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Behind the Scenes In Apple Vs. the Record Labels 146

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the does-steve-wear-turtlenecks-in-private-too dept.
je ne sais quoi writes "The New York Times recently posted an article describing what really happened between Apple and the Record labels that culminated with the January 6th Macworld Keynote by Apple Senior VP Phil Schiller." Essentially they discuss a bit of a swap: Apple allowed variable pricing for songs and the industry allowed DRM free music. And apparently the iTunes homepage is a huge hit making device. Big shock.
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Behind the Scenes In Apple Vs. the Record Labels

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  • iMusic industry news (Score:5, Interesting)

    by zappepcs (820751) on Wednesday February 04, 2009 @01:27PM (#26726999) Journal

    Can we get a special section for iMusic news? Apple did what the music industry should have done and failed to do. Perhaps Apple should start the iMusic label and start signing artists, sort of an effort to put the music industry into perspective with it's current situation. It would be an eye opener for the RIAA.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by initdeep (1073290)

      maybe it was the fact that apple changed their stance on different pricing models that really made the difference, and thus the record labels were correct......

      just because apple did something, doesnt mean it was a golden decision and everyone else is wrong.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by fpophoto (1382097)

        maybe it was the fact that apple changed their stance on different pricing models that really made the difference, and thus the record labels were correct......

        just because apple did something, doesnt mean it was a golden decision and everyone else is wrong.

        That's not what the GP meant. He wasn't talking about variable pricing, but the original digital distribution of music, which at the time, the record labels were awful fearful of. Back then, "mp3" was a dirty term at record labels, and other

    • by DrLang21 (900992) on Wednesday February 04, 2009 @01:36PM (#26727113)
      Apple opening it's own record label would put it at serious odds with the the other labels that it sells. A better solution would be for Jobs to start his own record label completely independent of Apple. The single song electronic sales business model has already been forced onto the music industry, so the only purpose of a new record label would be to explore the other flaws in the system, like constructed pop stars.
      • by zappepcs (820751)

        holy shit... you thought I was serious? I guess I better use the [sarcastic yet annoyingly droll humor] tags

        • by DrLang21 (900992)
          Even if you weren't serious, it's not a bad idea conceptually. I would love to see a new label come out that has the power to make the old big names sweat.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by m93 (684512)

        Apple can't open it's own record label. From Wikipedia: "In 1978, Apple Corps, the Beatles-founded holding company and owner of their record label, Apple Records, filed a lawsuit against Apple Computer for trademark infringement. The suit was settled in 1981 with an undisclosed amount being paid to Apple Corps. This amount had been estimated to be US$50â"US$200 million, but was later revealed to be US$80,000.[1] As a condition of the settlement, Apple Computer agreed not to enter the music business,
        • by idobi (820896) on Wednesday February 04, 2009 @02:01PM (#26727457) Homepage

          Apple can't open it's own record label. From Wikipedia: "In 1978, Apple Corps, the Beatles-founded holding company and owner of their record label, Apple Records, filed a lawsuit against Apple Computer for trademark infringement. The suit was settled in 1981 with an undisclosed amount being paid to Apple Corps. This amount had been estimated to be US$50â"US$200 million, but was later revealed to be US$80,000.[1] As a condition of the settlement, Apple Computer agreed not to enter the music business, and Apple Corps agreed not to enter the computer business." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_Corps_v._Apple_Computer [wikipedia.org] They got into hot water with Apple Records when iTunes got big. An actual recording label would blatantly go against the agreement.

          This agreement is no longer in effect. Apple Corp has signed over all Trademark for Apple to Apple Computer, Inc (now Apple Inc) in 2007. In return, Apple Corp has a perpetual license to use the Apple name for their label. However Apple Inc. can now do whatever they want with regards to the music business.

        • That is something I never understood. Normally, two different companies can hold a trademark on a common word if they are in different industries, which is why we can have a Linux OS and Linux Soap. So how could Apple Records have any standing to sue Apple Computers? Of course, they didn't "win" the suit, as it was settled out of court, but still...

