Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Digital Music Longs to Be Free

When we ran the Intellect Convergence Conversation on "What Price Music"? - many of us argued there that the technology solution to policing rights has no future. We also argued that the only deterrent to piracy was to lower prices to a point where it would not make sense to pirate music.

In December, 2006, Moser Baer in India announced that they would sell DVDs and CDs at a price low enough to deter pirates. They announced a price point of Rs. 34 for a DVD movie (under 50p) and Rs. 28 for CDs (well under 50p) - this, truly, is a deterrent price point for pirates.

Last week, Steve Jobs suggested that DRM be dropped from music sales. Of course, Jobs had the security of the success of Apple iTunes behind him before he suggested it. It would have been a completely different announcement at the start of the iTunes journey, had he made it then! Of course, now that Jobs is out of the DRM closet, EMI have also announced that they've been mooting the same proposal.

Bottomline, the music industry is starting to stop fighting the dying light of it's old business model. As I've argued before this is great news for consumers. Prices will continue to drop. Advertising & marketing models around music will get a filip. There is a lesson in this for tv and movie content as well.

For the music industry the question may well be - is it too late already?


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