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DRM-Free Music Spells Trouble?

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the dogs-and-cats-living-together dept.


digitaldame2 writes "Many opponents of DRM have been overjoyed at recent efforts to free media from its grip. But PC Mag Editor-in-Chief Lance Ulanoff believes the whole world has gone mad. His view is that our digital economy will collapse this way, and it could be followed by countless others. 'The music industry's moves have been terrified reactions to staunch the bleeding of millions of dollars in revenue down the drain. For maybe a year, music companies thought they had the situation under control, but then album sales tumbled. Retailers, musicians, and some music-industry execs thought DRM was the culprit, and they soon joined the chorus of consumers calling for its head. Now consumers are getting their wish, and the music industry will continue to crumble. Giving up control of content and giving it away free are not rational ideas in a market economy, yet everyone's cheering.'" Is the removal of restrictions from our media really that big a deal?

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Latin for Slashfags (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22160054)

Greetings (or salve) Slashfags. As most of you were educated in public schools, you probably missed out on Latin lessons, along with anything other than advanced welfare claiming skills and AP Ebonics. Well, now's the chance to rectify your pitiful proletarian preparation. To start with, we'll be looking at line 1 of Catullus 16:

Pedicabo ego vos et irrumabo,
Or, in English
I'm going to fuck you in the ass and make you suck my dick

The first word is pedicabo - this is the indicative future of the verb pedicare, literally to sodomize, something that Apple users and furries will be familiar with.

ego - I, myself. Not the latter day reference to the arrogance/confidence displayed by the jocks who flushed your head down cubicles and then screwed your sister, but a simple first person reference.

vos - you (plural). Similar to when you'd say "you" addressing a group of friends, if you had any social circle beyond a punctured 2nd hand Realdoll, that is.

et and. You (plural) are autistic and of poor hygiene and moral fibre.

immurabo - Future indicative again, this time for the verb immurare - to skull fuck, what those jocks did to your sister (and probably to you in the cubicle, truth be told).

Keep practising, and remember - just because you were born working clas scum, doesn't mean you'll die as anything else.

Niggers (RE: Latin for Slashfags) (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22160382)

I sometimes wonder whether the outrage over the harmless and friendly word "nigger" is actually borne from niggers' ignorance. After all, it's just a dialect shift of the Spanish "negro," itself a corruption of the Latin "nigr-" (niger). They just mean "black".

So when some great man like Ron Paul says "95% of blacks in DC are criminal," it is no different from someone saying 95% of niggers are criminal. Same meaning.

DRM is pointless (4, Insightful)

PFAK (524350) | more than 6 years ago | (#22160056)

Pirates are still going to pirate with or without DRM, and without it at least normal users will have less of a headache getting music on their favourite MP3 Player.

I don't see what the big deal about removing DRM is, either way the music industry needs to revise their business model, and removing DRM is the first step.

Re:DRM is pointless (5, Insightful)

Stanistani (808333) | more than 6 years ago | (#22160202)

It's not just DRM, although that's certainly a large part. Copyright extension and rigorous enforcement cause trouble, too.

Indeed, were it not for that, I could quote the lyrics of "Trouble in River City" from Music Man to make my point, provide a link to the MP3 (or Ogg) and maybe someone would download the song and decide to go buy the CD, or even the DVD.

I'm just a dreamer...

Re:DRM is pointless (5, Insightful)

The One and Only (691315) | more than 6 years ago | (#22160288)

No, were it not for that, you could quote the lyrics of "Trouble in River City" from Music Man to make your point, provide a link to the audio file, and maybe someone would download the song...and the rest of that artist's oeuvre. At least if it goes as far as it sounds like you want it to. That doesn't make money for anyone, although it does give us plenty of free music.

Re:DRM is pointless (5, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 6 years ago | (#22160360)

Copyright in it's original form already does that: "gives us lots of free music".

The only question is the timeframe and whether or not you are going to annoy your paying customers in the meantime.

Mod parent up (5, Insightful)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 6 years ago | (#22160614)

Copyright in it's original form already does that: "gives us lots of free music". The only question is the timeframe and whether or not you are going to annoy your paying customers in the meantime.

Amen. And when that term is several human lifetimes, it is clearly benefiting only one entity: the corporations. The rest of you suckers don't get a look in.

Re:DRM is pointless (1)

The One and Only (691315) | more than 6 years ago | (#22160616)

Copyright in it's original form already does that: "gives us lots of free music".

Yeah, I know. The subject of discussion is what would happen "were it not for copyright extension and vigorous enforcement". In other words, copyright in its original form. ("Its" with no apostrophe since it's possessive, "it's" with an apostrophe since it's a contraction of "it is".)

Re:DRM is pointless (5, Interesting)

snowraver1 (1052510) | more than 6 years ago | (#22160602)

It doesn't matter if there is DRM or not. The music will be "freed" anyway. As has been said MANY MANY times on /. before, DRM cannot work unless both the player and the media are involved and the player is "unhackable" (I use unhackable in "'s because so far, every DRM has been cracked [except BD+] but if you take the xbox360, it is VERY close to being hackproof. Aside from the DVD firmware hack and the two vulnerable BIOSes, it has proved to be hack proof. I can see the next generation of games consoles having the dvd firmware signed too.)

The reason that DRM is breakable today is because computers are not owned by the content distributors (yet). If said content can be played on a computer, then it can be "freed" by that same computer. If you can play it, somewhere you have an uncompressed, unencrypted stream, that should be able to be exploited.

Computers, however are being "owned" more and more by "Big Content". Vista's DRM integration, Protected pathways is a prime example of this. How long before noone owns a comptuer anymore and all the computers are leased from a few companies that basically turn your computer into an overpriced [HD]DVD player that plays games and runs Word, in contrast to the current "open" nature of current computers.

Re:DRM is pointless (5, Insightful)

d34thm0nk3y (653414) | more than 6 years ago | (#22160284)

This idiot fails to realize that labels have been selling DRM free music for the last 20 years. It's called a CD. Funny how the "digital economy" hasn't collapsed yet.

Re:DRM is pointless (1)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 6 years ago | (#22160500)

I also seriously doubt the author is basing his argument on any comprehensive and carefully carried out actual research. DRM free music has been selling very well is the impression I'm getting. And I have £80 right here to purchase music files as soon as Amazon or whoever actually opens up their catalogue in the UK.

