Digital Rights Management a Deal Breaker for MySpace Users

When is a huge viral social network not cool (and therefore in danger of getting a really bad virus -- the kind that makes users sick and leave)? How about when a start-up company is sold to a media giant for hundreds of millions of dollars. The suits take over. Monetize becomes the operable goal. Could that be the case with MySpace which just announced that audio files now submitted by members are now being screened against 10 million tracks loaded in Gracenote's data bank? Universal artists will be excluded from the site. The other labels are not far behind as they are working on a similar deal with MySpace. Universal had been vocal about potentially suing MySpace and Google for copyright infringement. Here's the problem. As much as we all love digital rights management and can make a moral, ethical and financial argument to defend it, the next generation doesn't like DRM. And unfortunately for the mega media giants like Google and News Corp that are buying these franchises they are nothing without the next generation. I can say this with every confidence -- DRM will never fly. Save the arguments. Save the money you'll spend on litigation. In the end, Gen Y has taken charge and they will produce their own content without it -- watch for that. They'll hack around it. They will resist attempts to shove DRM down their throats even if they have to pick up and socialize elsewhere. And it's a big Internet. They'll be plenty of "elsewheres". So I expect that now that the big media consolidators are taking over they're going to try to nip this DRM thing in the bud once and for all. But DRM is a deal breaker. Ten years from today DRM will be a thing of the past. In five years, well, you get the point. Fight for DRM and you'll lose your market.