Monday, April 02, 2007

Bye Bye DRM

I wrote recently (Fuck the RIAA) about how much the recording industry sucks, particularly because they put pointless restrictions (DRM) on music bought online.

Well if you haven't heard already, one record label - EMI - and one (big) online music vendor - the iTunes Music Store - are going to start offering DRM-free music next month. Here is a transcript of Steve Jobs announcing it. This is good news for everyone. People who buy music will have the option of buying it without restrictions (and at higher quality, to boot), so they'll be less likely to pirate it. The music industry will benefit from less pirating, and more sales. A lot of people won't even care about this, but those who do will eat it up. It can't fail, and hopefully that means that all music will be DRM-free soon.

The only catch is that these new DRM-free, higher-quality singles will cost about 30 cents more than the old 99 cent singles. If it was only removing DRM, this would be dumb; sorta like a company selling defective computers for a year, then coming out with a new, defect-free computer for only 30% more. But I guess the increased quality justifies the price increase. Plus, full albums will be the same price, which is all I really buy anyway.

So good news for everyone. Maybe we're finally getting to the point where CDs - and indeed all physical ways of buying music - are obsolete.

8 comments:

Harry J. Sachz said...

april fools? this is too cool to be true....

Jason said...

I don't think I've bought a CD since 1999. Maybe I'll buy one online. It's just too easy to get everything free (except old stuff).

Salem said...

Haha.. I dropped by to say exactly this, but you are so up-to-date!

I haven't bought too many CDs recently but when I have, all i end up doing is ripping it and putting it away. So, I guess it's day is nearly done.

Butchieboy said...

I don't know whay any of this means. I listen to records.

Nölff said...

Tape was the shit back in the day.

Phronk said...

Sachz: I know. Maybe it's a month-long April fools.

Jason: I've reported you to the RIAA.

Salem: Yeah, same here. CDs are like decorations on my shelf that illustrate the music I have on my computers. They don't actually do anything after the first rip.

Butchie & Nolff: Wax phonograph cylinders defeat you both.

Harry J. Sachz said...

well, as expected, this topic is now being heard on every tech podcast this side of the internet. every time that I hear them mention the 30 cent additional fee, I'm reminded of your 'defective-free computer' analogy.

I suppose the whole effort put forth by those who care, is going to go completely unnoticed by those who don't. I can't imagine that the average person would spend extra money on a slightly higher quality version of a song, when most people only care about bulk and portability. not too many people own an iPod AND another media device (like a Zune), so DR.M isn't a huge issue for consumers. when this doesn't work out in the favor of the industry, they'll turn around and blame the lack of sales on piracy like they tend to do.

as great as all this added quality in media is, the added cost of entry into the whole HD / BluRay market confuses me as well... but that's another topic entirely.

long story short: I can't see this being long-term.

Harry J. Sachz said...

The originality of Microsoft strikes again...

http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&taxonomyName=mobile_devices&articleId=9015898&taxonomyId=75