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Music Media The Almighty Buck

Warner Music Group Drops DRM for Amazon 167

Posted by Soulskill
from the step-in-the-right-direction dept.
SirLurksAlot sends us to Ars Technica for an article about the Warner Music Group's decision to allow DRM-free music downloads through Amazon. This reversal of Warner's former position has been underway for some time, and it boosts the number of DRM-free songs available from Amazon to 2.9 million. Quoting: "Warner's announcement says nothing about offering its content through other services such as iTunes, and represents the music industry's attempt to make life a bit more difficult for Apple after all the years in which the company held the keys to music's digital kingdom.
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Warner Music Group Drops DRM for Amazon

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  • by RickRussellTX (755670) on Thursday December 27, 2007 @09:02PM (#21835570)
    I've downloaded several albums and I'm very happy with it. Odd mix of bit rates (some are about 224 kbit VBR, others are 256 kbit fixed rate), but no complaints with the music. I just wish their library was larger.

    Only real complaint is that the album downloader (that allows you to get the album discount) only runs on Windows & MacOS. Write a Java client and get with the program, Amazon!

    • Well, if this keeps up, you wont need to be wishing the catalog was larger for too much longer. The service hasn't been around for all that long and has been growing rather quickly.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by davester666 (731373)
        Yeah, this is great news. It's been terrible how Apple worked to let consumers keep some fair-use rights [like when they first put up the store, they were the only ones letting you burn purchased music to CDs]. And I doubt many songs would be priced at $0.99 [or thereabouts] if it weren't for Apple. It would probably just be better all around [at least for the media companies] if Apple just closed down the iTMS.

        Hell, Apple could just move over and use that sexy Ovi portal by Nokia!

        Am I the only one the
    • by coldcell (714061) on Thursday December 27, 2007 @09:38PM (#21835788) Homepage Journal

      Only real complaint is that the album downloader (that allows you to get the album discount) only runs on Windows & MacOS.

      I disagree, there are plenty of bittorrent clients for Linux as well.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by ScrewMaster (602015)
        Man, who is the dickhead on the loose with mod points this evening. I guess there are some RIAA types that frequent Slashdot nowadays.

        Flamebait, my ass. That's actually funny.
        • I guess there are some RIAA types that frequent Slashdot nowadays.
          Oh, those folks have been trolling Slashdot for years now... all the major labels have an "ideology neutralization response unit" comprised of pale thin men in bad suits, hunkering over keyboards for days on end, just waiting for dangerous /. posts.

        • Flamebait, my ass. That's actually funny.

          There is a problem with moderation, if you are using New Discussion System(TM). When you select some option, the comment gets moderated immediately, without confirmation. It is really easy to miss a required option and since moderation options are sorted alphabetically (IIRC -- Don't have them handy) I guess this is exactly what happened here.

    • Only real complaint is that the album downloader (that allows you to get the album discount) only runs on Windows & MacOS. Write a Java client and get with the program, Amazon!

      Agreed [kallisti.net.nz]. It seems like the donationware/bounty-ware would be a great way for business to get products and reward people (and generally garner that good-will stuff while expanding their own interests).

    • by HAKdragon (193605)
      Well, for what it's worth, Amazon has said they are working on a downloader for Linux. Whether or not it's a POS, we'll have to wait and see.
      • by h4rm0ny (722443)

        That would be nice, but really all I need is a download link to a zip file. Unfortunately I can't have one because Amazon don't offer this service in the UK. Does anyone know if there's any word on extending this to Europe, yet?
    • Biggest problem I have with Amazon's mp3 service is that they only take one-click payment. Amazon really needs gift cards on display next to the itunes and emusic cards at Target. I have several teenagers on my gift-giving lists who might have gotten gift cards, but it would be insane to give them a direct line into my credit card for anything at amazon.com.
    • by sm62704 (957197)
      Odd mix of bit rates (some are about 224 kbit VBR, others are 256 kbit fixed rate), but no complaints with the music.

