DRM, the Beginning of the End?

Today, The Good, the Bad and the Queen released their album Kingdom of Doom. This is just more than an album release, because it takes the distinction of being the first album sold through iTunes and produced by a major record company, EMI, that’s not protected by Digital Rights Management or DRM.

Last week, Apple and EMI made history when they jointly disclosed individual song downloads and albums on Apple�s iTunes without DRM (related story). This follows up Steve Jobs’s post, thoughts on music, earlier this year, where he pulled a 360 and advocated DRM free music, stunning industry watchers and attracting criticism from the record labels, including, surprise, surprise EMI. Despite his famous reality distortion field, Steve Jobs is a smart man, and has realized that technologies that impose restrictions on the perceived “ownership” of anything is bound to create unease and discontent among users, no matter how dumb they are. People don’t like to be told what to do with things they own and convincing them otherwise is a job thats more or less impossible.

Now, more than ever, the writing should be on the wall for the rest of the record companies and the industry as a whole. Poor attempt to police through DRM and RIAA hasn’t worked and won’t.

If you can’t beat them, join them.

Update (2007/04/06)

Looks like Microsoft has also jumped the DRM free bandwagon. The company in a press release said it will soon sell digital music online without digital rights management (DRM) protection. See related story here. Funnily enough, Microsoft also claims that the EMI and Apple deal wasn’t an industry exclusive, apparently, they have been negotiating the same for a while…

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