DRM-Free Music in “One to Two Years”?

The New York Times has an article today detailing the MIDEM music industry conference, and are reporting that at least 4 major record companies “could move toward the sale of unrestricted digital files in the MP3 format within months.”

    Publicly, music company executives say their systems for limiting copies are a way to fairly compensate artists and other copyright holders who contribute to the creation of music.

    But privately, there are signs of a new appreciation in the industry for unrestricted copies, which could be sold as singles or through subscription services or made freely available on Internet sites that support advertising….
    In a handful of European countries, especially in France, consumer frustration has led to government proposals to legislate interoperability.

    “There is a groundswell, and I say that on the basis of private conversations,” said Rob Glaser, chief executive of RealNetworks, which sells digital music protected against piracy through the Rhapsody subscription service.

    “It will happen between next year and five years from now, but it is more likely to be in one to two years,” he said.

Promising news about record companies? Seriously? —MEGHANN MARCO

Record Labels Contemplate Unrestricted Digital Music [NYT via BoingBoing]


Edit Your Comment

  1. RumorsDaily says:

    The real question is if the music industry went to Apple and asked for iTunes to sell unrestricted MP3s, whether Jobs and crew would do it.

  2. Ingen:

    Not only would Jobs and Crew do it, but they would take the credit by implying that they helped usher in the era of digital music profit on the internet at large, using their DRM to test the water so to speak.

    Once free of the Apple DRM, Apple will have solved all of it’s pesky “noncompetitive” lawsuits in other countries and the puzzle pieces will have fallen into place.

    Or not. :>

  3. Promising news about record companies? Seriously?

    *head explodes*

  4. sp3nc3 says:

    Saying that this “news” is promising is like saying that celery is delicious.

    First off, if record executives see DRM as a means to fairly compensate artists, they’re delusional at best. There has not yet been a DRM scheme implemented that has prevented a song or movie from showing up on the P2P networks. And when the RIAA or MPAA has sued people for copyright infringement, whether justly or injustly, the money won from the suit or settlement has not gone to compensate the artists whose copyrights have been infringed.

    The only success that DRM has enjoyed has been that of annoying and restricting legitimate, law-abiding consumers. Many have turned to P2P downloading as a means of getting the music they want without the hassle that comes with the files that the industry has provided.

    So to say that we can expect change to come “between next year and five years from now,” is dismal at best, both for the consumers and the industry. It’s dismal for the consumers because that means it’ll be at least a year that we have to keep putting up with the RIAA’s B.S. and creepy tactics. And it’s dismal for the industry because it means that they’re continuing to be resistant to technologies that could be strongly beneficial to them. The longer they resist giving the consumers a legitimate means to get what they want, the longer consumers will go get it where they can. Simple supply and demand.

  5. helio9000 says:

    Apple has said in the past that they would not be in favor of selling DRM free music even if the labels asked. Note that some labels sold via DRM free venues like Emusic are also sold by the iTunes store still sacked with DRM. Why would that be if it wasn’t apple’s choice? The best example is the iHandcuffs example of Nettwerk Music Group saying that they sell their stuff on Emusic DRM free and that the FariPlay versions sold on iTunes are only to Apple’s benefit not theirs. I will say that Apple initially held the line on DRM being worse but anyone who thinks that it hasn’t benefited their closed system strategy is suffering from serious RDF.


    The record labels abject stupidity has now made them desperate to get out from under Apple being their only viable digital seller and I’d bet that the recent rumors about opening FairPlay are about staving off no just antitrust movements against them in Europe but also record companies trying DRM free just to be outside of cupertino’s sway. This is not to say that if the world came to its senses and went DRM free that iTunes couldn’t/wouldn’t compete – but it isn’t their first choice.

  6. I’ve been keeping up on this subject in the news and basically it appears that the music industry will be migrating towards a licensing type business model in place of the current ‘per unit’ business model. Unfortunately I was reading about this yesterday so I cant find the links to the other related stories.

    I think most of the information came from some sort of meeting/conference in cannes with some of the bigwigs from the RIAA..??

  7. Avery says:

    Interestingly, this gives me the idea that the industry might want to sell MP3s to get out of the clutches of Apple. They know a monopsony when they see it.