      That's fine if all you're listening to is an MP3 player and cheesy earbuds, but I have two JBL threee-way enclosures with 12 inch woofers in my living room, and a six speaker premium stereo in my car.

      So I can certainly hear the difference between the compressed files and CD quality files, even with my old ears.

      Plus, there's no way for me to play compressed files in the car unless I've burned
      • by badasscat (563442)
        That's fine if all you're listening to is an MP3 player and cheesy earbuds, but I have two JBL threee-way enclosures with 12 inch woofers in my living room, and a six speaker premium stereo in my car.

        So I can certainly hear the difference between the compressed files and CD quality files, even with my old ears.


        Neither of those speaker systems qualify as anything close to high end audio, so no, you can't tell the difference. (JBL makes some good home loudspeakers, and some nice studio monitors, but nothing
        • by sm62704 (957197)
          Neither of those speaker systems qualify as anything close to high end audio

          That's true. If you do have high end audio the difference would be even more pronounced. And yes, good headphones are indeed cheap.

          But you're not going to convince me that red is really green.

    • by stu42j (304634)
      The thing that really bothers me about the lack of a Linux downloader is that there is no technological reason for requiring a download client at all. I'm not talking about zip downloads or anything that would require changes to their infrastructure. When you buy an album, the individual tracks are added to Your Media Library, marked as "already downloaded". All they need is an option to add them as downloadable instead of sending the download file to the client. Then you could download the individual t
    • by AaxelB (1034884)

      Only real complaint is that the album downloader (that allows you to get the album discount) only runs on Windows & MacOS. Write a Java client and get with the program, Amazon!
      Actually, it works in a sort of half-assed way in Wine. I mean, it'll crash if you click on a menu and generally barely works, but once you get it to run it will get the mp3s from the internet onto your computer.
  • Hmm (Score:2, Insightful)

    by roc97007 (608802)

    I have a sudden feeling that I'd like to buy something from Warner's catalog off Amazon.

  • Excellent (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Kelson (129150) * on Thursday December 27, 2007 @09:06PM (#21835594) Homepage Journal
    Since Amazon launched their MP3 store, I've been trying to pick things up there if possible, then fall back on iTunes as a secondary source -- specifically because of the lack of DRM. Good to know the selection's about to jump.

    • Apple bad, record industry good?

      Whooaaa, it's not even the new year yet!

    • Re:Excellent (Score:5, Informative)

      by snib (911978) <admin@snibworks.com> on Thursday December 27, 2007 @09:30PM (#21835736) Homepage
      I find iTunes' browsing interface to be very nice and the simple search to be faster and easier than every other music store I've tried. As for DRM, try QTFairUse - it very quickly strips DRM from protected tracks. It scans your iTunes library for protected tracks, backs them up, decodes them, and replaces them in your library and all playlists with the unprotected ones. 10-20 seconds per track and it's lossless. It also transfers the ID3 info to the new tracks, as well as album artwork. Of course there's already a lot of tracks in iTunes Plus (DRM-free mp3) which saves you the small trouble.
      • Re:Excellent (Score:5, Informative)

        by snib (911978) <admin@snibworks.com> on Thursday December 27, 2007 @09:34PM (#21835754) Homepage
        Oops... I guess i should put a link for those who haven't heard of it:

        QTFairUse download & discussion [hymn-project.org]
      • Re:Excellent (Score:5, Insightful)

        by vux984 (928602) on Thursday December 27, 2007 @09:54PM (#21835872)
        Programs like QTFairUse are excellent, but they are no substitute for actually buying only DRM free music in the first place, and refusing to buy DRM encumbered tracks, period. Nothing sends a message to the music industry better.

        In other words, being able to break DRM (today) is no reason to buy DRM encumbered music.
        • by Firethorn (177587)
          I have to agree with this.

          Even if it's easy to break, if we can make it such that can see that offering a DRM free track for a reasonable price results in increased sales such that they make more profit, maybe we'll beat the DRM schemes.

          Much like I've dumped many dollars into webscriptions - I recently had a reason to download all my books again in a new format - I hadn't realized I had quite that many. I hadn't realized that I had 356 of them.

