Mar 26th, 2008 // 8 Comments

Hypebot is wondering if the stalled effort to make more digital-music stores’ catalog free of digital rights management is the fault of the stores or the major record labels. I have a third theory: The roadblock isn’t really because of either side digging in its heels: It’s because the “issue” of whether or not music should be free of DRM is one that doesn’t really matter to 95% of consumers, as long as they can get the songs they’ve already purchased online to work on their computer/portable device, and so pouring a lot of money into a “solution” for this overhyped-by-the-tech-nerds problem isn’t really as high a priority as, say, negotiating deals for possible subscription services or wrangling holdouts’ catalogs onto their stores’ virtual shelves. (I know, readers–it’s hard to think that the opinions of people on the Internet might not be all that important in the grand scheme of things!) [Hypebot]


  1. Captain Wrong

    I’ve said it over there, but yeah, that’s about the size of it. Most people don’t give a damn about DRM (still) as long as their music plays.

  2. jt.ramsay

    Trying to tell tech nerds that this ‘doesn’t really matter’ is nigh impossible. ‘Can I put it on my iPod?’ is the only question that needs to be answered for most consumers.

  3. fogsnob

    i agree Maura. it’s the same ire that people throw at labels for not providing a blanket license for ad-supported models. the fact is, each label and service views these things differently because of their operating structure and it’s impossible to create one deal that works for every artist contract and every territory and every piece of media. shit’s hard.

    on the other hand, i don’t know a single label that isn’t actively negotiating to provide music DRM-free, it just takes a while. i’m sure that’s hard for arm chair pundits as they surf BoingBoing on their BSD-UNIX enabled iPhones, but that is truth.

  4. worldsfair

    hate to be the devil’s advocate but most consumers really don’t care about things like recycling and energy conservation yet these are very real things tied to the products they purchase and consume and they are very real and important things to be concerned about…

    i guess what i’m wondering is at what point are consumers and inter-nerds wrong? or at least less than half-right? speaking as a music fan and avid blog reader, i totally agree that people should have the right and ability to share media… but from working for independent music i can see that the story isn’t so simple and fans need to wake up to the fact that most of their favorite musicians and indeed many of the people suporting/representing them wallow in financial misery for most of their lives trying to make a career out of music… there’s something wrong with the equation and there has to be a compromise somewhere

  5. Maura Johnston

    @worldsfair: but recycling and energy conservation have real-world consequences beyond those debated in comment sections. does drm-free music? if anything i’d think that the push for drm-free music would help contribute to the conditions you’re lamenting in your second paragraph, but that’s because i don’t really trust people as a rule.

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