DRM, vinyl, and the future

Freshness Warning
This article is over 12 years old. It's possible that the information you read below isn't current.

At Startup Camp Enric played some Bob Dylan MP3s for me. Turns out he had started the process of converting all his old vinyl to mp3s. The quality was fantastic, which was surprising given that it came from 25 year old LPs played on a consumer-grade turntable and recorded by running a cable from the headphone jack of the stereo to the mic in jack on his laptop. He hadn’t listed to his vinyl in years—he even had to go buy a needle for his turntable so he could do this conversion.

Twenty-five years ago, no one could have foreseen digital music like this. The idea that you’d be able to fit thousands of songs on a device the size of a deck of cards would have amazed the people creating and selling music. But because that music was stored in an open format, anyone with a record player can still use it. You don’t need a particular brand of record player. You don’t need complicated tools. Enric didn’t need to use the same record player he owned when he bought the music. He could pick up any turntable and play the record. It doesn’t matter if the LP’s publisher is still in business.

Enric has the freedom to listen to the music that he purchased in any way he wants, on any equipment he wants, any time he wants, as often as he wants.

Much of the music sold today doesn’t have these same freedoms. With DRM, music you buy today might not be playable a year from now, never mind 25 years from now. If the technology that was used to encrypt a DRM file is no longer available, you won’t be able to play it. This can happen if the company behind the DRM goes out of business, or even if the company just changes their DRM scheme. Music bought with Microsoft’s PlayForSure technology can’t be played on Microsoft’s new Zune media player—Microsoft changed to a new DRM system. Your media is now obsolete as soon as the player is. You can’t buy music from the iTunes store and play it on your Linux computer, your Zune, or your non-Apple music player.

The publisher of your media now chooses how and when you can use it. That choice has been removed from your hands.

Most people think that because they’re not planning on pirating music and movies that DRM doesn’t effect them. Of course, 25 years from now when they want to convert their iTunes music to the popular format of the day, they’ll be out of luck, because that’s not how Apple wants them to use their music.

For more on how DRM is harmful, read the excellent summary Top 10 Arguments Against DRM.

Trackback from Leftsider
December 3, 2006 12:06 AM

DRM, vinyl, and the future

Excerpt: DRM, vinyl, and the future :: Adam Kalsey Quite possibly the simplest and best-written explanation of the restriction of DRM that I have read. Excellent....


Your comments:

Text only, no HTML. URLs will automatically be converted to links. Your email address is required, but it will not be displayed on the site.

Name:

Not your company or your SEO link. Comments without a real name will be deleted as spam.

Email: (not displayed)

If you don't feel comfortable giving me your real email address, don't expect me to feel comfortable publishing your comment.

Website (optional):

Follow me on Twitter

Best Of

  • The best of 2006 I wrote a lot of drivel in 2006. Here's the things that are less crappy than the rest.
  • Where do the RSS ad startups fit in? Yahoo's RSS advertising service could spell trouble for pure-play RSS advertising services unless they adapt their business model.
  • The importance of being good Starbucks is pulling CD burning stations from their stores. That says something interesting about their brand.
  • Rounded corners in CSS There lots of ways to create rounded corners with CSS, but they always require lots of complex HTML and CSS. This is simpler.
  • Lock-in is bad T-Mobile thinks they'll get new Hotspot customers with exclusive content and locked-in devices.
  • More of the best »

Recently Read

Get More

Subscribe | Archives

12

Recently

One on One meetings for managers: Frequency and Duration (Nov 28)
How long should your 1:1s be? How often should you run them?
One on One meetings for managers (Nov 26)
A one on one meeting is one of the top ways you can build your managerial leverage
How the Sales organization in a large company slows innovation (Nov 16)
If you have a new innovative product inside a large established company, it can be much harder to reach product market fit than it would be for the same product in a startup.
Networking as an entrepreneur (Oct 23)
Having a network is crazy important. Networking is not.
Stretching your team (Jun 11)
Stretching your team is one of the best ways to improve your output, your team's happiness, and your velocity. But they'll need coaching.
Physical camera shutter for Cisco Spark Board (Jul 6)
A 3d printable design for a camera shutter for a Cisco Spark Board
My Travel Coffee Setup (Jan 20)
What my travel coffee brewing setup looks like, and how you can build your own for under $100.
Turkey Legs (May 30)
Product naming gone awry.

Subscribe to this site's feed.

Elsewhere

Tropo
Voice and communications platforms, including Tropo and Phono. Work.
SacStarts
The Sacramento technology startup community.
Pinewood Freak
Pinewood Derby tips and tricks

Contact

Adam Kalsey

Mobile: 916.600.2497

Email: adam AT kalsey.com

AIM or Skype: akalsey

Resume

PGP Key

©1999-2018 Adam Kalsey.
Content management by Movable Type.