DRM. When will they get it?

Occasionally I read an article on a website and just feel sad for people. Today that person is the IFPI (International Federation of the Phonographic Industries) chairman John Kennedy. In this BBC News article he is quoted as saying:

DRM “helps get music to consumers in new and flexible ways”

Clearly something must be wrong here since I have never purchased music online, and currently never will. Why? Because of DRM.

Ironically he says

DRM was a “sometimes misunderstood element of the digital music business”

Yes it is John. By you. I enjoy music. I enjoy purchasing music. I would probably purchase more music given the ability to buy unprotected CD tracks online, however while you guys keep forcing DRM on me, and millions like me, you are in effect restricting your sales to those CDs that I buy. You are loosing out on all the opportunities of me hearing a good track on the radio and going and buying it as a spontanious purchase. Not only that, you are probably loosing out because some people will go and find those tracks that are unprotected and download those instead of wasting money on something that is restricted in personal use.

Believe me, the world will come to hate DRM even more than it does now. There will be users who download gigabytes, spent hundreds or thousands of $ on iTunes music, only to have their hard drive crash. They will be pissed, believe me, and guess what they’ll do? Will they re-purchase it, or will they quite rightly feel they own that music, and will then go and download it from sites where the tracks are unprotected. And guess what? Do you think they will then stop with only the files they previously purchased?

You need to get it. You need to realize that people who download a music file expect to be able to do what they want with it – to be able to download it multiple times if lost, to burn it to a CD for their car, to load it on their MP3 player. To use it on a Mac or Linux PC that doesn’t have the same DRM system.

Basically you need to realize that the only way to grow music sales is to offer freedom with that music sale. That and find quality artists that your consumers enjoy listening to. Go spend your time finding the next sound. The next disco, pop, rap, whatever. Give us something new to buy!

Remember. People don’t like being controlled. It is human nature to revolt against controlling forces, and DRM comes into that category.

In 2005, the music industry lowered themselves again. People don’t like stories of corporations suing children for downloading a few files that they can’t afford – for goodness sake, I bet as a child you recorded your favorite songs off the radio charts to enjoy. What is difference? Nothing to the child. It’s not that every kid is out to get you, far from it, they are your future market – so I hope you like the picture you are painting of the music industry.

Give us freedom John. Freedom to buy and do what we like with our music. Don’t give us DRM. And don’t give us some story implying that you understand it, because the truth is it is harming your business.

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