Re:DRM is pointless (5, Insightful)

jessiej (1019654) | more than 6 years ago | (#22160536)

And, DRM free music doesn't mean that it's being given away for free. It just means that once bought, people can listen to THEIR music freely. Removing DRM from music essentially makes it more valuable (which is why iTunes decided to charge more for it than music with DRM) and will improve profits of music without DRM.

The question waiting to be answered is whether or not DRM free music will encourage/facilitate more "illegal" file sharing. My guess is that the affect will be minimal and the appreciation towards the music industry for not tying up purchased music will only increase online sales.

I for one will never buy music with DRM.

Re:DRM is pointless (5, Insightful)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 6 years ago | (#22160586)

I also like this guy's quote: "There were reports that many people did pay for Radiohead's album, but I'll be surprised if that's repeated very often. Also, not every band is Radiohead or Coldplay--groups that can make money elsewhere (like concert halls)."

Excuse me? I think possibly one of the main PROBLEMS with lowered music quality is the fact that so many groups/bands today cannot tour...cannot play their own instruments with any acuity, and require too much electronic 'help'. Geez, people are paying money for acts that do watch them dance and lip-sync?!?!

Why can't groups learn to cultivate talent, take it on the road...I'll give Led Zeppelin as an example. They had most of their material for the 1st album ready to go FROM rehearsals, and playing the songs on the road. They recorded their album on their own dollar (Jimmy Page and Peter Grants) because they hadn't even signed with Atlantic records yet.

And what did they do? They toured....and toured...and toured. They did something like 3-4 tours of the US AND about the same of Europe in their first year out....hell, Led Zeppelin II was pretty much written and recorded while on the road that first year.

Those guys could play....and they did. They were well known to give 3 hour concerts. Back in their day, they tried to make sure that ticket prices were reasonable. They made sure to try to give the audience what it deserved. From this live presentation....they sold albums, which helped fuel energy for more live shows.

And look at Zeppelin...they refused to sell singles....although a few came out by the record companies against their will. They made FEW TV appearances...yet, they sold records, and set attendance records.

I'd have to say....being talented and able to perform live DID have a lot to do with their fame and fortune. I'd like to think it could be replicated for upcoming bands.

I know there are differences now that make it genre's are so splintered now....rather than just 'rock', there are upteen different variations. Radio is consolidated more....etc. But, I have to think if a group was really GOOD, and good live...with music distribution, they could take it on the road and get famous. Where is the next Zeppelin?

Re:DRM is pointless (4, Insightful)

purpledinoz (573045) | more than 6 years ago | (#22160370)

The writer of this article has his head up his ass. The only thing troubled are the big music companies. This guy claims that people will just stop making music because it will no longer be profitable... Is that why Bach and Beethoven wrote music? What will stop is the creation of music for profit, like the Britney Spears and American Idol singers. Music is way overpriced anyway. $10 or $15 for a CD is not reasonable (particularly in poorer countries, where legit CDs are the same price as in the west). The market will choose what the correct price of music is. Not the record companies. If that means the end of the Britney Spears, then I think we're better off. I predict that when the big record companies finally collapse, we will see more diversity in music at a lower price. I don't care if this means the end of rich music execs and millionaire pop stars.

Re:DRM is pointless (1)

fireman sam (662213) | more than 6 years ago | (#22160494)

"LEAVE BRITNEY ALONE!!!!" You people will never be happy until she is a bald, fat, crazy person who cannot sing and repulses people with her wobbles.

I love the internet

Re:DRM is pointless (4, Funny)

Frank T. Lofaro Jr. (142215) | more than 6 years ago | (#22160600)

Well she shaved her hair, was committed, and many people hate her music, so all she has to do now is gain weight. :)

Re:DRM is pointless (4, Informative)

Angostura (703910) | more than 6 years ago | (#22160496)

Well Beethoven was able to write music only because people like Rudolf Johannes Joseph Rainier Cardinal von Habsburg-Lothringen, Archduke and Prince Imperial of Austria, Prince Royal of Hungry and Bohemia paid him large amounts of money to do so.

Bach, by contrast was paid to write by (among others) Duke Wilhelm Ernst of Saxe-Weimar.

Re:DRM is pointless (1)

purpledinoz (573045) | more than 6 years ago | (#22160594)

So you think that Beethoven and Bach grew up learning music for money? I think they got paid as a result of being great composers. They would have been great composers whether they got paid or not.

Re:DRM is pointless (5, Insightful)

Kiaser Zohsay (20134) | more than 6 years ago | (#22160476)

... either way the music industry needs to revise their business model, and removing DRM is the first step.
Remember, there are TWO industries at work here. There is the music industry, made up of writers, musicians, singers, producers, etc.

Then there is the recording industry. The recording industry is responsible for pressing CDs and putting them on store shelves.

The recording industry might need a new business model, or it might need to join the buggy whip makers and telegraph operators and just fade into yesteryear. The music industry people never really made much money from CD sales, since the record industry kept the screws so tight with everybody. Performers make their money from concerts (when they don't get screwed by promoters) and merchandise sales, anyway.

The first step (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 6 years ago | (#22160480)

Isn't removing DRM, its producing content worth purchasing.

DRM is just an irritant at this point. Yes, it can/will grow to be more then just an irritant, but we are talking about the collapse of the music industry here, not the long term ramifications of DRMizing everything that moves.

Prediction (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22160058)

Niggers will steal this like they steal everything else that isn't bolted down.

Niggers ought to steal some soap. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22160470)

And use it. Frequently.
And stop being criminal while they're at it. Just kidding, everyone knows that's impossible.

DR. Ron Paul

Is the removal... (2, Funny)

cs02rm0 (654673) | more than 6 years ago | (#22160066)

Is the removal of restrictions from our media really that big a deal?

Yes. It just won't send the world spinning in the direction they claim.

Re:Is the removal... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22160398)

The author of the article seams to have a misunderstanding of what DRM is. He associates DRM as giving away the music, and falsely believes that if you purchase a CD you do not own the music on the CD you are just renting the ability to listen to it.

DRM free to me does not mean you are free to download the music from piratebay and listen to it legally. It means if I purchase the music or obtain it legally I am then able to convert that to mp3 or ogg and transfer it to anyone of my 300 devices that can play the music.

The author is a journalistic moron, even if he is right about what this means to the music industry he should at least understand what DRM is trying to do. It is not about stopping pirating of music its about controlling the media

They (media companies) want people to believe that if you buy "their" DVD you are a pirate if you take that show and convert it to avi / mpg mp3 / ogg to playback on your phone, portable device or stream it to your other computers at home.

