Friday, January 11, 2008

A Good Week for Digital Music and a bad one for DRM

This week Sony BMG, which represents artists such as Bruce Springsteen, the Foo Fighters, Santana and Justin Timberlake, effectively put the final nail in DRM as we knew it in music and positioned Amazon’s digital music store as the rival to the market leader, the iTunes.

Sony are the last major label to release their catalogue to be available in MP3 format and DRM free. It is a great day for music, artists and potentially a bad day for pirates. It effectively kills off those cumbersome and consumer unfriendly DRM systems which drove many to the pirates. Although music still has the problem of ‘music for free’ one of the major issues is now disappearing fast.

The move also heralds the industry’s moves to create an effective rival to iTunes. It is almost inevitable the audiobook publishers will wake up smell the coffee and do the same both as DRM in this media does is not consumer friendly and also to create an effective alternative to Audible.
If we are asked why audiobooks have failed to really take off as predicted the answers are tied to DRM, Audible’s dominance and propriatry stands and book club model. True there are other issues such as price points but if the audio book publishers accept MP3 and no DRM then they may enjoy a larger slice, from a larger cake. Currently Random House are leading the way with their 3music trials and although Penguin got jittery and pulled out, logic will prevail.