          • It is about protecting your brand identity. If you Saw Linux OS and Linux Soap. If you know one or the other you will associate the two together. So you may see Linux Soap as some sort of a more socially responsible Soap Even if it is made from the harshest chemicals and slave labor. And Vice Versa if you know Linux Soap you may see Linux OS as an evil corporate identity.

          • by ardle (523599)
            AFAIK The Beatles were with Apple Records, so they were used to being the biggest Apple. Legal standing probably didn't come into it to a great extent: this is showbiz.
          • The issue of whether something is or isn't infringement depends on whether it would be confusing, and cause consumers to assume that one product is produced by another company -- essentially free-riding on the other's reputation.

            My understanding is that the Apple Records vs. Apple Computer suit never got to the point of determining whether that was the case. If the suit had gone forward, a judge would have needed to rule on it one way or the other. But before that happened they arrived at some sort of dea

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by The Redster! (874352)

          Apple Corps

          Baltimorps!

      • by TaoPhoenix (980487) <TaoPhoenix@yahoo.com> on Wednesday February 04, 2009 @02:45PM (#26728025) Journal

        You mean the pillaging of artists currently practiced by the labels? iTunes has profoundly revolutionized the music world, and is mostly fair to consumers.

        What about a label that revolutionizes management and actually works unobtrusively for the artists??

        NewBand: "Why should we sign with you and get 3 cents on the dollar before "expenses" when iMusic gives us 62 cents per buck *after* legit expenses?"

        • by whoever57 (658626)

          NewBand: "Why should we sign with you and get 3 cents on the dollar before "expenses" when iMusic gives us 62 cents per buck *after* legit expenses?"

          Why not "Old, successfulBand"? They don't need the one thing the label can give them: publicity?

          • by cowscows (103644)

            True, and some successful bands have done just that. But the equation is different for an established and popular band. They've got some leverage to negotiate with the record labels. The labels aren't taking as big of a risk backing a guy who's already had three platinum albums as they are with a guy nobody has heard of. The plus hopefully the ability and wisdom to hire a decent lawyer to protect them, and said famous band should walk away with a much better deal than your average no-name group could ever h

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by clifyt (11768)

            "Why not "Old, successfulBand"? They don't need the one thing the label can give them: publicity?"

            I've worked with "Old, successfulBand" before and one hit doesn't mean anything. Or 20. It is all about the next hit.

            I knew one guy that had multiplatinum albums dating to the 70s until the early 90s...decided to go it himself. For 15 years, he sold practically nothing. Yeah, the profits were actually decent considering all of this, but he couldn't sell out huge concert halls any more. For an artist, this

        • by DrLang21 (900992)
          Magnatune already does this, but they operate somewhat in their own bubble. They don't play on the same field as the big hitters, I assume because of money. The big labels know how to promote, I'll give them that much. If Magnatune could promote on a level playing field with everyone else, the tides might change.
        • by geekoid (135745)

          That's because Apple record abused the intent of trademark, and Apple computer found it cheaper to settle.

          This of course changed years later with the iPod, something that couldn't ahve been predicted when the Apple trademark abuse^H^H^H^H^H issue came up.

      • Better yet, Jobs as primary share holder in Disney and board member could have Disney start a record company. They could have an exclusive sweetheart deal with Apple and the itunes store. Look at all the best selling bubble gum crap out there. Britney, Christina Aguilera, Justin Timberlake, Ashley Tisdale, etc all started on Disney.
      • by ceoyoyo (59147)

        Hey, it's worked for him before. He could then buy the major labels for a negative price, just like Pixar bought Disney and NeXt bought Apple.

    • by TimmyDee (713324) on Wednesday February 04, 2009 @02:13PM (#26727617) Homepage Journal

      It would be an iOpener for the RIAA.

      There, fixed that for you.

