Music buyers step-up downpayment on their own DRM noose

Music buyers step-up downpayment on their own DRM noose

Summary: As I've already written several times before in our series on Digital Restrictions Management (DRM), every time one of us buys another piece of DRMed content (eg: a song from iTunes), we are securing the legacy of the DRM cartel while giving it carte blanche to arbitrarily decide how we get to use the content that we're legally entitled to use in any way we want, as long as we use it for ourselves.

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TOPICS: Legal
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As I've already written several times before in our series on Digital Restrictions Management (DRM), every time one of us buys another piece of DRMed content (eg: a song from iTunes), we are securing the legacy of the DRM cartel while giving it carte blanche to arbitrarily decide how we get to use the content that we're legally entitled to use in any way we want, as long as we use it for ourselves.  

For example, five years from now, after your iTunes music library has swelled to more than 1,000 songs and your iPod breaks, you will have two choices. If you want to continue using those songs, you can buy another device that Apple says your allowed to buy. Or, you can throw away your songs (you can't even give them away or resell them like you can CDs) and start over with another device and another DRM-walled-garden of music that works on it.  Neither is very appealing which is why the latest stats on digital music purchases is worrisome.  According to the IFPI (the international equivalent of the US-based RIAA), digital music sales (including ringtunes) for the first half of 2005 totalled $790 million.  That's more than triple the $220 million in digital music sales for the same period last year. 

The DRM hole we're in is already deep enough. But, if the growth continues on this course, that hole will grow to be so deep that we'll never be able to dig our way out.  My recommendation is to take a deep breath before we continue on this path. For the time being,  declare InDRMpendence for yourself.  Say no to DRM by not buying any more DRMed content until, at the very least, the "R" in DRM really stands for "Rights" (instead of "Restrictions") and the entertainment, computer, and telecommunications industries are complying  with a single open standard. 

Topic: Legal

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  • And this is with the content industry opposed...

    ... to internet downloads. Their hostility is sufficient for them to avoid, even try to avert this profitable new distribution system.

    Imagine what the sales numbers would be if the industry wanted to promote downloads.
    Anton Philidor
  • Look at what music is popular!

    Do you think the MTV-watching, gangsta-rapping, Britney Spearing crowd cares about DRM? They are the ones targeted by the music industry.
    archerjoe
    • Pathetic, but true :(

      NT
      BitTwiddler
    • No, look at who buys music.

      Yeah, it's the 30 and under crowd.
      No_Ax_to_Grind
      • Not necessarily

        ---Yeah, it's the 30 and under crowd.---

        This has been the crowd the RIAA has targeted and done the
        majority of their releases and marketing towards. I personally
        think they're just following the lead of the MPAA, who realize
        that a 12 year old will see a movie 11 times, whereas an adult
        will only see it once. But it doesn't make sense for music, as
        once you've bought it, you don't need to buy it again. And the
        over 30 crowd has a lot more money to spend. Then again,
        many of them have lost all interest in new music, as much of
        what comes out is targeted for the 12 year olds, so perhaps it's
        circular.

        What's interesting, is that with the success of Norah Jones'
        records, the industry is suddenly awakening to the purchasing
        power of these older consumers:

        http://music.yahoo.com/read/news/12175606
        Over the past decade, music buyers over age 30 have become
        the majority. They accounted for 56 percent of the music
        purchased in 2002, up from 46 percent a decade earlier,
        according to the Recording Industry Association of America .

        The joke ? one with a bitter ring of truth for the music industry
        ? is that older listeners are the majority because so many
        younger people are downloading music for free online.

        Older listeners wield formidable purchasing power. Rollins, who
        joined Spin two years after it started in 1985 and helped found
        Vibe in 1993, enticed investors with statistics showing people
        aged 30 and over bought $7.5 billion worth of music in 2001,
        up from $3.2 billion a decade earlier.

        http://www.usatoday.com/life/music/news/2004-03-11-adult-
        pop-main_x.htm
        Record companies, radio programmers and other music media
        have catered to fans in their teens and early 20s, while older
        artists have gone to great, sometimes comical lengths to project
        and attract youth.

        But a funny thing happened on the way to the new millennium.
        In the late '90s, while the industry's attention was focused on the
        biggest generation of teenage pop fans since the baby boomers,
        older listeners were sneaking into record stores in steadily
        increasing numbers. In 2002 (the latest date for which figures
        have been compiled by the Recording Industry Association of
        America), people ages 30 and older bought 56% of the recorded
        music sold in this country, up nearly 14 points from a decade
        earlier. "There are a lot of people pursuing the over-30
        consumer now, so that trend is continuing and building," says Ed
        Christman, a senior writer covering retail at Billboard.

        What might be even more surprising are some of the artists
        fueling this phenomenon. Less than a month ago, the music
        business, beset for years by plunging sales and growing
        concerns about piracy, was buoyed by the biggest single week of
        album sales ever outside the November/December holiday
        season. It was the week that last year's Grammy darling, Norah
        Jones, unveiled her second CD, Feels Like Home. The album sold
        1.02 million copies, the highest number for a new entry since 'N
        Sync released Celebrity back in 2001. Home remains at No. 1,
        having sold 1.9 million copies since its debut Feb. 10.

