their very similar names and copy ceach others' websites. Meanwhile, more countries were reacting to ACTA and Ron Wyden was seeking answers on whether it would impact US law (which independent analysis suggested it absolutely would) — but though all this was leading to some growing reluctance among US officials, we doubted that they would ever really decide not to sign the agreement.

Fifteen Years Ago

This week in 2005, the instant messaging wars were in full swing and Microsoft and Yahoo were finally managing to provide some basic interoperability. RealNetworks and Microsoft settled their antitrust fight, more and more people were speaking up about patent trolls, and we looked at how it was the recording industry's obsession with DRM that helped make Apple so powerful, to the industry's chagrin.

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Filed Under: history, look back


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  • icon
    Samuel Abram (profile), 17 Oct 2020 @ 12:15pm

    Apple and DRM

    Interesting that once Apple no longer had DRM for their music, their influence in the music industry waned, and they are no longer the king of music distribution; that title now belongs to Spotify. That being said, I still buy from iTunes if I like something on Spotify and I want to buy it but Bandcamp isn't an option…

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

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 19 Oct 2020 @ 3:02am

      Re: Apple and DRM

      "Interesting that once Apple no longer had DRM for their music, their influence in the music industry waned"

      What you have to remember was that DRM was mainly a label demand. Once the labels stopped insisting on it, that opened up the market to a lot of competition, including the likes of Amazon who refused to sell MP3s until they could be offered DRM-free. Apple's dominance was largely due to them being the first major success, a lack of effective competition (which was due mainly to non-Apple DRM being so broken and fragmented). So, it inevitably waned when this barrier to entry in the market was removed, then waned further when people decided to pay $10/month for unlimited songs rather than $10/album packed with filler, and someone else got there first this time.

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      • icon
        Samuel Abram (profile), 19 Oct 2020 @ 4:03am

        Re: Re: Apple and DRM

        it inevitably waned when this barrier to entry in the market was removed, then waned further when people decided to pay $10/month for unlimited songs rather than $10/album packed with filler, and someone else got there first this time.

        With Spotify, people don't even have to pay $10/month, as they could listen for free with ads. I think that fact has reduced piracy and improved the fortunes of the record companies dramatically.

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        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 19 Oct 2020 @ 4:54am

          Re: Re: Re: Apple and DRM

          Sure, that's true as well. While most people who were regularly buying albums are probably avid enough listeners to be willing to pay not to listen to constant ads, they have the free option.

          As for piracy, I think that was driven as much by availability as cost. I believe its been documented that the people buying most music were also pirating a lot as well. The simple fact is that avid listeners can't afford to buy everything they want to listen to, so they'd either buy the albums they most wanted and pirate the rest, or they'd pirate as a form of previewing and go and buy the music that was actually the best rather than rolling the dice on a half-assed album with one good song and a bunch of filler.

          Spotify succeeded big time because they removed this obstacle - people can listen to pretty much anything they want without worrying about how much they need to pay for everything. So, while bigger fans might still buy albums they want to keep hold of or listen to when they have no reliable internet connection on a particular device, they've switched to the service that gives them what they want, and Apple are still playing catch-up to that switch in consumer demands.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2020 @ 6:07pm

    they are no longer the king of music distribution...

    I think that has more to do with loss of hardware domination--android slabs, phones, and whatnots are so much more common than iPod/iPad/iPhones that device-independence once more became the dominating factor.

    I don't use any of then: CDs are still the only way really obscure music is distributed. An amazon search for "Zelenka Trio Sonata" turns up several vinyl records and a couple-dozen CDs--and a grand total of zero/zilch/none-cubed MP3s.

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

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 19 Oct 2020 @ 2:55am

      Re:

      "I think that has more to do with loss of hardware domination--android slabs, phones, and whatnots are so much more common than iPod/iPad/iPhones that device-independence once more became the dominating factor."

      No, it's purely down to people switching to streaming rather than purchases, and the fact that they couldn't leverage any platform lock-in because it was Spotify and not iTunes that was at the forefront of the new market.

      "An amazon search for "Zelenka Trio Sonata" turns up several vinyl records and a couple-dozen CDs--and a grand total of zero/zilch/none-cubed MP3s."

      A search on Spotify brings up 8 full albums.

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

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2020 @ 9:48pm

    This week in 2015, out_of_the_blue pissed himself after he was informed that book scanning was fair use and began ranting about how many times his own messages tripped the automatic spam filter.

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


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