EMI halts talks about selling DRM-free music

“EMI Group Plc and online music sellers including Microsoft Corp. halted talks aimed at removing copyright protection from songs because they couldn’t agree on the size of an advance payment, people briefed on the offer said,” Dina Bass and Andy Fixmer report for Bloomberg.

Bass and Fixmer report, “EMI, the third-largest music company, demanded an upfront payment to compensate for its risk in releasing the music without software that prevents copying, the people said. The retailers countered with a lower offer, which EMI rejected, and negotiations are now on hold, the people said.”

“Discussions included Microsoft, Apple Inc., RealNetworks Inc., Yahoo! Inc. and Amazon.com Inc., and a deal with some of them seemed close two weeks ago, the people said. CD sales slid last year, giving the idea traction as record companies look to reverse their fortunes. An announcement with London-based EMI had been planned for as early as Feb. 9, one of the people said,” Bass and Fixmer report.

“‘It’s a setback,’ Harold Vogel, an independent media analyst in New York, said in an interview. ‘That this industry fights every change tooth-and-nail is not helping reverse the tide.’ Talks have been further complicated by Warner Music Group Corp.’s efforts to buy EMI. Warner Chief Executive Officer Edgar Bronfman opposes offering music without the copyright software,” Bass and Fixmer report.

Full article here.
Stupidity, shortsightedness, and greed make for a dangerous cocktail. The Middlebronfman will ultimately be eliminated.

Related articles:
Warner Music approaches EMI in possible takeover bid – February 20, 2007
Windows Vista’s DRM is bad news – February 14, 2007
Warner’s DRM-loving Middlebronfman warns wireless industry it may lose music market to Apple iPhone – February 14, 2007
Monster Cable announces full support of Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ call for DRM-free music – February 13, 2007
EMI may sell entire music catalog DRM-free – February 09, 2007
Recording Industry Association of America wants their DRM, calls for Apple to license FairPlay – February 08, 2007
Warner’s Middlebronfman: Jobs’ DRM-free music call ‘without logic and merit, we’ll not abandon DRM’ – February 08, 2007
Dvorak: Apple CEO Steve Jobs is dead right about DRM – February 07, 2007
Apple’s Jobs jolts music industry; Zune exec calls Jobs’ call for DRM-free music ‘irresponsible’ – February 07, 2007
Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ posts rare open letter: ‘Thoughts on Music’ – calls for DRM-free music – February 06, 2007
Norwegian Ombudsman: Apple’s FairPlay DRM is illegal in Norway – January 24, 2007
Major music labels ponder DRM-free future – January 23, 2007
Warner’s Middlebronfman: ‘We sell our songs through iPods, but we don’t have share of iPod revenue’ – October 05, 2005
Warner music exec discusses decapitation strategy for Apple iTunes Music Store – September 28, 2005
Warner CEO Bronfman: Apple iTunes Music Store’s 99-cent-per-song model unfair – September 23, 2005

25 Comments

  1. These record execs are really blind. Their sales of CDs are plummetting. On Line is the only market actually growing. And they want to keep their salvation trapped in a bottle. Like the old saying: “Closed until business picks up”.

  2. Whose greed?

    EMI? Apple? Microsoft?

    Consumers who won’t pay for the DRM-free music files?

    Go visit a torrent site, search for a popular artist. Multiply the number of times the album has been downloaded. Multiply that number by the selling price of an album.

    That number is a infinitesimal fraction of the amount of lost revenue for these companies.

    To say something silly like “Greed, plain and simple” is well… just plain silly.

    It’s easy to have such a silly view when its not your money that’s lost!

  3. >Hrm… let’s see. You start out at $0 sales at the very beginning. Where else is there to go?

    Oh, don’t say that. Many, many business plans have gone far below Zero. Look at Janus/Plays4Sure/Zune. All were sold at a loss to upset Apple.

  4. To MPC Guy,
    you said “Whose greed?

    EMI? Apple? Microsoft?

    Consumers who won’t pay for the DRM-free music files?

    Go visit a torrent site, search for a popular artist. Multiply the number of times the album has been downloaded. Multiply that number by the selling price of an album.

    That number is a infinitesimal fraction of the amount of lost revenue for these companies.”

    Not really. You are taking a very very simplistic view. I know people that down load everything free. But they never listen to it. People tend to spend money for what they want to listen to. They may down load it if its free, but never listen to it, afterall there are only so many hours in a day. !!

    Me, hey I quit worrying a long time ago. I buy singles on line and usually albums from a store and upload to iTunes so I can load my mp3 or burn a CD for the car. Just what Apple thinks I am doing. Funny how it works that way. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grin” style=”border:0;” /> Maybe its mind control?? LOL

    N.

  5. Ok, I’ll play devils advocate

    Frankly when the music cd and cd players were created, computers didn’t read or write to cd’s.

    It was by the actions of computer makers to include cd readers and adopt the cd format therefore destroying the natural hardware lock.

    Imagine if computers could read record albums or cassettes directly and you’ll see what I mean.

    Now the world standard for playing music cd’s is the cd player, no drm is involved and that was how it was started because no one could predict what the computer manufactorers were going to do.

    How can the music industry expect to change the world standard for delivering their content if the computer makers follow suit and destroy their buisness model?

    Now why did computer makers like Apple adopt and promote cd players in their computers? To create demand for piracy and sell computers of course!

    So really who fscked who here?

    OK YES, the audio channel can be copied anyway, so it really doesn’t matter if computers couldn’t read audio cd’s anyway.

    Standard PC’s don’t come with a stereo input jack, unlike most all Mac’s do. Can’t really expect to deny artists the computer tools needed to generate their work in the public interest of reducing piracy anyway.

    Since DRM is always hardware or software cracked anyway, the reall question of the day is…

    Why really does the RIAA sell DRM free cd’s and makes online stores sell DRMed music?

    TO PROTECT THE HARDWARE CD SELLERS EMPIRE!!!

  6. My god the RIAA have to stop this “every record downloaded illegally is a lost sale” arguement

    People who steal music would never have bought it in the first place, so you cant count it as a sale lost. Think of it as free advertising, at least your overhyped band is being heard and its costing you nothing.

  7. WiseGuy,

    It’s not like that type of thing hadn’t happened before though. Really, the recording industry has been in that situation since the cassette tape made it’s appearance. Everyone used to make copies of each other’s cassette albums and trade them, make mix tapes, etc. Why is it that the RIAA didn’t raise a huge stink about that?

    To both you and MPC Guy, my reply is, you’re missing the point. The bottom line is that the RIAA is only concerned with protecting digital online music, while the majority of the music they sell is on unprotected CDs. How will using DRM on a small fraction of their sales help fight piracy? Answer: it won’t. There’s no point in continuing. It’s like sticking a cork in a tiny whole in your boat, not noticing that the bow is completely missing.

  8. “People who steal music would never have bought it in the first place, so you cant count it as a sale lost”

    Ive been making a similar argument online on forums for years about the RIAA using the strategy to inflate their losses, but the truth is, you cannot say that every free download wouldnt have been purchased anyway. Thats just not true.

    Who knows what the real percentage actually would be, but it certainly is a far cry from the 100% that the RIAA is trying to tell people (read lawmakers).

    And to the guy who says that the only people screwed by DRM are honest people, well thats just another silly remark. I mean, if you are honest, you likely will never run into the DRM limitations that are set by iTunes.

    The reality is most people don’t even know its on there. Thats the truth. Ask someone who isn’t very computer literate (read: most people) and ask them what the limitations of iTunes are and I bet they cant tell you.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.