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Old 04-02-2007, 08:51 AM   #1
NatCh
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It's April *2nd*, and rumors flying that iTunes and EMI are about to dump DRM

What's Brought Steve Jobs All The Way to London Today?

EDIT: EMI and iTunes have agreed to drop DRM on the EMI content (Still no Beatles music, though)

No, it's not reading, but DRM is DRM (and DRM is Bad), and the Publishing industry seems to be following the Music Industry's lead on it (sorta), so, here's the deal: apparently, Steve Jobs is in London today, meeting with EMI (one of the world's top four music labels, it seems), and everyone is expecting big news. What will it be? One rumor is merely that iTunes might be picking up a lot of Beatles music (piffle), but the more interesting one, and the one that the Wall Street Journal is touting, is that EMI and iTunes are about to drop DRM from a substantial chunk of their offerings.

From the tiny sliver that the WSJ (graciously, if I'm honest about it) allows out for free:
Quote:
In a major break with the music industry's longstanding antipiracy strategy, EMI Group PLC is set to announce today that it plans to sell significant amounts of its catalog without anticopying software, according to people familiar with the matter.
From Crave:
Quote:
EMI has previously experimented with distributing music on the Net without copy-protection. Late last year, the label released a track by popular artist Norah Jones completely devoid of DRM. The song was unprotected, meaning there was no barrier to pirating, and had to be bought from Yahoo's Web site. It sold incredibly well. This move was instigated by Yahoo, but it seemed that extracting DRM-free music from a major label was harder than pulling iron from your blood with a magnet. That might be about to change.
Quote:
The resounding success of the small number of DRM-free tracks released on to the Net by major labels should only further highlight that most people are honest and will pay for the music they like, but they also want to use it in whatever way they see fit, on their computer or on whichever portable player they choose.

Only two months ago, Jobs himself called for the end of DRM, claiming "[DRM-free music] is clearly the best alternative for consumers, and Apple would embrace it in a heartbeat."
Crave further notes that the second most popular legal download venue (after iTunes, duh), eMusic, is totally DRM-free. While it does tend to offer music that is less mainstream than iTunes, it clearly manages to make enough money to keep its artists/labels happy completely without DRM, " ... because it recognises music fans will pay for music they could always pirate for free, and it doesn't treat its customers like criminals."

Crave's conclusion:
Quote:
For these reasons, we think today's announcement from Apple and EMI could go one of two ways, if not both, and either would be met with voluminous applause by music lovers. Music without DRM would be a sensational success and EMI has the power to prove to the other three major labels -- and the world -- that music lovers are not crooks; they're devout and passionate people who will continue to support the artists they love by paying for music.
If it's only the Beatles thing, then the e-reading world might not be too excited (except, of course, for the Beatles fans among us ), but if it's the DRM-Dump, then we should have something to cheer about too -- if the music industry goes without in a big way, and succeeds (as we all expect it would), then the publishing industry won't have them to point at and tell us, "See? we have to do this DRM stuff to stay alive!" -- we'll be able to point to that same music industry and say, "See? No you don't!"
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Old 04-02-2007, 09:14 AM   #2
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Right... and will they stop suing everyone in sight?

Still good news, if true.
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Old 04-02-2007, 09:17 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nekokami
Right... and will they stop suing everyone in sight?
Didn't see anything on that one, neko.

Yeah, if it's true -- I should have mentioned that there's supposed to be an announcement of whatever it is at "1 pm" (no indication of what time zone that is), so we should know more sometime today.
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Old 04-02-2007, 09:42 AM   #4
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Well, it's official, no Beetles or DRM in iTunes' EMI offerings

Guess they meant 1pm GMT.

EMI has agreed to drop DRM on its iTunes offerings.

LOTS (and lots) of detail here.
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Old 04-02-2007, 09:45 AM   #5
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German Heise Newsticker has more http://www.heise.de/newsticker/meldung/87754

This seems to be EMI trying to get an advantage over its competitors. Buy those DRM-free music. It will increase EMIs sales and force the competitors to follow.
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Old 04-02-2007, 09:52 AM   #6
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Leave it to my home town 'newspaper' the Houston Comical (as we call it), to miss the whole bloomin' point (they're quite good at that, actually):

EMI: Beatles Catalog Not in Apple Deal

They do manage to pay some slight attention to the real story toward the end. (sigh)
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Old 04-02-2007, 10:26 AM   #7
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Hey! NatCh! .... Beetles?

