Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Review of our 2008 Predictions - 6. Audio

At the end of 2007 we made 10 predictions for 2008. Many predictions made have now been conveniently forgotten but we stand by our thinking at the time and believe it appropriate we openly review these individually and see what we think happened and assess them appropriately. Today we review the audiobook market.

6. Audio – the death of DRM is inevitable and closely linked to music and in its wake what will happen to Audible and its monopoly? Consumers will vote with their clicks and the book club model is unlikely to succeed. The use of Watermarking technology will grow.

What a weird sector this is? It should be the most advanced digital sector and be creating significant growth for all. After all you need to do is download the file the rest is exactly the same!

Audible continue to dominate and some would say restrict the market to their exclusive DRM and business model. Publishers say they will go MP3 but then have a problem delivering it. In some cases it’s like the old typesetters’ print files, they failed to pick them up. In some cases it’s down to rights contracts and restrictions on non DRM protection.

Whatever the answer the fact is that the market is failing to grasp the full potential and what is being grasped is in Amazon / Audible.

Music discovered that MP3 may not be the best technology and may be ‘open’ but it has all the players, the audience and its often better to get a small piece of a huge pie than a big piece of a small one.

We feel Audio stood still and stalled yet again, 2 of 10.

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