    • by mcgrew (92797) * on Wednesday February 04, 2009 @02:52PM (#26728103) Homepage Journal

      Perhaps Apple should start the iMusic label and start signing artists

      Because it's completely unneeded. The labels actually had a function last century, as it cost a shipload of money to record and press a record. These days you can build a studio, record your album, and get a thousand CDs professionally duplicated, with cover and printing, for not much more than the band's instruments are worth.

      The industry isn't going after P2P because you're going to hear one of their artists, they're afraid you'll hear an independant artist (probably 10 times as many "unsigned" bands than label chattel) and buy their CD instead of an RIAA label CD.

      • Agreed but the RIAA usually sues the teenage girls and grandmothers who get the IP after it is released from the music pirate that was using it to download over 12 MP3 files that are pirated versions and then reset their DSL modem to get a new IP.

        It seems the RIAA doesn't care if someone downloads less than 12 songs in a row, but if they download 12 or move they get the Internet subpoena.

        BitTorrent web sites are used for pirated music as well as free and open sourced music files [goingware.com] from independent artists wit

    • I think Billy Idol [chaoscontrol.com] proved that music can be made on a personal computer just as well in a music studio when he made the Cyberpunk album on a Macintosh system in 1993.

      With modern Macintosh systems I am sure they can do a better job. Maybe Apple can make an iStudio software package to interface with home studio equipment and have artists make their own music, which they can pay a fee and get published on iTunes and become their own producers.

    • I don't think they can start their own label as the Beatles' Apple Records would be all over them. They had trouble just for starting iTunes but I think they'd definitely lose any battle for starting a music label.
  • by A. B3ttik (1344591) on Wednesday February 04, 2009 @01:37PM (#26727135)
    I'm really having a hard time gleaning any actual content from this article. Other than the first paragraph, where Apple is allowing Sony to jack up prices so long as there's no DRM... it really doesn't say much.

    There's sensationalist crap about how the companies are "uneasy" with this truce and each one wants the other gone... I'm not really sure why.

    The one interesting idea brought to the table was the idea of a "subscription fee" for music... pay a monthly fee and listen to _whatever_ you want. I'm not sure how I feel about that. On the one hand, I kinda like it as a compromise between DRM and piracy, but on the other hand, it doesn't seem like that would _stop_ piracy at all.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by zappepcs (820751)

      It wouldn't stop piracy^H^H^H^H^H^H copyright infringement, but it would encourage end users to listen to more music as well as encourage them to purchase music and create a reliable 'up front' revenue stream that is not based on having to produce strings of top ten artists singing the same old crap all the time. As business models go, it's good for the distributor, bad for the end users. It's like that extended warranty stuff. The worst possible model for the RIAA et al was the $0.99/song model; which happ

      • by mattack2 (1165421)

        But with music clubs, you can refuse the CD of the month, and pay nothing. (Though I will admit that BMG is apparently now not accepting new members, and is referring users to one like you mention -- $6.99/month with a 'queue' of CDs, and you get charged even if you have no CDs in your queue.)

        Though I've gotten the vast majority of my CDs through BMG (and loooong ago some through Columbia, which had some CDs BMG didn't have), for under $6/CD including
        the ridiculous "shipping" charges.

        So basically, you're r

      • by cayenne8 (626475)
        "Wait till they offer you an averaged food bill where you pay a set fee every month..."

        OH man...wait till they offer that to ME. I'll clean up!!!!

        I like some pretty exotic things, and Lord help them if they include beer, wine and liquor in that average food bill!!! When I go to the grocery store, booze often runs at least a good 1/3 of my grocery bill.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      ...
      The one interesting idea brought to the table was the idea of a "subscription fee" for music... pay a monthly fee and listen to _whatever_ you want. I'm not sure how I feel about that. On the one hand, I kinda like it as a compromise between DRM and piracy, but on the other hand, it doesn't seem like that would _stop_ piracy at all.

      The subscription thing has been done. There are one or two mainstream services that offer that. Some people love it, others hate it.

      Personally I'm not a fan, while listening to anything I want on-demand is cool I hate subscriptions, particularly for something like this.

