Digital Rights Management -- Isn't Gonna Happen

If I've learned anything working with the next generation at USC it is that DRM, the concept worth going to war over for the record industry and the RIAA is doomed to eventual failure. What I mean is that yes, the record labels succeed for now and stand in the way of the true digital revolution. But, they'll never win the long term battle. Every protection can be hacked. Standing in the way of true interoperability is like Custer's Last Stand. In the end the labels will die -- no matter how noble -- fighting for the old way of doing things. Here's what's worth considering: music made for distribution without DRM protection will proliferate. It is growing by leaps and bounds now because of social networking and sites that cater to music that can be used and transfered as the consumer sees fit. New bands and artists are already on the love train. And yes, there will be piracy, but there always is -- and was, even at record stores where shoplifters walked off with the greatest hits of all time. What's bigger than the RIAA? An entire generation that demands the ability to use and transfer the music it enjoys as they see fit. And what's more -- as incredible as it may seem -- they will still pay for music that is fairly priced and offered conveniently for their enjoyment. Just as Sony found out when it tried to encode CDs to protect them from copying (and had to back down), the music industry will discover that when the market expects full use of the music they own, the market will prevail -- even if the big four labels kill themselves trying to prevent it.