Music without DRM

Reports are popping up all over that the major record companies are cautiously gearing up to sell music in MP3 format, without any DRM (anti-copying) technology. This was the buzz at the recent Midem conference, according to a New York Times story. The record industry has worked for years to frame the DRM issue, with considerable success. Mainstream thinking about DRM is now so mired in the industry’s framing that the industry itself will have a hard time explaining and justifying its new course. – Ed Felten


I think Apple deserves a lot of credit for this. When Steve Jobs convinced the Big 4 to sell their wares through iTunes, they had no idea what sort of Frankenstein monster they were creating. Now that Apple has a virtual monopoly on the MP3 player market and complete control over the only DRM system that plays on an iPod, FairPlay, they had two choices: either cede control of all music sales to Apple or go DRM-Free and sell music from other sources that will still play on the dominant music player.


People will pay for music if it’s in a format they want, and it’s easy and simple and they like the price. People don’t have a problem paying for music – online, offline, or wherever they want it. – Keith Harris


If this story is actually true, it will be interesting to see how important Apple considers iTunes to be. Will they sell non-DRM music through iTunes? If they refuse and other sources are available, will it hurt iTunes sales? If iTunes sales suffer, will Apple care? There has long been a perception of that iTunes is pretty much a break even proposition because of licensing rights and credit card costs. 2007 could definitely turn out to be an interesting year.

Posted by Michael K Pate

Michael K. Pate tends to spend a great deal time of time around computers. He has been a Librarian since 1997. Michael was born in Avon Park, Florida in 1966. Except for a couple of brief periods in his life (once in Tampa and once in Winter Haven/Haines City), he has been a life-long resident. Originally, he planned on a career as a Computer Programmer and therefore graduate from Webber College with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems in 1988. However, unhappy with career opportunities at the time, he soon returned to school and received a BS in Social Science Education from the University of South Florida. He began his career in education at Avon Elementary and later Avon Park Middle working as a Computer Lab Coordinator. While technological challenges were interesting, he found himself more and more interested in becoming a Media Specialist. He began work on his MLS in 1995. However, a summer internship at the Sebring Public Library in 1996 soon made him reconsider just what his career should be. Upon graduation in 1997, he secured a position as a Media Specialist at Eastside Elementary in Haines City. Eventually, the position he was looking for opened up and he returned to SPL as Reference Librarian in 1999. In 2003, he became Assistant Director of the Highlands County Library System, serving in that role until the position was eliminated during a late round of budget cuts in 2010. Since then, he has been the Computer Support Specialist for the Heartland Library Cooperative. In 2011, he began serving on the Board of Directors of the Tampa Bay Library Consortium.