The End of The World As Labels Know It

This generation of music fans is no fan of digital rights management. Everyone knows it but the major labels continue to tread water before they drown in their own miscalulation. Now, we're beginning to see signs of a change -- a very small change -- in the attitude of at least one label. EMI is offering Norah Jones' Thinking About You and Relient K's Must Have Done Something Right for 99 cents each as MP3 downloads from Yahoo. It's hard to say how much of this little toe in the water is to test the efficacy of selling music without DRM or how much is designed to get under Apple's skin. The labels have a hate-hate relationship with iTunes and by making songs available without DRM elsewhere (including the artists web sites) the songs will be playable on an iPod -- without having to pay Apple for the songs. Many indie labels, have been selling music MP3 downloads for some time. Dimensional Associates's eMusic has sold nearly 100 million MP3 downloads to date according to a recent article in USA Today. The end of the world as record labels know it is about to happen. DRM will not endure. No lawyers, no technology -- nothing can stop the record buying public from getting what they want -- music they can use interchangably on their MP3 players. But if major labels gave in to their wishes they would be called, well -- leaders.