          Even if they were only ~$3 each*, it's over a thousand dollars.
  • by contrapunctus (907549) on Thursday December 27, 2007 @09:12PM (#21835636)
    I still would rather buy the CD and encode losslessly (I made a new word!).
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by cibyr (898667)

      I made a new word!
      No you didn't.
      Google says: Results 1 - 10 of about 120,000 for losslessly.
    • by Nyeerrmm (940927)
      If I want a whole album I'll still buy it on CD, but when its something where you only want a song or two, its a pretty good deal, and MP3 is at least standard enough that you probably won't have to reencode it to something else (which is what worries me, as a 256k MP3 sounds fine, but I can usually hear the difference in the reencoded version.) Also I usually find in the end I listen more to things that I like the whole album anyway...
    • I agree . . . a little. Whole CDs generally suck. 10-20 bucks for a few songs you like and many more you don't give a crap about. Some music is worth getting lossless for that. A lot isn't.
  • Not about DRM (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mc moss (1163007) on Thursday December 27, 2007 @09:13PM (#21835654)
    This isn't about record companies deciding DRM is bad. It is about making sure Apple doesn't control the distribution of digital media.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by roc97007 (608802)
      > This isn't about record companies deciding DRM is bad. It is about making sure Apple doesn't control the distribution of digital media.

      So, where's the downside?

      • The best part is, people will continue buying iPods regardless, and Apple's sacred cash cow will remain alive and well, except that users will complain that Amazon needs to integrate with iTunes so as to make their download experience easier.
        • Re:Not about DRM (Score:5, Informative)

          by TooMuchToDo (882796) on Thursday December 27, 2007 @10:05PM (#21835944)
          When I download music from the Amazon store, it updates my iTunes library as well.
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          The downloader already does that. You buy, the downloader adds the music to your iTunes library. It's very simple and easy to use, but browsing/finding music is not very much fun on Amazon, and their recommendations are way off base compared to what I'm used to with iTunes. I usually get recommendations and/or search on iTunes then go look for the specific item(s) on Amazon. If not available there, then I go back to iTunes. With this announcement, it appears I won't have to go back as much.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      This is like in Jurassic Park when the T-Rex jumped in to fight the Raptors. Who wins? The people.
    • Re:Not about DRM (Score:4, Interesting)

      by ducomputergeek (595742) on Thursday December 27, 2007 @09:56PM (#21835882)
      And it's about egos as well as controls. The music industry is used to having control over distrobution, what songs are promoted through radio play, how things get marketed, etc.. Before, the equipment to mass replicate CD's (Replication not duplication, there's a difference) was out of the reach of most. But with the internet, everything changed.

      It took a technology company, with Jobs' inroads in the entertainment industry, to create a system that worked for online digital distribution. The record companies let Apple take the gamble with the hardware/software/infrastructure costs with very little risk to them. And it was successful.

      Now that the record companies see that internet distribution can work, they are now back into the game of trying to regain control. Apple has been pretty tough on flat rate pricing. The record companies want to dictate price. So now we're back to egos clashing.

      Not that letting Apple have a monopoly is good thing, but frankly I never minded the DRM. There is a huge "All DRM is evil" crowd here. Now there were some ways folks proposed DRM was evil, but I'm not against the concept per sue.(Rootkits come to mind), but Apple's system seem to me to be a fair balance.

      I can put it on an iPod, if I owned one, a couple PC's at my house or use one as a server and stream to other machines and the .99 per track was fair. $1.29 for no DRM, if it was worth the extra money I'd pay it. To me it' not. As far as losses/lossy goes, I can't tell a difference. I'm no audiophile either, but I have enough hearing damage from loud music as it is...

      • Apple's system is a fair balance if you only use iPods and/or iTunes.

        Fairplay doesn't work with my Squeezeboxes or my car stereo, both of which play mp3's fine.

