Monday, December 03, 2007

DRM in Music Fast Becoming Fatally Wounded

What makes a tipping point and makes a nice to have a must have, a nice design a design icon and good seller into a market leader?
Pepsi and Amazon are planning a yearlong download promotion which ios forcing Warner and Sony to consider distributing music in the MP3 format, and move on from the now unfashionable digital rights management technology. News of the Pepsi promotion, expected to be announced during the Super Bowl in February, coincides with Wal-Mart's ultimatum that major labels supply with their music in MP3.

EMI and Universal Music Group began their move earlier this year. Disney's has joined the list of labels testing MP3 at Amazon and EMI began selling its music in MP3 format in June. WMG and Sony BMG Music Entertainment both have remained in support of using digital rights management for music downloads. But times change and the writing appears to be on the wall with sources saying Sony BMG is considering an MP3 test.

The impact of the move will be fatal to those who believe that DRM is the way forward. The tipping point will occur and we will all embrace MP3. As with Betamax and VHS the battle is not won by technology, but by those who create that special thing that turns the market. Once a tipping point is achieved there is no going back. The impact on audiobooks is inevitable and even those who lost their nerve in Penguin recently will have to reconsider their position quickly.