“As more stores and record labels abandon digital rights management, Apple may have an alternative plan for subscription services,” Tim Anderson writes for The Guardian.
“Last year, EMI began offering songs without it on iTunes. ‘The industry has finally been able to get some hard data about how removing DRM restrictions from legitimately purchased tracks affects piracy,’ says Bill Rosenplatt, DRM specialist and president of GiantSteps Media Technology Strategies. ‘The statistics show that there’s no effect on piracy,'” Anderson writes.
“No effect. The assertion is remarkable. If DRM does not in fact discourage piracy, then it is merely a nuisance for the user,” Anderson writes.
“Ironically, the music companies are now abandoning DRM because it worked too well. Apple wouldn’t license its version to rivals – so the best-selling iPod drove the iTunes store to its present position, where it is the third-largest music retailer in any form in the US,” Anderson erroneously reports.
MacDailyNews Note: That’s incorrect. Apple is the number one music retailer in the US.
Anderson continues, “In the meantime, some early adopters are suffering the consequences of DRM’s failure. Last month, former customers of Microsoft’s defunct MSN Music store in the US received an unwelcome email. ‘As of August 31, 2008, we will no longer be able to support the retrieval of licence keys for the songs you purchased from MSN Music or the authorization of additional computers,’ it said.”
“The problem is worse than it first appears, since a ‘new’ device may actually be your existing PC. Some users habitually reinstall Windows to keep it running sweetly, but doing so removes its authorisation,” Anderson reports.
MacDailyNews Take: Windows is incapable of running sweetly and any users who rely on an OS that requires habitual wipes and reinstalls should have their heads examined.
Anderson continues, “Bill Rosenplatt, DRM specialist and president of GiantSteps Media Technology Strategies, thinks that subscriptions may turn out to be Apple’s answer to the DRM-free competition… Mark Mulligan, digital music analyst at Jupiter Research, also expects Apple to change its approach. ‘It’s highly likely Apple will get into the next-generation service game. That could be Apple selling iPods preinstalled with unlimited access to music, or with a bundle to a subscription offering,’ he says.”
Much more in the full article here.
[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “RadDoc” for the heads up.]
As we’ve often said, Apple should offer an iTunes music subscription option if and when it makes business sense.