      I'm not that into music. On average I buy maybe 1-2 songs a month from iTunes, more if I get a gift card or want a whole album. That's $24-$36 USD per year with the latest variable prices, and I get to keep my music.

      If I was REALLY into

    • by Midnight Thunder (17205) on Wednesday February 04, 2009 @01:48PM (#26727293) Homepage Journal

      Appleinsider also covered the same subject, so I'll you decide if it is any better:

      Heated Christmas call from Jobs secured iTunes changes [appleinsider.com]

  • misleading wording (Score:5, Informative)

    by Sloppy (14984) on Wednesday February 04, 2009 @01:39PM (#26727167) Homepage Journal

    record companies gave up their demand for copyright protection (called digital rights management)

    No, they gave up DRM, and copy protection is sort of related to that. They did not give up anything even remotely related to copyright protection, unless I somehow missed the part where Apple talked RIAA into releasing works into the public domain.

    That's just plain wrong. Bad reporter!

    • by Fahrvergnuugen (700293) on Wednesday February 04, 2009 @01:55PM (#26727375) Homepage
      Arguably that's the difference between copyright and copy protection. One is a rule, one is an attempt at enforcement.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by noundi (1044080)

      That's just plain wrong. Bad reporter!

      Sure sure... but did your browser display the ads properly? Oh wait, you thought reporters are supposed to write the truth! It's an honest mistake, the job title kind of tricks one into it. We should change that by the way, I think come-see-the-ads-on-my-site-guy would be a more suitable title.

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      It's even worse reporting than that. DRM is copy "protection" (or would be if fairy dust existed and you really could make bits uncopyable), but copyright protection is cops, lawyers, and legislators.

      You can't protect your copyright with DRM. You can only fool yourself into thinking it can keep anybody from infringing copyright.

      SRM - Dumb Restrictions of Media

  • "In interviews, several high-level music executives, who spoke on the condition that they not be named to avoid angering Apple, said they operated in fear of Appleâ(TM)s removing a labelâ(TM)s products from the iTunes store over a disagreement, even though that has never happened. The labels do not have much leverage in negotiating with Apple."

    IMO, it's about time someone gave these bastards a taste of their own medicine.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      IMO, we need someone to challenge Apple, too. Magnatune is pretty cool, but not quite competing with iTunes (Amarok + Magnatune, admittedly, is pretty neat though).
    • Something that I thought was interesting from the article that didn't make it into the summary was this quote:

      Even if Mr. Jobs does not get personally involved in future negotiations, music executives still fear dealing with Apple. One chit the company holds is the power of the iTunes home page, where it promotes music. They also say that the entire Apple staff, including Eddie Cue, the vice president in charge of iTunes who handles the relationships with the record labels, do their best to follow Mr. Jobs'

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Wednesday February 04, 2009 @01:49PM (#26727305) Journal
    Really, the ip0wning that the record guys are now receiving is their own fault(and I, for one, am experiencing everybody's favorite German emotion [wikipedia.org]). They wanted DRM to protect their precious content. DRM is, by nature, inimical to interoperability. Thus, the record labels, by forcing people who wanted to buy music online to choose lock-in to one DRM camp or another, created a situation where the winning DRM "ecosystem" would be extremely valuable, and powerful, and all the others would be near worthless. Shockingly enough, playsforsureexceptonzune wasn't the winner.

    If the online music business were a bunch of generic outfits selling MP3s(or generic AAC) then the relationship between the labels and the retailers would be a lot more like the brick and mortar one. By pushing DRM, the labels created something they can't really seem to handle. Had they just stopped clinging to the nonsense dream of magic interoperable DRM, they might well have been able to avoid this. Idiots.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      They should just stop clinging to the notion of selling something tangible. Music is an intangible product and always has been -- it was by pure accident of technology that, at one time, it could be made into a tangible product.

      Why is iTunes so successful if music is intangible? Because Apple doesn't see iTunes content as a bunch of SKU numbers. Instead, they see iTunes as providing a service -- the service of providing content to iPods and the iPhone.

