About a year ago, Yahoo Music GM David Goldberg stunned attendees of the Music 2.0 conference by urging major labels to abandon DRM and give unrestricted MP3 sales a try. The biggest side effect of DRM, he said, was that it tended to lock users into a single service and a single device – not something that made them happy.
A lot has changed in the last year. Physical CD sales continue to drop, and labels seem to be more willing than ever to try anything that might help increase digital music sales and make up at least some of the difference. Suddenly eMusic’s model of selling non-DRM’d music seems to make a lot of sense, and others are experimenting as well. Amazon is rumored to be considering a MP3-only music download store. MySpace sells no-DRM music. Yahoo has experimented with no-DRM downloads. And so on. Even Bill Gates admits DRM is a deeply flawed solution.
I spoke to Goldberg and Yahoo Music VP of Product Development Ian Rogers last week about their views on DRM today and going forward. While they won’t say DRM is dead, they do provide valuable insights as music industry insiders on what we can expect in the future. Including, possibly, side by side sales of DRM and non-DRM music, with a discount for customers who can stomach the DRM. We also talk briefly about the proposed music tax in Europe to replace DRM entirely.
I’ll be writing more at TechCrunch about my own views on DRM as well.
Time: 40:07 Minutes
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