Darren Waters

Beginning of end for DRM?

  • Darren Waters
  • 27 Jan 08, 21:11 GMT

What Steve Jobs and EMI started, will Amazon end?

Amazon's unsurprising announcement that its US online music store will roll out to the rest of the world is a tipping point for the future of DRM-free music.

By the end of 2008 millions of tracks will be available for purchase with no locks, restrictions, or rights management small print contained within them.

Digital rights activist Cory Doctorow describes this as "majorly good news".

But he does raise issue with some of the terms and conditions around purchases, which include agreeing not to loan tracks to people. I'm not quite sure how Amazon plan to police this....

The key point here is the size of the music library Amazon will be offering to consumers; with 3.3 million songs from "all four major music labels as well as over 33,000 independent labels" Amazon's service will instantly render DRM-locked offerings from other firms rather redundant.

No news on when the Amazon store will roll out to the UK but rival services will surely be tearing up their business plans.


I think we will see the start of a vicious circle!

No DRM, piracy will rocket, so DRM will be added, sales will droop, and DRM will be removed. Worst case scenario maybe!

It's a tough one!

The problem is that there is no way to enforce this, and that is where Apple's initial issues with iTunes Plus embedding the user's details into the files stemmed from.

Personally I do not mind DRM on my music having restrictions on it, to stop me breaking the law, as long as they don't stop me legitimately enjoying it!

I want to be able to have a copy on my Mac, maybe one on my Laptop, when I eventually get around to getting it, one on my iPod, and to allow anyone else in the house to access it wirelessly, but at the same time, I don't like being restricted to 5 machines, and each must be authorised and de-authorised, BUT if it lets them keep their costs low, and hopefully their prices low too, I really don't mind at all!

Still, less hassle would be nice, but is giving into those who seek to break the law and infringe rights really necessary?

  • 2.
  • At 08:14 PM on 28 Jan 2008,
  • Bhasker wrote:

Can't agree with you Mathew.

'Back in the day' you could buy music and share it with your friends and listen to it on any device you had; you paid the price for the music AND it's form factor (CD, tape, vinyl) and then you did what you wanted with it.

How come now you pay the same price for a digital download? No shipping costs, no material costs, no duplication costs. And with DRM you can't play the music when and where you want to. That's a rubbish deal and consumers knew it - so DRM is dying out.

Next up from the music industry is fingerprinting, which tags a music file with the Id of the person who bought it. Great for suing filesharers and people who've had their files stolen or accidentally shared those files. So good news all round (not).

When did consumers become criminals?

How do record companies get away with charging so much for so little and for making governments pass laws like the DMCA?

  • 3.
  • At 12:42 AM on 29 Jan 2008,
  • Nelson wrote:

Dropping DRM is unlikely to increase piracy a huge amount. Maybe on a person to person level, as people will be more able to share with their friends.

But the fact is that the people who aren't paying for music are probably never going to. Getting rid of DRM opens up a huge sector of the market who never would have downloaded music before.

Bear in mind also, a lot of people who download illegally aren't doing it because it's free but more because it is the most convenient. The lead singer of the nine inch nails was a regular user on oink, not because it was free, just because oink did a far better job of distributing and organizing music than the record labels did.

What the music companies need to do is have a campaign that socially isolates people who steal.

There have been 3 reasons that I have stopped buying music, the high prices, clunky online shops and the DRMs. Now the DRM are almost gone, I'm just waiting for sensible prices and one shop that has every single shop ever released.

  • 4.
  • At 03:35 AM on 30 Jan 2008,
  • Louienyc75 wrote:

DRM is only good for big, filthy rich music companies, which have protect their oligopoly and decrease the quality of music. The only losers in piracy are the rich music executives and the supposed artists. Who cares about them? As a consumer I care about what benefits me and getting my money's worth. That means getting the most use out of my cd by being able to make mp3s for play in PC or my car, ipod, or cell phone, and being able to make wav copies of my own cds. Trading with friends is not a sin because that would drive sales because my friend can by one cd new and I could by the other new and we then trade copies. The music industry, like the movie industry, insists on keeping prices unreasonably high and fails to realize that if bootlegs and regular cds were close in price, the "pirates" wouldn't be able to sell anything and big music would make good money. Big music is guilty of stubborn capitalism and the consumers hopefully will wise up even more and boycott any DRM entirely. The real "pirates" are the RIAA and the music industry people. To hell with DRM, big music, their over exaggerated losses, and the corrupt politicians who speak for them.

  • 5.
  • At 11:00 AM on 31 Jan 2008,
  • PepFujasProModel wrote:

Bad case of someone thinking that 'high profit, high volume' is a good idea.

We all know you can fool all of the people some of the time.

With sources like bit torrent it will become very difficult for the RIAA to track.

They said tapes would cause piracy to escalate, nuff said.

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