Met with the CFO of Warner Music. Not only a really nice guy, but super articulate, thoughtful and smart. Everyone gives the music industry such a hard time (and often rightly deserved), but one thing they are not, is stupid – well at least in this case.
I offered our take on things and the direction we’d like to take our model (ala carte/membership/streaming) and he is very open to it. He is open to no DRM – as long as there are controls in place to limit file transfers within a PC….and a MP3 player. So – that is tough – what they want to avoid is someone taking a full MP3 player and copying those files to another computer. So – that’s not so hot for us.
But I think it points to an interesting solution. In stead of putting controls on the file (and causing all kinds of interoperability problems), put firmware level controls on the device for hooking it up to a computer for transfers. Meaning – install a piece of software on a computer (ie: downloaded from the manufacturers web site, or bundled) with a unique identifier that writes that unique identifier to the device. Only the computer (or another, or however many) with that same software with that unique identifier would be able to do a transfer. You’d have to be able to write down that unique identifier or get a master one or something in the event of a hardware failure – so that is a piece of logic to work out still.
There we go – DRM interoperability problem solved. Any device manufacturers interested?