      As the influence of iTunes grows, I think Apple will

      • That would be funny, because right now there is no reason not to push the quality through the roof. But because I dabble with dinosaur mp3 players as a hobby, you can fit a lot more music at 80kbs-rate (spelling off) in 256 megs than 192 kbs-rate.

        That might interact with the world of bandwidth caps on the isp side too.

    • by Andy Dodd (701) <atd7@co[ ]ll.edu ['rne' in gap]> on Wednesday February 04, 2009 @02:35PM (#26727905) Homepage

      I was just thinking this - a lot of the article focused on how the music industry doesn't like Apple's dominance in the market. Then the article implies that they feel that removal of DRM *strengthens* this dominance.

      As you say, idiots... DRM is the major impediment to other music vendors succeeding, and probably the #1 contributor to the failure of many competitors to iTunes. Like it or not, Apple dominates the portable audio player industry, so if what you sell doesn't play on an iPod, you're toast. There is NOTHING preventing people from selling music that plays on the iPod, UNLESS you want DRM - then you're stuck with Apple.

      No DRM, no Apple control. Music vendors can potentially compete with Apple if they don't have DRM, and similarly audio player vendors can compete with Apple if the music isn't DRMed. (Although very few non-Apple players support AAC, even unencrypted AAC, there's no barrier to that changing.)

      • You still need copyright holders' approval to sell the music, something that Apple can potentially interfere with.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by mattack2 (1165421)

        Personally, I buy CDs.. But the easy UI isn't also an 'impediment'?

        Although very few non-Apple players support AAC, even unencrypted AAC, there's no barrier to that changing.

        From:
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_Audio_Coding [wikipedia.org]
        in the "Other Portable Players" section:

        Creative Zen Portable
        Microsoft Zune
        SanDisk Sansa
        Sony PlayStation Portable (PSP) with firmware 2.0 or greater
        Sony Walkman
        SonyEricsson Walkman Phones-W series, e.g. W890i
        Nintendo DSi To be released in America mid-2009
        Slacker G2 Personal Radio P

    • If the online music business were a bunch of generic outfits selling MP3s(or generic AAC) then the relationship between the labels and the retailers would be a lot more like the brick and mortar one.

      With brick and mortar, the RIAA screwed up and Walmart became such a large retail outlet they gained significant ability to push back and negotiate with the RIAA. The RIAA's attempts to give Amazon better terms than Apple and crazy (probably illegal) clauses in their contracts were an attempt to keep Apple from doing it online.

  • Open Season. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Ostracus (1354233) on Wednesday February 04, 2009 @01:57PM (#26727413) Journal

    "And apparently the iTunes homepage is a huge hit making device. "

    This is part of what an iphone "killer" has to overcome (I'm looking at you Palm).

    • Exactly. There won't be an iPhone / iPod killer until someone comes up with an iTunes killer to go with it.
    • "And apparently the iTunes homepage is a huge hit making device. "

      This is part of what an iphone "killer" has to overcome (I'm looking at you Palm).

      iThugs?

      Or are you talking about a different type of hit?

    • This is part of what an iphone "killer" has to overcome (I'm looking at you Palm).

      But with iTunes songs being DRM free now, Palm doesn't have to build their own iTunes - they just have to be able to feed songs into their own device from the users iTunes library, and support AAC (an open audio format).

      They could even list all songs and ones that are still locked down could take you to the Apple iTunes Plus page to unlock (which you can happily do on a song by song basis now).

      • Well that premise is based on the assumption that iPod users only buy from iTunes because they are locked to it. Remember people are free to rip their own CDs and since Amazon sells DRM-free songs, people don't necessarily have to buy from iTunes to get music. Some people buy from iTunes because it's just too convenient. The one thing the Palm has to do is setup an application store like iTunes in order to be successful since the two devices uses different code.
        • Well, that's a good point, but if the iTunes music store is stifling new entrants into the cell phone market, then Apple will have to start worrying about monopoly rulings.

