DRM: The hearse is right on schedule

DRM: The hearse is right on schedule

Summary: Universal Music Group on Friday said that it will sell "thousands of its albums and tracks" without DRM for a limited time. Universal said in a statement that its test will run from August and January and track "consumer demand, price sensitivity and piracy in regards to the availability of open MP3s.

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Universal Music Group on Friday said that it will sell "thousands of its albums and tracks" without DRM for a limited time.

Universal said in a statement that its test will run from August and January and track "consumer demand, price sensitivity and piracy in regards to the availability of open MP3s." And then when Universal finds that demand increases it'll ditch DRM permanently (I added that last part).

But the writing is on the album cover (more on Techmeme). EMI is already doing the DRM-free dance. And others will follow. Sure Apple CEO Steve Jobs may have prodded things a little but DRM's days are limited.

If the Universal and EMI experiments go well--and they probably will--other labels will view DRM as the handicap it is. Universal will also use Google's AdWords to drive traffic to the DRM-free downloads.

Universal was sure to note that it "will continue to support innovative digital models such as subscription and ad-supported services which rely on DRM as an enabling technology."

Of course it will. For the music industry one big appeal of the DRM-free movement is that it may break Apple's dominance in the business.

In fact, this paragraph in the Universal statement is telling:

Participants including Google, Wal-Mart, Best Buy Digital Music Store, Rhapsody, Transworld, Passalong Networks, Amazon.com and Puretracks, will offer downloads to consumers in the DRM-free audio format of their choice in a variety of bit rates. For the most part, the DRM free downloads will be offered at standard wholesale prices.

One question: Where's Apple?

Topics: Apple, Amazon, Google, Security

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36 comments
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  • Re: Where's Apple?

    Right where they wanted to be to begin with.

    Selling iPods.
    Letophoro
  • Another No_Axe Prediction Bites The Dust

    DRM is DEAD...
    itanalyst
    • No way

      Don will, of course, deny ever making any such prediction.
      Yagotta B. Kidding
    • Who is this No_Axe Hole anyway?

      He's on all the TalkBacks with a million opinions--mostly wrong opinions. Does anyone know WHO he is?

      This is the same guy that is an unabashed Microsoft lover, isn't it?
      JohnBoyTheGreat
  • RIP DRM ...

    DRM doesn't sell ... so much for the tail wagging the dog strategy. No amount of effort on the part of the content industry and no amount of effort on the part of their flag waving fans like Don Rupert is going to make this pig fly. In the end, it is the consumers that drive the market, not the vendors. The vendors like to think that they are in control, but they are only dreaming. It is the consumers that put the money in their pockets, and when that money stops coming in, the party is over. RIP DRM ...
    George Mitchell
    • Hear! Hear! (NT)

      .
      P. Douglas
    • Oops...another ignorant comment...!?!?

      Dude...if DRM doesn't sell, how the hell did Apple and iTunes build an entire business model out of doing exactly what you said couldn't be used to do such a thing?!?!?!?

      Personally, I can't WAIT for DRM to go away, but, for #@*$ sake...are you kidding?

      Help. I'm drowning in bulls**t...
      GuyAlanDye
      • It wasn't DRM that was selling those sexy devices ...

        DRM was just so much baggage that the consumer was forced to accept in order to use the device. As soon as a competing product becomes available WITHOUT DRM, watch Apple make a hasty retreat. Actually, I think they are already retreating. The attraction is the iTunes format, not the fact that it is saddled with DRM.
        George Mitchell
        • You might enjoy this..

          Red Dwarf's "Kryten" (Actor Robert Llewellyn) and his opinion of the DRM'd BBC iPlayer

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zv82S7q5Qw0

          Considering that Red Dwarf was a BBC production (7 series of it....)
          bportlock
        • To H*ll With That...

          These, my friend, are your quotes:

          1) "DRM doesn't sell"
          >>> It already has. A lot. Millions of dollars worth of it are sitting on millions of dollars worth of hardware designed to play specifically those DRM-laden files as I type these words.

          2) "no amount of effort on the part of their flag waving fans like Don Rupert is going to make this pig fly"
          >>> This "pig" has been flying obviously too high for YOU to notice for several years. Whatever happens next doesn't change the fact.

          3) "it is the consumers that drive the market, not the vendors"
          >>> This is the only line I agree with. The consumer will decide. And they have. (Re-read my response to "DRM doesn't sell.") They have so curbed their spending on shrink-wrapped music that the industry is now responding with whatever they can to make what appears to soon be their primary means even more appetizing to the consumer.

          Another would-be pundit talking as if the industry is frothing at the mouth for their pearls of wisdom born from zero knowledge of an industry they so obviously know nothing about.
          GuyAlanDye
          • IF DRM is selling so well...

            then why are EMI and Universal even experimenting with DRM free content? I mean, if it's a help and not a hindrance, why would they ever change their sales model?

            Maybe it's to do with the fact that online music sales make up less than five percent of all music sales with CDs still going strong (only the Big Five's CD sales are down) and two major record labels have finally woken up to the fact that DRM is [u]not[/u] helping.

            So unless you have some kind of figures that contradict mine, and that the vast majority of people rip their CDs (had for cheaper off Amazon than the Album would be off iTunes store) and load the DRM [u]free[/u] content on their iPods, it's best you shut up until you know what you're talking about.
            odubtaig
          • The truth is . . .

            "Millions of dollars worth of it are sitting on millions of dollars worth of hardware designed to play specifically those DRM-laden files as I type these words."

