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EMI — Ditching DRM is Going To Cost You 220

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the how-not-to-make-a-buck dept.
33rpm writes "EMI has told online music stores that selling its catalog without DRM is going to cost them a lot of money. 'EMI is the only major record label to seriously consider abandoning the disaster that is DRM, but earlier reports that focused on the company's reformist attitude apparently missed the mark: EMI is willing to lose the DRM, but they demand a considerable advance payment to make it happen. EMI has backed out of talks for now because no one will pay what they're asking.'"
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EMI — Ditching DRM is Going To Cost You

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    So this basically proves that DRM exists for the sole purpose of providing record companies with silly amounts of longterm income by reselling stuff we already own? Excellent news.
  • by garcia (6573) on Monday February 26, 2007 @12:50PM (#18155404)
    $9.99 albums of lossy content and no physical medium supposedly make up for the fact that I have no recourse if I lose the data I purchased. So how can they justify charging more than that (closing in on the average cost of a CD) when it costs them money to have the CDs pressed, packaged, and sent to stores?

    They can't. This is simply an attempt to say, "see, we tried to go DRM-less but people wouldn't do it."

    Fuck that.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 26, 2007 @12:58PM (#18155560)
      The extra charge is because they automatically assume that if you purchase it, you'll commit copyright infringement; the charge is a tax/levy.
      • by HTH NE1 (675604)
        the charge is a tax/levy /presumption of guilt.
      • A tax? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by dorianh49 (988940)
        "... the charge is a tax/levy." Anyone else think it's about time to dress up as Indians or one of the other Village People and start throwing 1's and 0's into the Boston Harbor?
    • by flaming error (1041742) on Monday February 26, 2007 @12:58PM (#18155562) Journal
      It doesn't cost more. EMI is just doing it's best to live up to it's name - Electro Magnetic Interference.
    • People will do it (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Mateo_LeFou (859634) on Monday February 26, 2007 @01:24PM (#18155972) Homepage
      We are going DRM-less in droves. EMI and friends can go with us or not.
      • by elrous0 (869638) * on Monday February 26, 2007 @02:16PM (#18156898)
        Yeah, I think that's what EMI is missing. We ARE going DRM-free. People are sick of DRM and it has reached a tipping point. The only decision they have to make at this point is whether they want us to pay them $.99 a song or $.00 a song.

        -Eric

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by AusIV (950840)

        We are going DRM-less in droves.

        Do you have any sources on this? There are certainly some more technically minded people who have avoided DRM from the beginning, but I'm not aware of too many average consumers who have much opposition at all to DRM, generally because they aren't aware. I may be wrong, but I haven't seen the masses flocking towards DRM-free alternatives.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Deagol (323173)
          but I'm not aware of too many average consumers who have much opposition at all to DRM, generally because they aren't aware

          I think they are aware of the *problems* of DRM, but they just don't know to label it as such. Just ask any person who's had to sit through the 20 minutes of commercials on Disney DVDs that they can't skip through. That annoys the shit out of nearly everyone I know, and DRM is the cause. They just don't recognize it as such.

          As for flocking towards alternatives... just look at the

          • by Crizp (216129) <chris@eveley.net> on Monday February 26, 2007 @03:21PM (#18157838) Homepage

            When asshat companies like Maxis are still requiring the CD to be present for The Sims to run (in this age of half-TB drives), they can kiss my ass -- I'll go download the version with the No-CD crack.

            ...after you've bought the game? Why not just download the crack and apply it to your legal, installed version, saving some bandwith and waiting? ;)

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              Applying the patch to a game or program you own is legal. After all, they've been telling us for years that we don't own the media - we own one (1) licence to run the software.

              One of my professors at school had a legitimate, licenced copy of MATLAB. The damn thing wouldn't work on his MacBook 1/2 the time. The pirated version he downloaded worked great, every time. It loaded faster, too.

              I think the same sort of thing happened in GTA3 for the PC. If you applied the no CD crack, then your performance went WAY
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by stokessd (89903)

          "Do you have any sources on this?"

          Well CD sales are still the most popular method to get music, and that is DRM free (and mostly rootkit free).

          So the statement is more that we have been DRM free, and we put a toe in the DRM waters and said "no thanks" in many cases. This really isn't a case where we are throwing off the long-standing chains of oppression. DRM is a new thing, and a fairly limited thing (in audio), that we as a geeky segment of society are railing against.