        Locking music I supposedly "bought" into one vendor's hardware is not good.
      • Not that letting Apple have a monopoly is good thing, but frankly I never minded the DRM. There is a huge "All DRM is evil" crowd here. Now there were some ways folks proposed DRM was evil, but I'm not against the concept per sue.(Rootkits come to mind), but Apple's system seem to me to be a fair balance.

        All DRM is evil because the software is now bound to the hardware and OS. The final straw was when I rented Rush Hour 3, popped in in my Linux box with DVI widescreen monitor and decent sound system and found that it wouldn't play due to the copy protection on it. The only devices that I could find that would play the damned thing were my PS2 (hooked up to an old TV, crappy sound) and my Windows XP laptop (screen too small and even crappier sound). Had to rip it (on my Windows XP box -- argh!) just to watc

        • by revlayle (964221)

          Worst part was, it was a lousy movie!

          You think the "3" in "Rush Hour 3" gave that away??
  • Prediction (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BlueParrot (965239) on Thursday December 27, 2007 @09:14PM (#21835658)
    As DRM dies the fools will start using digital watermarking to sue people who leak to p2p networks. This will ruin numerous lives until some clever lawyer points out that since the distributor knows the watermark THEY can upload it to p2p networks in order to frame people they wish to sue. Eventually this fact will sink in among judges, but before that happens thousands of people will have been burnt, new draconian legislation will have been passed, and music sales will have fallen even more.

    Following this the process of suing based on watermarks will wane, but the distributors will instead disconnect people from their websites if they find their watermarks on p2p. The result will be that those burnt ( weather guilty or not ) will migrate to filesharing.

    In essence, despite the obvious fiasco that is DRM the same garbage will continue due to greed and stupidity. Really, DRM in one clothing or another has been arround for some time, it as never been successful, but that hasn't stopped people from trying. It will continue this way for quite some time still.
    • Re:Prediction (Score:5, Insightful)

      by roc97007 (608802) on Thursday December 27, 2007 @09:23PM (#21835702) Journal
      > As DRM dies the fools will start using digital watermarking to sue people who leak to p2p networks. This will ruin numerous lives until some clever lawyer points out that since the distributor knows the watermark THEY can upload it to p2p networks in order to frame people they wish to sue. Eventually this fact will sink in among judges, but before that happens thousands of people will have been burnt, new draconian legislation will have been passed, and music sales will have fallen even more.

      Maybe I'm being naive here, but if I can get DRM-free, reasonably encoded music at a reasonable price, why would I want to continue sharing music on p2p networks? I mean, wasn't that the entire point?

      (Disclaimer: The above was an hypothetical "I". I personally don't get music off p2p networks, mostly because the selection and price of used CDs has been sufficient for my needs.)

      • Re:Prediction (Score:5, Insightful)

        by BlueParrot (965239) on Thursday December 27, 2007 @09:58PM (#21835904)

        Maybe I'm being naive here, but if I can get DRM-free, reasonably encoded music at a reasonable price, why would I want to continue sharing music on p2p networks? I mean, wasn't that the entire point?


        You missed the point, say you never ever touch a p2p network ever again, what stops the RIAA from posting the latest Britney Spears song, marking it ith YOUR watermark, and then sue you for $100.000.

        Simply put, if watermakrs were to become accepted as evidence in the court of law it would allow the people who make the watermarks to frame ANYBODY WHO BUYS FROM THEM. I.e, the moment they have your credit card number you're unable to criticise them or they could frame you by uploading a bunch of music to piratebay, marking it with your details.

        It only takes ONE false positive to destroy the entire watermarking scheme. One mistake, one virus, trojan or worm uploding an inncoent victim's music to the web. It takes one person to buy a song , upload it to the net, and then deny it, hand the police a clean harddrive... game over. If it happens to even one person customers will be scared of it.

        The scheme is doomed to fail. Perhaps mroe so than DRM. With DRM you were risking to not be able to play your music when the vendor makes a mistake, with watermarked media you risk having your life ruined from legal fees. If they even thought about enforcing it they would kill their entire market. Yet somehow they think that "this time it will be different".

