p2pnet news | Music:- EMI started the rot when it abandoned DRM (Digital Restrictions Management) consumer control and it didn’t take a genius to predict it was only a matter of time before the other members of the Big 4 organised music cartel would do the same.
In March France’s Vivendi Universal was “quietly testing the sale of DRM-free digital music with ‘L’Olympia, the first live album of French singer/composer Emilie Simon, later going whole hog, and now Amazon and Warner have teamed up to peddle DRM-free downloads.
That just leaves Sony BMG.
So does this mean the end of DRM and will Warner now start treating its customers like responsible people instead of potential criminals?
Not a chance.
Edgar Bronfman jnr, the Canadian who runs Warner Music, decided a gentle slap on the wrist was enough punishment for his own children whom he admitted had shared files.
He says in a staff email published by the Los Angeles Times:
… we will continue to aggressively enforce our own and our artists’ copyrights in the digital space. It would be wrong for anyone to think that the elimination of encryption on audio downloads is, in any way, a permission to steal. And DRM will still be used in subscription services, music videos downloads and mobile products, among others, to insure payment to recording artists, songwriters, music publishers and affiliated and non-affiliated labels as well as to enable the growth of current and next-generation digital products and services.”
Here’s the full Monty from the LA Times >>>
Today we are announcing an agreement with Amazon under which consumers in the U.S. will be able to purchase audio downloads of our artists? music in a manner that will allow that music to be playable on virtually any portable media device. What makes this development especially noteworthy?and what may come as a surprise to many?is that we’ll be making our digital audio library available as unencrypted downloads, without copy protection. This agreement is the first of many of these types we?ll be announcing in the coming weeks and months.
Many have argued that we could and should have done this long ago?especially since the majority of our sales come from an unprotected format, the CD. Because we’ve been among the most vocal proponents of the principles of Digital Rights Management (DRM)?and continue to believe in their objectives?our change in course with respect to audio downloads deserves an explanation.
From the beginning, the debate over DRM has been, at best, a confusing one. With terms like “watermarking,” “FairPlay,” ?PlaysForSure? (now ?Certified for Windows Vista?), ?OMA 2.0? and many, many others, one could be excused for not exactly understanding, at times, what was at stake and what all the noise was about. So I’ll sidestep any discussion about the merits of one technology over another and try to get to the heart of the matter.
Consumers want flexibility with respect to what they can do with music once they purchase it, and we want them to have that flexibility. Giving consumers the assurance that the music they purchase can be played on any device they own?the assurance of interoperability?will only encourage more sales of music.
Achieving interoperability with DRM has always been our goal. It is the solution that almost every other form of content enjoys, including films, television, video games and software. But getting all the participants in the music chain, including the tech giants, to agree on one technological framework that can be incorporated into all the many different devices and online stores?a framework that can both track sales and provide reasonable usage rights?has been beyond difficult. Back in February, I said that music should not be the one content category without some form of protection and that there was no logical reason to abandon DRM because, with the cooperation of industry players, interoperability and DRM can co-exist. Over the last eleven months, however, little progress has been made towards achieving that co-existence.
We have concluded that both the development and growth of the online store environment?a potentially exciting array of artist-driven stores, new online retailers and millions of other points of sale for our artists? music via Web 2.0 applications?are being hampered by the handcuffs which today?s inflexible, non-interoperable copy-protection puts on both retailers and consumers.
Some things will not change. For one, we will continue to aggressively enforce our own and our artists? copyrights in the digital space. It would be wrong for anyone to think that the elimination of encryption on audio downloads is, in any way, a permission to steal. And DRM will still be used in subscription services, music videos downloads and mobile products, among others, to insure payment to recording artists, songwriters, music publishers and affiliated and non-affiliated labels as well as to enable the growth of current and next-generation digital products and services.
But many things will change. Most immediately, vastly improved opportunities for the current group of online retailers will spring up. And, over time, we believe there will be a significant proliferation of new online stores. This environment will promote yet another change, one that benefits consumers, artists and music companies alike: healthy competition among retailers.
As always, competition will accelerate innovation. As we activate new digital retail partnerships, we plan to play a very energetic role in driving that innovation. We?ll develop more feature-rich, music-based digital products. And dramatically superior delivery platforms will do many things: transform the relationship between and among consumers, labels and artists; take advantage of all the platforms and devices on which people experience music; reward registered purchasers with follow-up delivery of special and unique content; and provide new opportunities to enhance the connection between artists and their fans.
By providing an immediate interoperable solution to retail partners who are committed to working with us to deliver these new and more robust music-based experiences, we’ll encourage more consumption of existing products while introducing consumers to new and better ones.
In addition to creating new music-based products, further down the road we see even more opportunities. Digitizing a recorded music library for online distribution is not a digital strategy. Nor is trying to control the flow of CD-ripped digital audio on the Internet. However, in addition to creating higher-value, music-based products and experiences for the digital age, there are also opportunities for us to monetize the unauthorized flow of our artists? audio content on the Internet, both as a company and as an industry. You can expect more developments on this front next year, and you can also expect us to demonstrate leadership in creating new business models and forming new partnerships that will enable us to generate revenue from the flow of this content.
There’s no denying that WMG and the industry as a whole have been struggling for almost a decade now with the challenges and opportunities that the digital space presents. We don’t for a second believe we can make all the challenges presented by the most revolutionary technological transformation of our time simply vanish in one fell swoop. The recent trend of dramatic changes in the recorded music market will continue. Of that you can be sure. And, though it’s a clich?, it’s a clich? because it’s true: technology will also provide us with new opportunities. That too is certain.
So, while our industry and its technologies continue to evolve, WMG?s true value as an organization will remain the discovery and development of artists, and bringing their works to fans around the world. In this endeavor, we are technology agnostic?seeking simply the best path for WMG to serve artists and consumers, no matter what it might be.
By removing a barrier to the sale and enjoyment of audio downloads, we bring an energy-sapping debate to a close and allow ourselves to re-focus on opportunities and products that will benefit not only WMG, but our artists and our consumers as well.
I am eagerly looking forward to seeing many of these opportunities come to fruition in the months and years to come.
In the meantime, I look forward to hearing any thoughts or ideas you have on this topic or any others. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Edgar Bronfman, Jr.
Don’t bother to stay tuned.
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