          Now movies have a lot more heritag
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by kimvette (919543)
          I know many Joe-sixpack types who used Napster. then switched to Kazaa then limewire. They are fully aware, if subconsciously about Free vs. DRM in terms of control.

          Of course, I invariably have to clean spyware up for these customers, but it goes to show that they are learning about the ramifications of vendor lock in and are not feeling obligated to pay obscene prices to major labels when free/free options are available.

          I've asked a few why they don't use iTunes instead and a few have remarked that compute
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by ArtDent (83554)
          It's early days yet, but here's a very interesting indication.

          Last week, as reported here, Puretracks began offering DRM-free MP3s [slashdot.org]. They have 50,000 tracks, just 3.8% of their total catalog, available in this format. None of it is from the major labels.

          Currently, a DRM-free album, Barenaked Ladies are Men [puretracks.com], is at number 2 on Puretracks' top 100 chart [puretracks.com] (sorry, those last two links work in Canada only). It has been moving up steadily since Puretracks announced its MP3 offerings last week. By comparison, the alb
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Closing in on the average cost of a CD? I rather suspect that $9.99 already exceeds the average cost of a CD. It approaches the average cost of a new, currently-on-the-charts CD. I can't tell you how many bargain bin $5 CDs there are out there. And then, there are music clubs (gross, I know, but they exist) that average out to a buck or two per CD. And then you have the used CD market. Plenty of cheaper stuff on Amazon.

      No, it's clearly just a bunch of music execs who are, as you say, trying to pay l

    • by GuyverDH (232921)
      It's the same as everything else..

      #1 - Bikinis - less fabric - more cost. (okay, we can almost agree for this)
      #2 - Movies - no pan and scan version - more cost.
      #3 - music - no drm - more cost.
    • I think it's more like:


      "It'll cost a lot of money to re-encode our entire catalog in MP3 format. We want our customers to pay that."

      • by M0b1u5 (569472)
        "It'll cost a lot of money to re-encode our entire catalog in MP3 format. We want our customers to pay that."

        Have you ever heard of "Batch Processing"? o_O

        The whole job would take one guy one morning: and a whole bunch of CPU cycles.
  • dashes (Score:5, Funny)

    by Skadet (528657) on Monday February 26, 2007 @12:52PM (#18155450) Homepage
    EMI &mdash Ditching DRM is Going To Cost You

    As are en dashes and semicolons ;)
  • Until I see... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by beckerist (985855) on Monday February 26, 2007 @12:52PM (#18155452) Homepage
    Someone needs to show me a study that incorporates similar (if not identical) stores and similar (again, if not identical) pricing on a DRM version and DRM-free version of the SAME song. My money is that the DRM-free version makes a lot more money, simply because of its ease-of-use. Hell, I'd even be willing to fork up that extra $.99 [bbc.co.uk] (if the song they did this with didn't SUCK.)
  • by crazyjeremy (857410) * on Monday February 26, 2007 @12:52PM (#18155456) Homepage Journal
    Funny, considering one of the main reasons I won't buy DRM products is it already costs more to do so. If I want my favorite Britney song from Itunes, it costs 99 cents. If I want a ringtone of the same thing, Verizon charges me up to a couple bucks for a much smaller clip of exactly the same song. Why would I pay twice for something I can rip from my (wifes') CD and create myself anyway? Don't they see it's costing THEM more money in the long run to include this garbage?
    • by ThatsNotFunny (775189) on Monday February 26, 2007 @01:14PM (#18155800)
      You've got a wife, that in and of itself will cost you plenty.
    • by Dogtanian (588974) on Monday February 26, 2007 @01:19PM (#18155882) Homepage

      If I want my favorite Britney song from Itunes, it costs 99 cents. If I want a ringtone of the same thing, Verizon charges me up to a couple bucks for a much smaller clip of exactly the same song. Why would I pay twice for something I can rip from my (wifes') CD and create myself anyway?
      Well, *you* wouldn't obviously. But the record/ringtone companies likely figure (probably rightly) that enough people will buy the ringtone, either because they're stupid (don't know that it's possible to rip, or don't know how) or are simply lazy.