        I'm a little surprised Google isn't doing much in this area yet. My guess is they are waiting for the predators to kill one another so they can feast on the remains.
        • Gross Fraud (Score:4, Insightful)

          by TaoPhoenix (980487) <TaoPhoenix@yahoo.com> on Friday December 28, 2007 @02:59AM (#21837296) Journal
          Some jerk might try to pull this, but I'm pretty sure that the actual labels themselves won't do this directly. Why? Because it's a qualitative difference from what they are doing now.

          Right now they are suing people with all kinds of dubious legal theories, but they're still arguably within classical law interpretation.

          Outright framing individuals crosses a line into pure fraud, and if correctly proven by a defense team, will smash that label a giant penalty.

          "Your honor, I'd like to call Bruce Schneier for the defense expert." :)

        • You missed the point, say you never ever touch a p2p network ever again, what stops the RIAA from posting the latest Britney Spears song, marking it ith YOUR watermark, and then sue you for $100.000.

          Okay, I was wondering where you were going with this, but you're well into tinfoil hat territory here. If you think like this, then there's no way you'll accept any logical or reasoned argument so it's not worth trying.
        • by h4rm0ny (722443)

          Bring on the watermarks. They don't stop me from using the file in any way that I'd like to and if they provide the producer enough reassurance that they're willing to sell more material online, unencumbered, then it's a good thing.

          I'm not worried about the possibility that EMI will try to frame me for copyright infringement and I am paranoid!
        • You missed the point, say you never ever touch a p2p network ever again, what stops the RIAA from posting the latest Britney Spears song, marking it ith YOUR watermark, and then sue you for $100.000.

          No his point was if music was reasonably priced and DRM free then there would be little incentive to download music from p2p networks...

          Your watermark conspiracy is way out in left field in this discussion. The question I have is why RIAA or anybody else would want to harm a PAYING customer? In addition, why

      • by SuperKendall (25149) on Thursday December 27, 2007 @10:24PM (#21836052)
        What I'd like to be able to do is easily share a track with a few friends (not really P2P, just mail or what have you) for music I really like so they can check it out. But if music is watermarked that means if any of those friends share in turn, and someone else eventually (lets say by accident) shares the same file via P2P - you may just be liable. It still kind of introduces a chilling effect on the world of music sharing as it should be.
        • What is the world of music sharing as it would be? The unrestricted ability to distribute music without fear of sanction?

          Seems like there's some tipping point at which sharing becomes copyright infringement. We can argue where that point is, but it might be nice if you could explicitly state where you think it should be.
      • by T.E.D. (34228)

        Maybe I'm being naive here, but if I can get DRM-free, reasonably encoded music at a reasonable price, why would I want to continue sharing music on p2p networks? I mean, wasn't that the entire point?

        No, not really. I have about 400 CDs at home, but ripping them myself manually is a royal PITA. It takes a long time (with 400 frigging CDs), and basicly takes over my machine for the duration. Its much easier and quicker to download the CD (or song) from someone else who's already done the work.

        Also you can do

    • by radarjd (931774)

      As DRM dies the fools will start using digital watermarking to sue people who leak to p2p networks.

      Of course, people could simply avoid "leaking" the music to p2p networks. That would solve the problem rather easily, wouldn't it?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by BlueParrot (965239)

        Of course, people could simply avoid "leaking" the music to p2p networks. That would solve the problem rather easily, wouldn't it?

        Yes, because the record industry never makes mistakes, it never sues peopel even when they have no evidence, and they have never lied in court? Heck, they don't even have to make a mistake, it is enough if a user makes a mistake and gets his life ruined as a result. Say Joe-Shmoe send his laptop to repair and the staff at the repair shop decides toc opy the files. Joe-shmoe gets

        • by Firethorn (177587)
          While the watermark will give them a place to start, there's still some issues.

          1: As you say, there are ways for the files to be stolen without the owner's knowledge. Any good defense lawyer will be able to tear this apart.
          2: The average consumer won't be able to afford to cover the cost of the lawyers the company has to pay to get a conviction, much less $100k.

