CyberTech Rambler

January 9, 2009

Apple dealt the final nail into DRM

Filed under: Uncategorized — ctrambler @ 1:42 am

I never like DRM on music, I call them Digital Restriction Management. Nowadays, I think I will call it Digital Restriction Mismanagement.

Apple dealt the final nail for DRM  (the type that stop you from using “unapproved” devices to play your music) when it annonuced that iTune music store will be DRM free (details). I know Zune still uses DRM but it will be a matter of time that this competitive disadvantage will get Zune to do without it. Anyway, I know what you are thinking : Zune? What the hell it is? 😉

Apple cannot take credit for doing away with DRM. Its hand was forced when Amazon and others starts offering non-DRM music tracks. However, it is fair to give it credit for dealting music vendors the final defeat using the shear weight of iTune mustic store. Once those vendors capitulate to iTune, they cannot say no to others, including Zune.

The compromise? iTune store now have 3 level of pricing, instead of one. I think it is more a face-saving measure rather than a real compromise.

What I learn from this sorry DRM saga is that low price does not even give DRM a fighting chance to survive. A few years back I was wondering whether low price will be DRM saviour, i.e., carve out a market where you compromise by accepting DRM for lower prices. Looks like comsumers do not want it, or the music vendors executed the plan wrongly.

Either way, I am glad that DRM for music is dead.


After the euphoria, let’s get down to business. There are two types of DRM, the other type I am referring to is those that will allow you to play music on any devices, but use watermark or other technique that will identify the person who bought the track. If Apple change to this system, I will say DRM is still alive.

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