      Whether it's good value or not is irrelevant. If people are willing to pay silly money for tiny snippets of music, of course they're going to sell it.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by ThatsNotFunny (775189)
        Or they were idiots and purchased phones that, at least in the US, you're unable to upload your own ringtones and can only purchase the ones provided by the mobile carrier. I'm looking at you, Sidekick!
      • Well, *you* wouldn't obviously. But the record/ringtone companies likely figure (probably rightly) that enough people will buy the ringtone, either because they're stupid (don't know that it's possible to rip, or don't know how) or are simply lazy.

        Yes, I, for one, am lazy-- and I believe most people are stupid. In fact, you have to figure that a high percentage of people are either stupid and spend their money on things they could do themselves if they were smarter, or else smart and have disposable inco

    • by danpsmith (922127) on Monday February 26, 2007 @01:30PM (#18156062)

      Funny, considering one of the main reasons I won't buy DRM products is it already costs more to do so. If I want my favorite Britney song from Itunes, it costs 99 cents. If I want a ringtone of the same thing, Verizon charges me up to a couple bucks for a much smaller clip of exactly the same song. Why would I pay twice for something I can rip from my (wifes') CD and create myself anyway? Don't they see it's costing THEM more money in the long run to include this garbage?

      Exactly. And if the prices were sane, I would definitely buy DRM-Free MP3s. Definitely. But they'd have to be DRM free. I'm not buying .wmas and putting them with the rest of my collection, it's just not happening.

      I think what companies don't yet realize is that, look, we already have collections of MP3s. Everyone under 30 probably has a large collection, and I'm one of the few that has a HUGE collection. However, there are times when I want an album and you can't find it on bittorrent and it's not available other than going to the CD store. Honestly, I don't feel like ripping CDs, and there's a lot of times when I just don't even buy the track rather than having to go and buy a CD and rip it to my hard drive. And it has NOTHING to do with cost. It did, at one point when I was a college student money was an issue. Nowadays, it definitely isn't. But when you have a large collection of high quality MP3s that you know will work on your player, in your DVD player, or any number of other devices you simply aren't going to buy a track and break the DRM to have it mesh well with the rest of your collection.

      Yes, I'm notorious for downloading a lot of MP3s, but I would be willing to buy legitimate, if only companies would give me the chance to do so. Stop trying to change how we store our music and just mix with what we have. It's the only way you'll survive.

      Yours truly,

      A kind of average downloader.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        At the risk of sounding like the geezer I am - you kids today are fucking lazy! "Honestly, I don't feel like ripping CDs, and there's a lot of times when I just don't even buy the track rather than having to go and buy a CD and rip it to my hard drive"

        I, too, have a huge collection of MP3s. Most of them started life not as CDs, but were ripped from CDs that were burned from sampled LPs and cassettes! But you're too lazy to click a mouse twice. Do you have your mom open your pepsi for you because it's too mu
        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Applekid (993327)
          At the risk of sounding like the geezer I am - you kids today are fucking lazy!

          I was going to read your post, but it was too long. ;)

          All kidding aside, is there really something wrong with convenience? I remember being told things when I was a kid like "I had to walk 10 miles to school. In the snow. Uphill. Both ways." and my answer was usually along the lines of "Well, if you had let me get a car I would have driven you."

          After which I would usually get a pop to the mouth and not had dinner that even
    • by thpr (786837)
      considering one of the main reasons I won't buy DRM products is it already costs more to do so.

      The pricing is NOT related to the fact that is has DRM. I have already discussed pricing of single (DRM protected) track vs. full CDs [slashdot.org].

      Don't they see it's costing THEM more money in the long run to include this garbage?

      I doubt it is. Like the parent to my other post, I suspect you are not in their target market (DRM protected, high priced ringtones are not targeted at /. readers). The underlying issue is a

      • by gmack (197796)

        I doubt it is. Like the parent to my other post, I suspect you are not in their target market (DRM protected, high priced ringtones are not targeted at /. readers). The underlying issue is about the target market of certain items and who will use them. The multi-dollar ringtone is addressed to people who value convenience and/or instant gratification.

        If it were a simple matter of market targeting then they would not have locked so many phones from being able to transfer over USB or bluetooth. Those pho

      • by danpsmith (922127)

        Consider the social aspect of a ringtone to a teenager, and the potential need for instant replacement if a certain ringtone is frowned upon by friends. With that in perspective, it's likely that the ringtones are priced at a point the market will bear, as sad and painful as that may be to the technically inclined.

        The price of ringtones is reasonable only to spoiled teenagers and people with more money than brains. Everyone sane usually uses a stock ringer, or gets one ringer every 2 years. Nobody wants

        • by thpr (786837)
          The price of ringtones is reasonable only to spoiled teenagers and people with more money than brains.