          As this sort of stuff expands, I see lawyers popping up to defend against this sort of stuff. As a result, much like now, the music company will
      • by Jeremi (14640)
        That would solve the problem rather easily, wouldn't it?


        It sounds like it would be easy... until you have your laptop stolen, or get infected with malware that gives other people access to your files, or email a file to your friend (who emails it to his friend, who happens to run a p2p client), etc. Then it's a little bit harder.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Dirtside (91468)
      Not to nitpick terminology, but watermarking is a form of DRM. I understand that by "DRM" you mean "encrypted content" but the terms are not synonymous -- locking content with encryption is only one form of DRM.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by BlueParrot (965239)
        Watermarking is not about locking content. The idea is to embed customer details in music they sell you so they can sue you if you upload it to the net. Problem is if they do this even once people will be scared of false positives. With DRM going wrong you risked not being able to use something you payed for. With watermarking messing up you risk having your life ruined. If customers hated the former you can imagine how happy they will be about the latter. It is doomed to fail.
        • by Dirtside (91468)

          Watermarking is not about locking content.

          Yes, I'm quite aware of that -- you won't find me claiming that in my previous post :)

          The idea is to embed customer details in music they sell you so they can sue you if you upload it to the net.

          Yes, and that's a way for them to manage their rights -- by suing people who violate them so as to discourage others.

          I'm really not sure how you misunderstood my previous post, so I'll reiterate:

          - Watermarking is a type of DRM
          - DRM != locked content

          • by h4rm0ny (722443)

            No, BlueParrot is right. Watermarking is not just a form of DRM. Digital Rights Management restricts the operations that can be performed on data. Watermarking makes the data unique. The only way that watermarking restricts operations on the file is through encouraging human compliance, not through technological means.

            Something like iTunes Fairplay (DRM) and watermarking are qualitiatively different, having substantially different effects. It is damaging to people's understanding to try and equate the t
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by bill_mcgonigle (4333) *
      This will ruin numerous lives until some clever lawyer points out that since the distributor knows the watermark THEY can upload it to p2p networks in order to frame people they wish to sue.

      Hmmm, that's a really good point, but there's certainly a crypto workaround.

      Just off the top of my head - the client keeps a keypair, and during purchase:
      • the seller sends a secret to the buyer encoded with the buyer's public key and the seller's private key
      • the buyer encrypts this secret, with his private k
    • by Kjella (173770)
      Creating a large number of uniquely watermarked files have been discredited so thoroughly that no, I don't think so. Figuring out where the watermark is and rubbing it out would be trivial. Watermarks might work to embed things like author information, trying to embed some kind of unique serial number will fail with some trivial variation of a diff. They've thought about this before, every variation was broken by researchers before it even hit the street as a product.
  • by davek (18465) on Thursday December 27, 2007 @09:41PM (#21835804) Homepage Journal
    It seems to be that the music industry is pulling a "new coke" method of marketing: come out with a new product that sucks (DRM-laden "music"), and then all reap the rewards when they revert back to the original (real and liberated music). This will make everyone feel like they're "sticking it to the man" by purchasing this new flavor, when in fact the industry is in fact reverting back to the old tried-and-true method.

    This begs the question: what exactly can I /do/ with this music that is being sold to me without expressed limitation. Do I now have my fair-use rights back because I don't have to violate the DMCA by breaking copy protection? Or is breaking copy protection now back within my right because the industry is trashing DRM in general?

    Somehow, I fear, the consumer is still going to end up losing in the end.

    -d

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Opportunist (166417)
      The difference is that the music industry genuinly wanted DRM to succeed. They honestly believed in the "when there's no way around it, they will buy it" theory.

      That the customer (I will never agree to being reduced to a consumer) has an option didn't hit their mind: Not buying. That people would actually rather do without their product rather than taking the rectal abuse DRM is didn't really cross their mind.

      Do we get "more" now than we do before? No. But we get again what we want: Music to listen to whene
      • by jmorris42 (1458) * <jmorris.beau@org> on Friday December 28, 2007 @12:34AM (#21836708)
        > It's certainly not the outbreak of common sense this will undoubtedly being tagged as. It's simply that
        > they saw their sales hurt more by pushing DRM rather than dealing with the "loss" of "only" selling us
        > music once.