Re:Is the removal... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 6 years ago | (#22160440)


Giving up control of content and giving it away free are not rational ideas in a market economy

They also aren't the same thing, as anyone even remotely familiar with the subject is well aware.

What isn't rational in a market economy is deliberately making the black market version of your product better than the above board original, by artificially crippling the latter. Such a policy is pretty much directly targeted at the very people who actively support your business, while doing little to impair those who do not.

Giving up control? (4, Insightful)

Threni (635302) | more than 6 years ago | (#22160088)

They're not giving up control - they're accepting that they aren't giving up control.

Wow, way wrong (3, Insightful)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 6 years ago | (#22160106)

the underlying assumption is that ppl will quit buying. Some will. Most will still buy. More likely, the albums will disappear. In addition, I am guessing that labels will have trouble. But the bands will still play and will probably do better. They can get their advertisement from on-line.

Re:Wow, way wrong (5, Insightful)

kherr (602366) | more than 6 years ago | (#22160252)

No kidding. Maybe, just maybe, the model of having companies make money from the distribution of music is not going to last. But then what happens? Musicians go back to the pre-phonograph days of making a living by performing live. Seems to me people listen to music, dig their bands and then go see them when they come to town, buying the accompanying tour merchandise and stuff. Sure, that leaves the music labels out in the cold. But is it any different of a change in the larger economy than when we switched from horse-drawn vehicles to gasoline-powered ones?

Re:Wow, way wrong (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 6 years ago | (#22160532)

Sorry, but I think that whole argument is fundamentally flawed.

For one thing, few musicians could make enough money to get by today from live performances alone, even the good ones.

For another thing, the idea of mass distribution won't disappear, it'll just shift to a different channel. A smart label will establish an on-line brand with a good reputation and lots of visitors coming to its web site, and use that to promote the bands it's acting for. I imagine we'll see the market shift to cheaper products that sell more copies as well. A smart label could still make a worthwhile percentage doing that, it'll just replace their old physical media distribution model and sales/pricing assumptions over time.

The only organisations that will die are stupid labels who think the physical media are the way of the future and don't understand basic economics. And frankly, they deserve to. A middleman who provides no useful service is worthless, and will lose out to more helpful competition.

Re:Wow, way wrong (1)

markov_chain (202465) | more than 6 years ago | (#22160310)

Sucks to be a content middleman these days. Maybe now we'll see a lot more of the baroque "patron model," which gave us a bunch of great classical names like Strauss or Mozart. Or the money will get redirected from the leeches to university-type places where musicians can go crazy. Praise the Lord!

Re:Wow, way wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22160362)

I will always prefer to have a tangible album in my hand, to copy onto my PC and mp3 player.

Re:Wow, way wrong (1)

webmaster404 (1148909) | more than 6 years ago | (#22160396)

The internet is what totally messed the labels up. It used to be that an artist needed a label in order to go beyond the garage and to actually playing concerts. Now all that artist has to do is burn a few CDs, distribute them, make a few videos on YouTube, and have a MySpace and they will attract fans, if they are good enough the fans will buy merchandise and they can make money that way (works in a similar way to Homestar Runner where merchandise sales make 100% of the income no ads, and everything is free). Musicians will still write songs without much pay the same way that authors will write and programmers will code.

Horray (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22160138)

If the fold there will be a bigger market for the music of anonymous cowards. I will e-mail you my own, high quality, original compositions - all you have to do is send me your credit card details to my address...

Fuck. Now you will know who I am. I lose again :(

Niggers spell trouble? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22160150)

Tell me something new!

Ron Paul, MD

PC Mag (1)

kfort (1132) | more than 6 years ago | (#22160156)

Does anyone really care about PC Mag? I'm not clicking the article to give them the hits. They are trolls in the pockets of Microsoft which has an obvious interest in pushing DRM. Maybe someone with no-ads can paste the article.

Re:PC Mag (3, Funny)

Dutch_Cap (532453) | more than 6 years ago | (#22160316)

I'll summarize it for you: No DRM = Giving music away for free = Armageddon

Re:PC Mag (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22160596)

I purchased music without DRM and now I have cats and dogs, living together!

Piracy and DRM (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22160168)

Two things that, could they but learn how to use computers, niggers would embrace and resist (respectively).

Vote ron Paul

logical falacy (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22160170)

Selling content without DRM is not the same as giving content away for free.

Wow (1)

rastoboy29 (807168) | more than 6 years ago | (#22160172)

Someone who doesn't really get it has a big soapbox.  News at eleven.

As a side note, I actually bought my first music online the other day--because it was mp3, and I couldn't find it anywhere else.

They're competing with free, and no amount of hand waving will change that.

Now if they'll just get the prices in line with the value they are providing (I reckon about 4 cents a song), I'll be buying digital music left and right, just like I used to buy cd's.

OT: Your sig (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#22160504)

Singularity FPS beta 2 now available-it's free! []
I clicked on your link to try to find two pieces of information; what platforms did you support and what license were you releasing the game under. I guess, from the fact that you talk about downloading 'an installer' with a .exe extension that you are only supporting Windows, and I guess from the fact that you are distributing binary-only that it is under a restrictive license. Perhaps you could make this a bit more clear and save other people the wasted time.

I stole more music before the internet (4, Interesting)

geek (5680) | more than 6 years ago | (#22160174)

Back in the day my friends and I made more mixed tapes for each other than we bought. If one friend bought a new tape, within the next few days, all of their friends also had one. This was true until CD's came out, but then again, once burners were introduced it happened again. I've never really downloaded music illegally, almost all of my music was purchased from iTunes or is from my very old CD collection pre-internet. I simply don't buy physical media anymore. But lately my choice to not buy anything at all has been more about the quality of music than anything else. Musicians these days just suck.

Re:I stole more music before the internet (3, Informative)

wurp (51446) | more than 6 years ago | (#22160278)

Copying a friend's music in your home (or vice versa) isn't illegal, whether it's audio tapes or CDs using digital audio media. Thanks to the AHRA of 1992 [] , you pay a 'tax' on every blank audio tape and audio CD for the right to make copies of friends' tapes. This is how the RIAA responded to the last wave of copying that was going to "destroy the industry".

Of course, that tax goes only to the RIAA, not independent artists. So every time you tape your local band, you paid the RIAA for the band's music.

Cool, eh?