          Their target markets.

          Nobody wants to pay 1.99 for something you'll have to replace if you get a new phone. People who I wouldn't consider exactly technologically proficient have enough brains to realize these things and might get one midi ringtone and stick with it for the rest of the phone's life.

          Would your behavior change if it was 0.99? What about 0.49? Most likely, people like you and I wouldn'

    • by jrumney (197329)

      Why would I pay twice for something I can rip from my (wifes') CD

      Are your wives all sharing that one CD? Surely that is against the license terms.

  • Not mdash! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Virak (897071) on Monday February 26, 2007 @12:53PM (#18155488) Homepage
    I knew EMI was a bunch of greedy bastards, and I'm not surprised about that; however, I find it very troubling that mdash, an *excellent* HTML entity, has turned to the dark side like this. Really, I never saw it coming.
  • Read this: Emmy Noether on DRM [thedialogs.org]
  • I'm all for drm-free music and recently, other than non copy-protected cds, added to my source of music downloadable drm-free mp3s from eMusic. I have been extremely happy with the selection, quality, and price for the eMusic tracks.

    And, guess what? Not a single violation of sharing, file swapping with any of my eMusic tracks. At $.30/track I feel anyone who likes a track I play for them can supply their own three dimes. It's a great price, and for me it works.

    Not so for me with DRM... aside from the

    • The music industry runs considerable margins on successful acts, but the online distributors keep a small percentage of their sales. (source) [cdfreaks.com] 26% doesn't go very far when you're essentially bearing all of the costs. There are in theory displaced CD sales, but online music is supposed to capture sales where CDs are not preferred (on-demand availability, single tracks).
    • by anagama (611277)
      The razor thin margin is for the online retailer (iTunes) not the content producer (EMI in this case).
    • I'm not sure where I've seen any evidence the music industry is running on razor-thin margins. This sounds like pure BS, and only hurts their credibility every time they try to state their "case"... So far, I'm not convinced.

      If I understand the article properly, it's not the music industry that's running on razor-thin margins per se, it's the retailer. It's been said that Apple makes only a few pennies on the dollar for every song they move over the iTunes Music Store. If the industry started demanding mo

      • ''Which means that either Apple would need to start selling music at a loss, which cannot and will not happen, or they would need to raise their prices. In other words, the difference would need to be made up for by the consumer, because there's no way to absorb it. ''

        Now think about what would happen if Apple sold lets say Sony songs with DRM for $0.99 each and EMI songs without DRM for $1.19 each. That would tell even the most retarded consumer that music with DRM is a rip-off and worth less than the musi
    • by dgatwood (11270) on Monday February 26, 2007 @01:48PM (#18156394) Journal

      Some readers have indicated to us that they'd happily pay more for DRM-free downloadable music from an online retailer, yet it is unclear as to why DRM-free music should cost more. To return to a point made famous by Steve Jobs, the overwhelming majority of CDs sold today already come without DRM on the discs. Furthermore, pirated copies of music are readily available online. As a result, it's not very clear to us why online music that is sold without DRM would need to cost more, but given the razor-thin margins in that market, a "no DRM tax" is quite likely to be passed on directly to consumers.

      I'm not sure where I've seen any evidence the music industry is running on razor-thin margins. This sounds like pure BS, and only hurts their credibility every time they try to state their "case"... So far, I'm not convinced.

      A more interesting question is why the music industry thinks that DRM matters. Their logic violates a very simple law of computers: if one copy exists in an unprotected form, all copies exist in an unprotected form. If somebody says "Hey, check out this cool song," and somebody else asks, "Can I get a copy of that," and the answer is, "No, it has DRM, but you can download it from eMule," that's not an improvement over "Sure, here's a copy." Actually, it's worse than "Sure, here's a copy" because it is encouraging the second person to pirate the music, while giving someone a copy is encouraging that person to watch for other music by that band and maybe buy the CD.

      And I'll say it again: ignoring the one-hit-wonder teeny-pop crap, real musicians benefit overwhelmingly from music piracy. It increases exposure, which in the long term, increases sales. Therefore, all anti-piracy measures are, by definition, short-sighted foolishness by people who don't understand the basics of doing business in a modern economy. Is it any wonder, then, that music sales continue to be in the toilet despite substantially decreased piracy? Guess what? Music copying and sharing was going on before Napster. The only thing that Napster did was bring it out into the open where the industry could total it up and say "Oh, no, we're losing all these sales!" when in reality, by shutting down those services and annoying their customer/fan base, they really killed one of their biggest sources of advertising....