        No, I don't think that is the reason at all. In the end they would probably have won on the take it or leave it tactics with DRM. Most people were lining up, buying iPods and giving each other iTunes gift certificates like good little consumers. No, what did it was fear and greed. Fear among the music cartels that Apple and Microsoft were about to become a duopoly and control all access to media... i.e. replace the music (and eventually movie distributors) companies as the gatekeepers. Really, once they were distributing most music it would have been a totally natural step to start signing up artists directly.... Apple already IS doing that with indy acts. So fear of being cut ALL the way out was motivating them to find a way to create enough retailers in the digital download space to avoid being marginalized.

        Now consider the greed and fear at Amazon, Walmart etc. They could read the same tea leaves. Walmart with it's huge iPod display and shrinking sales in their CD dept and the uneasy reality that the Walmart online music store will NEVER be compatible with the Apple or Zune DRM scheme. I.E. every ipod or Zune sale is helping Apple and Microsoft dismantle Walmart's current huge percentage of nationwide music sales. Ditto for Amazon, selling the crap out of iPods, each one sold eating away at future content sales unless they found a way to 'kick the table over' and change the rules of the game.

        Odds of convincing either His Steveness or the Borg to open up their DRM system being zero, even with the full unified might (yea, as if) of all of the media megacorps, the only way out of the hole they had dug themselves after considering the file compatibility matrix of the huge installed base of players was unencumbered mp3.
        • by dangitman (862676)

          it would have been a totally natural step to start signing up artists directly.... Apple already IS doing that with indy acts.

          Got a link or any evidence for that one?

        • This is maybe the most insightful I've read here in a long time. It makes sense, in every single way and every angle you look at it.

          Scratch my reasoning, I'll buy that one instead. It's way more sensible.
    • (real and liberated music)

      (real and usable music)

      Try explaining why your neighbors music isn't accessible from device B. It's funny, because you can tell it's one of those technical explanations they almost would like to understand but long before the end of the explanation you know they've got the gist of it. There's no good reason.

      That I think is the difference between digital music and movies. Everyone now has multiple music play-back devices and through the success of a limited number of formats pe

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ChronosWS (706209)

      Do I now have my fair-use rights back...
      Did you give them up? No? Then you still have them. As long as you are willing to fight for them, they remain your rights. As soon as you abdicate this decision to the government, they become privileges.
      • by Dhalka226 (559740)

        They are privileges. Nowhere in the Constitution does it say that when Congress determines how copyright works, that they are under any obligation whatsoever to provide exceptions for things we now call "fair use." These were created by Congress in the copyright laws and can be changed by Congress just as easily. And if you're trying to claim that your ability to rip a CD to MP3 is somehow a moral or god-given right, well... eesh. God must have been pretty bored that day.

        It IS the government's decisio

        • by swv3752 (187722)
          Copyright only reason to exist is to eventually culturally enrich society. Unfortunately, many people just do get that fact, or somehow feel it is wrong regardless how it is in the Constitution.

          Starting with the above premise, which I humbly feel is very good paraphrase of the Constitutional passage, fair use rights follow naturally. Take a second premise where the Constitution does not list all rights we possess, and it is very arguable that fair use is a Constitutionl (albeit unwritten) right.
  • by RalphBNumbers (655475) on Thursday December 27, 2007 @09:43PM (#21835818)
    Quoth the article:

    The entire movement to free music from DRM's shackles has had stunning success in 2007 after years in which such widespead moves to MP3 looked impossible. Could movies be next?
    Unfortunately, no.

    There's one reason we're seeing DRM-free music: Apple.
    Every internet whiner and hazmat-suited protester put together didn't make a noticeable fraction of the impact against DRM that Apple did via their refusal to buy into Microsoft's DRM or license their own to others. They turned the labels tools to control customers into a distributor's tool to control the labels, and now the labels are caught in their own trap, and desperately thrashing and gnawing at their limbs to get away (by selling DRM-free to everyone but Apple).

