Monday, November 06, 2006

All of a sudden, the record labels don't like DRM

Having spent the last half decade trying to make DRM tighter and tighter, now, all of a sudden, the music industry have changed their minds, according to a piece tucked in the bottom of an article in today's Guardian business page:

At the industry conference in Manchester last week, executives signalled their determination to force Apple to open its iTunes Music Store so that tracks bought from it can be played on devices other than an iPod. Likewise, sweeping away digital rights management restrictions would allow iPod owners to buy from stores that use Microsoft's rival technology.

So, they're all for water-tight digital rights management when it suits them, but not when they're fighting their war with Apple, then?

Of course, if the labels really wanted to ensure that files could be shared easily between all players, they could sell the tracks for themselves, in mp3 format. No problem, then, is there?

We wonder if anyone has stopped to ask themselves what would happen if the large iPod market suddenly got fractured across multiple sellers? With no other point of differentiation, suddenly the market would find itself having to compete on price alone, causing the cost of online downloads to drop sharply from their artificial current 79p/99c level. Do the labels really want us to pay a market rate for downloads instead of the inflated price?

Are we suddenly on the same side? Or is this another case of an industry whose management, driven by spite, is incapable of thinking things through?

1 comment:

karlt said...

There's an interesting interview with Peter Jenner on the music industry's attitude to DRM, among other things, on THe Register:

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