Music 1.5!

MCMMonday, April 2, 2007

Dear god, the music industry joined the 21st century! Or at least the last years of the 20th. Apple and EMI will start selling DRM-free songs in May! What's amazing is not the idea, but that a major label has people inside it who are not as oblivious to the real world as I originally thought.

The pricing is $1.29 for a DRM-free higher-quality track, and the $0.99 DRM-ed version still exists. Albums are the same price regardless of DRM or not. This is a thinly-veiled attempt to make people opt to buy albums again (recent reports said albums were dying in favour of singles). It's sleazy business trickery, but it's the GOOD kind of sleaze, because rather than forcing the user to accept one scenario or another via DRM, they're making it about price. It sucks in a way, but the choice has been moved back to the customer. Not perfect, but definitely worlds better than before.

Someone said this is the start of Music 2.0... the tipping point from which we see the great new world of music spread out beyond us, and we can frolick in the meadows all day long. I think that's overly optimistic. This is Music 1.5... this where we should have been 8 years ago. There have been major advances in music-delivery technology that have been stifled or undiscovered for the last 8 years, and it's going to take us at least another 5 to catch up to where we should be.

When all the music is DRM-free, when better licensing is in place, and the tech industry and really make the difference it's meant to do, THEN we'll be at Music 2.0.

Can't wait.

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