Re:I stole more music before the internet (1)

geek (5680) | more than 6 years ago | (#22160478)

I remember reading about that before. I'm old though, I remember when Peter Gabriel was the bomb. I remember when "the bomb" was created =o

It would seem that the nickle and dime tactics of the RIAA and the industry as a whole has come back to haunt them. Artists in the past used to make more money from the live performances than from the albums sales, now that tickets cost more than a college education I don't go to shows anymore either. They're losing money from every direction it seems.

Nope (2, Insightful)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 6 years ago | (#22160184)

Is the removal of restrictions from our media really that big a deal?
Like I'm going to spend my resources giving copies of my shit to all my friends.

Re:Nope (1)

Entropius (188861) | more than 6 years ago | (#22160618)

Like it's that hard.

sudo apt-get install apache2


:_( R.I.P. HEATH LEDGER :_( BYE HEATH (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22160186)

You were an awesome, awesome, awesome buttfucker and an incredible actor with a sweet little bod.

You will be missed, and not just by Jake Gyllenhaal's distended butthole :(

Oblig 1. 2. 3. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22160196)

1. Economic crisis in US
2. Album sales drop
3. Blame DRM free music
4. ???
5. Profit

Re:Oblig 1. 2. 3. (1)

Kalriath (849904) | more than 6 years ago | (#22160354)

Isn't the whole point of this the lack of step 5 in there?

Remember when horses were the only way to travel? (5, Insightful)

torpor (458) | more than 6 years ago | (#22160214)

Once, there were horses, and they were the only way to get around town. All the horse-maintainers, the shodders and such, were in business and there was a grand economy.

Then, some new technology came to the scene: the automobile. "Oh noes", the shodders cried, "our economy is going to be ruined.."

The moral of this story is: technology. It will force change. Either keep up with it, or remove yourself from the market. Music doesn't have to be paid for - not any more, and no longer will we have to worship the few and provide them economic sustenance, so that they are only able to do it, when the many can do it, themselves.

In short, grow up music-industry people. Your world is changing. All worlds change. Let the people decide what life will be, and quite crying just because you didn't see the writing on the wall.

Yes, this applies to all media/content related markets. The writing is on the wall. The only way to protect your media is to put it in hardware - books are a good example - that makes it pleasant for people to buy it from you. The world needs us all to go digital and stop raping the earth, just so the few can profit from the ignorance of the many. Let the horses back to the fields ..

Re:Remember when horses were the only way to trave (2, Interesting)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 6 years ago | (#22160374)

The moral of this story is: technology. It will force change. Either keep up with it, or remove yourself from the market. Music doesn't have to be paid for - not any more, and no longer will we have to worship the few and provide them economic sustenance, so that they are only able to do it, when the many can do it, themselves.

Are you talking about content generation or distribution? Even if the RIAA goes away, we would be paying artists directly for the music. Unless this really isn't about DRM, but about getting shit for free.

Re:Remember when horses were the only way to trave (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22160588)

If you want professionals to make music, they need to be paid. People's time is not free. Your analogy is terrible. Reproduction cost is a minimal amount of the cost of a CD. Not much has changed in production cost through downloads. Your comment is not insightful.

Oh well (4, Interesting)

The One and Only (691315) | more than 6 years ago | (#22160216)

Honestly, if the sale of recorded music is no longer profitable, that's just the way it is and the presence or lack of DRM wouldn't have prevented that. It's just a natural consequence of peer-to-peer file sharing being available. Now, it's more likely that the sale of recorded music isn't as lucrative as it used to be, but even in a free market it's best to let naturally-declining markets decline rather than prop them up artificially (i.e. US Steel, GM)--the long term gains always outweigh the short term turbulence.

B R O K E B A C K * N I G G E R S (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22160218)

The ultimate GNAA movie can now never be made.

RIP Heath Ledger.

I completely agree; a DRM-free MP3 file ruined me (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22160228)

I had an MP3 once on my computer. My computer started to crash/reboot continuously and my dog started to howl. The dog howling caused me sleepness nights. My sleepy-ness caused me to have a car accident with a bus full of nuns. The surviving nuns sued me and the dead nuns are waiting for me in heaven with baseball bats. Because of the lawsuit, I lost my home, my computer, AND my dog... I'm living in the streets and I only go into public libraries to use the washrooms and post on slashdot. I am scared of MP3s. (but not frightened to death because then the nuns & bats will get me)

Incorrect (5, Insightful)

webmaster404 (1148909) | more than 6 years ago | (#22160272)

Without DRM, digital music can eaily be played on almost any media player. You now have opened up media rather then just iPods, to generic MP3 players, Windows systems, Linux systems, OS X systems, FreeBSD systems, and more. That is something that hasn't happened yet is a standard non-patented format for storing music, OGG would be likely but with it not being native on most MP3 players and Windows (and OS X too?) and MP3 is patent restricted and therefore rarely playable (legally) on Linux, FreeBSD and other systems. MP3 players also suffer with the patent fee, they could be cheaper without it. All DRM does is make people not want to download "legal" media, the main pro of "piracy" was that you can download it in just about any format you wanted, for free and it would easily work with just about every device that you had while the "legal" ones would not. Digital music will never catch up to CDs if "piracy" is always the better option. I am not advocating suing anyone but seriously, when you iTunes downloads work with you iPod/iTunes and nothing else, the MP3 download from a tracker site is a better deal as it will work on that $25 MP3 player you got, your computer (any OS) along with your iPod and phone, ETC. It isn't just DRM that was killing digital music it was the lack of a standard format. In the CD age (before the Sony rootkits and the like) your CD would work in any computer with a CD drive, any CD player be it the $25 off brand one or your $2000 stereo system. When we get that, digital music will begin selling otherwise, who wants expensive media that works with 1 brand of products and nothing else.

So what's best? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22160286)

As a musician in a band about to have their album finished by the engineers and ready for pressing, should we pull that $1k from the pressing, and put it towards eMusic, iTunes and wherever else music is being sold online? Personally, I don't care for DRM'd tracks and don't purchase music online at all. The rest of my band members however, use and buy one iTunes w/out a second thought.

For the past 6 months of reading a barrage of articles painting the ultimate end of the CD and continued surge to online music, why should we NOT jump into the online music pool? DRM or not.........

Re:So what's best? (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 6 years ago | (#22160428)

Release online. Forget the DRM. Make sure it works (not like Radiohead) and is convenient (not like Radiohead).

Don't confuse "hard to use" with "free".

Release on any online outlet where you think your fans will be.

Re:So what's best? (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 6 years ago | (#22160544)

...and I forgot to mention: don't ditch the hard copy media.

