Friday, January 04, 2008

Song BMG becomes last major label to dump DRM

Sony has become the last of the four major music labels to commit to stripping DRM (Digital Rights Management) from the music it sells, according to Business Week. Sony's move follows Warner Music Group saying it would drop DRM last month, with EMI and Universal taking similar stances in earlier 2007.

The final major label committing to dump DRM comes almost 11 months to the day after Steve Jobs fired a missive on Apple's website calling for all music labels, especially the 'big four' to dump DRM:
The third alternative is to abolish DRMs entirely. Imagine a world where every online store sells DRM-free music encoded in open licensable formats. In such a world, any player can play music purchased from any store, and any store can sell music which is playable on all players. This is clearly the best alternative for consumers, and Apple would embrace it in a heartbeat. If the big four music companies would license Apple their music without the requirement that it be protected with a DRM, we would switch to selling only DRM-free music on our iTunes store. Every iPod ever made will play this DRM-free music.

DRM was likely already headed the way of the Dodo, but Jobs' plea certainly accelerated the process. One can only hope that this move will also be another domino falling toward the end of the RIAA, which becomes even less meaningful in a DRM-free music world.

At any rate, this is a red-letter day for music fans, and whether they realize it or not, the industry itself. As Terry McBride, Nettwerk CEO stated when I interviewed him last year, the key to the future of the music industry is to "put the music where the music fan spends their time and allow them to consume it how they want."


Hat-tip to Eric Rice for tweeting about this story.


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1 comment:

John White said...

Great news!

It's good to know that they trust the consumer not to copy their music. Plus it will make it much easier to use on mp3 players.

Trust is very important in business, which is why I listen to the advice of James Brausch