      But I guess some people will never learn.

    • by shark72 (702619)

      "I'm not sure where I've seen any evidence the music industry is running on razor-thin margins. This sounds like pure BS, and only hurts their credibility every time they try to state their "case"... So far, I'm not convinced."

      Warner Music [yahoo.com] posted a 0.27% profit margin and a 6.29% operating margin last year. Their year over year earnings shrank by about 80%. Compare this to some "good" and "non-greedy" companies: Apple posted a profit margin of 11.75%, making them about 43 times more profitable than War

      • Which I don't believe - all it tells me is that Warner is a very inefficient company when it comes to how it manages its human resources and assets (aka, the so-called artists).

        In New Zealand they do no advertising at all any more - I remember years and years ago they use to advertise the new so-and-so album on television with an 'out now!' jingle to it, but now, the only information you get as to whether a new song has been put out is either by watching C4 or via posters put up in music stores.

        Having taken
  • "we'll remove DRM, but it'll cost you!"

    I presume that cost is the royalties being paid to the artists? [sarcasm!]

    I agree with the other posters, they're just setting this up for a failure so they have a "look see!" business case for DRM.

    Tom
    • I agree with the other posters, they're just setting this up for a failure so they have a "look see!" business case for DRM.

      The ace on our side which will eat that arrogance for lunch is emusic. They provide higher quailty at lower prices without DRM and pay the artists more. Artists are starting to notice and migrate. Consumers follow. This is going to be very difficult for the DRM die hards to explain.

      Value sells. High prices, low quality, and high restrictions are a killer combination. Getting all
  • by Rob T Firefly (844560) on Monday February 26, 2007 @01:03PM (#18155640) Homepage Journal
    Hello and welcome to my malt shop chain, TurdShakes(TM), featuring shakes made from genuine excrement, in a secret family recipe that is sure to please.

    Am I serious, you ask? Of course I am! I am quite passionate about my flagship product, the TurdShake(TM), and stand behind it totally even though sales have been slightly disappointing. That is to say, not quite as successful as I had hoped. Frankly, I'm shocked by the fact that nobody wants to buy milkshakes made from excrement. Im my eyes, TurdShakes(TM) were a goldmine waiting to happen.

    Wait, come back! Okay, you win. I am willing to adapt my business model to suit what the people want. Therefore, I have decided to remove excrement from my TurdShakes(TM) entirely, possibly replacing it with chocolate or ice cream or some other such boring shake ingredient. You'd like one now, wouldn't you? A regular shake? No Turd(TM)?

    Well, that's just what you'll get, then. A delicious normal shake... That is, of course, provided you give me a large bag of moneys first. A really big bag, with lots of moneys. Otherwise, you'll just have to go on buying the original TurdShakes(TM), with heady flavors of... wait, where are you going? Come back!!
    • by nuzak (959558)
      Dammit, not only is no one buying my TurdShakes(TM), they're buying ice cream from the store across the street for a nickel. That's just dishonest and unamerican. I know, I'll lobby congress to make it the law for all malteds to require excrement in them. In fact, I'll have them require that it gets built into every cups and straw!
  • You lost your semicolin in there, hon. Need another one?
    • Right, except that us Southerners know how to spell semicolon. Also, you should add a "done":
       

      You done lost your semicolon back there, hon. Need another one?
  • So we have to pay for their failed DRM R&D costs? Bahaha.

  • Ah.. Right... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by 91degrees (207121)
    So they have a strategy of unknown risk and reward, and they're quite happy to go about it if someone else takes the risk but doesn't benefit from the reward.

    Here's my counter proposal. I'll pay the upfront cost. I get to choose how much I charge. My cut is double what they pay Apple.
  • Question / Answer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ACAx1985 (989265) on Monday February 26, 2007 @01:27PM (#18156020) Homepage
    For $10 I can buy a physical CD, and get: 1) Liner notes. 2) Artwork. 3) Plastic casing. 4) Plastic compact disc. 5) Files on said disc which are lossless. I can then convert the lossless files into any format I want depending on my needs, put them on my iPod, put them on my hdd. If I lose the CD, I still have the files. If I lose my iPod, or my hdd, I have the CD. Why would I spend $10 on low-quality files that are DRM-infected that I can't do shit with, and that I can lose much easier? Oh yea, I won't. -ACA
    • Files on said disc which are lossless.

