[photopress:not_love_you_long_time_1.jpg,full,alignright]The last major label will throw in the towel on digital rights management and prepare to fight Sony BMG, a joint venture of Sony (SNE) and Bertelsmann, will make at least part of its collection available without so-called digital rights management, or DRM, software some time in the first quarter. Which is probably the dying breath of digital rights management.
In getting out of it Sony BMG joins Warner Music Group, EMI and Vivendi’s Universal Music Group.
So what caused this sea change?
Whatever the suits in the industry say the motivating force was the fact that the artists were leaving the companies.
They did not need the industry which loaded quite unacceptable costs on to music and records — mainly so they could hang on to slabs of it themselves. They are now, to use the right word, archives.
We will see a raft of new, less restrictive ways of selling music over the Internet, such as through social networks like Facebook and MySpace. And Amazon will be in there somewhere.
The start for Sony will be when Justin Timberlake, the popular recording artist signed to the Sony-owned Jive label, participates in a Super Bowl promotion with Pepsi offering free distribution of 1 billion songs from major labels through Amazon’s DRM-free download service.
Sony has been giving away DRM-free promotional downloads for recording artists that sell less than 100,000 units, and at least one artist gained mainstream exposure through the effort.
A Sony executive who is nameless, and like most of them faceless as well, said, ‘A lot of these tests have led people to believe that maybe this works.’
The fact they have been told this for years seems not to be relevant.
DRM is by not yet dead. Just very sick. Music subscription services such as RealNetwork’s Rhapsody and ad-supported services like Ruckus will continue to use DRM to ensure music stops playing when a subscription ends. But these services represent only a small segment of the market. The war really is all over.
DRM will perhaps exist with rental services but otherwise it is dead and buried. No flowers by request. The artist shown in the illustration is unknown. But I like her style.
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