You might find that some dinosaurs like your music.

Make it easy to get. Make it easy to pay. Don't insult your fans.

Re:So what's best? (1)

webmaster404 (1148909) | more than 6 years ago | (#22160552)

DRM is going to cause a headache for the normal music-fan who wants your music. Your best bet is probably to put a few videos on YouTube and get the content going. Then on your independent web site sell a few CDs and such, just make sure to get all your bases covered. iTunes and eMusic and such might give you a few bucks but I am not sure about licensing issues and how much of the $.99 you get. Just keep a large amount of your digital music in different formats, FLAC, OGG, MP3. Also, remember if you are good enough, people will pay for merchandise too which can be almost pure profit if you buy in bulk. But then again, I am not in music so take my advice with a grain of salt, but my advice is to distribute as much media as possible in as many possible formats, even the strange ones.

Business needs to adapt or evolve (2, Insightful)

Sepiraph (1162995) | more than 6 years ago | (#22160298)

The music industry in general needs to adapt to the changing technology, and DRM is and never was the answer in the digital world. With the extreme low cost of copying bits and bytes, the law of supplies and demands in ECON 101 tells us that the old business model in which the music industry used to operated by is no longer viable. Just like any other type of businesses, they necessarily change with the times.

DRM is that big of a deal, but the other way (5, Insightful)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 6 years ago | (#22160318)

I do kind of feel bad for the *AA member companies. It would suck to realize that your industry was subject to a disruptive technology that was already well past the tipping point. Having said that, it's their problem and not mine. I've been buying DRM-free music for decades and have absolutely zero interest in giving up control of my possessions.

Did you hear that? Possessions. Not licensed content, not rentals or leases, but things I own. When I buy music, I own that copy no matter how much they wrongly insist otherwise. I will not pay extra to buy restrictions to prevent me from using my possessions they way I want to use them, even if that was is undesirable for its makers. As long as I'm staying within the constraints of the law and not giving copies of it to others, it's none of their business (even if they wish it was).

So sorry, *AA. You had the opportunity to do things differently, but you chose to fight me instead of making me your friend. Your actions have been so scummy that I truly don't care what happens to you now. Justice? Morals? Ethics? As you have long cast those aside, I just can't be bothered to care when people fail to use them with you. Goodbye and good luck. You won't be missed.

please explain (4, Insightful)

gerbalblaste (882682) | more than 6 years ago | (#22160324)

No one has explained to me yet why we need a megalithic music industry and why it is bad that it is collapsing.

Re:please explain (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22160492)

I agree, I think "good riddance" is the phrase of the decade!

A complex problem (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22160328)

There are many factors at play.
1. The album is dying. People want to buy only the tracks they hear on the radio, not whole albums. This lowers revenue. DRM does not have anything to do with this
2. Piracy over the internet cuts into revenue. CD's don't have DRM, so a high quality source of non-DRM music exists to seed the internet pirates. Putting DRM on online music you sell won't help.
3. People are reluctant to buy online music with DRM, and therefore may turn to piracy. Hear DRM hurts sales.

I think the best solution is to sell DRM-free music and continue the lawsuits and strengthen copyright law to curb piracy using legal means. There is no good technological solution to stopping piracy.

Subscriptions and DRM (4, Insightful)

chiasmus1 (654565) | more than 6 years ago | (#22160334)

Worse yet, if you sign up for a subscription, you're saying that it's okay for the music service to wipe out your music collection if you cancel. Imagine walking into your living room as all your books disappear because you changed libraries, or your DVD collection disappears because you switched from Blockbuster to Netflix.

I cannot help but think he was thinking about the dangers of DRM when he wrote this.

My Ignorant Opinion (2, Interesting)

crymeph0 (682581) | more than 6 years ago | (#22160342)

Removing DRM won't cause the music companies to collapse any faster than they would with DRM, because motivated individuals will always find a way to break the secret codes.

The question is, will piracy eventually kill the music industry as we know it today? I think it probably will, because honestly, nobody wants to pay to listen to Brittney Spears, they just want to listen to it because MTV made it look cool.

The music companies are damned if they do and damned if they don't, in my opinion, because people are going to pirate anyway, with or without DRM. Even with the draconian powers the DMCA and like-minded laws give them, it's not feasible to sue every pirate, even if they can convince the FBI to go after the pirates for them.

Honestly, I feel kind of sorry for the big music companies. But only as sorry as I feel for the buggy-whip makers of old. It doesn't help their case that they brought Brittney Spears and such to the masses either. But my point is that a new paradigm always has winners and losers, and you can't expect the losers to feel good, especially when it's their whole livelihood they're losing out on. Of course, you can't just let them break your whole legal system in their death throes, so even though I feel sorry for them, I think the best thing for all of us would be just to shoot them and put them out of their and our misery.

Re:My Ignorant Opinion (2, Interesting)

TheJerg (1052952) | more than 6 years ago | (#22160574)

The question is, will piracy eventually kill the music industry as we know it today? I think it probably will, because honestly, nobody wants to pay to listen to Brittney Spears, they just want to listen to it because MTV made it look cool. The music companies are damned if they do and damned if they don't, in my opinion, because people are going to pirate anyway, with or without DRM. Even with the draconian powers the DMCA and like-minded laws give them, it's not feasible to sue every pirate, even if they can convince the FBI to go after the pirates for them.
It won't kill the music industry. It will kill the mega corps currently in control of music and talent. Of course that isn't to say that Amazon or Apple won't pick up where Sony BMG and Universal left off. Right now people pay for entire CDs when they may only like 3 or 4 songs. What's much more likely to happen with people being able to pick the tracks they like from individual producers is the producers will see what is actually selling well and make more quality music or make fewer songs. Either way it's a win for consumers(and the producers who decide to capitalize on that model). Music has been around for most of recorded history, it's not just going to vanish, and I doubt people are just going to flat stop paying for it.

The curse of DRM (3, Insightful)

KevMar (471257) | more than 6 years ago | (#22160344)

The issue was that one could pirate music very easily that just worked and was high quality.

DRM music was a hastle to buy, restricted how you could play it, was a pain to get on alternate computers/media, and was a predetermined quality. Not only that but you had to manage the license files and repurchase the media if it was ever corupted or lost.

Removing the DRM evens the playing field out. If the music is easy to purchase and has all the other benifits that pirated music has, it will work. People dont mind paying. You just have to offer the same product that consumers want.

