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DRM and the music industry

  1. Jan 9, 2009 #1
    Why do companies like Apple use DRM on music, if people pay for it shouldn't they own it. Will DRM ever go away?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 9, 2009 #2


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    You pay for the individual copy, you don't own the music.
  4. Jan 9, 2009 #3
    If iTunes didn't DRM their music (which a lot of it is actually available DRM-free, if you notice the little + sign next to the song), then any of your friends could come over with their iPods and get your entire library (which still does happen with various programs).

    EDIT: And like Evo said, you buy the ability to listen to it whenever you want, you don't own anything.
  5. Jan 9, 2009 #4


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    It is going away on music, Amazon don't do it, Walmart stopped and Apple are dropping it.

    It's expensive to run the servers and everybody is waiting for the first law suit compelling a company to guarantee the authentication servers run for ever.
  6. Jan 9, 2009 #5


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    I know Apple is going away with it (like MGB mentioned). It will be tough because there will always be lawyers. I have been told that each file Apple sells will still have tracking capabilities to tell who was the original owner of the music if they want to track pirated music.

    The thing about DRM that I can't stand is that there was no such thing when we listened to music on an LP or tape or CD. They are all portable and copyable forms of distribution. For some reason (Napster) digital distribution is targeted.

    I don't mind paying for music, but once I pay for it, I should be able to play it on any of my players, not just the one it is registered to.
  7. Jan 9, 2009 #6
    i still remember the first time i tried to play a CD on my computer and it wanted to install some software on my machine. and then i've got some Sony mp3 player that won't load music unless you use their special bloated software than promises to spy on you and report to mother if it THINKS you are pirating music. and so i just don't have any use for their bullsh*t anymore. if the only way i can hear music is by listening to the radio, or not at all, that's just the way it will be. i have no use for DRM or the music industry anymore.
  8. Jan 9, 2009 #7


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    But if you only buy an album once and don't replace it on a new technology every few years what will all the rock stars do?

    Britney won't have sufficient funds to keep a Gulfstream IV, so she replaces it with a smaller Gulfstream III, which doesn't have a remote control for its surround sound DVD system).
  9. Jan 10, 2009 #8
    Theres a great XKCD talking about this vs. pirated music, maybe I'll find it.

    BTW, love your screenname.
  10. Jan 10, 2009 #9
  11. Jan 10, 2009 #10
    Yes! Thanks Moose.
  12. Jan 10, 2009 #11
    Pirating only hurts artists and companies who are making too much money as it is. On the other hand, it is doing wonders for smaller bands who would not be enjoying anywhere near the success that they are enjoying thanks to internet distribution. It's like word of mouth x1 000 000 -- a band like Tera Melos, which would have likely been nothing more than an unknown local band from California ten years ago, can now become well-known worldwide.

    Many indie bands have become well known thanks to what began as pirating of their music. The fact is that a dedicated fan will eventually spend the money if he likes the band enough, or will go to a show and buy the merchandise (many bands make most of their money from shows, not CD sales).

    I have 320 albums on my itunes. I cannot afford 320 albums. I only own a few, but am slowly buying the ones I like, or going to see shows. If it weren't for the internet, I would never have risked buying many of these albums... or even known they existed. I'll bet you my bottom dollar that the boys of Oxbow prefer me owning their album "illegally" for a while and eventually buying it, than me not even knowing who they are.

    This is true for software as well. Thankfully, many companies are catching on and creating software that is completely free for download. The user agrees to an "honor" system, whereby he will donate money to the company if he finds their software useful.

    An example of this is the DAW "Reaper." DAWs tend to be extremely expensive (500-1500 bucks). As a result, it is a constant arms race against crackers. The funny part is that, to a studio, paying those 1500 is not a big deal, so they always do; only home-users who would have otherwise not been able to afford the software anyway want the pirated versions. If the company were to let the user pay what he wants (or like reaper does, which is charge home users only $50 for the software), they would capitalize on that market (not to mention save money on eternally trying to outsmart crackers, which they can't).

    So to me the question on whether "pirating" should be illegal comes down to justice: is it more just for Justin Timberlake to own a $20 000 cellphone (this is true), or for many incredible artists to get the recognition they deserve, and JT having to settle for an iphone like the rest of us?

    Last edited: Jan 11, 2009
  13. Jan 11, 2009 #12


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    This is one of the reasons I still buy CDs. I do download music, but if I find something I like (or even something I think I might like one day), I buy the CD.

    The music industry has done very well out of me; any illegal downloads would have been paid for multiple times over, and led to real sales.
  14. Jan 11, 2009 #13
    Years ago I discovered quite a few of what are now some of my favourite bands through downloading. I own over a dozen CDs that I may not have purchased otherwise. It may be even much more if I were to actually take the time to look through my collection.
  15. Jan 11, 2009 #14


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    The first law suit over shutting down a DRM server is going to be interesting.
    Walmart stopped selling DRM music and basically told customers who had bought them 'tough' - but the threat of a suit made them just give free mp3 tracks to everyone.

    My guess the first case would be amazon kindle. If they are selling the same books as are available on paper, for the same price then you could make a very good case that they must last as long as a paper copy. So Amazon must support kindle DRM for say 100years! It's much easier to explain books to a judge than explain MP3s
  16. Jan 11, 2009 #15
    I've heard that the RIAA isn't going to take people to court anymore. They're just going to try to get to stop downloading music illegally by notifying them that they need to stop, and if they don't then they will take further steps, but it has been too expensive to sue all of they people when they aren't getting much money out of it. But won't that lead to more DRm to try and control illegal downloads? Or is it a lost cause for them?
  17. Jan 11, 2009 #16


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    The RIAA has a bigger problem. Established stars negotiate their own contracts (see Apple vs Apple) andup and coming stars are now more likely to have a blog and their own downloads than be hoping to be discovered by a label.

    I don't think they are going to be in a position to tell performers or retailers what to do for very much longer.
  18. Jan 11, 2009 #17
    If the musicians are going to negotiate their own contracts does that mean that they are going to start leaving these huge labels and sign to smaller labels or start their own. Because then the fall of the RIAA and DRM would lead to the fall of huge labels and the overpricing of music.
  19. Jan 11, 2009 #18
    you don't even need a label now. the state of technology is such that anyone can create and distribute music without a large investment.
  20. Jan 12, 2009 #19
    100% agree!

    Exactly... This is how I find these indie bands: find, download, listen, then decide if I like it or not.

    It takes few clicks to order say, After Forever, Tristania, Epica, L'ame Immortelle and other well known bands ( well known for those who do not listen Britney :) ) . For the smaller bands it is possible to buy CDs but nearly impossible to listen samples before buying without pirating. And nobody wants to buy it without listening at all.
  21. Jan 17, 2009 #20


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    My favorite artist is Benn Jordan.

    Now me, I have no idea where I would ever buy one of his albums at a local store. The most popular album was Kirlian Selections, which was produced by an indie label that is no longer in existence. I first heard "The Flashbulb" on somafm and looked this guy up and downloaded a few more tunes.

    Last year, he ended up being internet famous for uploading his (actually good) album free on what.cd, today's most elite online music sharing community. He distributed this message with it: http://www.alphabasic.com/Please_read.html

    Torrentfreak, a file sharing news blog, interviewed him very soon after. Here is a piece:
    Humorous note: There is no album "The Flashlight"— it sounds like they mixed that up with his pseudonym, "The Flashbulb."
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