        Bruce Lundvall, head of Blue Note Records, Jones' label, agrees
        that his ailing industry has failed to tap into a potentially rich
        adult market. "It's very clear to me that there's an audience out
        there that has been ignored," says Lundvall, whose roster also
        includes such lauded jazz, rock and R&B veterans as Cassandra
        Wilson, Wynton Marsalis, Van Morrison and Al Green. "But things
        are changing. I have a feeling that Norah has been a catalyst, a
        sort of wake-up call."
        tic swayback
  • Two Things

    Online music purchases have stepped up because it's instant gratification, inexpensive, and 90% of the buyers haven't even heard of DRM.

    Point two. DRM is essentially useless as long as we can still burn audio CD's from the digital files. Because from and audio CD you can rip mp3's and do whatever you want. Sure it's two steps, but wooptie-do. Takes less than 5 min per CD for the whole thing. I buy music on MusicMatch.com (WMA) all the time... The first thing I do is Burn to CD, Rip to high quality MP3 and throw away the WMA files. I don't share them, but at least now I can listen on my Treo, in my car, etc...
    artisw
    • What's the sound quality like?

      After you get a wma file (lossy, and at what quality?), convert it to cda with the usual conversion penalty, then rip it to mp3 (lossy), and probably not at 320.

      Can you tell the difference between your music and white noise? (Hyperbole, not arrogance.)
      Anton Philidor
    • What's the point?

      Of encoding the mp3 at high quality? Your source isn't the CD -- that data has been artifically padded for the disc. Your source is the wma, which is probably no better than a 192kbps or a 160kbps rate. Plus you have to factor in the loss from 3 conversions (original -> wma -> cd -> mp3)

      Just like an image, you can't get the original resolution back from a thumbnail.
      voice_of_all_reason
    • LOL, i do the same thing. Oh about quality

      Most of the time, you cant hear the subtle differences in quality at those levels anyways.
      Been_Done_Before
  • Another bigger problem...

    What if Apple, or some onther DRM-Based Music Distribution Entity, goes belly-up?

    That makes potentially billions of dollars worth of legally purchased music digital dust.

    This is another reason why I hate software product-activation. What if the company goes belly-up?

    In the case of software activation, this has already happened once.
    BitTwiddler
    • Welcome to MMORPGS

      This is why I'll never play Diablo 2 or Final Fantasy XI (or at least pay for it)
      voice_of_all_reason
  • This is why USA is so pathetic

    DRM is something that should have been outlaw as soon as the illegal macrovision scam cam out in the 80's. DRM and any form of any kind of (c) protection is is bad(and shoulde be illegal), it have never worked, it pollute our common media heritage. It destroy your freedom as a human being. DRM brand every single peoples on earth a criminal. DRM illegally force you to buy and rebuy over and over again the same content.

    One easy example: you buy a VHS and have pay full price for it. If you want to prevent and fronm degrading and wath it as many time as you like, good luck. Every VCR sold in the north america is illegaly crippled with Macrovision. Even your video capture hardware in you computer has been defaced by the criminal low-life common crook at macrovision. SO you have to paid to get your movie agai on DVD, and when you have it again on DVD< you have ot paid it again to see it on your PSP, and soon have to pay again to get in HD DVD.

    Humans are no basicly bad, saddly only the ones whit loads of money are. Close down a couple criminal organisation (MPAA/RIAA/Macrovision Etc..) and the balance will be restored. and in 5 or 10 generations from now, people will still be able enjoy good old times.....

    PS: The hollywood most notorious criminals are trying to make copyright ethernal (Mickey Mouse is PUPLIC DOMAIN, but try to sell something with Mickey on it, just to see what whould happen) Some how Disney manage to get the (c) on Mickey, last fore ever and they protect it so much, that they sued a daycare center for putting Disney (c) on the wall. (most of them are PUPLIC DOMAIN according to law)

    America as terminal cancer, it's destoying it from the inside. The medecine for it is here. Who will have the courage to administer it.

    CLOSE DOWN MPAA/RIAA/MACROVISION AND 90% of crime in hollywood is gone.
    Mectron
    • As if you weren't pi$$ed off enough, read this

      http://news.yahoo.com/s/pcworld/20051004/tc_pcworld/122738
      Hallowed are the Ori
      • The problem is the HD-dvd discs

        Who's really going to jump up to 30-40 bucks for movies that will come out DVD anyway. Quality is already saturated -- the sound and video from a DVD movie are more than enough for most people. What will be the extra catch to buy my copy of Episode 3 on Blu ray?
        voice_of_all_reason
    • So your going to by indie films only?

      Good on ya...
      No_Ax_to_Grind
  • Re: Music buyers step-up downpayment on their own DRM noose

    [i]For example, five years from now, after your iTunes music library has swelled to more than 1,000 songs and your iPod breaks, you will have two choices. If you want to continue using those songs, you can buy another device that Apple says your allowed to buy. Or, you can throw away your songs...[/i]

    Regrettably, my family members who buy DRM products won't get mad until then.


    :)
    none none
  • Thought this was interesting.

    http://www.cnn.com/2005/TECH/ptech/10/04/music.copy.reut/index.html

    Artists teaching fans to break the copy protection on their CDs.
    Zinoron