If they offer a better service and experience than the pirates, they will get people to pay. The pirates would have to put more effort into service and quality. It will cost the pirates more, force them to become more visible and stable, and in the end they will be much easyer to convict and shut down.

As it stand the pirate have set the bar for what the consumer wants. The lables have to raise the bar with out charging too much.

How to sell magazines... (2, Interesting)

msimm (580077) | more than 6 years ago | (#22160350)

1) Select (hotly) debated topic.
2) Identify current trend or view.
3) Propose opposing view.

Like many other posters have already mentioned DRM by-and-large simply doesn't work. Which makes any post-epiphany antithesis, well, rhetoric. We aren't going to have another HDMI incident with our audio and people will get it from one market or another (if paying is too restrictive and cumbersome we've already seen the results).

But hey, he got on Slashdot.

Why it's a good idea. (3, Insightful)

TheNarrator (200498) | more than 6 years ago | (#22160356)

Music companies are in the business of telling people what to buy. They used to be in the business of recording and distribution. Recording and distribution are not very hard to do these days. Piracy means that they don't get paid for telling people what to buy. However, buying from a record company with DRM is a serious disadvantage to piracy over and above the price. By getting rid of DRM it is easier for people to justify buying music. People will always pirate. Not having DRM means that the record companies are now not at a disadvantage compared to piracy though, except for the price. Before piracy had a better distribution model than non-drmed music (Physical CDs vs Downloads) and had a better price. Now it only has a better price.

DRM won't matter, industry using it to kill apple (2, Insightful)

acomj (20611) | more than 6 years ago | (#22160358)

Bottom line... I'd much much much rather buy songs without DRM.
People who aren't going to buy aren't going buy and will always find an excuse.

Notice now though how again the labels with provide "amazon" with DRM free tracks but only EMI will provide apple. Using there catalogs as muscle to try and make the online sale more even. Those labels are evil..

Econ 101: Price Tends to Marginal Cost (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22160364)

The music industry must learn to live with the realities of economics. The price of a good will tend toward the cost of producing one more copy of the product.

Digital media is very inexpensive (nearly free) to reproduce. Therefore we would expect the price to tend toward zero. Trying to increase the cost of reproduction via DRM is very unlikely to work.

Loss of income generation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22160378)

If content becomes free, this will have an interesting ripple effect.

Since programmers can no longer make big money on apps, programmers will be paid less.

Since there are no big scores in music anymore, musicians will be paid less.

When the Kindle takes off, authors will be paid less.

We've already seen, since indie rock, that many many people can produce music. What happened? The good big acts (Led Zeppelin) got replaced by trendy crap (Amy Winehouse).

Free content means unpaid or underpaid creators, which means people with talent will avoid the field. Our culture has been bad... and now it's getting worse.

Hippie? (4, Interesting)

RedHat Rocky (94208) | more than 6 years ago | (#22160380)

"I love how intelligent people think subscription-based music services are the way to go. All you can eat for $15 a month. Talk about devaluing your product. People can download enough songs to fill 100 albums and pay under $20. How does anyone make money this way?"

Yeah. I can't figure out who ANYONE could make MONEY charging people RECURRING fees for CONTENT.

I mean, who would pay good money a month for a stack of dead trees?

Whoops, did I switch "magazine" and "music" again?

How old is your daughter again? Oh yeah, failed to mention that. Let me guess, three tops. Hippie? Dude, you're stuck in the 80's, aren't you? Well, at least you didn't use the C word.


Okay, enough making fun of the naysayer, on with the facts:

1. "Consumers" (I really HATE that word) are willing to consume that which is good. The "digital content" folks are in trouble because their content sucks. Rather than admit their faults, they prefer to point fingers. In one sense, the bonehead is correct, DRM-free won't stop the bleeding, but that's because the bandaid is in the wrong place. Radiohead is a good example, people are willing to pay money to support content they like. Duh!

2. DRM-free has value to Consumers because DRM restricts that which they previously enjoyed.

3. Audio quality isn't the issue, if higher quality is desired the demand will be there. Otherwise, non issue.

hark, I hear dinosaurs whining. (1)

swschrad (312009) | more than 6 years ago | (#22160388)

there are precious few facts. here they are as I see them...

1) moguls are all about control and big bucks.

2) music moguls are defined by (1), above.

3) analog reproduction was controlled by cheap single-song records in the acetate disk and tape recorder days.

4) industries, for instance radio, were co-opted for promotion purposes.

5) when first the source, and then the distribution, methods changed to digital, all of a sudden all copies were masters. the industry was blissfully unaware of this until somebody's kid told them he could make "greenies". there were no cheap single-song media in circulation. the moguls came unglued, their business model had changed without notice.

6) nothing has changed since. the moguls are unglued, the kids are still finding ways to make "greenies," and even the albums don't have a single song worth buying.

7) clusterfsck. "oh, hey, got an idea. let's attack our customers with badware."

8) no profit.

9) steps 5 though 8 are being repeated at lightning speed every time somebody breathes. the industry is going down the tubes.

10) hey, why NOT try something different? why NOT dump the badware and allow single song sales again? through the distribution network the kids want to use?

oh, that's right, it takes BUSINESSMEN, not moguls, to do that.

folks, buy your own instruments and start learning to play yourselves.

Same argument as for FOSS (1)

filbranden (1168407) | more than 6 years ago | (#22160392)

Well, that's the same argument against FOSS, that it will kill economy and that it's not a viable business model. Yet, all the big ones (IBM, Sun, Oracle) are incorporating more and more FOSS in their businesses, and having profit from it.

If you want real innovation on the music industry you have to start breaking the model that treats consumers as if they were cattle. For an example of something really interesting and newsworthy on this area, see the success that Radiohead had by distributing their latest album on the Internet, in a model that the consumer chooses the price he deems right for it.

Maybe.... (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#22160394) a market where production is cheap, talented artists are plenty and promotion and distribution over the Internet almost free, there's not much money to be made? Little without DRM, less with DRM? I mean there's 8 billion of us, and even if just 0.01% of those got the musical talent, time and interest there's plenty. They're moving very rapidly into the bottled water industry - delivering the same as you get for free, except you're paying for it.

The answer is obvious: MTV (1)

PrescriptionWarning (932687) | more than 6 years ago | (#22160400)

MTV (and radio) was really the big thing that kept people informed about new music to buy during the 80's and 90's. Now, the more people that only listen to the music they already have on their PCs and portable media players, it means less who are listening to potentially new music for them to buy. So in essence what is needed is a better way to listen to new music, online, the FULL song, and then and only then will the person decide to buy the song/album. Oh and one hit wonders and dance songs don't sell albums, mostly singles.

