Yahoo! Music Exec: Labels Should Consider Selling Music Without DRM

yahoo dave goldbergIt looks like Yahoo! Inc.’s Vice President and General Manager of Music, Dave Goldberg, caused some waves at the Music 2.0 conference yesterday in Los Angeles by saying that the industry should consider selling digital music online without DRM. Why? According to a Yahoo spokeswoman, Goldberg was “basically trying to move the industry forward,” and wanted to prompt industry-wide discussion “about what the consumer experience is.”

I applaud Goldberg for speaking up on this issue. Obviously he’s aware of the success eMusic and Magnatune are both currently experiencing, and recognizes that DRM-free music systems are viable, but only to the point where you can convince record labels/artists to come on board.

Many argue that DRM-wrapped music helps prevent piracy (basically the philosophy that “DRM helps keep honest people honest”), but when providers allow users to burn those tracks on to CD, and then those users can re-encode them into digital DRM-free tracks like MP3 or OGG to do what they wish, what’s the point? The dark and ugly truth is: DRM is about tying consumers to products and services. A good example is Apple’s recent antitrust case being heard in California against the company.

Only time will tell if this new way of thinking will catch on (I hope it leapfrogs to video as well). I for one would rather buy DRM-free music and pay a fair price for high bit-rate, loseless audio (aka super high-fidelity audio). However, I do see a place now and in the future for DRM when dealing with subscription music and on-demand services.

ZDNet – A load of C.R.A.P. [Video by David Berlind]
EE Times – DRM panel called ‘bunch of big girls’
eHomeUpgrade – Northern California Judge Gives Green Light to Monopolization Suit Against Apple

Filed in: Industry Buzz