      Tautologically so, even!

      When we say an audio format is "lossless", we typically mean when compared to standard 44.1kHz, 16-bit stereo Red Book Audio.
      • by jrumney (197329)
        A lossless format is one which does not deteriorate in quality with subsequent generations of reencoding. 44.1kHz 16 bit stereo need not be the baseline.
        • Exactly. Take a 128kbps MP3 and encode it as a FLAC or convert it to wav. It's still the same exact audio data.
  • You can buy many Billboard top 20 albums for $9.99 at amazon and get free shipping if you buy a few at a time. If you buy used then your looking at ~5 a CD.

    We already have DRM-Free music for cheap. We've had DRM-Free music for 25 years you, why would we pay more now? WTF is wrong with these people?
  • Capitalism at work (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dracos (107777) on Monday February 26, 2007 @01:28PM (#18156044)

    EMI has backed out of talks for now because no one will pay what they're asking.

    That should tell EMI that their extortion price is not "what the market will bear".

  • by 99bottles (257169) on Monday February 26, 2007 @01:30PM (#18156056)
    Sounds like EMI went to the SCO school of pricing.
  • EMI is the only major record label to seriously consider abandoning the disaster that is DRM

    EMI has backed out of talks for now because no one will pay what they're asking.
    Wow that's serious consideration.
  • by fyoder (857358) on Monday February 26, 2007 @01:30PM (#18156076) Homepage Journal
    allofmp3.com [allofmp3.com] would like to thank you for your business. It knows you have no choice in DRMless online retailers who offer high quality files without DRM at a good price (well, with the exception of magnatune [magnatune.com], but they have a limited catalog), and appreciate your choosing them for your online music needs.
    • by glenstar (569572)
      How about mentioning some of the other non-DRMed digital music stores? You mention Magnatune and they are awesome, but there are LOTS more out there. How about Audio Lunchbox [audiolunchbox.com] with over 4500 different labels (including some quasi-major label stuff like Nettwerk, etc.? Or eMusic [emusic.com] (who actually does have some EMI content non-DRMd already)?

      AllofMP3 does nothing but illicitly make available tracks to make a profit. Sure, they claim to pay the Russian equivelant of BMI/ASCAP but that is not enough! To sell digi

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Overzeetop (214511)
        In Soviet Russia...aw hell.

        Magnatune et. al. are great, but it's not apples to apples. AllofMP3 sells the same music without DRM that you can only get with DRM in other outlets. Its all fine to bash the top 100 here on /., but there really is a lot of market there. If you ignore the legal loopholes AllofMP3 is exploiting (they're practically Americans!) you get to see a pay-for-quality model on mainstream music. It has much more applicability than trying to compare the major lables to smaller labels, or try
      • by fyoder (857358)

        Thanks for mentioning alternatives, the more the better.

        Sure, they claim to pay the Russian equivelant of BMI/ASCAP but that is not enough!

        It is in Russia. And there's nothing illegal for me as a Canadian to buy from them (can't say what the law is where you are). From where I stand it's totally legit and has a huge selection I can order as high quality oggs for a decent price. While I will check in on magnatune now and again to see what's new and maybe pick something up, I've yet to find anything that has the scope and value of allofmp3.com . As far as I'm concerned it's a model t

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Kalriath (849904)
        I'm gonna split hairs here and point out that under Russian law, allofmp3 is quite legal (for now) because Russia does NOT require an agreement be executed in advance to be licensed to sell works. Russian law also says that all they do need to do is pay a royalty to a rights management group (for lack of a better name), such as ROMS, who they DO pay, to be held in escrow until the rights holder requests payment. No rights holder has requested this money from ROMS. So you aren't quite correct there, what
  • by JustNiz (692889) on Monday February 26, 2007 @01:43PM (#18156298)
    is how much its going to cost them in lost sales through pissing off customers by keeping DRM.
  • Par for the course (Score:5, Informative)

    by glenstar (569572) on Monday February 26, 2007 @01:59PM (#18156588)
    As someone who has intimate knowledge of how the entire licensing thing goes between the majors and a digital music provider let me just say that this is in no way shocking. The labels will take as large an advance as they possibly can and it is really a matter of whose legal counsel is better. A couple of years ago there was no way you could license all of the (available) major label content for under 500k... unless you paid one of the better known music industry lawyers a couple hundred K. There are only a half-dozen big shot lawyers in the music biz and they tend to play both sides of the field... and charge whatever the hell they feel like.