I guess you're not too fond of them?
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Old 04-02-2007, 11:03 AM   #8
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It's kinda funny how Apple was saying all those years to indies who wanted no DRM on their tracks that it would be "difficult to implement" and "confusing to the users" to have both DRM and non-DRM tracks in the store. But when EMI asks, it's suddenly no big deal at all.
P.S. Aha, there's a catch: DRM-free tracks will be 256kbps, but sold for $1.29.
http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2007/04/02itunes.html
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Old 04-02-2007, 12:01 PM   #9
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ZDNet has an article with a run-down on the implications of the price structure that I thought was interesting. http://blogs.zdnet.com/BTL/?p=4768

But yeah, I agree, igorsk, it is sort of ironic that it was too difficult then, but it's fine now, for 30¢ more, of course. Although, I'm not entirely sure that it was EMI that did the asking. Jobs' recent anti DRM remarks have muddied the water enough that I can't tell who asked what of whom. I also haven't been following the matter that closely.


Quote:
Originally Posted by yvanleterrible
Hey! NatCh! .... Beetles?

I guess you're not too fond of them?
Well I'm not really a 'music' person, but I like them okay. I enjoy most kinds of music to varying degrees, but I don't really seek it out much. Even my favorite, fiddle music, I don't seek out all that much.

Classical pieces I usually find a bit baffling until I become familiar with them enough to know what parts I want to listen for -- I try to listen to all of it, which doesn't work too well. Oddly enough, I quite enjoyed the pieces CommanderROR uploaded for us, but I think that was because there was only the one part to listen to, so I wasn't distracted by all the other instruments. (yes, I know: weird )

I think it's because my brain insists on monitoring my environment to a high degree (my filterer-outer is a bit under strength -- I'm often ignoring stuff, but I don't often just not notice stuff), so I often find music too distracting if I'm trying to do anything that requires much concentration. It's great for situational awareness, but not so great for other things.

Practical upshot: I'm not much of a music person.
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Old 04-02-2007, 12:14 PM   #10
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That Steve Jobs, man... he can do everything, and convince anyone of anything. He makes computers, music, cellphones, TV commercials, and even movies better, just because he touched it. He's like Christ in a turtleneck!

Now, if we could only get him turned on to e-books.
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Old 04-02-2007, 03:04 PM   #11
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The labels wanted a price increase, had been pushing for it for almost a year. Jobs wanted something in return. He got no DRM which he had been pushing for for a few months due to the regulatory climate in the EU. He also got double file size (128 to 256) which will help fill up iPods faster, which will encourage people to buy newer, bigger iPods, which was originally the whole point of the iTunes store, to sell iPods.
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Old 04-02-2007, 03:10 PM   #12
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It's only a matter of time before the rest of music industry follows suit. With such a big player as EMI moving away from copy-protection, DRM will become more and more a competitive disadvantage for the rest. From a business standpoint, I think it's a very smart move to make the DRM-free versions more expensive and offer a higher bitrate as an added incentive. Yes, Steve Jobs has proven once again he can move mountains.
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Old 04-03-2007, 04:10 AM   #13
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I do not know how to create a poll on this site but I wonder how many people would buy a non DRM version of a book if the price is 30 percent more then a DRM version?
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Old 04-03-2007, 04:41 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Madam Broshkina
I do not know how to create a poll on this site but I wonder how many people would buy a non DRM version of a book if the price is 30 percent more then a DRM version?
Good question! I wouldn't. I listen to music many times over and read books only once.
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Old 04-03-2007, 07:41 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Madam Broshkina
I do not know how to create a poll on this site but I wonder how many people would buy a non DRM version of a book if the price is 30 percent more then a DRM version?
There'd be nothing wrong with that idea, except that e-books are generally not fairly priced to the consumer, the way iTunes music is. Most E-books are still priced at or above the cost of a hardback book, one of the biggest issues holding them back from widespread adoption.

If DRM e-books were, say $2.00, and non-DRM e-books were, say, $2.50 (I know, I couldn't resist!), that might be reasonable to consumers.
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