            Yet the vast majority of music on these devices is DRM-free (usually ripped from CDs), as Apple themselves admit.
            CobraA1
          • In addition, here's an open letter by Steve Jobs you should read

            In addition, here's an open letter by Steve Jobs that you should read that confirms what I've said about DRM.

            http://www.apple.com/hotnews/thoughtsonmusic/

            In particular these paragraphs should be interesting - I have highlighted a key phrase:

            "Let?s look at the data for iPods and the iTunes store ? they are the industry?s most popular products and we have accurate data for them. Through the end of 2006, customers purchased a total of 90 million iPods and 2 billion songs from the iTunes store. On average, that?s 22 songs purchased from the iTunes store for each iPod ever sold.

            Today?s most popular iPod holds 1000 songs, and research tells us that the average iPod is nearly full. [b]This means that only 22 out of 1000 songs, or under 3% of the music on the average iPod, is purchased from the iTunes store and protected with a DRM.[/b] The remaining 97% of the music is unprotected and playable on any player that can play the open formats."


            Sorry to burst your bubble, but people are [b]not[/b] buying a lot of DRMed music. They're just buying the iPod. 97% of people [i]are[/i] voting with their wallets - and they're voting for DRM-free music.

            DRM is on the way out. Apple is already offering DRM-free music for EMI, and claim that half of their catalog is likely to be DRM-free by the end of the year. IMHO the hearse is indeed right on schedule.
            CobraA1
          • Misguided to the Max

            What does make me laugh is when some doorknob who know jackcrap about a subject gives others hell about their take on a matter and then proceeds to tell them they know nothing about the industry. This last line of GuyAlanDye is a real killer:

            "Another would-be pundit talking as if the industry is frothing at the mouth for their pearls of wisdom born from zero knowledge of an industry they so obviously know nothing about."

            Wow. I have never seen anyone burn themselves so bad like that before by laying a claim at the feet of another which so clearly applies to themselves. If GuyAlanDye really thinks DRM is selling for any other reason then it comes embedded in the songs, which are the products people really want, then he should leave the sane people of the world alone so they don't have to risk wasting their time on his babble.
            Cayble
      • It isn't selling that well

        DRM music isn't selling well. How many DRM ladden services have started up and died? Only Apple has survived and they do so off hardware sales that don't require DRM. Also I-Tune while it has DRM has clear paths set out to allow you to bypass the DRM. Burn to CD and rip to another DRM free format. Music site that offer DRM free music from independent recording artists have been booming with business too. It seem DRM is not selling but it has been stagnating for years while a few buy and the rest go for DRM free music and buy CDs.

        Another thing about DRM. Consumers will buy it, unaware of what they have bought, then they go a few years with no problems till they lose that IPOD and buy a new ZUNE only to find the hundreds of dollars worth of music they bought won't play on it. Then they stop buying and pirate the music they paid for so it can play on their Zune.

        DRM encourages piracy and I think some big fat cats are learning this. In 10 years we'll look back on this all and talk about how stupid the RIAA was back then just like we talk about how the MPAA was stupid in the 80s. In the end instant gratification offers a lot of money to made if they sell the music for reasonable price.

        I still think a buck a song it too much. Sure I might buy a song or two that I know I want for a buck each. But sell them for a quarter each and I'll try two dozen songs sampling in a search for something new to listen too. So that's $2 or $6 bucks. If you were in business which would you pick when you're talking about a market this size that extra $4 turns into very huge number really quickly. $6 to download 24 songs will occupy a few hours of my time and $6 isn't much money. The price of coffee in some shops. But if I just know of 2 songs that I know I want that's all I'll buy. I won't spend $24 sampling music, it's not worth it and cost too much.
        voska
      • iPod sells. Not DRM. Its your own BS your drowning in.

        Get serious about DRM selling. It sells the same way most Microsoft operating systems sell, because its already installed. The big difference between a MS operating system and DRM is that most people would consider it a pain to swap out the MS OS and learn to cope with a new one. With DRM, if its just simply removed the end user doesn't have to learn anything new, they just have a music file thats going to be easier to work with.

        DRM doesn't sell, the product its embedded into sells and DRM is simply something you can end up being stuck with, like the lousy water in Mexico when you pay for a vacation. Apple and iTunes entire business model is not built on DRM. DRM is an add on to the business model in a terribly vain hope to maximize profits. Does anyone with a brain think that the DRM is what is selling music through iTunes? If they do they need brain surgery.

        DRM is in the mix for one reason, and that is the result of the befuddled reasoning of music industry executives who think hobbling music with DRM will in some way bring higher profits. According to those same music industry executives, music sales are so bad that there is no way DRM is making any kind of positive impact on their profits.

        DRM sells the way eggshells sell, the only reason you bring it home from the store is that its integral to the product you really want.
        Cayble
  • Yooo-Hooo... Bitty!

    Come, so we can stuff that crow down your throat now.

    :o)
    Jack-Booted EULA
    • He's in hiding right now ...

      But don't worry, he'll be back as soon as he thinks up one of his "convincing" FUD pieces. Or, who knows, perhaps he is just awaiting fresh astroturfing orders from his "clients".
      George Mitchell
      • What clients

        I think he's just some kid in a basement somewhere who gets off on pretending to wear so many hats. He's claims to own a business that he refuses to give the name of. Then spouts off stuff that no one in business would say. He also has tendency of rarely posting anything of importance, no facts or content except to insult others. Doesn't sound too mature to me and I peg the age to be 15. Also he seem to lack life experience. Explains the lack of content, no experience to draw upon.

        No_Axe is fun to prove wrong though.
        voska
    • I Saw A Homeless Man On The Highway Today

      He was struggling with a mouthful of crow....

      It must have been Bitty.

      AHAHAHAHAH!!!
      itanalyst