    The contracts for the labels are all wildly different but all of them consist of at least technical due diligence (what are YOU going to do to make sure OUR content does not fall into the wrong hands), financial due diligence, and a marketing plan. This is heavy stuff and can takes months and months to push through. In short, this is a very time-consuming and spendy process to go through.

    EMI, under the digital music strategy of Ted Cohen, has far and away been the most open of the majors when it comes to licensing. They are simply making an attempt to protect their assets... since it takes so much effort on both sides to conclude a licensing agreement, it makes sense that they (the majors) want to recoup as much of that investment up-front as they possibly can.

    People on Slashdot get this wrong all of the time. You see, the majors and the digital music services are in a death-match, with the DMS being hounded by the customer and the majors being hounded by the shareholders. The ONE thing that binds all of those people together (with the possible exception of the customer) is DRM. The major feels a little more secure "knowing" that their music can't be mass-reproduced, the DMS is happy because they can sell the content, the customer is happy because they can get the content, and the shareholder is happy because, well, there is an additional revenue stream.

    And FYI...I have never met a music executive who DOES NOT understand that DRM is nearly useless as far as protection of content goes. BUT... as I said above, it is the glue that keeps everything together.

    Go spend some time on Digital Music News to fully understand what is going on in the industry. It's not so simple and you cannot say definitively that DRM is harming the consumer because RIGHT NOW the only way to get that content is with DRM. Better than nothing, isn't it? Things will eventually change and this announcement from EMI is a very positive step forward. Don't trash the music industry as a whole until you understand it. I am certainly not saying it is full of kind-hearted souls (very far from it!) but there is more to it than just "let's fuck the consumer and the artist to make a buck!".

    • by kindbud (90044)
      Go spend some time on Digital Music News to fully understand what is going on in the industry. It's not so simple and you cannot say definitively that DRM is harming the consumer because RIGHT NOW the only way to get that content is with DRM.

      No, we can still buy regular old CDs and rip them to our iPods or whatever in one step. No DRM at all.

      Better than nothing, isn't it?

      Come again? We can already buy the entire catalog free of DRM, and furthermore those who care, can tweak the bitrate or codec to get th
      • by glenstar (569572)
        DIGITALLY. It is the only way a consumer can buy the product DIGITALLY. And DMSs are not for those of us who want to/have the know-how to rip it ourselves. The DMS exists as a mass-consumer phenomenon.
        • by kindbud (90044)
          And DMSs are not for those of us who want to/have the know-how to rip it ourselves. The DMS exists as a mass-consumer phenomenon.

          And CDs are a niche product? I really don't get what you're saying.
          • '' And CDs are a niche product? I really don't get what you're saying. ''

            If you read news reports from say Reuters, you will find that there are plenty of idiots out there whose single brain cell has been convinced that "digital" equals "downloadable" or "residing on a computer". You'll read things like "digital music sales have doubled, while CD sales have dropped" and you can tell them hundred times that they are idiots, they won't learn.
        • by ejp1082 (934575)
          It's the only way the consumer can BUY the product digitally. It's not the only way the consumer can GET the product digitally. The Pirate Bay offers a hell of a better user experience than the iTMS.

          The number of illegal music downloads still dwarf legal ones by leaps and bounds. And that's not going to change until the legal ones stop offering an inferior product.
          • by cdrguru (88047)
            Why would it ever change?

            The paid-for service might eventually offer the same product at 100x (or 1,000,000x) the price. You see, a million times zero is still zero. You can't compete with free. And that is exactly what the music business wants to do.

            Until very recently copyright for the consumer was principally a matter of practicality. It was impractical to copy a cassette and give one to 100 friends or to photocopy a book. Today, copyright is a matter of respect - and we have spent the last 15 years
            • by ejp1082 (934575)

              You can't compete with free.

              The people at Poland Springs and Avian would be pretty shocked to hear that. Fact is, there's plenty of business models that not only compete with free but are built around giving stuff away for free, so that argument just doesn't fly.

