DRM is the BEST!

September 3, 2010

Remember DRM? That finickity old system which locked down the music files you owned so you couldn’t share, burn or generally use them where, when and if you wanted?

Much debate was had in the early 00’s over the relevance and necessity of DRM for music – “You’re pissing off your customers!” opponents would cry, “We need to be properly compensated for our work!”, label and artist advocates would respond. Services who insisted on DRM (such as Rhapsody) were roundly snubbed in favour of those who were more lenient.

It certainly seemed a dead issue once Apple stopped using DRM to a large extent. Eventually, label after label dropped the more restrictive forms of DRM and the launch of Amazon.MP3s entirely DRM free service seemed to be the nail in the coffin of the debate.

But a recent tweet exchange with the ever adroit @jherskowitz made me realize that DRM is still very much with us. And WE LOVE IT.

If you use Spotify, you’re using a DRM-laden, freedom sapping monster. Well, not quite. But it is still DRM – you stop paying your £9.99/month, and your freedoms with the music are severely restricted, particularly your ability to use the playlists you’ve compiled on your mobile device.

I suppose that means both sides of the DRM debate were right. People will pay for something if the service is compelling enough – and you don’t screw people around.