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Thread: Ailing music biz set to relax digital restrictions

  1. #1
    Hairbautt's Avatar *haircut
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    The anti-digital rights management (DRM) bandwagon is getting more crowded by the day. Even some major-label executives are pushing for the right to sell digital downloads as unprotected MP3s.

    In 2007, the majors will get the message, and the DRM wall will begin to crumble. Why? Because they'll no longer be able to point to a growing digital marketplace as justification that DRM works. Revenue from digital downloads and mobile content is expected to be flat or, in some cases, decline next year. If the digital market does in fact stall, alternatives to DRM will look much more attractive.

    Revenue from digital music has yet to offset losses from still-declining CD sales, and digital track sales remain a cause for concern. Month-over-month download figures were largely flat through 2006, even in the face of year-over-year gains. If the expected post-holiday spike in download numbers that has occurred in the past two years is weak, look for the glass on the panic button to break.

    "People in the industry will have a very different conversation in January when the dust clears and they realize just how bad this year really was," says Eric Garland, CEO of peer-to-peer (P2P) tracking firm BigChampagne.

    Even more of a concern is mobile. According to Gartner G2 analyst Mike McGuire, the ringtone market -- currently contributing more than half of all digital revenue -- will soften during the next 12-18 months as it matures.

    Meanwhile, the music industry wants a strong competitor to the monster it created called iTunes. Forcing would-be competitors to sell music incompatible with the popular iPod is not showing any signs of working.

    Removing DRM would attract powerful new players to the market, and that -- the theory goes -- will result in more buyers.
    "The majors . . . have got to capitulate, or they will continue to have a fractured digital media market that will slow down and stagnate," says Terry McBride, president of Nettwerk Music Group, management home of such acts as Sarah McLachlan and Avril Lavigne.

    Here are five places to watch this year's DRM developments:

    AMAZON
    The online retailer reportedly is itching to get into digital downloads but is holding out for a DRM-free service. It sells as many iPods as anybody and is a haven for music that is disappearing from physical retail shelves.

    "They already have a relationship with our consumer the way that a lot of others don't," Blue Note GM Zach Hochkeppel says. Viewed as the biggest threat to iTunes, Amazon has the power to force a DRM strategy shift.

    LIMEWIRE
    Still in the process of settling with the music industry, the P2P file-sharing service wants to start charging its 40 million users $1 per download and share the revenue and user-behavior information with the music industry. But it wants to stay DRM-free. The company hired TAG Strategic consultant Ted Cohen, a former EMI exec, to convince the majors to at least test the idea for six months.

    MYSPACE
    The most popular Internet destination in the world is working with SnoCap to launch a music download service that would let musicians sell music directly from their profiles and that of their fans. But it will only sell files as MP3s. It is moving ahead by focusing on independent and unsigned artists willing to release unprotected music, and a successful showing would make the majors take notice.

    EMUSIC
    The indie-only specialist just surpassed 100 million downloads; it's the second-largest digital music retailer after iTunes, all sans DRM. CEO David Packman says he is not interested in selling major-label fare, but he may have no choice if majors suddenly allow his competitors to sell in MP3 as well. But even if the majors did relent to MP3 sales on eMusic, the company's business model would have to change--no label will agree to 50 downloads for $15 per month.

    YAHOO MUSIC
    GM David Goldberg has convinced Sony BMG and EMI Music Group to test the DRM-free waters with limited, promotional "experiments" involving Jessica Simpson, Jesse McCartney, Relient K and Norah Jones. The lessons learned from these tests will either speed or slow their path to eliminating DRM.

    Source: Reuters
    Last edited by Hairbautt; 01-02-2007 at 03:02 PM. Reason: Added Image.
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    Last edited by Alien5; Jun 6th, 2006 at
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  2. News (Archive)   -   #2
    Barbarossa's Avatar mostly harmless
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    Excellent stuff

  3. News (Archive)   -   #3
    Hairbautt's Avatar *haircut
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    A lot of it sounds good especially the MySpace deal, but Limewire gone legit? Guess they need the money.
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    Last edited by Alien5; Jun 6th, 2006 at
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  4. News (Archive)   -   #4
    Barbarossa's Avatar mostly harmless
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    They had to or they were going to get the arse sued off them

  5. News (Archive)   -   #5
    gamer4eva's Avatar Torrent_King BT Rep: +35BT Rep +35BT Rep +35BT Rep +35BT Rep +35BT Rep +35BT Rep +35
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    Looks like major p2p are selling themselves off....oh well i wouldn't blame them for the situation they were in.
    Temptations The Ultimate Flaw In Humans

  6. News (Archive)   -   #6
    I wanted to buy some music cd's at christmas but there was nothing to buy really and ending buying some christmas classic's years old.I hate DRM buy music and can't add to my psp because it don't play drm protected music man that sucks bit time.So they wounder why music sales are going down the toilet.Things got to change or even some of the big boys will go down the pan.

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