          Perhaps they've learned from Bill Gates, though, and they've taken out a sizable insurance policy in the form of loose pursed lobbyists.

          • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Wednesday February 04, 2009 @03:27PM (#26728545)

            From what I understand, what Apple tried to do is secure the rights to distribute via cell phone data networks. Currently you can get your music onto the iPhone/iPod using your computer. What they got permission to do was allow iPhone users to get music onto their phone without having to connect to a computer. Having a deal here doesn't open them up to monopoly or anti-trust rulings as long as they didn't prevent other cell phone makers from doing the same thing.

            My Verizon phone has long had the ability to get music from the network that but the music was tied to my phone and expensive. Now that iTunes is DRM free, nothing prevents me from playing those songs or Amazon's DRM free MP3s on my Verizon phone . . . except that Verizon has crippled my phone not to do so.

        • Well that premise is based on the assumption that iPod users only buy from iTunes because they are locked to it. Remember people are free to rip their own CDs and since Amazon sells DRM-free songs, people don't necessarily have to buy from iTunes to get music.

          Sure, but that can all end up in iTunes as well. All Palm needs to do is add a good integration to fetch music from an existing iTunes library - in fact that would save them a huge amount of work since they could focus on the selection aspect and not

          • iTunes itself doesn't do anything special to non-DRMed music. It does organize the files if the user allows it; but all any other media program has to do is be pointed to the directories where these music files are located. iTunes also stores metadata like playlists in their own files which they are not likely to share with Palm. Palm doesn't need any of that really. They just need to know where the files are located.

            But you miss the point: Palm needs their own application store. Music is just one th

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by JakartaDean (834076)
        I'm feeling terribly left out of all of this. I've got tons of albums, most of which are electronic copies of stuff I've bought, in many cases more than once. I bought my SO an iPod Touch for Christmas, and was gutted to learn that it doesn't work with Linux, which is all I run at home. Amarok will sync my older iPod just fine, but Apple apparently encrypts all the contents of the iPod Touch library as some kind of DRM thing. So, anybody wanna buy a $350 iPod Touch?
        • by macshome (818789)
          The iPod Touch and iPhone don't just mount as a volume the way the older iPods did.

          Google returns several ways to get Amarok to sync with an iPod Touch.
  • by tkrotchko (124118) on Wednesday February 04, 2009 @02:27PM (#26727823) Homepage

    The gripe that they effectively created MTV, they gripe that the revived Apple.

    If I was a large shareholder, I'd fire the lot of these guys. Because either one of the two is true:

    1) They're lying as an excuse for their failures
    2) They have all this business opportunities that create entire new industries, but they can't get it done themselves, effectively giving up 10's of Billions of dollars.

    I wouldn't want those guys working for me, that's for sure.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by UnknowingFool (672806)

      The gripe that they effectively created MTV, they gripe that the revived Apple.

      Except that would be revisionist history interpreted to make the industry more forward thinking than they were. I don't know the full history of MTV but the history of the iTunes store is well documented. Apple went to the record company with a plan. Apple wanted to sell more iPods; They realized that if they made it easy for their customers to get music online, they could use that as a selling feature. They were thrown out.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by tkrotchko (124118)

        I don't have the real history.

        But once upon a time, music videos popped up on networks, on late-night shows on WTBS superstation (at least I think so) they appeared here and there. People liked them, they seemed cutting edge (we laugh now), and they were a change of pace from waiting for something interesting on network TV. Simultaneously, "cable TV" was becoming more than HBO. ESPN started, showing "Australian Rules Football", and it all seemed weird and cool (like the Internet when it was new).

        Well, li

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Wednesday February 04, 2009 @02:30PM (#26727863)

    DRM creates a natural grouping of power, and we are all lucky that Apple chose to use the power of distribution that eventually accumulated to them due to the use of Apple DRM, to try and break DRM.

    The article makes an excellent point at the end:

    "Mr. Card of Forrester, however, has a different take. "If it weren't for Apple, God knows how bad the music industry would be," he said."