    But, since Apple haven't had the industry-crushing success they had with music in the video market thus far, and no one else looks likely to repeat Apple's feat, we may be stuck with DRM in the video market for a while.
    • But, since Apple haven't had the industry-crushing success they had with music in the video market thus far,

      I can't find a good link, but have you seen the new NPD figures for online video sales?

      Apple is crushing all takers. The share of TV shows was around 80-90% of the entire market - the share of movies lower, but still I think about 60% with the rest split into many smaller pieces. Apple also just inked that deal with Fox to include iPod compatible video files, that I assume are DRM'ed using Fiarplay,
      • by aaarrrgggh (9205)
        But the pace of uptake is challenged with Video, since there is no legal means to move your DVDs to your iPod, or an easy way to copy broadcast TV shows from your Mac to your iPod. If Apple includes an effective TV tuner with their next generation of computers, maybe some of this will change.

        Until Apple does it and makes it simple, the mass market for unencumbered video won't exist. Not that there are any technical barriers, just that things aren't easy yet.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by dangitman (862676)

        The difference is that almost nobody is buying video online. Instead, people are flocking to buy DVDs. In contrast, CD sales have been dropping and people are quite comfortable buying music online. One of the reasons for this is that DVDs are much more reasonably priced than audio CDs. Other reasons are that not many people own multimedia or "home theater" PCs hooked up to their TV. They just want to stick a disc in and play on the TV. While almost nobody has a computer hooked up to their TV, almost everybo

    • Last I heard, iTunes might have 90% or more of online music sales, but about 3% of online music distribution.

      The other 97% is free distribution (and redistribution) by folks not charging for it.

      Yeah, Apple's sales are certainly "industry crushing" alright.
  • by LesFerg (452838) on Thursday December 27, 2007 @09:44PM (#21835828) Homepage
    The first/last time I tried to purchase an online album from Amazon (just last week) I was informed that the service is only available within the US. So altho Warner may have recognized the "anti-DRM winds sweeping the globe" it seems that the DRM-free zone has distinct limitations.
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Thursday December 27, 2007 @10:06PM (#21835950)
    Could it be that this is the result of Amazon's decision to simply stop selling music altogether?

    (For those that didn't notice: About a week before Christmas, you couldn't buy any music from certain distributors at Amazon for a few days in some EU countries. They wanted Amazon to take the (as the music industry calls it) "legal" distribution ways instead of buying their CDs in areas where the record industry sells them for a penny per dozen to have any sales at all. Amazon complied and pulled the cheap records. And every other record from those studios. One week before spendmas. They also announced that "the talks are not over yet", so... is this what came out of those talks?).
  • by assassinator42 (844848) on Thursday December 27, 2007 @11:26PM (#21836394)
    They only have a few Warner artists on the site now.
  • by jgoemat (565882)

    I can't find anywhere in the article where it says when this will happen. I just checked and these tracks aren't available on Amazon's MP3 music store yet... I was ready to buy over $100 worth of music if these artists [wikipedia.org] have their music available...

  • by theurge14 (820596) on Friday December 28, 2007 @12:47AM (#21836790)
    It has everything to do with the fact that Apple won't budge on their $0.99 cent tracks and that makes the labels mad. Apple already sells DRM-free tracks for EMI through iTunes Plus. All the labels could if they wanted to, but they won't. In the years since they killed off the original Napster they've done nothing but sit on their hands. Then Apple came along and filled the void consumers were begging for: legitimate online music sales. They don't care who it is or what the method of distribution is, what they care about is that they control it. They can't control Apple, PlaysForSure is a bust that even Microsoft has abandoned, so they turn to the next biggest thing: Amazon. We'll see how that plays out.
  • My boycott is over (Score:3, Interesting)

    by stinky wizzleteats (552063) on Friday December 28, 2007 @06:34PM (#21843708) Homepage Journal
    I just bought my first piece of music in 6 years. My recording industry boycott is now over. Nicely done, guys.

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