Bits Don't Have Colour
I recently saw this article
in the bbc, which describes a "DRM buster" technology that will most likely
shake up iTunes carefully arranged system of music store, media
player/library, and mobile player. Every time I think about DRM I’m
reminded of this game called "Paranoia"
and an article talking about the game and DRM here.
The article is long winded, but fairly straight forward and thorough. It
basically argues for the fallacy (and the corresponding economic failure) of
restrictions placed on digital files… something I believe in but can’t put as
convincingly. The bottom line is that information in the public sphere
can’t have an artificial "acquisition" cost, because digital information
can be duplicated perfeclty and can be distributed effortlessly and
I’ve read some articles by Larry
Lessig talking about alternatives to supporting artists (not just
supporting the RIAA/labels), but I can’t find them anymore. I’m also
aware of a couple of other sites (such as sellaband)
that are trying some innovative models for supporting artists. I also
find it interesting that Nielsen is including
iPod usage as a new rating dimension.
It seems that a couple of things will come to pass… There won’t be a single
monolithic source for music (such as iTunes) because it won’t be able to
control the information, and therefore will lose economic viability.
Artists will have to derive income through means other than through the sale of
their content… a scary thought… but artists receive very little from their
own digital content currently anyways. Take Weird
Al Yankovic for instance. It seems that the time is right for a new
model for artist compensation.