Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Free music picking-up steam

At long last music is going to be freed from the straight-jacket of clumsy protection systems that end up bothering legitimate users without preventing fraud. Jamendo's CEO used to say that "DRM is the only technology that has a failure rate of 100%", meaning that it is always circumvented by fraudsters almost before it is adopted. Laurent was visionary in his assessment done as early as 2005, that DRM would end-up failing to provide the benefits expected by the old-school music industry and by extension by content industrialists represented by the RIAA and the MPAA. These organizations have yet to recognize that the mass availability of content leads to a paradigm shift in which the competition for human attention is just much more intense. Hopefully their positions will evolve and the new business models of their industries will go mainstream. In that perspective I expect Jamendo and its team will have fascinating business quests of their own in this space.

clipped from

Your Rights Online: Amazon DRM-Free Music Store Goes Beta

Posted by
on Tuesday September 25, @03:57PM

from the 2-million-songs-from-20-thousand-labels dept.

LowSNR writes "Amazon this morning moved their DRM-free music store into open beta.  According to the release, 'Since all our digital music downloads are DRM-free, you can play them on anything that plays mp3s including PCs, Macs(tm), iPods(tm), Zunes(tm), Zens(tm), iPhones(tm), RAZRs(tm), and BlackBerrys. Plus, our Amazon MP3 Downloader application makes it easy to add your downloads to iTunes(tm) and Windows Media Player(tm), so you can sync up your devices or burn your music to CD hassle-free.' Not to mention Linux." Of course, without DRM few of the major labels play with them.

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  1. I am pretty sure everybody _not_ involved in the mummified 'old-school' music industry knew that DRM would failed. Copy protection has already failed since the eighties in other domains such as computer games, followed by DVDs (who was the complete idiot inventing regional codes so to _restrict_ the number of potential customers?), ...
    I am also quite sure that big industries will fail for several decades to come doing the same stupid thing over and over again.
    So I guess the visionary part of Jamendo was not the knowledge that DRM was a wrong concept, but that they did not bother trying to haggle with the big mummies, but rather embrace the long tail (this sounds not appropriate, but you know what I mean) of enthusiastic independent musicians.
    Oh, and their business models are still quite different, since removing DRM does not mean that the music is free (in any sense of the word), as opposed to the CC-licensed music of jamendo. They just stopped wasting money on crippling their products. Still, the amazon MP3 offer is only valid in the US. So we may ask again: why isn't it possible to sell globally through a global network?
    So this was only a very small step for a giant dinosaur, who is still not sure how to get extinct once and for all.

  2. Alex,
    Thank you for your insightful comments. You are quite right in your analysis of the value of Jamendo's business orientations and also right to point out that dinosaurs are moving slowly. I guess that when one sees movement even in the distribution channels of dinosaurs, something pretty interesting is going on... which, of course, does not mean that dinosaurs will survive, let alone succeed.
    On "free" music, I tend to believe that music sold under a legal scheme that allows the buyer to use it according to existing legislation (which allows private copies in many countries) is free... at least from DRM. And I do understand a position, which may be yours, that when artists are under the traditional contracts of the music industry they cannot be considered free and therefore their music is not really free. Which brings us again to Jamendo and the beauty of the Creative Commons framework.