“As even digital music revenue growth falters because of rampant file-sharing by consumers, the major record labels are moving closer to releasing music on the Internet with no copying restrictions — a step they once vowed never to take,” Victoria Shannon reports for The New York Times.
“Executives of several technology companies meeting here at Midem, the annual global trade fair for the music industry, said over the weekend that at least one of the four major record companies could move toward the sale of unrestricted digital files in the MP3 format within months,” Shannon reports. “Most independent record labels already sell tracks digitally compressed in the MP3 format, which can be downloaded, e-mailed or copied to computers, cellphones, portable music players and compact discs without limit.”
Shannon reports, “For the major recording companies, however, selling in the MP3 format would be a capitulation to the power of the Internet, which has destroyed their control over the worldwide distribution of music. Until last year, the industry was counting on online purchases of music, led by Apple’s iTunes music store, to make up the difference.”
“But digital sales in 2006, while 80 percent ahead of the year before, grew slower than in 2005 and did not compensate for the decline in physical sales, according to an industry report released in London last week,” Shannon reports.
MacDailyNews Take: The ability to buy (or steal) singles – or only the good songs – cuts into the labels’ profits as they can longer rely on selling 1 or 2 good songs bundled with 8 or more filler tracks as they could with physical media like CDs.
Shannon continues, “”There is a groundswell, and I say that on the basis of private conversations,’ said Rob Glaser, chief executive of RealNetworks, which sells digital music protected against piracy through the Rhapsody subscription service. ‘It will happen between next year and five years from now, but it is more likely to be in one to two years,’ he said.”
Full article here.
Today’s easily-removed DRM only hinders legal users, not the pirates. Removing DRM will increase online music sales. Bring it on – the sooner, the better!
Report: Apple to license FairPlay DRM – January 17, 2007
Hollywood movie studios demand Apple strengthen DRM limitations before joining iTunes – November 29, 2006
Apple’s vs. Microsoft’s music DRM: whose solution supports more users? – August 17, 2005