I have blogged multiple times about my concerns and desires for the music in my personal collection, and the continual frustration I have with music and DRM as a whole. With the music industry at arms length from its consumers, and the consumers getting their musical fix elsewhere (P2P), I think I am finally starting to absorb and comprehend the full scope of the problem. With the music industry sales down across the board, and digital music sales are up, but not enough to cover the spiral, we are forced to ask what the problem is.
I do no believe it is the concept of DRM, nor is it the poor selection of online music that is at issue. I think it is a simple problem of PRICE! I think with the advent of digital music, the very medium that music travels upon has devalued the content more than the music industry is willing to accept. I honestly believe that the music industry is trying to protect what was 10 years ago a very expensive collective of music. However, without the need for a CD we the consumer cannot get our heads around why it still costs so much for downloads.
I know what your thinking $1 for a song is nothing, and I agree in principle, I just believe that in today's world of XXCOPY and FTP $1 is inappropriate. If the market were truly allowed to determine the price as opposed to the years of price gouging and fixing, IMHO, the cost of music would be in the order of 10-15 cents per song and that is for a song without DRM. With DRM I think it should be closer to 5 cents. That is right! if your DRM is designed to lock me in to using a particular device I should pay less for the music I am listening to.
When consumers were forced to deal with Poly Vinyl Acetate, tapes and even CDs the inconvenience of duplicating music was still great enough to need an industry to churn out copies of music for our convenience. That is no longer the case, all the world needs now is one copy and it so easy to make that available to millions of people and I could use my vinyl, tapes and cd in any player I wanted.
I know, I know the artist has rights to his music, and as a musician myself I really believe that, but, I also believe the market should determine the price not just the supplier. It is a shame because it seems like it would take the bread right out of artists mouth, and in many respects that is true, but this is a capitalist society with "free" markets, and it is by definition fueled by supply and demand. If our technology has increased the supply the cost should fall. Trust me this phenomenon we are seeing with the music industry would happen to any other product that could be made this readily available. Do not feel too sorry for the artist, there still is no substitute for a live show, if they have the skill and musicianship ;)
The music industry is going to have to get use to the fact that music sales will continue to decrease until music is sold for what it is worth!
"Without struggle, there is no progress." - Fredrick Douglas