              They'll never eliminate piracy entirely, but they can successfully compete with it. Price is just one way to compete - you can also compete on quality, convenience, marketing, and legitimacy, among others. There's a lot of ways you can make a cons

        • by luiss (217284)
          CDs are ditigal.
      • by Ash-Fox (726320)

        No, we can still buy regular old CDs and rip them to our iPods or whatever in one step. No DRM at all.
        I can't buy the music I like on CDs. Just ordering a single CD from the States has cost me the equivalent of 60 USD in snail-mail taxes.

        can tweak the bitrate or codec to get the exact audio results they wish. Can't do that with online services.
        Allofmp3 actually did this.

    • It's not so simple and you cannot say definitively that DRM is harming the consumer because RIGHT NOW the only way to get that content is with DRM. Better than nothing, isn't it?

      Interesting view. Even though you claim that they recognize the uselessness of DRM, I believe that they still have not fully grasped this concept. If they did, they would see that their "better than nothing" offering is indeed worse than nothing and people are freely taking advantage of the superior product provided by "nothing."

    • I am certainly not saying it is full of kind-hearted souls (very far from it!) but there is more to it than just "let's fuck the consumer and the artist to make a buck!".

      there is a lot more to it... like the lying, the cheating, the backstabbing, and the drugs.

  • by ewhac (5844)
    I suppose, if one takes the rubric of, "Defective by Design," at face value (as it happens, I do), then the defective product would naturally be worth less than the one without defects (even though the capital cost of the defective product is higher).

    Okay, we'll let that point stand for the moment. How much more money are we talking about? $1.25 a track? $1.50?

    Schwab

    • Well, since I'm not willing to pay more than $.05 per track for DRM music, I'll pay about a dime ($0.10) per track for non-DRM music. Before anyone complains that that's not a realistic price, that *is* the price I've legally paid for lots of music. I buy most of mine in the form of used CDs at yard sales. Mine is lossless and comes with the liner notes most of the time.
  • This is what the anti-copyright folks have been proclaiming for some time here on Slashdot - that all future work will be live concerts or commissioned works. It looks like this is just the route that EMI is trying to take. They'll sell you the song for distribution, but you are going to have to pay more for it up front, so that when it is copied freely on the back end, they will still have gotten their cut.

    Maybe we really are reaching the point where before a label will cut loose a song they will demand
  • Today, it is technically "wrong" to redistribute music. Very few people don't do it. DRM is a little added push away from it, because for some it just makes it too difficult.

    So how is removing probably the last barrier to a complete free-for-all going to help the bottom line?

    Of course, it might speed the exit from the market of commercial music that that would probably be a good thing. I mean, since it really will be free for everyone all the time how could anyone get revenue from selling music anymore?
  • by GiMP (10923) on Monday February 26, 2007 @04:10PM (#18158536)
    I know I'm preaching to the choir, but... what I don't understand, is why EMI hasn't yet figured out how that DRM costs them money?

    I went into a CD store recently, saw a number of alums for sale by EMI, considered buying them, but saw the largely-printed "DRM" warning. Perhaps I'm unusual, but this prevented me from buying a single one of those albums. If not for the DRM, I would've bought one of the albums, and I would have likely purchased the others over time. Over the last few years, I've probably spent few hundred at AllOfMp3. Why? Because I could buy the music I wanted, not only at the price I wanted, but in the format I wanted.

    Does the music industry really think if people didn't want CDs, that they would've switched from cassettes and vinyl? Of course people switched, because they WANTED compact-discs, there was an advantage. Does EMI think that if the masses wanted CDs and they only sold cassettes, that anyone would continue to buy EMI's music? Likely, the masses would just put their money elsewhere. Customers buy what they want, remember: "The customer is always right." As long as the layman wants MP3 files, and the audiophiles want FLAC files, DRM will not sell. If music is only available underneath DRM, then music will not sell.

    I only assume that EMI believes that stopping DRM will stop illegal downloads, and the revenue gained by recouping the "losses" of illegal downloads will outweigh the losses that they now incur due to DRM. However, I believe that of those illegally downloading, there are the following groups:
      1. People that would purchase the product if there was no DRM, but download illegally instead.
      2. People that won't pay regardless.
      3. People that use illegal downloads as time-shifted radio, driving sales.

    Based on this list, I can only see DRM hurting EMI. Group #2 won't pay regardless, and they're driving away users from groups #1 and #3. Thus, their DRM is only removing a significant number of potential customers. There is NO advantage to EMI to continue pushing DRM.

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