TFA is flamebait (2, Insightful)

liegeofmelkor (978577) | more than 6 years ago | (#22160402)

Nothing to see here. When the author either doesn't understand or deliberately obscures the fact that there's a difference between free (as in costs no $$) and DRM free, its time to stop reading. There isn't an educated thought throughout, and the author hasn't done a bit of research. It is disheartening that the chief editor of a successful magazine can get away with spewing such drivel. As an editor, he must not only keep his own pieces at such low quality, but also edit his journalists works to ensure similar (low) standards are met in their works. Sigh!

Eighty Thousand Years (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22160418)

That's about how long people have been making music (we know this because there are bird-bone flutes that old). [] Probably even longer. Most of that time people did it for and with their friends for not a dime. Recorded music is only a little older than those now living. People will go right on making music, and earn money playing live, as they have done since time immemorial. We know from Linux that even complex projects will be done by amateurs (i.e. 'those who do it from love') for free. No DRM, no problemo.

Money for old rope (1)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 6 years ago | (#22160420)

The music industry needs to realise that most of us are looking for better music than Britney f'ing Spears or whoever is the current industry-manufactured talentless whiner that needs protools to even sound good that they're pushing on the kids this week.

Maybe if they stopped being so formulaic and decided who gets contracts based musical talent instead of physical appearance and image-marketability then the silent majority might actually be interested enough to buy some. I mean when you're listening to a CD, who gives a crap what the singer looks like?

Hell yeah! (1)

V!NCENT (1105021) | more than 6 years ago | (#22160424)

DRM disapears, Microsoft loses customers to Linux, WGA gets removed from IE7 and XP, video games are moving to the consoles, people want to share their multimedia and software for free (as in price and beer), OOXML is getting dismissed, ogg is now all over the music torrent website's... I see a chance for FLOSS and CC. Many people (even my uncle who is a business man) knows about Linux know and Ubuntu is starting to get attention from the average Joe's. I met some guy who said OO.o was awesome and he knows nothing about computers except for the powerbutton and the Windows start button.

No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22160432)

VHS doesn't have DRM. Normal CDs don't have DRM. Images don't have DRM.

Close down the big sites sharing MP3s and leave the rest of us alone - its a system that has worked for a long time.

I've only just started paying for music again... (1)

Maltheus (248271) | more than 6 years ago | (#22160434)

...they just need to stick with it for a while. All I've ever wanted were reasonably high quality MP3s at a decent rate and no stupid subscription. Amazon has done that and now they get my money again. That wasn't that hard, now was it. There's simply no reason to download illegally (non-participating labels aside), given most peoples level of music consumption. I don't see how this spells trouble at all. It only spells profit. Something, I've come to believe, corporate America is no longer interested in.

so what (1)

Jeff1946 (944062) | more than 6 years ago | (#22160444)

As I understand it most musicians make money at concerts so recorded music's main purpose for muscians is to get folks to come to concerts. So music always will get recorded and be offered to us in some manner. Getting rid of the unnecessary plastic is a good idea as there is so much waste in unbought CDs etc. Therefore we always should have music available to us. In particular I like the idea of being able to buy individual songs so you are not stuck with a bunch of stuff on a CD that you never listen to.

If it crumbles... (2, Insightful)

Squirmy McPhee (856939) | more than 6 years ago | (#22160472)

Now consumers are getting their wish, and the music industry will continue to crumble.

If the music industry crumbles it won't be because it did or did not have DRM, it will be because it failed to offer a product consumers wanted at a price they were willing to pay. No amount of DRM or hand-wringing will change the fact that for some consumers, that means competing with free. Nor will it change the fact that if they produce music that nobody wants, nobody will buy it (even for free). In short, the music industry must either change with the times or go to its grave. That's no different than for any other industry, notwithstanding the industry big-shots who seem to think that consumers owe it to them to keep them afloat.

Milton Friedman? (1)

vvk (95314) | more than 6 years ago | (#22160498)

YEAH... Markets solve everything.
If thats the case why do we need corporations/companies/institutions... and all the other non-market-organized items in our perfect market economy.

The end of the media corporations is NOT the end of culture.

completely wrong... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22160502)

The big mistake he makes is having a title "DRM-Free Music Spells Trouble", then having all this talk about people giving away music for free. DRM-free music does not equate to giving it away for free.

            I think he may be right (but, maybe he isn't) about the Coldplay and Radiohead examples -- I really do not know if bands in general will make enough money selling an album for whatever I want to pay for it (down to $0) would make enough money to be worth it. Maybe it would, maybe it wouldn't; last I heard Coldplay and Radiohead did not release any hard numbers.

          But, that is not what releasing DRM-free music is about. It is simply releasing music without rights restrictions on it. The companies that are doing this are for the most part putting watermarks into the music...

          So, the status quo. I want some music. I am not running Windows, so quite simply, the regular online music markets are 100% useless to me. I have 0 interest in CDs -- I'm playing this on the computer, I'm not interested in ripping a "CD" (which possibly isn't a real CD, trying to make ripping difficult). Therefore, I will get the music P2P, even if I had the cash and inclination to pay for it.

          The new situation (which the article writer seems to have missed.) I want some music. I go to a site that does not use digital rights restrictions. It's in a MP3 or (unlikely I guess..) OGG Vorbis file, so I can actually use it! I buy it. ----- (The important part to the record company). I can do whatever I want with it. **BUT**, it's probably watermarked, so no, I am not going to just go out copying it far and wide to 1000's of my "nearest and dearest" via P2P --- (the other important part to the record company) -- the watermark would track it back to me and I'd probably be sued.

          People argue that the watermarks are removable. Yes, they are. So is any rights restriction system that can possibly be created. But, there's a strong incentive to crack rights restriction systems, as they are restricting the user from using music in ways that are perfectly reasonable (using the same music on desktop and portable player for instance). There's not such a strong incentive for people to crack watermarks -- they don't restrict personal use in any way whatsoever. Someone will crack the watermark system eventually, but I bet there's far less interest in researching it compared to bad DRM systems (for instance, someone like DVDJon cracked DVD CSS and Itunes because they prevented fair use of music.. which watermarks do not.) and I bet the cracks are far less widely distributed. (Compare, for instance, music DRM cracking software compared to software for getting free satellite TV -- it exists but is FAR less widespread, since there's no "legit" use for the satellite TV software.)

