I am not actually someone who rails against DRM (although recently it seems so). But I am clearly no fan of DRM restrictions – and more important – the interoperability issues inherent in DRM. So, I am happy to hear that, maybe DRM free, legal music is on the way. According to the NY Times, overheard at Midem, some of the major record labels are beginning to think they should offer some music in straight DRM-free MP3 format.I suspect that the primary driver here is EMI. As the kind of underdog in the marketshare department, and as a company with some kind of entrepreneurial spirit, they seem to be in the best position and most likely to take the first dramatic steps forward. Another funny thing about the majors – once one is onto something, they all jump right in. We could see an avalanche effect if EMI goes all the way.
If you want to drive sales up, you have to meet consumer demand – and consumers are demanding fast, easy, flexible access to digital music. Once you take out DRM, you can deliver that. And once you have that, retailers (like us) are then are free to differentiate their services and add value to the consumer.
I am meeting with EMI next Wednesday to discuss licensing our service. With any luck, I can take advantage of this new leaning and strike a similar deal to what we have with CDBaby – no DRM, as long as we take “appropriate measures to protect content within our system.”
At the end of the day, I just want our service to give customers great access to great music the way they want it and make lots of money for the artists who make that great music. Let us do that.