Everyone’s talking about online music and DRM issues today (David Berlind‘s post is excellent). Elliot Spitzer is even starting to look into the labels online music pricing habits. I also enjoyed this quote in my inbox from GMSV this morning, although I do not have a date:
“We are selling our songs through iPod, but we don’t have a share of iPod’s revenue. We want to share in those revenue streams. We have to get out of the mindset that our content has promotional value only. We have to keep thinking how we are going to monetize our product for our shareholders. We are the arms supplier in the device wars between Samsung, Sony, Apple, and others.”
– Warner Music boss Edgar Bronfman Jr.
I’m sticking to my prediction that music will have to be free and un-DRM’d at some point. There is just no other way. Labels and artists will need to make money from certified-quality downloads, limited edition merchandise, tours, etc. Bands and managers will make a lot more money. Labels will mostly go out of business.
And while this debate and courtroom drama continues, Russia-based, pay-by-the-megabyte allofmp3.com is changing the game permanently. The RIAA either needs to go nuclear on them (if they can) or change their own business models for good, because they can’t just continue to pretend they don’t exist.