Everyone's looking away from the obvious issue (1)

Bones3D_mac (324952) | more than 6 years ago | (#22160512)

The music industry is obsolete.

Thanks to both broadband and freebie media servers like YouTube, the economy no longer needs a central figurehead controlling who gets to do what with who's music. Instead, consumers can simply deal directly with the performers themselves, rather than a label, since distribution is no longer tied down to a physical medium that requires specialized hardware to reproduce.

The music industry only survived as long as it has because the artists lacked the means to create vinyl records, CDs, 8-tracks and audio cassettes in the massive quantities needed to be heard across the country. That is no longer the case.

The bitter reality here is that no business model can save them, nor would have. The moment everything went digital and networked, they were screwed.


Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22160516)

Gimme something tangible to huggle!

So the artist can huggle all the fanthings they want!!!

misdirected focus (1)

themushroom (197365) | more than 6 years ago | (#22160530)

DRM-free music spells trouble? How about talent-free music? The issue is, and has been for years, that the music industry is putting out crap that few would want to pay for (let alone play). Someone figured this one out awhile ago, that the piracy statistics were inflated and CD sales were going down because there wasn't as much worth buying, but that detail doesn't jibe with the RIAA's wanting to be paid every time a song is played, in any form, anywhere, no matter whether a person owns media in some form with that song on it already. People pay for stuff they like, and as iTunes proves that even applies to music with DRM.

And when it comes right down to it, since music can be recorded with a microphone or line-in to magnetic media or in digital format, the 'rights' thing being harped on doesn't exist. Only the ability to duplicate or play a compact disk or music file does, and those are easily defeated by not using the tool the protection's programmer expects people to use (WMP for example).

pay-per song is the culprit (1)

cornercuttin (1199799) | more than 6 years ago | (#22160550)

i dont think DRM was ever the problem. labels are losing money because we now have a pay-per song system, and we as consumers can hedge our costs with quality. i don't need to spend $15 on a cd anymore. i just need to spend $2 for the 2 songs that are good. that is a huge loss. the problem is also the fact that we are getting rid of the ever-so-rich rock icon. it has become harder and harder to become rich just from album sales, and with the advent of the internet, there are more bands out there to choose from than ever. rock stars are making less money, as are the corporate execs who demand the high salaries. musicians are going to have to come to terms with the fact that the glory days are over, and that a $100k salary is good for a musician these days. corporate execs are struggling to keep that huge amount of income that pays for the mansions; look at the copyright extension! i've never had a problem with DRM. i don't download music illegally either. i just pay for what i want and get rid of the rest. that is where they are losing their money. plus, if i lose my cd, i don't have to go out and buy another. i have a backup sitting right next to my computer.

Dwindling Sales (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22160562)

The big name record companies seem to be the loudest complainers of how their 'sales are tumbling' yet you don't hear much about other, smaller labels who don't deal with the mainstream genre's having problems.

Perhaps this decline isn't due to Peer to Peer file sharing, or DRM or any other scapegoat. Perhaps this decline is due to a changing user base, oversaturation and people moving away from the mainstream genres that these labels push.

It is very convenient to go after the P2P crowd, but after the wave of RIAA lawsuits was there a sudden jump in sales as the average consumer was scared back onto the straight and narrow?

Yes. (1)

Odin_Tiger (585113) | more than 6 years ago | (#22160566)

Is the removal of restrictions from our media really that big a deal?
Oh hell yes it's a big deal.
I used to buy lots of music as well as downloading it on P2P networks, but when Napster started getting in real hot water I stopped using P2P. Around, I'd guess, 2003 sometime, maybe 2004 (I can't remember exactly), I pretty much stopped buying music, too. Why? I don't listen to CD's in plain album format. I listen to playlists on my computer and burned mix discs in my car. DRM made this more bother than it's worth, and a disc that I can't rip to mp3 is essentially a 'coaster' as far as I'm concerned. On the rare occasion I bought a CD since then, I looked it up on the internet and made damn sure that I wouldn't have to do anything more involved than holding down 'shift' when I put it in the drive to get it to rip with CDEX.

But - and this is important - I now buy music about as much as I did back in the late '90s (1 - 2 albums a month). What's changed? Amazon's mp3 store. Should Amazon's mp3 store fail and no comparable service move to take it's place, my music purchases will go back to essentially zip.

No RIAA = Willing to Buy (1)

Bellum Aeternus (891584) | more than 6 years ago | (#22160620)

Record companies that support the RIAA and/or DRM I boycott. Have been for a long time now. Last album I purchases was an older Dave Matthews album.

As record companies give up on DRM and stop suing people, I can update my music collection which is ridiculously old. No, I have illegally downloaded any music in the meantime - I've just been willing to go without to stand up for what I believe in.

I am 50/50 - is the new Napster a bad thing? (1)

whyloginwhysubscribe (993688) | more than 6 years ago | (#22160622)

I am split 50/50 on this subject.

I used to prefer to buy my music on CD - then I could rip it and would still have a copy which couldn't be accidentally deleted, and didn't have the lossless compression until I copied it onto my computer (but this article isn't about music formats). Plus you can read the sleeve notes, look at the lyrics and lend it to your friends.

But then I discovered the new Napster - 15 quid a month and I can download pretty much any music I like - legally... As soon as I stop paying, the songs will no longer work on my mp3 player - because of DRM. I really like this service - I've got a massive music library at my finger tips for the price of 2 CDs a month.
I really like the Napster service - and accept that the DRM must be on the files because of the price that I am paying doesn't reimburse the artist and record companies as much as the traditional media. It also encourages me to try out alternative music, which supports the smaller record labels.

What people forget is that with Napster and itunes you can burn the songs onto a CD anyway - and then copy them around with your friends... so what is the problem?
Well - part of my problem is the closed formats - I have to dual boot Linux and Windows to use Napster - I bet it never works on Linux. And DRM isn't just about music - what about films, books and hardware?

Thinking about hardware DRM for example - having to pay to unlock extra cores in your processor, or being restricted to a certain operating system when you buy a machine. I think that the problem here is that DRM doesn't become copy protection, it becomes hardware restriction. With Napster, I am getting what I paid for - but if I pay 1000 pounds for a PC, I don't want to pay another 1000 pounds to unlock it so that I can run Linux. I can't listen to the tunes I download on Napster on an ipod - so I am restricted to using Windows and certain types of MP3 player...
I just hope that market forces keep the choices open for us consumers...
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