Monday, September 03, 2007

The Race to Drop DRM

The wars between Bezos and Jobs are starting and the first salvos are not to be books, but music downloads and the area that Bezos had previously given to iTunes. As we reported in our blog, ‘The Cat is out the Bag’ on 2nd July this year, this month will launch an online music download service. It plans to sell about 1m tracks from record companies Universal Music Group and EMI as well as songs from a number of independent labels.

So what’s special? Well as expected the price will be keen, charging $0.99 for new and popular songs and $0.89 for others, while albums are expected to cost between $7.99 and $9.99. So the price is better but prices can always be undercut.
The interesting fact is that as we noted in our blog that Amazon are doing it without DRM. Jobs already wants to go the DRM free route, but will iTunes still be a destination store if DRM is not an issue and aopens up a real competitor in the market?

If we look at audiobooks it is virtually guaranteed that it will end up following music as far as DRM. What will that do to Audioble who have built their platform on a technology offer that is looking shakier by the month? Audio DRM free is already avialble on public domain works from Naxos and Silksounds so the writing is clearly on the wall there.

We always said that books are different. One question is whether they actually will be seen that way in the market? The other question is the role of watermark technology and its place in a DRM diluted world.