    Even though the music industry had to be dragged kicking and streaming, Apple saved them - the 1.5 billion in revenue Apple generated for the music industry last year would probably mostly have been simply gone, replaced by downloading for the most part rather than album sales.

    Now if only they could do the same for video... I don't think Apple has the same leverage there though, as is evidenced by wacky policies around TV and movies in the iTunes store (like season passes for some TV shows costing more than buying each episode individually). I'm not even sure they have the same drive to try and get rid of the DRM they did with music. I don't know if that industry can be saved as easily.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      I disagree.

      The industry would ahve seen the light sooner or later, even if it was out of desperation.

      Apple had the advantage of being a technical company that knows that any software can be circumvented..it's the nature of software.

      In fact, if the industry wasn't already in a panic when Jobs went to them, iTunes wouldn't exist now.
      So some credit does go to the industry for seeing the need for online distribution and recognizing it's better to let someone who knows WTF they are doing handle the digital distr

      • I disagree. The industry would ahve seen the light sooner or later, even if it was out of desperation.

        Actually, by the time the industry saw the light it would have been too late. They would have blindly walked into MS proprietary DRM and would be positioned against another abusive trust, but one with a history of abusing their way into new markets with alacrity.

        Right now the RIAA has to walk away from DRM or the iPod listening market or capitulate to Apple on some matters. Without Apple, they'd be looking at walking away from users of all portable players and computers and the Xbox or capitulate to MS and

      • by cowscows (103644)

        Meh, they only realized that they couldn't deal with themselves after they repeatedly shot themselves in the foot trying to make the issue go away. Napster was the big thing years before iTMS came on the scene. And even before that people were writing about how things were changing. The music industry should've seen this coming a million miles away, and should have had a better strategy from the beginning. They should have expected a napster to appear one day and had a plan to compete with it.

        Instead they w

        • Meh, they only realized that they couldn't deal with themselves after they repeatedly shot themselves in the foot trying to make the issue go away.

          They have not realized yet - Apple has forced them to go DRM free on iTunes, but it was very much against their inclination...

          If the music industry had truly come to the correct realization, would we have seen the recent Microsoft announcement, which doesn't even allow song transfer from one device to another if you upgrade?

          If the music industry had truly realiz

    • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Wednesday February 04, 2009 @03:41PM (#26728741)

      I'm not even sure they have the same drive to try and get rid of the DRM they did with music. I don't know if that industry can be saved as easily.

      There is a significant difference between the use cases and hence usability of DRM in the two industries. With music, almost everyone wants to keep it forever and listen to it many times over many years. Getting people to agree to rent music would require huge discount prices, likely just minimal advertising with free songs.

      With video, most people only want to watch it once, or maybe once and then a second time years later (with some exceptions). DRM that prevents it from playing on different devices over time or making it hard to move, does not create as significant of a usability problem or bother most users. It is less of an issue for companies like Apple so they have less incentive to fight it.

      • With video, most people only want to watch it once, or maybe once and then a second time years later (with some exceptions). DRM that prevents it from playing on different devices over time or making it hard to move, does not create as significant of a usability problem or bother most users.

        I very much agree with the first part, that most video watched will be only once. Thus the nature of DRM to make a purchase really more of a (in practice) unlimited rental, does not matter.

        The second part, I'm not as su

        • The second part, I'm not as sure of. Even though you only want to watch most things once, portability is still of value - because you may want to watch something on a laptop, or portable device (like an iPhone or other small media player).

          I agree you may want to watch it on such a device, but generally just one device. Usually, it is a device you are also using to purchase said content. So I may want to watch a movie on my laptop, but I'm also buying it from my laptop and so DRM restrictions usually never come into play. I may want to watch it on a smartphone or the like, but I generally buy it using that device too. In some cases you currently buy video via your laptop to watch on your network unaware device, but that use case is probably d

  • I'm never going to pay a subscription fee to hear an unlimited amount. I would pay a subscription fee to download and own all I want in any given month.

I bet the human brain is a kludge. -- Marvin Minsky

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