EMI ditches DRM (kinda). iTunes the first to sell the same thing twice.

COVERAGE 

From EMI:

http://www.emigroup.com/Press/2007/press18.htm 

From Apple:

http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2007/04/02itunes.html

From the BBC:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/6516189.stm

From The Guardian:

http://technology.guardian.co.uk/news/story/0,,2048471,00.html

From Wired:

http://blog.wired.com/monkeybites/2007/04/emi_removes_drm.html 

From VNUNET:

http://www.vnunet.com/vnunet/news/2186999/emi-drops-drm

 From TheRegister:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/04/02/emi_apple_drm_free/

From TheInquirer:

http://www.theinquirer.net/default.aspx?article=38636

From BoingBoing:

http://www.boingboing.net/2007/04/02/itunes_store_will_se.html

From Jupiter Research:

http://weblogs.jupiterresearch.com/analysts/mulligan/archives/2007/04/apple_emi_deal.html 

From Engadget:

http://www.engadget.com/2007/04/02/apple-and-emi-ditching-drm-is-good-but-its-not-good-enough/

(Read the comments – they are brilliant!)

ANALYSIS

From Wired:

http://www.wired.com/entertainment/music/news/2007/04/emihardware_0403

From TheRegister:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/04/03/emi_apple_drm_analysis/

From Jupiter Research:

http://weblogs.jupiterresearch.com/analysts/mulligan/archives/2007/04/interoperabilit.html

UNRELATED?

From TheRegister:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/04/03/apple_emi_ec_fines/

From Jupiter Research:

http://weblogs.jupiterresearch.com/analysts/mulligan/archives/2007/04/apple_back_in_t.html

2 responses

  1. Sorry, Apple aren’t selling the same thing twice: that would imply charging full price twice whereas you can upgrade for the price difference. Compare that with Microsoft’s licencing and product activation in Vista in which people with completely legally bought systems have had to go and buy a second OS because they changed one too many components in their PCs…

    A little more of your own thoughts might be appreciated too (you’re not Google) 😉

  2. Yeah – this was one of those posts where I either went on and on or just posted the salient links with a suggestive title. Didn’t want to get into the nitty-gritty unless I got called on it – but having been called, I agree – a little bit of comment would have been way more useful. What follows may well be the ravings of someone who needs to get out a bit more!

    Firstly, all of the events on Monday were extremely positive.
    – Positive for the music buying public in that one of the major record labels has taken a big leap forward in recognising that if I buy it, I own it.
    – Positive for the music industry in that they can begin to just sell their product without waiting for the backlash from their customers who have been sold defective goods.
    – Positive for Apple in that they can concentrate on producing quality products (iPod, iTunes and ITMS) without having to constantly push out updates because of “The Smart Cow Problem”.
    – Positive for artists as they can now do deals directly with online distributors, or even distribute online directly themselves, without having to go through some magic ritual to make their music “secure” online.

    Now, anything I say after this is really about tweaking the positives. The main reason I didn’t want to get too analytical on my main post was because it could be construed as being critical or never being happy. This is not the case. Everything I have an issue with from now on is from a business perspective – both for EMI and Apple.

    On the issue of selling the same thing twice – 2 points:

    (1)
    ITMS file formats: AAC – now with a choice of bitrates
    AllofMP3.com file formats: MP3/WMA7/WMA8/WMA9/OOG/MPEG-4/MPC/Monkey’s Audio Lossless/OptimFROG Lossless/FLAC Lossless/PSM Wave – each with a choice of bitrates.
    Whereas, in the EMI press release:
    “EMI expects that consumers will be able to purchase higher quality DRM-free downloads from a variety of digital music stores within the coming weeks, with each retailer choosing whether to sell downloads in AAC, WMA, MP3 or other unprotected formats of their choice.”
    So Apple choosing to just do AAC is, apparently, their choice. Now I understand that Apple may well say they consider this to be the best codec to use with their iPod and hence their desire to stick with it as their one format – but this is surely Apple saying we do not wish to sell from the ITMS to all players – it doesn’t appear that EMI are stopping them. So why not go for broke?

    (2)
    In the title when I say the first to sell the same thing twice, I mean that they are merely the first online distributor of many to come that EMI will use. The only reason Apple were there on Monday was that they were the first to do it in conjunction with EMI. In reality it wasn’t necessary for EMI to do a two-for-one deal and say “We’re dropping DRM and you can buy our songs through ITMS”. It would have been standard for EMI to make a big deal of both things separately – therefore guaranteeing a double media day – so to roll the two things into one looks weird to me. I can see how the title could be misconstrued as an attack on Apple though – it wasn’t – so it should really be “iTunes the first (of many) to sell the same thing twice.” BTW I’m not even going to get started on the Microsoft Licensing model – morons!

    On the issue of EMI ditching DRM (kinda):

    EMI and Apple both state that DRM remains on the 128 kbs files and for subscription
    From the Apple press release:
    “DRM-free tracks from EMI will be offered at higher quality 256 kbps AAC encoding, resulting in audio quality indistinguishable from the original recording, for just $1.29 per song. …. iTunes will continue to offer its entire catalog, currently over five million songs, in the same versions as today—128 kbps AAC encoding with DRM—at the same price of 99 cents per song, alongside DRM-free higher quality versions when available.”
    From the EMI press release:
    “EMI Music will continue to employ DRM as appropriate to enable innovative digital models such as subscription services (where users pay a monthly fee for unlimited access to music), super-distribution (allowing fans to share music with their friends) and time-limited downloads (such as those offered by ad-supported services).”

    Other points

    I would like to see price points going down not up but all the talk in previous months has been on how the labels want to see prices go up – come on – no physical media, no significant distribution costs, no physical stores, no packaging, etc. – yet costs the same as a new CD? Give me a cheap download or give me a choice of download+physical CD or download+online backup. I understand that this is just the start of the process and it will require tentative steps first before people start to understand the concepts – but I fundamentally believe that people want to do the right thing and if you give them reasonably priced products with great value added services they will support your efforts.

    No DRM means somewhat having to compete with the “piracy” model of free. How do you compete with free? By great value added service. ITMS shows the way – but there is a lot more room for huge innovation and smart thinking in this area. We are only at the beginning of a new set of business models. One such model is for ISPs who have a huge opportunity here to bundle content as part of my subscription to their service. It is also a recognition of the network is the computer model.

    So, in conclusion, I recognise what has happened with EMI and Apple is a good thing but that there are tweaks that can be applied to this good thing to make it a great thing!

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