Without question, Apple’s iTunes Store is the online music sales leader.
Apple’s digital rights management system that prohibits unauthorized copying of music, FairPlay, may have some competition—from music with no DRM at all.
Is it time to say goodbye to Apple’s FairPlay DRM? Will the music industry embrace no DRM at all? They’re testing the waters now.
The only way for the music industry to topple Apple from their controlling position as the online music leader is to sell songs without copy protection.
Why would the music industry sell music that is not copy protected? According to the Wall Street Journal and Nielsen SoundScan, online music sales are stalled.
The Number 2 online music store is eMusic, which sells music in the MP3 format without copy protection. The WSJ report is misleading in a number of areas.
“Only online music files purchased from iTunes, ripped from users’ own CDs or downloaded from pirate services can be played on the popular iPod. Copy-protected songs purchased from Yahoo and other legitimate sources don’t work on it.”
The WSJ is misleading readers. Their implies that music available on Yahoo’s store will not play on Apple’s iPod, which is true. The WSJ also implies that there is something special about music from Yahoo. There’s not.
Apple’s iTunes Store has more music selection, a very liberal DRM policy, a huge and growing customer base. T
hat scares the music industry who demand control over distribution.
Yahoo knows the only way to break Apple’s control of distribution is to have copy protection removed. Blue Note Records is selling Norah Jones latest single through Yahoo as an MP3 without copy protection.
Why the desperation from the music industry? They fear Apple’s growing clout, and fear that online sales have peaked.
Why the deal with Yahoo? Yahoo is desperate to sell music to iPod users, which they cannot do with songs that feature copy protection.
Though Apple hasn’t chimed in with numbers recently, Nielsen SoundScan indicates online music sales have stopped growing. If so, how does the industry spur new digital sales?
The only way is with reduced or no copy protection mechanism, and by using MP3 as the standard for online sales of music. Reduced copy protection won’t work. Apple’s FairPlay DRM is already simple, liberal, and works well for both the music industry, and most music buyers.
The only thing left is to sell music online without copy protection. Will the music industry allow that to take place? Only if their tests with Yahoo, eMusic and others result in sales growth that outpaces Apple’s iTunes Store.
Yes, it’s time to say goodbye to Apple’s FairPlay DRM—but it won’t happen.