August 16, 2005

Why DRM Will Kill Mobile Music

MobHappy: [by James Pearce] Carlo Longini has put up a post detailing why he thinks DRM will hamper the mobile music market. It's a good read which outlines the problems the major record labels are creating for the music industry while blaming everyone else, and the contradiction in their approach of applying DRM to music and then telling customers how to get around it...
"How this all affects mobile is that there will be a huge tide of MP3 players from a number of different vendors coming into the market, in the form of music-enabled phones. So what's going to happen when you've got all these different phones being billed by carriers as iPod killers or replacements and people come to find out their music won't play on them, or they can only listen to music that's been bought from one specific store or service? They're going to get pissed off, that's what's going to happen. They won't buy music that's tied to a specific device or has onerous limitations on what they can do with it -- which will probably rule out any carrier's download store from being a success."
Of course, that depends on what he means by 'success'. There are a number of mobile music stores around the world that sell DRM-protected music that are doing quite well, for example KDDI selling 10 million tracks. These stores offer a way to obtain and retain customers and provide a nice little bit of revenue growth into the bargain. But I doubt they will see the kind of sales the music industry is looking for to replace the downturn in CD sale growth.
Related stories:
--Music Mavens Change Tune
--Interview: Problems And Predictions Of Mobile Music
--Digital Music Boom In Asia

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August 15, 2005

Mixed Messaging on Digital Music

EETimes: Some mixed messaging coming out of the music industry, with regards to openness and DRM. On the one hand, studios led by Sony BMG are moving aggressively to lock down their CD content with new copy-protection schemes in the face of widespread piracy that shows no sign of abating.
On the other hand, they are embracing new services, especially in mobile, enabling a market where cell phones may soon surpass MP3 players as the dominant digital-music receiver.

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Music on the move: music downloads and DRM

PCPro: A very good overview of the state of music DRM, mainly from a consumer experience point of view.

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August 14, 2005

Incompatibility Slowing Growth of Digital Music

Billboard: This is not necessarily news, but a good overview of the biggest issue holding back the growth of digital music market. Incompatibility, with dueling DRMs from Microsoft and Apple, is the bane, and it seems nowhere near being solved. Experts say the DRM dilemma might not be resolved for another two years.
The situation is about to get even more complicated as wireless carriers get in on the act with technology that allows mobile phone users to buy music downloads over the air.

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August 01, 2005

ArtistDirect Purchases MediaDefender For $42.5 Million

Slyck: ArtistDirect, the online indie-music network/retailer, has bought out MediaDefender, a anti-piracy solutions company, for $42.5 million. MediaDefender develops software for detecting illegal file trading and is used on P2P networks. ArtistDirect now plans to offer the MediaDefender technology for protecting videos, computer games, software, and e-books too.
"The merger should prove to be an interesting one, as it is the first time an authorized music distributor is also directly in control of a P2P flooding firm."
Randy Saaf will remain as MediaDefender's CEO during and after the transition.

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July 26, 2005

Digital Walls Vex Consumers

journal gazette: I was surprised to learn that seven out of every 10 songs sold online come from the iTunes music store, according to Nielsen SoundScan...(Pretty impressive, but I'm assuming that number is US-only sales though...) However, wouldn't it be cool if someone invented a way to tabulate all downloads legally purchased beyond SoundScan? This could be done on a global scale as well as nationally... I think as digital distribution evolves in the industry, we need a new charting system that is inclusive of all the online music stores, commercial P2P sites and artist websites (direct-to-consumer). Only then will we truly have an accurate picture of the popularity of certain acts...

The article also points out the sad reality that if consumers want songs that they can copy and play anywhere, the best source is usually an MP3 file from a file-sharing network - where it’s simple to find almost any song title for free...The last thing we need  is another file format or proprietary DRM..."This is a major reason legal downloads add up to only single-digit percentages of any music company’s sales", says Eric Garland, chief executive of BigChampagne LLC, a Los Angeles-based online media consultancy. "More locks is not a viable strategy for growing this business."

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July 21, 2005

Coremedia Combines OMA DRM With Microsoft DRM

CoremediaGerman-based CoreMedia just announced that it's the first company to successfully combine the mobile OMA DRM standard with Microsoft DRM "as a secure client implementation." In other words, it has developed a secure handshake between the two leading DRM systems and as a result - CoreMedia now supports the interoperability of the two most common DRM standards with its Multi-DRM technology for enhanced interoperability between handsets and PCs...

In addition, CoreMedia delivers a plug-in for the Windows Media Player enabling PC playback of OMA-protected music purchased via mobile handsets. This means that, for the first time, consumers can now transfer music purchased for their mobile phone directly to their PC without additional downloading or fees. This is exactly what consumers want and I bet this combination will perhaps become the new standard for which every other digital music store must adapt to as the industry hobbles along...CoreMedia DRM-enabled services for premium content (i.e., music and video clips) have already been successfully launched for 20 operators in Africa, Asia- Pacific and across Europe...

"It's all about convergence. It is important for content providers and operators to offer their music services with cross platform capabilities, allowing their customers the choice where to listen to purchased music", says Dr. Willms Buhse, Director Products & Marketing.'

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July 08, 2005

DRM for Sony PSP Hacked

drmwatch: Hackers have cracked piracy protections on Sony's PlayStation Portable in the U.S., making several protected games freely available by copying them from a pirate website onto removable memory sticks...CNN has more HERE...

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June 21, 2005

Selling Out on Standards

Computerworld: In the old days, the development of common standards (i.e., ethernet) often happened with big players donating intellectual property for the benefit of all, which was expected to expand the market and provide more opportunities to sell products.  However, if you look closely now with respect to DRM, the rules have changed slightly....middlemen have been added and it's the users who will now pay the price...

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DRM Confusion Delays Digital Future

Stereophile: "Wider adoption of media-sharing devices will be delayed as long as content owners disagree between themselves on how they wish to benefit from DRM technologies. Technology providers, in turn, cannot develop a horizontal market for connected devices until major content providers have agreed on a common framework of DRM interoperability."

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