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24 January 2008 @ 12pm


PC Mag Doesn’t Understand the Value of DRM-free Music

Lance Ulanoff, the editor-in-chief of PC Magazine posted an editorial about the dangers of DRM-free music today… yes – you read that right – according to Ulanoff, DRM-free music is going to kill the music industry (why we would be even bothered by that is a completely different question):

DRM haters say that DRM-free is the wave of the future. You don’t restrict how people consume content. You can’t block their right to take it with them on their music players or port it through their homes. I say we’re on the road to ruin. It’s one panic after another, and with each new stopgap plan, the music industry—really the entire digital content industry—digs itself in deeper.

I won’t go into the details of Ulanoff’s arguments. TechDirt already did a great job doing that; you can just head there and read their analysis. Mathew Ingram also has few kind words for Ulanoff.

My take: DRM-free music is what is going to save the music industry. And to assume that people will stop buying music because there is no DRM on the files is a ridiculous assumption anyway. I buy lots of DRM-free mp3s on and non of that music gets shared anywhere.

The problem with DRM is so simple, I wonder why its so hard to get for Ulanoff: for those who actually buy music DRM is just an annoyance (try moving your DRMed files to an iPod, for example) and that leads to fewer sales. Those who pirate music were never bothered by DRM anyway. So DRM just penalizes the good guys.

Oh, and CDs don’t have DRM anyway…

Sidenote: I stopped listening to the PCMag Radio podcast after they continuously slammed bloggers for not being “real journalists.” Looks like this who live in glass-houses…